Kamay ni Hesus + Foodgasm episode 15: Buddy’s Pancit Lucban

Holy Week for 2013 just ended. Last Good Friday, my family and my relatives were supposed to do the Stations of the Cross in Via Dolorosa. It was just a ten-minute drive from the home of my relatives, which made it very convenient for us. Finding a parking slot was not difficult but what surprised us was what we saw near the entrance of Via Dolorosa. There was a horde of tourists waiting for their turn to go inside the place. “Horde” might actually be an understatement. Devotees were divided into batches, according to who came first. My aunt decided to postpone our activity then suggested that we go instead to Kamay ni Hesus (Hand of Jesus) the following day.

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So many people at the grotto!
So many people at the grotto!

And so, we did. We left for Quezon province at around 5AM. We got a bit lost since it was my tatay‘s first time to drive to Kamay ni Hesus. When we arrived at around 8:30AM, it was already hard to find parking spaces since apparently, lots of devotees were also there. Kamay ni Hesus, which was built under the initiative of Fr. Joseph “Joey” Faller, draws thousands of people especially those who are in need of hope and miracle. _MG_3883b _MG_3886 _MG_4057 _MG_4058 Upon entering the area (or even before that), I noticed that there were various stalls at one side of the pathway — there were hats, shades, bags, and of course, pasalubong. I regretted not buying a hat after our Stations of the Cross at the grotto. The heat was a killer! Later that day, I heard from the news that the temperature was the hottest for 2013. ヽ(#`Д´)ノ _MG_3885b This guy was seated near the entrance of the shrine and whenever visitors enter the place, he would ask each group which city or province they came from. He would announce that the visitors were from whichever city/province then tell them that they would surely enjoy the place. Every minute or so, he would announce how to go to the comfort room. Probably lots of people kept on approaching him for directions.

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My little sister and my mom ❤
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“Plaque” of recognition for those who pledged and donated for the shrine
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Kamay ni Hesus Church

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We left my ama (Chinese for grandmother) inside the church since she might not be able to handle the crowd at the grotto as well as the number of steps to reach the grotto’s top. There was no scheduled mass for Black Saturday; nevertheless, the church was jam-packed. Piano masterpieces of Catholic songs were played and these were even heard outside the church.

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That’s one tough polar bear! Still standing despite the heat.

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Eve and Adam
Eve and Adam

One of the attractions that kids will love in this place is the Noah’s Ark. I did not get the chance to capture photos of all the animal statues they had at the garden because we were in a hurry to get to the grotto already. Children and adults alike were going from one corner to another in order to take their pictures with the animals as well as with the huge ark of Noah. If the public was allowed to go inside the ark, I would have stayed behind and explored the ark first. Hah!

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View from the bottom of the grotto… Lots of plants plus the glaring morning sun!

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1st Station: The Last Supper
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2nd Station: The Agony in Gethsemani
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3rd Station: Jesus Before the Sanhedrin
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4th Station: The Scourging and Crowning with Thorns
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5th Station: Jesus Receives the Cross
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6th Station: Jesus Falls Under the Weight of the Cross
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7th Station: Simon of Cyrene Carries the Cross of Jesus
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8th Station: Jesus Meets the Pious Women of Jerusalem
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9th Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
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10th Station: The Repentant Thief
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11th Station: Mary and John at the Foot of the Cross
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12th Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross
13th Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
13th Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
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14th Station: Jesus Rises from Death
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The resurrected Jesus Christ

I did my best to capture images of each station before starting the prayer for each station with my family and relatives. Upon reaching the top of the grotto, a huge statue of Jesus Christ awaits the devotees. People prayed here for their personal intentions; some even opted to place their hands at the granite pillar beneath Christ’s feet while praying. The heat of the sun and the number of steps we took were nothing in comparison to how much Christ suffered since He was arrested up to His last breath.

One of the things that annoyed me though is when people stopped at every station, or even every corner of the grotto, to have their pictures taken with whatever sculpture was near them. Most of the people climbing up the grotto only passed by each station; some did not even bother looking at the station. I know that I am in no position to tell these people to follow and do the Stations of the Cross properly but what they were doing took away part of the place’s solemnity. I guess it was more of a tourist attraction for them.

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My only solo picture for the day… and the wind just had to ruin my hair.
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After climbing down the grotto 🙂
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Breathtaking view at the top of the grotto

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These are just some of the statues/sculptures you will see when you visit Kamay ni Hesus.

