Anyone for coffee? (Taken with instagram)


Food Trip: Bubble Tea, Megamall

One Sunday afternoon, while running errands at Megamall, Ian and I found ourselves feeling a bit peckish. And since I heard good things about Bubble Tea from my younger sister, Eri, we decided to try the food here.

We were thinking of just having merienda so we ordered the tonkatsu yakisoba – with the idea that we’d share it. But once Ian saw the takoyaki on the menu, we had to order it as well. 

tonkatsu yakisoba – Php245
takoyaki – Php175
The takoyaki was a good choice! I really enjoyed it. The pancake batter was moist and the takoyaki themselves were piping hot. (I don’t enjoy cold takoyaki – i like ’em freshly prepared). Another good thing was they didn’t scrimp on the tako (octopus) inside – so it was a perfect balance of tako and batter. We finished this dish off almost immediately. The side salad was fine, some cabbage and corn drizzled with dressing. As for the tonkatsu yakisoba, it was okay. Nothing extraordinary about it. I’m afraid the takoyaki outshone it in this instance – and we just took the remainder of it home.
Of course at an establisment called Bubble Tea, we had to order bubble teas! Ian ordered Royal Milk Tea while I had the Azuki Red Bean Milkshake. Both drinks were good – but I prefer mine. XD
Royal Milk Tea – L Php125
Azuki Milkshake – L Php145
If we do eat here again, I’ll definitely order the takoyaki and the azuki milkshake. And I’ll probably try some other dishes. The food is moderately pricey but I think its better for lunch or dinner rather than merienda. My only comment was when we ate here (back in February), the waitstaff was less than stellar. They seem to be new or at a loss to what they were doing. They seem to forget who ordered what and even failed to bill us for some of our food (a fact that we had to bring to their attention)

Bubble Tea is located in four branches:
SM Megamall, The Block, Greenhills and Tomas Morato.

Food Trip: Icheon Korean Restaurant

My friends and I were coming down from Antipolo church one Friday evening when we started to have dinner pangs (at 6pm) so we decided to stop and eat at Icheon, a Korean restaurant along Sumulong Hi-way. My friend, Cho, had eaten there before and we wanted to see if it lived up to its hype.

The outside of Icheon is nothing spectacular. Its covered parking area actually looks like a car wash lot (perhaps it used to be in its previous incarnation) but since it was beginning to rain by the time we got there, the covered parking was a huuge plus for us.

this is where you can eat kneeling/sitting on the floor

Once we got inside, we were greeted by several enthusiastic servers with rounds of “Anyong-haseyo” meaning hello in Korean. We had the option of being seated in regular wooden chairs and tables or in the no-footwear room, where we can eat while kneeling/sitting on the floor. (I believe you also cook your own meat if you sit here – note the grill on the pic on the right).

banchan” or korean side dishes

It wouldn’t be an authentic korean dining experience without the spread of side dishes or “banchan” which we eagerly accepted. By this time, we were already ravenous to the point that we might have ordered a wee bit more than we can consume. 😛 (We had to take some of the seafood pancake home because we were about ready to burst when the dust finally settled.)

We ordered the Sam Gyup Sal (rashers of bacon) and Gal Bi Sal (rib finger) (both are meat that are cooked while you watch), the Haemul Pajeon (korean pancake mixed with seafood) and the Haemul Jap Chae (korean style seafoods pancit) and O-jing-ou-bokum (spicy sauteed slices of squid and assorted vegetables). Cho also ordered a Bi bim bap (rice with beef and mixed vegetables, fried egg and korean spicy sauce).

cooking the Sam Gyup Sal
seafood jap chae
seafood pancake
spicy squid – YUM!

