Payag Restaurant – Tagbilaran City


More about Payag Restaurant here from Leia’s blog:
Address: 18, Alturas Mall, C. P. G. North Ave. Cor. B. Inting St., Tagbilaran City, 6300 Bohol
Phone:(038) 501 7852

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Gerarda’s


Gerarda’s Family Restaurant is one of Bohol’s well known restaurant that serve really good Filipino cuisine. When we went there, it was almost jam-packed with people. I can imagine it is a great place to bring your family for a dinner or with your fellow officemates for some satisfying lunch on a weekends. This is where we decided to take our small dinner (I’m trying to lose weight lol) for the night and we ordered one of their popular best sellers which is the Dinakdakan, a grilled and chopped pork belly with spices and coconut milk. We paired it with the always appetizing chicken chicharon (deep fried chicken skin cracklings) for a simply perfect Pinoy combo dish.

Address: 30 J.S Torralba Street, Tagbilaran City, 6300, Bohol, Tagbilaran City, Bohol
Phone:(038) 412 3044

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Bohol Bee Farm


The first on our list of places to see is Bohol Bee Farm at Island City Mall because it was the nearest from where we were staying. We did visit the Bohol Bee Farm in Panglao a few days later but only the Buzzz Cafe in Alona beach (which I’ll be posting a blog too).

Anyway, Bohol Bee Farm prides itself as a restaurant that serves organic food. Their products mostly comes from their very own organic farm which also provides jobs  and livelihood projects for the Boholanos. Their also famous for their honey (of course) and pesto spreads. Me I personally loved the honeyspread.

Honey Bee Farm at Island Fiesta Mall, Tagbilaran City:

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Organic Ice Cream with a host of flavours to fancy your sweet tooth.

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Yep, those are all organic. Not the organic hype, but real organic stuff.

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Bohol Bee Farm’s The Buzzz Cafe.

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They actually sell a lot of great stuff not just food but also soap to tea. My personal favourite is the honey spread. It’s just delicious on its own or with bread, crackers, etc!

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The food and drinks!!!

I totally forgot.. this was some sort of Honey Laced Iced Coffee.

I totally forgot.. this was some sort honey laced white mocha coffee.

Organic Garden Salad with flowers such as Bougainvillea, Gumamela, Cosmos, Ternati, etc...

Organic Garden Salad with flowers such as Bougainvillea, Gumamela, Cosmos, Ternati, etc…

Fresh Herb Pasta!

Fresh Herb Pasta!

Their own homemade bread with honey and pesto spreads. This is on the house.

Their own homemade bread with honey and pesto spreads. This is on the house.

On the left is camote fries and Leia also got a lemongrass juice (the green colored drink).

On the left is camote fries and Leia also got a lemongrass juice (the green colored drink).

Malunggay (Moringa) Flavored Ice Cream which I think is sweetened by honey.

Malunggay (Moringa) Flavored Ice Cream which I think is sweetened by honey.

Some hefty organic almost vegan like dinner.

Some hefty organic almost vegan like dinner.

It’s not hard to find Bohol Bee Farm in Island City Mall. It’s just in the ground floor going right from the main entrance. The Mall itself is not really large so you won’t get lost finding those bees. However, if you’re planning to visit Bohol just for a vacation (I went here for a wedding cinematography workshop), check out Bohol Bee Farm in Panglao Island instead which 30-45 minutes drive. You can even book for a stay there because they do have beautiful rooms with a nice rustic tough to it, they also have a wonderful buffet and their dining area has a great view of the beach plus a store too and a herb garden heaven for organic lovers.

Peace!!

 

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Going Bohol: First Stop – JJ’s Seafood Village at Tagbilaran City


Last month, I attended a wedding cinematography workshop in Tagbiliran City. Good thing 2Go has a scheduled trip from Iligan City to Tagbilaran City once a week that leaves every Tuesday. The boat stops in between (Dipolog City if going to Tagbilaran and Ozamiz City if going back Iligan). The downside is that they only offer the economy or super economy class if you’re leaving from Iligan which is jampacked with people and the area is sandwiched between the ship’s huge funnel (engine exhaust) which makes the area not comforting at all. There are no nearby windows in our bunks and where right in the middle which makes the place kinda hot.

