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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Champoy - A Local Delicacy

Here in the Philippines we have many delightful tasty treats. 

One favourite is a sweet and sour candy called Champoy.  Not far from the resort there is a lady, Rowena,  who makes Champoy for sale, and this morning I went to visit her to see how it is made.

 Making Champoy is hard work, but it is worth the time and effort in making it as it is not only popular with locals, but can also be sold to our resort guests who come to visit our island.

Also during the fruit season we might be able to offer guests a walk to see how this candy is made.

 There are different recipes for types of Champoy.  Here at Isla Verde, the local Champoy is made from the fruit of the Sampalok tree.  You may know this tree and its fruit by the name Tamarind.  The tamarind fruit is often used to give a sour taste in cooking asian dishes.

 To make Champoy, they patiently take the skin off the fruit and remove the seeds from the fruit, then they place them on a platform and let them dry under the sun.

 When they are nearly dried, its the time for them to make them sweet. To do this, the tamarind is placed in a big wok, with sugar in the proportion of one kilo tamarind to 3 kilos of sugar.  This is stirred continually for three hours.  It must be stirred constantly to keep it from burning the sugar and spoiling the fruit.

 Once it is like a paste they will take it from the
wok, and place in plates for cooling. 
When they feel is ready to make a ball, they will start to get a pinch from the paste and roll on their palm to form it into a ball.   Then they place it in a container of sugar to cover the ball.

 When the balls are coated with sugar they will be placed into a container, then the ready champoy will be packed in plastic bags, to sell.

 Once made the finished Champoy usually keeps in bottled jar or placed in a plastic bag 15 pcs for 12 pesos.


Sunday, 22 March 2015

A visit by RM and his team for thesis writing

RM, with his colleagues from college came to our resort last Feb 28, to finish their thesis for their Master's Degree and they spent a night with us.
While they were here they roamed around the resort, and took a boat trip in the  afternoon. 

Hopefully they will have defended their thesis last week.

Visit of Ate Tess to her resort

Ate Tess came to visit her resort last Jan 5th and spent 2 nights here, and brought some of her staff to get a feel for the resort and to look at what is available now for guests and also to look at ideas and suggestions for future plans.

While she was here she was able to enjoy the peaceful nights away from the sounds of the city and she could sleep peacefully.

Tess and her friends enjoyed the food cooked and served to them.  We discussed how we could promote our resort locally, and online.  

My sister, Tess, enjoyed taking pictures of her resort.  She brought with her a helmet or 'Kabuto' 兜, 冑 which she added to her antique display.  A kabuto is the head gear traditionally worn by Samurai in ancient times and reflects the heritage and connection with Papa Tomu, Tess' husband, as do a number of other features of the resort.


Last feb 11, it was Ash Wednesday, the start of Lenten Season.  It is getting hotter in Isla.  Luckily though, even when it is hot, there is a good breeze, so even if it is hot, we don't perspire.

Here at the resort, we are going to finish our 2nd stone unit. The ceiling is being painted.  The walls were varnished and I have done fixing the toilet with bathroom.

Right now we are preparing for Holy Week, as there a lot of people who will come to Isla Verde for their holiday.   The Shore at Sawang will be full of tents.  Local people will sell their own delicacies to visitors. They will experience the procession of Saints from church of Sampalukan to Barangay GABIHAN.  They will also see the parade of little juds dressed up like angels with wings.  And on easter Sunday at early dawn they can watch the re-enactment of the resurrection

During Holy Week, people here on the Iisland don't eat any meat.  Even in the market in town, they don't sell meat during the holiday.  Instead, we stick with veggies and locally caught fish, dried fish and smoked fish.

But on Black Sabbath and Easter Sunday, the local people cook delicious food and bring their families in some swimming areas around the Isla for family gatherings and picnics. 

We have one sport played in Isla, Basketball.  It is called inter color, were 6 baranggays play each other and play on scheduled dates on each baranggay court.  Last week, it was held in Pajo.

As it is getting hotter in Isla, bushes are getting drier.  We have built our own rain water tank for watering our plants, so I still have flowers blooming and my beautiful orchids.

For now local people prefer to stay home making mats, while more visitors are coming for a holiday here in Isla Verde


One of our special features in our resort is our Japanese bath tub.  It was designed by my brother in law, Tomu, not just for our Japanese guests,  but open too for other visitors who wanted to a soak in a hot bath after swimming or during cold season  or simply when they want to have a hot bath. 

It is round, long metal tub, which was covered with stone and underneath, we burn firewood to make water bubbly hot.  I had wonderful experienced of it.  I feel more relax, and relieves my body aches.  At the same time, it makes my skin smoother.  

For the Japanese it is more ritual.  They have to take a shower first, make sure they are really clean before taking a dip.  They prefer the water very hot and bubbly. There is a feeling of enhancement for them.  After an hour of dipping, they feel more relaxed, clean and stronger.  And that gives for them a long sound sleep.

Well done, to my brother in law, PAPA TOMU!

Our First Overseas Guests

Last Feb. 12, we had 4 older Japanese gentlemen,  who came to visit our resort.  Sagawa san, who is the oldest at the age of 80, is very funny man.  As he can't speak English,  he talked with us in sign language.  And if we talked with him, he repeated what we said.  But he is still strong man.  He can walk well and was good at climbing our mountain and hills.

