Welcome and Mabuhay

If you love Marinduque and want to contribute articles to this site, please do so. My contact information is in my profile. The above photo was taken from the balcony of The Chateau Du Mer Beach House, Boac, Marindque, Philippines. I love sunsets. How about you? Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of this blog. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing your copyrights. Thank you and Cheers!

Tres Reyes Island view of the Marinduque Mainland

Monday, January 31, 2011

12 Best Places and Cities on Earth to Visit

Paris Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
How many of cities in the video below have you visited? I have visited four of the twelve cities listed, New York City, Las Vegas, Honolulu and Vancouver, Canada. The videographer did not specify the reasons why these are the cities he selected. I will add San Francisco, San Diego, New Orleans and Chicago of the US to this list. In addition, I will add London, Rome, the Vatican and Costa del Sol in Spain to this list from Europe. How about you, what cities will you add to this list? Enjoy these videos!

Best 12 cities to visit if you have the time, the energy and the money, before you die or too old to travel.

Amazing Places on Planet Earth

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Romantic Guitar-Malaguena and Somewhere Over the Rainbow


Malaguena, a spanish guitar classic was composed by Ernesto Lecuona. I first heard of this composition during my teen-age years in the Philippines played on the piano. I love this music more as I grew older and older. Below is a duet guitar rendition of this memorable music.

Here's a guitar rendition of the popular "Somewhere Over the RAINBBOW"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Music That Touches My Heart-Concierto de Aranjuez

This is one of my favorite Spanish guitar music. Do you know what was Rodrigo's inspiration for the Adagio, movement II? Read on for the answer.

The Concierto de Aranjuez is a composition for classical guitar and orchestra by the Spanish composer JoaquĆ­n Rodrigo. Written in 1939, it is probably Rodrigo's best-known work, and its success established his reputation as one of the most significant Spanish composers of the twentieth century.

The Concierto de Aranjuez was inspired by the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez, the spring resort palace and gardens built by Philip II in the last half of the 16th century and rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century by Ferdinand VI. The work attempts to transport the listener to another place and time through the evocation of the sounds of nature.

According to the composer, the first movement is "animated by a rhythmic spirit and vigour without either of the two themes... interrupting its relentless pace"; the second movement "represents a dialogue between guitar and solo instruments (cor anglais, bassoon, oboe, horn etc.)"; and the last movement "recalls a courtly dance in which the combination of double and triple time maintains a taut tempo right to the closing bar." He described the concerto itself as capturing "the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds, and the gushing of fountains" in the gardens of Aranjuez.

Rodrigo and his wife Victoria stayed silent for many years about the inspiration for the second movement, and thus the popular belief grew that was inspired by the bombing of Guernica in 1937. In her autobiography, Victoria eventually declared that it was both an evocation of the happy days of their honeymoon and a response to Rodrigo's devastation at the miscarriage of their first pregnancy. It was composed in 1939 in Paris. Rodrigo dedicated the Concierto de Aranjuez to Regino Sainz de la Maza.

Rodrigo, blind since age three, was a pianist. He did not play the guitar, yet he still managed to capture the spirit of the guitar in Spain.

CompositionComposed in early 1939, in Paris, amid the tensions of the pending war, it was the first work Rodrigo had written for guitar and orchestra. The instrumentation is unusual: rarely does the guitar face the forces of a full orchestra. Instead, the guitar is never overwhelmed, remaining the solo instrument throughout.

Movements

This concerto is in three movements, Allegro con spirito, Adagio and Allegro gentile.
The second movement, the best-known of the three, is marked by its slow pace and quiet melody, introduced by the English horn, with a soft accompaniment by the guitar and strings. A feeling of quiet regret permeates the piece. Ornamentation is added gradually to the melody in the beginning. An off-tonic trill in the guitar creates the first seeds of tension in the piece; they grow and take hold, but relax back to the melody periodically. Eventually, a climactic build-up starts. This breaks back into the main melody, molto appassionato, voiced by the strings with accompaniment from the woodwinds. The piece finally resolves to a calm arpeggio from the guitar, though it is the strings in the background rather than the guitar’s final note that resolve the piece. The third movement is in mixed metre, alternating between 2/4 and 3/4.
The Palace of Aranjuez

The original Guitar Version ( 2.2 minutes)

This is an orchestral and classical guitar interpretation of the Adagio. The venue of this concert was in the Basilica of St. Francis de Asissi, Asissi, Italy. Macrine and I had been to this Basilica in 1990.

