Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Childhood Memories: Lego

Were you one of those priviledged kids who are able to play Lego?

I just love 'em and it's frustrating somehow not to be able to replicate exactly what the box portrays to be.

As I open a new box of Lego, it now comes with step by step, tile by tile instruction manuals. Well, it takes less brain cells to get it done yet nit everyone can get it right.

It's amazing how lego has kept up with the trends lately after being overshadowed by video games. The new series of lego like the Lego Friends for girls, star wars and harry potter series has amazing details.

Kids nowadays not only make them, they actually play with them and make a story out of it on video! Yes, with much patience and some creativity, get that video going.

Along my niece and nephews, we spent 6 long hours one afternoon building one after the other. I was as excited as they are. One thing that didn't change, lego remained pricey. I only wished these Lego toys will be more affordable.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Greeka Kousina

Sheer attempt to recreate cyma

Cebu Food Trip Reviews: Larsian

Larsian has become an icon in Cebu for authentic local experience and turned into a popular tourist destination for the brave. When we were kids, our parents discourage us to eat at this place but its smell and taste just keeps us wanting for more. Sanitation and food handling has always been an issue for this iconic foodstreet.

I was curious to see that the place is renovated this time by Pepsi. From dirt roads, it's now surrounded with concrete walls, brick flooring, galvanized roofing, monoblock tables and chairs yet maintained that rugged feel. After all these years, someone has finally gave it a functional facelift, grilling is moved to the center of the square as opposed to grilling on each kiosk - smoke is definitely isolated now and viola, there's running water!

I no longer found my suki "mom's" but our companion led us to "Noli and Khit's BBQ". There were about 8 of us and ordered 50 pork BBQ sticks plus 30 pork belly sticks plus a handful of puso and liters of softdrinks. We all left past midnight with happy belly for just P75.

Food: 4 spoons
Ambience: 4 spoons
Sanitation: 2 spoons

Cebu Food Trip Reviews: Chosun Chicken

I bumped into a magazine enlisting the top 10 chicken in Cebu. Chosun Chicken landed on the first spot and I was just as clueless as my peers where this place is.

Chicken Charlie and Bonchon Chicken has recently invaded Cebu. Not until I've tried all these three, I was able to appreciate the Korean twice fried chicken of Chosun Chicken.

Over the long weekend, I was able to revisit the place in (Foodland) Banilad, right beside the flyover.

Upon your entry, you'd be distracted by how its interior is set up. Go see for yourself.

With no further ado, three of us finished one whole chicken cut into 16-18 pcs. Half spicy - half original for P550, paired with Kimchi Rice over some meaningful conversation.

Ah, I miss this bonding time with my BFFs, wish we can do it more often, but times can't make it possible.

Food: 5 spoons
Service: 4 spoons
Location/ambiance: 2 spoons

Cebu Food Trip Reviews: Luy's Tea House

Luy's Tea House made its way on the social networking sites with common friends raving about it.

Today is Sunday and I dragged the rest of my family. We are a sucker of all things new and we have an equal share of good and bad experiences.

Our experience in Luy's Tea House was a mixed one. The dimsum was good but not superb contrary to what others rave about. I particularly liked the chicken feet. The siomai was juat an ordinary siomai. I was looking forward to try the xiaolongbao, it tasted good but the wrapper was rather on the thick side. Price was affordable.

Other than dimsum, we ordered a few other dishes and it took an hour to be served. After following it up not just once but ten times (no exaggeration), it turned out our order was taken but not punched for the kitchen to prepare. It was totally disappointing, it just proved that the numerous times I followed up my order, they didn't do it. In general, the staff were inexperienced and lacked training. Price for non dimsum dishes was pricey for its quality and size.

We left the place disappointed and left their business card on the table. You might just want to google more to get their contact number.

Food: 3 spoons
Service: 1 spoon

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What's New? Food Trip in Cebu

Out with the old, in with the new.  I'm happy to discover new places in Cebu!

