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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Summer Break Activities

We're inviting you, our friends, followers, readers and visitors of Island Travel, to our other blog HAPPY PARENTING JOURNEY by Papa Sez and Mama Sez to see what we've been up to lately.

Summer time is a great time for family activities. Mama Sez has lined up a full range of activities for our four kids this summer. Look at her table of planned summer activities and you'll see how busy the family would be in the next few weeks. She based her plans on her new hub "Parenting Tips on How to Choose Summer Activities for Kids" for a balanced summer break.

This is an open invitation to find out more about our parenting style, recipes and so much more about parenting issues in general. C'mon and tag along (or tweet & share to) your friends and family.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Herb Republic: Fresh Food in a Garden Setting

This recent visit to Herb Republic Restaurant along the National Highway, Maahas, Los Banos, Laguna is actually our second.  The first was a dinner with entomologist friends on the same day we celebrated our baby's 1st birthday and christening with a gathering over lunch at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan, Bay, Laguna in March last year.  Mama Sez wrote a bit about our Valentine's Day lunch date that emphasized our yearning for healthy food on that day of the hearts.

Here are some more photos of Herb Republic at daytime.  Consistent with their "freshest food straight from the garden" theme, the restaurant is basically a homey garden with bamboos and lots of vegetation to cool you down at lunchtime.

An inner sanctuary/hang out spot has couches, low tables and a piano.  The artistic decor and soft music that went well with the sound of flowing water that feeds the small pond containing Koi fishes contributed to this hideout's cozy ambiance.  That time, we had the place all to ourselves.

Here's an excerpt from Mama Sez's blog post:
"This restaurant offers only organically grown vegetables and meat from naturally grown chicken and pig that they themselves produced. Dishes are prepared with their finest herbs. Even the drinks are healthy as they are prepared without sugar and sweetened only by the herb called “Stivia.” All food in the menu are fresh and healthy and therefore good for the heart. We ordered the Herb Republic Salad, Basil Pesto Pasta, Mint Buko Lychee Cooler and Mint Watermelon Cooler. Hot Lemon Grass Tea was served as welcome drink."

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Pook ni Mariang Makiling: Photos

Here are some photos of Pook ni Mariang Makiling resort in Los Banos, Laguna where we chose to commune with nature on Valentine's Day.

View of the facilities near the creek in Pook ni Mariang Makiling

View of the cottages from the swimming pool area
Lots of areas to see and stairs to climb
A perfect little cottage to relax in the sound of water flowing along the creek
Sights and sounds to behold in front of the perfect little cottage
Read our previous posts to learn about the fees and contact number as well as how to get to Pook ni Mariang Makiling nature resort.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pook ni Mariang Makiling: Rates, Charges and Contact Number

One of the many attractions in Laguna, Pook ni Mariang Makiling is a nature resort situated in Los Banos and is part of the Mt. Makiling National Park.

Yesterday, we published an alternate, more scenic route through the mountain instead of the usual route through the University of the Philippines Los Banos campus. Today, we'll provide information about the rates and charges so you'll have an idea on the budget to prepare for your next outing. The contact person & number is at the end of this post.

Pook ni Mariang Makiling is known for its Olympic-size swimming pool in a tropical forest environment. The resort entrance fee is only PhP 25, while the swimming fee is PhP 40. Children below two years of age is free. Swimming attire is swimming trunks or shorts for males, and shorts and sleeveless white shirts for females. Shorts with zipper and buttons are not allowed. Day swimming is from 8am to 5pm. Night swimming is by arrangement (contact person and number is at the end).

Table rental is PhP 300 for daytime occupancy, while a small pavilion that can accommodate 30 persons is PhP 500.

For those who prefer to stay overnight, rates for cottages ranged from PhP 200 per person for minimum requirements like bed, toilet & bath and electric fan to PhP 500 per person for a cottage with aircon. These figures are based on room sharing in a cottage with two or three bedrooms.

For instance, Lakambini cottage has 3 bedrooms with 4 beds each, 3 toilet and bathrooms and 3 electric fans. So it's capacity is 12 persons for PhP 2,400/day.

Their best cottage is Diosa that has 2 air-conditioned bedrooms with 3 beds each, 2 toilet & bathrooms, and an attic in one of the bedrooms. So Diosa can accommodate 6 persons at PhP 3000/day.

Note that these cottages are not at par with standards of more expensive private resorts. But the place is good for simple group (family or barkada) outings and nature trips.

There are charges for electricity consumption starting at PhP 100 per day depending on wattage. Other rentals: audio system/karaoke @ PhP 200/day, electric fan @ PhP 200/day, extra bedding @ PhP 150/set and excess headcount @ PhP 25/head for cottages. Corkage fee for beer and softdrink is PhP 50/case.

Please contact Rose @ (049) 536-3489 for reservation and for more details.

More photos to come in the next post.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Pook ni Mariang Makiling: How to Get There

Pook ni Mariang Makiling is one of the many attractions of the town of Los Banos in Laguna and is part of the Mount Makiling National Park just like the National Arts Center (NAC), the Philippine High School for the Arts, and the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) National Jamboree Site.

The normal route for tourists, especially buses, to reach Pook ni Mariang Makiling is via the University of the Philippines Los Banos campus. However, this route would take you through the busy intersection of College, Laguna, where traffic going to Santa Cruz and San Pablo also passes.

If you are using a private vehicle (not a bus!), the alternative Jamboree route is recommended to avoid the College junction traffic. This more scenic route would take you up the mountain with dangerous turns and steep inclines so care must be taken at all times when using this route.

The critical turn for this alternate route to Pook ni Mariang Makiling is the PCARRD (Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development) road.  At present, the point where this road joins the National Highway has a big sign that notifies the public that buses are not allowed on this road (see point A in the map above and the photo below).

If you're coming from Manila, turn right when you spot this PCARRD junction, and proceed (PCARRD entrance is about 100 meters on your left). This is PCARRD-Jamboree Road and just follow it to reach the BSP Jamboree site, which is about two kilometers away. In a little more than a kilometer from the PCARRD turn, you will see the Magnetic Hill gate to your right (see point B in the map and the actual photo below).

At this point, you would be nearing the BSP Jamboree boundary and expect more dangerous curves and steep climbs and descent in the next kilometer or so. You will run into two forks after you enter the BSP Jamboree arch. In both cases, just choose to turn right instead of going straight. See points C and D in the map and the following photos.

After this last right turn, you can immediately spot the National Arts Center arch. Just go straight (instead of going to the gated uphill road to the right that leads to NAC). The next structure you would find is the (unmaintained) BSP swimming pool. Proceed farther until the final right turn to enter the Pook ni Mariang Makiling arch (see yellow star in the map above and the photo below).

Enjoy the scenery and the olympic-size swimming pool within the Pook ni Mariang Makiling compound.

Reminder: it is not advisable to use this alternate route during inclement weather and wet road conditions.

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