This is Andre Rieu interpretation of this Spanish Classic


Popular version with nature scenery

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Favorite Broadway Musicals



My wife and my favorite hobby during our working years (1960-2002) was attending Broadway musicals and shows/movies. We must have attended more than 30 Broadway shows/movies since 1960. Among our favorites ( not listed in the top ten below) were, The Sound of Music, Chorus Line, West Side Story, South Pacific, Bye Bye Birdie, Miss Saigon, Show Boat, Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, Evita, Flower Drum Song, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy, Hair, Kiss Me Kate, Man of La Mancha, The Music Man, Oliver and The King and I. Miss Saigon we saw in London. West Side Story and Rent in New York. Mama Mia in Las Vegas, Phantom of the Opera( the old movie version)/ at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and the rest either in Kansas City, Chicago or San Francisco.

To see a Broadway play or musical is to step into a world that envelops you with an experience you cannot find anywhere else. Theatre has been around since ancient times and for good reason. There is absolutely nothing like watching the actors, hearing the live musical scores and going on a journey with fellow theatre-goers. It makes movies seem like flimsy comic books in comparison. Fortunately, today there are many excellent shows on Broadway and in major cities across North America.

The following list is the top ten best musical shows( 2007) you might consider attending with a date or a friend. Each one of these must-see shows delivers an experience you won't soon forget.

Broadway's Best:

1. One of the most popular mega-hits of Broadway is Wicked. Wicked is a musical taking the witches from the Wizard of Oz and recasting them to reverse the loyalties the audience feels in the movie. The play follows the women from school to their eventual fates. The emerald skinned Elphaba, studious and misunderstood, and the beautiful and ambitious Glinda, as they move from unlikely friends to the classic opponents of the movie. The magic lies in the witty recasting of the backstory of the Wizard of Oz, to challenge assumptions and present a tale of friendship and love. And now Wicked is touring the U.S., so there's a good chance it's showing in a city near you.

2. A relatively new show called Tarzan, is a musical about a baby raised by gorillas as he encounters humans, and Jane, forcing him to choose between his two heritages. Tarzan is very popular, with many theatergoers looking forward to seeing the Disney version brought to stage. A show for all ages, the search for where one belongs in the world is a weighty subject for such a deceptively light show. Phil Collins extended his musical score from the Disney movie into a complete theatrical score.

3. The Lion King is a musical about Simba the lion cub and his journey to adulthood and acceptance as King. A play for all ages, the story of a youth growing to accept responsibility and duty is one of the most enduring themes in fiction. The animal puppetry is nothing less than brilliant. If you're looking to instill a little culture in your child, this may be just the ticket. And again, The Lion King is showing in many cities.

4. A disfigured musical genius haunts a theatre and exerts a mysterious control over a young singer. The Phantom of the Opera is a modern classic musical, long-standing show and one of the most well known Broadway plays of the era. The classic music of the show is one of the main draws, with more than one piece from this show recognizable to almost any adult. This is the longest running play in Broadway history, and made Andrew Lloyd Webber a household name. Phantom of the Opera has played in 22 countries, 113 cities and to a combined audience of 10 million.

5. Les Miserables is a musical based on the classic novel of the same name, in which the obsessed policeman Javert pursues the prison escapee Jean Valjean over decades in Revolutionary France. A classic tale of obsession and redemption, this play investigates the big questions like right and wrong, vengeance and justice, and what it takes to achieve redemption, while putting a human face on the issues. Les Miserable originally ran on Broadway for sixteen years, and is back with a fresh cast to renew the magic.

6. Spamalot is based on the legendary Monty Python and the Holy Grail, featuring King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as they face such dangers as the dreaded bunny rabbit. The occasionally eccentric Monty Python sense of humor is in full fury in this tale, with jabs at politics, religion, chivalry, bravery, intelligence and the French. There are limbless knights, men in tights and a chorus line of dancing divas. Spamalot is a favorite of audiences and critics alike, and won the 2005 Tony for Best Musical. If you liked the Monty Python's TV show and movies, then this musical will sure to please.

7. Chicago the Musical is another famous musical, in this case about a murder trial. The Fosse choreography is iconic. While the music isn't as iconic as some others, the odds are that most will recognize several pieces they've heard before, such as "Razzle-Dazzle" and "All that Jazz." Chicago returns us to the time of Vaudeville, satirizes the justice system and shows us what great theater is all about. Definitely check this show out of you liked the movie starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere.

8. Rags to rock to riches, Jersey Boys is the musical story of four blue-collar boys who become the Four Tops. It follows them from their start in the Hood to their apotheosis as one of the greatest music groups of all time, with emphasis on the characters involved. This show has really taken off and become unexpectedly popular on Broadway. Now the Jersey Boys is touring America.

9. Mamma Mia! is a musical built around Abba staples of the seventies, dealing with a single mother whose daughter is about to get married on a Greek island. The daughter invites three of her mother's old boyfriends to visit, hoping to find out which one her father is. The play is built around Abba music, but is an engaging story in its own right and is advanced by the music rather than providing an excuse for it. This is a play where almost everyone attending knows the music.