Cebu's Original Lechon Belly

If you've not heard or tasted Cebu's latest craze, where have you been?  Cebu's Original Lechon Belly is such a hit.  It the usual tasty Cebu lechon, now boneless and served prime cut, that is, it's all belly with a choice of original or spicy. :)

They have opened a branch at Parkmall and I just kept coming back.  The al fresco dining set-up gives one the mood of eating to your heart's desire with your bare hands. (okay, they provide disposable gloves), paired with good quality hanging rice locally called as "puso", burp!

Main Office
Gochan Compound
Mabolo, Cebu City
Contact number:
Phone: (63)(32)232-1155
Fax. (63)(32) 232-1155

Ralfe's Gourmet Chocolate Boutique

If you're a dark chocolate lover like me, this is definitely a treat.  I found this post on facebook as recommended by a friend.  Who would not fall for an all dark chocolate buffet for only P195?

These chocolates are made locally in Cebu by Mrs Raquel (photo above).  My personal favorite were the tablea ganache truffles and tablea rice crispies.  The chocolates are quite filling compared to commercial chocolates since these are made of good quality cocoa with Although the ad says it's a snack buffet, we had them for dinner, and for 70 pesos more, we had eat all you can pizza and pasta as well.  The thin crust pizza was extraordinarily good, impressively baked by a 15 year old son of the owner.  As of press time, the snack buffet I attended to was their last.  They will be coming up with a different chocolate appreciation night soon.  Follow them in facebook.

Located at 3349 Topaz St., Casal's Village, Mabolo, Cebu City, they can be reached by 09176287661 or  They serve food strictly by appointment.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Traffic Advisory for Ironman 70.3 Cebu, Philippines Triathlon Race

traffic advisory

Ironman 70.3 Philippines will be hosted by Cebu this August 5, 2012.  The race route is quite extensive covering from the tip of Mactan Island, crossing the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, to Mandaue City via CICC and Parkmall leading to SRP and back.

Traffic Advisory on this date will be:

1. The race route will be closed starting at 5 in the morning.
2. Right lane of the Marcelo Fernan (new) Bridge will be open to two way traffic while the old bridge will be closed from 5am to 12nn.
3. The run route (in dark blue) from Shangrila Mactan upto the tip of Punta Engano will be closed from 5 am to 330pm.  Once the route is close, Shangri-la is only accessible through Portofino.
4. The bike route (in green) from Shangrila Mactan through Marcelo Fernan Bridge to Mandaue Highway, to Ouano Avenue passing through CICC and Parkmall leading to SRP will be closed from 5am to 12nn.
5.  Alternate route to and from the airport is specified above in light blue.

If you're not keen on taking chances of getting stuck with traffic around Mactan, next best spot to watch the race should be where the bikes are expected to slow down and pass twice is at the CICC turnaround point (at the intersection of CICC and Parkmall along Ouano Avenue).  Strong swimmers are expected to start their bike by 7am and end up in this junction fifteen to thirty minutes later.

bike turnaround route at CICC

If  you wish to witness the swim and run route, it's best to drive to Mactan at 4am, just before the roads are closed and expect to get stuck there the rest of the day.  I got this advisory from the organizers for those who wish to witness the event at Shangrila Mactan Resort:

