Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pearl Farm Beach Resort

One day at Pearl Farm....

Samal Suites
Row of Samal Houses at Pearl Farm where we stayed
Samal House 
Relaxing after our arrival

Our very good friend and former colleague in the University, Miss Joice Lagat, invited me to join them at Pearl Farm when it became clear that her mother, aunt and sister, could not make it to the wedding of Roy and Juvy last August 21, 2012.

It was a blistering Wednesday afternoon when we left Davao and headed to the gorgeous Pearl Farm, a world-class beach resort off the coast of Samal island. Since we're super late when we arrived at the wharf and the boat will be leaving at precisely 1:00 PM we were not able to eat the Jollibee food we bought at the drive thru. We just left it at the garbage can (sayang!) because we were told that bringing food is strictly prohibited at the resort even at the boat. 

Anyway, the weather was fine when we docked at Pearl Farm and we're treated to a fruit juice drink upon our arrival and a little orientation at the Parola wharf before we proceeded to our room at the Samal House. It was my second time to visit Pearl Farm, the first time was in 1999 when a friend, who was working there, invited me for a half day leisure tour.
Maranao swimming pool

I noticed, nothing has changed with the resort's amenities since 1999 but the rates of its villas and rooms slightly escalated!The samal house alone where we stayed has a whooping rate of P10,000 per night (good for two persons only), my God!what's with those five figures? I find the house so ordinary anyway, the structure is made of wood and bamboo. We're billeted under employee's rate so Joice paid only P2,200 per room.

Samal houses are slightly floating by the sea and the atmosphere is so calm and quiet especially in the morning, you could feel the tranquil environment and the relaxing ambience while sipping a cup of coffee or green tea, the soft breeze coming from the ocean and the beautiful horizon provide serenity and peace, it felt like all worries in life had gone temporarily.

Because I grew up near the seaside in Surigao del Sur I am no longer fascinated with beaches. The rustling waves, the ocean breeze, the relaxing sounds of the splashing sea water and floating houses are so ordinary to me. So naturally, I would always look for something fantastic and extraordinary when I am visiting a beach resort.

At Pearl Farm what I truly appreciated is the luxury accommodation provided to the guests. The service is 24 hours and by the moment you entered the room, the name of the valet assigned is given in a paper. A shuttle is available to take the guests anywhere inside the resort plus free carrying of luggage. Everyone is safe and the area is fully secured, privacy is guaranteed and the facilities are great.
My favorite pasta Fetuccine 'n carbonara sauce
Vegetables with Baked Chicken 'n Swiss cheese and Mushroom soap
Japanese maki, black forest cake and a slice of mango fruit

There are two swimming pools at the resort -- Maranao swimming pool the one located near the entrance and Mandaya swimming pool located near the Mandaya Houses. A spa center is just beside the Maranao restaurant, for sports aficionados, Pearl Farm has a tennis court, volleyball court, billiard and board games. 

We spent dinner at the Maranao restaurant and decided to go buffet, and my eyes popped in astonishment when I heard that the buffet price is P1,100.00 (without drinks) per person! Because our accommodation was under employee's rate, we billed only P712.50 each. Well, I forgot that this is a luxury and a five star resort so naturally the rates and prices are horribly high.

The buffet served scrumptious European and Japanese cuisines, I chose both hehe! I devoured Baked chicken n' Swiss cheese, breaded shrimps, Vegetables (carrots, broccoli and cauliflower), Fetuccine pasta n' carbonara sauce, Japanese Maki, Japanese style Ube cake, a slice of mango fruit, Black Forest cake and a mushroom soup.

We went back to our room at 9:30 because there was a heavy downpour and went to bed at 12:00 midnight. 

On the following morning, August 23, after sipping a cup of hot green tea (the rest were sipping coffee), we were off to Maranao swimming pool then moved to the beach near the Samal suites, it was still very early around 7:00 so the sun was not at its harshest rays yet and our skin was spared from being roasted hehe!