10. Rent is a musical that explores poverty, disease, and drugs in New York City. It's a modern rock version of the 19th century Italian opera "La Boheme," and is set in New York City's East Village. It is a moving musical where young people strive to make it in a difficult world.


In the above top ten list, we have seen only four as a live show, Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Rent and Mama Mia
We saw Chicago and Les Miserables as movies. Lion King we saw in Sacramento, Mama Mia and Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas and Rent in New York City. We missed attending musicals and plays in our retirement years. However, I have a DVD collections of more than 50 Broadway musical and plays that I could watch anytime.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My 12 Favorite Tourist Spots in the Philippines

The Ifugao Rice Terraces
There are more than one hundred tourists spots in the Philippines that is worth visiting if you have the time. However, the following 12 places in my opinion are a must see for first timers in the Philippines. To visit all these places a minimum of 3 weeks is needed or if you have 4 weeks, the better.
1. Metro Manila, Makati and Tagaytay
2. Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island
3. Bagiuo City and Vicinity
4. Ifugao Rice Terraces

5. Marinduque Island and Bellarocca Resort

Panoramic View of Tres Reyes Island, Marinduque
6. Miagao Baroque Church and Guimaras Island,Iloilo
Chocolate Hills of Bohol

7. Chocolate Hills and Panglao Island, Bohol
8. Cebu City or Boracay Island, Aklan
9. Davao City and Samal Island
10.El Nido,(Lagen Island Resort)and the Underground River, Palawan

Mt Mayon

11. Mayon Volcano, Albay
12.One Hundred Islands Marine National Park, Pangasinan

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Foreign-Based Names for Resorts in Marinduque


I just noticed recently that most new beach resorts in Marinduque have foreign sounding names. In 1996 when we first constructed Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort, it was the only beach resort or hotel with a non-english or tagalog name. Today, there are several beach resorts with either Spanish, Portuguese or Italian derived names. A good example is Bellarocca Resort ( beautiful rock) in Buenavista. Bellarocca is a five-star resort and touted to be one of the best in Southeast Asia. Another example is a small beach resort in Balaring named Tierra Azurras ( is this Portuguese?). Of course,, there is the old Villa sa APLAYA in Ihatub and Casa de Azul ( Blue House) in Buenavista). The older hotels have tagalog or English names such as the Boac Hotel, Tahanan Sa Isok, East Point Hotel, Blue Seas and Love Bay Resort.

I guess naming the resort with non-tagalog names denote class and distinction. In the case of Chateau Du Mer, we selected the name after considering more than dozen names with the goal of attracting European specially French or Canadian tourists. We believe this goal was achieved since our first European guests were from France about 4 years ago. Today, we are attracting more American tourists. The disadvantage of the non-tagalog name, is that majority of the locals have a hard time pronouncing it, thus name recognition is slightly impaired. Anyway, we believed that Chateau Du Mer is a good name and the second building we will be constructing next year will be named Bella Chateau. Cheers and Good Day to ALL!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Amanpulo Resort, Palawan



Just recently, I receive an advertisement about Amanpulo Resort in Palawan. Sorry to say, I felt bad because this is the first time I heard of this resort. The last two years, I have been following the development of Bellarocca Resort in Marinduque, now touted to be the best resort(6-star) in Southeast Asia. But after reading the brochure of Amanpulo Resort( below), I have a feeling this resort is comparable if not better than Bellarocca. So, my dear readers if you have been to both Bellarocca and Amanpulo Resorts, I like to hear from you.

PAMALICAN ISLAND, THE PHILIPPINES:Amanpulo is located on the private island of Pamalican, set among the Quiniluban group of Cuyo Islands, 360km south-west of Manila. Lying along the trading routes from Southern China to Borneo, the Sulu archipelago and the Spice Islands, the Cuyo Islands have been known to sailors and traders since pre-Spanish days. The Cuyo archipelago has been largely forgotten since then. The people of these 40 islands live mostly by fishing and seaweed cultivation. Tourism has scarcely touched the islands. Seven square kilometres of reef surround the island. Beyond are sandbanks and a channel where whales, dolphins and sea cows have been glimpsed. At its widest point, the 5.5km island is only 500m across.

ACCOMMODATION
Amanpulo’s native style of dwellings enhances its exclusive island allure. There are 40 casitas fashioned after a Philippine bahay kubo: a centuries old South-East Asian rural archetype where family life was played out beneath steep pitched roofs on timber frames. Amanpulo's 29 Beach Casitas each have private paths that lead through a tangle of bush directly onto the soft white beach. The beach is an uninterrupted wide stretch of fine sand with views over the neighbouring islands. The four Treetop Casitas are above the tree-line on higher ground. The five Hillside Casitas have unimpeded sea views and the resort's two Deluxe Hillside Casitas feature spectacular prospects of the Sulu Sea and neighbouring islands with both sunrise and sunset views.