Date Venue Time
Thursday, August 2 The Marquee 2:00pm – 5:30pm
Friday, August 3 The Marquee 9:00am – 12:00nn / 2:00pm – 5:30pm
Saturday, August 4 The Marquee 9:00am – 3:30pm
All registered Ironman and Ironkids athletes will be issued one (1) set of complimentary companion wristband.
All wristbands are color coded daily and are valid only on the day specified.
Ironman Wristband Set
Date Wristband Color
Friday, August 3 Orange
Saturday, August 4 Green
Sunday, August 5 Red
Ironkids Wristband Set
Date Wristband Color
Friday, August 3 Orange
Saturday, August 4 Green
Sunday, August 5 Red
*Please ensure your companion wears the proper color wristband per day.
As your and our guest safety and security is our primary concern, we are limiting the number of non in–house quest who may access the resort during this period. We are implementing a number of security measures which include the limited sale and issuance of wristbands (color–coded per day).
Who can buy the wristband?
  • Registered Ironman and Ironkids athletes who want to bring in more than one companion to the resort.
  • Non in–house Ironman and Ironkids participants.
  • To allow equal opportunity for all, a maximum of two (2) wristbands may be sold per person until August 4, 20:00nn. Remaining wristbands after this time may already be sold to anyone, without limitation on quantity.
What benefits do we enjoy with the purchase of a wristband?
  • Access to all Ironman-related venues within the resort.
  • Savings of 35% on regular treatments at CHI, The Spa at Shangri–La.
  • Savings of 15% in Tides and Tea of Spring restaurants (valid August 2–4 only)
Where can we buy?
Date Venue Time
Thursday, August 2
Friday, August 3
Saturday, August 4
Counter outside of The Marquee 8:00am – 8:00pm
Friday, August 3 Ironman Carbo–loading dinner at the CICC (Cebu International Convention Center) 9:00am – 12:00nn / 2:00pm – 5:30pm
Sunday, August 5 Ocean Pavilion 4:00am – 12:00nn
How much?
Access Date Wristband Color Cost per Wristband(nett)
Thursday, August 2 Red Php 500.00
Friday, August 3 Red Php 500.00
Saturday, August 4 Red Php 500.00
Sunday, August 5 Red Php 1,000.00
  • Children 11 years old and below will enjoy 50% savings.
  • Only cash payments will be accepted.
  • All wristbands are color coded daily and we are valid only on the day specified.
  • A limited number of wristbands will be sold daily on a first come, first served basis.
Other Reminders:
  • Parking of vehicles inside the Resort will not be allowed from August 2–5 as parking areas will be utilized for the bicycle and run transition. The Resort and Ironman organizers have identified temporary parking areas nearby for this period.
  • Only car drop-offs will be allowed from August 2–4 while strictly "no vehicle access" policy will be implemented on Sunday, August 5.
  • The Resort main entrance will be accessible by foot for athletes and guests with proper wristbands on Sunday, August 5 until 5:00am only. Once the roads are closed, access to the Resort will be through Portofino.
For any queries, please call (6332)231-8159 or email
Thank you.
Best regards,
Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines
For more information, check out:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Applying for Russian Visa in the Phillipines

This is probably the longest open ticket I have ever held. We got our ticket a year ago, as a compliment from the HSBC free flights promo. If you did not hear about it, you missed out a lot. I got to fly to London and sent my nieces and nephews to visit disney world and now, I get to visit Russia. All these wasn't part of my bucket list but if given free flights, my itchy feet simply can't resist it.

Applying for Russian Visa

The official website of the Russian embassy in Manila, Philippines is

The Russian Embassy in the Philippines is in Manila but I have read quite a number of testimonies that red tape is at its finest at the embassy. Since they open only three times a week and accommodate very few people a day, one shall wait in queue the night before or very early in the morning. We could not find a travel agency who would process the application without booking a tour with them. As such we were constrained to go with a tour.

The Russian Visa Application Form is probably is the most simple visa application form I've filled up and it does not require one to submit any proof of financial capacity.  The only document required is a visa support issued by accredited hotel or travel agent in Russia.  The dates specified on the visa support are the exact dates for the validity of the visa. Regardless of one's financial capacity, the visa support is necessary.

In our case, a visa support was issued by our tour operator (via Cosmos tour) and since the starting tour date does not coincide with our flight schedules, we had to book pre-tour accommodation on our own and secured a separate visa support. With email consultation by the consulate office in Cebu, those two visa support were sufficient, however, the embassy in Manila declined to accept two separate visa support. The travel agent advised us to appear personally at the embassy at five in the morning to queue and to explain. According to the agency, embassy officials are normally rude and hostile towards travel agents and more accommodating to the applicant themselves. At this point, I was given the option to line up at five in the morning or take chances of submitting the papers through the agency inspite of the embassy's warning. I did not want to line up at five the morning so I took chances of emailing Cosmos USA and Australia, fortunately, the latter swiftly responded to our request and ammended the visa support. It just took them a day to amend it, the local travel agent wasn't helpful or should I say lack the knowledge of all possibilities.