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Buddy’s Pancit Lucban

After the Stations of the Cross at Kamay ni Hesus, we decided to have lunch at Buddy’s Pancit Lucban. The two branches of this resto that I know are in Market! Market! (Taguig City) and Kalayaan Avenue (Makati City). Of course, the first thing we ordered was the Pancit Lucban since this is the resto’s claim to fame. You might be thinking that it’s the same as pancit canton. That’s not the case though. There are three things that make Pancit Lucban special (and my favorite!): 1) lechon kawali is mixed with it; 2) the dish is not totally dry [look at the picture since there’s sauce]; and 3) mixing their vinegar makes the dish more flavorful. I’m actually big fan of vinegar. *wink*

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Buddy’s Lucban Longganisa, one dozen

Since we were also in Lucban, I made it a point not to miss the chance to eat Lucban longganisa (longganisa is the Philippine version of sausages, BTW). It was a good thing that my uncle was also a foodie so he bought it right away. Yay! Buddy’s Lucban Longganisa did not disappoint. It was a bit garlicky so this was a plus for me. My uncle told me that Vigan longganisa was more garlicky though. Can’t wait to have a taste of it!

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Buddy’s Pizza Supreme, small

My little sister is a picky eater and she does not eat longganisa. She ordered Buddy’s Pizza Supreme instead to make sure that she would be full after eating. She was very happy with the pizza since there were generous amounts of cheese and meat.

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Here’s a photo of me with my little sister. I still like to call her my “little sister” even though we only have a one-year gap and we almost have the same height. #oldersisterfeelz LOL. On another note, I must end this entry and start attending to my last college requirements. Leggo!

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Kamay ni Hesus Shrine and Healing Center: Lucban-Tayabas Road, Lucban, Quezon Province

Buddy’s Pancit Lucban66 General Luna St., Cor C. M. Recto Tayabas, Quezon Province

Foodgasm episode 14: Chef Arch’s Lime 88

Aaaah. Finally got the chance to post my first entry this 2013. This one is an overdue post since I went to this hole-in-the-wall resto last December 21, 2012. I always see this place packed with people especially during the night. My mom and I actually wondered if it was the usual inuman place. The chance to see what’s in Chef Arch’s Lime 88 came when my mom was too lazy to cook dinner and she didn’t want to eat fast food stuff. We (mama, tatay, and I) ordered three dishes and I was able to make my mom buy me a cocktail. This was the first time she bought me an alcoholic drink. Yay! 😉

Lychee Martini 75
Lychee Martini (PhP75)
Creamy Garlic Tuyo Pasta (PhP175)
Creamy Garlic Tuyo Pasta (PhP175)

While waiting for this dish, we thought it was good for sharing. But since I was soooo hungry that night, I actually thought to myself I could finish this dish on my own. Haha! Good thing we still had two other dishes to share so I was fine with sharing the pasta with my mom. This dish was really delicious although I would have preferred the tuyo to be himay already. Tuyo flakes might also work for this dish.

Osso Busco Kare Kare (PhP230)
Osso Busco Kare Kare (PhP230)

OH. MY. GOSH. BEST KARE-KARE I’VE TASTED! The meat was perfectly cooked. I also love how the bagoong (aka shrimp paste) was done. It tastes the same as what my uncle cooks, which I consider as the best bagoong. If you’re a first timer at Lime 88, you should order this one. If I’m not mistaken, this dish is one of their bestsellers.

Silken Tokwa and Crispy Tenga with Sinamak Soy Dressing (PhP190)
Silken Tokwa and Crispy Tenga with Sinamak Soy Dressing (PhP190)

I was hesitant to eat the crispy tenga because it’s ear. Duh. I don’t know which animal owns that ear but my tatay insisted it was delicious. I had a bite and all of my doubts on this dish disappeared. The tokwa (or tofu) and tenga matched with the dressing which is actually just soy sauce and vinegar. Cholesterooooool. </3

The claim to fame of this place is “street food with a twist.” Indeed, pinasosyal nila yung street food — from plating to the name of the dish and even to how Chef Arch placed his own twist to the different dishes. It’s quite pricey though. Still, the food was worth every cent we spent. I highly recommend this place to everyone, especially to those living in Mandaluyong. 😉

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Chef Arch’s Lime 88: 160 San Rafael St., Mandaluyong, Philippines

Foodgasm episode 13: Xtremely Xpresso Cafe (+ Subic Treetop Adventure)

Before we get to the gastronomic part of this post, let me share the Subic Treetop Adventure experience I had with some of my most favorite companions — Chippy, Eyong, kuya Paul, and ate Kharm. For me and Chippy (ze younger sister), this is our second time in Treetop. We (except kuya Paul) decided to choose package H but the staff informed us that Silver Surfer is not available; thus, package G and H cannot be done. As to whether Silver Surfer is unavailable for now or forever, that’s what I do not know. Chippy and I were quite disappointed since we were not able to try that “ride” out when we first did Treetop Adventure.

