Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Travel Tuesday...Arena Island

I absolutely adore the beach. I live in a country that has around seven thousand islands so I am really lucky to have numerous choices of beautiful sandy beaches to choose from. A few months ago one of my good friends told us about a deal that she found in one of those coupon/discounted websites. It was for a 3day/2night stay at Club Arena, Palawan. It was a really, really good deal and something that we couldn't pass up so we were like, let's go and book!

Boat Ride to Club Arena Island.

Club Arena is a privately owned island that is situated among other islands, collectively known as Palawan, in the Philippines. All I knew was that the island was a turtle sanctuary and it had several cottages for only a number of guests per time. When we got there, we found out that there were only two cottages - just enough for all of us thus leaving the ENTIRE island all to ourselves! It was like a private Island getaway!

Club Arena Island coming into view.

Getting closer to the Island.

Floating Platforms. Underneath it were the most amazing corals and marine life!

To get to this Island, we had to fly about an hour's plane ride from  Manila to the capital of Palawan, Puerto Prinsesa. We were then picked up by the hotel's van and had a two hour car ride to Narra. From Narra, it was a few minutes boat ride to the Island.

The island is absolutely gorgeous! It was pretty small as  you can walk around the entire thing in less than twenty minutes but of course there was more than enough space for the six of us. There were two small cottages, or casitas as they called it. It was really pretty, it faced the sea and it had modern amenities like airconditioning and a running shower. There was no TV or wifi though, but I thought this was great because what is the point of having a relaxing holiday with those around?

The resort had two floating platforms located some distance out to sea. We would ride a small pump boat to get to it and there we would jump off the platform and see some of the most amazing sea life. I didn't have an underwater camera or a go pro one so I couldn't show you photos - but seriously, fish of every color, huge corals that were high enough to stand on, and clams - the first time I have ever seen real live ones that were not in my soup plate. (oh no, sorry clams! :o) Every day in our trip we would go there and just snorkel and swim and have the most fantastic time. All meals were included in our package so they usually served our snacks in the platform. It really was such a fantastic experience.

View from inside our casita

The Balcony of our casita

The pathways behind our casita were lined with a thick amount of trees.

The island was surrounded by powdery white sand all over. There was a nice beach front from literally every point so we could just swim and lounge around all day if we got tired of snorkeling. 

One of the many points of the island that had a huge sandbar to lounge around in.

Beachfront from one of the points of the island.





I think one of the highlights of the trip were the sea turtles. Arena Island island is actually very eco- friendly(they turn off electricity during non-peak hours to conserve energy) and it is also known to be a turtle sanctuary. Sea turtle eggs are hatched all over the island. I would have loved to see a sea turtle egg hatch or a mother sea turtle lay some eggs, I think they usually did it at night but what we got to do was even better! Once the baby turtle come out of the shell, the island keeps them all in a bucket of water and takes care of them form the first few days of it's life. Kind of similar to what they did in Sri Lanka but on a smaller scale. Anyway on the fourth day of their lives, they are released into the sea so they can go and live their own free lives. We got to experience releasing these turtles ourselves to the waters!

The Baby Turtles before they were released to sea.

Cute Baby turtles!

Releasing the baby turtles out to the sea.


Walking towards the sea.

Walking towards the sea.


Celebrity turtles! Paparazzi capturing their every move.


Swim little One! Hope you stay safe! And alive!



Gorgeous sandy beachfront right infront of our casita.

Pretty beachfront.

Low tide.

Our Casita.




All over the island, there were so many other interesting things to see. They had their own peacocks, two females ones, a few baby ones and one male one. One time I was walking  solo around the island, I heard a rustling. It turns out one of the female peacocks was pregnant and she was already nesting in some of the bushes! There were also a few enormous and gorgeous trees.

The resident male peacock.


The enormous and kinda creepy Balete Tree.




Visiting the baby turtles one last time before we leave!

Spotted some chicken footprints in the beach. The chicken is such aa wanderer!


Sunset.



Another shot of the creepy Balete tree. I've never see one up close. In Filipino legend it's supposed to be inhabited by supernatural creatures.

Palm Trees in Narra, where we got off the boat.


As my friend would always say, this was one of the best impulse purchase ever. We were all just having drinks one night when one of them saw this discounted trip and we were just all like, let's go! This was truly on of the nicest beach trips I have ever been to. I would love to go back again next summer!

Check out Club Arena if you guys are interested to visit this gorgeous island!

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cheat Day : Mac And Cheese with Thick Cut Bacon



I know almost everyone is into eating healthy these days. That includes me too - I've really been trying my best to eat well and cutting out all the bad food from my diet. But then sometimes, I crave for the not so healthy dishes. I think it's totally okay to break from your diet once in awhile and have a delicious and delightfully sinful cheat day. Having this yummy Mac N Cheese with Thick cut bacon (good lord, how much more sinful can you get? ) is definitely my idea of a fine cheat meal! The thick cut bacon is homemade, one of my friend's family makes it. Definitely tastes so much better than store brought ones! Read on to see how I made this!


Ingredients : Milk, Parmesan Cheese, thyme, pepper, olive oil with truffle, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, onion, cheddar cheese, butter, flour, shell shaped pasta and thick cut bacon.


Boil the Pasta. Just follow the directions given on the Packet.


Bring out the flour, milk and butter to make some Bechamel sauce. I won't go into detail on how I made the sauce as I have already posted about it some time ago. Click HERE to check that out!


Cut the bacon into small chucks and in a separate pan, cook it until  slighty crispy. Take it out from the pan and transfer to some paper towels to absorb some of the excess fatty oil..


In the same pan that you cooked the bacon, saute the garlic and onions. You may cook it in the remaining bacon fat so there will be added flavor, but if you think that's too fattening, then you can always scrape it off and replace it with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (like I did).


Bring back the bacon to the pan after one to two minutes of sauteing the garlic and onions.


Add in the Bechamel Sauce to the Bacon mix.



Add the cheeses and some pepper and thyme into the mix. Dump in some truffle olive oil too so the taste and lovely smell of it will be felt in this dish!


Toss in the cooked pasta and top with some more Parmesan Cheese before serving.

I didn't bake it anymore because I thought it was already pretty yummy served like this, but if you want to take the dish a notch higher, then you can always spread some breadcrumbs and a lot more cheese on top and bake it for about twenty minutes.





What do you guys think? What is your favorite cheat day meal?

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