Saturday, October 6, 2012

Grillstube Rose Achern Önsbach

I was thrilled to bits when FF said we are finally going to the  Oktoberfest. I have been throwing him nasty looks for days for refusing to go. I mean come on! Chinese  from Chengdu, Americans from New Jersey, Portuguese from Porto travelled across the globe to be here.  So how could we  live in Germany and miss it? Again? It's like being diabetic and working at  Charlie's chocolate factory or being in Italy and not eating any pasta. Such a bittersweet life.

I don't know much about Germany before coming over but I certainly heard  a lot about German's  love affair with their beer and you will see that  love during   Oktoberfest. The picture of locals and tourist alike  swinging a 1L Beer Maß ( Tankard) up in the air in salutation, shouting  out, ''zum Wohl!'' or ''Prost!'' before tipping its contents to  their waiting  throats  is just so inviting.I feel thirsty by just looking at it and I don't even drink! That is partying with capital letter P and I want in!  Women in colorful Dirndl, men in butt hugging Lederhosen ( lether shorts) all holding half empty beer mugs wanting more.  You will never see Germans looking  so happy.Alas, my man who although loves beer, hates big crowd and  Munich,  Stuttgart as well as other big cities here in Germany draws up to   6 millions   visitors a year during this 16-day long hard celebration!

I have been wanting to be in the middle of it all and after some persuasion FF finally said yes .  However, he wants to go to the fair with a group of people, claiming that it's not our typical quiet  dinner for two. We would be sharing  the gigantic wooden tent with hundreds and thousands of other guests. After all those beers and pretzels, crowd gets louder , moods more  boisterous, spirits higher and the only way not feel   left out among the the half intoxicated yelling, singing and dancing is to go there in a group. The more friends or family you have the better. And so it was planned, we're suppose to go as a group of 6 , we will be taking the  train since everybody will  be drinking and nobody is driving.  All these  talks  sound so serious that I can't help but be whopped up . I was even looking for the traditional Bavarian  Dirndl   to wear. Screw the cold weather, Mama's not here so I'm showing off some dodos! Life is full of disappointments  but at least my dodos stayed   all decently wrapped up and warm because for  some reason, one group member to the other went down with a  problem. Kids got sick, dog got sick, they got sick and in the end  there's just  FF and me ! That  practically turn his party torch off to oblivion. We ended up not going. So no dodo show for you,thank you very much!

 Before I could tear off a strip on him  for my lost dream, Mr.Spontaneous  decided to treat me dinner instead . He somehow knew that nothings make me forget about my impediment than  me,silently communing with a thick slab of succulent meat. He promised to take me to a   place that even his well travelled and gourmet boss  praised to the skies,  claiming to have eaten the best steak in his life there. I was wrench out of my  sulky mood   and was barely able to hide my enthusiasm and my salivating gums . Nothing perks me more up than the idea of food. Oktoberfest!What Oktoberfest? Off we go to Achern instead with him on the wheels.

We arrived at 7 in the evening and the place was already packed to the hilt. There are two  huge, open fireplaces  in the restaurant which are  used to grill the proteins. There's a subtle smell of burned meat and fat that   undulates the air, tantalizing our nostrils. Our seat was just beside one of the fireplace that I could faintly hear how the meat sizzles as it touches the hot grill. I'm loving the sound. The crackling fire gives a cozy feel, it's   like being at home but with    a capable chef to silently cheer on.
Menu was pretty limited, comprising mainly of steaks. It took me less than a minute to decide what to order.


Everytime I order steak here in Germany, I always take the one with ''Rostzwiebel'' or fried onion and here in Grillstube Rose,   they do steaks  and the onions  good. Really,really guuuuud. Meat seared to perfection, smokey, juicy, delicious, The crispy   and sweet fried onion gives the meat a nice aromatic nudge. Portion is huge but not overly so that chewed meat stays in your tummy and won't be leaking  out of you left nostril.

 Since I was upset, I was allowed to order whatever I want. I can't make up my mind between crisscut fries and curly fries so I end up ordering both! One can't simply have enough fried carbs! I felt much better and pretty much spoilt rotten as I dug my way thru the fried taters. Ahhh life is good!

