Friday, March 8, 2013

Zipping the 1.3 kilometer zipline at Dakak Beach Resort Adventures

Ziplines have been a fad to filipinos nowadays. More and more adventure games are sprouting in order to cater the adventure buffs. Undeniably, I am one. Knowing that Dakak has this set of rides, I did not miss out trying their Adventure Package.

Their Package is inclusive of an ATV ride or Horseback Riding and a 1.3 kilometer Zipline ride for 500php. Not bad for something that adds up to your memorable experiences. So we headed to the upper portion of the resort and bought tickets.

The place is not crowded. Though there were other guests availing the package, but it didn't bother the traffic of users. From the stall where you can buy your tickets which is also their photobooth, you will be drove uphill by their staff in an improvised jeepney. Kilometers away is the station for the zipline ride. It is a must that you bring RUBBER SHOES along with you as they require it for the ATV ride.

The journey to the station is really steep. I remembered uttering a prayer on my head for safe journey. But the view there was really rewarding. It was a beautiful horizon of the land and sea kissing.

Upon arriving there, we sat for a while on a restaurant while waiting for the guests who are still renting their ATVs. You can order food and drinks there but expect it to be a little pricey. After, we were assisted by the staff to wear protective gears. It was fun because we felt like we transformed to BIOMAN after posing like such in a short photoshoot session. The crew was really friendly and helpful. I forgot to bring my rubbershoes and they do not have shoe rentals there. So one staff allowed me to use his. I gave something to him afterwards though for that generosity.

When the ATVs are available, we went to the ATV that matched our gears. I got the yellow vehicle.

It was my first time to ride an ATV and it is manuevered by a clutch system which luckily i have a little idea on. So the staff gave us a 2 minute instruction then the rest was left on how we absorbed it. Anyway, it was not difficult. All I got to do is drive on the very steep road!!!!! Really not suited for amateurs, but my desire overpowered my fear. And yes, i finally exhaled after reaching the plane on the uphill. I just put in mind to be distant from the ATV in front of me so that when something unfortunate happens to that person, I will not become the second victim. Aside the smooth terrain, I also earned the courage to drive on the bumpy road. I was on ecstacy. Though the sunshine was really piercing on my skin, it did not matter that time. Twenty minutes passed, we need to return to the station. And just like most filipinos, we ended up the atv adventure with a photoshoot session.

The next part of the adventure was the zipline. We were allowed to choose what position to take so that they can adjust the harness attached to our body. I wanted the sitting position but they were teasily convincing me to try the superman position. That's so I can really enjoy the ride. A bit panicky, I still pushed my limits and chose the superman position. The gears for the zipline were worn to us. I already have tried a couple of ziplines from the past but this one has lesser harness attached to me which quite scared me. At the back of my mind I was thinking, "I am about to zip a 1.3 kilometer zipline downslope and yet I am attached to two only two cables"? When it was about my turn, I forced my self to conquer my fear. 3...2... (there goes my boyfriend)... 1.... and zip!!!! Wow!!! It was amazing to fly backdropped by a lovely scenery. I waited for the stopper to hit my cables. Then I posed like wonderwoman for picture taking purposes. They have this ladder that will slowly come near you so you can go down. When I finally got over the experience, we then check the photobooth and buy the photos they captured during the ride.

Though I have been to a couple of zipline rides but the one in Dakak is something worth returning.

Gloria's Fantasyland in Dapitan

On our Dakak Beach Resort Package, we also earned tickets for the newly established Gloria's Fantasyland in Dapitan. The ticket looks like this:

As you can see, it is an entry pass to the new attraction stating all the rides you can try but has to ride them once only. And here we are, with our adrenaline on, we ambushed the park. I suggest going to the park at night as it becomes more vibrant, and you can save your skin from tanning (that's for those who prefer fair skin).

It was drizzling that night and we were really hungry from our adventure in Dakak. So we first searched for a comfortable restaurant to have our dinner. Gloria's Fantasyland is surrounded by different bars and restaurants thus it was not hard for us to take our pick. I preferred a restaurant which is cozy and not crowded that is best for family dinner. I found Daddy's International Cuisine. It was just a stone throw away from the park.