Though you get to upgrade your accommodation once you’re in the ship but we still have to wait for the Dipolog passengers because we’re sort of like in a “chance passenger” situation. If there are vacant bunks in the business class section (or cabin, presidential suite if you’re not on a budget) after leaving Dipolog then that’s the time we could get to take it for the night, but it takes 4hrs i think to get to Dipolog and then another 2hrs to wait for the passengers and cargoes to embark, a total of 6 hours waiting time. We still decided to upgrade to business class section.

We left Iligan around 6pm (delayed), arrived in Dipolog by 10pm then left around 12 midnight.

At Iligan Port and then inside 2GO’s St. Joan of Arc vessel:

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This is the super economy area. It may have air-condition vents but most are not working.

This is the super economy area. It may have air-condition vents but most are not working.

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This is the business class area which is way better than the super economy obviously but the thing is there’s no door where you can have at least a little bit of privacy.

We arrived in Tagbilaran around or before 6am and went to stay at JJ’s Seafood Village with Leia. JJ’s is a restaurant with a hotel and a reception area good for weddings, birthdays and seminars. The JJ’s is technically just besides the Tagbilaran Bay though the view of the bay is not exactly great but still refreshing. They also have the fastest internet (in a hotel) so far here in the Philippines that clocks more than 30mbps though quite unstable at times. Their room is not great but okay. They have really good food by the way. At first the price seems a little hefty but it turns out they have big servings than the usual.

This is their hotel:

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Our room is less than P1,000 with aircon. They don’t exactly have an internet modem on each room but the room is a bit closer from the front desk area where the wifi modem is situated.

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This photo was taken from my Huawei Phone.

 

And this is their Restaurant (right part of the building and Reception area (left part) as well:

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and here’s the really good food:

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This was our first time to eat Abalone, which is an edible mollusk from the seas.

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If I remember it correctly, this is suppose to be a rice topping Chop Seuy.

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The usual sausage and egg with atsara (a pickle made from grated unripe papaya) breakfast.

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I think this was the “American” breakfast.

All I can say is that we were satisfied with our stay here in JJ’s. This was actually my 2nd time staying here. My first time was way back 2008 when we had a school field trip and I was a Hotel and Restaurant Management student that time. That was also my first time in Bohol.

Tagbilaran City has so many good and great restos it would probably take a month or so just to try all of them with a risk of gaining so much weight. Yes, we’ve tried a few (which I will be posting soon) but we’re just only scratching the surface of what Bohol has in store for its tourists. Not to mention, they have beautiful tourist spots like the famous Chocolate Hills, Hinagdan Cave, Tarsiers, Old Churches and so on which I never got to visit most of it on this trip (though some I did the first time I was here).

But, we went to Panglao Island which I will be posting really soon.

Cheers!

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Initao Midway Getaway


Yesterday, we went to Initao Midway White Beach Resort just to getaway from the bustling city pollution. It was basically Elai’s (good friend of ours and my fraternity brother) idea the other night and all three of us (me, Leia and Porsche or Porsha as I would like to spell it) empathically said yes. I mean why not? City life is just stressful and Iligan’s traffic and pollution on average despite being a super small city is almost like that of Manila. Porsha also invited Red to come along and brought with him his amazing well seasoned slab of pork meat.

So the day started first in the market to buy some ingredients for the food (for grilling!) then in the kitchen for preparation.

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This is Kinilaw, a sliced raw fish meat (usually Tuna) with lots of spices and coconut vinegar. This is eaten raw but technically the fish meat is treated and “cooked” by the vinegar and spices combined.

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Now, the beach… not exactly the same condition as what I last remembered (I went here twice last 2014) but the beach ambiance is what we all need for the day. Here’s my blogpost about my last year’s visit to Midway.

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Crab fat! A good dose of bad cholesterol once in a while.

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Veggie bbq, milkfish filled with spices wrapped in foil, pork meat, and chicken gizzard behind it.

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That tower (suppose to be for zipline) is simply annoying. It’s been looking like a Mordor Tower from LOTR for years now. What an eyesore!