After two weeks and paying rush visa fees (including travel agency fees) of P10,144, we got our visa. The validity dates are exactly as specified on the visa support, no more no less.

During our arrival at the airport, tourists need not fill-up any immigration arrival cards. Instead, the immigration officer prints out your arrival card. Such arrival card will be photocopied by your hotel, I would assume they have the responsibility to register your entry and during exit, such card will taken by immigration. It is important that you don't lose it.


: 1245 Acacia Road, Dasmariñas Village, Makati, Manila
Phone: 817-5406 (Operator), 893-0190, 810-9581 (Consular)
Fax: 810-9614 (Chancery); 810-9581 (Consular)

Working hours: 
Monday – Thursday 08.00-15.15 Friday 08.00-15.00

Monday, June 11, 2012

What We Did in San Vicente, Palawan

Rainy season has started but for us, summer isn't over yet.  In the middle of some intertropical convergence zone, we found ourselves in San Vicente, Palawan.  San Vicente is accessible by private hired van from Puerto Princesa.  Twas a grueling four hour ride on rough road more than half of the way on a rainy day.  Upon our arrival late in the afternoon, it was drizzling and there were rips on the shore.  We were left with not much to do but to stretch and lay in bed to give our butts some rest and here's what we did the rest of our stay:

Played: Party Flippo

With occasional rain showers, after dinner, we entertained ourselves in a hut by playing Party Flippo.

Party Flippo is an app downloadable on an ipad or  an iphone.  It's much like Pinoy Henyo where you split into two teams. Each team member takes a turn at being the "guesser". A random word is shown to the guesser's teammates as he/ she tries to guess what it is by asking questions. The team members can only answer with a Yes, No or Maybe.  Party Flippo' keeps track of the players' turns, scores and timer and is available in English or Tagalog.

At the end of the night, we laughed our hearts out on the most outrageous guesses and hints we made.

Ate: Lamayo
dried fish marinated in citrus

Attempted: Survivor Challenge
Excited and psyched up with some real Survivor challenge, we were quite disappointed with the parlor games.  See the rest of the story here.

Island Hopped: Long Beach, San Vicente

The next day, we had a peak of long beach.  Unfortunately, our outrigger boat could not dock because of strong rips.  We just stopped there for a few minutes and took some photos.  There's practically nothing else but a 14 kilometer long stretch of off white sand beach, with countless number of coconut trees perfectly lined near the coast. It looked promising though, if you're up for some real rustic experience, this must be it.  If I were with a different group, I would have loved to explore it.

Island Hopped: Exotic Island, Port Barton

An hour boat ride away is Exotic Island, which is part of Port Barton.  I could just imagine how pretty the island would look when viewed from the top, where a sand bar on shallow waters connects two islands.  These photos doesn't even do justice.  On the corner, these stones provides a very picturesque spot for photography, the other side was a stretch of white sand with some good snorkeling spot.
I should have written Port Barton instead of San Vic (short for San Vicente)
Island Hopped: German Island, Port Barton

Named after a German writer who took inspiration and once lived on this island.  We soaked up in the warm sea water while the rain poured with cool breeze.

Watched: Poi

In the evening, we entertained ourselves (again) with some yoga for the brain... Poi.  One of our companions was gracious enough to show us his talent and did the fire dance, something he has not done in ages, but we gazed in awe.

Watched: GGV

Stuck in a remote area where there's practically nothing else to do in the evening, some of us prepared sangria and giggled the night away with Gandang Gabi Vice.

Our trip to San Vicente, Palawan was one for the books.  Although we felt short changed by a deal we got over at Deal Grocer, when what was offered was not delivered, we made do with whatever good vibes that was left.  May it be adventures or misadventures, cheers to my travel buddies namely ruffaG. of Cebu, the fire dancer, the coke ambassador, the busy bee, the soon to be ironed man, the rapunzel, the dramatic writer, the abstract iron man. :D

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Capari Resort, Palawan Survivor Getaway Reviews

One rare evening, I chanced upon TV Patrol (a local news program) featuring the long beach of San Vicente, Palawan stretching about 14 kms, probably the longest in the Philippines. The idea immediately came to me that I shall visit the place one of these days. A few days later, deal grocer flashed a deal called Capari Survivor Getaway. Ecstatic about the listed itinerary, I sent out an invite to my travel buddies.  8 young professionals overwhelmingly responded to my invitation.