The Woodcutter, hubby's steak sounded so manly and  with the  thick slabs of bacon perched atop the huge steak, it certainly looked so. Again, the meat was done to a T, the smokey and slightly salty bacon is a nice touch. FF was able to gobble it all up  til the last grease. He ordered french fries ( sappy pic. not worth showing) with it which he also sang praises. Thin, fried to a crisp and clean tasting. You know the kitchen did not use the oil from yesterday.

 Three kinds of sauces were serve with the steaks. Garlic , curry and pepper sauce. Each sauce has its own unique tang to suit different palates. I was almost french kissing the garlic sauce while FF enjoyed the peppery one. We did not order any salad, knowing full well that all those meats need every bit of space our stomach could offer. We did not miss it though. Sated and full that we are, we ordered and shared 1 dessert, it was enough for both of us.


 Ice cream fondue with 5 scoops of grocery bought  vanilla ice cream, served with 6 different sauces. Chocolate, banana puree, caramel ( our favorite) , raspberry, kiwi and strawberry. The whole thing was drizzle with Liqueur and was set ablaze before our eyes for a bit of dramatic presentation. I was for a minutes in awed, grinning sillily and  probably resembles a 3 year old inside Toys R Us but I can't help it. I love little theatrical  shows like this on my table.

Dinner was very satisfying, but unlike FF's chef, I could not honestly say that it was the best steak I have ever eaten. It was pretty good though and for less than 16 Euro/Steak without  the side dishes, we could hardly complain about the prices.
Will I be joining the happy crowd in the Oktoberfest next year? That I could not guarantee, but one thing I am sure though, I will be going back to this place again.

Adresse:Mönsbacher Str. 1
77855 Achern-Önsbach
Telefon:07841 3316
Öffnungszeiten:Mi-Sa ab 18:00; So und Feiertags ab 16:00
Plätze drinnen:80
Plätze draußen:50

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pimp my sauce!

A trip to the grocery somehow reminds me of Chemistry class. Acesulfame potassium,  Sodium acetate, Monosodium glutamate are just few of the many additives, enhancers, artificial coloring names that reminded me of my Junior High year. I was never been a fan of chemistry anyway and I certainly don't want to beat my brains out  over a bottle of Knorr/Maggi sauce and how a teaspoon of it would affect my anatomy.  Microwave heated meals, prepared sauces and canned foods,   an  epitome of what Not to eat but I eat anyway. Welcome to my world!

It was just another weekend trip to the supermarket when I came across an aisle of ready made sauces. One particular bottle caught my attention. With its I'm brighter-than sunshine-color and a-steal-3.50-euro-for-a-pure-lobster-essence-price, this bottle screams artificial and I just could not wait to try it.  Just a little bit of pimping and this sauce would be promising. After all, there's no unsavory sauce that enough butter and cream can not salvage.

Gnocchi with Shrimps in (bottled) Lobster Sauce

  •  Clean, peel and devein 500 g of tiger shrimps.
  • Heat  2 teaspoons of butter in a skillet or pot  and saute shrimps until it turn pink.  Season with salt and pepper, take it out of the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside leaving as much butter as possible.

  1. Deglaze pot with 250 ml of  wine , I used Rosé since FF opened a bottle the night before.Let wine cook for about 3 minutes while scrapping the pan with a wooden spatula.
  2.  I then stir in the contents of this wonder lobster sauce into the pot. Lower the heat to medium and let sauce simmer for about 5 minutes, covered.
  3. Carefully stir in 200 ml of cream until everything is well incorporated. Bring sauce to a gentle boil.
  4. Add in 50 g of freshly shredded Pecorino Romano cheese. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Fertig!
 To serve: Cook gnocchi as instructed. The one I bought could be pan fried in butter. Place cooked gnocchi in the serving plate, drizzle sauce over it.
 Heat a bit of butter in a skillet and reheat shrimps for a minute over high heat. Place warm shrimps over the gnocchi, garnish with freshly shredded Pecorino and some chopped greens like parsley.

 After using 500 g of gnocchi, I still have some leftover lobster sauce which I used for lunch the next day. I just cooked another batch of shrimps,  although salmon cubes on pasta could also be a nice alternative. Serve with garden fresh salad and there goes your balance diet. Carb on your right, coke on your left and lettuce leaves in the middle to cool your head.Enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Raspberry Dessert ala Emily

 I should really come up with a better name than that. Say, raspberry float or cream dream ?! Summer slurp  ?!?! Okeey, is it just me or things are starting to get a tad bit weird around here? I guess, recipe naming is  way beyond by ability scope  so let's just leave it to the masters.  However, don't let my lukewarm/so-so dessert name fool you for it will knock you off your feet.It might go straight to your hips but who cares! It tasted better than ice cream without the churning and bain- marieng! No frills, no bake, an absolute foolproof yet so delicious and  so easy to make you could practically do it  while  swirling and tiptoeing around your kitchen in tutus . Here's how to do it. 

