Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tierra Alta, Valencia, Negros Oriental

Farola is Spanish for lighthouse. 

The lighthouse at the top of the hill was the reason I went there. It was, as some people would say, my gravity, a compulsion to see lighthouses wherever I go.

This is is not on an island nor near the sea, rather on top of a hill.  I never knew that a lighthouse could be anywhere else other than near the ocean.

Here are some quotes on lighthouses.

"Woolf drew on her memories of her holidays in Cornwall for To the Lighthouse, which was conceived in part as an elegy on her parents. Her father was a vigorous walker and an Alpinist of some renown, a member of the Alpine Club and editor of the Alpine Journal from 1868 to 1872; he was the first person to climb the Schreckhorn in the Alps and he wrote on Alpine pleasures in The Playground of Europe (1871).
Author: Jane Goldman

 "There it is; the light across the water. Your story. Mine. His. It has to be seen to be believed. And it has to be heard. In the endless babble of narrative, in spite of the daily noise, the story waits to be heard.Some people say that the best stories have no words. They weren't brought up to Lighthouse keeping. It is true that words drop away, and that the important things are often left unsaid. The important things are learned in faces, in gestures, not in our locked tongues. The true things are too big or too small, or in any case is always the wrong size to fit in the template called language."
Author: Jeanette Winterson

"Jack's vulnerability shone through him in that exact moment like a lighthouse beacon in a raging storm. Somewhere along the way, we'd crossed an imaginary line where feelings and emotions blurred into the unknown. A place neither of us dared to go before."
Author: J. Sterling

 "Actuality is when the lighthouse is dark between flashes: it is the instant between the ticks of the watch: it is a void interval slipping forever through time: the rupture between past and future: the gap at the poles of the revolving magnetic field, infinitesimally small but ultimately real. It is the interchronic pause when nothing is happening. It is the void between events."
Author: George Kubler

 "It's like all my life I've been this tower standing at the edge of the ocean for some obscure purpose, and only now, almost eighteen years in, has someone thought to flip the switch that reveals that I'm not a tower at all. I'm a lighthouse. It's like waking up. I am incandescent."
Author: Laini Taylor

The walk up the steep uphill road was at least 15 minutes. It was drizzling so we had to walk faster than usual. The cameras were in danger of being soaked so we kept hugging them. We kept on laughing while the rain pelted gently on our faces. We hoped that the rain would not develop into something stronger. It didn't.
 All the while we kept on stopping and taking pictures. It was fun and the exercise was just what we needed. My hair was plastered on my face, but I didn't mind. 

We went to the top of the farola or lighthouse.As we expected the view was even more smashing. There were mountains that surrounded us, there was Dumaguete at the other side and a river that ran as long as my eyes could see, not mentioning the clouds that drifted by that day. It was a somber August afternoon. I liked it the way it was, gray, lazy, clouds promising rains. Us wandering hopelessly, wanting to take in as much as we can.

The Tierra Alta is a posh residential district that opened last  2012. 

It's open to the public and guests can ride the zipline 250Php/pax (which was closed when we were there) and go swimming (500Php/pax) or just roam around and take photos (50Php /pax only for viewing)

Located at Palinpinon Road Valencia, 1 kilometer away from Dumaguete city limits, it's one of the highest points in the area.
From Dumaguete we simply boarded a passenger jeepney going to Valencia and told the driver that we would get off at Tierra Alta. It was a 15 minute drive from Duma. We paid 12 Php and got off at the entrance.
It would also be an option to hire a van to go there, but walking was the way to go with us. Before I went there I have already planned the time we were to spend.

The entrance fee  is 50Php for viewing only, or you can opt to swim for 500Php/pax(200Php of which is consumable at the Tierra Cafe.)

Since we didn't swim, we paid 50Php and then went to the cafe to have merienda (snack).

At the Tierra Cafe, the food was average and not so pricey.
Since it was only 4 in the afternoon we just had a light snack. If I remember right only 120 for a pitcher of iced tea and 145 for a huge plate of fries, and 115 for a plate of churros with chocolate dip.

How to get there:
From dumaguete City, ride a jeepney going to Valencia. Tell the driver you are getting off at Tierra Alta which is only 15-20 minutes from Duma.

Tierra Alta Residential Resort
  1. Address: 2428 South National Road, Calindagan, Dumaguete, 6200 Negros Oriental

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dumaguete Hitting too Close to Home

Since I left Dumaguete a week ago I have been mulling over what my friend Alvin told me, that he was looking for a place to settle down when"the right time comes". Dumaguete is one of the top retirement places in the world. One reason is people there speak English. There were a lot, I mean a lot of foreigners that I was quite shocked that the streets and cafes were filled with them, especially Sans Rival where they sold the sweet concoction silvanas and sans rival.