We chose package F instead since it’s the closest to the “do-all-you-can-in-Treetop” experience then added Interactive Free Fall to the list of things we would do. So, that’s 720 bucks plus 250 for the free fall and you get PhP970 per person. Here’s a print-screened image on the different packages Subic Treetop Adventure offers:

Treetop Adventure packages
Treetop Adventure packages

This is how we arranged the activities we did in Treetop:

  • Tree Drop (Eyong and ate Kharm)
  • Canopy Ride + Canopy Walk (Chippy, ate Kharm, Eyong, me)
  • Trekking with Jungle Survival Demo (+ kuya Paul because this is the only activity where heights are not involved)
  • Interactive Free Fall (Chippy, ate Kharm, Eyong, me)
  • Superman Ride (Chippy, ate Kharm, Eyong, me)
Eyong -- tree drop
Eyong — tree drop
Ate Kharm -- tree drop
Ate Kharm — tree drop

Once is enough for me and Chippy. We refused to do tree drop since we were not in the mood (or more like we’re afraid to do so). Ate Kharm and Eyong were both game since this was their first time to do it. In fairness, hindi sila napasigaw. They hang you up above a 60-foot tree and before you know it… down you go!

All geared up for the canopy ride and canopy walk!
All geared up for the canopy ride and canopy walk!
Chippy and ate Kharm -- Canopy Ride
Chippy and ate Kharm — Canopy Ride

Canopy Ride and Canopy Walk is a combination of crossing suspension bridges and riding motorized cable seats to let you see the tranquil and beauty of nature. One ride can take a maximum of three people but since we were four, we decided to do it in pairs. You can also ask the kind kuyas to make the seats face each other.

On a leash called harness
On a leash called harness
One with nature
One with nature

Whenever I’m in a place surrounded or filled with trees, I always take an overhead shot like this especially if it’s sunny. We were all thankful that there was no sign it was gonna rain so we were able to enjoy all of the activities in Treetop Adventure.

Time for some trekking!
Time for some trekking!

Finally! Kuya Paul joined us for the trekking and jungle survival demo. The canopy ride & walk ended just in time so we made it to this activity. There’s a schedule for this activity with a 2-hour interval in between each time slot. Ours started at 2PM although the whole activity lasted for just around 40 minutes.

Why, hello there!
Why, hello there!

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You’ll see lots of these lamp posts and of course trees, trees, and trees. Yay! Our trek guide was kuya Jun and I commend him for having a good sense of humor. Even though our trek had lectures, his jokes and punchlines prevented us from getting bored and sleepy (although how does one get sleepy with trekking, right?).

How to make a bamboo cup
How to make a bamboo cup
Complete bamboo meal set -- kainan, inuman, spork
Complete bamboo meal set — kainan, inuman, spork
How to make fire. Huzzah!
How to make fire. Huzzah!

_MG_2203Voila!!! This is what kuya Paul was waiting for. Find a dry bamboo when stuck in a deserted island. Make sure you have a bolo and you’ve memorized the six essential steps kuya Jun taught… then you’re good to go! No need for matches, lighter, oil, magnifying glass, and sunlight. Oh and kuya Jun also showed us a type of vine where you can drink clean water. Those who were able to taste it said that there was a lemon -ish flavor.

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We also watched three types of Aeta dance — hunter dance, dragonfly dance, and monkey dance. The hunter dance was the best because the Aeta dancer shot an arrow straight to the box near our seat. *clap clap* Hindi niyo lang alam, pangarap ko kasi maging archer! Haha.

Happy campers ang peg
Happy campers ang peg
Chippy and ate Kharm -- Interactive Free Fall
Chippy and ate Kharm — Interactive Free Fall
Chippy and ate Kharm -- Interactive Free Fall
Chippy and ate Kharm — Interactive Free Fall
with Eyong -- Interactive Free Fall
with Eyong — Interactive Free Fall
with Eyong -- Interactive Free Fall
with Eyong — Interactive Free Fall

This ride lasts for 7 cycles. At first you’ll think that 7 cycles is too long but if you have a penchant for adventures and extreme rides, Interactive Free Fall is quite fast. Bitin is the best word to describe it. Every time the contraption goes down, it feels like I’ve left my heart somewhere above the tree. Definitely not for the faint-hearted!

Chippy and ate Kharm -- Superman Ride
Chippy and ate Kharm — Superman Ride
with Eyong -- Superman Ride
with Eyong — Superman Ride

Finally, we reach our last activity in Treetop Adventure! Dun dun dun dun. Say hello to the Superman Ride! You can flap your arms, wave it, or do a Superman-like pose. Just don’t try to remove your arms from the acrobat-like thing. Our adventure ended a few minutes before 4PM and we realized that we haven’t eaten our lunch yet. I did a bit of research and spotted a restaurant that people showered with compliments. I’m talking about Xtremely Xpresso Cafe.

