CAMIGUIN ON A VERY TIGHT BUDGET [PHOTOS, VIDEO, TIPS, EXPENSES]

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Camiguin, the island that has been tagged as the Hawaii of the Philippines and also The Island Born of Fire. It’s located southern in the country, part of the northern Mindanao territory and it’s very famous for many things such as Lanzones (super yummy), hot and cold springs and as well as their nearby sandbar that has an amazing view of the entire island.

From the moment of touchdown on the island up to the take-off: what I took away from this escape is that this island is not just about beautiful scenery and the food/delicacy, but also on how to live like the locals and be educated with the total mystery behind the devastating history of the island.

Unfortunately, our budget was very limited to P10,000.00 only and we have to maximize what we have in a steep priced island. So, booking flights and resorts as well as searching for places to eat plus bargaining to the lowest prices and also be there like one of the locals are most of the talents you need to have if you are with us on this budget for two, and you really need an escapade.

No matter, I’ll give you tips on how to survive on a very tight budget.

And there’s no better way for a vacation like this in Camiguin than to prepare, book ahead and anticipate adventure coming your way.

PREPARATION (BOOKINGS AND ALL)

Preparation is the key. I’ve learned a lot about preparation from my partner and how important it is especially in going on to an important escapade.

Although we’ve planned this entire tour for months and months ago, it keeps on getting pushed due to financial circumstances. I’ve made all the research I can have and Google is just your friend and everything is there. All you have to do is search. And I made some rough estimate for about P10, 400.00 for both of us and that’s for the entire tour (via Ship).

First and foremost you have to book for your trip; sea or air. For our case, we chose to wait for piso fare promo of Cebu Pacific because… everyone knows why. And we got our ticket for P3, 880.48, good for both 3 days, 2 nights, roundtrip, via Cebu to Camiguin and vice versa.

TIP #1: For those people who would go via sea, here’s the information you needed (VIA CEBU)

Super Shuttle Ferry travels weekly basis according to parasbeachresort.com and cebuboattrips.com

  • Costs about P800.00 – P1,000.00
  • Port 1/8
  • Trips
  • FRIDAYS:  8:00PM – 8:00AM
  • SUNDAYS: 8:00PM – 8:00AM
  • Contact : (032) 232 3150

*No fast-track available

Second, after booking the transportation, you have to book to where you’ll be staying. There are lots of hotels and resorts in Camiguin and all you’ve got to do is Google it. I really do believe in staying in a high class hotel or resort, but it’s nonsensical when I go to a place for an escapade and choose an expensive stay; that’s why I’d rather have the cheaper one. I mean, all I need is a place to rest my head after every exhausting day and that’s it (except I need an air-conditioned room hehe).

Anyhow, we’ve tried Paguia’s Cottage (contact 09276527621) before and I have to say I’ve got a bad experience with them while over the phone, even when some bloggers say that the place is good and cheap (probably the cheapest price in all Camiguin) but the owner was not friendly at all. She sounds skeptic rather welcoming, and I hated it. We tried to contact them again months later, but then they did not answer their cellphone, so it’s their loss.

And we tried to contact Agohay which the owner sounds really warm and welcoming, and she speaks straight English and Japanese as well, very impressive. The rooms in Agohay starts at :

Non Air-con P950
Isla Cottage P1,780
Superior Cot. P1,980
Villa Room P2,180

TIP #2: We got to bargain at their Superior room and got it for P1,800.00 instead. So, we booked it for 2 days and down-payed in their BDO account.

TIP #3: Usually, plane and ship arrives very early on the time of the day, and check in at Agohay is at 2:00PM; it actually depends on the room if it still has guests or not… if not, then Agohay allows you to have the room earlier, if not (like us) we have to wait up until 2:00PM. If this is the case, your itinerary should be changed. Also, you could get the chance to discover Camiguin as a local.

Third, our itinerary. Yes, you’ve got to do an in depth research about this one because this can save you time. Although usually, almost all of the resorts offer the entire itinerary package for THE SAME GOVERNMENT REGULATED PRICE (good), you can just avail to it.

TIP #4: Create some PLAN B and C if in case PLAN A doesn’t work.