At 9:30 we went to Malipano Island, located just opposite Pearl Farm, with its gorgeous ivory beach, sparkling blue water, lush tropical plants and neatly trimmed lawn, this place truly gives everyone a gratifying holiday getaway experience. It is an exclusive place with private villas and gazebo and can be reached through a boat ride by 30 minutes from Pearl Farm.

At the pristine beach of Malipano island
Frolicking at the neatly trimmed ground of Malipano Island with coconut palm trees and other tropical plants surrounding the area

After posing for some shots and enjoying the area, we're back at Pearl Farm. Then it's time to pack our things and looked one last time at the surrounding to savour the last moment of peace and serenity, something that cannot be found anywhere in the crowded city.

We left the resort at 1:00 pm and arrived at Davao around 2:30 PM

....Then back to reality (sigh!) Thank you very much to Joice Lagat for inviting me and to the newlyweds, Roy and Juvy.

Visit PRACTICAL WEDDING GUIDE for my story about Roy and Juvy's wedding
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Juvy's Wedding

On the night of August 20, I and Juvy went to North Zen Hotel to meet our friend and former colleague, Joice Lagat, who is permanently residing in Cagayan de oro city and just came to Davao to attend the wedding.
Last night of Juvy's single life

That night, Juvy will supposed to stay with us in the hotel, we took some pictures to mark her last night as a single lady, but around 10:30 PM she left the hotel to conform with her mother who was frantically texting her to come home. I left there to spend the night and just went home on the following morning.

At 2:00 PM on August 21, I and Kathy were supposed to take snaps on Juvy’s wedding preparation at the North Palm Hotel but we overestimated the time and we went to the hotel super late, what we found was just an apologizing security guard who told us the bride had just left earlier, oohhch! Good that Kathy’s older sister was so kind and supportive, and conveniently dropped us to Sta. Ana church.

Kathy was clearly disappointed because she failed to capture the pre-wedding moment of Juvy but she made up the lost moment and took a beautiful, very elegant and classic shoot of Juvy inside the car, a snap that might went on to history as one of the best and classic masterpieces of a seasoned wedding photographer (see picture below).
The blushing bride

Since the wedding has an official photographer, Kathy just went on to the siding hehe, but she did get a good angle and captured each moment.

Yeah, it was a heartwarming episode having witnessed one of my friends took her trip down-the-aisle and marked the beginning of another chapter of her life, the feeling was great and all I could wish for is a happy union ahead!
The couple

After the ceremony we proceeded to the North Palm Hotel for the reception. A photobooth had set up earlier for a more trendy souvenir shots of the guests and the wedding party. It was sponsored by Maam Leonora Caminade, Dean of the ABA program at UIC.
With friends at the Reception


Read more here about their wedding PRACTICAL WEDDING GUIDE

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Prince Philip's Health Scares

HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, is the last true-blooded European Prince to marry into the British royal family. He is a grandson of King George I of Greece, a great grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark,  great great grandson of Queen Victoria of England and Emperor Nicholas I of Russia. Before his marriage to Queen Elizabeth II in 1947, he was sixth in line of succession to the Greek throne.
The last true-blooded European Princess to marry into the British royal family was HRH Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, first cousin of Prince Philip, who married Queen Elizabeth II's paternal uncle, Prince George, the Duke of Kent.

Since December 2011, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, who turned 91 last June 10, 2012, has been in and out of the hospital, though not oftentimes, but his unstable health conditions continue to alarm the palace and the public that adored him. He is one of MY FAVOURITE MEN in the world.

Last December 2011, he wasn't able to spend Christmas with his family when he was rushed to the hospital due to a chest pain, he joined the royal family later on New Year's day church service and surprised the spectators when he chose to walk unaided from their Sandringham home to the church.

In June 2012 before his birthday and after attending the Royal flotilla, he was brought to the hospital again for bladder infection. The palace released a statement that the Prince was fine and his confinement was just a precautionary measure. Days later he was released and joined the Queen on her public appearances in connection to her jubilee celebration. He was at the Queen's side during the Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace.

Last Friday, during the royal family's public engagement tour to Scotland, Prince Philip was hospitalized again due to the recurrence of a bladder infection, again the palace issued a statement that it was just a precautionary measures and that the Duke is fine and responding well to the medication.