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and here I am in case you’re wondering where I was in all this. From Leia’s camera:

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Elai, and me in my ghillie suit, LOL.

Elai, me, Red and Porsh.

Elai, me, Red and Porsh.

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So yes, we had a good afternoon and our bellies we’re filled to the skin. We took a very brief dip in the water but be cautious for the sharp rocks though. Porsh got some cuts on both her feet because she was doing front flips in the shallow part of the beach (waist deep). They also have some banana ride pulled by a jetski for 500-1000 Pesos i think good for 15minutes. The cottage we had cost P600 and despite the green net draped around the cottage, it doesn’t really help with the flies pestering your food. At least it wasn’t a horde of flies though but yes, there were flies none the less. All in all, it was worth the 30-35 minute trip from Iligan City. Going back took us a little over an hour though due to heavy traffic from road repairs. Oh well…

That is all… Peace!

 

 

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Descending Mt. Pagangon To Hindang Falls


While I’m writing this blog right at this moment, I’m being bombarded with ear-splitting karaoke fest. I won’t deny that some can sing while others still don’t know the destructive dissonance they have that’s rattling my thoughts into a pulp. Cranking up the volume and echo effect would only make things worst for my ears to bear but I have to try at least jot something and take this situation as a jump off point for this blog so I can start writing no matter how off-topic this may seem.

Well, Iligan is celebrating the Diyandi Festival and it is Leia’s mom’s birthday today too hence the karaoke party. Only Ann2x (Leia’s younger sister) can really sing well, the rest are good to okay to outright devastatingly off-tuned enough to wake the dead. Let me gather my disoriented brain cells together and pull this through. Writing a blog in the midst of sonic mayhem is quite challenging, but not as challenging as going down a steep mountain side while raining. Yeah, I know I’m trying to connect A with X but, so what. I have to write this fast because the next adventure will be coming in the next few days.

Okay, so I’ll start right after we started to climb out from Hindang Cave. For those who haven’t read about our Hindang Cave spelunking, here’s the blog.

Okay, the stuff I just wrote above was a little over 2 months ago (and my last edit was on the 29th of September to be precise). It’s already December 3 and I apologize for the delay. I’ve been quite busy again but we did had some more great adventures none the less after Hindang. I have come to realize that I might not be able to write long blog posts especially with a mountain of backlogs I’m still carrying with me from all the way back to 2012. Starting today or tonight, I’ll be writing short blog posts instead.

Anyway, about our descend… it was pretty darn hard. Yes, because it rained and made the narrow pathway slippery like clay mud. One of our companion was even praying and repenting as if it was the end of the world. At times, we had to go “5×5” meaning crawl on all fours including our butts in a sitting position.

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Finally, we all made it down safely with minor bumps and scratches but no big deal. Good thing there were some lanzones and marang fruit waiting for us to replenish our famished state. The fruits were actually cheap here like more than 50% compared to the prices in the city.

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Our next stop was Hindang falls. A beautiful 3 tiered waterfall which is easily accessible from the road probably like a 10-15 minute trek.

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In reality, the base of the 2nd tier (top of the 1st tier) is the most accessible and the most logical place to take a dip. It has a much bigger pool while the 3rd tier is quite a challenge to get there (you’ll see it in the video).The 2nd tier by the way may look small (because of the perspective I guess) but it is probably about 30 feet tall from top to base. The 3rd tier of Hindang falls only has a small shallow pool but the falls is probably taller than the rest of the tiers and a great place to get a good shower.

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Travel time between Hindang proper to Hindang falls is probably about 20 minutes or less. You’ll pass by Hindang Falls first before you get to enter Hindang proper or the village.

Again, here’s my blog for the Hindang Cave in Mt. Pagangon where you will know how far Hindang is from Iligan proper.

Please check out our Hindang video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDat2W1A8bk

Thanks!