Dumaguete's most famous walk is Rizal Boulevard. The morning I arrived at Duma it was very early so I decided to walk the Boulevard. It was low tide and the rocks that were scattered on the bay were covered in green moss or algae. I was not sure but it was pretty.

Dumaguete is a place where Filipino writers visit to confer or simply to have a vacation. It is a center of gravity for writers because of its urbane atmosphere and proximity to romantic beaches and steamy hot springs in Valencia.

I was hungry so I ate the usual Filipino breakfast in a small cafe called Hey Lugaw. The cafe was tiny but convenient.

Along the Boulevard were many food places like this.

   I couldn't resist the temptation so i took my selfie at "the sign".

Near the Boulevard was the market where one can get the puto maya and especial suman which should be paired with hot thick chocolate which you pour over the suman or puto. Yummy!

Suman plain is 12 Php   Suma(chocolate flavored) 12Php
Suman Special is 25Php    Chocolate syrup is 10Php (served separately)
 The university is named after Dr. Horace Silliman, a retired businessman and philanthropist from New York who gave the initial sum of $10,000 to start the school. His bust can be seen right in front of the beautiful original Silliman building  located at Rizal Boulevard.

 Silliman is the home of many famous writers in the Philippines, notably the Tiempos and their daughter Rowena Tiempo Torrevillas.

The campus is lined up with big old trees that make the place so serene.

My friends Alvin and AJ flew from Manila on my second day in Dumaguete, and we had merienda at the most popular cafe, the Sans Rival on the Rizal Boulevard. Very elegant for a cafe, an old house turned into a contemporary restaurant.

How to go there
From Manila, take a plane going to Dumaguete. It's a one hour flight.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Regent, Singapore (Day Two)

      Morning at the Regent was glorious. The previous night my daughter-in-law Charisma had a massage but I just opted to read a suspense thriller in the room. So we had an early night out at 10 and woke up to this beautiful exciting day. Day two was Universal Studios and Resorts World Sentosa.
       At the Basilico, the choices of delectable cheeses, cakes, antipasti and pasta were amazing. I just took tiny bites of everything to sate my taste buds.

You can opt to eat your meal alfresco but since it was a warm day we decided to eat in the restaurant. 

1 Cuscaden Rd
3rd Floor, The Regent Singapore
Singapore 249715
Tel: 6725 3232

Chili's, Sentosa Singapore

      I am not a picky eater but I know what tastes good. And one of the best that I have tasted is at Chili's American Grill and Bar. The Tex-Mex cuisine is overwhelmingly delicious. It was funny because our guide in Universal Studios pointingly recommended Chili's.
Crafted Burger oozing with melted cheese and mushroom, with fries on the side

Honey Chicken

Four cheese pizza

Salad with avocado,cilantro,tomato and bacon drizzled with yummy dressing

Oreo Shake

Hands down.One of the best or the best Tex-Mex food I have tasted. Chili's Sentosa. If ever i would go back to Sentosa I would definitely head for this one.

 Chili’s @ Resorts World Sentosa
26 Sentosa Gateway, #01-072/073/074
Singapore 098138
Tel : +65 6835-9077

The Basilico Restaurant, The Regent Singapore

    Our last night at the Regent we had dinner at the Basilico where we ordered a la carte. It was our last night together for Dennis and Charisma were to go back to Macau.
    The Basilico is an award winning Italian restaurant which delights us with buffet and a la carte choices.

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio
Wild Rocket and Sicilian Cherry Tomatoes

Tender Lamb

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Regent, Singapore

      My first day in Singapore and I had a relaxing day at the Regent Hotel which is also owned by Four Seasons. My son Dennis and his wife Charisma came from Macau for a 3 day trip and from Manila I met them at the hotel. They were a little anxious that I might get lost but the drivers here are so gracious and respectful to foreigners like us.
    This hotel is at the Cuscaden Road and just adjacent to Tanglin Mall. The Botanic Gardens of Singapore is just a fifteen minute walk away. Along the way is the British Council and Australian office.

The scenic elevator inside the plush lobby of the hotel is surrounded by plants with water spouts that make the ambience relaxing and inviting.
 I lounged around the lobby waitingfor my brother and his friend.

My brother Adi who has stayed in Singapore for 4 years  took us around the city.

 From the windows of our room, the Tanglin Mall can be viewed.And here you can see the rooftop resort like pool of the Tanglin Mall.

The first night we ordered in since we were too tired to  move. We had Singaporean, Malaysian and American cuisine.