Capari Resort is located in a very remote area in San Vicente, Palawan, accessible by private van for four hours on extremely rough road more than half of the time from Puerto Princesa.  The road condition worsen especially on a rainy day.  As part of the package, we were picked up by a van at the airport. The van wasn't a private van of the resort but one used to shuttle tourists or available for hire.

Upon reaching Capari Resort, I was taken aback by the ambiance of the resort, it didn't appeal to me.  The rooms are small, equipped with very basic ammenities. The bed for two is a double bed (queen or king beds are not available). Third person is charged with mattress laid out on the floor, the room is too small that by doing so, the room can only be half opened. Mosquito nets (except for the extra bed) is hanged overhead. Obviously, mountain mosquitos is abundant in the area, insect repellant is a must.

Food is tasty but portions is extremely small and expensive for its serving.
chicken was tasty but 1/8 chicken part per person is definitely not filling

Capari Resort is located on a cove on its own, with the beachfront privately accessible by its guests.  The beach sand is fairly fine and white, but sand fleas is abundant, rain and waves can also be strong in months other than February to April.
interesting itinerary right?  but none of these were delivered :(
If you are looking for a place to stay near the long beach of San Vicente, this is not the place.  Overall, we left Capari Resort disappointed.  Half of us headed to El Nido, savoring the remaining good vibes that was left. We could have let it pass but subsequent events led us to believe we were deceived.  We were not here for the resort, nor for the food, not even for the beach.  We were here for the so called "Capari Survivor Challenge".  It challenged us in a different way though... what was promised was not delivered, not even an attempt to deliver, we had to prod them several times even for the simpliest task to do a briefing.  Looking back, there were signs that the resort wasn't actually true to their offer.  They quickly respond to inquiries via email or phone however, as soon as we bought the vouchers, they hardly reply.
even this review on tripadvisor looks suspiciously bogus.  ms. marinas is connected with the resort

A week has passed, we haven't heard from Capari Resort.  On the other hand, Deal Grocer in a matter of hours agreed to refund the full amount.  This was the gist of our complaint as written by my friend sunjun.


Incident Report
Deal Grocer 3D/2NSurvivor Getaway for 4 at only 9,600/person” Deal at Capari Resort
·         To show that the deal was grossly overpriced.
·         To show that it was false advertisement.
·         To show the lack of intent from the resort to deliver and provide what was promised.
I. Background
·         A group of 9 individuals (4 men, 5 women) went to Capari Resort in San Vicente, Palawan to avail of the 3D/2N Survivor Getaway offered by Deal Grocer
·         Since there were 9 of us, we bought 2 coupons and opted to pay 8,600 pesos, as quoted by the resort manager, for the extra person.
·         The group stayed at Capari Resort from June 2-4, 2012. 
·         The reservation was made around the last week of March 2012.

II. Pricing
·         According to the Deal Grocer site, the whole package was valued at 80,800 pesos but it was being sold at a 60% discount of only 38,400 pesos.
·         Package Inclusions as stated in Deal Grocer:
·         Breakdown of prices according to our research
Price (Pesos)
2 Deluxe Rooms
Capari website (3,250+ per Deluxe room as of June 6, 2012)
3,250 x 2 x 2 = 13,000 pesos
Van transfers from/to Puerto Princesa airport
Capari website (7,500 per van per way, max 8 pax)
Daily set breakfast, lunch, merienda, and drinks for 4 persons
Continental Breakfast – complimentary with the Deluxe room
Lunch and Merienda estimated at 750 pesos per pax per day.
750 x 4 x 2 = 6000 pesos.
Survivor Challenge / Resort Activities
·         According to our research, subtotal of the whole package not including the Survivor Challenge and resort activities is only at 34,000 pesos.  This led us to believe, by simple arithmetic, that the remaining Survivor Challenge activity must be worth around 46,800 pesos.
·         Further validation of this observation came from  Ms. Sharon Padua, the resort manager, herself.  In an email correspondence dated March 27, 2012, she wrote
"The package for deal grocer is a special one of a kind deal.  We even went to the extreme by having 20 performers welcome each survivor group as a kick off for the "Survivor Getaway" package.  We have combined survivor challenges and island hoping in one trip.  The package has really been down played in Dealgrocer."
click on the image to zoom in.
III. Meals / Meal Concerns