 

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Hindang Cave in Mt. Pagangon, Barangay Hindang


Almost two decades ago, I saw Forest Gump and that movie really moved me despite my teenage Nirvana, Pearl Jam years. There was this one particular part in the movie where when he was narrating his letter to Jennifer, the love of his life, he said how he’d wish Jennifer could see all the wonders that he saw while running across America. I always wondered how it felt like seeing natures wonder not in a car or in some package tour groups riding in an air-conditioned pampered tour bus, but on foot with the sun smiling radiantly till your skin gets red. I always imagined that sense of freedom once your feet touches the ground and your eyes locked beyond the horizon for you to explore and satisfy your wanderlusting curious feet. What more when you explore the city or experience the nature with the love of your life; like indulging local favourite cuisines to detesting bat droppings and sharing mud stained water bottles on a mountain summit. Well, I finally or rather we certainly experienced the latter in our Hindang adventure.

So okay, we went to Hindang (just this last Tuesday Sept 22) to explore its locally renowned cave and witness the grand 3-tiered waterfalls of Hindang. I actually heard a story of people getting lost or found dead (maybe due to bat manure infections) in those labyrinth chambers within the Hindang caves during the Yamashita gold fever decades ago. I’m not exactly sure if the stories about the gold is real but getting lost in those caves can pretty much happen I thought. Let me start a short intro about Barangay Hindang…

Barangay Hindang is a large barangay that is way bigger and more mountainous than Pugaan. Going to Hindang from the city proper is not exactly a breeze and if I may suggest, bring a freaking dune buggy, no seriously a 4×4 pickup truck or an SUV with monster tires. If you’re planning to take your family sedan, you may need to check your suspensions, nuts and bolts once you get back to the city. Thank God, Mico was able to bring their old but truly reliable K2700 Panoramic Van. It was way better than taking the “habal-habal” ride that requires some amazing der·ri·ère balancing. From Tibanga to Hindang took us 1 hour, 18 minutes and 3 seconds. I know because I had my GoPro mounted on the windshield recording all the way to Hindang non-stop. If only the road was wide, smooth and cemented all throughout, It will probably take half an hour max to get there.

Here’s the footage of Tibanga to Barangay Hindang trip.

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Deletado Store is where you register your name and pay P25 before you head out for the Hindang cave.

Deletado Store is where you register your name and pay P25 before you head out for the Hindang cave.

From Granex, Barangay Kiwalan (marker at National Highway) to Barangay Hindang (20) to Hindang Cave (17) then going back for the Hindang Falls (21).

From Granex, Barangay Kiwalan (marker at National Highway) to Barangay Hindang (20) to Hindang Cave (17) then going back for the Hindang Falls (21).

This time there were 17 of us but the 2 (Eli and Tito Bobby, they’re not in the photos below) went earlier on foot from Granex to Hindang. Most of us have not been to Hindang and we were a smorgasborg of greenhorns, newborn trekkers and curious kittens. We’re told by our veteran master trekker Tito Bobby that Hindang is nothing like Pugaan in terms of difficulty and so with that revelation in mind, I was confident I won’t fall flat on my sides this time. They didn’t bring any ropes with them too unlike the Pugaan adventure so that made it feel more reassuring.

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From left to right: Lope, Dags, Jeffrey, Dot2x, Boknoy (guy in blue standing), Yvette, Shelo, Porsche, Jill, Leia, Anna and Shiela.

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From left to right: Shiela, Mario, Erwin and Mico.

Elijah

Elijah

Tito Bobby (far right)

Tito Bobby (far right)

After that long bumpy ride of narrow winding roads built for off-road crazies and horror movies, we started another 3 hour trek from Hindang proper to Mt. Pagangon (thanks for the info Tito Bobby!) where the cave is hidden beneath a canopy of floras and tall trees. Supposedly, it was not as torturous as the Pugaan waterfalling trail and as Tito Bobby said, the Hindang trek is more exhausting but not as hard. We started going “no-road” and into the narrow trails that stretches over loose dirt, protruding rocks, water streams, muddy soil and grassy terrain. Later on as we began to ascend a sudden steep slope near the peak, I recollected myself some energy, positive mental projection and inhaling lots of oxygen as much as I can muster just trying to pull a leg up.

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After the arduous tongue sticking climb, we finally found a small wooden house with lots of empty dried coconut shells. I think they’re going to convert and sell this as “uling” or Charcoal if I’m not mistaken. We use uling mainly to grill food like barbeques, porkchops, fishes, chicken and so on.