Private holiday villas located just a few metres from the sea are available for rent at Amanpulo. There are eight 4-bedroom Villas, two 2-bedroom Villas and one 1-bedroom Villa. Each features a private swimming pool, separate bedrooms, living and dining pavilions, outdoor lounge and a kitchen. All villas include a cook, maid, and a buggy for each bedroom. Villa guests enjoy full use of all Amanpulo facilities and services.
Amanpulo (peaceful island) is surrounded by white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and seven kilometres of coral reef commencing just 300m offshore. The coral island’s attraction lies in the pristine beauty of its environment and its complete exclusivity. Guests are greeted in Manila and flown by a 19-seat twin-engine plane, landing on the island’s private airstrip. THE BEACH CLUB - A garden walkway leads down from the pool to the white-sand beach and Amanpulo’s Beach Club. The open air pavilion is a tranquil setting. Mattresses and pillows are spread out on the deck, facing the sea. Shade umbrellas and reclining lounge chairs line the beach. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and refreshments are also offered at the Beach Club. Fresh seafood and Spanish cuisine are specialties. Here's a short video for your vieweing pleasure.


LAGOON CLUB - is located on the east side of the island and functions as an alternate beach club with similar features and amenities. Dinner is served and Vietnamese cuisine is a specialty.

PIZZA @ THE WINDSURF HUT Enjoy a large variety of pizzas cooked in a home-built wood-fire oven. Guests can relax in this tranquil environment with their feet in the sand. The Windsurf Hut opens for lunch.

PRIVATE DINING in a guest casita is available 24 hours. Private picnics and barbecues may be organized at Shigerino’s Place, Lagoon Sala, Shark’s Point Sala and the floating Kawayan Bar. Guests can also take picnic baskets on an island hopping trip or on a visit to the Sandbar. Picnic baskets may also be delivered to guest casitas. Other special venues for a barbecue are the guest casita beachfront, Gary’s Nest and Island Cave.

THE LIBRARY is stocked with novels in several languages, travel guides, newspapers, magazines and coffee-table books on Philippine art, design and culture. DVDs and CDs are available. Internet and Wi-Fi are available.

THE BOUTIQUES specialise in woven rugs, baskets, jewellery, pottery and other crafts from the Palawan region, as well as Asian antiques, furniture and island beach wear.

MASSAGE AND BEAUTY TREATMENTS can be taken in two air-conditioned Spa Casitas, the open-air Garden Sala or in the privacy of your own casita. Manicures, pedicures, facials and body treatments are also available.

MEETING ROOMS can be arranged at the West Villa Clubhouse for small gatherings; audiovisual equipment is available upon request.

THE GYM is located beside the tennis courts and surrounded by a lush tropical forest. Cardiovascular equipment is available.

THE SWIMMING POOL Amanpulo’s 30m Swimming Pool is bordered by two high bougainvillea trellises. The pool’s aquatiles mirror the Sulu Sea. Three spacious open-air salas are situated around the pool and feature generously-sized mattresses for all-day
lounging.

TENNIS Four synthetic grass, floodlit tennis courts are available with rest pavilions for refreshments. Two courts are located adjacent to the Clubhouse and two are located adjacent to the West Villa Clubhouse. Complimentary tennis balls, rackets and playing partners are available.

SEA SPORTS HUT Adjacent to the Beach Club, the Seasports Hut offers a variety of water sports equipment as well as information on boat charters, water sports, snorkelling and scuba diving sites and sea conditions.

WEDDING BLESSINGS Renew your vows with a sentimental ceremony performed by a Filipino wedding official. A variety of romantic settings are available, including Amanpulo’s white sand beach at sunset, the outdoor chapel otherwise known as the ‘Grotto,’ beneath the bougainvillea-decked poolside trellis or at sea in a boat festooned with island flowers. Blessings include a guitar serenade, champagne, wedding cake, a decorated wedding car and a flower bouquet.

Note: This is No.1 of a series of articles on Beach Resorts in the Philippines that have attracted my attention. I am not paid to write this article and the future articles in this series.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Boracay Island and the Regency Hotel Beach Resort


This series of articles about Philippines beaches will not be complete if I do not write about a beach resort in Boracay. There must be more than 100 beach resorts, hotels, boarding rooms and other accommodations (condos, private homes, apartments)in this most popular beach resort in Southeast Asia ranging from 1 star to 5 stars.

