Monday, February 28, 2011

Why I Love Alabang

It's not because Ayala Alabang Village requires a doctor's prescription to buy condoms and contraceptives.

Click here for link.

It's because Alabang is saying "NO TO PLASTIC".

Not this plastic.

But plastic bags that take eons to degrade.

If you purchase items in Alabang, it will be contained in paper bags.

Much like in the 50s.

One round of applause for Alabang!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mac vs PC

I made the big SWITCH 2 years back because I had pressed Ctrl+Alt+Del way too many times.

Nothing beats Excel run in Windows, though.

Yes, this Mac Ad is also one of my favorites.

*Cheers* to the people who see things differently.

"I Am Love" and the Oscars

The Oscars will be airing live on Monday and most likely Natalie Portman will take home the Best Actress award and Social Network will win in the Best Film category.

When the award season kicks in, I also start watching the nominated films so as to give my 2-cents worth whenever people start discussing the topic.

So here are my top 3 talk-worthy films.

I Am Love.

Tilda Swinton is mesmerizing and she shines in this film, she always does. A Russian model who married into an upper class Italian family. She got bored and started an affair with a younger man - think cougar.

Photo from Vogue

Why I love the film:

1. Tilda Swinton is Tilda Swinton. She started out as a meek housewife and watch her character blooms to life as her affair with the younger man develops.
2. The clothes and the Hermes accessories. Costume is by Jil Sander, Fendi and Antonella Cannarozzi.
3. Italy is beautiful and how the story is told is interesting. It's a story we've seen a hundred times but you don't want to miss a second especially the film's climax.

King's Speech.

Tells the story of how King George VI overcomes his stammer with the help of a speech therapist, Lionel Logue.

Photo from Vogue

1. Hats off to Colin Firth, his rendition of a stuttering King George is spectacular. One can actually feel his struggle in delivering a speech.
2. Geoffrey Rush's supporting role is also awesome.
3. Helena Bonham-Carter.  She's a real person here, not Bellatrix Lestrange, Mrs. Lovett, or the Red Queen. She portrays a convincing supportive wife.

The Kids Are All Right.

Photo from Vogue

1. Surprisingly, the movie is heartwarming and in a way, a feel good one.
2. Annette Bening's and Julianne Moore's lesbian couple performance is cute and not over the top. Although, I think Annette Bening should do more to win the Best Actress trophy.

Some of the films that I like/I'd love to watch:

1. Inception
2. Biutiful
3. Black Swan
4. Rabbit Hole
5. Blue Valentine

Watch the trailers below:

I Am Love

King's Speech

The Kids are All Right

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dome Cafe: Definitely Comfort Food

I was with a group of friends who wished to dine at Bonchon Chicken and by some twist of fate, we ended up in Makati Med's ER. After the short ER stint, it was decided that we walk ourselves across the street and head to Dome Cafe.

Boy, that was one of the best dinners I've had. The food is so good that the phrase "comfort food" aptly describes Dome Cafe's menu.

When I'm happy, I celebrate at Dome.
When I'm sad, I console myself at Dome.
When I'm hungry, I dine at Dome.

Four dishes were ordered and we shared them among us.

Chicken Pot Pie (PhP 310).

Diced chicken thigh fillets with onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms in bechamel sauce covered with puffy pastry.

Once you tear off the bread, a light, tasty soup welcomes your stomach. This is the type of dish that completes a rainy day or any given day. Just perfect! If you only wish to try one dish at Dome Cafe, this got to be it.

If you opt for pasta, this Spinach Pasta (I forgot to take down the name) is also good.

The white sauce is not overpowering and blends well with the spinach and fettuccine. If you're not a fan of cream sauce (I am not. I prefer olive oil and tomato-based sauce) this can make you change your mind.

If you opt for a rice meal you can try:

Dome All Meat Plate (PhP 410).

Grilled pork, barbecue and grilled chicken, all marinated in herbs and spices with greens.

