Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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If you think you cannot get a good nice view of a sunset in a busy and progressive city with tall buildings all around the area like Bacolod City, then you are wrong. The city of smiles has many restaurants that offer a scenic view of the sunset. 

Last Monday, my wife and I were looking for some furniture for a project that we are planning to put up. Our feet brought us to BUNZ Surplus Japan in North Bacolod, a warehouse full of used cabinets and other furniture from Japan - some are slightly used and others were quite new, along Banago Road in Bacolod City. 




Banago area is generally notorious for being a haven of lawlessness. Public jeepneys are stopping in the middle of the road to unload their passengers, shirtless men roaming the street, public market extending their store spaces up to the road and squatters making the road as their open living area. So, there is not much to be excited about going to this area, wherein all you see are shanties, gasoline depots and gasoline stations, old or abandoned buildings and warehouses. 

Since it was quite late for a merienda and too early for dinner, we decided to go to Palawud Resto Grill and Bar to get something for our stomach, just across the street from the surplus store. This nondescript structure, save for a signage and flaking paint of the cemented perimeter wall opens to a long driveway until you reach the restaurant area. For a first-time customer, you will not realize that there is a restaurant inside this enclosed area. 

I cannot remember how many times I visited this place but I know for sure why we should visit this place more often if only to catch the sunset or feel the breeze of the ocean air. 

1. Best Sunset View 

The open-air resto-bar, just a few steps to the shoreline allows us to catch the setting of the sun, with all the magical orange, brown and grayish hues until the horizons become blue and dark. For a nature lover like me, this is a very romantic view, especially because there were no daughters around so we made the best of our time together. 

Photo grabbed from Palawud Grill and Resto Bar


2. Sea-Front Dining Area 

The eating area allows the customers to appreciate the wide and clean shoreline and if you are there during high tide, you can hear the rushing of the waves or smell the salty misty air, which study shows have calming and therapeutic effects. 


3. Ample and Secure Parking Spaces 
They have sufficient parking spaces in contrast to the many restaurants located within the downtown area, wherein you cannot immediately find an empty parking space. If you ever find one, you will risk your car to vandalism and thief. Palawud’s parking spaces are also secured because the whole area is enclosed and you are sure that those coming in are only their customers. 

4. Children’s Playground 

Surprisingly, this is the only restaurant I know that is in a way, child-friendly. They have a swing, slides and other play tools for the children. When your child is bored waiting for the food to arrive or is extra active, you can let him play until he gets tired and is ready to eat. 

The children's play area provides kids to do something while they are waiting for their food

5. IG-Worthy Surroundings 

If you are fond of sharing pictures of your food adventure, then you will find so many angles here that will surely make your Instagram posts get the most number of likes, especially if the sunset is very friendly with you. 


6. Wide Selection of Food 

The food choices are varied - from meat to seafood dishes and drinks. They even have set meals or bundle meals for big groups. Their bestsellers are properly labeled on their menu so that if you are still undecided, you will get an idea of what food to consider. 



7. Live Singers 

Live singers and bands are serenading the guests on regular schedules - Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Listening to soft music while eating makes you eat more (I guess. . ha..ha..) You may even request them to sing your favorite songs. 

8. Masskara and Fire Dancers 

If you missed the annual Masskara Festival of Bacolod City, then you should eat your dinner on a weekend and you will be entertained by the world-famous Maskara dancers and find out why it is popular in the other parts of the world. While enjoying your smoothie or drinking beer, you will also be treated to a fire dance number. It is thrilling to see how dancers manage to create patterns of different lights and dance at the same time to the beat of a jungle drum. 


There are many things to discover in Palawud Resto Grill and Bar. The management is in constant hunt for ways to meet the unique needs of their guests. It is a place for everyone, where you appreciate both the scenic beauty of nature and the gastronomic feast. 

Do you have a memorable or romantic dining experience? Please share that with us in the Comment Section below. 

