Travel Diary: Cebu

Mention Cebu to me and I immediately think of food. I don’t know why, but food tastes better in Cebu–fruits are sweeter, seafood fresher, and dishes more savory and delicious. I always eat so well when I’m in Cebu and I always end up dreaming of some of the best dishes I’ve tried there (hello, Cebu lechon). Yes, its that good there, which is why when I get an invite to go for work or to visit my husband’s family, I immediately say YES.

That’s exactly what I did when my lifestyle/travel show, Trending Now got invited to do a story on the best of Cebu (shameless plug coming up: the show is on every Sunday at 9pm with replays on Saturdays at 1130am on ANC). I couldn’t wait to go because I knew the episode would be all about food! I was definitely one happy host. I got to discover three delightful restaurants, each one unique and so yummy! At one point I had to catch my breath and tell myself to eat slower/take smaller bites haha. The food was that good! Plus, I got to interview design genius Kenneth Cobonpue, who I was thrilled to meet. He gave me a personal tour of some of his iconic designs which was pretty amazing, especially since I am such a fan of his work.

Of course, this was all shown in Trending Now’s Cebu episode some weeks ago. If you weren’t able to catch it, watch out for it this Sunday, June 22. In the meantime, here are photos from my trip. Hope you like my little travel diary. Enjoy! 🙂

IMG_0653We stayed at Plantation Bay in Mactan Island–it was such a pleasant stay for us. The rooms were nice and spacious, and their amenities were complete. Here I am shooting my spiels at the lobby.

IMG_0721More spiels by the manmade beach. Plantation Bay is huge, with lots of activities happening every hour, every day. I love how you can choose to do pretty much anything you want, whether its water sports, relaxing or eating.

IMG_0400This was taken at Port Restaurant–their chef taught me how to make their specialities: sizzling bangus in ala pobre sauce and creamy bagoong sauce. Hello to Vic Sotto on T.V. behind us haha.

IMG_0404Chef explains how to cook this dish. This is their best-seller btw! 

IMG_0439I got to chat with Vangie, the owner and manager of Port. 

IMG_0454It was so fun to try their best dishes with her. Their giant clams, lechon, oysters and of course, bangus were excellent. 

IMG_0470Preparing for my interview with Kenneth Cobonpue.

IMG_0528Kenneth was such a joy to interview. He is so candid and smart–I love how he is able to bring recognition to Filipinos through his work. Both international and local celebrities buy his furniture, as well as royalty!

IMG_0543I asked him if he feels the pressure more now that he’s so successful, and he answered, yes, more than ever. He makes sure to draw and come up with new designs everyday–it’s all about discipline, he said.

IMG_0549Here he is showing me his famous ‘Yoda‘ chair. This is iconic–it is such a unique design. Not to mention is it a super comfortable chair. I want one in my living room. 

IMG_0560Another beautiful design–the ‘Dragnet‘.

IMG_0573This was the bed Brad Pitt bought for his son, Maddox. Its called the ‘Voyage‘.

IMG_0484This is how the bed looks. It even has a matching crib!

IMG_0487These are from the ‘Lolah‘ collection.

IMG_0466Love this piece!

IMG_0593I just had to take a photo with this design genius. 

IMG_0596Now with the Trending Now team.

IMG_0778STK ta bai! at Paolito’s Seafood House Restaurant (yes that’s the name of the resto) with owners Ria Alcover and Karen Cabahug. The food is just amazing here. Seriously, I’ve never eaten in a restaurant where all the dishes were good. This was just incredible. It’s hard to believe their restaurant started from their garage. Now it has taken over the entire downstairs part of their ancestral home and they even rented the house across from theirs and turned it into an extension of their restaurant.

IMG_0780One of my favourites on the menu (sorry we attacked it before I took the photo): Tuna Panga.  

IMG_0781These scallops are the best I’ve ever tasted. Ever. Its creamy, buttery and savoury. This is a must order!!! 

 IMG_0786Spicy crab! 

IMG_0788This sweet squid dish was good. The squid was caramelized in sugar–it tastes like that Thai squid snack.

IMG_0784Crispy pork belly.

 IMG_0794Deep fried shrimp with spicy sauce. The sauce was extra spicy but addicting. It was very hard to stop eating this. 

IMG_0795Not much left of it. Their kinilaw is so good.

  IMG_0797What a feast! The whole team was well-fed!

IMG_0854Another treat: I met with chocolatier Raquel Chua, owner of Ralfe Gourmet Chocolate Boutique and The Chocolate Chamber Restaurant. She toured me around Ralfe Gourmet and made me sample all her chocolate creations.

IMG_0858The cocoa beans used in her chocolates are all locally produced. It was a little hard to believe because the chocolates were excellent. Not that I am putting down our local products, its just that I didn’t know that our local chocolate could taste as good as Swiss or Belgian chocolate.

IMG_0804Cocoa butter, white chocolate and dark chocolate cookies.

IMG_0806Chocolate-filled ensaymada.

IMG_0811Raquel showed me how Ralfe Gourmet makes their chocolate, specifically their famous tablea: well-fermented and solar-dried beans are roasted and ground to perfection and molded with utmost care, preserving the precious antioxidants of cacao.

IMG_0816This is the proper way of making chocolate tablea. 

IMG_0850Raquel made me try it.

IMG_0885Then, Raquel showed me her factory. I love chocolates, so I was in heaven.

IMG_0827It was my first time to visit a chocolate factory!

IMG_0830 I got to try everything. Ralfe Gourmet chocolates are so good!

  IMG_0898The entire room smelled like chocolate and this was partly why–they had paintings on the wall that were made of chocolate and they had a running a chocolate fountain.

IMG_0903Ralfe Gourmet’s bestselling chocolates: Chocolate Praline with Whole Cacao Nib, Alfajores and Chocolate Rice Crispies.

IMG_0894Tablea Chocolate Peanut Butter.

IMG_0896Choco-Vanilla Cookie Butter.

IMG_0902Chocolate Bars in Orange and Vanilla flavors.

 IMG_0906Their famous Tablea chocolate drink. 

IMG_0914After touring us to her factory, Raquel brought us to her newly opened restaurant: The Chocolate Chamber.

IMG_0938I got to try their Hibiscus Hot Chocolate Drink. It was soooo good. It was nothing like I’ve tasted before, yet the hibiscus flavour was so familiar.

IMG_0939This is one delicious drink.

IMG_0948And the best part: I got to try their chocolate pizza! Its still tastes like pizza but it has a strong chocolate flavour. It was so different but so incredibly good.

IMG_0935Chocolate Potporri.

IMG_0925Chocolates you can bring home. These make perfect gifts.

IMG_0920More chocolates are available at the counter. 

IMG_0923Cookies! 

*

Port Restaurant

Lower Ground Waterfront Hotel & Casino, Lahug, Cebu City
2317441 / 5166018 / 09177077678 / 09228033159
*
STK ta Bay! Paolito’s Seafood House 
#6 A. Climaco St, Lungsod ng Cebu, Philippines
256 2700
*
The Chocolate Chamber
President Quirino Street Corner Magsaysay Street Barangay Kasambagan Cebu City, Cebu Philippines 6000
09176287661
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