Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘food’

Breathing Adventure: The 8D 1D Challenge At Cavite, Batangas and Tagaytay

Visiting eight destinations in one day may sound tiring but it’s worth the try. This travel tour on Facebook gave us the chance to take a day tour around three places in South Luzon: Batangas, Cavite, and Tagaytay.

1. Marian Orchard

This sanctuary in Batangas was our first stop. This place is perfect for peace seekers, as well as for those who are camera-obsessed. It would be good to stay here to medidate but that would be impossible if only 40 minutes were given to roam around.

2. Taal Heritage Town and Taal Church

These two are joined together as the 2nd and 3rd destinations in our bucket list. Like this picture below, many of the old Spanish houses in the town are well preserved. I would have loved to visit each one just to see what’s inside.

The church itself is the main site to visit in this area. But we were not able to come any nearer because we only had an hour…

…to enjoy a bowl of Batangas’ hot, steamy, special lomi. Lunch time, folks!

3. Villa Jovita

Participants in this trip were given the chance to take a dip and relax in this resort in Batangas. However, most of us were not in the mood to wade into the water, although we were given two hours to enjoy the moment.

I guess we love to capture every moment in our lenses instead.

The river beside the pool.

4. Fantasy World

Visiting this place is a wish come true for me. Who wouldn’t be curious to know what’s inside this mini-theme park? When we came in, we were stunned to see…

…fairies and wizards unleashing their power…

…monks of great wisdom gathering for a revolution…

…and, my, my! Be a queen for a day!

What’s best in this place is to be in your best OOTD with your friends.

Sadly, the theme park rides were all closed because of the rain and strong winds.

5. Gingerbread House

If ever Hansel and Gretel would visit Cavite, I’m sure they would poke their noses in this place. Fortunately, there’s no wicked witch to fatten them up. Visiting here is like having an early Christmas because everything here reminded us of sweet, childhood days.

The rain was a spoiler because it had caused a power outage around the place, making it quite a bit dreary. Still, it did not stop me from looking around the bakeshop that was peppered with everything cheery like this giant gingerbread man.

A Christmas dining table and other Christmas decors.

Make your wish upon this wishing well. The wish below is not mine, by the way.

If there’s something I would wish for, I would wish for loads and loads of money to buy everything here.

Instead, I had found out it’s free to fit in this gingerbread house.

They also have a souvenir shop (especially for the ref magnet hunters like me).

6. Diner’s Bulalo House

Any trip would not be complete without dinner at Tagaytay and any dinner in Tagaytay would not be complete without bulalo. It’s like a fitting salvo to the cold, drizzle that was pouring at that hour.

7. Sky Ranch

The last destination was this huge theme park. I would have been excited if it were not for the rain. Besides, it was already quite late to get in. At least, we had the chance to see it…finally.

Visiting eight places in a day is surprisingly possible. I just felt some of the visits were too short because we were given very limited time. I believe we could have had more time to roam around some of the places if the tour group was not late because of the early morning run. Still, I appreciate our tour guides because they were very accomodating and friendly. For a P1000 budget, the experience was not bad at all, especially when you’re with people you enjoy road tripping with.

​The Magic of Dinner Over Movies (Eleventh Bite): Food Feast At The Carnival

This blog was supposedly written a few weeks ago but it was delayed due to a number of circumstances and loads of procrastination (sorry about that, guys!). But I still find this food hub worth sharing…and returning to again.

Food hubs are becoming popular in the Philippines and the city of Marikina would not miss out on this trend. There are loads of food hubs around the city, but The Carnival is one of the flashiest places to drop by and enjoy.

Brightly lit up, it can be easily spotted beside the road when taking a jeep going to Montalban, Rizal. Flocks of people kept on filling the site because everybody seems excited with what it has to offer. Its festive air and colorful atmosphere have brought thrill to every hungry foodie like me.

Each food stall has its own unique offer, whether it would be shawarma, burgers, sizzling dishes or fried ice-cream. At my first night, I already had my personal favorites. One of them is the Brewskie Pasta Hub.