There are a lot of blogs who has specific itinerary in Camiguin, and ours was not far away from theirs. Below WAS our planned itinerary (based on the blogs I’ve read):

DAY 1 – Friday

8:00AM – Airport-Resort

2:00PM – Check in

3:00PM – 5:00 – White Sandbar
6:00PM – DINNER

DAY 2 – Saturday

7:00AM – Call time

8:00AM – Old Volcano Station of the Cross

9:00AM – Sunken Cemetery

10:00AM – Gui-ob Church Ruins

11:00AM – LUNCH

12:30NN – Sto. Nino Cold Springs

2:00PM – Katibawasan Falls

3:00PM – Ardent Hot Springs

4:00PM – Go back to resort

5:00PM – Dinner

DAY 3 – Sunday

6:00AM – wake up and Airport

But then our itinerary has been changed due to some circumstances, and it became this:

DAY 1: Friday

6:45AM – Arrive in Camiguin

7:00AM – Arrive in resort

7:00AM-11:00AM – Wandering Mambajao Market/Uploading pictures on Facebook/Surfing the net

11:00AM-12:00 – Lunch (at Mambajao Market)

12:00PM – Check in (Thank God)

And due to heavy winds and treacherous weather, our White Island tour was cancelled for the next day 6:00 in the morning.

12:00-5:00PM – Wandering Mambajao Market yet again/Swimming Pool time

DAY 2: Saturday

6:00AM – Wake up call/Going to White Island

7:00AM – Back to resort

9:00AM – Call time for Island tour

9:00-10:00AM – Soda Cold Spring

10:00-11:00AM – Sto. Nino Cold Spring

11:00-12:00NN – LUNCH (at Catarman Market)

12:00-1:30PM – Old Church Ruins/Sunken Cemetary/Walkway to Old Volcano

1:30-2:30PM – Katibawasan Falls

2:30-3:30PM – Ardent Hot Springs

3:30-4:00PM – Back to resort

4:00-6:00PM – Dinner/Buy Pastel (at Mambajao Market)

6:00PM – back to resort

Fourth and lastly, pack up your bags with complete stuff, and never ever, ever forget your camera SD Card (just what I always do and did).

THE EXPERIENCE

DAY 1

My partner and I woke up 4:00 in the morning because our flight was 6:00AM and flights to and from Camiguin usually starts on that time range. Although exhausting, I was still excited.

When we finished checking in and waiting for us to go to the plane, I was reminiscing to some stories about how small the aircraft would be going to provinces like Camiguin, and it was a little bit daunting to me.

When we got to the service bus and onto the airplane; the stories were right, it was indeed very tiny compared to the towering Cebu Pacific international airplane, more so to the PAL one. Claustrophobia is one of my fears yet still I’m up to the challenge.

And we went inside the aircraft and the flight wasn’t that smooth because of the typhoon that just got out from the Philippine area of responsibility, and some treacherous dark clouds were still present up in the air. It was a tumultuous ride and I was never scared my entire life. I didn’t have fears before when I was flying, but the aircraft seems so fragile that it could go down anytime now.

Miraculously, the flight didn’t take an hour, it was more like 35 minutes, and thank the heavens it was that short! Because it was really, really scary.

Also for a fact that it was my first time to have a woman captain on-board did a little sexist thought in my subconscious which my partner and I realized after. We’re all sexist in a way, but the landing was very, very smooth and it was impressive. Who run the world? Hehe

Camiguin Airport was very small and simple, and we were greeted by Manong with a card-board with my partner’s name on it and he drove us to the hotel (and that’s for P250.00 not including the hotel stay… don’t ask).

TIP #5: VERY IMPORTANT TIP, we realized that if we knew we could just ride a local tricycle going to the resort, we wouldn’t have spent P250.00 going to it. If you want to take this advice; go out of the airport and there are 2 kinds of tricycle there: Green Tricycle that’s bound east (and never ever ride this one if you’re going to resorts on the Western side of the island) and the Orange Tricycle that’s bound west. Ride an Orange one and tell the driver you’re going to your resort. For Agohay, the rate is P10.00. See, it’s a lot cheaper compared to having a service.

