Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Down with Dumaguete in Alluring Antulang

Hu-waw Philippines!!!

Fresh from the mysticism of Siquijor, we hied ourselves off to Dumaguete and trekked southwards to the paradise resort that is Antulang.

Nestled on a cliff with the beach just a couple of steps down, Antulang is a glorious ten hectare space that spells rest and recreation. This spectacular expanse puts every inch into good use. Wild and brilliant boungavillas in full bloom bedecks the entire place and makes Antulang come alive.

The views from different points of the resort are all extremely splendid and majestic. The sunset view from the cliff is a sight to behold as every shade from hues of rose to cobalt blue to champagne gold of the color wheel comes to play and gives off a spectacular sight.

purple rocks

Travelers are in for a real treat if they're lucky to chance upon the time of the year in Antulang when in the same horizon, the sun sets as the moon rises.

The famed marine sanctuary Apo Island sparkles from a distance and its' haziness only gives off hints of the splendor that the island possesses.


Antulang is one of those swimming pool-rich resorts but have done away with of those gaudily designed ones. Their saltwater infinity pool is in itself a spanking sight as it gives off a view where the pool seems to flow continuously to the shining sea beyond it. Just next to this swanky pool is the super deep Dive Pool where the gracious and fun Jonathan the Diving Instructor teaches his willing, water-loving students.

infinity pool
Our Antulang visit was over 3 years ago and pity that whilst the duration of our stay there, the bigger pool was still under construction. But from the looks of it, the pool was constructed to go around a huge part of the resort a la moat type. So many pools! There are even villas you can stay at with your own private dazzling swimming pool! Oh and their rooms are just lovely with really sweet views of sea, should you choose that option. Private cabanas offer guests the isolation and seclusion they need with their own marvelous backdrop of the stunning sea, plus a private jacuzzi or a pool to boot.

hot tub


While Antulang's very own house reef is bustling with an amazing display of rich marine life where divers can spot and name a variety of sea creatures from A to Z, the waters by the shore are really no place for little kids to wade and play around in as the waves can get pretty big and the current strong. So just be sure to keep a keen and careful eye on them.

*photo by Carlo Dionisio

Kain, Rice Table!


Located along the first level of the south wing of Mall of Asia (facing the bay), this resto can be tempting to try as the interiors spell tastefully done. Despite the clean and white facade plus a rather good selection of furnishings, do not let your eyes be deceived. Presentation has its purposes.

The emptiness of the place should've given away the fact that their food sucked. Yes, the photos might look alluring and delicious but it all stops there. Schnapps to The Rice Table though for presentation efforts and for the concept of the Rice Table Set where a pair (or plus one) can easily sample 12 different dishes in super small servings at a fair price.

We really wouldn't have minded the miniscule servings in each plate since altogether they can make your belly burst, but the food isn't really anything more special than your typical cafeteria meals. Yeah the food is palatable but nowhere near cuisine, Asian or whatever. So it's totally not all its sparked up to be.

For starters though, the complimentary prawn crackers were a delight. Served with a hot chili dip Southeast Asian-style, these fritters were enjoyable to munch on. But aside from that, everything else was Bah with a capital B.

The Rice Table starts you off with 2 of the 12 meals, a brothy and gingery soup concoction that isn't really anything to rave about, save for that amusing slice of corn that one can easily nibble on.

As you slurp your soup down, the waiters bring in the medley of dishes that's supposed to impress the hungry diner. But ah, the expectant palate awaits, only to be disappointed.

On this side of the table holds the chicken satay, pork in some sauce, and a tofu omelet. I'd hardly even call that chicken satay -- skewered chicken popcorn plated with a lousy excuse for a satay sauce, nothing more than what tastes like poor watered-down peanut butter. There are about 5-6 small pieces of pork in that other plate, but the meat is only about 30% of one piece, with pig fat composing the rest of the 70%. The sauce, well, it's forgettable. The tofu omelet could've passed as yummy and tasty if it wasn't swimming in the glorious cooking oil it was fried in.

