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Lunch at Circa Eatery 1850

Welcome to the deliciously natural Circa Eatery 1850. It’s quite a dining experience with a combination of a hearty meal and local cuisine served into one. They serve healthy and amazingly cooked food without the artificial ingredients. They describe themselves as a modern global cuisine in homage to its South East Asian heritage. Inspired by the ‘slow food movement’, which promotes the practice of using heirloom recipes, sustainable local produce and fair trade lifestyle. Everything you see here have been locally sourced and grown.

Photo by: Reiyakhu

The interiors had a very rustic feel from the ceiling down to the place-mats. The menu was simple but everything on the list there was something I would love to try. They even have a view of the busy kitchens to which you can see right down their hall to the right.  It was instagram worthy from top to bottom.

Photo by: AyosaOi

The restaurant is said to be built mostly by using recycled timber and bricks. It’s quite noticeable when you observe the place from top to bottom from bolts to the beams including the fittings! But let’s just not talk about the place, let us now discuss their reasonably priced food which I have tried so far…

Drinks

They have various drinks available including imported beers and wines. Here’s coffe and watermelon shake. You can check out more information on their menu here.

Spinach Ricotta Canneloni

This would be by far my personal favorite. It’s a pasta bake with spinach filled canneloni topped with ricotta cheese. It was creamy and oh so good with their freshly baked bread on the side. Be careful though, it’s served piping hot!

Uni & Shrimp Pasta

This is one of their best sellers for their pasta. Might I say it was a bit dry for my preference but it was alright because this dish actually reminded me of the sea with its umami flavor which was then topped with heaps of arugula and fresh tomatoes. I recommend this if you just want to snack on something.

Sirloin Steak Frites

The steak was oh so tender and perfect when combined with their gravy. This meal had a side of steamed vegetables, fries and sweet potato wedges aside from rice.

Photo by: AyosaOi

Roasted Bone Marrow

I quite enjoyed myself immensely savoring this tasty dish which might be the death of me. I’m quite the fan of beef bone marrow and I’d be definitely denying myself if I didn’t order this. This my friends, is something you should try without second thoughts because it easily gets sold out! The marrow was rich and creamy and you could tell that it was sizzling in its own fat. You could then spread it evenly on their freshly baked bread. I had to order an extra serving of buttered vegetables and baked herb potatoes just to minimize the guilt of eating this all by myself.

I vow to come back to this place again and again especially when the need to eat something hearty and almost healthy arises. Also, did I tell you that their bathroom has speakers to which you can NOT be awkward doing your business (I found it cool). The service was great! They were very friendly and accommodating and they answered my questions very promptly.

You can Circa 1850 Eatery at the gound floor of Red Planet Hotels, just before you reach the lobby entrance. find  can get a reservation by calling 08822-741 850 or 088-852 1850.They are open between 7:00am – 2:00pm and 5:30pm – 10:30pm

HINT: If you’re staying at Red Planet Hotel, don’t forget to download their app and mention it to your waiter before asking for the bill because they offer a 10% discount!

You might also want to check out these links:

Staying at Red Planet Hotel Cagayan De Oro

Cagayan De Oro has always been the nearest place to travel to when you’re searching for hard to find goods from food to clothing and just about anything else you can think of as long as you have the stamina to walk wherever you want to go the whole day. I decided to book an overnight stay at Red Planet Hotel Cagayan De Oro instead of traveling late at night back to my hometown. Thanks to a new app I discovered while searching through the interwebs, I booked this hotel for just 885PHP only! Sweet. Just scroll down if you want to know more about how I got this at such an affordable rate!

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Red Planet Hotel CDO is a ten story hotel located at Claro M. Recto Ave, Cagayan de Oro, 9000 Misamis Oriental. This is just right by the highway and is easily identifiable by a neat boxy looking red and white building. They have a total of about 159 rooms. The hotel facilities include a meeting room, disabled facilities, 4 wheelchair accessible rooms, and a car park.  It is also situated at a very accessible area when you’re the type to go out and about. It’s just a 5-minute walk to Centrio Mall and a 10-minute walk from the Capitol University Museum of Three Cultures. There’s also the Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village, Xavier University Folk Museum, and La Castilla Museum.