·         Estimated cost: 750 pesos for lunch and snacks, Breakfast is complimentary with the rooms.
·         The resort sent us Set Menus for the Deal Grocer package just a few days before our visit to the resort. 
Day 1:
·         For day 1 we chose Set Menu B.  Late lunch was requested due to limited availability of flight schedules and flight delays. 
·         Set Menu B as emailed to us by the resort.
·         Set Menu B as served by the resort on June 2, 2012 for 3 persons.
·         This was served together with a few slices of Watermelon as well.  And instead of Banana Turon, we got a handful of Camote (sweet potato) covered in caramelized sugar.  I leave it up to you to decide whether our estimate of 750 pesos is reasonable.
·         We ordered 2 bottles of Coke and were charged for the drinks.  We presumed that drinks are not included in the set meals.   
·         The second group from Cebu arrived around 5 to 6 pm and was served the same menu except the Camote was no longer available. 
Day 2:
·         For breakfast we ordered a mix of Longganisa, Lamayo, and Tocino.  We have no complains.  Generous portions, tasty, and delicious.  Water, Coffee, and Juice were available as well.
·          For lunch, we ordered Set A and Set C.  Here are the menus as emailed to us by the resort.

·         According to Ron-ron, the resort staff who took our order, the fish in set C would be around 250 grams.  We were worried that it might not be enough so we ordered an extra fish to go with it.
·         Here’s our lunch as prepared by the resort on June 3, 2012.
·         The Veggie Spring Rolls in set A were missing.  Instead we got grilled vegetables. 
·         We paid for the extra fish.  I leave it up to you to decide whether our estimate of 750 pesos is reasonable enough. 
·         In addition, note that this menu was prepared for 9 people.  We paid for an extra person rate of 8,600 pesos for the same experience. 
·         Also note that lunch came with 9 free soft drinks (Coke).  Makes us wonder why soft drinks weren’t included for lunch on the first day.
·         For snacks, there were no Bananas in caramel sauce.  We instead had Camote in caramelized sugar again.  We also were served only 4 Tuna Sandwiches.  Kind of validates our suspicion that Set C was prepared for only 4 people.  What happened to the extra person?  Was he included in Set A? Why don’t you go back and count how many pork chops there were in the picture.
·         Discussion in the Deal Grocer site indicated a Deal Grocer representative as stating “Some people actually find that the lunch and merienda are filling enough to have just a v light snack for dinner.”
IV. Survivor Challenge / Island Hopping
·         Estimated cost based on Deal Grocer site and our research:  46,800 pesos for 4 pax.
Day 1:
·         Day 1 itinerary as indicated in Deal Grocer
·         The group from Manila arrived around 15:00 while the group from Cebu arrived around 17:00.
·         There was no welcome note directing us to report to a Game Master.
·         There was no Welcoming Rites.
·         We had to prod and ask for the briefing and welcoming rites several times.
·         Any of the staff we asked didn’t seem to know of such an activity happening for that night, strengthening our claim that the resort had no intentions of providing such an activity.
·         In addition, we were looking for the 20 performers that were suppose to welcome each survivor group as mentioned by the resort manager in her email.  Remember that bold line from her stating that the deal was “downplayed” by Deal Grocer?
·         Not only was it mentioned in the email, it is shamelessly being advertised at the resort’s Facebook page as well.
·         The resort manager sighted several times the rainy weather as an excuse.  Apparently there was no contingency or back up plan.
·         There are several covered areas in the resort that could have served as the venue if the resort had real intentions to deliver what was promised.
·         Due to our insistent prodding, a briefing of the next day’s activities was done by the Resort Manager after we had dinner.  She just stood at the edge of our table and spoke for about 3 minutes. 
·         Apparently the next day’s schedule and activities were very flexible.  Another sign that the resort didn’t really prepare a program for the Survivor Challenge Day.
Day 2:
·         Day 2 itinerary as indicated in Deal Grocer
·         Sample itinerary starts at 08:30.  On day 1, the resort manager said that their “Island hopping” usually starts at 09:00. 
·         Island hopping is quoted because that is how she referred to the Survivor Challenge Day.  And I’ll show you later on that that was exactly what they only intented to offer.