I have visited Boracay only once in the mid 1990's, but Macrine has been to Boracay two times. Her first time was with me and the second time was with our 4 adult children and three grand children from California in 2007. They stayed at the Regency Beach Resort and Convention Center, a 4-star hotel. They had a grand time and were very please with their accommodation and experience at the Regency.

In my case, I swear I will never visit Boracay again because of the crowds and circus atmosphere of the island. To me, a beach vacation must be quite, peaceful and a lot of solitude, not night clubs, crowds and mayhem. The following video shows both the commercial and non-commercial side of the island.


Boracay is an island of the Philippines located approximately 315 km (200 miles) south of Manila and 2 km off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. In 1990, it was voted by the BMW Tropical Beach Handbook as one of the best beaches in the world and again in 1996 by British publication TV Quick as the world's number one tropical beach.

The island comprises the barangays of Manoc-Manoc, Balabag, and Yapak (3 of the 17 barangays which make up the municipality of Malay), and is under the administrative control of the Philippine Tourism Authority in coordination with the Provincial Government of Aklan. The island was originally home to the Ati tribe. Boracay is part of Aklan Province, which became an independent province on April 25, 1956.

Years ago, Boracay Island was an almost possessively guarded secret so that only a few knew of its existence. Tourism only began to develop in the 1970s, when, it is said, a foreign movie crew accidentally "discovered" this island paradise. Others maintain that it was the German traveler, 'Jens Peters' book, which included rave reviews of Boracay that changed the island’s pace from that of being a quiet secret to eventually being voted as having the best beach in the world. Whichever story is true, it was around this time that Boracay Island slowly ceased to be a private hangout for travelers. In the 1980s, the island became popular with backpackers. Since then, Boracay has gradually become more and more a cosmopolitan tourism destination and, in the 21st century has become, one of the major tourist destinations in the Philippines.


Note: This is No.4 of the series of articles on beaches in the Philippines that have attracted my attention.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Orchids and Statuaries in The Gardens of Chateau Du Mer


Orchids in the Front Yard of the Main House

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The photos above are some of the statuaries, and orchids from the Gardens Of Chateau Du Me, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Video of Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort and Conference Center




Here's a short video of Chateau Du Mer for your viewing pleasure.

Lagen Island Resort, El Nido, Palawan



The Philippines has a lot of great tourist places to offer foreigners. From it’s great flora and fauna to the great marine life. However the best things that Philippines have to offer are the beautiful beaches. The beaches in the Philippines offer great white sands. If you want to go to a beach where there are lots of people where you can interact with, Boracay is the place to go. If you want to go to a very secluded place just away from it all the beaches in Palawan are best suited for you.
El Nido is a place in Palawan (south western province in the Philippines) that offers a great way to relax without too many people. El Nido is a municipality that is found on the north western tip of Palawan. It is 240 kilometers north-west of Puerto Princesa City, (Palawan's capital) and 430 kilometers south-west of Manila.

They have the same quality of beaches that can be found in the famous Boracay. El Nido has been declared a protected area because of its geology and diverse wildlife.

The fastest and best way to go to El Nido is from Manila. You can catch a plane flight from the Island Transvoyager Inc. They have daily flights using a Dornier 228 aircraft that is capable to seat 19 people. The travel time from Manila is only an hour and thirty minutes. You will land directly at El Nido’s airport.

The trip will be made much effortless because the plane reservations can be made by the resort you choose. After arriving at the airport, you will be met by the resort’s staff. They will then transfer you to a motorized outrigger boat that will take you for a scenic ride going to the resort. It will then take you another 30 to 40 minutes riding the boats to arrive to the resorts itself.


The two resorts that the tourist can go to El Nido are Lagen Island and Miniloc Resorts. Lagen Island is a set in a cove that is fringed by a lush forest that gives you an experience of being in a tropical hideaway. It is the most luxurious resort in the area. While Miniloc Island Set in a cove surrounded by sheer limestone cliffs. Miniloc resort provides the guest with beach lined with coconut trees that has fine white sand, Thatched-roof cottages made from local materials, and clear waters full of marine life.

One of the things that concerns tourist to go Palawan is the security. Because of past events that some people have been taken away by terrorist groups, people have become afraid to visit the island. In truth, the place is a very safe place and has very well security measures now. El Nido resorts have very strict security because their securities are working hand in hand with the military and national police forces of the Philippine government. As a disclaimer, I can not guarentee your safety to Palawan as of this writing date ( see travel warning to the Philippines)


Note: This is No.3 of a series of articles on Beach Resorts in the Philippines that attracted my attention. .

