Friday, April 28, 2017

Off the Bucket List: Cliff Diving at Sugong Cave, Bagac, Bataan

Most people have a bucket list which is a number of experiences which they hope to achieve within their lifetime. The things on the bucket list can be as simple as 'learn how to bike' and 'bake a cake' or they can be quite challenging like 'climb the highest mountain peak' or 'go cage diving with great white sharks'. Some people try to complete their lists intentionally, especially if they have the luxury of time and the stash of money to start off with. But sometimes, opportunities to check off something on the bucket list come by unknowingly and the decision to do it relies on your willingness to just grab it.
Pride in the past, hope for the future. Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a must-see in Bataan.
The latter just happened to One Valenzuela and she was grateful to check off  'cliff diving' in her bucket list through a side trip at Sugong Cave, Bagac, Bataan during their organization's annual seminar and team building at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Located at Bagac, Bataan, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is a great place to stay in. The marriage of Filipino history through the houses built in the place and the beauty of the West Philippine Sea will make you proud of your roots and comfort your tired soul as well (You can check out more of the beautiful photos that One Valenzuela snapped here on this Instagram account).
Clear waters of the West Philippine Sea
Boats in Sugong Cave, Bagac, Bataan
Some bloggers described Sugong Cave to be a '20-feet up' high cavern and as a cave 'where in you can cliff jump non-stop'. One Valenzuela thinks that it is a perfect cliff for newbies like her to jump from. Not too high which will make many queasy and not too low to say that it is just a piece of cake.
To jump or not to jump?
Swim in the clear waters of the cave after taking the jump off the cliff. Always practice precautionary measures when doing such an activity. 
Looks low? You'd think twice when you're already working your way up there.
Cliff jumping will make you hungry. You can buy some snacks and cashew nuts from this store.
Celebrating the jump with some ube and gabi ice cream of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (Php35.00 per scoop).

How was the experience? Well, the climb up the cliff is a bit tricky for people like One Valenzuela who have blurry vision but the climb is achievable without her glasses together with a few helpful friends to guide her on the way up. Looking over the cliff, her heart beat raced a bit. Remembering Will Smith's line 'On the other side of your maximum fear are all of the best things in life', One Valenzuela took a big breath in, jumped, and did the pencil dive (a basic technique where you jump straight like a pencil into the water).

With One Valenzuela still grinning in front of the computer screen, the 'buwis-buhay' experience was worth it.
How to Get There:
Since One Valenzuela went to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar via rented bus, she looked at other blogs which may help in navigating your way to Bagac, Bataan. From 'In the Eyes of a Traveler', the author mentioned that one has to take a Genesis or Bataan Transit Bus going to Balanga and then take a jeepney or mini-bus bound to Bagac. Ride a tricycle bound to Barangay Pag-asa beach area where you can hire a boat to go to Sugong Cave.

Have a wonderful summer, Valenzuelanos!
#travellocal #travelph #pinasmuna

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Finding Tranquility and Togetherness: D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds at Barangay Tagalag, Valenzuela City

Over the long vacation last week, One Valenzuela was able to roam around the city once again. One of the things that she really love about living in Valenzuela City is that you can have the best of both the urban and rural worlds. By going to the neighboring barangays of Coloong, Bisig, and Tagalag, you will have that rustic feel of the countryside, being surrounded with water and fishponds. D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds of Brgy. Tagalag is one of the go-to places of anglers and families alike who want to have a quick fishing trip without leaving Metro Manila.
D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds' main entrance is surrounded by bamboo. From here, guests ride a ferry to go to the cabanas, kubo, and the pavilion.
Ferry to the cabanas, kubo, and pavilion. (Photo Credit: D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds)
D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds is one of the fruits of the Tojino's toils in the United States, working for 35 years with Sir Alex as a general contractor and Mommy Lu as an interior designer. "He likes to live by the water," Mommy Lu described her husband. Hailing from Malabon, they both find Tagalag's waters and the city's peace and order inviting to retirees like them.  They acquired the fishpond nestled beside the Polo River way back in 2006 as a place to stay when they are in the Philippines. They eventually opened the two-acre wide D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds in 2013 to the public, sharing the serenity that Tagalag's fishponds bring and the fun in catching fish which can be cooked straight out of the water through D' Cove's paluto service.