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Their lobby slash lounge area is quite spacious and sleek. There’s Wi-fi and you can comfortably wait while they search for your booking just like what they did with mine. The staff are very friendly and welcoming, a thing I like to take note of. They sell toiletries if you’re in a pinch and didn’t bother to get one or maybe just forgot. Their check-in time is at 2PM while the check-out time is at 12NN.
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I was at room 911 (talk about a fancy number eh?). It was a non-smoking room and the key card is your lifeline here from the electricity, lock to your room and even the elevator so don’t just carelessly leave it anywhere. The corridors and elevators were very tidy and cool. Check out the room!
IMG_9183First of all, don’t  you just love the very skin friendly and ample lighting here? Above the bed is a large enough mirror and across it is the TV (I love watching cartoons btw). This is their double room which can accommodate two guests and this is their standard room, you can also opt for two single beds if you’re with a friend. Room service is available and breakfast is optional.
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As you may have noticed in the photo, the bathroom door is made of glass. Don’t you think this as a bit odd? The space was fine considering that the shower area and the toilet was clearly separated by glass and not just some plastic shower curtain. They got hot & cold shower too and a bidet for a clean tushy! IMG_9191
All rooms have free high-speed Wi-Fi, quality custom-made beds with upscale linen which is quite comfy, theres the usual air conditioning and many other features like a workstation, an in-room safe, a hair dryer, a ceiling fan, and a 32-inch flat screen cable TV. Those who have children age 11 and under stay at no cost with an adult!

Okay, so now we’ve come to the part where you want to find out how I booked this place affordably. It’s all thanks to… *drumroll* dundundun…

A trusty hotel and flight booking app called Traveloka!
Traveloka_2014What does Traveloka do?

It’s a booking app that’s very easy to use! Plus they have their own coupons to which members can apply upon check out for a discounted price. Here are several screenshots during my actual booking. It takes 4 steps to complete your booking which are Book > Review > Pay > Voucher.7
The first thing I did was search the area for hotels and pick out which one suited me. I chose Red Planet Hotels and I was in luck because they had a promo voucher which discounted up to 700PHP for hotel rates! After that you just click NEXT and fill in the needed details.
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You can pay through the following:

  • Mastercard
  • Visa
  • Dragonpay
  • 7Eleven
  • Cebuana Lhuilier
  • ML Kwarta Padala

Experience the fastest way to book flights and hotels thanks to Traveloka! IMG_9237

 

You can download it free:
appstore googleplay

To Siargao and The Butt Smashing

 

You read the title right! If you’re wondering why, it’s because we traveled a total of 14 hours from Iligan to Surigao City by bus! We started our journey at about 6AM and reached Cagayan De Oro by 8 in the morning. It was still the beginning of the said trip and things were all running smoothly. The view on the way was a sight and the sunlight was as gentle as it could get. By the way, we’re an all girl trio on our way to the surfing capital, meet my travel buddies Leia and April later on.

Here are also 5 things to do when traveling from Iligan to Siargao! 

I did not take photos during the said trip because I did not want to draw attention to myself too much if I took out my camera. I made my first pit stop at Gingoog City. We then had lunch at Butuan and arrived at Surigao by 8pm! the first thing on our mind was getting some grub. It was Lamberto’s that caught our attention and we tried out their food and it was a feast fit for the sea-see-food inclined! I personally loved the Java rice, I had to stop myself from ordering seconds.

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A view of Lamberto’s. Photo by: Leia Khu Bartolome

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(left) Kinilaw (middle)Tuna Panga Sisig (right)Java Rice. Photo by: Leia Khu Bartolome

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Grilled Squid. Photo by: Leia Khu Bartolome

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We booked a place for Le Chard Place which offers breakfast upon Leia’s suggestion and it was a decent location! It was near the mall and very accessible by tricycle, jeep or any private transport because it was found along the road. They had decent internet though the front desk told us some rooms had poor connections. Luckily ours was alright. Their rooms were clean and the corridors were well lit as you can see and yes we immediately crashed there for the night.

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A view of Le Chard Place at Night. Photo by Leia Khu Bartolome

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We awoke early by 4AM and headed straight to the port for Dapa via tricycle. We were groggy which a hot shower can immediately fix! As we were boarding the pump boat, I was already starting to feel the seasickness coming in….argh. Yes I easily get seasick just by looking at the waters horizon while on any boat/ferry or ship. The people there were very accommodating and assisted us upon boarding and leaving.

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Conquering dawn. Photo by: Leia Khu Bartolome

You can also visit Leia’s entry in her eyes here: http://reiyakhu.tumblr.com/post/138580286190/where-to-stay-surigao-city-le-chard-bed-breakfast

Check out more of my Siargao related reads with:

5 Things To Do When Traveling from Iligan To Siargao

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I am not here to deter anybody from doing the dreaded land travel, the question would be are you up for an estimated 17 travel hours of sitting in a bus? If yes, then do continue on! Going from Point A to Point B isn’t for those with weak knees and little patience. Here are some tips and information based on how my personal accounts and additional information from other reliable sources. Take note that there may be changes in rates, this one is for November 2015.

