September 30, 2011


The world's tallest statue of Murugan, a Hindu god.

September 26, 2011

DINING: Manila Top Eats

The ride to the airport was smooth as it was only half light and the city has not thoroughly awakened. We were first in line to check in at the domestic T3 airport and it was a breeze. Our 910 AM flight to Legazpi from Manila on 5J 323 was surprisingly on time and half hour before take-off we were called to board the aircraft.

we were early that we even had time for a snooze before boarding

It was a gorgeous day and we’re more than happy to be on a holiday. 30 minutes into the flight, the Captain went on air to update that we’re beginning to descend and we will soon land to the home of the majestic Mount Mayon.

gorgeous day for flying

We re-fastened our seat belts, straightened our seats, stowed our tray tables, and pulled up our window shades as we craned our necks trying to get a glimpse of what’s on land only to see the window suddenly enveloped with thick milky white clouds. As if on cue, the plane started to fly through some heavy turbulence, the kind where a few passenger passengers audibly expelled their breakfast on disposable bags found in the seat pocket and FA’s rushing to their seats to buckle up all the while struggling to keep a poker face but doesn’t quite muster it. We were seated on the first row and faced with the expressions they’ve managed might have been funny had it not been scary. Just then, the pilot droned on confirming that the weather has fast deteriorated and landing in Legazpi’s airport may no longer be possible because of the negative visibility. He tried 3 times more until deciding that the best course was to go back to Manila. After over an hour into the air, with almost half the time really bumpy, we have safely landed back at the NAIA Terminal 3 with a huge urge to kiss the ground.

relieved to be back safely on land

So what do we do then with 4 days approved leave with a botched-up itinerary? Why but turn our cancelled road trip into the next best thing - a favourite pakunswelo de bobo - full blown food trip (with some sidebar on shopping) and here is our Manila top and regular eats.

PEPPER LUNCH Mj’s favorite. Aside from being a big fan of Chuvaness’ blog, she’s also a very big fan of Chuvaness’ DIY fastfood steakhouse. A variety of choice cuts of beef, pork, chicken and salmon to choose from and cook it yourself over an electromagnetic plate that is heated up to 260 degree Celsius. Our favorites are, Salmon Pepper Steak and Beef curry pepper steak, Chicken Pepper Steak, and for dessert, black sesame ice cream.

Chicken Pepper Steak (php215)

Black Sesame Ice Cream (php55)

PRICE: php99-600
LOCATION: Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Power Plant Mall, Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 5, Robinsons
Ermita, SM Megamall A, SM Mall of Asia

CAFÉ PROVENCAL prolly the best Lamb Chops MJ’s ever had.  Their signature herb marinated lamb chops on earthy sun-dried tomato-shiitake mushroom gnocci says MJ is simply the best.  Me, i like the Classic Charbroiled Imported Tenderloin served with a generous amount of fries and a choice of peppercorn, mushroom or bearnaise sauce.

Lamb Chops with Herbe De Provence Gnocci (php520)

 Classic Charboiled Steak (php530)

CUISINE: French, Mediterranean
PRICE: php160-1,000
LOCATION: Shangri-la Plaza Mall Mandaluyong

DAD’S ULTIMATE BUFFET the daddy of all buffets! Over 200 buffet dishes from steaks, turkeys, sashimi,tepanyaki to binagoongang baboy and crispy kangkong. Whatever it is you are craving for, I assure you, Dad’s will satisfy every bit of it.  Dad's ultimate buffet for less than 600php includes dishes from Kamayan (Filipino) and Saisaki (Japanese).

CUISINE: Buffet (America, Italian, Japanese, Filipino)
PRICE:less than php600 for ultimate buffet
LOCATIONS: Padre Faura, EDSA, SM Megamall, Glorietta 3

AMICI imagine authentic Italian with a canteen setting. The restaurant first started as a canteen in Don Bosco Makati and because of its reasonably priced good food it now has several more branches in Metro Manila. If there’s such a thing as Italian comfort food this is it, generous serving of pasta with unlimited grated parmesan cheese, brick oven pizza, dozens of gelato’s to choose from, and their Merry Berry ice
cream cake, it certainly makes my world a happy place!