D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds' calm waters are indeed welcoming.
Video Credit: D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds

After the ferry ride, guests walk along the bamboo bridge which connects the cabanas of D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds. 
Bangus, tilapia, bidbid, kitang, and biya can be caught in the waters of D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds. As of this writing, tilapia goes for Php70 per kilo while bangus is priced at Php100 per kilo. Sir Alex intends to introduce Pangasius (cream dory), a large type of freshwater fish, which will excite serious anglers who want to experience a bit more fishing action. While the fingerlings are growing, anglers can have a go and try to catch large bidbids (lady fish). If you catch a bidbid which weighs two kilos or more, you get the fish and a t-shirt from D' Cove for free!
A large bidbid (lady fish).
With the entrance fee of Php60.00 per head, you can already go fishing in one of the regular-sized cabanas. Together with Mommy Lu and Sir Aboy, One Valenzuela went around the cabanas which are already occupied by guests. There were small families, a tourist from the United Kingdom, several groups of friends, and anglers. Some guests were from Manila and Quezon City while some were Valenzuela City residents.
Video of D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds taken from a cabana.

The De Jesus family from Baesa, Quezon City was invited by a good friend from Valenzuela to fish at D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds. They are occupying a larger cabana (Php1,500.00). Regular-sized cabanas come free with the entrance fee.
Choose where to stay among the cabanas of D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds and go fishing with the family. For those who do not have fishing rods, D' Cove has simple bamboo rods which can be rented at Php10.00 each. As for bait, D' Cove has masa which you can buy(Php20.00).
Sir Greg and Kuya Boche are regulars here. They said that they were able to catch about ten kilos of fish the last time they were at D'Cove. 
For larger groups, D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds also has floating carousels  which are in the middle of the fishpond (Php500.00, capacity of up to 8 persons), two kubo or nipa huts  which have their own deck, bathroom, and kitchen (Php3,000/day), as well as a pavilion equipped with videoke, bathroom, kitchen, and a water dispenser (Php4,000/day).
D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds, Tagalag, Valenzuela City, Philippines
The large kubo has a bedroom, a comfort room, and a kitchen with a personal refrigerator and stove. Don't want to cook? Other than the paluto, you can also order set meals at D' Cove which already include rice and a viand.
For larger groups, you may rent D' Cove's Pavilion (Php4,000). 
Mommy Lu Tojino and Sir Aboy of D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds. Salamat po for the wonderful stories and the tour around D' Cove. 
Sir Aboy painted the birds and other images that you will find in D' Cove.

The warmth of Tagalag's community radiates through the simplest smiles.  
Before leaving D' Cove, One Valenzuela had to ask the reason behind the name. Mommy Lu explained further that coves are sheltered bays which evoke serenity. "Do you feel it as well?" she asked back. Looking at the water and feeling the gentle winds of Tagalag, One Valenzuela gave a simple nod and answered, "yes". A fishing trip with family and friends at D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds blends in the tranquility one don't get in the bustling workplace and the fun of togetherness while casting the reels into the water.   

Salamat po, Sir Alex and Mommy Lu of D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds for having One Valenzuela. Let us support local, have fun fishing in Valenzuela City!

D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds
Address: No. 209 Tagalag Road, Barangay Tagalag, Valenzuela City
Fishing Hours: 7:00am to 5:00pm, daily
Contact Number/s: (02) 921-0468 / (02)401-5581 / (02)400-8683 / (+63)999-1580542 (Vheck)
Visit D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds on their website here or their Facebook page here.
D' Cove Pavilion and Fishing Grounds is on Waze! For those commuting from McArthur Highway, you have two options (1) ride a tricycle at Malanday (tricycle terminal near 7-Eleven) to go straight to D' Cove or (2) ride a jeepney going to Polo and ask the driver to drop you at Barangay Bisig. Once there, you can ride a tricycle or a pedicab.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Welcome Home: Papito's Food House of Barangay Rincon, Valenzuela City

Papito's Food House is a new food spot to eatsplore in Rincon, Valenzuela City. The Cuevas family opened their home to provide good food to be enjoyed by everyone, especially Valenzuelanos, this April 2, 2017 and mainly serves as their way of honoring their parents. If you are a Valenzuela resident, you will definitely be familiar with the Cuevas Bakery branches in the city. Demetrio M. Cuevas, Sr., their father, is the founder of the bakery which was established way back in 1972.