The marinade pairs well with the meat and it's grilled just right. Not well done and not rare. I can say that this is a gourmet rendition of the barbeque and inihaw sa kanto. It's also worth noting that the herbed and buttered rice pairs well with the meat dish. 

New Zealand Dory (PhP 410).

Fish is tender and the sauce adds sumptuous flavor. This is also a must try.

Carrot Cake (~PhP 100).

Cake is soft and moist. Since carrot has a subtle taste, it is complimented by the sweet buttery icing. This is worth the order and calories.

Blueberry Cheesecake (~PhP 100).

I believe we are a cheesecake nation. We just love cheesecakes hence it's difficult to find the one given the number of restaurants offering the blueberry cheesecake. This cheesecake is unique: the cheese base is soft and gelatinous with just the right amount of sweetness to compliment the salty cheese. Also a must try.

In Summary

1. The food is definitely good. If you come to this place, it's because you want to have good food. Price range is between PhP 200-400 a plate which is good for 1 person, 2 if you don't eat a lot. However, most desserts are not available and you just have to make do with what's left in the display.

2. The lighting could be improved. I find it too yellow and too warm.

3. They give GCs. We paid PhP 2000 for the bill and got PhP 200 GC. I think it's safe to assume that they offer 10% rebate. I'll definitely use the GCs soon, I am just waiting for the perfect excuse to do so.

Dome Cafe
Dela Rosa St., Legazpi Village

Shangri-La Mall


Monday, February 21, 2011

Ikaw Na! Ikaw na Manny Pacquiao!

Highlights of the video:

1. He's proud of his faith.
2. You can see that this guy loves his wife and kids in spite of the extra-marital affair accusation in early 2010.
3. Hear him say "Pacquiao" with an American accent and watch him say "This picture I like, too. He's the man" while showcasing his own portrait. 
4. The house looks way lovelier compared when it was first featured in Yes! Magazine. New interior designer, perhaps?
5. The swimming pool has a fireplace.
6. Hindi pa Justin Bieber yung hair nya.

And we shouldn't forget that MP works hard and respects his mother, a lot.

He deserves what he has.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Time Magazine features Ilocos

I am excited that one of my favorite places up north (I surely love every place I've been to) is featured in Time Magazine.

Please click here for link.

Here are 5 reasons why I want to go back to Ilocos. With sights reminiscent of the spanish-era and natural spots along the way, I prefer to make the long drive rather than take the plane.

Paoay Church's grandeur.

The size is breath-taking and the church, I believe, is a baroque and gothic structure.

Vigan's cobblestones street.

Giant Bangui Windmills.

Don't get fooled, they're as tall as a medium-sized building. It's clean energy, saves the environment.


I don't recommend swimming at Saud beach but it sure does have a lovely sunset.

These things and places:

Cape Bojeador
Patapat Viaduct

P.S. It's been 3 years since I visited Ilocos. I am just reminiscing and I want to go back to document how lovely the place is.

Boyfriend Shirt

Person A's shirt.

Me, wearing the same shirt.

Our phone conversation earlier:

Me           : Iniwan mo pala sa kotse yung blue polo mo. I tried it on, *nagpapacute na* and I like it. Can I have it?
Person A : Gusto ko rin yun. Hehe *hindi yata makatanggi*
Me           : *light bulb moment* Salitan na lang tayo! Polo sayo, dress sa akin, 2 inches above the knee naman siya sa akin, hindi na halata.      

And some of his spring cleaning "hand-me-downs" last year. I never got into the boyfriend shirt bandwagon until last year. The difference is, mine used to be boyfriend's shirt.

Ako na, ako na ang naka Ben Sherman na boyfriend shirt.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tabo-an: Danggit and Dried Mango Capital

Cebu is synonymous to lechon, danggit and dried mango. These 3 are the top pasalubong items you can bring home to family and friends.

You can easily get these from major shopping centers such as Ayala Mall and SM or you can head out to Tabo-an Market in Carbon. In Bisaya, Tabo-an translates to a place where farmers sell their fresh produce (vegetables, live chickens, pigs, goats and fruits). In the province, tabo day usually happens on a Wednesday or a Saturday.  This dry market is open 7 days a week.

