Saturday, May 30, 2015

Starbucks Naga: Milk Dunkin' Cookie Bonding

Starbucks Naga 
 Milk- Dunkin' Cookie Bonding

My family is a Starbucks fan but we always order
our food to go and we never really go there to dine
as we didn’t want to waste our time doing nothing
worthwhile as it is not a full dining restaurant.

We have also thought that the kids are too
young to laze and be idle, lounging around
in a coffee shop  with caffeine- drinking adults.

We only get to enjoy Starbucks whenever we are
out of the country as there is nothing comforting
than a hot cup of coffee in a bitingly cold weather.

^^Starbucks Excalibur, Las Vegas

But last weekend, I had a chance to bond with
my young son at Starbucks Naga, while waiting
for our turn for our haircut in a barbershop.

 Cropped from SOURCE

The queue was rather long and instead of wasting our time
in the barbershop, we drove to the nearby Starbucks to
enjoy my favorite book with a glass of Red Iced Tea,
a refreshing summer treat as it was too hot for a coffee.

…and a creamy and yummy Honey Glazed Donut.

While Timothy had a huge
Choco- Chip Almond Cookie,

…which he dunked in a glass of warm fresh milk,  just like
the way he does every time he eats his cookie at home.

…and what a wonderful time we had.

I guess we would visiting Starbucks  frequently in
the future, for more milk- dunking cookie bonding.

Read the link below for related post:

Travel Café, Magsaysay Avenue: The Case of Milk Disappearing Cookie

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Jack’s Blue Plate Magsaysay: Good Food Comes to the Strip

Jack’s Blue Plate Magsaysay 
Good Food Comes to the Strip 

It was a welcome respite for Naguenos when 
Jack’s Blue Plate Diner opened up a branch at
the Magsaysay Strip as it brought the restaurant
closer to good food lovers based in Naga City.

Although we have already dined for so many times
in Jack’s Blue Plate Diner in Pili, it was our first
time to dine on Jack’s Blue Plate Magsaysay branch.

They have a different set of menu in this restaurant with the
other  two branches, the one in Pili being a diner, while the
Jack’s Blue Plate Express in Panganiban is a fast- food.

We started our dinner with a delicious Corn Soup,

…and what came next are some of the best tasting dishes
found only in one of  the best restaurants, in this part of
the world. From the tasty and spicy Hot Chicken Wings,

…to the full slab of Baby Back Ribs.  These two
dishes  are some of the best reasons why people
kept on coming back to Jack’s Blue Plate Diner.

Ginger Chicken is something that is new on the menu.
It was love at first bite for me for this dish as I loved
the sweetish- tangy dish with a gingery caustic after taste.

I found the Strawberry Shortcake a little bit sour,

…but the Apple Pie is to die for. Just for this
sweet treat alone it would be worthwhile to keep
on returning to Jack’s Blue Plate again and again.

Each Jack Blue Plate Magsasysay dinner comes with
 a complimentary  serving of perfectly brewed coffee.

Having one of our favorite restaurants nearby is a
 welcome addition to the famous Magsaysay Strip.

 Read the links below for related posts: 

 Jack's Blue Plate Diner, Best Burgers in Bicol
  Jack’s Blue Plate Diner: Death by Burger Combo
 Jack's Blue Plate Diner: Fresh Lobster, Heavenly Lobster 
Jack’s Blue Plate Diner: Delicious Food to Crave For, To Die For.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pasacao, CamSur’s Summer Capital: Filthy and Garbage Strewn Balogo Beaches

Pasacao, CamSur’s Summer Capital 
Filthy and Garbage Strewn Balogo Beaches 

Warning: Looks can be deceiving!!!
Beyond this idyllic picture perfect scenery-

…is a garbage strewn beach,
with all kinds of trash,

…floating in the frothy, murky and filthy sea water.

This is Balogo in Pasacao, a popular
summer destination in CamSur,

…and an environmental nightmare
happening right before our very eyes.


It was a spur of the moment decision to go to Pasacao, when we
all woke up early on a warm Sunday weekend summer morning.

We left Naga City at exactly 6 AM, then dropped by
a 7- Eleven Store to buy some food and coffee to go,

…and off we went to Balogo, Pasacao.
We arrived before 7 AM and decided to stop
at the Maria Maruja Hotel and Resort, the
very first beach front resort we saw on our way. 