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Sunday, May 17, 2020

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Today, we are celebrating the 23rd birthday of our youngest daughter, Ciara.  We are remembering this very important milestone amidst the pandemic when everyone is forced to stay at home.

At 23, she made us proud as she is slowly coming out of her shell. She earned her college diploma with Latin honor and a few months later, she landed her first job.  Recently, she also got her Psychometrician License from the Professional Regulation Commission.  I guess any parent is proud of these achievements.




How do we celebrate her birthday today when we are not allowed to go out of the house and restaurants are not available for dine-in?


Ciara is not the kind who goes for a big birthday party, but rather she wants it simple.  So, for today, we had pizza and stuffed churros from the older sister and delivered to us by Food Panda,






On the occasion of her birthday, we are SHARING this birthday message:



So, from me, Mama, Manang Kat-kat, and Manang Yan-yan, here's to another blissful year ahead. Cheers!

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MY Amayszing Blog Journey: From An Average Joe to An All-star Dude

Saturday, May 16, 2020

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I never would have thought that I would find a total stranger, an online friend actually, who voluntarily showed willingness to help me when I needed it the most.

It all started when I posted in one of the online communities about my predicament concerning my blog.  You see, my AdSense application remains unapproved since I applied in 2018.  I am not aware that there is more to blogging than just merely writing and


Recently, I was surprised to receive a message from this kind-hearted lady asking if I need help.  Without any hesitation, I replied positively.  I never looked back since then.  She is now my self-designated mentor.  We even become friends on FB. Do you know who she is?  She is Amays Zing.  She is the lady behind amayszing.com.

I cant thank you enough.  Thank you Amays.  Photo grabbed from her website with permission


This post is a humble way of expressing how grateful I am for all the help she extended to me, especially when she remotely manipulated my blog site to give way for the installation of a new blog theme design I purchased from an online shop.

GETTING MY SITE INDEXED IN GOOGLE


Imagine, my site was invisible for more than a year.  I never had any organic traffic.  Knowing how important for a site to show up in a search query, she helped me understand Google Search Console and she patiently guided me throughout the whole process of indexing and submitting my sitemap to Google.

FIXING THE LOOSE END


It is very difficult for a site to get approved by Adsense.  What is even more difficult is the fact that you have to figure out what is wrong with your site.  Fixing the back-end dashboard of my site, especially the blog's settings took a lot of time.  She was happy to help someone struggling with strange-sounding names such as ad.txt or custom ad.txt.

THE NEW THEME DESIGN


This is the most challenging part of my blogging journey – changing the design of my site.  This is an alien work for me.  To be honest, I am in my 50's and are not familiar with so many tools on the internet, more so on social media.  It follows that I do not know about html codes.  Changing my blog's designs requires a little bit of background in html codes.  Knowing my inadequate knowledge about this technical skill, she volunteered for a team viewer session that lasted for about 3 hours.  She never complained and is more than willing to answer my queries. Just look at how beautiful this blog's layout is.  She was also the one who recommended where to get a decent design for a reasonable price.

SUBMITTING THE ADSENSE APPLICATION


Submitting the AdSense application is a breeze.  But fixing on the issues AdSense found on your blog is a different thing.  Without any specific issues, you have to work on every aspect of your blog – from content to design and back-end.  While I am waiting for my Adsense approval, it is good to know that someone helped me submit the AdSense application correctly.

As a newbie-blogger, I still have a lot to learn.  Without meeting this lovely and kind-hearted lady, my blogging journey would not have been as enriching and fruitful as before.  I am hoping that she will remain patient and helpful.  When the time comes that someone will need my help about blogging, I hope I am as experienced as she is by then, I could return the favor so that I could make one happy soul as well.  And by the way, don’t be tricked by this article’s title, I am still an average Joe.