I don't want to think any horrifying event but considering the age of Prince Philip, the notion of losing him earlier than expected is just so terrible. He is the last true-blooded European royal to marry into the British royal family and said to be the strength behind the Queen's reign. His devotion to his role as a Prince consort is fantastic and his effort to make the British monarchy appears dignified in public is endearing.

I hate the choice of a spouse of the senior members of the British royal family (Camilla and Kate for example), so common and below the standard of royalty. Thus, I often wish that Prince Philip, who is royal by birth, would continue to show good health and overcome illness and duplicate his mother-in-law's lifespan (Queen Elizabeth, the mother of Queen Elizabeth II, died at the age of 101 in 2002). I hate watching Camilla and Kate took over the centerstage as consorts, so tacky and cheap. They are not worthy of public praises and admiration.

May the Duke of Edinburgh will live longer and May God continue to protect him and shower excellent health!


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My Favorite (living) Men

I like men who are tough and smart, who are not easily intimidated, who can carry a sensible conversation  and can talk anything under the sun, not so much like a knight-in-a-shining-armour stuff but someone who is remarkably polite, courteous, independent, loyal, focus and determined and with a compassionate heart. And there are only few people (whose existence is very transparent to all of us) in the world who got these characteristics.

Here are some of my favourite (living) men in the world:

HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

The man behind the strength of the British Queen. The Prince, who is royal by birth (Prince of Greece and Denmark before his marriage to Queen Elizabeth II in 1947), has been known in the royal circle as a tough-minded, independent and very outspoken person. Privately, he is considered as Her Majesty's rock and  a  loyal companion, devoted to his role as a Prince Consort.

He is the most influential male royal in the British monarchy and the last true-blooded European royal to marry into the British royal family. Prince Philip is a direct descendant of Queen Victoria of England, King George I of Greece, King Christian IX of Denmark and Emperor Nicholas I of Russia.

For so long, his marriage to the Queen is believed to be an arranged one, the only difference is that there was a real courtship and the Queen, who was still a Princess at that time, was in love with Prince Philip (during medieval times, royals meet for the first time only on their wedding day). 

Before the 21st century, members of the European royalty are supposed to marry within the royal circle. Prince Philip knew his fate by the moment he was taken to England, at the age of 10, by his maternal uncle, Lord Mountbatten, one of the most powerful men in the British monarchy, to live permanently. Born in Corfu Greece on June 10, 1921 during the reign of his paternal uncle, King Constantine I, the Prince however knew little of the Greek language as he grew up in France, Germany and England. He studied in the upper-class, aristocratic schools in France, Germany, Scotland and England.

Despite an almost loveless marriage at the start (on the part of Prince Philip), the Duke of Edinburgh was heard in an interview that he had a great deal of respect towards his wife whom he called "Lilibet" and that respect sustained their relationship and went on to become one of the most stable marriages in the European monarchy. Since they got married in 1947, Prince Philip is always at his wife's side.

His eldest son, Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, recognized his significant role in the royal family calling the Duke of Edinburgh as a strict disciplinarian. But Prince Philip can be very funny at times, fond of giving hilarious and sometimes naughty comments even in public. The Queen admired her husband's unique self-confidence and ability to talk to people from different walks of life without anxiety.

A keen sportsman who once headed the cricket team when he attended Gordounston College in Scotland,  Prince Philip is also into carriage driving, an event in the Equestrian competition which he helped established. He is a patron to more or less 800 organizations and charity foundations. The Prince is now 91 years old. Read more here about PRINCE PHILIP.

Warren Buffet (click the name to read more)

I like this man. His frugality becomes a legend in the business circuit, he has this very simple lifestyle despite being the third richest person in the world (he was the richest person in the world in 2007), his personal philosophy in intelligent investing is so amazing. 

Few guys in the world today think about investing soundly and Buffet is one tough man who could turn a single cent into a huge financial portfolio. He is considered as the most brilliant investor in American history and probably in the world. He thinks differently and view life as an opportunity and not a chance. 