TIP #6: But when you’re going home and your flight is early like ours which was 6:10AM, I think it’s wise to have a service from the resort because there are no early tricycles around the island at that time.

The resort was good. The walkway towards it looks really expensive and the cottages looked amazing. They had a pool and also, but most important, they have WIFI in their restaurant area.

We arrived soon and told us that the check in was 2:00PM like they told us we could check in earlier if it’s already available and since there are still people in the cottage; they let us wait for 12:00NN. But it was fine, we were too early though.

I was about to grab my camera and take a picture of the entire villa; but then an error message popped up: NO SD CARD DETECTED. The horrors run through my senses and I know my partner would get pissed off me because it has always been my problem. I told him and he was cool with it (outside) and so we asked if there are SD cards available in town, and Manong told us that there’s FUJI in their market. And it was fine.

Also, we were hungry and the food prices in the resort were a bit high though so we looked for ways on how to have lunch.

TIP #7: If there’s a market, there’s food –Chef Andrew Zimmern

We bought a 2GB SD card in their market only for P300.00 who sells camera, cellphone and those kinds of stuff, but not in FUJI FILM because I knew it would be very expensive there, and again we’re limited.

Cafeterias in Mambajao Market

Cafeterias in Mambajao Market

We also had lunch inside their market but away from the smelly fish stands of course, but it was hard to look for the cafeterias, but thankfully, we were persistent in finding food. Chef Andrew Zimmern’s quote is the key to survive a budgeted trip.

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After, we went back to the resort and they already let us in our cottage at 12:00NN not 2:00PM THANK GOODNESS! And both of us were amazed by our room. It was the superior cottage and it was huge. I could get a pom-pom and start my own dance routine there without damaging stuffs because it was really big. It also has cable TV and a couch. Yes, a couch.

But what impressed us the most is the outdoor shower. It was so sexy and sophisticated. It did feel like international.

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Although the air conditioning did not suffice the entire place, there is still an electric fan that could pump up the coolness of it, so it’s just fair. And we got that room for P1, 800.00 only. So impressed.

We were about to be ready for our white island tour, but then they have to cancel it due to the weather that’s not friendly at all, and have to rebook it on the next day, 6:00AM.

TIP #8: All tours are regulated by the government. For the island tour, it’s for P1, 700.00 with driver and car good for 8-12 people. White island tour is P450.00 for the boat ride, still good for 8 pax. And you could drive your own motor bike or scooter and mountain bike, good for P500.00 and P400.00 respectively.

And since we were just two, we don’t plan to take the P1, 700.00 package for 8, because it would be impractical. What we did was to ask the front desk if they know someone who could offer us a cheap price for two using motorcycle. The price started P1, 200.00, but we said no and told them we’ll just be the one who’ll look for someone else outside the resort. Then the price lowered to P1, 000.00 down to P800.00 as the last price.

TIP #9: Play hard to get when you don’t like the price. *wink *wink

And since we will not be doing anything in that day, we just relaxed in our cottage, dip in the resort pool, took a bath in our sophisticated outdoor shower and have our dinner at Mambajao market again to save a lot of money.

DAY 2

White Island (Entrance is P40.00 which you will pay in the resort)

We woke up 6 in the morning and the banka was ready to go, and we were excited. Across our resort, we could already see the White Island but there were a lot of movement happening there, only to find out that those were people… I mean fifty plus people. It was a shock to me because I wasn’t prepared for a crowd in a tiny developing island, but anyhow, the more the merrier.

The sea wasn’t that much friendly but it was tolerable.

And when we arrived on White Island, and jump in on the smooth sand; we looked up seeing the breathtaking view of the entire Camiguin Island.

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The beauty was surreal; it was more like you would see in a film. We have to stop on the edge of the shore to take in the beauty in front of us while the water splashed to our feet wet.

And it was selfie time.

We also got the chance to sit down and buy some treats from Manang who sells junk foods, ready to eat boiled eggs and boiled bananas. And then, the guy who sells raw sea urchins went near and we get to try some of it, 3pcs. for P50.00 (expensive), but it was heavenly. The taste was what I really loved about sea foods. It was delicious and perfect.

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I also took a dip in the very cold water and got back home right after.