The Menu
The Menu
Creamy Mushroom Soup (PhP120)
Creamy Mushroom Soup (PhP120)

One of the most delicious mushroom soups I’ve had! Actually, this was Chippy’s order and I just had a spoonful of this. Mix the soup well before tasting it so that the herbs (which taste like basil) are evenly mixed. It makes the soup tastier. 🙂

XX Cappuccino, Tall (PhP80)
XX Cappuccino, Tall (PhP80)
Strawberry Milkshake (PhP120)
Strawberry Milkshake (PhP120)
Iced Coffee, Tall (PhP80)
Iced Coffee, Tall (PhP80)
Eskimocha, Grande (PhP100)
Eskimocha, Grande (PhP100)
Mango Cremo, Grande (PhP100)
Mango Cremo, Grande (PhP100)

I didn’t get the chance to taste the other drinks since I was too happy sipping my strawberry milkshake. It’s really yummy but I feel like Johnny Rockets’ Milkshake is better. I just heard everyone say that their own drink was good so I’ll take their word for it. 🙂

Garlic and Cheese Quesadilla (PhP150)
Garlic and Cheese Quesadilla (PhP150)

Anti-pasti with a chef’s recommendation. Definitely did not fail my expectations. Uy, rhyming! Haha. There’s a generous amount of garlic per quesadilla and you can even see from the picture that cheese is oozing from each piece. It’s a must-have though to have a toothbrush+toothpaste or candies that are very minty… unless you want to talk people, letting them smell that garlicky odor and figure out what you ate for lunch/merienda/dinner.

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Big Ben pizza, Large (PhP749)

I included people in this picture just to show how big this pizza is. Quoting what was written in their menu, Big Ben is “loaded with pepperoni, sausage, bacon and beef… on veggies… garlic, onions, peppers, mushrooms, black olives… and two kinds of cheese.” At first I thought that we would be able to take a few slices home but then again, we were too hungry for that.

See, the pizza slice does not even fit the plate
See, the pizza slice does not even fit the plate.

We had three slices each then someone took the remaining (fourth) slice but I can’t remember who. Not me because I was too full already after my third slice. Oh! And I just remembered that there’s another Big Ben version is the “Big Albino Ben,” where you can have the Red (aka tomato sauce) removed. 😉

This is probably the longest post to date but I did my best to make it short without compromising the details. Hope you guys enjoyed reading this. When in Subic, visit these two places. You won’t regret it. 🙂

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Subic Treetop Adventure: JEST Area, Upper Mau Cubi Point, Subic Bay Freeport Zone

Xtremely Xpresso Cafe (Subic): 1 Dewey Avenue, Olongapo City

Foodgasm episode 12: Dimsum Break — a.k.a. Happy Birthday Chippy!

Overdue post.

Finally found the time (and kasipagan) to post where my family ate to celebrate my younger sister’s 20th birthday. Oops. I think I was not supposed to say the age… but she does not look 20! 😉

Anywaaay, I’ve been hopping around Filipino food blogs for the past two weeks to look for hole-in-the-wall kainan or restos I haven’t heard of.  I stumbled upon The Pickiest Eater‘s post on Dimsum Break, which is the first Luzon branch of Ding Qua Qua / Harbor City. A few people know that I spent three years of my childhood life in Cebu. Even if I was not able to master the language of Cebuanos, I still feel I’m a Cebuana at heart.

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One thing that will always remind me of Cebu is the famed steamed rice from Harbor City. My tatay went back to Cebu a few months ago and I begged him to take home even just one order of steamed rice since it’s been years since I last ate one. And yes, he really bought just one order for me. Haha! So, imagine my excitement and happiness when I read that Harbor City opened up a branch in SM North EDSA. XD

Dimsum Break's menu
Dimsum Break’s menu

What’s different in Dimsum Break is they do not have people pushing around carts where you can choose the food that you want to eat. (That’s how they roll in Harbor City… or at least when I was still a kid) Instead, they have a counter where you can choose different dimsums on display. They also have a menu where you can choose noodles/soups, siopao, desserts, and beverages.

Steamed Rice (PhP68)
Steamed Rice (PhP68)

I introduce to you, my readers, the steamed (fried) rice! One bowl of it is enough to fill your stomach. My sister and I can’t help but say that it’s already expensive since back then, this dish costs PhP25 only. But that was back in 1999 pa eh! It has pork, shrimp, and peas together with Dimsum Break’s special sauce. 😉

Fried Wanton (Php65)
Fried Wanton (Php65)

My sister ordered this and I was so happy since this dimsum is full of shrimp. The “blooming flower” appearance of this dimsum gives the effct that it’s huuuuuge though it’s really enough to take away your hunger. 🙂

Crab balls (Php65)
Crab balls (PhP65)
Shrimp balls (PhP65)
Shrimp balls (PhP65)

I actually can’t remember how these two dishes were called but the names I gave them are enough to help you determine the main ingredient of the dimsum. *wink wink* Both are really delicious but I like the crab dimsum more. I’m not a fan of super oily foods so if you’re like me, you will definitely love the fried dimsum the restaurant offers.

Lomi (PhP80)
Lomi (PhP80)

So far, this is the best lomi I’ve ever eaten. There is a generous serving of meat and vegetables plus the bowl is big enough to share with another person. It’s not too salty for my taste and the soup was really hot when they served it.

