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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Aqua Felmida Resort: The White House Zambales Cottage Village Annex ( Cabangan, Zambales)

One of the advantages of the Philippines being an archipelago is that people from Metro Manila can enjoy the long stretch of beaches along the West Philippine Sea within just a few hours drive.  With the vast beach area comes numerous resort options.  Aqua Fel Mida in Cabangan Zambales is one of the latest resorts to be developed.  It is owned and managed by the same people behind the popular The White House Zambales which was developed a bit earlier - August 2018 located just beside it.  Hence, we consider it as one of the several annexes of The White House Zambales.
aqua felmida resort
Aqual Fel Mida

Earlier this year, one of our office mates was retiring so we wanted to have an office outing before his retirement date which was his birthday.  Now, we feel fortunate to have had such a decision since the COVID pandemic soon hit the Philippines.  Although this resort is open and offering discounted rates, we still feel that traveling before was more convenient as there are no check points and requirements.
the whitehouse zambales aqua resort

The other The White House Zambales annexes are AQUA and...
white house zambales rgv annex

RGV.  During our summer weekend visit, all annexes were occupied.  All of them are maintained by the same set of staffs who we believe are just nearby locals.

aqua felmida resort ambiance
But, each resort annex offers its own unique ambiance. 

aqua felmida zambales
Aqua Felmida Resort looks like a mini native hut village.  

Day Tour Beachfront Cottages (DOLPHIN)
Day Tour Beachfront Cottages

There are different types of cottage huts.  Some comes with a mini pool which didn't look appealing so we did not avail.

Modern Cottage B (MILK FISH)
Aqua Felmida Resort cottage
MILKFISH Dining Area

All huts have a dining area, a rest room and

Aqua Felmida Resort cottage bed
MILKFISH Twin Bed Room
and an air-conditioned bed room.  There are electrical sockets for charging in all areas.
Aqua Felmida Resort Beach
Aqua Felmida Resort Beach Front

As with other beaches within the Zambales shoreline, the sand is a bit grayish.  The water is not clear blue but it is clean enough for swimming.
As a bonding activity, we avail of the videoke (1,000 php) and bonfire (500 php).   We enjoyed cooking our smores by the bonfire.  It was a first time for us so it was an awesome experience.

Overall, the service was good.  We also availed of its cooking serving.  The staffs prepared a boodle feast for us for lunch and then grilled variety for dinner. 
Aqua Felmida Resort
Hotel Address Brgy. Felmida-Diaz, Cabangan, Zambales
Contact (63923) 0819898 |
(63906) 0917387 |
(63923) 0862898

Reservation Required Yes
Payment Options   Cash Public Transport Bus, Tricycle
Room Types Room Amenities Price
Modern Cottage A - (YELLOW FIN)
•1 Queen-size bed
•Fully air-conditioned room
•Comfort Room and Kitchen 
Free water, use of rice cooker and kettle
2,500 php (2 Pax)
php (3 pax)
Modern Cottage B -(MILK FISH)
•2 Twin size bed
•Fully air-conditioned room
•Comfort Room and Kitchen 
Free water, use of rice cooker and kettle
(Additional Charge for the use of Gas Stove 150 - Grillings 100 charcoal not included,)
2,500 php (2 Pax)
php (3 pax)
Modern Cottage C -  (STARFISH & JELLY FISH)
•2 Queen-size beds
•Fully air-conditioned room
•Comfort Room and Kitchen 
Free water, use of rice cooker and kettle
(Additional Charge for the use of Gas Stove 150 - Grillings 100 charcoal not included,)
2,500 php (2 Pax)
php (3 pax)
Non Aircon Cottages
•Use of Electric Fan
•Comfort Room and Kitchen 
6,000 php (2 Pax)
php (3 pax)
Day Tour (6AM-6PM) Beachfront Cottages (BLUE MARLIN & DOLPHIN)
•Comfort Room and Kitchen
2,500 php (10 Pax)
250 php (per pax excess up to 15 persons)
General Amenities •Gas Stove (150/350 php)
•Grilling Charcoal (100 php)
•Kayak (200 php/hour)
•Bonfire (500 php)
•Boat ride (750 php/hour)
•Karaoke up to 10pm only (1,000 for whole stay)
•Cooking service 450 php (3 meals good for 3-4 pax) and 100 php (per additional dish)
Parking Yes
Travel Tripsters Hotel Review Rating Aqua Felmida Resort Map
Room Comfort

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Campuestohan Highland Resort: 10 Features of Bacolod's Pride Amusement Park (Talisay Negros Occidental)

In between Bacolod City and Talisay City is Campuestohan Highland Resort, Bacolod's pride amusement park.  Ask any local from the area and they will mention Campuestohan Highland Resort as the first place to visit.  

