chuvaness
Wow Philippines!
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So many sad things have been happening all around:
1) The security guard in our neighborhood convenience store was shot dead by a robber.
2) The motorcycle of my hairstylist’s husband was stolen by a 16-year-old neighbor.
3) The brother of my assistant was killed for the payroll.
4) So I read KLM is pulling out flights to Manila because of high taxes slapped on the airline by the Philippine government. Not good for my Dutch family. Is it true that Philippine Airlines is not allowed to land on Schiphol because it owes the Dutch airport $2 million in fees?
5) The other night I had an argument with a traffic enforcer who wanted to confiscate my driver’s license. I am still confused whether confiscating of drivers licenses is legal or not?

More than ever, I feel like this country is going to the dogs.
I’m confused because I love this country, there’s no place like home. And yet—where do we take some Dutch and Japanese to see and experience the beauty of the Philippines?
A group of us planned a day trip to Tagaytay via Black Fleet and specifically to dine at Antonio’s Garden.
We decided to meet up at The New World Hotel where our Japanese friends were staying.

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Back: The Dutch contingent (my father-in-law, Joris and Jeroen)
Front: Kristine, Sayoko, Keri, Junko, Jay, Jude

To make it more fun, I hired the highly imposing Black Fleet to take us to Tagaytay.

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I first saw the Black Fleet outside the hotel Justin Bieber was staying at and wondered what the hell it was. Besides Justin Bieber, The Black Fleet recently had Westlife as passengers.
The Dutch boys hung out in the back.

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While the rest of us behaved like school kids in the front seats. We enjoyed the fully stocked minibar and DVD movie with Paul Rudd and Michelle Pfeiffer.
The driver and “conductor” were very courteous and professional. Though the ride was a bit too bumpy for comfort, these two plus the company of friends and family made the journey very exciting.

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But first, Keri needed to find buko pie for her son along the way. We were frantically searching for Colette (not the legendary French boutique as the Japanese thought) but the legendary buko pie baker.
After passing by four Colette stores (they are everywhere but on the wrong side of the road), Keri mentioned that Rowena’s had better buko pie. Within five minutes, we were parked at Rowena’s store.
What a relief to get down for a bit. I think we all bought something. The store is nicely stocked with all  kinds of interesting products, definitely worth a stopover.

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Kristine and I planned the trip with Sayoko

Jay found the most exotic dried fish we have ever seen

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Joris and Jeroen tried the apple pie

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Love this bus

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We stopped by the Cliffhouse to view the Taal Lake

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Jude and I dress like twins, almost

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We also toured one of the four rooms in the Inn at the Cliffhouse

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Had a quick snack at Café Breton

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Must-have: butter and sugar crepe!

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And back to the bus

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We arrived a bit early at Antonio’s Garden. This is Junko

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Joris and Jan

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They prepared this beautiful table setting for our party of nine

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A view of Antonio’s Breakfast, open from 7 AM to 4 PM only

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Romantic brick lane

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Huge garden, good enough for a small wedding

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Jude suggested we spend some time exploring the compound before dinner

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Indoor dining area

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We also had a choice to sit indoors, just in case it rained

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But Chef definitely loves the outdoors

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Dinner was served

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I had the best fresh mango juice served in a glass of mango ice (made me think about making Coke ice cubes at home)

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We shared a small lechon ordered in advance

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Jeroen’s steak

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A trio of panna cotta

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plus a host of other dishes I didn’t photograph.

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Chefs Jude and Jeroen

All done

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And we’re back at the New World Hotel at 10:45 PM.

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Thanks very much to Sab Jose of The Black Fleet for the special arrangement.
To know more about them, go to http://www.theblackfleet.com.ph/.

To know more about Antonio’s, go to http://www.antoniosrestaurant.ph/.

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