Whenever we're in Cebu, we prefer to get our pasalubong at Tabo-an Market for these reasons:

1. You cannot get more authentic than this. Your dried fish and mango are sourced directly from the dealers.

2. It's cheaper. A kilo of dried mango chips cost PhP 220 whereas if you get it from the grocery store it costs at least PhP500. Although, you have to do some cost/benefit  analysis because you have to pay for the fare and the inconvenience.

3. Choices, lots of choices as detailed below.

What can you get at Tabo-an?

Danggit. (Dried fish at PhP 540/kilo)

The way to enjoy this local delicacy is to deep fry it in oil to make it crispy and dip in vinegar. I prefer mine with chili. One can choose between salt water-washed and fresh water-washed. The latter is PhP 20 more expensive and I prefer it because it's not salty. I also recommend that you get medium/small-sized and without the gills. So if you want first class danggit, buy the small, fresh-water-washed, without gills danggit at PhP 540/kilo. For the salt-water and with gills variety, it will cost you PhP 450 to PhP 480.

You can buy 1/8 kg. which is enough for 4 persons. Your danggit will come in this sealed plastic bags.

1/8 kg danggit.

Dried Pusit. (Dried squid at PhP 480 /kilo)

This is cheaper than danggit and I prefer this over the former. You can also buy 1/8 kg which you can give right away to friends.

Dried Mango. (Dried Mango at PhP 400/kg and Dried Mango Chips at PhP 220 kg).

The difference between the 2, dried mangos are dried mango strips and the chips are 1/4 the length of the former. The difference is just the length. Since I am on a budget, I buy the chips. There are no labels on the packaging but the batch that I bought came from the Lhuillier Dried Mango factory. You can also buy smaller quantities at 50 g to 100 g with labels and product info in the packaging but the price just sky rockets. If you opt for smaller quantities, you may be better off buying from the grocery store.

Bisaya Condiments. (Uyap, Ginamus at PhP 50 a bottle)

I consider these condiments of higher quality because when you buy them at regular wet markets, they just put these in plastic bags at PhP 5 each (1/5 of this bottle in volume). I think this is also cleaner. These condiments are good with green mangoes, kare-kare, tadyang and on its own with rice. Ginamus (preserved anchovies) is a bisaya condiment which is good as salt substitute, green mangoes, and as olive-oil based salad topping. Cibo is offering one. Uyap is bagoong in Tagalog.


This bisaya chorizo has sweet and salty taste.

Muscovado Sugar (PhP 50/kilo)

This is called camay in bisaya, short for kalamay. This less looks commercialized compared to what is being sold at the grocery stores. Before it became the "in thing" in Metro Manila, the bisayas have been using this unrefined sugar. I remember nibbling on the bigger particles as a kid.

To Get to Tabo-an
Click here for google maps link.

You can ride a cab which will cost you around PhP 100 from Ayala Center. Or take a jeepney to Carbon.

While in Tabo-an, you can also drop by the Sto. Nino Church, it's a 10-minute walk or take the 4-C jeepney.

Please beware of your surroundings, there are pickpockets in the area. It also helps if you have a local with you or someone who speaks Bisaya so that you can easily navigate the market.

Tabo-an Public Market
Tres de Abril St.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Paseo Uno Buffet and That Thing Called Valentine's Day

I had one of the best Valentine's Day celebration this year. We invited a friend to celebrate it with us but he declined the last minute. Nonetheless, it was the funny and anything-under-the-sun conversation over a great meal that sealed the deal.

And who can ever forget a meal at Paseo Uno?

There are 2 buffet offering in Manila that I don't mind paying despite of its price. It's Sofitel's Spiral buffet and Mandarin Oriental's Paseo Uno buffet.

Paseo Uno's value for money meter goes a couple of notch higher when there's a special occasion such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day. Case in point, this is my dinner plate last night.

Main Course

Steak, lobster, crayfish, Norwegian salmon and sea bass. My stomach was definitely in Rolls Royce heaven. Each item tastes really good and deserves a second serving.