 Tutta Carne - Italian sausage, ham and pepperoni (php340)

  Penne Al Salmone Affumicato Pasta (php295)

Merry Berries - blueberry and strawberry gelato on a crust of crusted graham
(Whole php760.00 / Slice 110.00)

CUISINE: Italian, Gelato, Dessert
PRICE: php180-1,000
LOCATIONS: Don Bosco Makati, Alabang Town Center, SM Megamall Atrium, Bellagio Square TomasMorato, SM North EDSA, Missouri St. San Juan

LAPIDS CHICHARON for that ultimate cholesterol goodness. With very little regard for my health I grab at least 2 large bags of Chicharon with Laman (crispy porkloin skin with a bloodcurdling amount of fat and meat) every time I’m in Manila. Makes for good pasalubong too.  Look for the label "freshly popped" and "the rolls royce" of chicaron for the original Lapids brand. 

Special Chicharon with Laman

CUISINE: Chicharon
PRICE: php75-175
LOCATIONS: White Plains, E. Rodriguez infront of Christ the King, Shopwise Araneta Center, Vito Cruz

TENDER BOBS satisfies all my meat cravings. There’s no better sight than a slab of juicy premium tenderloin believe me. The resto feels like an all American diner, not that I’ve been to one but it sure looks like those I see on Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives. As for the steak, it’s tender and perfectly grilled, comes with corn and veggies on the side and a choice of rice or mashed potato. They also serve pastas, burgers, ribs, US steaks and classic American appetizers.

 Tenderloin Steak 10oz (php520)

Braised Assuie Lamb Shank (php395)

CUISINE: Steaks and BBQ
PRICE: php100-1,500
LOCATIONS: Promenade Greenhills, Greenbelt 2, SM The Block, Shangri-la Plaza Mall

TACO BELL Mexican food in less than 5 minutes, how great is that. Never thought fast food could be so damn tasty. I wouldn’t mind having their ½ pound beef & potato burrito for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s heaven in a wrap!

Churros, Nacho Sprinkles and Burritos

Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes (php40)

CUISINE: Mexican
PRICE: php40-200
LOCATIONS: Gateway Mall Araneta Coliseum, Trinoma North Edsa

DAIRY QUEEN a worldwide chain of ice cream and snacks. I use to not like ice cream at all but with DQ, I keep coming back for more. That smooth, rich and creamy Brownie Temptation Blizzard bursting with chocolate goodness has a life changing effect and their ice cream is so thick it’s served upside down how awesome is that!

Brownie Temptation Blizzard

pick your cone

CUISINE: Ice Cream, Shakes and Cakes
PRICE: php100-200
LOCATIONS: scattered all over Manila, visit their website for a full listing: http://

CHUCKS DELI is relatively new to our list.  Opened only sometime last year, it has garnered a lot of followers already and they can count us in as one of their fans. Massive sandwiches that is not for the faint of heart. Their Waki salad and the crunchiest onion rings are also a must have.

Waki Salad - crispy greens, crab sticks, eggs, mangoes and wasabi mayo (php185)

1/2 slabwich of Angus Roast Beef  with crispy Onion Rings on the side (php255)

CUISINE: Gourmet Sandwiches
PRICE: php175-455
LOCATIONS: G/F Serendra, Bonifacio Global City and G/F Eastwood Mall, Libis, QC

DUO STEAKHOUSE for the best steak that we both have had in a very long time. Juicy, tender, flavorful grilled over coals. Couldn't get better than that.

U.S. Angus Beef Tenderloin rubbed with Organic Herbs and Spices, Olive Oil Parsley, Garlic, Salt and Pepper and served with Rice or steamed Vegetables (php750)

September 24, 2011


Singapore's most photographed icons, The Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion.

September 17, 2011

Packing for Singapore-Malaysia-Cambodia

There are few people who like to pack and I’m one of them as long as it’s the holiday kind, not the really tedious moving-houses kind. The THOUGHT PROCESS on styling and the practicality that go with my travel wardrobe could be a little too much as dressing for travel has its own challenges but it’s sartorial stress that I actually enjoy. Packing is also done early - at least a week in advance - that way there’s a lesser chance of forgetting something. I hate over packing so my ruthless editing to have the perfect compact closet needs time. Admittedly a bit of a control freak here that I just can’t throw a bunch of random stuff on my SUITCASE.