It was quite awkward that time when we were already choosing which food to eat because everything in the menu is not available. For someone hungry, that could have really pissed us off. Oh well, we just ordered the food that they can serve. Their reason was they were not able to refill their stocks after the big celebration the place had yesterday. Reason accepted and of course, it was more embarrassing to stand up and look for another restaurant which will somewhat treat us the same way.

Graciously, they served really delicious food in a reasonable price. We enjoyed everything we ordered. Something to commend from them.

After dining, we unhurriedly proceeded to Fantasyland!!!! It was still drizzling but it did not bother us. Photoshoot on their beautifully landscaped castle-like entrance is a must. It is something you won't expect from a laid back city like Dapitan. The crew inside is on their uniforms and are well organized.

This amusement park has a little resemblance of Enchanted Kingdom in Laguna. Only that the area here is smaller and the rides are less challenging. The good thing though is they are able to put up a well managed and stable system that maintains the park. Unlike other amusement parks you see in other cities where they need to assemble and disassemble depending on celebrations.

Checking our tickets, we really do not know where to start so we toured the place first. We found something interesting on their array of game machines (the ones you put tokens to). It is a strength meter where you need to use a cushioned hammer and forcefully bang the strength gauge. Everyone tried their strength and unluckily i got zero. It was NOT EASY!!! Ryan's dad, his sibling and Ryan tried also and yes they scored 4-7, Ryan scoring the highest! DUH!

Moving on, Fantasyland has a mini train ride which will tour you around. Sounds fun right? So everyone in the pack tried it. The train was soooo long and yet the driver was able to manuever it well even in the jagged streets of the place. It is a dizzy ride I guarantee. The staff then punched our tickets indicating that we already rode that. Ahhhh.. so that how it works then.

We checked our tickets and began choosing which to try next and here's how we did it.

1) Carousel A

2) Bumper Car

3) Carousel B

4) Roller Coaster

5) Wonderflight

6) Midi Flume Ride

7) Telecombat

8) Flying Ball

9) Ferry's Wheel

10) Apollo

11) Swinger

12) Galleon Ship

13) Bull Ride

After all the fun, we ended up the night buying food to fill up our energy.

Paseo del Mar: Zamboanga's Food Haven and Nightlife District

Working parents usually have their weekends scheduled for getaways or strolling around the city. That's why Ryan's mom asked us to free our saturdays from any errands so that we can visit places in their pueblo, and the top on her list is to have dinner in Paseo del Mar.

Paseo del Mar is known to be the Food Haven of Zamboanga. This place is known to locals and tourists for its bars and restaurants. It's perfectly situated beside the shore and still with fresh air breezing the place. Families, party goers, observers, lovers and loners flock the place. As for me, this is where I fell in love with Zamboanga.

I never really had high expectations but this place surpassed my standard of a great gimik. The place is safe since there are a lot of police officers roaming around. The parking lot is spacious. The restos are well organized. Public wash room is not for free but they are able to keep it clean. And a lot of add-ups to beautify the place were put up just three years ago attracting more visitors to come. Now, they already have a dancing fountain.

Gimmiking for me is directly proportional to food hopping. Here in Paseo del Mar, that's well satisfied. I've been to a number of their restaurants, but not all though. Anyway, here is the list of all the restaurants you can see there:

1) Barcode

Cozy place with an entertaining live band at night. The place suits well for reunions and jamming. They serve platters of pulutan in a cheap price. Buckets of beers are also offered in a reasonable price. Located just beside the seashore, this restaurant has the perfect spot to witness Zamboanga's sunset.

2) Mano-mano

Mano-Mano sa Paseo is the extension branch of the Famous Mano-Mano in Greenfield. Unlike in Greenfield though, here they have limited selection of food. You can order platter of pulutan, some viands, or budget meals. The food is so-so, my expectations for good food was not met though. Their restaurant seems bigger compared to the others. They also have a live band to entertain you as you dine here. We dined with Ryan's family twice here.

3) Bistro

Just a stone throw away from Mano-Mano. Bistro Restaurant's stall is small. But they compensated in providing its customers cheap treats! You can order meals with unlimited rice and drinks with it. Their barkada treat is also cheap. Too bad they are being sandwiched by two bigger resto. Anyhow, you can definitely spend your money wisely here.