Create an itinerary
Nothing beats planning where you’re going and what you’re supposed to do. If you’re the impulsively spontaneous “let’s wing it” type then I daresay you are one brave individual with no internet connection! What is an itinerary? It’s a detailed plan for a journey, especially a list of places to visit; plan of travel. It is a great idea to plan out and ask around friends who have been or live there on how they made their travels. It doesn’t matter how short or long your travel duration may be, an itinerary will always be a lifesaver and a confidence boost.

Prepare yourself financially, mentally and physically
Physically, you’ll be sitting most of the time which can take a toll on your back. I suggest you do simple sitting exercises to help the circulation and then sleeping it off on between which I conveniently did. One must have a positive mindset as well! There were three of us going to Siargao, so we had to switch around our seating for every bus route to keep ourselves in a good mood and for some little talks in between while we were awake.

BY LAND: From Iligan, take the 2 hour bus ride to Cagayan de Oro. Once you arrive, get a jeep or taxi to Agora Bus Terminal and take the bus to Butuan, the travel time is at about 6 hours. Upon arriving one then takes the 4 hour bus to Surigao City. From Surigao City you can take a RoRo to Dapa Port, Siargao. Tip: Travel time is faster when you’re traveling in the evening.

ILIGAN > CAGAYAN DE ORO > BUTUAN CITY > SURIGAO CITY > SIARGAO
Travel duration: 17 hours (including stopovers)

Rate Location Duration
95php (Bus w/AC) Iligan: Tambo Integrated Terminal to CDO: Bulua Bus Terminal 2 hours
12php (Jeep) CDO: Bulua Bus Terminal to CDO: Agora Bus Terminal 15 minutes
350php (Bus w/AC) Iligan: CDO: Agora Bus Terminal to Butuan Bus Terminal 6 hours
250php (Bus w/AC) Butuan Bus Terminal to Surigao Bus Terminal 4 hours
10php (Tricycle) Surigao Bus Terminal to Port 20 minutes
180php (RoRo) Port to Dapa Port 3 hours

Check for schedules, and current fare at http://www.surigaoislands.com/fastcraft.html
RoRo Ferry: Fare Range: 200 – 300 PhP/Pax First Trip: 5:30 AM (Surigao – Dapa, Siargao)
Last Trip 12:00 NM (Surigao – Dapa, Siargao)

BY SEA: Take a Ferry to Cebu and from there get another ferry to Surigao City. The latter travels daily at 7PM, except on Sundays. Monday to Saturday via Cokaliong Shipping Lines
Travel Duration: ~26 hours (Iligan to Cebu is at 14hrs and Cebu to Surigao is at 12hrs)

BY AIR: By far the most convenient and efficient way to get to Siargao is to take a flight from Cebu City to Sayak Airport at Del Carmen, Siargao. There are also alternatives if you can not get a direct flight to Siargao, try getting one to Butuan City or Surigao City.
Travel Duration: 45 minutes

Bring snacks…and other stuff
It is of utmost importance to the picky eater to bring snacks of their own. But if you’ve got some spare change then migght I suggest you buy snacks for every stopover which constantly happens (adding to a longer travel time). They mostly sell peanuts, water, bibingka, eggs, chips, mangoes and many delicacies. You can also do a pit stop during stopovers, they usually have a fee of about 2-3php. I would also like to stress out to bring wet wipes and keep them at the most convenient part of your bag next to the alcohol! They serve as a refresher when you get the icky feel :3

Be friendly
There will be many stopovers therefore people will come and go at some point in your bustrip including your transient busmate. Take back the awkward eye contact with a smile. You can even strike up a friendly conversation if you and your busmate are bored and in the mood for more awkward eye contact. There are times when I use my bag as a prop so that no can sit beside me (it’s a bad idea when you want to pee so bad and you have to bring all your stuff with you). I find it comforting to sit beside middle aged women with a motherly aura. They are ever so nice.

Ask when in doubt
Life is full of questions especially when you’re on the road. Ask and you shall be answered when it comes to directions and whatnot.

Joining A Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk

It’s another of those firsts and this time is of a photography related experience. This was Scott Kelby’s 8th Worldwide Photo Walk held last October 3rd. Before I begin this post I wanted to share several of my takes which one may or may not find interesting. I used a Tamron 17-70mm for this on a nikon mount. It was also the ideal time to go on manual mode and raw!