TIP: You can’t put bags anywhere because the waves will get all your stuff wet (or worse will carry your stuff in the ocean). Especially on a high tide where waters are rough. It’s best to bring small bags or a mobile table, and go there by 10:00AM (not advisable due to heat) or 3:00PM.

SODA COLD SPRING (P30.00 for Entrance Fee)

By 9:00, our island tour started. Our manong driver for the motorcycle suggested that it would be best if we go to the farthest destination and back to the nearest so it wouldn’t be that much inconvenient in going home, and we agreed.

First we went to Soda Cold Spring.

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The pool was clean and huge because of the flowing waters and there are a lot of people diving in it too. I was impressed by how clear the water is when I dive in, and I have to use my GoPro with it to capture my underwater moments, and it was awesome.

TIP: Buy GoPro, the best thing you’ll ever buy… you won’t regret.

Most of the underwater shots in my video are shot in pool because it was just fantastic there.

STO. NINO COLD SPRING (P30.00 for Entrance Fee)

It’s the farthest location in the tour, and when we got there and have a glimpse inside and… we just did not like it because it was more like Soda Cold Spring but with more people, so we decided not to try it there not to waste even more money, and Soda Pools are way better than in Sto. Nino Cold Spring.

LUNCH

Again, we were on the budget so we ate at the nearest market in Catarman, and Andrew Zimmern’s quote didn’t fail us.

OLD CHURCH RUINS (Donations)

Manong also educated us about the old volcano that erupted and is now inactive, and the active one, Hibok-Hibok.

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Aside from the tour guide services our manong offered to us, this is one of my favorite places in Camiguin because it’s where I learned the catastrophic history of the island. There’s a plaque there narrating about the old volcano named Vulcan that destroyed the land and lives of the people living in 1871 and how the old church remained up to this day even when we could only see the topmost part of it, as well as the convent and bell-tower.

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SUNKEN CEMETARY and WALKWAY TO OLD VOLCANO

Just very near the Old Church Ruins is the Sunken Cemetary. I learned that the huge cross that we are now seeing is just a monument built for the cemetery itself. The real cross is meters away from where it is which you can see by the waves it creates afar.

And we also noticed that there are waves created in a semicircular sense around the monument, and a local told us that that was the border of the cemetery and it was the road going to the Old Church before it sunk.

It was really amazing knowing the place’s history.IMG_7573

Also, we bought some of the souvenirs there in Sunken Cemetary for the lowest price of P5.00 and it was all good.

For the Walkway to Old Volcano, we didn’t went up because first, manong told us that it’s very high and you’ll have to spend an hour to get on top, second, there’s really nothing much going on the mountain, and third, my partner remembered that one of the bloggers said that they’ve climbed but didn’t reached the top because it was exhausting and went back down instead.

Across the walkway, you can buy souvenirs and shirts in a higher and reasonable price.

KATIBAWASAN FALLS (P30.00 for the Entrance Fee)

The falls was really good and the water was so cold, even colder than in the cold springs that it felt like we were on the ice bucket challenge. And to be honest after dipping in once, I did not went back to dip because it was ice cold water.

But we did spend time there because there were less people around and the falls was relaxing.

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ARDENT HOT SPRING (P30.00 for the Entrance Fee + Cottage Fee)

I think Ardent Hot Spring is the famous and most visited in all of Camiguin (besides White Island) because there are rooms to stay in and also it’s one of the flagship of the island for the tourist to come. It’s located near the active volcano, Hibok-Hibok and the water is warm and relaxing. There are nets above to hold the falling leaves to stay the waters clean.

DELICACIES

A part of being one of the locals is to get a taste of the island’s delicacies. One of it is the Lanzones fruit which is so much good, another is their Kiping which is made from coconut, I guess due to its taste that I don’t like much, and the very famous Pastel by Vjandep (pronounced as Vandep). Lanzones and Pastel are meant to be pasalubong (souvenir/gift).

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Kiping

TAKEAWAY

For us on a really tight budget for an escapade, there’s really no better way than to live like the locals. Find the cheapest ways in order for you to survive and as well as enjoy all the rides even if it means inconvenience. The island gives me a glimpse of Hawaii-like features especially when we pass by the edges and see the beautiful view ahead.