4) Distrito

People flock here because they have standup comedians entertaining their customers. If you want a fun-filled night while dining with your family and friends, then the best place is at Distrito. Their performers are truly entertaining. They even conduct contests to be participated by the customers. To someone who is affraid of bullies like me, I sat at The Bistro bar yet i still can overhear the jokes from the other bar.

5) Pinokyo

During weekend it is really crowded in Paseo del Mar. Your pack will surely have a dificult time to settle down on a place. Pinokyo is one of the restaurants which is not easily bombarded by the crowd. Maybe because they do not have a live band or other gimmiks. Foodwise though, they serve variety of food choices. From sushis, california makis up to sisig and isaw (grilled chicken intestine).

6) Kambingan

Craving for Kambing (goat meat) viands? Then good for you, here in Paseo del Mar, Kambingan specializes in cooking Kambing in varied viands. From papaitan to caldereta to adobing, Kambingan has it. Aside from Kambing they also offer other food like chicken bbq and beef steak. For an amount of less than a hundred, you can already enjoy what's on their menu.

7) Alavar

Known for its delicious CURACHAS topped with the addictive sauce is the Alavar Restaurant. Originally located at Brgy. Tetuan, this resto also expanded in Paseo del Mar. They have a small stall beside barcode, just beside the beach, also facing the sunset. However, opposite to what they are known of "pricey food", the food they serve in Paseo del Mar are more affordable yet THERE'S NO CURACHA enlisted. Anyway, their Alavar sauce could still be tasted on their other foods. You can even bring home a 1kilo pack of their sauce for a cheap price.

8) Edgardo Pizzito's

Also an outdoor seating restaurant located near barcode is Pizzito's. I had no chance to dine in here but I saw them last time offering buffet for only 99 pesos. I'll surely try what they offer on my next visit.

9) Pinoy Patio (Palmeras)

Knickerbacker is the locals favorite and it can be bought in Pinoy Patio. Knickerbacker is basically sliced fruits and gelatins topped with a strawberry ice cream, really great as an afternoon snack. Better leave some space in your tummy for this yummy dessert!!!!

10) Tony's na Paseo

A spacious restaurant located at the far side of Paseo near the parking area. Tony's na Paseo is a barbeque restaurant with a live band entertaining the customers.

11) Kape Zambo

Kape Zambo as what its name suggests is a coffeshop. Overwhelmed by the craziness of the party goers? Or you just prefer spending good chitchats with friends in a quiet place, then this place is perfect for you.

More and more renovations are being done in Paseo del Mar. Surely in no time, this place will become a depot of tourists. What I love about Paseo del Mar is their fidelity to their culture transparently shown in the food they offer.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Top 10 things to do in Zamboanga

Unlike other tourist attractions in the Philippines which I want to visit, Zamboanga City has been the least of my priorities. The constant negations I hear from the media halted me to explore this city's beauty. Until I met Ryan, my boyfriend, who happens to be a Zamboangueno. They are also addressed as Chavacanos (this is what you call to the "broken spanish" dialect they use). Having the opportunity to take a look at their place, I fell in love to Zamboanga. The blend of beauty and thrill made Zamboanga a MUST-VISIT.

I stayed for 20 days in Zamboanga City and toured their streets via a motorcycle which happens to be one of the abundant transport vehicles of the place. Innovated motorcycles according to such preference is a trend in the city. No taxicabs, only motorcycles, tricycles, jeepneys, vans and private cars. Now I understood why my boyfriend was really fascinated with motorcycles even they own a car. He actually can recognize the varied models from different companies. Well, it is a product of the upbringing of their community. It is cool by the way.

Anyway, this blog focuses on my top 10 list on how to have the ultimate experience in your Zamboanga City vacation.

1) Paseo del Mar

First night in Zamboanga? spend it perfectly at Paseo del Mar. This place is my favorite part of the city. Restaurants and bars stud the place making it the main gimik area of their pueblo. It is situated just beside the shore. The counterpart of Roxas Boulevard of Manila, only that this place has an array of food havens. The freshness of the air from the sea which breezes on you makes it more suitable for relaxation while you are jamming with your friends. They also mounted a dancing fountain which adds up beauty on this attraction. Truly a great place for family and friends. I went back here for a couple of times during my stay. one visit is not enough I guarantee.

