Friday, August 21, 2015

Sosyalan at Sonya's Secret Garden

Whenever people talk about Tagaytay, it’s inevitable that Sonya’s Secret Garden (or Simply Sonya’s) will be mentioned. If you are on the lookout for for fresh salads and relaxing and romantic ambience, Sonya’s is definitely the go-to place.

Me and Teacher Mars


Last August 2, 2015, my friend Mars and I went to Sonya’s to celebrate her birthday. We met at McDonald’s Bacoor, across from St. Dominic (she lives in Las Pinas and I live in Imus), took a bus going to Tagaytay, alighted at Alfonso Crossing, and rode a tricycle from there going to Sonya’s. (Alternatively, from Alfonso Crossing, you can ride a jeepney that passes by Buck Estate, and then transfer to a trike to Sonya’s.)

According to some information from the internet, it’s advised that you reserve days prior to your visit at Sonya’s. We’re unable to do that, so we just walked in, hoping that we could still be accommodated. Good thing, there were still some tables available for us.

Inside Morning Glory, a greenhouse restaurant at Sonya's 

Sonya’s Garden is perfect for garden-inspired photoshoots and garden weddings. Aside from colorful flowers and plants, water fountains, benches, sculptures, and other art installations are scattered around. Sonya’s has stores where they sell herbal medicines and ointments, fresh produce, to name a few; and a spa for those who would like to be at peace and drive their stress away.

We availed of Sonya’s eat-all-you can buffet for Php 680 plus per head at Morning Glory, Sonya’s greenhouse-restaurants where vines creep along pillars and beams. A bowl of freshly harvested lettuce and arugula leaves for salad was served along with mango, beans, eggs, cucumber, jackfruit, and pineapple. Perfecting my "do-it-yourself" salad was Sonya’s Secret Salad Dressing.
See that lady with the wide-brimmed hat? That's Sonya Garcia, the owner of Sonya's!

Bowl of freshly harvested "salad" leaves

These...

...and these...

...and don't forget this...
...make this! Tadaahhh! My own salad!

Aside from the salad, also were slices of fresh baked whole wheat sesame bread. A selection of homemade dips and toppings was available. This included basil pesto, white cheese, anchovies, and a lot more!
Fresh baked whole wheat sesame bread 

A selection of various dips and toppings


On the buffet table were the pasta and desserts. For the pasta, two kinds of sauces were available, namely sundried tomato and chicken cream with mango, which is my personal favorite! The pasta could be topped with ratatouille, salmon belly, shitake mushrooms, black olives, capers, and grated parmesan cheese.


The buffet table

Enjoy all of these with the bottomless, freshly-squeezed pulpy dalandan juice!

You may also enjoy glazed sweet potato, banana rolls with sesame and jackfruit, and chocolate cake from the Panaderia, for dessert. The chocolate cake would be served on your table together with tarragon tea.
 
Glazed sweet potato and banana rolls for dessert

Chocolate cake and tarragon tea

After relishing our hefty meal, we toured the place and took out photos in every location possible. We learned that inside Sonya’s were Bed and Breakfast cottages, Panaderia, Country Store, Beyond Scents, Favorite Finds, and Lifesyle Haven.

Morning Glory - the restaurant where we ate
If you want to relax, try Sonya's spa.

Teacher Mars and The Secret Garden of Sonya's

Inside Apothecary
The abundance of green and colors of happiness!
Organic produce are also available, though quite pricey!

Going to and eating at Sonya’s Garden seemed pricey but it’s always good to try and see for yourself the reason why there’s buzz about this place.


For more information, visit their website: http://www.sonyasgarden.com

We had a side trip at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Crosswinds, just to make the day more "sosyal", hahaha.


At Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Crosswinds

Sunday, August 9, 2015

FaBoracay 2015 – Weekend Adventure in Boracay with my Fabulous Bestfriends!

I have never been to Boracay with my friends that’s why I’ve never experienced the Boracay night life. In the past, I always went there with my family or by myself. Our trip to Boracay last July 24-26 as part of our bestfriends Cez’s balikbayan itinerary was another weekend to remember.
Boracay Trip
Fab 5+1 In Boracay 2015!


July 24, 2015

We booked our trip through DeannTravel and Tours, an agency owned by a friend. We paid Php 7,000 each for a package that included: airfare (via Cebu Pacific) and 3 days/2 nights hotel accommodation at Grand Prix Hotel (Sitio by the beach) Station 1 with complimentary breakfast, airport transfers, and other necessary fees.

Our first photo in NAIA Terminal 3. 


We left Manila around 3pm, landed in Kalibo at 4pm, and reached Caticlan around 7pm. We were transported to Caticlan by Southwest bus. We boarded a ferry from Caticlan to Boracay and then  were brought to Grand Prix Hotel by a van.

We landed safely after 45-minute plane ride!

Touchdown, Kalibo, Aklan!

There's my name, in different font type.
Inside the bus, while waiting for other passengers (2-hour-ride to Caticlan)
Inside the ferry that would transport us from Caticlan to Boracay!

Inside the van that would bring us to our hotel

Grand Prix Hotel is situated beside Astoria Boracay. We were booked in triple sharing rooms with clean beds and toilet and bath. Herbert, Rhose, and myself shared the room on the first floor, while Harold, Cez, and Karen, shared the one on the second floor. WiFi was available though we could not connect to it.

