Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Silliman University 111th Founders Day Schedule of Activities

It's the most festive time in small university town Dumaguete! Arguably, more festive than the city fiesta and Buglasan Festival.

Silliman University, one of the country's premier university (with an idyllic century-old campus by the sea), will celebrate her 111th Founders Day. Easily, the city's most prominent landmark, Silliman campus is considered as the heart and soul of Dumaguete; beyond the small town charm and away from the hustle and bustle of a small city is an acacia-lined campus with historical buildings, world-class performing arts venue, state-of-the-art lecture halls (well, some) and quiet and green spaces.

With a tradition that dates back many decades past and being located in a laid back city where summer is eternal, flip flops and board shorts paired with a cotton tee are by default the unofficial get-up of choice by Silliman's 5,000 university students (majority of the student population is actually not from Dumaguete).

By virtue of the student population that come and go year after year, Dumaguete is a youthful and vibrant city. And year after year, SU alumni make it a point to come home during Founders Day. So guests, expect fully booked flights and hotels. To the alumni, welcome home! Rub on the Silliman Spirit!

In the meantime, here is the Calendar of Activities for 111th SU Founders Day:

Cafe Noriter in Dumaguete

Noriter in Korean means playground. This is apparent in the playful design of Cafe Noriter.

The interior palette--from the comfy chair to the wooden toys hanging from the ceiling to the knick knacks on display-- evokes a ball of childlike energy.  

This used to be my favorite "happy" place in small university town Dumaguete until for some reasons, the magic just wore off.

 It has remained photogenic all these years except that some decors have seen better days.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

an aria for Ariara Island, The Philippines

After Boracay Island was named the world's best island for 2012 in a recent survey by Travel + Leisure Magazine U.S., Tourism Philippines figured once again in the best list by an international fashion magazine. This time around, in the United Kingdom.

The British edition of Vogue Magazine named Ariara Island in Palawan as the world's No. 1 best getaway spot!

The wow factor: Created by British couple Charles and Carrie McCulloch, Ariara is a 125-acre private island retreat in the Calamian Islands in the Philippines province of Palawan. Just 17 guests are accommodated in eight villas and suites situated on a 600-metre beach on this jungle-swathed island, edged by pristine beaches and surrounded by coral reefs teeming with marine life. All bedrooms have private terraces and gardens. In short, it is a tropical island paradise where you are guaranteed to have the beach to yourself. It offers boating, including unlimited use of Ariara’s 33ft speedboat, a 100ft trimaran and kayaks, diving trips with all equipment, massages and a cinema in the main lodge.

Did you know? Ariara is one of more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines, making it the second-largest archipelago in the world after Indonesia, which has 18,000 islands.

Stay: Original Diving offers seven nights at Ariara Island from £2,100 per person on a fully-inclusive basis, including, activities and international/domestic flights and boat transfers to the island, based on a party of between 15 and 17 guests. Fuel and alcohol are extra. Ariara Island is also featured by Audley Travel.--travel and leisure magazine, UK

The US$295 (Php12,000) a night per person private resort island has everything a luxurious tourist needs in a tropical island getaway!

This private paradise can be yours to share with whom you choose and no-one else! ariara.com

From Manila to Ariara: Either a short hop by helicopter; Or a domestic flight and transfer by boat.

Before it figured in British Vogue's top list, Ariara Island was also featured in various magazines in the United Kingdom such as Angels and Urchins, Harrods Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, The Spectator, Wine and Dine, Urbanollogy, and Tatler according to interaksyon.com

The issue will hit news stands in August.

*all photos from ariara island's website

One Claypot House (boutique) Restaurant in Cebu

Claypot to me conjures an image of an Asian rice bowl--flavorful rice, it's aroma made richer by chicken and pork plus the right serving of Chinese sausages.

I was not wrong.

While I was walking around the neighborhood in search of a large Slurpee (apparently the second 7 Eleven store at the corner is still under construction), an artsy (I am always drawn to small spaces with an artsy vibe to it) hole-in-the-wall but tastefully decorated (with an IKEA flavor) presented itself. My curiosity got the best of me so I stepped in to find out.

This newly opened restaurant in uptown Cebu, aptly called One Claypot House, offers dishes from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines as written on the signage outside.

I checked the menu but as it turned out, it's a bit hefty for my budget. If there was Singapore-style Hainanese chicken rice in the menu, I would have definitely ordered it without skipping a beat.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

artsy Jutz Cafe in Dumaguete

Bohemian. That's what this quaint Dumaguete cafe is to me. The entrance, adding more drama to its artsy persuasion, is partly obscured by vines reaching for the sun.

Housed in an ancestral duplex apartment that has retained much of its 60s character, the cafe has the perfect vibe that I dig. I love old things!

One goes through a double swing french door, with frames painted in screaming neon green. Inside, to the right, is a wall made of bricks that screams of one conversation piece: motorcycle shock absorber painted in fire-engine red that hangs by the brick wall.

The counter, lit by neon lights, floods a quarter of the floor area with a steady flow of neon green color. Two paintings, which are (by the way) for sale, adorn the walls.

Now, going back to why I am writing this entry. I fell in love the first time I dined in this cafe. It used to be called Boston Market. The framed black and white photos they hang back then had me at hello. That was sometime in 2008. I still love its old name though. It has more character to it. The chairs has long been replaced with a more retro piece. The cafe used to have a unique set of chairs that looked like a post, post-modern throne (made of plywood). The plates were a healthy mix of china in different earth colors. And the dish that always brings me back here? garlic fish fillet.

I don't know what secret ingredients they put on the dish but it tastes damn nothing short of divine for me. It's not only the fresh fish, loads of garlic and soy sauce that does the trick. I'm very sure of that. There's a hint of basil, thyme, rosemary.

I always pair it with (thanks goodness it's the season!) avocado shake!

And then, the good memories of me and W's after dinner drinks of either red wine or cuba libre when she visited town on a regular basis.

Aside from garlic fish fillet which has, by default, become my comfort food, there are also other delectable dishes worth of an honorable mention: Tuscan pork chop, Salisbury steak and the only food W can partake and which made me an instant convert: vegetarian kebab!

Jutz Cafe is located along Santa Catalina Street, just across Foodnet. Just a block away from Lee Plaza or Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete City.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sans Rival Bistro in Dumaguete

Sans Rival Bistro is now open!

I finally unveiled the mystique of this iconic former residential building in its 'reincarnation' as a bistro :). Since it opened, it's really full house each time I pass by. That got me more curious!

Luckily, there were a couple of tables available when the colleagues and I arrived. I  had gambas al ajello for appetizer and spare ribs for my main dish. We shared a plate of seafood paella which is good for 2-3 people.

The gambas, sadly, tasted uninspired. But the paella tasted good!

 I had lemon ice-tea with kiwi for my drinks. I got hooked!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kookoo's Nest cottages and private beach in Antulang Peninsula, Tambobo Bay, Negros

sunset alert in Antulang, Siaton, Oriental Negros, The Philippines
A few paddles away from the beautiful Tambobo Bay in Siaton, Oriental Negros are tropical cottages with a private beach.

Tambobo Bay is a haven for yachts. Some of these yachts have traveled halfway across the world. Photo lifted from Kookoo's Nest site.
A quick descent toward the beach, five adorable golden retrievers (with cute names like Daisy and Barney) greeted me and my team. Brit owners Jamie and Nikki were there as well to meet my group.