  1. Bake/Toast a handful of sliced almonds until aromatic and golden brown. Set aside.
  2.  Beat 500 g mascarpone cheese , 200 g Speisequark or farmer's cheese with 3 tablespoon of caster sugar using an electric mixer. You could naturally add more sugar if you like your dessert sweeter. Hey it's your blood sugar!
  3.  Beat 400 ml cream and 2 tbsp of vanilla sugar until frothy. Add cream stiffener if necessary and beat until soft peak is formed. Add into the mascarpone & cheese mixture and whisk together until well combined. 
  4. Prepare serving dish. Ideal would be glassware for wow effect. Spread  cream & cheese mixture as a  base.

  1. Cover cream mixture with meringue.
  2. Spread cream & cheese mixture over meringue.
  3. Sprinkle frozen raspberry . Very important! Use frozen raspberries instead of fresh ones. It will thaw in an hour or so.
  4. Spread cream & cheese mixture over the berries, sprinkle crushed biscuits/cracker like: Graham, Leibniz or similar and garnish the whole thing with toasted almonds and raspberries. It serves 12 .

Alternative: The Mango version

Mango -Oreo  Dessert ala Emily

 I actually liked it better than the raspberry but it's a personally preference. I luurve mangoes!

 Let the pictures guide you. Spread cream & cheese mixture, add crushed biscuits, cover biscuits with meringues, spread cream over it. Easy, no?

I then cut 1 huge, ripe mango into small cubes. Pureed another smaller mango with 1 tbsp vanilla sugar. You could also use mango pulp. Mix cubed mango and mango puree/pulp (   about half a cup). Spread mango mixture over cream & cheese mixture and you could serve it as it is.

I was feeling playful that time so I spread another layer of cream & cheese mixture over the cubed mango. Then garnish the dessert with crushed Oreo cookies and toasted almond slices for extra calories nom noms.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bohol Bee Farm.

In every trip that FF and I made, there's always something we called ''The Highlight''. It could be an adrenaline pumping moment which  stirred our usually mellow disposition chaotic, a quiet yet eventful day soaked in a picturesque scenery  , an unforgettable meal that literally knocks us off our feet. But the things is, agreeing on A highlight is not an easy feat since FF and I are poles apart.  My interest is not always his interest and the thing that excites him  like a kid in wonderland sometimes sends me to sleep. It goes without saying that even though we explore a place together like two peas in a pod, his highlight is not always my highlight.  FF must always commune with nature while I on the other hand, love anything fake and artificial .  He likes old architectures and I love the malls. He loves the sea, I prefer the pool. He likes fresh open air spaces, I prefer air conditioned and contained edifices. The list could go on forever.We used to play tug of war on the street with him wanting to tread right and me heading in the opposite direction . Before serious marital problems arise, we learned to compromise  . We decided to have His and Her-time during vacation.  He must to have enough time to visit a place  where all things that grow and green are abundant and where culture and heritage dominates the scene like an impossible to miss  street sign and  I got to spend enough time to go malling, stroll through knick-knacks shops and souvenir stores searching and buying things that I don't need  . Girls...yah know.

Dining with a magnificent view
Visiting Bohol Bee Farm was a pleasant surprise.  They have things that captured both our interest. Nestled within the cocoon of lush surroundings, developed and was made even more beautiful by human imagination and creativity. Bohol Bee Farm is a bed and breakfast/restaurant/spa establishment that  pays a great value on agriculture and environmental development as well as organic farming.   We both fell in love with the it

The entire place is filled with things both interesting and fascinating and  my eloquent curiosity  about how anik-aniks are made was piqued. Using indigenous materials,  they make woven baskets, mats, hats, fans, beaded accessories, key chains, home decorations and much much more .  This is also a part of Bohol Bee Farm's livelihood program, helping the community by providing some locals a way to earn a living. Kudos to the person who made all these possible!