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Camiguin is an island rich in history sense which creates a mystery for travelers out there. I love the fact that the prices are regulated by the government and I also appreciate the fact that using and throwing plastic is strictly prohibited in the island.

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There still are places in Camiguin that I haven’t been like the Mantigue Island, and there are a lot of things that I haven’t done like snorkeling. But then those days when I was there gave me a lot of lessons in travelling and budgeting, also learning the ways of the locals and discovering new things that I surely will remember my entire life.

Also, when we got back to the resort, I can’t shake the fact that there are a lot of dead bodies in the island, and maybe, just maybe they’re still haunting the roads, confused. LOL

Anyhow, thanks Camiguin!

BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES

Here are our expenses (good for two):

  EXPENSE (in Peso)
Plane Ticket (roundtrip): P3, 880.48
Service (from and to Airport/Resort): P500.00
Resort: P1, 800.00 x 2 Days= P3, 600.00
Boat to White Island: P450.00
Island Tour Motorcycle: P800.00
Entrance Fees:
White Island P80.00
Soda P60.00
Katibwasan Falls P60.00
Ardent Hot Spring P60.00
Souvenirs and Pastel P90.00+P180 =P270.00
Food P1, 000.00
TOTAL: P10, 760.48

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THE OVERLOOKING INDULGENCE | MOUNTAIN VIEW NATURE’S PARK EXPERIENCE [PHOTOS]

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To be direct, Mountain View Nature’s Park in Sitio Garahe, Busay, Cebu City is one of the most famous places you could hear from talks in town because of the overlooking indulgence of the entire Cebu city, and I’ve been here for plenty of times but never experienced the way I did on the Holy Week passed.

 

HOW TO GET THERE?
Same as my blog for Lantaw Native Restaurant, which is just around the corner of the entrance there in Mountain View, if you don’t have a car, you can go there by taxi which you can rent from J.Y. Square, P250.00, or by Habal-Habal (motorcycle) which costs P50.00 per person, or if you have your own car; that’s probably the best.

 

STAY THERE

Because of a family affair, I got there again. To make the story short; my mother and brother rented a stay for one night just for P1,200.00 non-air conditioned room.

The P1,200.00 Cottages

The P1,200.00 Cottages

I have a short knowledge that there was lodging in Mountain View! So bummer of me.

So the clan went there for a hike and ended up gasping for breath because no one expected how difficult it is to reach on top since it was most of their first times.

Back to the room: it was big, enough for my clan of ten (imagine that) but sush, they didn’t know we were that plenty. Though some of my family members brought with them tents and just stayed outside. The room is (as they say) good for four people. The bed is humungous and very good to sleep into.

You can order food in their canteen and have them delivered in your room if you like.

 

TIP: If you’re planning to go there, have your rooms booked ahead of time, especially on weekends and holidays like the Holy Week. And I, most especially, like for you to book on the air-conditioned room, good for P1,500.00 on the overlooking deck part because you can see the city lights from the windows of your room, and there’s no need for you to climb up just to see it.

 

WHAT TO DO?

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You can also enjoy their amenities. They have an Adventure Obstacle that is variety for P150.00. Their trail entails a lot of challenges; from walking on an unstable hanging bridge (but safe) to zip line-ing your way to excitement. This is available 9:00AM to 7:00PM daily.

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You could also experience their very cold swimming pool that’s good for P100.00 on adults and P75.00 for youngsters. It’s very good for kids because the highest is just 4 feet, so no fret.

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You can do camping, as I’ve said a while ago. There are certain places you can do it, but mostly, people build their tents when the dusk hits the horizon.

I’ve seen people grill outside of their rooms too.

You can soul search, or try marathon from the top down to the entrance of the vicinity. (Just kidding, you’ll end up getting killed)

And when nightfall comes, the city lights below will enchant you. It’s very amusing and enthralling yet at the same time very serene. Looking away from the busy city makes you go past through everything you’ve been through and ponder about your life. It’s very nice, I tell you. I’ve been there many times, yet the city lights never fails to amaze me.

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It’s best to see it in their viewing deck which you could also have a booze with your friends. Thank GOD there’s no entrance pay.