The Sam Gyup Sal and Gal Bi Sal were served with lettuce leaves and seasonings (I believe the recommended way of eating it is to wrap the cooked meat with the lettuce and season as you’d like it with the seasonings available). The seafood japchae was a nice mixture of savory and slightly sweet. I really enjoyed it. The seafood pancake was chock full of ingredients – they didn’t skimp on this dish at all. The pancake was a bit thick and when dipped in its accompanying sauce – oh so good! The real winner of the night for me was the spicy squid – it was very, very delicious! Perfect with plain rice, I ate everything that was covered in its sauce, the seafood, the vegetables, the plate (hehe, just kidding.) I liked it so much that it kind of overshadowed the other dishes for me.

Would I go back to eat here? A very loud and resounding YES! And next time, I’ll be sure to bring Ian with me. 🙂 I believe the price is consistent with other Korean restaurants in the market but for the authentic taste and the very friendly and accommodating service, i think it’s worth coming back here for more.

Icheon Korean Restaurant
Along Sumulong Highway, Antipolo
(If you’re coming from Marcos Hiway, turn right at Masinag Market intersection. It’ll be on this stretch of road to your left.)

Food Trip: Kabisera ng Dencio’s at The Fort

Wednesday night was a date night for Ian and I. At first, I wanted to eat something light and healthy but my stomach protested at this idea (My stomach wanted RICE!) so we decided to eat in Kabisera ng Dencio’s.
If you’re in Bonifacio High Street and craving for Filipino food, I would definitely recommend to come and eat here. We’ve actually eaten here with some friends before (binged on food would be the more accurate description) so we knew coming in that we liked the food here. Up front, I would have to say that the food is not cheap here but you get what you pay for. What we had (from our previous visit and from this one) did not disappoint.
Laing (Php 280)
Boneless Chicken BBQ (Php 190)
We ordered the laing (we’ve already tried this before and we KNEW it was good) and the chicken bbq. Honestly, when the chicken bbq arrived, we didn’t really expect it to be on skewers. I was expecting it to be more of a grilled fillet of chicken meat with bbq sauce. I was mislead by the “boneless” part of its name, but the fault lies with me. I didn’t think to ask the waiters. It was just ok, nothing special. The laing more than made up for the chicken bbq because it was just as we remembered – very, very good! We ordered 2 servings of the plain rice (i think it was called pandan rice) costing Php50 each. The rice was good – the mushy, slightly sticky kind that I liked and it went very well with the laing and chicken bbq.
alcoholic drinks galore: san mig light for ian, mojito for me
After a long hard day at work, its always nice to kick back with a cold one. Kabisera was having a 1+1 promo with their drinks (I believe they have this promo everyday starting at 4pm.) so Ian ordered a below zero San Mig Light while I ordered a mojito. 🙂 The servers were very accomodating. They served the two beers at the same time so by the time Ian finished with the first bottle, the second one was no longer below zero. But when we asked them to exchange it, they did so with no hesitation. There are no mojitos on their drink list but when I asked if they can serve mojitos, they said they could. They just billed us for a cosmopolitan instead. The mojito also had a 1+1 promo at 160 (I think around that) but they also have bottomless mojito for around 260 (I think..) so if my hazy recollections of the prices were correct.. this would be an awesome place for a mojito night! 🙂
lovely lamps in Kabisera

Can I just say that I love these lamps that light up Kabisera? 🙂 All in all, I recommend coming here to dine if you’re in a big group (about 4 or more). The price and the servings would be too much for just two people (at the very least, you won’t be able to taste the “specialties” because the servings are for a larger group).

Kabisera ng Dencio’s (across from R.O.X.)
B3, G/F Bonifacio High Street
Taguig City, Metro Manila

Food Trip: Jatujak at MOA

One Saturday evening, while looking for a place to have dinner in MOA (Mall of Asia), Ian and I stumbled on Jatujak. We have already seen their branch in SM Megamall before. In fact, we ordered for a thai iced tea to go but never had an opportunity to dine there. Since we had a hankering to eat thai food that night, we decided to get our dinner here.

