Archive | Dapitan

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Dapitan the Beautiful

Posted on 03 February 2009 by Flisha

Dapitan City

I don’t remember uploading these photos of the last time I was in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte. That was about three months ago. Although I do not miss my very poor living quarters there, I do miss the beautiful, relaxing sights of Dapitan.

Nature never let you forget her majesty in Dapitan. It was easy to just let the romantic days wrap themselves all over you… ’til you forgot that there was more to living than the here and now.

So… enjoy these photos. :)

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Big Bites Burger

Posted on 15 December 2008 by Flisha

This is a guest post from my boyfriend Gim. Here to talk about his favorite pastime: good eats. – Flisha

I looove burgers. I especially like the meaty, juicy ones. Not the paper-thin slices that they serve at the school canteen or at the 3M burger stand beside the plaza in Dapitan; although these paltry snacks would sometimes do if I were really desperate for something to eat. The former ’cause it’s dirt cheap and the latter ’cause it’s the only fastfood joint open 24/7 in Dapitan.

No, these are not the burgers I prefer. According to a friend of mine, they’re made of cheapie-patties. A nearly transparent circle of meat that’s put in between bread just so you could call it a burger.

No, the ones I like are the ones that make you go “mmmmm!” with every bite. Like the burgers in Big Joe’s in Dipolog. Or more recently, the ones in Big Bite Burger House located beside the Catribo Complex here in Zamboanga City.

We (Flisha and I) visited the place yesterday on a tip from a classmate. And true enough, the burgers were scrumptious! I got the cheeseroom burger while she got the rodeo burger. (Sorry for the blurred pics! I was too excited to focus.)

Although the patties themselves were not as thick as I wanted them to be (but considerably thicker than the average burger patty), it was as juicy as can be with just a hint of smoke and charcoal, a result no doubt of the charcoal grill used in cooking the patties.

This isn’t how they normally cook their patty. They usually do it on an electric griller. But for an additional five pesos ($0.10), they prepare your patty in an honest to goodness charcoal grill. The mushroom and cheese in my burger as well as the fried onion ring in hers made for a delicious filling. So the next time you get that burger craving, be sure to pop in at Big Bite’s Burger.

Come to think of it, I wonder if using the charcoal grill is actually energy efficient?

Big Bites Burger can be found beside Catribo Complex along Governor Alvarez St, Zamboanga City.

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Best Restaurant in Dipolog

Posted on 20 November 2008 by Flisha

It’s Grandma’s Best, hands down.

In fact, I think it’s the best restaurant in Zamboanga del Norte, and after tasting their Squid Aligue Spaghetti, I’m tempted to say it’s the best restaurant in all of Philippines. Except that I haven’t visited all of Philippines yet.

Grandma’s Best is hidden in a residential part of Dipolog, which makes it a bit hard to find, as coming from Dapitan, Gim and I had to navigate through many roads just to find the elusive little canteen of a restaurant.

There is nothing to boast about the facade of Grandma’s Best, as it looks like an ordinary carenderia. The tables are simple rectangular plastic tables covered with cheaplooking cloth, the chairs are uncomfortable monoblock plastic white chairs, the walls are unadorned except for a few paintings here and there.

Service is nothing special. The waitresses look like that spinster aunt of yours who’s looking after your house while you’re gone (in her pink shirt and jeans). Water is available, but you have to get it yourself in the water dispenser at the back of the room.

But I’m not dissing this wonderful little restaurant. I’m simply amazed that a restaurant that looks so ordinary that it can easily be mistaken for a canteen (unless you happen to glance at the fridge that contains all of their rich-looking desserts) can serve such wonderfully fantastically delicious and divine dishes.

Grandma’s Best dishes I’ve tried and I swear are to die for:

Squid Aligue Spaghetti (Php80)

This scrumptious dish is soooo rich you’ll want to come back everyday to Grandma’s Best for a retaste. It’s filled with squid rings and pasta mixed in a rich and creamy sauce of sinful aligue (crab fat), topped with loads of cheese and freshly cut spring onion. It’s a disservice to call this dish “spaghetti” because it resembles nothing like spaghetti, but more like pasta for the gods, it is that rich.

Lengua (Php120)

I have always loved lengua (literally means tongue, but as a dish it means tongue of cow), and when I saw this dish in the menu, I ordered it right away. The dish I was served did not disappoint me in any way (except that it was served in a rectangular plastic container, but ah who cares if the food tastes great, huh?). The lengua was very soft, and swimming in a bowl of richly creamy mushroom sauce, and bursting with the dark, deep taste of beef. It’s definitely one of my favorites.