The entrance fee in Campuestohan Highland Resort is amazingly cheap.  It only costs 200 php.  The real challenge on your visit is how to make the most our of your time while in the gigantic and 5-hectare wide amusement park.  So allow us Travel Tripsters to familiarize you with at least 10 features of Campuestohan Highland Resort that you should avail of. 

1. Campuestuhan Shuttle Service
campuestohan service
Since the location of Campuestuhan is not really within Bacolod City and is actually in Talisay City, it is not easily accessible through public transport.  While we rented a private car and drove ourselves to the park, we noticed that a lot of locals availed of the affordable Campuestuhan Shuttle Service.  Best to be mindful of the schedule since it observes a first-come-first-serve policy. 

The details are as follows: 
Shuttle Rate  60 php
Shuttle Schedule  Everyday (Monday to Sunday)
Pick Up Point Across lopues east imart-caltex gasoline station
circumferential road in front of McDonald
Bacolod(IMART) to Resort Resort to Bacolod(IMART)
7:00 a.m. 
8:00 a.m. 
9:00 a.m.
10:00 a.m.
1:00 a.m. 

1:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m.
7:00 a.m. 
8:00 a.m. 
9:00 a.m.
10:00 a.m.
1:00 a.m. 

1:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m.

2. Themed Accommodations
raphaella mill
The easiest way to make the most out of your Campuestohan visit is to stay there overnight.  The price for lodging is a expensive but its a unique experience as the lodgings are actually incorporated within the amusement park.  You could even mistake the themed accommodations as part of the amusement attractions. 

The room rates which is inclusive of breakfast vary depending on the room.  The most luxurious room is Presidential Suite in the Raphaella Mill priced at 15,000 per night.  

bonita huts lodging
But there are more affordable lodging options like the Bonita Huts.

bonita huts staycation
For only 3,500 php, a group of four (4) can stay in this air-conditioned hut which comes with its own bath room. 

teepee rooms
But of course, price isn't the only consideration, like who wouldn't want to live in such a colorful atmosphere right?

3. Multiple Swimming Pools
playground swimming pool
One of the most highlighted activities in Campuestohan is swimming.  Perhaps, its because the Philippines is a tropical country that we Filipinos really love to swim.

snake pool
Because Campuestohan is located in the highlands of Mt. Makawili, at around 800 meters above the ground, it is actually quite cool and misty at any time of the day.  You don't need to worry about getting burnt while swimming. 

snake slide
There are many kinds of adult and kiddie swimming pools to choose from. 

shark wave
Some are fancy with slices and waves.

wave pool
The capacity of the pools can cater hundreds of people so you need not worry about it being crowded. 

4. Foamy Fun
foamy fun
We were walking around the park just to choose a swimming pool when we heard horns blaring followed by giggles and laughter. 

foam party
Around the foamy fun, the air isn't just filled with puffy foam, it was filled with the air of happiness.  

5. Asia's Tallest Dinosaur
asias largest dinosaur
It was really surprising for us to find Asia's tallest dinosaur attraction in Campuestohan

t rex
We truly admire the owners for being so ambitious.  The locals and foreign visitors are so lucky to admire and have photographs around these gigantic dinosaurs.

giant mammoth
 By the way, did you know there's actually a lodge inside this huge mammoth?

rams dino park
Aside from the Dinosaur's around the park, most of them although not as huge are displayed in Ram's Dino Park.  Some of the dinosaurs here can walk and roar though.  You can also ride the Walking Dinosaur for only 30 php.

6. Fun Rides
viking ride
Perhaps the noticeably least appreciated feature of the park is the fun rides.  The pricing is really affordable but some would rather first the park fee inclusion than the add-ons.  Also, while passing by the Viking Ride (30 php/person), we can't help but be ward away by the smell of oil.  Other rides seemed fun and interesting enough for toddlers.

grand carousel
The Grand Carousel is only 30 php/person.

7. Outdoor Activities
horseback riding
The grassy terrain seems fun for a horseback ride but there are hardly any interest for it. 

sky bicycle
Activities that involves heights were pricier but they had long lines. You can choose between Sky Bicycle (100 php/person for one-way), Cable Paraglide (250 php/person for two-way) and Hamster Wheel (100 php/person for one-way). 

rope course
The more strenuous and longer physical challenge is the Rope Course (200 php/person).

basketball shootout
The place is really well-rounded, there's even a Basketball Shootout (35 php/min).

kiddie playground
As if the playground within the pool area is not enough, there's another full-featured playground that kids will surely enjoy.  

8. Relaxing Dining
restaurant pavillion
The most convenient way to enjoy a meal is to dine in the Restaurant Pavillion or Coffee Shop.  Just make sure that all your companions will order with you as there is a corkage fee only applies if you bring food or drinks in.