2) Pasonanca Park Night Life

Inside Barangay Pasonanca is the known Pasonanca Park. Ryan and I had extra time to take a peek what is inside the Pasonanca Park. A stairway uphill leading to the Statue of St. Francis of Assisi, is the new add-up to the park according to Ryan. Dancing Fountain backdropped th Statue while Chavacano songs are being played. There is something about Zamboanguenos, they are really SWEET compared to other Filipinos. Here in Pasanonca Park you'll be surprised to the number of couples dating inside. Everywhere you look, you will surely see couples claiming the bench or spot. As for us, we tried the trend too. Why not right? :))

What is less revealed in adverts is the mushrooming bars and restaurants in Barangay Pasonanca. Surrounding the park are bars that really light up during night to dawn. Best time to go is on weekends where beautiful and handsome Zamboanguenos flock and hop the different bars. Some bars hire bands during weekends.

3) Mano-mano lunch or dinner

Good food in a reasonable price, that is what you can have in Mano-Mano (mano means hands). After a long day, our empty stomachs were best refilled by the good selection of food in this restaurant. They have two branches, the one in Paseo del Mar and the other one in Greenfield. We tried both actually but better service and more food selection is seen in Greenfield. The place is well-landscaped inside. The crew is attentive and friendly. We ordered Crispy Pata, Mixed Seafoods, Calamares, Platter of Rice. And honestly, we got the best value of our money.

4) Mall Hop!

Unlike other cities, Zamboanga remained conservative when it comes to allowing big multi-million companies to put up malls in their place. Until now, the ones owning the malls and businesses are their own people. My boyfriend told me that big mall owners have long been wanting to put up their business here but the current leader does not allow such in order to maintain the culture of the place. Reason I don't exactly understand.

Anyway, there are still few malls you can enjoy in the pueblo. Just near Plaza Pershing and City Hall are Gateway, MindPro, Midtown and Limtown Center. We often visit MindPro because it is the biggest among the malls there. Cinemas are available in MindPro only for P100. Wanted to try it but no good films were screened that time.

5) Visit Abong Abong, joyride and catch the sunset

Best if you are on a motorcycle when you visit here since it is quite far from pueblo (city). It is a must-see especially for Roman Catholics. You'll be doing an uphill climb to reach the different Stations of the cross. The peak will treat you a marvelous view of Zamboanga especially during sunset. Wondering if i got my treat? kind of.. we took the different road and still drove through the mountainous terrain. I saw the sun as it kisses goodbye, just amazing.

6) Victoria's Pool and other resorts

One of the usual activities we do during our vacation is taking a plunge. In Zamboanga, that activity is catered well by the number of resorts they also have. Vista del Mar, Lantaka, and Victoria's (the one I visited with Ryan's family) are a few of what's on the list. Victoria's is a simple pool place with free flowing water which made swimming more fresh. You can bring your food without corkage and even grill the meat you brought there. This is a good place for family bonding.

7) WMSU main campus and extension

Ryan's mom happens to be a professor of agriculture in WMSU, thus we had a number of visits to the school. Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) is a state university offering standard education on a cheap price. Most of Zamboanguenos wanted to get scholarship from this school because of its prestige. Glad I happen to see their campus. The campus for agriculture and forestry located in San Ramon is huge and a must-see. Beside it is Ecozone, another place you can drop by and enjoy. They have a pool inside.

8) Fort Pilar and museum

Spend one of your sundays attending the mass in Fort Pilar. Utter your prayer and let their Patron, saint, Our Virgin Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza, hear you. Visiting Fort Pilar is one of the things I liked in my Zamboanga vacation. The dainty landscape of the place is rewarding to the eyes. It is as if you are tranported to the ancient years.

9) The Pueblo. Take time to taste the food that can only be found in Zamboanga.

The pueblo (city) is truly the heart of Zamboanga City. Its parameter is not that huge thus it is easy to navigate. Everything you need is in there. Malls, food stations, super markets, name it and it's just around the corner. I got fond of tasting good food Zamboanga style and yes got tummy-fiiled almost everyday! Must visit: Speedy Pizza, Flavorite for Palabok and Early Birds in Putik for Shawarma.

10) Learn how to speak Chavacano from the locals.

And lastly, don’t you ever dare to leave Zamboanga without learning Chavacano. Learn words from the locals and speak back to the locals. In due time, you did not only learn chavacano, but you have also earned a little knowhow on Spanish.