Bacon Siomai (PhP65)
Bacon Siomai (PhP65)

Dun dun dun dun! Hail Dimsum Break for combining two of my favorite foods in the world — bacon and siomai. Duh! I was quite nervous how this dish would fare since the bacon is steamed, not fried. As far as I can remember, this dish was not yet present during my family’s stay in Cebu. Anyway, one bite of bacon siomai erased the doubts I had on it. Absolutely D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. I will definitely place this in my to-order mental list whenever I eat at Dimsum Break.

After eating, we went around the mall since we ate so much. Good thing we did because we accidentally spotted a Hello Kitty exhibit at The Block. ヘ(^_^ヘ)(ノ^_^)ノ Here are some pictures I took with the family.

Tatay, mama, Chippy
Tatay, mama, Chippy
The biggest fan of Hello Kitty meets Papa Kitty and Mama Kitty. How I wish I could take them home. ♥
The biggest fan of Hello Kitty meets Papa Kitty and Mama Kitty. How I wish I could take them home. ♥
Sanrio character cakes courtesy of BreadTalk
Sanrio character cakes courtesy of BreadTalk
Happy birthday to my one and only younger sister, Chippy! :D
Happy birthday to my one and only younger sister, Chippy! 😀

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Dimsum Break: 3/F SM North EDSA Annex, Quezon City

The first two weeks of my November 2012 + Foodgasm episode 11: Yabu: House of Katsu

A lot of things happened since I last updated my blog but let’s just talk about the highlights of those weeks. The first week of November was enrollment in my university… my last enrollment actually since I’ll be graduating on March 2013 (hopefully!).

My last registration form as an undergraduate student

Since I only have two remaining subjects for my last semester, I had a lot of free time for rakets. I assisted in four projects in the company I’m working for (part-time though). I really enjoy doing market research. I feel like I belong in this field rather than in media. I’m still a bit undecided what companies I’ll be applying into after graduating.

Trying to sneak a picture during my break from work 🙂

The second week of November 2012 meant that our batch would be having our grad pics. Yay! I really had a hard time thinking about my creative shot. My initial peg was to have a vintage atmosphere… then it hit me! Imitate an icon from the vintage times. :>

Guess who… 🙂

I had spare money to spend on whatever I want so I bought a few things recently. Since my university ‘required’ walking from one class to another (which is usually from one building to another), a lot of my shoes got worn out and so I let them rest in peace na. I bought two pairs of shoes this week — one from Forever 21 and one from Tutum Shop, a proudly Pinoy shoe brand. 😉

Lessie shoes (blue) from Tutum Shop

The other pair of shoes I bought is part of the Hello Kitty collection of Forever 21. I rushed to the Megamall branch when I found out that they already released the collection. Basta Hello Kitty (at magandang product), bibilhin ko agad! I think that I will never be too old for Hello Kitty. *sigh*

Sweater, leggings, and pair of shoes from Forever 21 x Hello Kitty collection

I also went with a close friend of mine and her boyfriend to the National Bookstore Warehouse Sale. We went there on the second day and a lot of good books were already bought. 😦 The only book I was able to buy for myself was one about photography. Originally, it was for 1,000+ pesos but I got it for 200 pesos na lang. 😀

Books I bought for my cousin and little niece :>

I treated my parents to dinner at Yabu: House of Katsu (Megamall branch). It was our first time there and I’ve really been curious how their food tasted like ever since people started ranting about how really good their katsu is. I ordered the Rosu Tonkatsu Set which was around PhP400 for the biggest katsu. Gluttony at its best. Besides the katsu, Yabu offers unlimited cabbage and unlimited rice. Quite sayang for me since I don’t eat too much rice. I loooove their cabbages though since these are thinly sliced then you either drizzle or soak them with the Sesame Dressing or the Yabu Special Dressing. My meal also came with a bowl of miso soup, japanese pickles (which I didn’t like), and fruits for dessert.

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[L-R] — (above): Miso soup, Rosu Katsudon; (below): Sesame seeds and katsu sauce, salad dressing, fruits and pickles
I think that what makes Yabu unique among the restos I’ve tried, which offer katsu, is their “interactive” activity of doing your own katsu sauce — grinding the sesame seeds then pouring the katsu sauce over it then mixing it. My parents and I had fun doing this grind-pour-mix thing. I would definitely come back to this place anytime, especially if my tummy craves for katsu. 😀

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Yabu: House of Katsu: 2/F Atrium, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City

Foodgasm episode 10: Little Tokyo (Shinjuku and Kagura)

Hey there! 😉

The last day of October 2012 meant that my family would be commemorating the 40th day since a relative of mine passed away. We had mass in Ascension Columbary followed by a small salu-salo. My aunts and uncles decided to celebrate All Souls’ Day yesterday since there would be fewer people in the columbary.

With the BIG family… not complete though :p

And finally, after x number of months (or years?), Eyong’s dinner treat happened. Haha! We chose to eat authentic Japanese food for dinner and the best place to go to is Little Tokyo in Makati City. Shinjuku Ramen House was our first stop for the night. The staff were so friendly and very attentive to any customer need. We had to ask how big was a regular bowl of ramen since we were planning to eat again after our food escapade in Shinjuku. They said that a regular ramen bowl is good for two people if both are not super hungry. We decided to order two ramen flavors — Chashu and Wantan.