Each pasta cost around P150 to P200. This creamy, chicken pesto was so good, I nearly cried at its first bite. But because it’s so heavy, I had to bring half of it home for breakfast.

My second favorite would be the Milkshake Lab.

Milkshakes go around P80 to P150, and one is also very heavy because of its abundance in sweet pleasures that overflow from the brim of the cup. This red velvet milkshake nearly knocked me down because it is really,  really tasty.

These two were paired with nachos which would be best shared with friends.

Because I did not have the chance to try the others, looks like I need to comeback. Visiting The Carnival is the perfect wrap up to our Marikina trip. But it seems to be also the perfect prelude to more visits to Marikina.

​Breathing Adventure: The Final City Tour (Lost in Cebu Part 5)

I felt quite forlorn as our vacation in Cebu was wrapping up. It was the final day of our tour and we tried to see a few more places before moving back into reality.
After a heavy breakfast of eggs, hotdogs, and pandesal, we said goodbye to our very kind, elderly neighbors who had welcomed us more than our host. We proceeded to the city to get a taxi that would take us to a few more tourist sites and to the airport.

Orion overlooking Cebu City

We went to Tops, one of the highest points of the city, to see the Temple of Leah. We could have chosen to take a tour at Tops next but it was inaccessible during that time. A landslide caused by continuous rains had blocked the main road going to the peak. Fortunately, the Temple was still open to the public.

The Temple of Leah is not a place of worship. It serves as a dedication of entrepreneur and engineer Teodorico Adarna to his wife, Leah. This structure was also made for future generations of the Adarna clan to trace their roots and their heritage, as well as to stand as a landmark for Cebu.

Curious tourists came in groups to gaze at the glory of this temple that stands atop Baranggay Busay. Paying Php50 at the entrance, I’ve noticed that the temple was not yet completely done. Mounds of gravel was still hauled on a corner while parts of the tower’s basement was still undone. Construction was still ongoing although it had already begun on 2012. 

On the other hand, I was impressed by the Roman-inspired structures and statues that adorned the place. Walking along the fountain made me think I was in Italy. Doric columns and fierce, golden lions have guarded the steps into the temple. Neoclassical figures of Roman deities have beheld the vast and aesthetic topography of Cebu City. 

I’ve read articles that Leah was a traveler and she loved to collect items which were laid here. Giant Chinese and European vases she used to collect stood along the staircases. A dusty cellar full of foreign wine was kept locked in one of the rooms. This room, as well as other curious ones that were heavily locked, should have been developed and opened to the public for a grander visiting experience. 

Giving homage to the statue of Leah

In the middle of the large room stood the statue of Leah. Shrouded in gold, she beamed before intrigued tourists who dropped by to see who she was. It was the main attraction actually, but I guess the tourists who visited have realized they wanted nothing more but selfies and groupies in the place.

Turning wacky with friends

There was limited time left before my friends’ 4pm flight. Our lively and courteous taxi driver suggested we should take lunch at a popular seafood restaurant in the city. Now this is were diversity of Filipinos comes in, because Cebuanos have a totally different dialect and accent compared to those who live in Tagalog regions. We heard our driver say the name’s place was Isticki. But when we arrived at the place, we saw that its name was STK.

STK stands of sinugba (grilled), tola (boiled), and kilaw (marinated). They offer sumptuous seafood dishes like mixed seafood and the halaan soup. The place is very classy and homey as its antique decors would remind you of those summer days at grandma’s old house in a province far from Manila. 

Mixed seafood

Halaan soup with rice

Some of the antique that remind you of grandpa’s time capsule

Seafood that you can buy and take home (although they are a bit too expensive)

I returned to Manila alone because I was booked on a much later flight. My friends have taken an earlier flight. Despite the flight being late because of bad weather, I was still brimming with excitement. I wanted to tell everybody how wonderful Cebu was and I can’t wait to return again to see more of the island.