Beef Stroganoff (Php100)

You can take this with rice, or with pasta. Gim ordered this dish, and he chose pasta. I had only a few bites of this but I can say with all my heart I wish we had ordered two of these so I could have eaten a whole dish on my own! It may look like squid aligue spaghetti, but tastes nothing like it. It’s soft, tender beef mixed with creamy pasta topped with spring onions.

Apple Pie
(Php60)

This dessert is definitely one of the best I have ever experienced. My mom bakes the best apple pies I’ve ever tasted, and I was shocked to find out this pie we had just bought was even better! The best part about this pie is the delightfully crumbly upper crust, which tastes faintly of cinammon and confectionary sugar, and the underside covered with lovely apple sauce. Inside of the cake are apple slices which taste heavenly. The normally strong taste of apple is subdued and the apple slices are soft and tender, just the way I like it. The whole minipie is topped with cheese, and the serving is good for two. This dessert is a must-try if you’re ever going to eat at Grandma’s Best.

Lastly, I also recommend their Roast Beef (Php110), however I don’t have pictures of that since I ate it the first time around, when I wasn’t bringing a camera. (It tastes a lot like lengua.)

More pictures of the above dishes:

Grandma’s Best dishes I’m looking forward to sampling in the very very near future:

Cheese Lumpia (Php55)
Chili con Carne (Php75)
Garlic Mushroom (Php65)
Seafood BBQ (Php120)
Seafood Supreme (Php125)
Thai Fried Rice (Php100)
Pistachio Cake Slice (Php55)
Trouffle Supreme Whole (Php380)

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Travel Zamboanga to Dapitan

Posted on 20 November 2008 by Flisha

To travel Dapitan, Zamboanga (Philippines) and vice versa, you can go three ways: by air, land and sea.

Via Air

The safest option is, of course, via air. But as there’s no available direct flight from Zamboanga to Dipolog (but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), you would have to fly from Zamboanga to Cebu, then Cebu to Dipolog via Cebu Pacific. From Dipolog airport (do a little bit of shopping in Dipolog if you need to, you won’t be able to do it in Dapitan), you can take a tricycle straight to your destination in Dapitan for an exorbitant fee of Php150. Alternatively, you can walk to the street right outside of the airport, flag down a passing (not waiting) tricycle and get a ride to the bus terminal for only Php7. Then get on an Evergood bus and it will take you to Dapitan for Php20.

Via Sea

If you choose to go via sea, make sure it’s not the rainy season (August – December) because boats tend to capsize around this time of the year. If you have to, bring a vest and a snorkel. (I’m not kidding.) A little ferry from GP Lines travels from Zamboanga to Dapitan and vice versa, and costs less than Php1000 per passenger. The length of the trip is usually around 24 hours. From the port of Dapitan, you can take a tricycle to your destination for some exorbitant fee like Php200 (make sure to haggle heavily to lower the price!).

Via Land

The most common option for people traveling from Zamboanga to Dapitan is to take the bus. A one-way trip from Zamboanga to Dipolog on an airconditioned bus costs about Php400, while a non-AC bus costs Php300. From the Dipolog bus terminal, switch to the Evergood bus which will take you to Dapitan.

Via Stupid

The crazy and lifethreatening way to travel from Zamboanga to Dapitan is by motorcycle. It’s a four hour trip to the “nearby” city of Ipil, then another five hours to Dapitan. And that’s if you don’t stop periodically along the way because your butt is hurting so bad you want to kill your boyfriend for ever suggesting the trip as a “joyride”.

However, there are some nice spots along the way that you just have to stop and take a picture of, because. Like, for example, a rainbow over the ocean. Sometimes, a rainbow is just a rainbow. But when you have travelled for over two hours in the pouring rain on a motorcycle wearing a bright pink plastic trashbag that you bought for twenty pesos from a fisherman, got mud splattered all over your favorite green cottonskinned backpack and staining your pretty blue rubber shoes, and are carrying a large duffel bag about 10 kilos worth of rainsoaked garments on one side, your laptop and your backpack hanging from your aching back that hasn’t rested for seven hours running, plus your camera on the other side…. Sometimes a rainbow is not just a rainbow. Sometimes a rainbow is a sign from God telling you that murder is not the answer, and that this too shall pass.