On the other hand, you can also enjoy a fun and more affordable meal if you opt to go for a picnic or grill and barbecue your own food.  You can make use of its facilities for this for free. Just remember to clean you own mess too as there are many others who avail of them too.

ice cream parlor
For dessert, you can hang out at the Ice Cream Parlor which offers a colorful and fun atmosphere.

9. Superb Photo Attractions
king kong
Surely you also cannot resist taking some photographs with their creative photo attractions.  The gigantic King Kong blends well with the foggy air.

king kong plane crash
The designers were very meticulous in every detail.

Kungfu Panda
As you can see, the themes vary as this one is from a Disney movie...

there are others from movies and this water wheel one makes me feel like its from a fairy tale book. 

10. Chair Massage Spa
chair massage spa
After or in between spending time and energy on so much of the Campuestohan's activities, you can avail of its Chair Massage Service

Overall, we Travel Tripsters hope we were able to give you at least ten (10) features which you can avail of during your visit to Campuerstohan Highland Resort.  If we missed any detail, please do let us know!

Campuestohan Highland Resort
Address Sitio Campuestohan, Barangay, Talisay City,  Negros Occidental., Philippines (6115)
Budget Per Person 200 -1,000 Campuestohan Highland Resort Map
Payment Options Cash

Operating Hours Monday to Sunday:
(even holidays)
7 am - 6 pm
Reservation Required Encouraged especially for weekend visits
Contact (034) 702-0964 | (034) 433-3335 | (0915) 211-1406 | (0917) 300-5007 | (0925) 600-8088

Monday, January 13, 2020

8 Things You Should Know for Your Pick and Pay Grapes Experience in La Union Grapes Farms

There's been a recent drive of tourism in Urayong, Bauang, La Union or "Elyu" for the Pick and Pay Grapes Farms in the area.  Before diving into your grape picking experience allow us Travel Tripsters to share the 8 Things You Should Know  before going there. 

lomboy farms
1. Lomboy Farms as the First DOT-accredited Grape Farm in the area

Lomboy Farms is the pioneer grape farm in the area.  It was established as a backyard project in 1972 by Avelino Lomboy from 20 grape cuttings brought from Cebu .  It is now managed by Gracia Lomboy, the daughter of its founder, who thought of opening the grape farm for tourism.  Contact: (72 ) 705-2105, (0939) 623 -5020

Lomboy Farms offers its services for a fee as follows:

1-10 100 php
11-30 80 php
31-50 70 php
51 and above or Viewing Fee
When not Picking Season  
50 php

According to the price guide it includes:
1. Entrance Fee for the Pick and Pay Experience
2. Optional Briefing
3. Tour Guide

Lomboy Farms having a frontage by the road-side made it easier for tourists (like us) to find the grape farms in the area. 

lomboy farms la union
It even has a demo area to give guests an overview of what a grape vineyard looks like.

However, we were expecting a guided tour that would orient as with grape as a fruit and grape farming (viticulture) but there was none.  The only thing we got for the fee is to convoy behind a motorcycle that led as to one of the many grape farms that has most grapes available for the pick and pay experience.

The advantage, although for a fee, with Lomboy Farms is that they will coordinate with other grape farms so you can have your pick and pay experience during your visit.  This can save you time asking around and looking for one as it is extremely hot during day time in the open fields.  In fact, it was so hot that some of our companions almost hesitated to come with us in the field.

2. Grape as a Fruit

So here's some interesting facts about grapes.
a. Grapes are classified as non-climateric fruits (don't ripen after harvest). 
b. They are also  botanically a berry because the entire pericarp (fruit wall) is fleshy. 
c. Grapes are packed with:
c.1.  vitamins such as B1, B6, C and K;
c.2. minerals such as calcium and phosporus and polyphenol;
c.3 anti-oxidants such as beta-carotene, quercetin, anthocyanins, catechins, lutein, lycopene, phenolic acid, ellagic acid, reservatol and flavanoids

3. Grape Variants
There are two main kinds of grapes:
a. European or Californian grapes (Vitis Vinifera) - most common with at least 5,000 varieties
b. American or Concord grapes (Vitis Labrusca)

In Urayong, Bauang and Caba, La Union, the grape farms carry the Red Cardinal variant.
It originated in California as table grapes and mainly used for raisins but in Asia, it is also being used for wine-making.   They have thick and crunchy, skins and large seeds.

There are other variants available in other parts of the Philippines. 