Papito's Food House: Opening one's home to serve good comfort food.
Being a home to the Cuevas' for so many years, one will feel the warm connection that the place brings to its guests. While waiting for the orders to arrive, reading the story behind Papito's will give you a better understanding and appreciation of the family's history:
"Ang Papito ay salitang Espanyol na ang ibig sabihin sa Tagalog ay 'Lolo'. Ito ang tawag ng mga apo sa aming ama na si G. Demetrio M. Cuevas Sr. na mas kilala sa tawag na 'Ka Metring'. Si Ka Metring o Papito para sa kanyang mga apo ay isinilang sa Cuenca, Batangas noong ika-10 ng Nobyembre 1941. Sa hirap ng buhay ay hindi siya pinalad na makapagtapos ng pag-aaral kaya't sa murang  edad ay napilitan siyang makipagsapalaran sa Maynila at namasukan bilang isang panadero at taga-rasyon ng pan de sal. Dito niya nakilala si Bb. Mila L. Vargas. Sila ay nagpakasal noong Mayo 24, 1965. Si Ginang Mila V. Cuevas na aming ina ay tinawag namang 'Momita' ng kanyang mga apo. Sila ay biniyayaan ng walong mga anak na ngayon ay sama-samang namamahala sa hanapbuhay na sinimulan nina Papito at Momita. Si Ka Metring o Papito ay nangarap na magkaroon ng sariling negosyo kaya't kahit nanghihiran lang ng mga gamit sa kanyang kapatid ay nagawa nilang makapagsimula ng isang panaderya o bakery na sa kalaunan ay pinangalanan niyang Cuevas Bakery." 
Papito is the Spanish word for grandfather (Lolo in Filipino).
"Siya (Demetrio Cuevas Sr.) ang nagtatag ng Cuevas Bakery noong 1972 sa Karuhatan, Valenzuela, Bulacan na ngayon ay isa nang maunlad na lungsod. Ipinagpatuloy namin ito bilang Cuevas Bakeshop dahil ito ang hanapbuhay na ipinamana ng aming butihing mga magulang. Hindi man sila nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral ay naituro naman nila sa amin kung paano magsumikap, mabuhay ng marangal, may pagkilala sa Diyos, at may pagmamalasakit sa kapwa. Bilang pagkilala sa aming mga magulang ay itinatag namin ang negosyong ito, ang Papito's Food House, at sinimulan sa ipinamana nilang tahanan dito sa #3 Don Pablo Subdivision, Rincon Road, Malinta, Valenzuela City bilang pagpupugay sa kabutihan at pagmamahal nila sa aming magkakapatid."  
Papito's Food House is a place were you can bring your family and friends to catch up on life while sipping some lomi soup or enjoying a bowl of mami.
Life is a one time offer. Use it well. A piece of advice grandfathers will share to their grandchildren.
Papito's menu includes lugaw and goto with the typical side dishes like tokwa't baboy and lumpiang prito, short orders of pancit, silog meals, sizzling dishes, and a variety of cold and hot drinks. Asking Miss Ona, bestsellers which one should try are their lomi (Php75.00) and beef pares (Php70.00). The chicken mami (Php30.00) and beef mami (Php35.00) are also recommended.

Beef pares at Papito's Food House (Php70.00 per order). The beef melts in your mouth and the sauce is very savory. 
One Valenzuela was really happy with this big bowl of lomi (Php70.00). It was full of chicharon, pieces of liver, and veggies. Demetrio Cuevas Sr., 'Papito', hails from Batangas and this bowl of lomi is reminiscent of the said province. 
The mango graham milkshake is served on a tall glass (Php35.00). A good drink to beat the summer heat.
Admittedly, eating at Papito's Food House reminded One Valenzuela of her lola and the dishes she lovingly prepared in the kitchen. The food and the place evoke the feeling of being with one's grandparents, of being with family, of being at home.  