​Breathing Adventure: Lost In Cebu (Part 1)

I was exhilarated and nervous at the same time. I gulped my coffee before I boarded on the plane. I felt my first panic check-in attack after a two-year flying hiatus. I had great trouble fixing my luggage one day before take-off. But I was still numb from the fact I was about to head to the far-away island of Cebu.

I thought I was transported back to Recto, Manila when we dropped by Colon in Cebu City. One of the curious little facts of this city.

Cebu is one of the major islands situated in the Visayas region. Travelling there by plane from Manila would take about one and a half hours. Called the Queen of the South, Cebu is the region’s main economic center. It is known for its beaches, dried mangoes, native guitars, otap (flaky biscuit covered in sugar), lechon (roast pig), and its yearly festival called Sinulog (an event dedicated to the island’s major saint). I honestly am not interested in religious festivals. I wanted to tag along with my friends because I wanted to experience the magic this island has to offer. 

Masks being sold at Sinulog Festival.

Curious as a cat, we strolled around the city despite missing the Sinulog parade. Like little kids, we had face paint, bought hats, and looked at what the crowd was looking at. I was surprised when Cebu City appeared to be a prototype of Metro Manila. Colon itself was reminiscent of Recto, scenes around the Church of Sto. Niño was almost identical to that of Quiapo, and the markets looked like Divisoria. I felt like I have been transported back to Manila so we tried to see other spots where we could stroll along.

Rains had spoiled our second day so we ended up in Plaza Independencia and Fort San Pedro. The latter looked like a mini-version of Manila’s Fort Santiago in Intramuros. The reason it is so is because Cebu was one the Spanish conquistadores’ main headquarters before they moved to Manila where they built a similar fortress as Fort San Pedro. Entrance is only at Php30 and it is here where you will get a glimpse of Cebu’s history. 

For those who have studied at schools around Manila’s Intramuros, you might mistaken this as a lane at Intramuros but it’s actually in Cebu’s Fort San Pedro.

A canon overlooking Plaza Independencia. One of the similar sights in Manila’s Intramuros.

One of the galleries that could be found in Fort San Pedro. This one is filled with pictures from this site’s history.

Another gallery featuring portraits of some of Cebu’s founding fathers and historical figures like Ferdinand Magellan and Lapu-Lapu.

Toss a coin to make a wish at this wishing well at Fort San Pedro.

The best part of our initial stroll was the food trip. From street food to mall diners, every meat comes with a serving of pusô (not the heart, but it is rice wrapped in leaves). 

Pusô in a basket.

Ranging from Php3 to Php5, they are being served on baskets along with a viand of siomai, pig’s face (yes! The skin made to be thin and crunchy before your eyes), or spicy lechon (somebody help my diet!!). 

A vendor slashing the pusô in the middle.

These handful of packed rice has been slightly slashed in the middle so you could easily open and eat it. Make sure you’ll count all the pusô you’ll be eating because they’ll charge you for each one you’ll gobble. Just don’t expect to eat with a spoon and fork because you have 

Street food siomai with pusô.

to eat your food by hand. Don’t worry, they will give you clean hand gloves. 

Pusô with, not pork chop, but with pig’s face.

Lechon with pusô.

Larsian is a recommended eatery in the city, especially for all grilled food lovers. They have a variety of meats, chorizos and seafood such as squid and blue marlin which they will grill and serve at your table. Each of them range from Php20 to Php150. And of course they come with pusô

Larsian

Grilled chicken, pork, and fish with pusô only at Larsian

As I’ve mentioned, Cebu is good for their otap so we did not miss dropping by Shamrock which was located along the Rotonda near Larsian. It also has a variety of other goodies like my childhood favorites, ronquillos and torones de mani

Other street food treats to be found in Cebu. This lady is selling baked rice cakes cooked in an oven.

Rice cakes

Corn on a cob sold on the street.

I guess buying pasalubong and souvenirs was the greatest irony on the initial part of our trip. But that does not signal the end of our Cebu trip because we still have more to visit for the next three days.