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SPELUNKING IN HINOBAAN, NEGROS OCCIDENTAL: WHY YOU SHOULD EXPLORE UBONG CAVES

Sunday, May 10, 2020

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For a city dweller like me, life can be stressful.  Going on a long road trip is a good way to escape from our busy schedules. Traveling south of Negros Occidental, particularly in Hinoba-an is probably a good idea to relax and just enjoy the scenery of green trees and mountain ranges along the road.

Exploring the beaches and other tourist attractions in Hinobaan is incomplete without visiting Ubong Caves. So, let us find out why tourists keep coming back to this famous natural wonder of Hinobaan.



HOW TO GET THERE

Hinoba-an is the last municipality in the southern side of Negros Occidental.  If you are coming from Bacolod City, it would take you 4-5 hours by public transport and 3-4 hours by private car to reach the place. 

It is best to arrange for an overnight stay in one of the beaches there to maximize the long drive you took.  During our trip in Hinoba-an, we stayed at Brazaville Beach Resort.  There are many water activities you can do while staying on the beach plus they have nice surroundings worthy of an Instagram photo.


Please read our beach experience in Brazaville here:  BRAZAVILLE BEACH RESORT: ONE OF THE HIDDEN GEMS OF HINOBAAN

To get to Ubong Caves, you have to take a 15-minute  tricycle ride.  Tricycle to non-Filipinos is a three-wheeled motorcycle that can ride other passengers, other than the driver.  Aside from the public commute, you have another 15-minute hike to reach to Obong Beach Paradise, which is the reception area and the starting point for the cave exploration.

Another cave is accessible only through a motorized banca.  So if you are the adventurous type, you may rent a banca and enter the cave from the sea.

WHAT TO SEE

There are three caves they collectively called Ubong Caves.  With a tour guide, we explored the first two caves by entering a very narrow hole, you won't realize that it was a cave opening.  At first, I was hesitant about going through a dark alley,  not knowing what lies inside.  I continued knowing that I am in the company of my family.  We were briefed not to leave our assigned group.  We were also advised to make sounds,  maybe to ward off some spirits from joining the group or other insects and animals, especially snakes from attacking us.

Sadly, the cave's wall was in a state of destruction  There were many writings on the walls and limestones were dead.  But, others are still surviving, forming rocks reaching up to the ceiling. Some formed interesting shapes and figures.  Thankfully, as the tour guide told us,  the ecosystem in this area is still alive because of the presence of growing stalactite and stalagmites inside the cave.

Moreover, we saw thousands of bats clinging on the ceiling.  They made sounds when lights were trained in a colony.  Bats are helpful in the ecosystem because they spread seeds that will grow as trees in the future and they eat insects that are dangerous to humans.

The most interesting part of the tour was when we went to a corner where large rocks formed like the shape of a wild pig and a whale.  It was stunning because it appears like the real figure of the animals.

We finally went outside the cave through a very wide entrance, almost 50 feet high facing the sea.

This amazing rock formation is the most photographed of all.


This stalactites is so massive, it reaches to the cave's floor.
WHAT TO DO

Aside from caving, you may also swim or go snorkeling because the waters are pristine and crystal clear.  I saw different species of fish swimming near the shoreline. You can dive during high tide inside the third cave.  

For overnight visitors, you may inquire from Obong Beach Paradise if they can accommodate you.  At night,  you may build a bonfire, watch the sunset and have dinner by the beach.  At dusk, you can watch bat flying out of the cave to hunt for food.

WHERE TO STAY

Aside from Obong Beach Paradise, you may opt to stay in one of the beach houses lining the coastal area.  I advise that you should arrange for your accommodation in advance so that your itinerary can be accordingly scheduled.  Most of the beaches have a Facebook page where you can access to book your transaction.


Obong Paradise serves as the reception area of spelunkers.

WHERE TO EAT

Upon booking your accommodation, you may also inquire from the resort counter if they are serving meals.  You should immediately know where to eat upon your arrival in Hinobaan because you are hungry by then.  Three hours without putting something in our stomach is hard for others.

