A Taste of Spanish at Hala Paella

On the night of my 35th birthday last 15 November 2015, I went out with my brother Nathan and cousin John Stephen. We headed out to Hala Paella at the Banilad Town Center.



Hala Paella serves Spanish comfort food in Cebu. Grab one or two of their rice dish specials and pair it with one or two of their main courses, and you are good to go.

Hala Paella in Cebu City Philippines
Hala Paella


Enjoy The Feel of Nature at Parkmall

Parkmall Cebu recently launched its new atrium featuring park-like features. It features the mall centerpiece  Discovery Tree patterned after the magtalisay tree, a lemonade stand, park benches, and artificial grass to truly bring about a feel of nature right inside Parkmall.

The Rediscover Life Park

The new park at the atrium inside Parkmall was designed by Architect Buck Richnold Sia and Miss Janice Minor. Both are world-class Cebuanos who have not only made their marks in the local scene but also beyond the borders of the Philippines. The idea was conceptualized by Architect James Co who is Parkmall's managing director.


Rediscover Life Park
Inside Parkmall


Unlimited Samgyeopsal at Noh Eul Korean Restaurant

Prominently advertised on the billboards outside the Northgate Center in Banilad is Noh Eul Korean Restaurant's unlimited samgyeopsal offer. Me and my brother happened to pass by the area one November afternoon and did not pass up the chance to try the offer.




Unlimited Samgyeopsal 

You can have unlimited samgyeopsal at Noh Eul for only PhP 250 per person. It also comes with unlimited sides. However, it does not come with rice and drinks. Rice and drinks will have to be ordered separately. 


Unlimited samgyeopsal
Unlimited samgyeopsal


Moalboal Beach Resort: Hale Manna Beach Resort and Coastal Gardens

Moalboal is a prime beach destination in the southern part of Cebu. It's most popular beaches are Bas Diot or White Beach in barangay Saavedra and Panagsama Beach in barangay Basdiot. Both have been promoted as recreational diving sites and awesome beach destinations. The drawback of this aggressive promotion is that sometimes, there is too little privacy to offer in these public beaches. There are a few resorts in the area that does offer some quiet space for its guests, away from where most of the noise. Yet, these resorts are not too far away from where one can enjoy the natural beauty of Moalboal's beaches. One such resort is the Hale Manna Beach Resort and Coastal Gardens in Bas Daku, Saavedra, Moalboal, Cebu. I recently visited Hale Manna. I was tasked to facilitate a 2-day team building program for Oceana Philippines last 12-13 November 2015. Cebu Teambuilding Services affiliate Chen Tan accompanied me during that trip.


Amenities


Hale Manna House

The Hale Manna House is the house of good energy at the shores of Moalboal. Hale means house in Hawaiian while Manna means energy or gift from heaven.


Hale Manna Beach Resort
Hale Manna Beach Resort

Rooms 

There are a few guest hotel rooms available at the ground floor and second floor of the Hale Manna House. The ladies of Oceana Philippines were checked into these rooms. We roomed in with the men at the Barkada Bungalow just beside the Hale Manna House. Room rates range between PhP 3,250 to PhP 9,750 per night.

Billiard Table 

For those who wish to get some mental and physical exercise, a billiard table is available inside the Hale Manna House. Sadly, many of the cue sticks are already broken.

Mess Hall

Meals were served at the terrace of the Hale Manna House. There is actually an option to serve it at the function hall with a bar near the beach. But since our activities were done at the Hale Manna House, it was more convenient to just serve it there. 

Balcony 

We did most of our activities at balcony of the second floor of the Hale Manna House. It was wide enough to accommodate all fifteen of us. But bigger groups may have a problem with such small space.

balcony
At the balcony

Living Rooms and Mini-Library

There is a huge living room at the lower floor of the Hale Manna House with cozy sala furniture sets, bookshelves, and magazine racks. A common living space is also found at the second floor just outside the rooms

Open Air Bar and Function Hall 

Our afternoon session on the first day of the training were spent at the open air function hall with a bar near the beach. The hall can accommodate around twenty persons in a classroom setup. But since we were doing dynamic play-based activities, we had to move out to the lawn outside the hall.

The Beach

Hale Manna does not have a long stretch of beach. The sand cover also depends on the season. Also the coast is somewhat rocky with some sea urchins so guests are urged to wear beach shoes when wading on its waters.


beach
Beach

Beach Huts 

Several beach huts are found near the beach. Guests can use these to have their massage, as a space for meditation, or to simply just rest under the stars at night.