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Samal Island, Davao

Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Davao Philippines

One of the beach resorts in the Philippines that has been in my dream list is the Pearl Farm Beach Resort in Samal Island, Davao. I first learned about this resort several years ago in the National Geographic Magazine or was that in the Architectural Digest? I am having attacked of senior moments syndrome, right now. so forgive me, Anyway,
"-Here's information from the brochure of this luxurious beach resort in Samal Island, Davao, Philippines, so judge it for yourself. As a disclaimer, I have no way of checking this out, since I have not been to this resort. But I have friends who had stayed in this resort and informed me that the place is fantastic if not a little bit expensive. For current rates,visit their website:www.pearlfarmresort.com

Nestled In the idyllic islands of Samal & Malipano,The Pearl Farm Beach Resort is a former cultivation farm for luxurious south sea pearls. Now, it continues its essence of prime luxury as a premier destination resort of Fuego Hotels and as a perfect hideaway for those in search of blissful retreat. Here's a short video for your viewing pleasure.


The Pearl farm beach resort offer deluxe accommodations with 73 guestrooms, suites, cottages on stilts perched above the sea, and exclusive villas designed from Maranao & Samal ethnic influences in both materials and form. The interiors’ decorative details and multi hued patterns Reflect the islands vibrant culture as inspired by
the regions rich tribal ancestry. Malipano Island, a secluded isle located a few hundred meters of Samal island, is where 7 exclusive villas of the resort are nestled, facing a pristine white-sand beach and bordered with lush gardens".

Hilltop Rooms or Balay House (16 Standard Rooms)The Hilltop Rooms or Balay Houses (two buildings) are located on the hillside. All rooms are furnished with native materials and decor. The rooms are air-conditioned, equipped with mini-bar facilities, hot & cold shower, cable television and telephone. All rooms have a garden view and most rooms have a panoramic view of the sea from the verandas. The Game Room is located at the Balay 1, equipped with different board games, Chess table, Billiard and Mahjong sets.

• Samal House (19 Superior Rooms)
The Samal Houses are built on stilts on the water. They are patterned after the houses of the Samal tribe of Mindanao, who are seafarers. All rooms are air-conditioned, with separate toilet & bath, coffee & tea facilities, safety deposit boxes, hairdryer and cabled televisions.All rooms have balconies where you can see schools of tropical fishes. The rooms are beautifully appointed with the bright colors of pink, yellow and blue of the Samal tribe.

• Sunset Suite (1 Suite Room)

The Sunset Suite is built on stilts on the water. Tagged as suite room. Patterned after the houses of the Samal tribe of Mindanao, who are seafarers. Room is air-conditioned, with separate toilet & bath, coffee & tea facilities, safety deposit boxes, hairdryer and cabled televisions. With separate living room and a spacious veranda where you can see schools of tropical fishes. The rooms are beautifully appointed with the bright colors of pink, yellow and blue of the Samal tribe.

Mandaya Houses (20 Deluxe Rooms)
The Mandaya Houses are located near the aqua sports area of the resort. The Mandaya Houses surround the Mandaya swimming pool (one of the 2 pools in the resort).

All rooms are air-conditioned with mini-bar, coffee & tea facilities, hairdryer, safety deposit boxes and cable television. The rooms are spacious enough that it can accommodate a third person. It also has a spacious dressing area. A small pocket garden is located at the back of each room. All rooms are adjoining or two rooms are joined to form one house.
• Samal Suite (6 Executive Suites)
The Samal Suite rooms are two-storey Muslim inspired cottages. The suites are named and decorated according to the different Mindanao tribes such as the Tausug, Yakan, T’boli, Bagobo, B’laan and Maguindanao. The upper room of the Samal Suite is the masters’ bedrrom, with a King-sized bed. A master’s bedroom with a bathtub is also well appointed. The lower room is the living room, which is convertible into a bedroom and is very ideal for families with up to 3 children. A sofa bed with a trundle bed can be arranged. A second toilet and bath facility can also be found on the lower level.
The rooms are also air-conditioned, equipped with a well-stocked mini-bar, coffee & tea facilities, hair dryer, safety deposit box and cable television. The Samal Suites have private stairs that lead to the water.
• Malipano Villa (7 Villas)
The Malipano Villas or big houses located at Malipano Island, a secluded island across the resort. There are two types of Villas: five villas have3 bedrooms and two villas have 4 bedrooms. All villas are air-conditioned, equipped with mini-bar, coffee & tea facilities, safety box (located at the master’s bedroom), cable television, spacious living room and hair dryers. All rooms have individual toilet and bath, with the master bathroom having a bathtub. Butler service is available for food orders and other guests assistance. A standby speedboat is available to transport the guests to the restaurant and other facilities at Pearl Farm. The villas have a wide veranda where a small barbecue party can be organized for its guests complete with cooks and waiters.