This foursome here includes a cucumber salad, an eggplant dish, beef curry and vegetable curry. A cucumber salad isn't really hard to do, it's a simple mixture of vinegar, a bit of water and some sugar to sweeten it. So I really can't understand why their dish failed, it was as bland as bland can be and the cucumber slices were wilted and mushy to the touch. The eggplant dish can be labeled as tasty, but nothing out of the ordinary. I was annoyed by the curry dishes! I looooove curry, I love how it can be a melting pot of flavors and spices, I love the colors, the scent, the taste, I love curry! So in that regard, Rice Table's curry dishes are not curry. We were robbed of the powerful intensity of flavors that a curry dish can bring. These were weak and watery. We were more annoyed because the "beef curry" seemed to be just the same curry base as that of the vegetables', only they put in two chunks of dry flavorless beef, which weren't even coated with the sauce. They just stood there all dry and bored. Annoying!

Finally, this side here holds a plateful of cold and chewy dilis which we were expecting to be at least crispy, some Pandan Chicken that we thought could've saved the meal because of one small juicy piece, and the Vietnamese spring rolls which weren't anything more than a layers of fried wrapper with hardly any filling in it. The Nasi Goreng was not Nasi Goreng as I've come to know it. The Rice Table's version of this flavorful rice dish is just soy-sauced long-grain rice. Booooring!

So yes, that's quite a mouthful of what I have to rant about. Their saving grace? The gracious and attentive service staff... and maybe their interiors as well.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

World Light Expo! Part 3


Look up! Towers and lanterns.

World Light Expo 2007 promises to wow your eyes with a fantastic spectacle of multi-colored lights showcased through structures of all shapes and sizes. Find yourself in a vicarious trip around the world,

as you enter through Tiananmen Square
tian'an men square

nine heaven tower
and pass through temples and Chinese towers.

japanese banquet hall

You can choose your favorite lantern,

pick one

circle around,

crimson bubblers

and then make a wish.


dancing dames
Go to a neighboring South East Asian country,


beauty of the fan
and then check out Japan.

changing into crocodile

*details and information on the expo can be found here

World Light Expo! Part 2


The World Light Expo artist made sure that the minutest of details were well taken care of. Not an inch was spared from the fine craftsmanship.


carp leaping into dragon's gate - all ceramic

This carp moves!

mini teacups


made of glass medicine bottles

This turkey is made from little glass bottles holding colored liquid inside.

fanned out peacock

phoenix frolicking with the peony
Phoenix frolicking with a Peony




100-metre Ceramic Dragon

ceramic scales

Another very detailed work of art. This 100-meter dragon is made of plates, tea cups and bowls. The light glazes the white and blue ceramic to give the masterpiece its elemental glow.

plated & teacupped dragon



*details and information on the expo can be found here

World Light Expo! Part 1


Pack your shades, bring your map, pocket a flashlight, we're in the Philippines and it's time to hunt for the world's light expo!


Grandiose walkways


Make sure you have your camera on bulb setting.

light delight

Even the food court is fully lit up!

magical medley

jelly lights

The second set of neon arches.



water screen plaza

The fountain acts as a mist screen for a theatrical water show.

candy cornucopia

Global trekking, anyone? Lets hop on over to......

french connection
Paris's Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame

london bridge?
No need to take the ferry to the UK as the London Bridge is just a couple of steps away

hard rock memorabilia
Hard Rock Cafe can't be more than hours away.

a cd christmas
New York for Christmas at Rockefeller Center


The World Light Expo is hard to miss. Just head down (or up depends where you are coming from) Diosdado Macapagal Avenue and you're bound to be greeted with a magical display of lights around the corner. Its towards the intersection of Roxas Blvd. and Airport Rd. around the corner right across Uniwide Coastal Mall. Cough up Php300 (200 for kids) and be ready to enter a world of bioluminescent jelly beans.

Note: In the admission guide flyer it states: "-- adult - over 4 feet Php 300" (we are in Asia, there are adults below 4-feet, just take a look at the President.)

Expect more attractions when the park formally opens (we got first dibs, haha) on the 23rd of February. The too-cold-for-our-own-good negative-18 degrees Centigrade Ice World (!!!) holds ambient-lit ice sculptures big and small. Another thing to hold your breath for is the showcasing of one of the World's mysteries --- the Chinese Terracotta Army --- specially kept and protected in a huge tent. But, prepare to pay an additional fee to get in.

Careful as your jaw drops as the Chinese-certified Circus performs wild stunts on the center stage. Catch them Korean B-Boys over at the Dance Plaza as they give you a dose break dancing and eastern style serving. Any light expo in the world wouldn't be complete without a fireworks display so be sure to catch this part of the program. One corner of the park holds a huge and wide fountain where there is an hourly water show. So head on over to that side and be amazed as the mist screen comes alive with dancing fountains and lights.