Chashumen (PhP290)

I did not regret ordering Chashumen since it was so yummy. The meat was very soft that it actually felt like it melted in my mouth. The noodles were firm and for me, it was good that the veggie was chopped into small pieces rather than huge chunks of ‘em.

With Eyong — we ordered the Chashumen! 🙂

My sister and cousin opted for Wantanmen because of the siomai -ish in the ramen. I asked how it tasted and all they said was “Delicious!” They put lots of chili powder in their ramen to make it spicyyy and they told me it was good that the powder did not change the taste of their food.

Wantanmen, regular (PhP245)
Chippy and kuya Paul

We were expecting though that our ramen would be really hot — a sip would be enough to burn your tongue. However, that was not the case and we were quite disappointed with that. Still, the ramen was so good that we kinda forgot about the ideal temperature for the food. My cousin suddenly remembered that we did not order sushi. I am not a big fan of this since my three previous experiences with this food were all bad. He insisted that it was really good and maybe California Maki was just not the right sushi for me. He ordered Spicy Tempura Maki, which got Eyong and Chippy excited since they looove spicy stuff.

Spicy Tempura Maki (PhP210)

One bite of this sushi and I was converted. My first and immediate reaction was “Oh my gosh! Sobrang sarap lang!” It was that good!

Spicy Tempura Maki consists of 8pcs

We went to Kagura afterwards, which boasts their okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese dish that resembles a pancake with a variety of ingredients, such as pork, shrimp, and tuna flakes. Besides offering the regular okonomiyaki, Kagura also offers a modern type of okonomiyaki, which has noodles as an added ingredient. We ordered two types of modern mix okonomiyaki — one has tuna flakes while the other has chicken skin.

Chicken skin — modern mix okonomiyaki (PhP260)
Tuna flakes — modern mix okonomiyaki (PhP260)

I preferred the okonomiyaki with tuna flakes since I could really taste the tuna inside. My cousin jokingly said after his first bite, “Uy! Century Tuna!” He told me that indeed, the tuna okonomiyaki was better than the chicken one. Both dishes were really good that we vowed to go back there when we have enough money again.

The adventurers riding in the Adventure

I thought we were going home after the Little Tokyo trip when my cousin said that we would go to Tagaytay. I thought he was just joking but when I saw that we were on the road to Bicutan….. He wasn’t kidding. Talk about a spur-of-the-moment roadtrip! And so, our Little Tokyo trip extended to a Tagaytay trip.

It was a good thing that I wore my beanie yesterday and I accidentally brought my mom’s sweater with me. Fortune teller, chos!

I’m the type of person who is afraid to do unplanned things because of possible reprimands or consequences. I was happy that the people with me were game na game with the roadtrip. It was hard not to be “infected” by their happy vibes. 😉 Guess where we chilled out in Tagaytay? Starbucks! Haha! We actually thought of going to Bag of Beans but it was around 9PM already so the resto might already be closed.

Feeling Starbucks models!
Playing around with the Warheads tapes
BB models naman daw ngayon
Awkward shot! Haha!

Cheers to the sudden but happy roadtrip!

Orion spotted!

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Shinjuku Ramen House: 2277 Chino Roces Ave., Legazpi Village, Makati

Kagura: 2277 Chino Roces Ave., Legazpi Village, Makati

My birthday month summed up in pictures

Yesterday was THE day. The day I passed my last requirement for the first semester of AY2011-2012. *tears of joy* I can finally sleep for as long as I want to. This sembreak would be my last since I will be graduating from college next year. Yes, I WILL graduate and that will be on March 2013. 🙂

My hell weeks began last September, which was actually my birthday month. Good thing there were a few stuffs to look forward to during that month, such as the Maroon 5 concert (whose opening act was The Cab, my MOST favorite band) and field trip in Intramuros. I will let the pictures do the talking since I’m still not in the mood to write lengthy entries (hangover from thesis and final papersss!).

Airport Lego @ SM MoA (09-01-2012)

Gold Mine Lego @ SM MoA (09-01-2012)
ala-Posh Town Lego @ SM MoA (09-01-2012)
Star Wars Lego @ SM MoA (09-01-2012)

Pardon for not being too familiar with the characters in Star Wars. >.<

Star Wars Lego @ SM MoA (09-01-2012)
Star Wars Lego @ SM MoA (09-01-2012)
My favorite piece in the Lego display
Sbarro lasagna
Sbarro seafood pasta meal
Sbarro pizza
Had my birthday lunch with these ladies (and sir Romanillos who is not present in this picture)
Pizza Hut treat from sir Romanillos (happy birthday to me!)
Patron tickets for the Maroon 5 concert (with The Cab <3)
With ate Kharm before the Maroon 5 concert 🙂

Sadly, that is the only picture I had during my birthday. Oh well. Had fun screaming and singing to all of The Cab’s songs as well as that of Maroon 5’s. My concert buddies (little sister and ate Kharm) and I vowed that we will look forward to every Maroon 5 concert in Manila and we will make an effort to attend each concert (hopefully, patron seats always). Achib!