Pearl Farm Facilities & Services
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A wide array of facilities & services are available for both vigorous guests and those who prefer to simply take it easy.

• Aqua Sports Center- Rents out speed boats & outrigger boats for cruising, jet-skis, banana boat rides, kayaks, Hobie cats, snorkeling gear and has certified instructors for wind-surfing, water-skiing and scuba diving (Two (2) sunken World War II Japanese vessels await discovery from scuba divers, just 60 meters away from the resort.
• Two (2) Swimming Pools
•Ylang Ylang Spa- Offers a wide range of beauty and health treatments such as wraps, facials, body massage and foot spas - available as individual treatments or in indulgent packages.
• Tennis/Basketball /Badminton Court- Tennis lessons are available with prior arrangements.
• Game Room- Offers a lot of fun games giant board games, billiards, fooze ball, air hockey and other games for family and friends to enjoy. Located at the Balay 1 building.
• Conference Room-Designed to allow total concentration necessary for power meetings and conferences. Accommodates up to 70 persons.
• Parola Bar-Enjoy the different beverage concoctions while taking pleasure of the stunning view of the sea, beautiful sunset and a view of Mt. Apo. Parola bar also has videoke for guests who love to sing and stand out.
• Maranao Restaurant-The Maranao Restaurant features delicious Filipino and International cuisine with fresh seafood specialties. Enjoy cocktails at the Parola Bar with inspiring view of the sea and the nearby islands.
• Malipano Gazebo-Located at the Malipano Island, the Malipano Gazebo is perfect venue for special parties and functions. With a view that entices the natural beauty of the sea and the mountain ranges of Samal.
• Butik- A souvenir shop which offers a variety of local handicrafts, native outfits and even the latest in trendy beachwear. Limited basic toiletries and necessities are also available.
• Mandaya Weaving Center- Enjoy the scene of Mandaya tribeswomen as they skillfully weave their traditionally exotic and colorful handbags, mats, clothing and other ornamentation at the Weaving Center located near the Maranao Restaurant. The cloth used is locally used as “Dagmay” distinguished by the intricate figures and patterns depicting the tribal folklore and religion.
• Other Services- Babysitting, Business Office (internet access, facsimile services)

Note: This is No.2 of a series of articles on Beach Resorts in the Philippines that attracted my attention. Just want to let all of you my readers that I am not paid to write this article.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wrangell-St Elias National Park, Alaska


Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve is a United States National Park in southeastern Alaska. It was established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The park area is included in an International Biosphere Reserve and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the largest national park in the United States by area, covering an area of 20,587 mi² (53,321 km²), or over 13million acres (53,000 km²). In fact, it is larger than nine U.S. States, and its size is comparable to the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
Mount St. Elias is situated on the border of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Canada's Kluane National Park and Reserve. At 18,008 feet (5,489 m), Mt. St. Elias is the second highest mountain in both Canada and the United States. In all, nine of the 16 highest peaks on U.S. soil are located in the park, along with North America's largest subpolar icefield, glaciers, rivers, an active volcano, and the historic Kennecott copper mines. The vast majority of the park is designated as wilderness, and the Wrangell – St. Elias Wilderness is the largest designated wilderness in the United States.

The park is accessible by highway from Anchorage; two rough gravel roads (the McCarthy Road and the Nabesna Road) wind through the park, making much of the interior accessible for backcountry camping and hiking. Chartered aircraft also fly into the park. Wrangell – St. Elias received 61,085 visitors in 2007 and is quickly gaining popularity through its combination of size, remoteness, and accessibility.


Note: This is no. 28 and the last of the series of articles on national park in the US. I hope you found this series informative.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Zion National Park, Utah


Macrine at the Park, Summer of 2009
Zion National Park is a national park located in the Southwestern United States, near Springdale, Utah. A prominent feature of the park of 229 square miles (590 km2) is Zion Canyon, 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. The lowest elevation is 3,666 ft (1,117 m) at Coalpits Wash and the highest elevation is 8,726 ft (2,660 m) at Horse Ranch Mountain. Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions, the park's unique geography and variety of life zones allow for unusual plant and animal diversity. Numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species of bat), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park's four life zones: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest. Common plant species include cottonwood, Cactus, Datura, Juniper, Pine, Boxelder, Sagebrush, yucca , and various willows. Notable megafauna include mountain lions, mule deer, and Golden Eagles, along with the reintroduced Bighorn Sheep. Zion´s also has rare and endangered species such as the Peregrine Falcon, Mexican spotted owl, California condor, desert tortoise, and the Zion snail, found nowhere else on earth. Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches.