There are also other cuisines in the buffet station. The Filipino food station  has lechon. The Japanese section has tempura and the Chinese section has flavorful dumplings among all other dishes. Nahiya lang akong magpicture.

The Western dishes section has lamb, duck and chicken on top of what I got on my dinner plate. Suffice to say, I did not get to try them all because I was already full with what I got and I started off with a good appetizer.


Paseo Uno has a whole stretch of appetizers. There were dinner rolls, salads, and cheese (soft and hard ones).  Once seated, the waiters served focaccia and salted butter.

What's special last night was this foie gras appetizer. The few times I was there, this was only served during special occasions. It's bread and foie gras topped with blue cheese. Foie gras and blue cheese compliment each other.

And yes, if you drop by the carving station, right beside the steak and grill, there is a small sign that says duck foie gras. I had a couple of slices (however you call the serving). Mandarin does it well and it literally melts in your mouth. I tried the liver with my steak and I say, it's a perfect combination. A slice of foie gras costs somewhere between PhP 500 to PhP 900 so if you get 3-5 servings, you could get your money's worth.


I always leave room for dessert. The restaurant has an unusually happy dessert table. There were fruits, cakes, ice cream, halo-halo, macaroons, chocolate fondue, jellys, pavlova and all other sweet things I can't name.

Our must try are chocolate mousse, strawberries and cream on meringue and this black sesame ice cream. It tastes like sesame seeds with the texture of ice cream. Hindi siya nakakaumay.

Dinner comes with 3 red roses and chocolates for the ladies.

In summary

1. The buffet price tag is PhP 2500 (all in) per person but with the offering that they have: steak, foie gras, tempura, sushi station, sea bass, salmon, lechon, you can definitely get your money's worth. I did, even if I don't eat a lot. Mind you, each dish tastes as good as when it is served in a fine dining restaurant. On regular days, it costs around PhP 1800 and foie gras isn't served.

2.  The restaurant has great service. The waiters are middle-aged to old people dressed in chinese peasant attire and they're very accommodating. Reservations are confirmed, they seat you at your preferred table and whatever you need, they give it to you promptly.

3. Tea (green and black) comes for free if you request it.

Paseo Uno
Mandarin Oriental
Makati Ave, Makati

P.S. I apologize for over sharing but I can't help it:  my date was dashing last night and the flowers are also lovely.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

BE Resorts, Cebu

Summer is fast approaching and one of the best summer destinations is Cebu, where you get to party, eat good food and soak up some sun.

If you happen to stay in Mactan, there is a 160-room boutique hotel which is priced 60% lower than the hotels along the Mactan coast.

How does it compare?

The Place

The resort is definitely well-styled. The terraced descent to the beach houses the infinity pool, jacuzzi, bar and the activity area. Stylish lounge chairs and day beds dot the area. The beach is a different story though. The sand is beige and coarse and the water is not inviting. The hotel's outdoor is ideal for lounging under the beach umbrellas and swimming in the pool.

Relaxed, fun and elegant are words that come to mind to describe the interiors of the hotel. It must be the airy hotel lobby, mixed with fun colors and styled with Kenneth Cobunpue pieces. I sat on all the Kenneth chairs I could get my hands on.

My derrière  was on Rolls Royce heaven the whole time I stayed in the hotel. The ergonomic feel of the chair is really something and probably comprises 80% of its exorbitant price.

The Rooms

The hotel has 6 floors and each elevator landing has a pretty seating area.

The hotel has ample sized-rooms. The bed and area can accommodate 2 to 4 occupants - that is if you don't mind sharing beds. Majority of their rooms offer 2 double beds. The sheets are definitely greater than 300 thread count and the pillows are soft. The lighting is warm but the rest of the furnishing are just high quality plywood, but it will do for its price.

This is what I see from my window. Although most rooms don't get this gorgeous view.