My little sister with our new friends, Noreen and Del — united by our intense love for The Cab

Chantry, Joey, Singer, Dave, and Marshall doing sound check (TriNoma Activity Center, 09-21-2012)
Chantry and Alex (“Bad”)
Blast from the past!
In front of Manila Cathedral, which is actually not visible in this picture

In case you are wondering what the hell are we wearing, those are clothes that fall under the Philippine national costume. We were required to wear the national costume during our field trip in Intramuros. Quite embarrassing at first but after a few minutes we got used to the stares of people. We even had fun wearing it for a few hours. 😉

Palacio del Gobernador @ Intramuros, Manila

The building even gives off an “authoritarian” -ish vibe. One of my favorite shots during the trip.

Original copy of Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere

Original copy of Dr. Jose Rizal’s Mi Ultimo Adios
Seeing the Pasig River

I absolutely love this lamp (or whatever this display is)! It looks quite old but it’s classy. If only I could bring this home… </3

We were not allowed to take pictures, in front of this monument, with our national costumes on. We had to change to our casual clothes and we decided not to change back to our Filipiniana since it was a hassle to keep on changing clothes.

I love shooting places, especially in angles like this. Weird ba?

A belated happy birthday to me! Thank you little sister for taking this picture. Off to enjoy my well-deserved sembreak! 🙂

Foodgasm episode 9: Chili’s (Power Plant Mall)

The first Gift Gate warehouse sale happened yesterday at the NBC Tent (Bonifacio Global City). Products were up to 80% off and they were not limited to Sanrio characters only. Items with characters from Disney, Bandai, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Pokemon, etc. were also available during the warehouse sale. The event started at 10AM but we arrived there at 1PM. I thought that I would be able to buy some stuff for myself but to my disappointment, all of the good stuff were gone. 😥 Most of the items left were either too shabby for my taste or fitted for kids only. So, my little niece was very lucky since all the items we bought were hers. 🙂

We were surprised to find out a veeeeery looooong line for the cashier. After almost an hour in the line, the management decided to open cashiers for people with ten items or less. About time they thought of that! Still, it took us three hours before we were able to pay for our stuff.

All that waiting and standing left me, my cousin, and my little sister very hungry. We were thinking where we could grab merienda and the final decision was to eat in Chili’s. We headed to Power Plant Mall, which was where the nearest Chili’s was located. Since we got there at around 7PM, we opted to have dinner there instead of snacks. My tummy was really excited since it would be my first time to eat there. 😉

Table patterns

For our appetizer, we had Bottomless Tostada Chips. Their tostada chips were not only warm and crispy but also a little bit salty. This beats tostada chips from other restaurants / food chains, which are bland. Two dips came along with these chips — their homemade salsa and cheesy dip. The salsa was quite spicy and I’m not really a fan of spicy food. But, it was really good so I kept on dipping my chips in it. The homemade salsa is the only dip that is bottomless so if you want to have another round of cheesy dip, you’ll have to pay for it.

Bottomless Tostada Chips with homemade salsa and cheesy dip (PhP330)

The next dish that was served was the Fire Grilled Chicken, Bacon and Ranch Quesadilla. I went nuts over this to the point that I forgot to take a picture of it before we messed it up. 😆 The tortilla was toasted perfectly and even if I placed pico de gallo, salsa-ranch dressing, and sour cream over it, the quesadilla still tasted superb. It was actually more delicious, for me.

Fire Grilled Chicken, Bacon and Ranch Quesadilla (PhP430)
A piece of quesadilla
Pico de gallo!

My cousin also suggested that we order Grilled Shrimp Alfredo Pasta. And so, my little sister and I agreed to order it. The sauce was creamy and I was glad that they were generous in the amount of sauce they put. There were diced tomatoes, Parmesan, and green onions on top which gave the dish more color and flavor.

Grilled Shrimp Alfredo Pasta (PhP525)
Shriiiimps!
My messy plate *bow*

We were contemplating if we would order dessert but we were too full already so we decided not to order anymore. We just bought ice cream in the supermarket then ate it on our way home.

It was indeed a tiring day but I had a lot of fun, especially during dinner. Gluttonous girl. 😆

Before I end this post, I would like to share this photograph I took in Power Plant Mall. I saw this old lady who was playing the piano. She was reading notes while playing the said instrument and mind you,  the notes were not musical ones. They were literally notes, as in phrases and sentences. I was quite far from her so I was not able to see what was really written in that little notebook. I did not notice that I was already tapping my foot to her music while listening in a corner. I wish that more people will learn to appreciate music even if it’s just for a few seconds. Kudos to this madame and I hope that she will continue to play and create wonderful music.