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Who is Scott Kelby?

Scott Kelby; an American photographer, publisher, and author, started this worldwide photowalk way back 2007. The project grew in the following years and is now participated in by over 1000 cities and more than 30,000 photographers from different parts of the world including various provinces in the Philippines.

What is photowalking?

Photowalking is the act of walking with a camera for the main purpose of taking pictures of things that the photographer may find interesting. It is often a communal activity organised by camera clubs, online forums or commercial organisations, sometimes in the form of a walking tour.

Leia and Yobz were the ones who persuaded me to join in on them in this new adventure and I have no regrets. This was a good opportunity to meet new people from photo subjects and other photographers with the same level of enthusiasm or more than mine. All of them were friendly and very accommodating especially the walk leader, Clement Dampal. The guy had a huge telephoto lens and it was not to be messed with! I was a bit intimidated with the other photographers aside from the fact it was my first time to meet them, this must not be their first photo walk and they may already have had experience and are far more familiar with the place. But rather than deter, it excited me.

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t’s ninja Agent Dolly in action

The event started at 7AM but we arrived around 10AM and got to meet the others along Osmeña Street, a district in the city where most automotive shops and repair centers are located. I was slightly nervous seeing that people were eyeing us with interest but it was assuring knowing I was in a group and not just the only person with a camera in hand.

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Tips to Enjoying A Photo Walk 

  • Do not forget to charge. This may come as the easiest to do but having a dead battery because you forgot to charge is a heartbreaker.
  • Be prepared for the day’s weather and wear something comfy. Generously slathering on some sunscreen is a must!
  • Pack light. Don’t forget an extra battery, SD cards, cleaning cloth, lens cover and other need to items. Prepare yourself to go on a really long walk that will last a whole day.
  • Bring water and a snack or two. You will definitely get thirsty and hungry during and along the way.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t get too lost in the moment. Be careful with your things and keep an eye on each other.
  • Know the rules. Take note that there will be some places that prohibit photography or even some people who do not want their photos taken, so stay clear from those and take the other direction, or follow the walk leader.
  • Be nice and make friends. I may not be the friendliest person on the block but I did my best to make friends. Don’t be ashamed to share and ask for tips and how to’s. A photo walk is an excellent time to learn the technicalities and tips from others.

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Looking pretty smug. Photo by Leia

Just as we were about to enter Limketkai Center, we were stopped by security personnel saying we weren’t allowed to take photos. Unbelievable. That did not stop us from taking photos though, unless it’s the hot afternoon sun. By quarter to 11, we decided to take our lunch and rest at Emerald Suites.

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It may not look like it but we were sweating through our clothes already! Photo by Yobz

Lunch was good and libations were very much welcomed. It was still scorching hot outside so we stayed there till at about 2pm and during that time people got to know each other and who was who. An exchange of thoughts, tips and a little camera gauging here and there.

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Group photo!

The next destination would then be to Brgy. Lapasan by the coast. We walked for a bit to the jeepney stop and sure as always every place was a photo opportunity for that “Decisive Moment” theme. We had a hilarious time riding the jeep since we felt like sardines next to each other camera and human alike. The humor was endless and the stories were literally up close and personal.

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The bay area of Brgy. Lapasan.  Photo by Yobz

It may not look like it but this Brgy. seemed like a very tranquil place. Children there were still fond of playing outside rathen than with computers. The people there were quite flattered having the their photo taken. Some went for a pose while others gazed at us in wonder. They didn’t mind but were rather glad we could visit and take a look at their way of life.

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Taking a group photo with the kids!

I’m quite glad I got to be a part of the group. You could say it was somewhat a kind of urban trek and instead of mountains we’re dodging traffic and the busy streets. In truth it wasn’t about the gear but more on self-improvement with what you had and what you learned. We got to share ideas, tips and tricks and an endless supply of humor from various people who all have a passion for photography. Be they young and not so young, professionals and amateurs alike we all joined in and shared our perspectives of the things around us.

More of my takes here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.964681663570896.1073741836.215604321811971&type=1&l=9cd89bacfc

More entries here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.935025839924356.1073741851.851364048290536&type=3

Now here’s the tricky part (for me) where I am in need of your help dear reader. I only knew about this last night and it would be much appreciated if you did this for lil’ old me. You see, there’s a photo contest which had the category of People’s Choice. It is determined by the number of likes and shares a photo has.

I would be ever so happy if you gave both my entries a like or a share?

Thank you and till we meet again dear reader!