Most of his billions are given to charities and recently he pledged 80% of his fortune to be divided to different foundations. He is now 82 years old. The sad news is that, last April 2012, Buffet was diagnosed with stage 1 Prostate Cancer.

HRH Prince Harry of Wales (click the name to read more)

I find him cute and tough (lol!). As a Captain in the British Army who had gone into the battlefield, Prince Harry is not only a Prince Charming in a fairytale book but a real life Prince with a common touch just like his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

As an Apache helicopter pilot, Harry ranked higher than his brother, Prince William, in the British Royal Armed Forces. 

He can be funny and serious, polite and rough, smart and rascal. Between him and William, it's Harry who is touted to be more human and sweet, who never afraid to show his real emotions, who is more honest to himself, more determined and focus.

Prince Harry, just like the rest of the royal family members, is into sports and charity campaigns. He participated annually in the polo event and often seen playing tennis and football. He is a patron to various charities and established Sentebale in Lesotho, a charity foundation that aims to help homeless and motherless children in Africa.

HRH Prince Carl Philip of Sweden

Before the Act of Succession was passed in 1980 to support the absolute primogeniture or commonly known as lineal succession where daughters of the monarchs have given equal rights to the throne, Prince Carl Philip was the heir apparent of his father, King Carl XVI Gustav, and would one day be the King of Sweden, but following the establishment of the lineal succession, Prince Carl Philip was edged out by his older sister, Victoria, in the line of succession to the Swedish throne.

Princess Victoria is now the future monarch of Sweden and her heir apparent is her daughter, Princess Estelle. But without a future crown, Prince Carl Philip is still the dashing debonair who could sweep off every girl's feet.

A lieutenant in the Swedish Royal Navy, Prince Carl Philip is also a keen sportsman and loved the outdoor life, he often participated in the annual Swedish ice skiing competition and car racing event. The prince has a unique talent in designing and currently pursuing a graphic design course in Stockholm. Prince Carl Philip is also spending time in charity foundations in Sweden.

Following the birth of Victoria's daughter, Princess Estelle, Prince Carl Philip is now third in line of succession to the Swedish throne but in Great Britain where the Swedish royal family members are direct descendants of Queen Victoria, Carl Philip is listed in the line of succession to the British throne ahead of his older sister and niece.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Weekend Wellness

Just got home from Metrolifestyle' Bahia Spa and Wellness.


It was my first time to undergo a full body massage and spa and it felt great, so relaxing and relieving!

I and my friend, Beth Galindo, chose the Swedish massage and mild body stretching because we felt we need to go a little bit far in body relaxation. We took a hot shower first then followed by a steamed bath (we never tried jacuzzi because it was so cold hehe) and it felt like all toxin and stress in my body had been lifted.

For one hour, my mind was so relaxed and at peace, the room, which was partly lit up and covered with aromatic earthly scent, provided a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere of being at home. I loved the way my body was knead and rub, every joint was thoroughly squeezed. It was so invigorating! There was a free hot tea  served afterwards.

We spent dinner at Mandarin after the body massage session then went home at 8:00 pm. I went to bed soundly and the feeling was so light.

Towards the end of next month, we planned to go to Metrolifestyle again to undergo another wellness and relaxation adventure -- the body spa and scrub with milk tub soaking, I want to try the kapeng barako body scrub hehe!

This is life and I love it!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Annoying TIMELINE

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, at the press conference of FB's newest feature, TIMELINE

TIMELINE, without any doubt, is one of the most ridiculous features ever introduced by Facebook.

I don't understand why the team bothered to invent it in the first place, aside from its tacky and disastrous concept, none of its so-called "social enhancement ideas" captured everyone's fantasy.

The trouble with this TIMELINE feature is the annoying appearance of the page, very cluttered and painfully messy. It feels like my backyard had been wrecked by whatever tempest. With huge images in two columns, annoying side-by-side flashing of images, too much revelation of users' private lives, shuffling of wall posts like deck of cards, bursting of nonsense updates as if someone is dying to know of our whereabouts and what we had eaten during dinner, Facebook beginning to look like a hopeless paparazzi making users' lives very miserable and haunted.