The Boss' unique crib

While I was having a blast looking at the different souvenir items and  edible products, FF wandered around the place looking bewildered. If there's something Bohol Bee Farm is good at, it's paying attention to details. Hidden in many   nooks and crannies are things that could capture one's attention. Beautiful flowers, exotic plants and shrubs, artistic wood works, paintings, sculptures, seashells and woven crafts  adorned the place .
 The entire resort is somehow a reflection of the the owner's unique taste. Although Filipino inspired, it is somehow tinged with a subtle country-style flair.

If you want to know everything about Bee cultivation and honey production, BBF offers  a guided tour which is both educational and entertaining. Honey products are also sold in their shop and could be a very nice pasalubong . However, if all you want to do is to fill your tummy with sumptuous yet healthy foods  while bathing in see breeze and magnificent view, stray no further. Bohol Bee Farm offers all that and more.

Two out of the three restaurants of Bohol Bee Fare are located on a cliffy area overlooking the sea. Loved the different table  settings with miss matching furnitures  . The weather beaten look  of the   floor , some  tables and chairs added more character to this rustic place. The restaurant  has a homey feel to it, casual enough to be enjoyed among family and friends yet relaxing and has a romantic milieu suited for couples.

Woven Menu cards.

And then there's the food. Organic, homegrown, delicious! This lunch was the best meal we had in Bohol . FF and I both agreed on this. Not knowing what to order since everything sounds appetizing, we decided try their  buffet which basically consist of their best sellers .For only 550 PhP/person , array of  delicious  foods were laid on our table, it was almost overwhelming. We invited our very friendly tricycle driver who drove us around Panglao island that day and the three of us had a feast!

Organic Garden salad with honey mustard dressing
Lesson of the day, if  bees can eat it, so can you. Try some of these edible flowers! The crunchy greens and its colorful accompaniments will have you mooing for a good reason.

Camote Bread with three kinds of spreads.
Freshly baked , super fluffy and aromatic . So divine! Filipino has a  propensity for sweetish and soft breads  . Served with delicious trio spreads of honey, pesto and mango. Can't make up my mind which one was the best since I loved 'em all! These spreads and many other alternatives are also sold in their shop.

Cab-Cab Chips with green tomato salsa
 A healthier option to those who loves chips. ( Batman look to your right!).  Never thought that Cassava could be served this way. Interesting crunchy texture with a subtle taste .

Seafood Soup
 Healthy and flavourful with enough veges that would make your doctor proud of you. The broth has a gingery tang to it with well balanced amalgam of greens , shellfish and clams  . Very comforting. Won't really mind having a bowl or two of this on a cold and  snowy day here in Germany.

Honey glazed chicken,  baked spare ribs and grilled  Marlin Steaks.
Protein rich and filling main dishes.  Both the meats and fish retained their succulence . Portions are generous and enough to feed a family of 5!

Seafood lasagna
My  favorite among the extensive spread.  It was cheesy, tomatoey and savory. Since this is a buffet, you can ask for seconds...or thirds of any of the dishes on the buffet menu. This is more than enough though.

Organic Red rice with sweet potato
A feast is not  a feast without rice, not in the Philippines anyway. Bohol Bee Farm gives  Pinoy's staple food  a healthy and palatable twist. For once, you could have enough carb without filling guilty.

Home made Mango and Malunggay ice cream.

We ended our hearty meal with this treat . Again, I was amazed at the ingenuity of the people behind this . Malunggay leaves, a bitterly herb which is usually used in our soups and stews was added to this cold tasty dessert to impart its own unique flavor .Never thought of that! The ice cream from Bohol Bee Farm was a bit dense with texture resembling our sorbetes, not  as satin smooth  or as creamy as gelatos but it was never the less delicious.

So what makes this place so amazing? I guess were awed with the whole concept. Turning a indistinct piece of land into sometime productive and  self sustaining. Engaging the locals, teaching them  how to take care of the environment, how to grow and nurture locally grown foods  effectively, using it differently and wisely. Looking at how the place and its people grow together and making this community foster was astounding. ''Bee...happy!'',   says Bohol Bee Farm and looking at the people who work here and seeing  pride shine through  their eyes as they show their crafts and livelihood and  savoring the foods they plucked from their own backyard ,we did feel privilege to have experience it and yes...happy.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Strawberry mille crêpe cake