Jatujak is named after the largest weekend market in the world (according to their wall art) and is found in Bangkok, Thailand. We actually went there last year, and I have to say, it is a bargain hunter’s dream come true. 🙂 Soo many good deals in one big marketplace!

The decor is pretty nice, with wooden shelves housing various knickknacks that fit the theme. I especially like their place mats. I thought at first they were made of paper but they’re not. The mats are reusable and has a very pretty purple color.

pad thai with shrimp
beef noodles
iced coffee and iced tea
We ordered our usual pad thai with shrimp, thai iced tea and thai iced coffee. Ian was craving something hot and he ordered the beef noodle soup with thick rice noodles. The noodle soup arrived first and it was very good. It had a tangy-sweet-beefy taste to it. This was the first time I’ve tried noodle soup in a thai restaurant and it was a pleasant surprise. The pad thai was nutty, sweet and slightly spicy. The thai iced tea had its signature sweet taste and orangey color while the thai iced coffee had the kick of caffeine that I needed, a bit bitter though. I recommend mixing the drink as much as you can as the milk tends to settle at the bottom of the glass.

All in all, we paid around 500 pesos for the meal. For a satisfying thai meal, i think it was a pretty good deal. I would definitely come back to try their other menu offerings.

25 Things To Do In The Philippines

Last Dec 4, 2010, The Philippine Daily Inquirer published an article “25 Things To Do In The Philippines” detailing what every Filipino should do in our country before traveling outside of it. I think I’ve tried some of them (or have plans to do some of them) – let’s see how many I’ve actually done.

So here goes:
white water rafting in CDO
1. Go white water rafting in Cagayan de Oro. – done! did this last November. Advice to first timers: given a choice between basic (Php 700) and advanced (Php1000), go with the advanced course. It just means that you’re on the river for longer but the rapids do not differ by much. You will actually pass by the basic course if you go with the advanced. We went with the Bugsay rafting guides. I highly recommend them.

2. Visit Batanes. – not yet. but already booked the tickets for next summer. 🙂 can’t wait!

Mt. Mayon

3. See Mt. Mayon up close. – well, sort of. 🙂 we attempted to climb Mt. Mayon but didn’t really make it so far. (I’m not really a mountaineer). It was an experience to remember though. And the air, the view at night was amazing. I just hope that next time I sleep under the stars I don’t drown in my tent – it rained very heavily while we were sleeping.

4. Swim with the whale sharks in Donsol. – we tried to do this as well. However, we did not come during the peak season so we failed to have an encounter. I think the best we had was a false alarm. We have plans to go again next February though. It’s smack during the peak season so hopefully we’ll see one of these gentle giants then.

5. Climb Mt. Pulag and be awed by its sea of clouds. – nope, not yet.

6. Dive, swim and explore Palawan’s underground river. – Hmm, I’ve been. So I guess I’ve explored? We didn’t really swim or dive in it. And I think if you’re a spelunker, you can go further than the average tourist. It’s really beautiful though. The underground river has been declared a World Heritage Site and I can see why.

7. Hike and let the view of Mt. Pinatubo crater take your breath away. – Nope, not yet. Maybe next year during the summer months.
my slippers in bora
8. Party in your bikini in Boracay. – Weell, I don’t generally wear bikinis (que horror!) but yeah, Boracay – with its white sand beaches that seems to go on forever.. truly a little piece of heaven here in the Philippines.

9. Surf’s up! Choose your wave—La Union, Zambales or Real, Quezon. – no plans yet. 🙂

10. Missed out on the pristine beauty of Boracay 15 years ago? Visit Malapascua, Cebu. – I want to go and dive here! Supposedly, the stretch of white sand beach is shorter compared to Boracay but if you would like to experience a less commercialized venue, this is the beach to go. Oh and there’s sharks here, if I remember correctly.

moray eel in anilao
11. Dive and see the rich marine life of Anilao, Batangas. – I’m an open water diver (not very good as of yet) but one needs to practice to get better at something. Anilao is the closest and definitely one of the most beautiful dive sites in Luzon. It has something for everyone – whether you’re a discover scuba, open water or advanced diver, there’s a dive site that’s perfect for your level of expertise.