I’ve also been always curious on other travelers pack so I thought I’d share the actual clothes that got tucked into my wheelie for the upcoming 15 days vacation in 3 countries. 4 if we include the north in - country. These are pieces that are breathable and comfortable without sacrificing style yet still appropriate and weather ready and not tip the scale on excess baggage fees. I hope.

SINGAPORE – like the Philippines has a hot and humid climate and usually rains through out the year. Most young people are very fashionable so to not stick like a sore thumb, I’ve packed lightweight fabrics in simple cut shift dresses but with enough polish. Air-conditioning at the malls, restaurant and public transport can get chilly and I have my blazer (in a dark solid color that I could mix and match with the rest of my outfits) for
that. It can be untailored unbuttoned with sleeves rolled to the elbows and de-daintify my girly clothes. For temple visits, I have my scarf to throw over the shoulder.

MALAYSIA – is very casual but since it is a Muslim country, there is an unspoken rule to dress modestly- with knees and shoulders covered. It’s also hot and humid so it’s best to wear loose cotton fabrics. If I need more coverage for those religious site visits, I can just whip up my trusty scarf that I always keep in my bag again.

CAMBODIA – has a very relaxed attitude in dressing and some temples in Angkor complex are no longer active places of worship though many Buddha images are still tended by monks. To tell the truth, I’ve watched Tomb Raider again to see what Angelina’s costume was for outfit inspiration but seeing for a fact that I can’t pull off Lara Croft’s skimpy-booty-hugging-lycra-mini-shorts and tank tops without looking indecent, I have to revise this image in my head and settle on dressing up like a self styled NatGeo (not so ancient) archeologist instead. The coral color and one shoulder is my take on monk fashion.

I’ve already packed before I thought of putting this post so some clothes are already a bit
wrinkled but nothing the steam from the hot shower couldn’t fix.

Dresses are my default key items that I usually just cinch with a skinny belt. I also bought a few extra “just in case” dressier pieces that don’t take up much space. Leggings, denim shorts and tank tops are travel staples as I can layer them under dresses for proper coverage and added warmth in transits.

the curious Reese wants in on the photo

As for the footwear I bring inexpensive yet broken in comfortable items. There’s a t-strap tan sandals that works with almost everything I’ve packed, my cushiony Toms skimmers for transits and for the Angkor complex visit, and rubber flip flops for the bathroom and the hotel pool.

A neutral colored tote to round up my entire outfit changes and large enough to accommodate the stuff that I need to dump in it.

September 5, 2011

DINING: Arpochi, Gensan

General Santos city in Southern Mindanao is about 2.5 – 3 hours scenic drive from Davao city on a relatively well-paved road. The ride is made more pleasurable with the prospect of having a really good meal at the end of the trip.

No trip to Gensan is complete without dining at Arpochi Seafood and Resto.

The restaurant has a specialized menu concentrating on crabs, prawns/shrimp, fish, squid and native chicken and the dishes are all extremely well thought out and executed.

Their bestseller and the most famous perhaps, is their signature mud crab recipe from Cotabato City. These beautiful huge meaty crabs are oozing with coral delicate roe on a bed of butter pepper and generous garlic sauce. The flavorful sauce compliments the delicate meat of the crabs and perfect for drizzling over plain steamed rice.

king sized Crabs php1,200
Their Ilonggo version of Native Chicken Adobo is also a favorite. The chicken is cooked and simmered till the mixture of vinegar and soy sauce with black peppers, garlic, bay leaf and some other closely guarded secret ingredient thickens and dries out. The chicken is thoroughly browned with even a bit of a crisp on the outside but moist, tasty and full of flavor inside. The crunch from the toasted garlic is another textural delight that adds kick to the dish.

Adobo Ilongo php500
Sinigang na isda, (sour fish (Pompano) soup) usually opens up our meal and our palate. The pompano is really fresh with a clean fatty taste balanced with the acidity and the vegetables cooked just right.

Sinigang php450
Not bad reasons to get behind the wheel for a 3-hour road trip noh. Not at all!

CUISINE: Seafood
PRICE: php400-1,200
LOCATION: Ecca Building, National Highway, General Santos City
TEL.NO.: 0920-9455670

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