 

TOO EXPENSIVE?

Here’s the catch, is all the amenities too expensive or too much? Well for me, there are a lot of transactions to be done in the spot, and the prices are quite revamped from the normal prices in the city, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt that it’s really quite difficult to transport goods from down below up there on the mountain, that serves justice.

Also the crew’s salary hehe.

 

CONTACT

Telephone – (032) 231 5444

Facebook

 

PHOTOS

Another evening shot

Another evening shot

Cebu in the morning.

Cebu in the morning.

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COWBOY JUNCTURE | THE RANCH | RESTAURANT REVIEW [PHOTOS]

 

The Ranch in Banilad

The Ranch in Banilad

-          ★★ ½

Have you remembered my past blog about a grill restaurant in the Queen? Well, here’s another grill station that you’d fancy.

The Ranch, housed at Gov. M. Cuenco Avenue, Banilad, Cebu City is a western/cowboy themed restaurant abundant with anything grilled. They have a variety of offers from beef; pork to chicken that will suit your westernized taste buds.

The Ranch in Banilad

The Ranch in Banilad Panorama

The place is decorated with dark and precise wild-wild-west bar reference, with the exception of a smelly barn of course.

But whoever said that this place was affordable?

I’ve heard and read lots and lots of reviews here telling how cheap the price is here and how they could easily afford it. Well, it’s either they’re rich or their favorite hobby is social climbing. But truth be told; their price ranges from P270.00+ to P300.00+ and they even reach to P500.00 peso mark. And that for us, when the price range reaches P300.00, I don’t think that’s affordable.

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Don’t get me wrong; their food is okay, but the price was not that friendly at all. my partner and I were on a budget and we gave our faith to the blog reviews and Foursquare tips but it wasn’t what we’ve experienced in sense of money.

Nevertheless, The Ranch in Banilad is a true blue/perfect cowboy themed restaurant good for people who want to experience this kind.

The Ranch in Banilad

The Ranch in Banilad

CONTACT:

Facebook

RATING:

Worth of money – 2 ½

MORE PHOTOS:

 

The Ranch in Banilad

Outside The Ranch in Banilad

The Ranch in Banilad

The Ranch in Banilad

The Ranch in Banilad

Light in The Ranch in Banilad

The Ranch in Banilad

Food presentation in The Ranch in Banilad

RODEO GRILL | RESTAURANT | REVIEW [PHOTOS]

Rodeo Grill

Rodeo Grill

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Have you ever dreamed of being a cowboy/cowgirl and ride your way to the bar and while you’re entering the swinging doors everyone’s staring at you because you are a famous head-shot assassin in the Wild, Wild West?

Oh yes, you got it right at Rodeo Grill. (Except for the part where you ride a horse)

Located across Café Noriter and just beside Hotel Elizabeth at Archbishop Reyes, Cebu City; Rodeo Grill is a Cowboy slash Texas slash Wild, Wild West slash Barn themed restaurant, with offers that are mostly hot plated grill.

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Outside Rodeo Grill

The vicinity is truly remarkable, with its barn-like ambiance. Although the grill is quite hidden from the glimpse of the highway, and just a marquee on its entre; Rodeo Grill offers a revamped luxury barn experience. Yet, I would recommend going there in the evening, rather on the daylight, since the lighting captures the essence of Western living, and eliminates the loud and uncomplimentary details of the trees and some unnecessary junks in the surroundings.

When you enter the grill, you will then be amazed of how close-captured it is from some of the bars we see in the movies: but not to mention their counter which is really modern and not Western, plus the air-conditioner (which is forgivable). Although the grill is too small; I cannot deny the inviting feel of the home-ish style restaurant.

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Panorama inside Rodeo Grill

I loved how they designed the huge picture of a riding cowboy on their wall, and how detailed their windows are, complimentary to the theme (unlike the one I mentioned in the Grecian theme inspired restaurant CYMA), and their tables were wooden: just the sound of rodeo it is. The floor wasn’t polished too, which creates excitement and a perfect feel of western.

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Cowboy picture on the wall

They have a wide range of grilled offers: I ordered their famous Sgt. Pepper Sizzling which is grilled pork that costs us a shocking P169.00 BUT a huge serving great for two!