Not that I ever endured those things because my mother specifically told me that I should be taking the bus to Dipolog, and she even mandated earlier I should take an airplane even if she had to pay my fare but I lipbitingly declined because I really shouldn’t be taking her money and instead should be responsible for my own expenses. So… I was. Via… erm… bus. Not via my newly bought refurbished Honda XL named Bastian (because I sold Pao a long time ago, and he wouldn’t have survived the trip anyways) that my boyfriend drove to Dapitan in both hours under the pouring rain and hours under the burning sun that scalded my skin and soaked all my clothes. Nope, ohno she didn’t.

P.S. The waves were wonderful.

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Sandbars in Dapitan

Posted on 15 November 2008 by Flisha

Sometimes the shores of Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines seem infinite. What you’re seeing above is a piece of ocean real estate. The tide recedes so low that at times the shore stretches as far as the eye can see.

That’s the village city of Dapitan beyond the shore. The sand is shaped like that because of the action of the waves brushing against the ocean floor.

Gim walked for about ten minutes just to reach the end of the sandbar.

The shore glistens with little rocks and pebbles. There were a lot of snails too.

That’s Gim inspecting the waters of Dapitan.

See how far he is already?

And a wonderful surprise – a beautiful piece of shell stranded on the shore.

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Buklod sa Dapitan

Posted on 14 November 2008 by Flisha

A friend alerted me to this new website called Buklod sa Dapitan. It’s a travel agency dedicated to touring Dapitan.

It costs P2,700 per person for a Monday-Wednesday tour and P3,700 otherwise (minimum of 10 persons though). Included in the package are tours of Gloria de Dapitan and the famous Rizal Shrine plus a 2 night stay at Dakak Resort.

Airfare / Landfare is not included in the package of course, but bus transfers from Dapitan to nearby Mindanao cities are provided free.

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Our Nosy Landlady

Posted on 10 November 2008 by Flisha

Where I’m staying in Dapitan, there is a very very nosy landlady. She often visits our room when we’re away, and doesn’t tell us in advance – or ever.

One time my boyfriend and I were coming home early in the afternoon, we caught her in our room sweeping the floor. I was appalled, because I had left my laptop and camera in the room. We let it pass because she had a convenient excuse, but I was very careful not to leave any valuable stuff inside the room anymore.

Another time, I was in Manila and Gim wasn’t in the room, she went inside to change the window shades. Hwa–? Gim noticed it because he had deliberately set sheets wrong side up, and when he came back, the sheet were rightside up.

A few weeks ago, she was making up all sorts of reasons to come inside the room again, like she needed to change our bed sheets (we can do that ourselves, thank you very much).

I don’t understand people who have that compulsion to snoop, to check up on other people’s lives, to want to see our room and the things we have. So I had Gim install an extra lock on our door so she wouldn’t be able to come in any time she pleased anymore. Then we left for a week to go to Zamboanga.

When we came back, she was quite angry, demanding that we remove the lock. She said that her husband needed to frequently come in to check the wirings, in case there were leaks when it rained. It was totally another lame excuse, because in the six months I’ve stayed there, there hasn’t been a leak.

I had to go to Manila for a few days so I left Gim to talk to her. He tried to tell her that we valued our privacy, and that we don’t appreciate people being in our apartment when we’re not there. Our landlady said that we should respect her rights to check the room, because it was still her property.

I had half a mind to go confront her myself. I hate confrontation, but I never back down, and I never lose. I always get what I want, especially when I’m in the right. I told Gim to wait for until I came back, so I would be the one to give our landlady a piece of my mind.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to, since apparently Gim and our landlady came to a compromise. We could keep our lock while we were there. But if we left for Zamboanga or Manila, or wherever, we had to leave the apartment open in case of an emergency. (Does a leak constitute an emergency???)

I still don’t like the arrangement. I’ve been a very good tenant. I pay the rent on time every month. The apartment’s very very clean and well-kept. We’re not noisy, we don’t create problems. So why does she have to get on my nerves like that?? But whatevs, I let it rest. I hate problems. The next time we go away for some time, I’ll be sure to bring everything valuable with me.

What landlord problems have you encountered?

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Fishnets in Pasil

Posted on 03 November 2008 by Flisha

There is an island called Pasil, in Dapitan, Philippines.

It’s right under the bridge that connects two major islands in Dapitan. Passing through that highway everytime we crossed to Dipolog, he and I would always look down over Pasil and marvel at how beautiful and mysterious the place was.

One day we rented a motorcycle from our neighbor and went on a joyride towards Pasil, a place marked by fisherfolk and fishing nets.