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Once we went further on top of Mt. Pagangon, we found a 2nd wooden hut that greeted us with lots of camote or sweet potatoes enough to replenish some spent energy. I think this is the home of our chief guide Manong Nick. The place was cool and not humid which is a good thing or we would be guzzling more water than we’re supposed to.

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After our brief snack break, we headed off again for the opposite side of the mountain to finally see the hidden cave.

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As we started our short descent at the opposite side where there are more trees and taller ones than on top of the peak, you could actually smell the cave like it has a bad breath. It smells like a mild sulfur compound dumped in a public toilet that reeks with urine odor.

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From a distance you won’t notice the mouth of the cave but as you slowly climb down towards the cave opening, you’ll see the stalactites hanging like crooked menacing teeth from a mythical living mountain ready to clamp unsuspecting creatures. There are 3 major zones in a cave: The entrance zone where it receives light, the twilight zone where there is less light and trogloxenes like bats thrive and the dark zone where our imagination may start playing tricks in our head. Bring some handy flashlights and be careful as you enter the mouth of the cave because the moss-covered rocks are slippery. The entrance zone of the cave looks small but once you enter the twilight zone, you will feel the immensity and size of the cavern large enough to swallow a two storey building. Don’t worry too much if ever because the cave won’t bite at all.

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Then we went deeper into the inner chambers where you need to crouch or crawl. It’s like an abysmal darkness enveloping your sanity only disrupted by your companions shrill and excitment. It was fun and the noise from your friends is a good sign you’re not lost from the pack. Sometimes I felt like I stepped on something gooey and I’m sure those were probably droppings from Batman’s underlings. There are chambers with large caverns that is amazing to behold, I can imagine a batmobile hidden somewhere.

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Word of advice: avoid touching so much of the cave walls if possible unless you’re climbing because it could be glazed with bat manure and urine. In fact, wash your hands with alcohol once your outside the cave to avoid possible infections (especially if you have a wound or a large scratch from climbing) or food contamination. You never know what sort of bacteria thats breeding in these bat wastes. Oh, if you feel like stepping on a mud inside the cave, just keep on walking because that’s not exactly a puddle of mud, chances are that’s bat poop accumulated for decades. If you’re “lucky” you’ll catch bat droppings too on your head, shoulder or your bag. Well, either you like it or not, bat poop will be your best unwanted souvenir from the cave. Bring an umbrella if you like but you’ll look rather silly and it may spell bad luck for the superstitious.

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My only comment about the Hindang cave is not about the cave itself but the people who visits and vandalize their name on the cave walls. I guess people are so hungry to be remembered particularly in an era when there was no smartphones for selfies and Facebook to validate their existence for the whole world to see. Even in the advent of social media, grafitti is still a way of etching one’s insignificant “self-recognition” desire for history to take notice, especially in an area where internet has not reached any innocent souls yet.

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However, there are other smaller caves that’s probably part of huge network of caves in these mountains. We decided not to explore those other smaller caves because we didn’t have enough time. A friend of mine who visisted those other smaller caves more than a decade ago said the openings are so small they can barely fit one person. My tummy flab might get stuck in those openings so thank God we didn’t push through. Maybe some other time after I shed off 20lbs of fat lard around my waist and another 500kms of trekking experience. From level 1 to level 99.

So there you have it and to be honest, we had so much fun despite being dumped with bat s*** in every few minutes. Those bats do have some “never care” attitude but at least they’re not vampires. I wonder if bat droppings can be converted to fertilizers… wait, yes it can be used as fertilizers! I guess that’s why there where lots of fruit trees with fruits falling everwhere in Hindang. We did eat a lot of sweet fruits later on. I’ll show some photos about it in the next blog.

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Next Blog: The treachorous descent of Mt. Pagangon and of course, Hindang Falls! The descent is where the fun begins!

Check out my other fellow trekker posts about our Hindang experience but spoiler ahead.

Tito Bobby’s Mindanews

Porsche’s blog 

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Filed under Iligan City, Mindanao, trekking, waterfalls