The comfort room offers the basic necessity. The good side is it has hot and cold shower and a rain showerhead! The water is salty though. Shampoo, bath gel and bar of soap are given for free and you have to bring the rest of your personal care products. Two bath towels are provided for your own use but it's not as immaculate white and fluffy as you want it to be.

The Food

Overnight stay comes with breakfast for 2. They have a basic selection of 5 viands, breads, coffee, juice and fruits. The food is bland. Although, you might wanna check out their lunch and dinner menu because the dinner served during the wedding I attended in the hotel is way way better than their breakfast serving.

In Summary

1. The hotel is value for money (PhP 3500 a night for 2). The place is beautiful, great styling and room amenities are reasonable. Pool-swimming is great but if you prefer the beach, then it is better if you hop on a boat and visit the neighboring islands.

2. The location is a bit far if you intend to frequently visit the city center. From Mactan airport, BE Resorts is a 20-minute fast drive costing you PhP 150. If you head out to the city, it will cost you PhP 300 by taxi.

BE Resorts,
Punta Engano Road
Mactan Island
(6332) 236.8888

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I am Eeyore

I've been channeling Eeyore the past few days. 

However, there are a lot of things to be happy:

A beautiful wedding


And the beach chair shared with friends at 5:45 PM

Sunday, February 6, 2011

We Should Put This on Record

Yesterday, Person A and I attended a wedding in Tagaytay.

When the priest gave the final blessing:

Priest: Dennis, be a good husband... blah blah blah... yadda yadda...

Priest: Joanne, be a good HOUSEwife...

Person A: *smirks* *looks at me*

Me: *laughs*

Last time I checked:

1. The priest doesn't normally say "Housewife" just "Wife", right? Is it a new decree? I did not get the memo.

2. If world peace is to exist, I'd be the career woman and Person A would be the houseband. That is if we live in an ideal world. We don't. =P

Let's cross the bridge when we get there.


However they say that one shouldn't go to the grocery when one is hungry, in Pinoy culture, grocery shopping and eating out almost always go together.

Who can resist the squidballs, shawarma, hotdogs, take-away pizzas offered by the stalls right across the cashier?

In true Rustan's fashion, they have a French bakeshop (x10 ang presyo kumpara sa bakery sa kanto!),  a delicatessen, a fresh salad shop that has a price point cheaper than SM's (Mr. Sy and I don't have much love between us. He doesn't know.) and Benny's - a filipino restaurant.

I believe it's named after Amb. Bienvenido Tantoco.

Going back to my opening statement, I was hungry after doing my grocery rounds and since Person A was with me, hindi-tayo-magddiyeta-ngayon is definitely on the menu.

Ensaladang Mangga.

A fusion of white onions, crispy red tomatoes, and green mangoes with sweet-salty bagoong. Yum!


The classic Pampanga fare is crispy, fresh tasting, and different from the one served by Gerry's/Dencio's but not distinct enough so that you can write home about it. 


This deserves a few words because of 2 things: (1) the banana leaf wrapping rendered appetizing flavor to the rice (2) Food presentation: puso is definitely  how cooked rice is sold in Visayas and Mindanao.

Iced tea.

It's brewed, refreshing and tastes like sweetened by honey. It pairs well with the sisig and doesn't taste like powdered drink.

Black out chocolate cake.

Moist, oreo-covered at hindi nakakaumay. They sell cakes at single serving (mini layer) and by the layer.

In summary:

1. We love the place because of its ambiance and the food is value-for-money. Despite the heavy foot traffic in the area, it looks distant from where we were seated, one cannot hear the conversation in the next table and the white and warm lighting are welcoming.

2. Price point is around PhP 100 for appetizer, PhP 200-300 for the viand, PhP 70 for the drinks, and around PhP 80 for the dessert. You get to spend around PhP 200 - PhP 300 per person.

3. Cakes sell at around PhP 500 a layer. I enjoy giving cakes and I've been looking for shops which sell them at PhP 500 and below. If I am a billionaire, I'd prefer Mandarin Oriental Cafe and Deli's cakes and desserts day in and day out. However, I am not. I am excited to try Benny's desserts.

Rustan's Makati


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