12. Travel back in time—go to Vigan. – This is really like being dropped into a piece of Spanish history. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Take note of the cobblestone streets when you’re there – not really something you see everywhere.
pamilacan island
13. Let Bohol wow you with its many offerings—the Chocolate Hills, the tarsier, the Loboc River Cruise, old churches and the beach. – When a friend asked me where to tour foreigners in the Philippines who were only here for a very limited time (one weekend!), I immediately replied Bohol. Bohol offers a variety of activities in one island. Don’t forget to try and get in a dolphin and whale watching activity. I recommend the PIDWWO – Pamilacan Island Dolphin and Whale Watching Organization.

14. Go high! Drive to the Mountain Province of Sagada. Check out the caves, the hanging coffins and enjoy the laidback lifestyle. – I’ve been wanting to go here forever but haven’t had a chance to. There’s no direct flight to Sagada so it’s harder to zip in and out on a convenient weekend. But definitely will go and visit there sometime soon.

15. Grab a Viaje del Sol map, visit Ugu Binyan’s pottery studio, eat at Kusina Salud and unwind at Casa San Pablo. – I wasn’t even aware of Viaje del Sol until last month when I was researching weekend getaway places aside from Batangas and Tagaytay. I’m very excited to try Kusina Salud – I’ve heard only good things about it. Maybe sometime soon. 🙂

16. Spend an entire week up north. Take a road trip from Manila to Vigan, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Aparri and Isabela! – Weell. Somewhat. 😛 We took a road trip from Manila to Vigan and Ilocos.. and then went back home. haha. So maybe we’ll try Cagayan Valley, Aparri and Isabela on another trip.

17. Try wakeboarding in Camsur. – no plans as of when but definitely!

18. Check out Malate, Old Manila and all their secret spots. – Since I live near Manila, I have been to Malate and Old Manila. Just not sure if I’ve been to the secret spots. 🙂 My bf and I had one of our dates at Penguin Bar in Malate. Oh to be young and a lot of pounds lighter.

19. There are many reasons to love Davao. Kublai’s artworks, its proximity to the beach, the tasty pastil and juicy suha. And did I mention that it’s a smoke-free city? – Haven’t been to Davao as of yet.. but hopefully someday. My cousin’s husband is from there – perhaps the next time she invites me to go I can actually say yes. 🙂

20. Spend a weekend roughing it in Anawangin and Capones in Zambales. – definitely soon! 🙂

21. Check out our colorful fiestas and document them with your camera. Ati-atihan, Dinagyang, Masskara, Sinulog, Higantes, Panagbenga and more. – This is one that I’m not sure when (if at all) I’ll be able to accomplish. I find that everytime there’s a major fiesta such as these – I’m unable to go. Oh well.

22. Pick your own strawberries at the Strawberry Fields in La Trinidad, Benguet. – nope, not yet.

23. Go to Pampanga for sisig. – The home of sisig. I love Pampanga’s sisig!

24. If it’s too hot in Manila, grab a few friends and take a quick trip to Tagaytay. – I find that I’m in Tagaytay – at least once a month – for one reason or another. Whether for a romantic dinner or an ocular visit for my wedding in 2012, I’m here at least one weekend a month. 🙂 Make sure to bring a jacket if you’re here at night – it gets a bit nippy at night.

25. Enjoy a food trip in Iloilo. You’ll never go hungry in this city. – never been. but definitely sampled a variety of pasalubongs from Iloilo. Perhaps someday. 🙂

All in all, perhaps 11/25 is not so bad. But hopefully, 2011 will see an increase in this score. ^.^