Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dear Makati Shangri-La

Can I say I heart you?

Just because you're parking area has this 

Every gentlemanly act counts. It's the first time I've seen an establishment with parking spaces specifically alloted for women.

You might want to ask me, "What about gender equality?" I am not big on it. I believe that each gender has a specific role: biologically and yes, in our society. Secondly, save for a few bad apples, I am surrounded by men who treat women right. My third point, in my 26 years of existence, I have not been denied of any opportunity just because I am a she. Hence, I highly appreciate that the hotel allots the spaces nearest to the hotel's entrance for women. I hate walking long distances especially in dingy basement parking area. Security concerns.

The previous paragraph does not mean that I condone maltreatment of women (or anyone for that matter) just because she gave birth to a girl when her husband hoped for a boy and she has to marry the man who raped her

Before I digress, thank you Makati Shang. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Super Swank

The reason why I stay 'til midnight on Saturday nights; not to party and definitely not to work, but to take a peek on how the super rich live.

I watch TV!

Discovery Travel and Living Channel's Super Swank is usually based on Forbes Lists.

Welcome to the world of over-the-top luxury. Where money is no barrier and every whim is indulged. From mind-blowing luxurious spa resorts and hotels to opulent homes and vehicles, live the high life and experience in Discovery Travel & Living's new series SUPER SWANK. Over eight episodes, you'll take a ride in high-end recreational vehicles, step aboard multi-million dollar yachts, live in five-star hotels, holiday on the most exclusive beaches and eat the best food money can buy. 
My favorite is when they feature houses and vacation destinations. Tonight it's about food: a gourmet pizza of buttery crust and caviar toppings at USD750. And there's this USD 5000 burger made from Kobe patty and foie gras.

Uh huh!

Hindi ko afford.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta

Over the upcoming Valentine weekend, I will live my "Up" dream. One of the best movies. Ever. 

I won two tickets for the 2012 Philippine Hot Air Balloon from Caltex! Yay! Super Yay! Give it a try by clicking the previous link. Sixty winners will be drawn. About 40 winners had been announced.

That's my name right there! Lovely, I can't remember winning nice things save for a DVD player which I gave to my Mom. The Balloon Fiesta hopes to fuel the passion of flying to help move the aviation industry forward. It also hopes to create jobs through Tourism. It will be held at the Omni Aviation Complex, Clark, Pampanga from February 9 to 12. Entry to the event costs PhP 200. For the schedule of activities, kindly refer to this site. Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet is organizing an Ultimate Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and Food Tour on February 11. You may want to check it out. Personally, I am doing a DIY itinerary because I've always been a DIY girl.

I will leave you with some interesting facts about the event.


Picture from Caltex.


Friday, January 27, 2012

The ATM Line




True story.

Taken last December 24 in Dipolog City. One may deduce that the citizens of my little hometown has a lot of money in the bank. However, if you look closely, everyone is hovering over the computer screen! Nababasa nila PIN mo at alam ng lahat ng tao magkano pera mo sa bangko! Also, this is not the crowd you would like to mess up with. If something has gone amiss, rest assured pandemonium can easily erupt from the length of this line.

This is not your ordinary ATM line. I was informed that at least once a month, extremely poor families receive monetary subsidy from the government through the Pantawid Program.  If you are a regular depositor, you better stock up on cash before the money is wired to the Pantawid recipients during the month. All ATMs in the city go through this fate month in and month out.

If you're a toiling corporate employee who honestly pays your exorbitant taxes, here's what I have to say:

Presenting your tax in action!

Personally, i would rather see my money spent on teaching these individuals how to fish or creating the fishing ground where everyone can fish. You can't blame, that is more sustainable and that is written in the Bible.

Just saying.

P.S. First photo grabbed from this site.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

PhP 300 Story

With PhP 300, I filled my pail with 10 dozens of roses. 

'Cause that's how I roll, baby. I need 120 roses in my bathroom. 

Just kidding.

Seriously, I went on a Dangwa trip with Mama. These roses will fly to Dipolog tomorrow.

Not to be outdone, I spared PhP 120 and scattered them all over my place.

Two dozens on my coffee table

A dozen in my broken drinking glass

Half a dozen in my used olive oil bottle

And another half a dozen in my used balsamic vinegar bottle

These bunches are not the best of quality but they're prettier in real life and the stalks are enough to make me happy, especially in the morning.

I am excited to wake up tomorrow.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Lesson on Generosity

"Give and it shall be given back to you a hundred fold" 

This afternoon, I dropped by a badminton tournament to surprise the person/team I am rooting for with a box of Happy Cream Puff.

I went inside the venue with PhP 180 worth of cream puffs.