4. Grape Products
grape products la union
Grapes can be eaten fresh as table grapes or they can be further processed into:
b. jam
c. juice
d. jelly
e. grape seed extract
f. raisins
g. vinegar
h. grape seed oil

la union wines
In Lomboy Farms, you can free taste or buy its Don Avelino wines which comes in 5 variants:
1. Guapple
2. Rosa Grape - a Red Cardinal Grape Wine
3. Moreno Cafe - Coffee flavored Wine
4. Pitaya Wine
5. Sandia Wine

ians mix and match wines
You can also buy other sweet wines during the farm visit.

guapple jam jelly
While Lomboy Farms offers jam and jelly, they were made from guapple and not grapes. 

5. La Union Grapes Farms

orpilla grape farm
Orpilla Grapes Farm
Since 1950's, grapes are grown in various areas in the Philippines including: Batangas, Bataan, Arevalo in Iloilo, Urayong, Bauang and Caba in La, Union and Sibongan in Cebu, Cebu City, General Santos City, South Cotabato,  Zamboanga and more.

La Union Grape Farms was pioneered by Lomboy Farms and has now expanded with various Grape Farms which includes:

  • Orpilla Grapes Farm - This is the farm that we were brought to by Lomboy Farm Staff for our pick and pay experience.  Contact Vangie Orpilla: (0909) 283-9679
  • Gapuz Grapes Farm - This began in the 80's with its  first cuttings from Lomboy Farm.  It uses organic fertilizers made out of seaweed.  It is the pioneer in the pick to pay idea back in 2010 (entrance is free and is always open from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm) and it also offers boodle fight.  The harvest season is announced in its Facebook Fan Page.  It can be found using google maps and waze.  It also supplies unrooted grape cuttings with a door to door delivery nationwide.  Contact: (0999) 714-7616, (0916) 418-6232, (0915) 778-44594
  •  Calica Grapes Farm - This began with 76 vines in 1984 by Virgilio Calica who is former farm help at Lomboy Farms.  It offers pick and pay and boodle fight.  Contact: (0907) 905-0303 (Smart) and (0905) 550-5046 (Globe)
  • Manguerra Grapes Farm - This is open for pick to pay with free tour guide (entrance is free and is always open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm).  It has a signage along Ilocos National Highway and can be found through waze.  Contact (as of January 13, 2020): (0977) 457-8737

  •  Uncle Dave's Grape Farm - This is open for pick to pay.  It also supplies unrooted grape cuttings with a door to door delivery nationwide.  Contact: (0906) 406-5257
  •  Mangaoang-Lacbao Grapes Farm - This is open for pick to pay. It also supplies unrooted grape cuttings with a door to door delivery nationwide.  Contact: (0930) 048-2276, (0910) 283-6513
gapuz grapes farm
  • Acosta Grapes Farms - This is owned by Danny Acosta.  You can harvest evenly veraisoned grapes here although they are covered in plastic while unpicked to protect them from rots (entrance is free and opening is announced on its Facebook Fan Page).  This is located in Palaod, Bagbag, Bauang , La Union. It also supplies unrooted grape cuttings with a door to door delivery nationwide.  Contact (as of January 13, 2020): (0946) 046-1787 (0919) 261-1166 . 

6. Grape Veraison (Grape Color from Green to Red)

The French term "véraison / veʀɛzɔ̃" is adopted in English use to connote the onset of ripening of grape berries.  The process takes an average of 10 to 14 days.  The trigger is still unknown.

la union grape farm
Veraison is very essential in Viticulure (grape-growing) and in wine-making.  In order to produce a silky and balance wine, the harvest must be composed of uniformly ripened grapes. 

la union grapes
The uneven veraisoned grapes look like this.  It can be eaten as table grapes which is probably why it is available for the pick and pay experience.

red cardinal grapes la union
This is a sample of evenly veraison batch which were collected by the Orpilla Farm staff. According to them, they have a continuing order for these as they are used for winemaking and other grape products.

7. Grape Harvesting
Some visit the grape farm of their choice and expect to have a guaranteed pick and pay experience.  Of course, the pick and pay experience is only available during harvesting season. 

Here in the Philippines the common harvest season for grapes are:
  • Summer: April to the end of May (May - best time)
  • July to August
  • December to January

8. Pick and Pay Experience (350 - 400 php/kilo)
pick and pay grape experience la union
My 160 php grape bunch
There is no time limit for the pick and pay experience.  You can spend your time selecting and picture-taking as much as you want.  You will be provided a basket to put your grapes in.   They will be weighted before you go out so you can pay and take them home. 

Lomboy Farms
Budget Per Person 50-500 php (see above) Lomboy Farms Map
Payment Options Cash

Operating Hours Monday to Sunday:
(even holidays)
7:00 am-4:00 pm
Reservation Required No
Contact  (672 ) 705-2105, (0939) 623 -5020

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