Human habitation of the area started about 8,000 years ago with small family groups of Native Americans; the semi-nomadic Basketmaker Anasazi (300 CE) stem from one of these groups. In turn, the Virgin Anasazi culture (500 CE) developed as the Basketmakers settled in permanent communities. A different group, the Parowan Fremont, lived in the area as well. Both groups moved away by 1300 and were replaced by the Parrusits and several other Southern Paiute subtribes. The canyon was discovered by Mormons in 1858 and was settled by that same group in the early 1860s. In 1909, U.S. President William Howard Taft named the area a National Monument to protect the canyon, under the name of Mukuntuweap National Monument. In 1918, however, the acting director of the newly created National Park Service changed the park's name to Zion as the original name was locally unpopular. Zion is one of the names of Jerusalem in ancient Hebrew. The United States Congress established the monument as a National Park on November 19, 1919. The Kolob section was proclaimed a separate Zion National Monument in 1937, but was incorporated into the park in 1956.

The geology of the Zion and Kolob canyons area includes 9 formations that together represent 150 million years of mostly Mesozoic-aged sedimentation. At various periods in that time warm, shallow seas, streams, ponds and lakes, vast deserts, and dry near-shore environments covered the area. Uplift associated with the creation of the Colorado Plateaus lifted the region 10,000 feet (3,000 m) starting 13 million years ago.

Note: This is No.27 of a series of articles on national park in the US. Macrine and I visited this Park for one day in the summer of 2009.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Selected Photos from the First Beach Wedding Ceremony at Chateau Du Mer













Last December 22, the first beach wedding ceremony was held at Chateau Du Mer. The bride was originally from Marinduque and is an OFW worker from Canada. The groom was originally from Pampanga is an OFW worker from South Korea. The wedding ceremony started at 9AM and ended two hours later. This was followed by a lunch reception at the Conference Hall for around 100 guests. The newly weds are Rick( Richard Servano) and Tin( Catalina Montales).
In preparation for this beach wedding, I had two workers cleaned the beach, raked the beach and placed about 50 chairs under the Talisay trees in front of the beach house. With clear ocean waters and azure blue skies, that day was a perfect day for a wedding ceremony.
Above are some selected photos of this historic event at my beach resort.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, though it also extends into Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone was the first national park in the world, and is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. It has many types of ecosystems, but the sub alpine forest is dominant.
Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years. The region was bypassed during the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 19th century. Aside from visits by mountain men during the early-to-mid-19th century, organized exploration did not begin until the late 1860s. The U.S. Army was commissioned to oversee the park just after its establishment. In 1917, administration of the park was transferred to the National Park Service, which had been created the previous year. Hundreds of structures have been built and are protected for their architectural and historical significance, and researchers have examined more than 1,000 archaeological sites.

Yellowstone National Park spans an area of 3,468 square miles (8,980 km2), comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest super volcano on the continent. The caldera is considered an active volcano; it has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years. Half of the world's geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism. Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover most of the land area of Yellowstone. The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining, nearly intact ecosystem in the Earth's northern temperate zone.
Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have been documented, including several that are either endangered or threatened. The vast forests and grasslands also include unique species of plants. Grizzly Bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk live in the park. Forest fires occur in the park each year; in the large forest fires of 1988, nearly one third of the park burned. Yellowstone has numerous recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, boating, fishing and sightseeing. Paved roads provide close access to the major geothermal areas as well as some of the lakes and waterfalls. During the winter, visitors often access the park by way of guided tours that use either snow coaches or snowmobile.

Note: This is No.25 of a series of articles on national park in the US.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

The Skyline Drive
Shenandoah National Park encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the U.S. state of Virginia. This national park is long and narrow, with the broad Shenandoah River and valley on the west side, and the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont on the east. Although likely the most prominent feature of the Park is the scenic Skyline Drive, almost 40% of the land area 79,579 acres (322.04 km2) has been designated as wilderness and is protected as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The highest peak is Hawksbill Mountain at 4,051 feet (1,235 m).

The park is best known for Skyline Drive, a 105 mile (169 km) road that runs the entire length of the park along the ridge of the mountains. The drive is particularly popular in the fall when the leaves are changing colors. One Hundred one miles (162 km) of the Appalachian Trail are also in the park. In total, there are over 500 miles (800 km) of trails within the park. Of the trails, one of the most popular is Old Rag Mountain, which offers a thrilling rock scramble and some of the most breathtaking views in Virginia. There is also horseback riding, camping, bicycling, and many waterfalls. The Skyline Drive is designated as a National Scenic Byway.
Skyline Drive View

Note: This is No. 24 of a series of articles on national park in the US. Macrine and I drove Skyline Drive from the North Entrance to about halfway point of the drive during the Fall of 1994 enjoying the fall foliage and the mesmerizing skyline views of the Virginia country side.
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