The Magic Of Dinner Over Movies (Ninth Bite): Dwelling in Milkshake and Burger Haven at Kitchen Central

Fairview is one of the places I rarely visit because it’s too far from my very familiar domain called EDSA. My feet would only get the chance to touch its ground when I have a date with some of my closest friends who live there. And so, for the sake of friendship (and food), I’m willing to get off the familiar road at times.

 

My friend, a former colleague at a television company I was employed, urged me and another buddy to try Kitchen Central. I would have honestly chosen SM Fairview because it’s a more familiar territory in my radar. But she convinced us this haven of milkshakes and burgers is worth the sacrifice (well, the pictures said so).

 

wp-1479833276163.jpg

Death By Double Choco

 

The Kitchen Central was a little café tucked alongside other eateries in a tranquil subdivision at Lagro in Fairview. It’s actually one of the many branches scattered across emerging food lofts in Manila. Despite its small space and almost unnoticeable sign, a long queue of young foodies would always crowd outside.

 

Everyone can’t help but giggle with excitement when it had opened its doors.

wp-1479833296151.jpg

Coffee Latte

Despite starting operations nearly 30 minutes late than its usual opening time at 3pm that day, it did not stop eager and hungry foodies from filling up every nook and cranny. Besides, I was dying to see if the pictures are more than just eye candy.

 

When the milkshakes came, my eyes nearly popped out. My, my! These sweet and creamy treats would bring the childhood out in us as we pick on the Nips, cookies and colored candies intricately laced on the lid of the mason jars. Childhood favorites like Flat Tops and pretzels sat atop the whip cream. Who would not

wp-1479833317332.jpg

Cocoa Match Madness

have died of sweetness after lavishing Death by Double Choco (Php150) that night? My other friend had chosen Coffee Latte (Php75) as she was being careful in taking in too much sweets. I had fun picking the green candy sprinkles off the lid and soiling my fingers with the Matcha Kit Kat sitting on my Cocoa Matcha Madness (Php150).

 

The star of our meal was the Monster Jograts Burger

wp-1479833359993.jpg

Meaty Fries

(Php330). It’s one humongous burger enough for four people. Even the burger itself was just as fancy because it was not painted in normal bun colors. We watched with amazement as yellow, pink, purple and black burgers were served on other tables. Ours was as red as Planet Mars with edges oozing with streams of yellow, molten cheese. We had the trouble cutting it into smaller pieces because of its size. But we also had the trouble eating it without being messy. Meaty fries (Php80) came last. This time, we had to use forks because it was overflowing with barbeque sauce, crushed beef patties, and more cheese!

 

 

wp-1479833340506.jpg

The real challenge: the Monster Jograts Burger!

 

Although the place lacks the furnishings of homey or hipster restaurants, the food itself was an experience. My friends and I spent hours catching up as we nibbled on the treats and savored the burger. It would not lack flavor, especially giant bottles of Heinz Ketchup and mustard are conveniently waiting on every table. I must admit I was nearly defeated by that burger. Because of its size, I had to debunk plans to consume shawarma later that night.

 

The night was falling. More young, hungry foodies are queuing outside the Kitchen Central. I am convinced that dropping by there was worth the sacrifice. And I’m sure these people in the line would agree with me.

I wonder when would be our next date. Can’t wait to try another milkshake. By that time, I’m sure I’ll be more ready for the burgers at Kitchen Central.

 

wp-1479833838164.jpg

Food would not be memorable with April and Noelle, with little Danilla tagging along

 

 

The Magic Of Dinner Over Movies (Eighth Bite): At Home In the Metro In the Hammock Kitchenette

wp-1468025228049.jpgMy initial impression of eating in the suburbs is too commercialized and a bit crammed at most times. We are treated with an endless choice of fast foods lined up on every street corners, offering a variety of burgers and fries that is only made distinct by their packaging.