·         Since it was raining in the afternoons in San Vicente, we requested for an early start of 08:00 the previous day.  The request and idea came from us and not the resort.  We had the impression that the resort manager really wanted to start 09:00 am and not 08:00 but, we were happy that she obliged to our request.
·         We requested to pass by the Long Beach as well.
·         There was no Message in a Bottle activity.  Instead, we hiked to the tribal council and did the Maze challenge.  Our concern of heading out early so we can dodge the rain later in the afternoon was offset because of this activity.  Another sign of a lack of planning from the resort.
·         After the Maze Challenge we boarded the boat and headed for Long Beach.
·         We just passed by Long Beach.  We didn’t swim.  We didn’t dock.  We just watched it from afar for about 5 minutes.
·         We headed next to Exotic Island.  Just swam maybe an hour before our boatman/game master called us for supposedly another survivor game.  Our boatman/game master hid 40 eggs in shallow water and tasked each team to look for their corresponding eggs.  All in all the game took only about 5 minutes.
·         Our crew didn’t bring with them enough Snorkelling gear.  They probably only had 2 masks and 1 snorkel ready.  It was a good thing most of us brought our own gear.  I guess snorkelling gear is not part of this survivor package.  I wonder how the resort expected us to participate in the game without masks.  Due to lack of equipment, some of our team mates had to be content with looking for eggs in areas where the water level was only knee deep.
·         There were only 2 huts in the island.  The island seems to be public.  At first we occupied both huts.  After a few minutes though, another boat arrived and we had to vacate one of the cottages to give way to the new group.  Note that we bought 2 deal grocer coupons.  If we weren’t on the same group, would the 2 groups be forced to occupy the same hut? 
·         After lunch, we were informed that “if we wanted” to do another game we can challenge the teams to build the best shelter out of only the raw materials in the island.  We were dismayed and bored, we opted to skip this challenge and just head on to the next island.
·         The next island was the German island.  We just swam there.
·         We inquired about “Swimming with the Turtles” they only cited that it was difficult because of the weather.  If the weather was so difficult, then we shouldn’t have been out there in the first place.
·         There was no cook out challenge. 
·         There was also no cooling down at the water falls.
·         We were back in the resort by around 15:00. 
·         Finally a hint of planning and intent from the resort when they informed us that there will be an awarding ceremony at night.
·         Night time came, we had dinner.  The resort served an extra fish dish and said that it was complimentary.  Take it as the award for the winning team they said.  That was the whole awarding ceremony.
·         Was this all worth 46,800 pesos?
·         Note that on a separate email correspondence dated March 27, 2012, we asked the resort manager (Sharon Padua) how much the island hopping / snorkelling with the Turtles activity costs.  She wrote that it costs “P4500/day trip.”
·         Note that in El Nido, the whole day island hopping tours offered by El Nido Boutique is only at a maximum of 1,000 pesos per head (Tour C).  It’s 1,400 pesos per head for Tour A  if you take the Kayak with you.  These island hopping tours come with free lunch as well (pork barbecue, grilled fish, mixed veggies, rice).
·         Note that in El Nido, you can rent a private boat with lunch for a whole day for only about 4,000 pesos. 
·         Note that we bought 2 deal grocer coupons and the resort saved on both manpower and boat because we only took one boat.
V. Rooms
·         Very small rooms with poor amenities.  We can’t complain as we have been forewarned by the resort manager that it’s a “modest” resort.
·         One issue we had though was the fact that the extra person will have to sleep on a mattress that’s only laid on the floor.  Each bed in the resort is equipped with mosquito nets for good reason.  The extra bed will not have a mosquito net.  How can they oversee this need?
·         In addition, the rooms are so small that when you lay out the extra bed on the floor it will either block the doorway or the path going to the toilet already.  It’s not a very good situation to be in.
·         Shampoo and conditioner offered are mere L’Oreal sachets.  In most rooms, only one set was placed even though they knew 2 people were staying in the room.  We had to ask for extra.