Have you ever seen anything like it? Chances are, you haven’t. Most fishing nets are thrown over deep waters in the middle of the sea. But Dapitan has a little something special. It boasts a bountiful sea, and shallow waters that stretch as far as the eye can see. So fishermen plant their nets near the shore, and still get plentiful catch.

Here’s a landscape view of the mysterious fishnet.

I had always wanted to see these bamboo nets up close. And this time I got the chance. We saw a fisherman tending to his net, and approached him to ask if we could take photos. Thankfully, he obliged. This is a photo of him inside his net.

I suppose it’s not clear how this net is structured to catch fish. Perhaps the picture below can offer a better explanation. That’s my boyfriend at the entrance of the net. The entrance is quite narrow, and fish swim through this entrance. Then the net goes zigzaggy, and the fish can no longer find their way out, and thus become “ensnared” in the big fishing net. Late in the afternoon, Manong Fisherman goes inside with a smaller net and gathers up his catch to sell in the markets nearby.

It’s very interesting, being that up close to the fishing net. There’s a lot to see. Many different kinds of fishes. The type you see only on your plate, but at that moment I was seeing them swimming in the ocean. Other sea life also get ensnared in the net, like this hermit crab crawling up a bamboo pole.

A lot of leaves also get caught inside the net, so it can get a bit dirty. And it’s up to Manong Fisherman to clean his net up.

We got to chat with him a little. Well, my boyfriend did. Because he speaks Visayan, while I can only speak Chavacano and Tagalog, neither of which are of any use in Dapitan. Fortunately, I can understand their language so I just listened and took photographs. Here he is laying his day’s catch on the sandy shore.

Most of what he has in his net are leaves and little pieces of trash. Manong Fisherman, it turns out, is not a native of Dapitan. He is from Ipil, a nearby province. Ipil is much nearer to my hometown of Zamboanga. So he must understand Chavacano, even if only a little bit. But I’m too shy and don’t speak up. (Always have been shy all my life. Some people mistake it for snobbishness.)

Finding out he’s from Ipil makes a little bit more sense. He looks Chinese and I have not seen many Chinese people in Dapitan. But there are many in Zamboanga, the local businessmen. It is a bit strange to see a Chinese looking fisherman.

Manong sifts through the day’s catch. He removes the fish that aren’t meant to be eaten, like the few pufferfish he caught. He also removes the small fishes and returns them to sea. He mentions he has a daughter, and she is working overseas. He sounds mighty proud of her. I wonder why then he fishes. But perhaps he enjoys the fishing rather than needs the income. I would like to think it’s like that. But of course we don’t ask.

Here are some of the fish he keeps. Mmm, looks good enough to grill.

(Click on all the pictures for bigger resolutions!)

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Guard Dog

Posted on 30 October 2008 by Flisha

He took me on a joyride in Dapitan once, and we entered through the unpaved roads leading to rural communities along the coast.

This day led us to a rice paddy, a common, nevertheless breathtaking, sight in Philippine provinces.

On a bank across the pond walked an old farmer, in ragged clothes and a straw hat. Behind him followed his faithful dog, tail wagging, happily panting. The man signaled his dog to stay, then boarded the motorcycle waiting for him at the end of the dirt road.

The dog stopped, then obediently sat down. Then it set its shoulders back, sitting straight and proud, dutifully assuming its post on the narrow bank.

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Fallen Tree

Posted on 30 October 2008 by Flisha

I am experimenting with new ways of presenting my photos. I think my photos look a lot more professional when they’re elegantly bordered and identified.

Initially I was just going for a watermark, to prevent any possible stealing of photos. (Not that it’s ever happened to me personally, to my knowledge anyways, but it’s a common story in my part of the world.)

But I quite dislike watermarks because they tend to ruin photos. And they give off a negative attitude, like a whiff of “I know you’re gonna steal my photo so I’m going to uglify it so you can’t use it.” I’m not dissing the ones who use it, of course. I know a lot of photobloggers only do the watermarking as a last resort, and even prominent bloggers have had to resort to it just to prevent thieves (and yet oftentimes it still doesn’t work).

So, anyways, I’ve seen this kind of bordering done on a few photo blogs so I decided to do the same. I think my photos look majorly prettified. :D

It’s a photo of a fallen tree along the coast in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. Mysteriously, the tree is still alive even though it’s been beaten down by wind and sea.

This photo is uncropped and unedited, except for the resizing and the added borders (I used FastStone Photo Resizer because it’s a very small application and it doesn’t eat up a lot of resources).

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