Mini-Golf

Golfer wanna-be's can start with putting practice at Hale Manna. They have a putting hole with a sand trap feature.

golf
Mini-golf


Escario Central Hotel: Setting A Standard for Budget Hotels in Cebu

When you are on a limited budget while in Cebu City and need a hotel that is both affordable, accessible, and decent, try the Escario Central Hotel. It is located at the Escario Central Mall along Escario Street, Cebu City. I booked one night here recently and I was amazed at how it turned out.






Amazing Location 

Escario Central Hotel is located at a perfect location. It is at the far end of the Escario Central Mall, right at the heart of the city. It is very accessible to churches, malls, government offices, restaurants, and other businesses. Right within Escario Central Mall is a 7-11 store that is open 24/7, several restaurants and cafes. Zubuchon, Politics, and Porto's are some of the restaurants at this strip mall. There's also Nice Day Carwash and a bank. Right across the mall is another business complex with restaurants such as Yakimix, Hausbrandt Caffe, and Cebu's Original Lechon Belly, some banks, a fastfood, and a number of other businesses. Also a stone's throw away are other restaurants such as Penong's, McDonald's, and Combini Cafe. It is a short walking distance to the Cebu Provincial Capitol. The hotel is a jeepney ride away from Ayala Center Cebu. It is also a jeepney ride to either midtown or downtown Cebu.

Affordable Rates 

Despite its central location in the city, the rates at Escario Central Hotel are not expensive. I got an Orange Room for PhP 1,800 for one night. The Red Room is even cheaper at PhP 1,500 a night but there was none available the night I stayed there. At that price, there's no surprise no Red Room was available anymore.

Decent Accommodations

Despite the very affordable price, the quality is not compromised at Escario Central Hotel. The Orange Room had 2 queen size beds. It can easily fit 4 average size persons. Of course PhP 1,800 was the rate for 2 persons. The Red Room features 2 double beds. Both rooms has it's own toilet and bath, has 2 complimentary water bottles, 2 towels, 2 pieces of bath soap and 2 sachets of shampoo.

Orange room
Orange Room

Maple: Fine Dining Restaurant in Cebu

When you are down for some really good food and you wouldn't mind the cost, head to Maple. It is an American restaurant at The Terraces in Ayala Center Cebu. It is one of the few fine dining restaurants located in the mall.






The Ambiance

The very first thing you will notice at Maple is that it provides great privacy. There are not too many people dining in. When we went there, we were greeted with a single waitress working that shift. It was lunch. There were only two other sets of guests being served aside from us.

After we placed our orders, I marveled at the interior design. The interior is dominated by the maple brown color for obvious reasons. They have some sleek hardwood furniture.


The Food 

Salmon Catch 

I love salmon! And Maple's Salmon Catch is so far the best salmon recipe I have come across. At Php 520, I'm sure I will be back for more soon. The salmon is served with vegetables and orzo pasta. I had my salmon pan seared. You can also choose to have it grilled.

pan seared salmon
Salmon Catch

Pasta Overload at Dong Juan

After the first ever Cebu Blogging Community members' orientation program at the Global Hub Serviced Offices, I went with a few other Cebu Blogging Community Leads to Ridges along F. Cabahug Street in Kasambagan, Cebu City. Before we went for some musical recreation at Watever KTV, the gang decided to have lunch at Dong Juan Restaurant. We took advantage of their Everyday Pasta promo which runs until 15 November 2015. It was an early birthday treat for me. Present during lunch were CBC partnership lead and co-founder Bjornson Bernales, CBC social media manager Channel Marie "Shanky" Imperial, food bloggers lead representative Carlo Andrew "Caloy" Olano, photo bloggers lead representative Meliton John "Emjae" Argallon, fashion bloggers lead representative Katherine Annika Cutar, her beau Ramzy Magbitang, and yours truly.




 Pasta and Pizza Overload


We ordered four different kinds of pasta dishes. Dong Juan's Everyday Pasta promo allowed us to pay for only the two more expensive pasta dishes. Then we got the two cheaper dishes for free. We ordered Gambas Al Ajillo, Pacific, Cebu Native Chorizo, and Linguini Carbonara pasta varieties. All the dishes we ordered came with a slice of garlic bread. For pizza, we ordered Dong Juan's Cheeze and and Garlic Pizza. We also ordered the Happy Drink for our beverage.

Gambas al Ajillo 

Dong Juan's version of the Gambas al ajillo not only features a pasta in pesto sauce with shrimps. It also comes with bonito fish shavings. The CBC bloggers marveled at how these bonito flakes kept moving for quite a while when the dish was served.

Gambas al ajillo pasta
Gambas al ajillo pasta