Papito's Food House
Address: No. 3 Don Pablo Street, Barangay Rincon, Valenzuela City (Corrected Address; Landmark: Street with Cuevas Bakery)
Open Hours: 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, daily
Contact Number: (02)956-6586
For updates, like Papito's Food House on Facebook here.

Via public transportation: You may (1) ride a tricycle at the terminal in Malinta Market or (2) flag one of the tricycles plying the Dan Kariton Street from McArthur Highway (Landmarks of Dan Kariton Street are Buboy's Lugawan and Philippine Business Bank, a few meters walk from Puregold). 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Like Being with Family: Ading's Resort of Brgy. Lingunan, Valenzuela City

Water is your best friend when summer comes around the corner. With school work almost over and the long vacation nearing, One Valenzuela visited a resort in Valenzuela City which you may want to take a dip in with your families and friends. 

Ading's, aptly named after the father of the family-owned resort, is located at Barangay Lingunan, Valenzuela City. The resort is already open to the public for two years now. It has three well-sized pools: one big pool with natural stones which keep the water warm even on cold night time swimming, another big pool which you typically see in most resorts, and a smaller pool for kids. All three pools have slides which is great for people who love taking the plunge! 
Guests of Ading's Resort together with Ate Teresa

Landscape shot of Ading's Resort (taken from the highest point of the slides)

Video of Ading's Resort (taken from the highest peak of the slides)

One Valenzuela visited on a weekday afternoon this April, thus, not much people are around. Additionally, Ading's is prepping the pools in time for night swimming. This gave her more time to talk to the owners and go around the resort. Knowing that the pools are regularly cleaned is a big plus since the water of swimming pools should be monitored continuously to keep them fit for swimming, especially during summer when more people flock resorts to beat the heat. 
The natural pool has araal stones which absorb heat. These stones keep the pool water warm even at night and during the cold season. Ate Teresa says that guests love this pool even on the cold months of the year.
Hey there's a huge frog! Here's the kiddie pool slide of Ading's Resort. The pool is 3 feet deep.
The big pools of Ading's Resort are 4 to 5 feet and 5 to 6 feet deep. 
The nipa huts at Ading's Resort are priced as follows: small nipa (Php500; Good for 10 persons), medium nipa (Php750; Good for 15 persons), and big nipa (Php1,500). For smaller groups, Ading's also has tables which go for Php300 each and is already good for 6 persons.
Having the chance to talk to the Barcelinos, One Valenzuela learned of their simple beginnings even before they had their water supply business and then eventually move towards building the Ading's Resort. Ate Teresa advised that we should give importance to the smallest centavo (pahalagahan ang sentimo) and remain humble. Talking with Ate Teresa of Ading's Resort gave One Valenzuela the impression of being with family, combining fun and comfort in one place.
Open air showers of Ading's Resort. It also has several comfort rooms which are regularly cleaned.
One Valenzuela liked this view of the grilling area at Ading's Resort. 
Salamat po, Ading's Resort for having One Valenzuela. Enough of the writing, let's go swimming!

Ading's Resort
Address: 518 F. Dulalia Street, Barangay Lingunan, Valenzuela City
Contact Number: (02)443-5756

Rates as of April 2017:
Day Swimming Rates (8:00am to 5:00pm)- Adult (Php150); Kid (Php100)
Night Swimming Rates (7:00pm to 2:00am)- Adult (Php180); Kid (Php130)
For updates, like Ading's Resort on Facebook here.

How to Go to Ading's Resort (Via Public Transportation):
If you are coming from Malinta Exit, look for the ICALAPUPA TODA tricycle terminal at the Valenzuela Gateway Complex. The tricycle ride is about Php15.00 per person. 

If you are coming from McArthur Highway, ask the jeepney driver to drop you at Cuevas Bakery at Barangay Dalandanan (you will see a Mini Stop Convenient Store at the other side of the road). Look for the BVRL TODA tricycle terminal. The tricycle ride is about Php12.00 per person. 