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Sgt. Pepper Sizzlers at Rodeo Grill.

I’m in love with the fact that their serving was big AND delicious. The meat was grilled viciously but with no excess coal which is not healthy and I don’t fancy. Also, the gravy is what I was raving about. The eerie taste of mixed flavors but still compliments to the grilled pork but will not give the taste of displeasure even after plenty of spoonful.

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Close-up shot of Sgt. Pepper Sizzlers

Next, was the Texas Sizzling Chicken which costs us P139.00 and still was a huge serving. The chicken was smothered with the said gravy on the heated plate plus extra random vegetables as the side dish same as with Sgt. Pepper Sizzling. The chicken was also soft and delightful.

Texas Sizzling Chicken

Texas Sizzling Chicken

We also ordered their Ranch Pochero which costs us P159.00, and, I’ll keep raving about their huge serving, because it’s truly commendable in a small amount of money but plenty offerings and tasteful, really. My partner ranted about how he would’ve ordered only the Pochero, since he’s in love with the taste, so was I.

And oh, have I mentioned their unlimited rice which is uh-mazing. And not just their rice, but also their bottomless soft drinks, offered in Coke, Sprite and Royal AND lastly their unlimited gravy. But I would comment on their rice, because I felt it was like in Golden Courie’s (a famous Filipino restaurant), which is quite a heavy kind. What I mean is that the rice itself is too concentrated that will make you feel full right after the second cup of rice is offered. And with the huge serving; I think it deserves a light kind of rice, so everyone can truly enjoy the grills.

The only comment my partner made was that they don’t offer charging your phone, which is a true bummer, and there was no WIFI around, and again, internet is everything especially when there’s Instagram. Although their waiters were OK, but I’d rather see a smiling and inviting one, so they should fire all of them… just kidding.

In totality, Rodeo Grill was a delight which only coss us at abou P577.00. A TIP, well, maybe you could just order two dishes and share it with your partner. Bring your friends too, it should be fun. Check it out and go home full and happy!

RATINGS:

Sgt. Pepper Sizzling – 9

Texas Sizzling Chicken – 8

Gravy – 10

Pochero – 10

Ambiance – 9

Service – 7 (No wifi and no free charging of phone)

Value for Money – 9

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CYMA | Greek Taverna | Restaurant Review [Photos]

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Amazing geographic peninsula. Inter-island amazement. Rich history. Extravagant culture.

OPA! Greece is what you name it. From its grand blue and inviting waters to Homer’s Greek Gods and Goddesses with their equivalent grotesque structural houses; definitely, you’ll come and visit the mysteries of Greece. (And I can’t go on with this review if I keep talking about the wonders of one of my dream destination. Hehe)

In the city, CYMA is a Greek Taverna located at The Terraces, Ayala Mall that invites customers who desire a Grecian inspired ambiance. Opened on December 2008; five years strong and still operates well to give that wonderful pigging experience.

CYMA offers a variety of dishes that encapsulates Mediterranean experience specifically Greek. The Grecian inspired restaurant allows making you feel like you’re not in the Philippines, but in Greece.

Well, technically.

The restaurant itself gives a feel due to the Grecian color palettes which are Blue and White. I love how the chairs are painted blue too. But, truth be told, the huge glass windows differ from anything Greece. I definitely have the knowledge that the Grecian tavernas walls are stone and white with (sometimes) not very angular in manners and windows are undeniably small square/rectangular. I only wished they stood by the thought of ‘Greece’ and revamped all interiors to Greece-like.

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But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they needed those huge glass windows for customers to see the full view of the restaurant from the outside.

The counter is a true touch of Grecian taverna with a huge blackboard marquee that tells their ‘specialties’ and some links to social media accounts, great.

Now the food.

Filipinos are rich in spices and extremely precise in tasteful dishes, and Mediterranean dishes offer usually the same.