But hidden in the corners of Mandaluyong is a kitchenette that is closer to home. Safely tucked away from the noise and toxicity of the rushing main roads, the Hammock Kitchenette is the place where you can eat, relax, and swing away from the fast paced city life.

wp-1467684364770.jpg

Books to keep you excited while waiting for meals

Small but dandy, the place is not crammed like any other restaurant. This is ideal for a wp-1467684302951.jpgnoisy group like ours, who needed to giggle and laugh our hearts out on a weekend. The Hammock will instantly give you a warm welcome, homey feel upon entering. Some of furnishings remind me of home. On one table was a sungka board, where I tried to play with the white conch shells by myself. The other end was lined up with books, all yours for picking and reading while waiting for your food. (Just a reminder, not one is yours to take home)

The place won’t keep you hungry and bored, especially if you have fun friends to joke

wp-1467684326041.jpg

Mylene doing her artwork 🙂

around with and colored pencils to play with. In such hungry moments, creativity is unleashed. This place allows one to doodle or color mandala designs as meals are being prepared lovingly.

 

wp-1467684311670.jpg

A sample of their menu

The menu feature mostly Filipino food. Pasta, sandwiches, and shakes are also served. Prices range from Php70-100 for the shakes and Php120-200 for the main course. When it was served, the servings appeared little, to which I did not expect it to be heavy and full.

 

And my, my! The food is indeed worth the wait. First served is the Bagnet in Tamarind Soup (Php120) which is served with rice in a pot. The soup is

wp-1467684336212.jpg

You won’t regret when you try thier Bagnet in Tamarind Soup

not your usual salty taste as it boasts of something more unique. One of my friends ordered Pakbet ala bagnet (Php120) which was very healthy because the tasty bagnet was partnered with a lot of vegetables. My Chicken and garlic sausage pasta (Php130) was very tasty and satisfying because it is not lacking in meat pieces and the sauce. It was perfect combination to the Nutty Banana Shake (Php70).

 

Anyone for desert? Who wouldn’t? We took

wp-1467684343555.jpg

Go healthy with their Pakbet ala Bagnet

the chance to try Hazelnut mallows sandwich (Php70) which was a hazelnut version of smores which nearly overflowed to the side of our sandwiches. That’s the best finishing treat. Too bad we have to go.
Before we go, I left my little piece of artwork in the kitchenette. It’s would serve as a memorial on how I enjoyed the good food, friendly staff, and memorable place. I hope my little puppy would bring good vibes to the next visitors who would come here.

 

 

wp-1467684353137.jpg

Pasta and doodles can go together

Whenever you would be bored with fast food chains around the metro, drop by the Hammock Kitchenette. It is just located at 40B Basilan St., Brgy. Malamig, 1550 Mandaluyong. Its street is located just opposite of Rizal Technical University. Remember to bring your friends along so you can have someone to share the enjoyable moment. Bon apetit!

wp-1467684382158.jpg

My artwork proudly sits at their little art gallery. Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Magic of Dinner Over Movies: Eating Lunch In Peace (Eighth Bite)

20160318-130011.jpg I am always used to eating alone. It looks sad, but there are times I would just like to hang out with my own self.

The Old Spaghetti House has been one of my favorite pasta houses in Manila. They offer various red and white pasta meals, would be better if it’s a meal. One of my orders was golden crusted chicken with angel hair pomodoro. I’m no food critic but it find it enough to fill my hunger pangs…as long as it has pasta.

20160318-130027.jpg

But the best for loners like me would be the old, homey feel of the place. Classic watercolor paintings, a few fancy china, and other western vintage decors give the place a classy atmosphere. These are the kind of places where I can write my heart away. This is where I can just stare, unload my brain and ease my emotions while I munch on my food. It’s like finding home within a jungle of commerciality and expensive glitter. I don’t have to hurry my food, then.

For now, I can’t invite friends. I need the time to be alone. But there’s always a time for everything. I’m sure on the next food trip, I’ll have some friends to enjoy the moment with me.

Tag Cloud