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Chili’s (Power Plant Mall): P1 Unit 36 Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati City

Foodgasm episode 8: ä Veneto + Gelatissimo

Condiments. Nananana… ♫♫♫

Yesterday, Kim and I celebrated our 7th anniversary as best friends. August 17 was not really the first day that we became BFFs. Who would ever know or remember when two people became best friends, right? So, we decided to do some computations that involve our birthdays. In the end, we got August 17 to mark our anniversary. 🙂

Image from The Signal

We were supposed to eat at Little Tokyo (Makati) but the resto where we wanted to eat opens at 6PM… and it was just 3PM in our watch. 😦 The first “alternative” I thought of was to do our date in TriNoMa then just decide where to eat when we get there. Kim liked the idea so we went there right away. Since it was too early to eat dinner, we bought tickets for The Bourne Legacy. Hello Jeremy Renner! ♥ And of course, hello to my own country (MNL, Philippines) where the scenes from the latter part were shot! Can’t say that the movie was really great. For me, it was just okay.

Hello there, my shrimps! :))

After the movie, we went to ä Veneto to have our dinner. We decided to order two dishes then share these so that we would be able to taste both dishes — I ordered Oil and Garlic with Shrimps in White Sauce while Kim ordered Philadelphia Burger.

Oil and Garlic with Shrimps in White Sauce (PhP305)

I totally loved what I ordered since the aglio olio-ness (T/N: garlic and oil) was very much present. The white sauce added texture to the pasta and it did not overshadow the aglio olio-ness. 😀 There were plenty of huge shrimps as well, which was a big plus for me.

Philadelphia Burger (PhP190)

As for the Philadelphia Burger, the burger patty was grilled to perfection — not too chewy and burnt well. Along with their special dressing were mushrooms and onions. 😀 Kim and I were also happy with the fries that came along with the burger since they were not oily.

Think we were both full after that?

Well, yes, we were already full after the ä Veneto dinner. But, we were craving for gelatooooo! The solution for that? A quick visit to Gelatissimo. 😀 As usual, we had a hard time choosing what flavor to buy since there were a LOT of flavors to choose from. In the end, I bought the Forest Berry Cheesecake while Kim had Tiramisu. One scoop of gelato is worth PhP110. Quite pricey but it’s worth it!

Forest Berry Cheesecake (1 scoop = PhP110)
Tiramisu (1 scoop = PhP110)

Last night was really good… the perfect way to de-stress especially since August is hell month for universities (boo midterms!). We were also able to catch up with each other since we haven’t met for a few weeks. (Belated) happy anniversary again, propphi! >:D<

Me and Kim

Oh. My sister noticed that our dinner was actually Italian-themed. We didn’t plan that at all. Haha!

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ä Veneto: Level 1 Plaza, TriNoma, Quezon City

Gelatissimo: Level 4 Plaza, TriNoma, Quezon City

Foodgasm episode 7: Escolta (The Peninsula Manila)

It has been more than a month since I last posted here… I was too busy with university stuff these past few weeks — readings, case studies, novels, and thesis. 😦 So, I was really happy when my mom told me that we were invited to my tita’s (English translation: aunt’s) birthday celebration. Nomnomnom. XD

Well, hello there!
“Freedom and Homeland” — little flag in front of Escolta entrance

We had a dinner buffet at Escolta, which is a restaurant located in The Peninsula Manila, and I was quite frantic when we started to get whatever food we want since there were a lot of choices. I was not familiar with a lot of dishes there so I relied on my sense of sight and smell to help me decide which food to place on my plate. Haha!

My first plate of food

I can’t remember what were these dishes called… I can only remember that there was a dish made from veal, another dish made from duck, and a different dish made from sausage. I was too hungry to bother remembering the names of the dishes I ate during that night. I don’t have additional pictures on what were the other dishes I ate but I remember that my favorite was the “Chicken in Ginger Broth.” I had three bowls of that — perfect for the cold weather!

I actually have pictures of the desserts I ate. I pigged out on the French macaroons and fruit tarts, which my cousin noticed so he joked that I should just get the tray and bring it to our table to save me the time and effort of going back and forth to the desserts area. Whew. I’m getting hungry again. Haha!

French Macaroon
Fruit tart — strawberry
Strawberry Cheesecake
Linzer Slice

It was my first time to eat these desserts, except for the cheesecake, and I was veeeery happy because they were all delicious. Looks did not deceive me. Yay! I don’t have any idea how much per head for the dinner buffet but I highly recommend this place, especially for those who have a big space in their stomach. :> Let me leave some more pictures before I end this post. 😀

Happy birthday to my aunt (she’s the one in red)!
(L-R): The birthday celebrant, my mom, my little sister, my cousin, and my niece
The whole family!
My sister and I decided to dress up similarly… just like when we were kids!

Happy birthday tita Susan! Cheers to a longer and healthier life! 😀 Aaand, thank you to my cousin since she was the one who paid for our dinner. 😉

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Escolta (The Peninsula Manila): Ground Level, The Manila Peninsula Hotel, Makati City