Don't get me wrong but I'm not the only one who extremely detested this feature anyway. According to a poll conducted by a security firm Sophos, about half of the registered users of Facebook are not happy with this latest feature, scrapbook-format. People can easily navigate through the profile page with everything we've posted, from our likes, comments, photos, sentiments, etcetera. With this TIMELINE feature, the big issue on privacy again is in question.

Privacy concerns continue to rock Facebook in recent years, with more and more users from the US and Europe became disillusioned and left this social networking site, I began to ponder whether it's time for me to disembark and move elsewhere. 

This new TIMELINE feature of Facebook is only applicable to users who love to "socialize", fond to share updates about their private lives, where they are going, what they are up to and all those itchy-bitchy stuff. Unfortunately, I find it very creepy to update people with what I'm cringing at the moment, so it's not applicable to me. Gosh, so absurd!

Sure, there are people who love it and wonder why on earth I still fidget in the messy world of FB when I could have all the freedom to leave the site. Oh well, not now. My reason of sticking at FB is purely "business" and I mean real business. I know that FB ranks higher in search engines, its traffic density is massive, so I could reap plenty of benefits. 

I have fan pages for my blogs and home business site, I have plenty of blogs to promote and I could get tons of instant traffic from it. For someone like me who is earning extra income online, Facebook is a huge help. When I checked my blog traffic statistic, Facebook is the number one referral site, thus, it's a bad decision to quit FB right now.

But despite the good benefits I gained from using FB, I found TIMELINE deliberately irritating and annoying and hoping against hope Mark Zuckerberg could make up his mind to allow users to make an option to use the TIMELINE profile or not or at least add a "revert-back-to-old-profile page" button. So now I am suggesting. LOL!

With more users treat FB as a forum board, a hang out, a shoulder to cry on, a sound-proof glass, a confession booth and God knows what else, early users (I became a facebook member in 2007) are looking elsewhere to hang out. So hopefully, FB team will take time to listen to users' demand to sustain the fascination and loyalty.

Okay, since there's no room for hard-headed users like me to resist this craziest feature of FB, I am contemplating now what image to put on the "cover" of my page without crossing the line of being too attention seeker.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Finale of London Olympics 2012

London Olympics is finally over, and just like the opening ceremony, I wasn't able to watch its closing ceremony. I just read the news and updates through online feeds. I still have to catch up watching videos on the highlight of the games. I'm searching free videos of Dressage and Showjumping of the Equestrian event and so with synchronized swimming and floor exercise of the Gymnastic event.

During the closing ceremony, it was announced that the 2016 Olympics will be held at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, hopefully by this time, Philippines can bring home at least one medal. 

I am appalled with the Philippine government's style in encouraging athletes, they are offering millions to winners, but during the preparation, little has been given to these athletes, are they insane? How can athletes do their best if they lacked good training, preparation and financial support. These athletes are personally spending their own money to finance their training and other needs and all of them are competing not for money but for the glory of their country. 

Hopefully, the government can realize that what the country lacks is a proper sport program and support. The last time that the Philippines bring home a medal was during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when Onyok Velasco bagged silver in the boxing event.

FINAL MEDAL TALLY IN THE 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS

TOP 20

 COUNTRY
GOLD
SILVER
BRONZE
USA
46
29
29
CHINA
38
27
22
GREAT BRITAIN
29
17
19
SOUTH KOREA
24
25
33
RUSSIA
13
8
7
GERMANY
11
19
14
FRANCE
11
11
12
ITALY
8
9
11
HUNGARY
8
4
5
AUSTRALIA
7
16
12
JAPAN
7
14
17
KAZACHSTAN
7
1
5
NETHERLANDS
6
6
8
UKRAINE
6
5
9
CUBA
5
3
6
NEW ZEALAND
5
3
5
IRAN
4
5
3
JAMAICA
4
4
4
CZECH REPUBLIC
4
3
3
NORTH KOREA
4
0
2