Do note that the tricycles should drop you at the entrance gate of the Ading's Resort and should enter F. Dulalia Street (papasok sa loob ng F. Dulalia Street).
This store which has the Ading's Resort signage is your landmark to the street going to Ading's Resort. For those driving to the resort, the best landmark is the Lingunan National High School.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Eatsploring Lee Hong Kong Panciteria at Mabolo, Valenzuela City

Browsing through the many photos that One Valenzuela saved in the recent months, she clicked a folder which held several shots of a restaurant in Barangay Mabolo named Lee Hong Kong Panciteria. She made that visit one December evening last year, during the long vacation. Lee Hong Kong Panciteria can be easily spotted in the barangay because of its yellow paint and it being situated in a location where public utility vehicles also pass by. 
Lee Hong Kong Panciteria at Barangay Mabolo.  
One Valenzuela remembered roaming around the old restaurant, looking at several small photographs of people in frames hanging on the wall, while waiting for their order to come. Who are these people? How she wished to know more about them and those good memories made in the restaurant! The waiter whom she tried to ask did not know that much about how old the place is. He said that it is definitely a long standing restaurant in Mabolo. He mentioned a few lines with the word "Macao", but One Valenzuela was not able to take down notes.
Some interesting framed photographs hang on the wall of Lee Hong Kong Panciteria. Surely, good memories. 
You will know that Lee Hong Kong Panciteria offers a lot of dishes just by looking at its menu. There are beef, chicken, pork, seafood, vegetable, and sizzling dishes. Several kinds of soups, noodles, sandwiches, and pulutan are also on the list. Price-wise, the restaurant is certainly pocket-friendly. The waiter recommended the Hong Kong chicken. The chicken, blanketed with thick and savory sauce, took the attention of One Valenzuela. 
Silog list at Lee Hong Kong Panciteria on the entrance of Lee Hong Kong Panciteria. You should check their menu inside for more dishes.

Some fried rice (Php20.00) and crisp veggies in the chopsuey (Php100.00).
A notable dish of Lee Hong Kong Panciteria. You should order this Hong Kong chicken when you go there 
(Php140.00, half order).
Just this March, she tried to look for some information on the web about the restaurant but she did not find anything factual and significant other than being cited in the Valenzuela City Government's official website: "Known landmarks in the area [Mabolo] include the San Roque Chapel, Miriam School, and a branch of the Hong Kong Panciteria". Through a question posted in social media, somebody commented that she like the restaurant's pancit canton and sisig tofu. Somebody recommended the pata tim. Somebody said that local politicians eat there during the feast of San Roque. Another commented that it is probably about 30 years old since it has been there way, way back even before they were born.

With the photo of the Hong Kong chicken that One Valenzuela had on that December evening and the Valenzuelanos who gave their thoughts about Lee Hong Kong Panciteria, she longed to visit it on another day. And she did.

Lee Hong Kong Panciteria 
Customers waiting for their takeout order. The place gets a lot of foot traffic on fiestas.
This time around, One Valenzuela tried the pata tim which a Valenzuelano recommended. The sauce of the pata tim is simialr with the Hong Kong chicken which she had before and it feels like reliving the experience. While eating, a kind-looking elderly woman entered the main door. Later on, One Valenzuela learned that she is Mrs. Zennie Deato-Lee, the owner of the restaurant. She said that she and her late husband (a Macao; of Fukien decent) began serving Valenzuelanos good and affordable food way back in 1972. "Pang-masa talaga ang presyo," Mrs. Lee mentioned. Their restaurant was once named Fiesta Grande and was located along McArthur Highway in Barangay Malanday. Eventually, the restaurant transferred to Barangay Mabolo in 1986. If you do the Math, that's a total of 45 years since 1972! 
Camaron rebusado (Php120.00) and a bowl of fried rice (php100.) 
Lee Hong Kong Panciteria's pata tim (Php180.00, half order). Other than the food in the photos, Mrs. Lee recommended that one should try the pancit as well.
Good food gives lasting memories yet knowing more about the toils to come up with what one eats will help deepen the appreciation. It is going beyond what is served on the plate. Thus, One Valenzuela hopes that Valenzuelanos will leave some comments below to share those memories of eating in the said restaurant and eventually build up a shared food community history.  

Lee Hong Kong Panciteria
Address: No. 39 M.H. Del Pilar Street, Barangay Mabolo, Valenzuela City
Tel. No.: (02)961-4984
Open Hours: 9:30am to 9:00pm, daily (confirmed via phone call)