The cozy lobby of Grand Prix Hotel
Oh, the beds!

And the toilet and bath!
Follow the instruction before you can exit

After we freshened up, we went out to have our dinner at Pamana. I’ve been seing Pamana in Metro Manila and Tagaytay but I haven’t had the chance to eat in those branches. We ordered Lechon Kawali, Laing (really yummy!), Sinigang, and Rice. Cez ordered Bibingka. I was surprised that the prices were quite affordable. We spent not more than Php 1,500.

Dinner at Pamana Restaurant, Boracay

Pamana has this beautiful interior, perfect for photo-ops, but it's better to eat outside.
Tasty Sinigang na Baboy!

One of the best Laings!
Bibingka (or more of Bibingkinitan, haha!)
Lechon Kawali

After having our dinner, we strolled along the shore until we reached Station 3, and decided to rest for the next day’s adventure! On our way back, we bought crepes at Crazy Crepes and watched an awesome performance from Boracay fire dancers.

While waiting for our crepes!
Crazy Crepes!

Fabs calling it a night!
Fire dancer performance - free public viewing!

July 25, 2015

We had our breakfast at 8am. We told our activity coordinator to fetch us at around 9am. We planned to go on an island hopping where we would have our photoshoot, and then experience parasailing afterwards. We were able to get the island hopping and parasailing (for 5 people, Rhose did not opt to go) for Php 7,000.

Good morning, Fabs!
Tocilog for breakfast? Not bad.
Tapsilog? Good choice, as well.

The ladies bought wide-brimmed hats and I bought a Fedora and white sandos at D’Mall. Our concept for the shoot was “white summer”.

On our way to D'Mall to buy our photoshoot props!

The first island that we visited was Crystal Cove where we went caving. What we noticed wherever we went was that there were more Koreans in Boracay than any other nationality. This wasn’t bad at all. To take advantage of this, the locals could study Korean language, and not just English.
Then my friends went on spelunking and fish feeding, while I chose not to!

Oh, I love this shot!



At the Crystal Cove entrance
Groufie at Crystal Cove
Guess who's the happiest of the 4?

On our boat going to our next destination!
I took the groufie this time since I never dived into the waters.

Afterwards, we went to Puka Beach where we changed outfits and proceeded with our white summer shoot!

Wacky shots while in white, at Puka Beach

We had our lunch in an island (I forgot the name) where they were selling overly priced food! Imagine, fresh coconut juice inside its shell for Php 200! A Korean family behind us ordered 11 and was surprised that it cost them Php 2200, and this excluded 10% service charge! We had Hot Spicy Prawns (4 pieces of prawns) for Php 280, Bicol Express for Php 280, Pork Barbecue (6 pieces) for Php 280, Vegetable Rice Platter for Php 300, and assorted drinks which totaled Php 1,606! Monopoly pricing, indeed, since they had no competition.

I would not eat in this pricey resto again, haha!
6 pieces barbecue for Php 280

4 pieces Hot and Spicy Prawns for Php 280
Bicol Express for Php 280

Then we tried parasailing! Cez, Karen, and Harold went first, while Herbert and I flew together. I felt nervous at first, seeing you parting from the boat and slowly being hoisted and suspended in the air! The key was to enjoy the experience – and just shoooouuuutttt!!! This experience erased the disappointment that we felt towards the food that we ate for lunch, hahaha.

Karen, Harold, and Cez
Me and Herbert

After our parasailing, we bought the shakes at the famous Jonah’s before heading to our hotel. We rested for around 30 minutes and then went back to the beach to enjoy the sunset.

At Jonah's, trying out the famous fruitshakes

Waiting for the sunset

We had our dinner at Reyes Barbecue and availed of their buffet for Php 300 per head. An acoustic band was playing to entertain guests. To make this trip even memorable for me, I jammed with the band and sang John Legend’s “All Of Me”.

Night 2 Dinner at Reyes Barbecue
Eat-you-can buffet! Just be cautious of eating oysters.


We went home and took some rest. Around 11pm, we decided to go on clubbing. Again, another first for me in Boracay! Rhose chose to stay in the hotel while the five of us went to Wave Bar. We partied until 2am! It’s been a while since the last time we went to a bar and party together!

Harold, Karen, Me, Cez and Herbert at Wave Bar
Let's parrrrtttteeeyyy!!!


July 26, 2015

On our last day, after our breakfast, we just went to the beach and had another set of photoshoot! Sexier shoot, this time – at least for Karen and Cez!

I had omelette for breakfast
Good morning, Fabs! 
The two ladies having fun!
Rhose and Harold were in the hotel this time.

We had our lunch at Yellow Cab just bedside our hotel and we were picked up by the van around 1pm. We reached Kalibo Airport around 4pm. And good thing, our flight was not delayed as we reached Manila on schedule.

Lunch at Yellow Cab

Starbucks time!

At Kalibo International Airport, waiting for our flight

Cez would be back again in two years. We promised to go on adventure and create memories, again and again, as long as we can. We hope to be on an international travel next time.


Until our next adventure, Fabs!