I was still on a mango mille crêpe cake heaven when I got a phone call from FF's cousin, sweet Nic. Her daughters L and L will be celebrating their birthdays together the coming Saturday and asked us if we could  come . I was ecstatic since I'm off work that day and could join the rest of the family. Before saying adieu, I  asked her if I could bring something for dessert.  She eagerly said ''Yes!'' and asked me if I could bring something cold since we would be having  some barbecue. I was already rubbing my hands together in anticipation at the request, wanting to know if my previous experiment is indeed as good as FF claimed. He's not a dishonest man to begin with, but then again, he is a husband who simply wants to please his wife, if you catch my drift. (^_^). With intention  of making the rest of my German family fall in love with Asian mangoes ( although most of them are well traveled and have been to some parts of Asia themselves), I went off to the biggest supermarket in the neighboring town to look for the  delicious Mangoes I bought the previous week. How disappointing, since not a trace of those were at sight. Mangoes from other continents were abundant, but it was not good enough for me.

I was about to give up on the Mille crêpe cake when boxes and boxes of luscious strawberries caught my attention. It's in season and everybody in the family seemed to love them so I decided to make Strawberry Mille crêpe Cake instead. It got a lot of attention as I carried it to the party that Saturday. With  echoes of aaaahhs and ooohhhs at the background,  I walked feeling like supermodel carrying a calorie bomb on a runway,  totally ignoring the fact that it was the cake that was sucking up all the attention. It was the first dessert to vanish at the dessert table, if I may add . It was gone in less than 5 minutes once I started slicing it.  The only complain was, I did not made enough of it, said a few disgruntled  uncles who have to share a slice  with their wives! I now dare proclaim myself, the Family's mille crêpe cake Queen ! LOL

Strawberry mille crêpe cake ala Emily Recipe

Just make and cook  crêpes  as instructed here. Then wash and pat dry 500 g of fresh, ripe strawberries, remove the leaves and stems and discard. Then  purée strawberries with 5 tablespoons  of caster sugar and juice of half a lemon. Make strawberry mousse by following this recipe  but replacing the puréed mangoes  with puréed strawberries . Frost and garnish cake as you wish and refrigerate it overnight before serving.

Pretty inside out! Strawberry mille crêpe cake.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mango Crêpe Mille Cake

I was beyond myself with excitement when I saw fresh, individually and carefully wrapped Asian mangoes in our supermarket.''Hurray!'' , my tastebuds rejoice  at the prospect being spoilt rotten.  Mangoes my friends, is one of my  favorite fruit in the universe and beyond. I love it so much I would marry if it were a man. Thankfully my husband is equally he takes the garbage out and do dishes without complains.  Anyway, in as much as I love mangoes, I'm such a picker when it comes to eating one, after all, I grew up eating good and probably one of the best mangoes on this planet. Something that I don't usually get here in Germany .

My breakfast plate during our last holiday back home.
 Yeees! I don't normally brag but I'm darn proud of the Philippine mangoes. This silky , sweet smelling and tasting fruit could entrap any fastidious palate . I haven't met anybody who did  not succumb to its promise of gustatory pleasure. With this in mind, I immediately grabbed 3 tantalizing mangoes on the fruit counter. I could barely believe my eyes as I saw packs of mangosteen, rambutan and fresh tamarind beside it! Everything air-flown all the way from Asia! What a treat. As I  look at the prices on each pack, my excitement turned to astonishment.  3 pieces of rambutan for over 3 euros?! I probably look like I just swallowed  something rotten at that very moment. I could buy 3 kilos of those back home for the same price! I gulp a mouthful of air as I search for the price of the mangoes I was holding. Lo and behold, each cost a whooping 5 euros! To buy or not to buy? The price made me flinched. Don't get me wrong, I have my share of expensive dining but to pay so much for a thing that cost so little back home sound so wrong. I could grab the less expensive ( less delicious) mangoes from somewhere else but hey, I might not find such a treat again so I put my treasures in the shopping cart and walk further without turning back. As we arrive home, I was contemplating on how to enjoy these ridiculously expensive fruit best. We could naturally devour these 3 in one go but I want FF and I to enjoy it longer than that. LOL. So I've searched for a recipe that would allow us to just do that. The heaven was smilling at us that days since I found a promising one. The end product was so delicious and we were able to enjoy those mangoes for three marvelous days. I made a Mango Crêpe Mille Cake and damn if I would not say that it's worth every sweat and every penny.