One of the best things I learned about Greece is their Gyros. I read about it some time ago, and watched a travel show on TV which is some kind of Shawarma, a roasted meat with lots of spices wrapped in a pita. In CYMA, they have their specialty, the Chicken Gyros. Costing at about P160.00; Chicken Gyro gives you a taste of goodness. Offered as an opening for the dinner My partner and Ihad and sliced in two halves; the food simply wows me due to the fact that it’s not too much salty; a little bit bland that differs you from the displeasure sense right after mouthfuls (Pu-ol, sawa), resulting to disgust. With a spicy side sauce; you can never get away from the tasteful firework of flavors.

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Chicken Gyro is probably one of the best CYMA has to offer. You definitely have to order this.

We next ordered the Katoupolo Lemonato. Costing at about (an expensive) P420.00, Katoupolo Lemonato is a Chicken offering with a side dish of potatoes, but cooked in a different manner. Once we get a taste of it; it then counterparts our opening dish (Chicken Gyros), which gives the taste of mixed sour and salty. The food is really delicious, and how they’ve done it, I have no idea. BUT one thing gives the food extra excitement: Lemon. The balance the lemon gives is what makes the offering perfect.

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Katoupolo Lemonato in CYMA

But there’s one glitch of the food, after plenty of mouthfuls, it will give you the displeasure taste resulting to disgust (pu-ol, sawa). I pity the dish due to the fact that when we started to taste it; it gives me a euphoric moment because of the battling yet complimenting flavors.

TIP: The dish is good for 2, but due to the displeasure it give; I suggest you offer it to 4.

And then our last is Moussaka.

We started with Chicken Gyro that was oh-so-delcious! Then next was the Kotoupolo Lemonato that took me to heaven, but brought me down to earth just right after. Then we have Moussaka that took me from earth………….. to the deepest pit of hell.

Moussaka is Greece’s national dish that is layered in eggplant, beef, with smothering, thick white creamy sauce (béchamel sauce) and cheese at the top that looks similar to lasagna.

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I am hoping that Greece wont ‘persona-non-grata’ me with this review on their National dish because I still have plans to go there, BUT I believe as a Filipino, I wouldn’t appreciate the uncomplimentary taste of beef plus eggplant plus a white sauce that spoiled our dinner. Not to disrespect Greece’s national dish, but I will definitely not suggest Filipinos should order this.

Oh good Lord, if only you can see my partner’s face while tasting Moussaka. We were truly laughing our asses off for ordering that.

Oh well, the more bad experience we get, the more I can write things on my blog.

And now, their WIFI. Definitely available and fast, I was happy. Again, internet is everything.

In a nutshell

I would love to add that I like the fact that their waiters are in costume. I asked the waiter who was in cowboy suit, and he answered me that their ‘theme’ is United Nations. One waiter was wearing a Greek God costume, and you can only see a few restaurants doing that, and it’s much appreciated.

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Waiter in CYMA in full Greek Costume

And speaking of waiters, their all-male waiter (at that day and time) definitely were accommodating and F.U.N.! They have one dish there which was really interesting: I noticed the manager went near to the Korean customers saying “We will be shouting”, and I wondered what that could mean. And then the waiter with the Greek God costume was holding a heated plate with some bread-ish something on it and he grabbed a lighter and the plate started to burst in flames and everyone in the restaurant shouted “OPA!” which meant nothing in Greece but just an expression of being joyful or happy.

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We were so amused with that presentation that happened twice.

In a nutshell, there are lots and lots of offerings CYMA have, and we only get a taste of three. They still have fish, pork and pasta dishes also wines, so, there wouldn’t be a prejudice here for how bad will all of their dishes be. That’s why I’ll be giving ratings to the food we ate.

In a nutshell, I wouldn’t be planning to come back anytime sooner in CYMA not because of the roller coaster ride dinner we had, but because of the price range which is out of bounds and definitely will hurt your pockets, and not to mention, no need for tip since you give a service charge of P90.00. BUT there’s one reason why I can come back to the taverna: Chicken Gyro, a definite winner.

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Come visit CYMA at The Terraces, Ayala, with no reservations needed. Visit their full MENU on their website. OPA!

RATINGS:

Chicken Gyro – 10

Kotoupolo Lemonato – 8

Iced Tea – 9

Moussaka – uhm, -1? Just kidding, 2

Ambiance – 6

Service – 9

Value for Money – 7

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