Akean food trip

Still in connection with my trip to Aklan, we also had a chance to eat at a couple of restaurants that featured both native Filipino dishes (not necessarily Aklanon) and international cuisine.

On our first night, we took a tricycle ride to the nearby town of Numancia, to have dinner at their famed NiΓ±o’s Ihaw Ihaw. We just had to try their seafood specialties. My favorite from among this batch is the crispy shrimps.

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The next night, we were gunning for Saylo, supposedly another one of the better restaurants in Kalibo. Unfortunately, it was closed (not sure if permanently or temporarily). So we went to the next good thing, which is nearby Latte. It was good enough, what with a great ambiance, soft lighting and comfort food. I only had fish and chips that night. I should have tried their variety of cakes and desserts.

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On our last day, we drove for almost an hour in our rented tricycle trying to get to the Residence River Restaurant. We were going in circles, even traversing the narrowest barangay streets of New Washington trying to locate this joint. It was a good thing we had time to kill before our evening flight. It was right on the highway and we completely missed it twice because it had an obscure signage and you either have to know it’s there or you should be looking very, very closely.

And in the end, all the travel was worth it. The restaurant rests on the banks of the Aklan River, and we dined with a beautiful view of the sunset while listening to the calming sounds of the water and the crickets abound.

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Beni’s Falafel

One night, we tried to go vegetarian, and I actually kind of liked it. If you know me real well, you would know that vegetarian doesn’t sit well with me. I have this notion that it is normally tasteless, which leaves me unfulfilled. But decided to give Beni’s Falafel a chance because 1) it looks cozy and 2) it wasn’t crowded. There were only around six tables and everyone was busy with dinner, quiet conversations or their gadgets, which suited me just fine!

Well, it turned out to be a good choice after all. We were both happy with our orders (he had the falafel balls in a pita while I had idam, or spicy tuna in a pita). Price wasn’t also that bad. The mediterranean salad was a letdown, though. It was just like an ordinary salsa.

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Adios, amigo

It was hard to say goodbye to you. You have served us well for almost seven years. But sometimes, everything must come to an end, even the best of relationships. Mischa was especially sad to let you go. She has cried her heart out thrice from the moment she learned we are giving you up. You may be a little woebegone but we have shared so much all these years.

Thank you for the memories. Goodbye, our dear friend.

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Sampaguita Gardens Resort

As a follow up to my post on my travel to Aklan, I am now featuring the Sampaguita Gardens Resort. One of the most visited tourist spot in the town of New Washington, this complex boasts of a hotel, function rooms, restaurants, pools, a spa, a chapel, a huge garden with larger than life statues and Jojo’s Christmas Cottage, a museum and store which houses Christmas decorations of all shapes and sizes. If you are a Precious Moments fan or collector, then this would be heaven to you.

The resort is a sprawling complex right by the sea side. It is a great venue for events or some quiet time with family and friends. We didn’t get to see the rooms though. Also the spa was closed the day we went there. But the Christmas cottage was something unique and interesting. It has three floors full of Precious Moments memorabilia interspersed with Christmas trinkets. It is Christmas all year round here, with the lights on especially at night. What I didn’t like: the heat. The whole museum was not air-conditioned and it was dusty. The garden was nice.

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Austere Aklan

Working in the city, and living in the suburbs often times drains one. So once in awhile, it’s good to stop and smell (and enjoy!) the flowers in the countryside. As tiring and stressful my work is, I am glad that it has given me the opportunity to travel (whether local or international). And after the official work is done, I am free to go as I please! This has lessened considerably though in the last couple of years because I am always itching to go home to the kids.

Anyway, earlier this month, I was able to go around Kalibo, the capital town of Aklan, and the nearby towns of New Washington and Numancia, when I and some colleagues had time to kill before our flight. We were lucky to have my “seatmate” who hails from the town tour us around. Before Caticlan was fully developed, Kalibo was the gateway to Boracay. Now, the sleepy town is still an option but since it is further away from the famous beach destination, there is less people traffic here. Kalibo, despite the progress, cannot be a city, I was told, because it lacks the minimum land area. Maybe this has contributed to the somehow relaxed ambiance of the town, preserving its old-fashioned ways where people lived simply but happily.

Some of the places we visited:

St. John the Baptist Cathedral

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Monument of New Washington’s well-known son, Jaime Cardinal Sin

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Shrine of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary across Cardinal Sin’s monument

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Aklan’s Pink Sisters Convent

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The Yard Grill and Restaurant, where we didn’t eat. We just wanted to see the place because we were told that this is a jump off point for a newly opened river cruise.

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We also went to the Sampaguita Gardens, which deserves another post. But all in all, I am thankful for this trip. Despite the hot sun on our faces that afternoon, it is always nice to commune with nature, and the good-natured people in the provinces untouched by the craziness of city living. I would always take the chance to pack my bags, ride a tricycle and roam around the countryside in a heartbeat.

A proud moment for Mischa

It’s been a little over a year since Mischa started seriously saving money using this carriage coin bank someone gave her. She saved all her earnings, which are basically money we give her for doing chores and getting perfect scores in tests ranging from Php5 to P20, and money given to her as gifts.

Last weekend, after carefully counting her money, she let us exchange her coins for bills so she can use to actually buy the toy she wants. We wanted books or things for school, but oh well, it’s her money.

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After mass on Sunday, off we went to the mall. By this time, she couldn’t sit still. As soon as we entered the store, she made a beeline for the Shopkins. She had a hard time choosing which ones she liked best, but if you’re a kid set loose inside Toy Kingdom, it’s just pure heaven.

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She was so proud of herself afterwards. I wasn’t able to take a photo with her very first purchase because she got so busy as soon as we sat down to have lunch.

I hope she now realizes that hard work pays off, even in the simplest sense, and that she’ll continue striving so she can reap the benefits of her sacrifices.