Mango Crêpe Mille Cake recipe ala Emily

Step 1. Make the Crêpe batter

  1. Bring 600 ml fresh milk to a scalding point, set aside to cool off for 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk together 175 g all purpose flour, 50 g white sugar and 1 tsp. salt.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, beat  6 eggs .
  4. With a whisk, carefully incorporate beaten eggs into the flour-sugar/salt mixture.
  5. Add warm milk, one cupful after the other while whisking. Do not add  milk all at once to avoid eggs from curdling.
  6. Melt 60 g of butter until it turns amber, then whisk into the batter. Leave batter to cool at room temperature, cover with cling foil and refrigerate for about 6 hours or longer. You could do this the night before.

Step 2. Make the Mango Mousse Filling 

  1. With a food processor or hand held blender,purée  2 ripe mangoes and 50 g of caster sugar together. You could use more mangoes if you want .A good quality mango pulp would also be a nice alternative.
  2. Beat 300 g of Philadelphia cream cheese and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat 500 ml whip cream, 2 tbsp. of whip cream stiffener, 100 g of caster sugar and 1 tbs. of vanilla sugar until soft peaks form. Then whisk in beaten cream cheese until stiff peaks form.
  4. Fold in puréed mangoes. Cover with cling form and refrigerated.
Step 3. Cook the Crêpes

  1. Heat a non stick pan over medium low heat and brush with oil and a tad of butter. If you are own  a crepe pan or crepe maker, the better. It will certainly make your life easier. Dealing with a paper thin and delicate crêpes without tearing in to pieces was not as easy as it I've realized.Read:Temper tantrum filled Saturday afternoon.
  2. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan ( Depending of the sized of your pan, mine was  12 in'' in diameter  so I used about 1/3 cup for each crêpe ). Tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. A ribbon goes to you if you could produce paper thin crêpes.
  3. Cook Crêpe for about 2 minutes on the first side then a minute or less on the other side.
  4. Stack  crêpes carefully and set aside. Cover with parchment paper and let it cool  off. I was able to make a dozen 12'' crêpes with my batter.

Step 4. Assemble the Crêpe Cake

Probably the most fun part of the entire repertoire. Lay a crêpe on big plate or on a serving platter. Spread the mango mousse over it. Sprinkle with chopped mangoes, repeat until all the crêpes are used up. Use the remaining mango mousse to frost the entire cake and decorate your cake to your heart's content. Who says you can't play with your food? Refrigerate overnight and enjoy it on the next day...and the on next day ...and on the next day as we did.

      Saturday, May 19, 2012

      Bohol Countryside Tour

      An archipelago comprising of 7, 107 islands, the Philippines  has  a diverse cultural background, thanks to the  bodies of water that separate its people. With 94 million populace and  over 170  local dialects,our ethnic diversity  goes deeper than our way of saying, ''Good Morning!''. We are   akin yet   in some way, foreign to each other and yes to our own country as well. Even I for example, who have done a bit of travelling have seen but just a speck of what beauty my own country has to offer. So it has  been and will always be a great pleasure  to visit other places in the Philippines and discover a  town or  site that seems so different yet reminds me of my  very own  root at the same time.

      With an equally eager FF in tow, we went to the island of Bohol for 4 days after our 5 day stint in Cebu. The ferry ride from Cebu to Tagbilaran was smooth sailing that barf bag remained stashed away and unopened. Tourism is blooming in this place and it's not surprising, after all,  Bohol in one of the most visited area in  country. The ferry wharf  was filled with tourist guides and  private tour drivers of vans, jeepney and  tricycles . Each offering almost exactly the same tourist routes . Haggling is the key here.I guess Tagbilaran airport don't look any different.  It took us less than 10 mins to find our tour guide  . He too, offered a tour not so different from his comrades and was chuckling at my refusal to visit some sites. I was not overly keen to see a non distinct hanging bridge made of bamboo stilts. Just across the sea, where I came, it was abundant. (^_^)

      FF and I  decided to take two tours, each tour starts in the morning and last until late in the afternoon.  We  spent the remaining days of our holiday lazing out at the beach. Tours on both land and waters are abundant to suit people's taste and interest. Since I can't swim, diving and any underwater-surface-surprises are completely off  in our itinerary. Thankfully, Bohol have enough interesting  things on dry lands so I don't particularly felt left out.

       After checking into our resort ( different Post), we headed off to Alona Beach and spend the rest of the day basking in the sun,drinking coconut juice then   feasted on seafood for dinner before   heading back to the resort.