Ishiraishi san, is the silent type.  He loves our own brandy, EMPERADOR, and he was good with us.  He left his shirt to Aniscia.

Kubota san is the youngest among them.  He speaks a little English, and is the translator, to Sagawa san.  He is very polite and respectful.  He would always let the older men take their food first.  He loves to laugh.

Sukamoto san, is their leader.  He is nice man too.  He is the one to whom we talk first as he speaks a little Tagalog.

All of them enjoyed our place, and especially the services rendered to them.

What they said they most like, is the Japanese tub, which Papa had built for our guests.  They enjoyed bathing each other before dipping in the tub.   They spend long hours in the tub, while the hot water bubbles.

Sagawa san, enjoyed fishing in our breakwater.  Niña helped him to catch fish.   We did caught 6 fishes and gave them away.  

On their last day in our resort, after dinner, we had a party. They called my staff to join them on their last night.  We drank and ate food with them, and they shared with us their own nuts and crackers.  Sagawa san even danced with us.

We ended our party at 7pm for we needed to wake up early for the morning trip to the bay to meet the ferry across to Tabangao.  They bid goodbye to Aniscia and Niña.  Sagawa san, cried as he said he was overwhelmed with our place and our treatment of them.

The following day at 3am, off to Batangas.  I sent them to Tabangao, where, Pearl patiently, waited for them.  
I gave them hug and bid goodbye.  They all promised they'll be back here in our resort.


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Boyboy's colleagues at our resort

A team from a call center came to spend their team building and at the same time have some fun here in isla.  Since the weather was not good, therewere  times it rained, and the sea was roughso  there were not many fun activities to do.

But they were able to have done about their work in their office. They group together and discussed about their jobs in their office.  

After their team building,  they started to cook,  grilled fish and meat.  They even made a bonfire at night while they enjoyed drinking and eating.  I bought fresh fish which they grilled and they loved the taste of it.
Their boss Hans  played chess with his staff.  They enjoyed posing and taking pictures around the resort.  They even biked around pose for it.  As a special treat I let them try our brand new Japanese bath tub.

They enjoyed their weekend, and were
disappointed when it was time to leave because they wanted to stay longer as they found our place, relaxing and comfy to stay.

All of them promised that they will come back.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

After The Typhoon - Lots of Good News (from Nanay Jo)

I am sorry there was nothing posted for a while.  But we are catching up again now  :-)

After Typhoon Ruby passed over Verde Island on December 8th, some of the recently planted trees were blown down because they had not had time for their roots to anchor into the land.

So after the typhoon we started to replant them.  At the same time as replanting the trees, we planted more flowers too, and soon they will bloom and make our surroundings even more beautiful.

Orchids are grown by people all over Isla Verde and indeed the rest of the Philippines, and we have added some very pretty orchids to our landscape.

 A portion of our seawall was damaged, so we started to rebuild  it making sure it is thicker and much stronger.  We also widened the walking path, so it looks more relaxing and it is easier for visitors to sit on the pavement and let their legs hang over the edge so their feet can dip in the water at high tide, as they watch the sunset. 

  Typhoons are a scary experience when they hit, but it taught us that in a big storm like Ruby, the resort was safe.
The café, which is made of stone and cement, was safe, and even the kubos, which are bamboo and palm thatch, were not damaged.  

We expected in such a strong typhoon that perhaps we would have to repair those buildings.  It proves how traditional lifestyle and building fitted into the Philippines ecosystem, and is one of the reasons we chose Kubos for guest accommodation.

Visitors from other countries can experience a little piece of traditional culture, while the staff can teach them to sing the Kubo Song, and tell them about the meaning of this national song.

 On January 5th, Ate Tess, (my Sister Tess), came to visit her resort and inspected the progress.  She brought with her, some of her business staff and together for the first time they got to see how the overgrown block of land has changed into the beginnings of a pretty resort that still blends into the island. 

They could only stay for two nights because of other commitments, but there was time for them to enjoy some beautiful weather and to take many photographs and Tess was very pleased with the progress of the resort so far.

They enjoyed being able to sleep peacefully with the sounds of the waves and the gentle tropical sea breeze like a lullaby.  It is much better than any sleeping tablet!

The cafe is also becoming a mini art and cultural centre with some interesting displays. The latest addition is a small statue of a Samurai warrior, and alongside it, a Kabuto, the traditional Samurai head gear or helmet that was worn with Samurai armour.  

One of the highlights that early visitors to the resort are happy with is the cooking.  The meals are not fancy expensive meals that visitors cannot understand, or afford, but tasty attractive dishes created from foods available in season, and in various styles to suit a number of tastes.  Tess and her guests enjoyed the meals cooked and served to them at the café, and they discussed some plans to promote the resort locally and abroad, including online promotion.

We added a new feature, a Japanese bath tub in our resort, which our guests will enjoy, bathing as they have the view of the sea. 

There will be more about this traditional bath in another entry to be posted soon, and information about the Kabuto and some photographs .

Pictures and more posts are being prepared.  Please join us again soon to see!

from Nanay Jo, Tess, Papa and RossD.
Blog Post by Nanay Jo.