Maria Maruja Hotel and Resort, is a small but a pretty neat 
beach side resort in Balogo. It has an ample parking space,

…and offers beach side cabanas,

… air conditioned cottages,

…and hotel rooms with a view.

We do not intend to stay overnight as we would
be leaving by noon time but we decided to get a
cottage where we could leave our valuables.

It is a rather tiny, air- conditioned room, with a single bed,

…a corner table,

…and a clean toilet.

Nothing fancy- just clean basic room with no additional amenities, 
no towels and no toiletries. A room not  big enough to accommodate 
a family for four for an overnight stay, but affordable and good enough
 to serve as huge locker and dressing room  to  keep our valuables 
safe and  keep us  worry- free as well, while we frolic on the beach.

We also rented a cabana where we could
keep  our food and eat when we get hungry.

Basically, there's  nothing really extraordinary that I would rave and  blather 
deliriously about Maria Maruja Resort , but it is tidy, budget friendly and
most of all, a decent and safe place to stay and spend a day in Pasacao. 

 Stray and Play
Balogo, Pasacao

Balogo in Pasacao would have been an ideal tropical
paradise located less than an hour drive from Naga City,

…as it had a wide stretch of golden sandy beaches, peaceful and
calm water, shallow enough making it safe for swimming even for kids.

It is a picture perfect and rustic beach where
the scenery is  dominated by the striking and
eye- catching Duruanak Island in the horizon.

Though pictures may paint a thousand words,
it may also give false illusions and be deceptive.

On a closer look, Balogo’s long and wide stretch
of golden beach is a sickening picture of neglect
and repulsive sight of ghastly environmental abuse.

The beach is strewn with all kinds of
non- biodegradable filth and garbage,

…the water was dark and murky, and also filled 
with floating non- biodegradable plastic wastes 
left by environmentally irresponsible tourists.

The water was coated with what appears to be a thin film  of oil.
Kids had only one word to say about the waters of Balogo- YUCKKKY.

Swimming in the waters of Balogo reminded me of the movie teaser of
Jaws that says, “…just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water”,

 Cropped from: Source

…while it is a killer shark that frightens the swimmers in the popular movie,
the pollution at the beaches of Balogo is even more dreadful and terrifying.
Swimming in the garbage infested Balogo waters is not safe at all.

Duruanak Island

Since we thought it wasn’t safe for the kids to swim in the water anymore,
we decided to rent a motorboat to take us to the nearby Duruanak Island.

Duruanak Island is a rock island that serves
as an iconic landmark for the town of Pasacao.

It is less than 30 minutes boat ride away,

…and the transition from the foamy and murky shores
of the filthy and trash strewn of beaches of Balogo,

…to a clear blue turquoise water surrounding
the Duruanak Island was such a blissful respite.

This is the real tropical paradise we were looking for,

…and we stayed for hours to enjoy
the clean, blue waters of Duruanak.

Mainit Pebble Beach

We couldn’t enough of the pristine waters of Duruanak
so we asked our boatman if there are other places where
we could swim and he suggested Mainit Pebble Beach.

It was less than 30 minutes away from Duruanak,
and it was such a joy to see that the pebble beach
was unspoiled, immaculately clean and pristine.

The water was crystal clear and you can see the pebbles at the
  bottom of the sea right through it- like there was no water at all .

The kids also had a great time swimming
at the pebble beach and we had the place for
ourselves as we were the only people there.

We left at noon time and returned
back to the filthy shores of Balogo.

Play and Feast

We were starving when we arrived and
we feasted on Peanut Butter sandwich,

…various cookies, chips, sodas and instant noodles.

There is really nothing much to do in Balogo
as the dirty beach was not fit for swimming.

I also brought several books to read, but oit was impossible to do
 so as the people on the next cabana rented a karaoke machine
 and their out of tune singing was becoming irritatingly intolerable.

They were also getting drunk and rowdy, and making
so much noise and we knew it was time for us to leave.

We left Pasacao about 2 PM with a heavy heart with the
realization that  the once pristine beaches of Balogo, 
was reduced to nothing but a grimy seaside community.

A long term effect of environmental abuse and neglect
 and unless they clean up the mess, it is not worthy 
of being called as the summer capital of CamSur.