      Seafood galore. I'm grateful I'm not allergic to it.

      Where's Bubba when you need him? He would definitely know what to do when 'em shrimps.

      Big, fat, succulent prawns  bigger than my palm!

      We did the countryside tour   on our second day.We  asked our tour guide not to come earlier than 9:30 in the morning. We don't want to feel rushed up while having the most important meal of the day. Wishes of holidayers..who lead a completely different lifestyle abroad..Read: Driving wheel on the left hand and donut on the right.. 

      Filipino breakfast at its best..Kain tayo!

      After a very satisfying breakfast, our driver picked us up at the resort. Weather could not get any better, the sun's up and shining but not harsh. It took us about an hour travel from Panglao Island to the town of  Carmen, Bohol. Our first stop....

      The Chocolate Hills

      The Chocolate Hills, Bohol

       The chocolate hills is one of the Philippine's geological wonders   . This picturesque mountainous terrain is almost always present in many  tourist pamphlets and has become a permanent fixture in any Bohol tour itinerary .  It is proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.I grew up looking at pictures  of the Chocolate Hills in many of our  books in  school so I was pretty thrilled to see it for real.

      The Chocolate Hills

      There are 1268 of this headstock of   hills scattered around 3  towns of Bohol. These dome-like  mounds rise between  30  to 50 meters high. During hot seasons, the green vegetation that covers these hills dry up  leaving the limestones bare  and turning its usual greenish hue to  chocolate brown making it look  like cluster of Hershey's chocolate Kisses, hence the name.

      An awed FF on the observation deck.
      Our next stop was the  home of the world's smallest primates......

       Tarsier Conservation Area

      Ops ! Sorry wrong monkey!

      The Philippine Tarsier

      The  adorable Tarsier which is about the size of a human fist.
      Spotting them  is a bit tricky. These are nocturnal animals, so finding a tarsier which is not having a siesta during the day  is almost as difficult as spotting it among leaves and branches. FF and I had a great time playing hide and seek with these tiny furballs. Tarsiers do not  well in captivity. Touching it or using camera flashes while taking its picture causes it to get stressed out and nervous making it bang its head against hard objects causing it to crack its thin skull. So when you see a tarsier, keep your distance, stop howling and it's not Paris Hilton  so please  stop playing paparazzi . These are endangered species.

      Loboc River Cruise

      Staff setting up the buffet under the watchful  eyes of hungry costumers.

      It was past noon  when the monsters in our tummy start growling and gnawing our intestine's inner wall,  fortunately our lunch destination, Loboc River Cruise Buffet is just a couple of minutes drive away. We invited our tour guide to eat with us and ask him to choose the floating restaurant, thinking he knew the place better. The lunch buffet itself was nothing special, but after waiting for eternity for our boat to be ready , the crowd simply rush madly into the buffet table and started piling up their plates more enthusiastically than any Shangri La  buffet diners as it finally docked .  I was imagining this lunch cruise to be laid back, relaxed with buffet opening while cruising. This  crowd starts digging in way before the boat sails off .  The whole set up  looked so disorganized and chaotic.

      15 Minutes after the boat took off, a  sense of ease and tranquility finally  envelops the air as the raft glides through the water. It could be the beautiful backdrop of rich greeneries or the  calm and gentle gush of Loboc River the mellows the rush hour rash . Lunch is now at a lazy pace, devoid of any bustle and turned exactly into how I expected it. A musician duo, a guitarist and singer started serenading us with their best of the best karaoke hits. They were not bad and could really give April Boy Regino a run for his money. Halfway through the cruise, our boat made a short stop ata  floating stage . A group of locals, armed with guitars and  clad in traditional Baro at Saya provided cruise diners some nice song and dance entertainments.

      Our last stop for the day before heading back to Alona beach was:

      Baclaynon Church

      The Baclayon Church

      The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.  The church was built in the early 16th century shortly after the arrival of the first Spanish missionaries and was completed in 1727.

      Inside the Baclayon Church

      There was a wedding when we visited the Baclayon Church. The fresh floral decoration gave the already charming interior a boost.

      The pretty much sums up our Countryside Tour. We intentionally miss few sites and decided to spend more time lazing around Alona Beach before heading back to our nest.

      FF sweating buckets in the background and my refreshing calamansi juice.
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