VI. Other Concerns
·         Insistent prodding from the resort staff requesting that we check out early the next day.  First it was Let-let, a resort staff, who approached me after dinner the night before to inquire what time we planned to leave the next day.  When I informed her that we didn’t plan to leave until 11am she advised that we should leave earlier.  She informed me that the vans will be waiting as early as 8am.
·         On the day of our check out, another staff approaches one of my companions asking her if we could leave earlier like say around 10am.  She said the staff advised that we leave earlier so that we can drive in convoy with the other van carrying a different group of guests.  This was supposedly for safety reasons.  When in fact, I believe it would have been safer to leave at a later time to allow the roads to dry out a bit because it rained heavily around 6am during that day.  Besides, the other guests were passing by Long Beach.  An attraction we already have been to and are no longer interested in.
·         At around 10:30am, just about when we finished eating breakfast, the resort’s electricity shuts down.  The resort manager informed us that there was a black out.  We were beginning to feel unwelcomed.
·         A Korean contingent was checking in that day.  Could they be the reason for all the rush?
·         We finish packing and finally board the van that was to take us to Puerto Princesa.  It was in the resort since 8 am.  When we boarded the van, we couldn’t understand why the driver wouldn’t still drive.  As it turned out, the air conditioning was busted.  He informed us that it was busted and that we should open the windows on our way to Puerto Princesa.  What?  There was nobody from the resort at the parking area to attend to us. 
·         This was when I had to go back inside the resort to look for the manager and ask for a new van.  Nobody checked the air conditioning all the time the van was parked in the resort.
·          After a few calls, the resort manager informed us that a replacement van would be coming in 5 to 10 minutes.  At this time, the resort manager is already passing on the blame to the van company.
·         A man arrives on board a motorcycle.  I thought he was a mechanic.  It turns out he has planning to hitch a ride back to Puerto Princesa with our van.  What?
·         The replacement van doesn’t arrive until 45 minutes later.
·         But before the replacement van arrived, I make a passing remark asking Sharon to turn the electricity back on.  By some miracle, the electricity turns back on and we were allowed to wait inside our rooms with the air conditioning on.  Could it be that there was no black out after all? It certainly looked that way. 
·         The replacement van that arrived was from a different van company.  It was from Fort Wally, a van service known to transport passengers publicly.  It was stinky and dirty.  Dried mud were present not only on the floor but on the seat covers as well.  The windshield mirror had a crack on it. 
·         Due to the delay in van arrival, we lost the time to stop somewhere and leisurely take our lunch.  We had to do everything in a rush.
·         Furthermore, upon arrival at the airport, to our embarrassment, the van driver asked us for the payment.  Apparently, they weren’t informed on who would be paying them.
VII. Conclusion
The lack of intent to provide what was promised as a unique “Survivor experience” was very obvious from day one.  The resort’s idea of a Survivor experience was to organizing a few games together with an island hopping experience.  Except for the tribal council structure which we just visited, there were no banners, no set ups to contribute in providing a Survivor ambiance. 
If what we got was all that was intended by the resort for the deal, then the deal is grossly overpriced.  We could have gone on our own without buying Deal Grocer coupons and it would have costs us less or probably just about the same amount.  We chose the resort for the single reason to be able to experience the Survivor getaway that is currently being offered only by Capari Resort.  If we simply wanted to go island hopping and snorkelling, we would have chosen a different destination.

We have been to all kinds of resorts from all over the Philippines (from Davao all the way to Batanes).  If it were only for the inconveniences, we would have been able to get over them in just a few hours.  We encounter inconveniences on every single trip.  We've learned to accept them.  It is the lies, the deceit, and the lack of intent to provide that bothers us most.