TRIVIA
During the war in 1942, one of the caves in Ubong was used by the late Major Jesus Villamor as a hideout to track down the movement of Japanese invaders in Negros Occidental. He served as the contact person in Negros Occidental of General Douglas McArthur, who was at the time based in Australia.  Villamor Airbase in Pasay City was named after him to honor his heroism.

TIPS

1.  Bring flashlight and camera.
2.  Wear comfortable attire as you need to walk a lot.
3. Do not touch the limestones.  The acid in your hand could harm the growth of the rock.
4. Take a lot of pictures.
5.  Dispose of your trash properly.

Obong Caves are considered nature's gifts.   Hinobaan is lucky to have these caves which took so many years to form.  We always have to preserve what nature has given us.  

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RAMX MEAT SHOP AND SODAM KOREAN RESTAURANT BRING SAMGYUPSAL TO YOUR DOORSTEPS

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

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Want to eat Samgyupsal at the convenience of your home? But you can't because of the lockdown? You may now satisfy your Korean food craving by placing your order for a DIY Samgyupsal (others spelled it Samgyeopsal) delivered to your home.

The RAMX Meat shop and Sodam Korean Restaurant team up to bring to you this Korean dish cooked right at your dining table.





The package cost P599.00 and includes 1kg pork in samgyupsal cut, 1 kg charcoal briquettes, 500 gram Kimchi, 100 gram Ssamjang (soybean sauce), and 40 gram sesame oil sauce.

Samgyupsal is our favorite Korean meal which consists of unmarinated pork belly meat with spicy condiments grilled in front of the diners.

You may visit their FB Page RAMX MeatShop for orders.

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BAYANIHAN ACT: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PAYMENT EXTENSION OF YOUR BANK LOANS

Saturday, May 2, 2020

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The COVID 19 crisis halted the economic activity of the country. Many business establishments temporarily closed their shops because of the lockdown. Most people stay at home and consequently lost their regular income.

The majority of the Filipinos struggled to survive this pandemic.  It is even more challenging if they have monthly payments to make like paying for rent, utilities, credit cards, or housing loans. 


Now, here's the good news. Bank lenders can breathe a sigh of relief because loan payments, including payment of credit cards, are extended by another month. 

The provisions of Section 4(aa) of RA 11469 or the "Bayanihan to Heal As One Act". grants borrowers a 30-day grace period if the payment due date of their bill falls within the quarantine period, which is from March 15-April 30, 2020. 

How does this work? Let me illustrate in the following example. 



NEW MONTHLY PAYMENT AND DUE DATE 


  • Example: Client A availed a 5-year loan from ABC Bank, which is going to mature on April 25, 2024. He has a monthly amortization of 25, 000.00, with the P24,000.00 applied for the payment of the principal amount and the remaining P1,000.00 for the monthly interest.
  • Question: How much will Client A pay on the next due date?
  • Answer: Client A should pay P26,000.00, representing the principal payment of P24,000.00 and P2,000.00 for interest for April and May. ?The client pays the regular monthly amortization on the succeeding months. 
  • Question: What is the new due date of Client A? 
  • Answer: May 25, 2020. 

OPTIONAL INTEREST COMPUTATION 


  • Client A may opt to pay the extra interest (April) on a staggered basis based on the remaining maturity period of the loan. 
  • In our example above, the additional interest is computed as follows: 
  • Additional Monthly Interest = P1,000.00 / (4 years X 12 months) = P20.83
  • Monthly Payment Due = Principal + Monthly Interest + Additional Monthly Interest
  • Total Monthly Payment Due = P24,000.00 + P1,000.00 + P20.83 = P25,020.83

While banks are not strict in collecting the monthly amortization, this scheme works to their advantage. The extended credit term allows them to collect interest charges for the extra month. It is practical to pay the amount due as is to avoid the additional burden. 

Financial institutions that violate the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act shall be subject to the corresponding penalties under RA 11469 and other existing laws and regulations. The new law takes effect starting April 2, 2020.

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