And I got out with a new iPod Touch. Now that's some awesome surprise!

That was 63-fold and pretty fast too, in 5 minutes.

True story.

Thank God and thank you. -(",)-*wink*

Now, That's Shushal!

My mother's Neurologist stamped his family's coat of arms in the prescription. 

See that? That's definitely sosyal! 

A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon used to cover and protect armour,  identify the wearer and in recent times, showcases the family history. 

I've never met a Filipino family who has one ... until Dr. Alemany. He's one extra nice doctor. He explains my Mama's condition well. Just today, he showed up in his clinic to interpret my Mama's MRI and give the latest prognosis; he planned to take the day off because he has to go home to Bacolod to attend to some family matters; however Mama has to leave soon before he gets back so he showed up for work and entertained one patient today. 

That's definitely exceeding customer's expectations!

Thanks, Doc. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I don't relate well to sad love songs. 

For me to put a song on perpetual replay (read: gasgasin ang kanta at i-loop ng i-loop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), I have to connect with the lyrics. That happens 85% of the time and the remaining 15% I like the song because of its catchy tune. God has blessed me with a wonderful and drama-free relationship so if you lurk in my iPod, it's all sweet with a dash of spice. 

The last time I had my heart broken was centuries ago and the only appropriate line I can relate to now is "I remember the boy, but I don't remember the feeling anymore." Kahit kaninong version, Lea Salonga, Joey Albert, pwede na rin Sheryn Regis!

However, there are emo songs I find hard to pass up. It's so nice to belt them out in the shower, in the car or whenever I hear the song... kahit nasa mall! LSS kung LSS! It helps as well that the lyrics tugs at one's heartstrings, so I normally sing it with feelings and with all the passion the air in my lungs can afford, kahit hindi ako heart broken.

So here are the current emo songs on my Pop loop list:

Jar of Hearts (Christina Perri)

Who do you think you are?
Running 'round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart

You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Don't come back for me

Just too much Breaking Dawn and MTV going on with her. 

Someone Like You 

I heard that you're settled down
That you found a girl and you're married now
I heard that your dreams came true
Guess she gave you things I didn't give to you

Never mind, I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you, too
Don't forget me, I begged, I remember you said
Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead.

I so love this song that I told Person A this will be my break-up song for him because that's how lovely a person he is. I am weird.... but at least I got a Plan B. Hahaha! I am sooo weird.

Gusto ko ng magvideoke! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Apartment 1B Gourment Comfort Food

In every neighborhood, there's always this restaurant which offers the best comfort food. I am lucky that I reside in Makati and within 2-km radius I can name a handful of restaurants that serve the best comfort food in town: JT Manukan, Kitchen's Best, Earle's Deli, and Mr. Jones. Now, I am adding Apartment 1B to the list ... albeit the upscale kind.

Situated in Salcedo Village, a bunch of professionals, expat wives and society's who's who were in the restaurant the night we ate. Don't get intimidated, everyone was in a very relaxed mood, nakadaster pa si ateng Koreana. Oh, the bored life of expat housewives.The atmosphere in the restaurant is very relaxed. Wood and warm-lighting dominate the small space downstairs.

Artworks for sale adorn the walls and beautiful flowers accessorize the tables.

The busy kitchen greets diners upon entering the restaurant. 

It is usually packed during evenings, hence i suggest you get a reservation. A tip, it is always good to get a reservation lest you risk the chance of being turned away.

The menu is a mix of American, Italian and Filipino goodness, fits comfort food to a tee. Serving is enough for one not-so-hungry person.

Macaroni and Cheese (PhP 490)

Smoked ham, American Cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan. The pasta is nicely done, al dente. The flavors of the cheeses go well together and it's not overpowering (read: hindi nakakaumay), which is very typical for this dish. For this reason, Apartment 1B's mac 'n cheese is a winner on my list, if not on top of my list. If the restaurant doesn't mind, they can add a dash of truffle, that would be awesome.

Baby Back Ribs (PhP 630)

Honey bourbon marinade, garlic mashed potatoes, corn and vegetables. We went all-out American! The meat is soft, the marinade is good, not too sweet. I can't tell it apart from Rack's fare though. 

Raspberry Cheesecake (~ PhP 200)

The base is delicate has a nice feel to the tongue. It tastes good. Miniscule amounts of raspberry complements the cake. There's just too much whipped cream going on. I am good without it.

Cookies and Cream Milk Shake (PhP 140)

We love milk shakes with our mac 'n cheese. We will always be kids at heart. This one tastes milky over the cookie. If you like milky milk shake, then this would be your cuppa. 

In Summary 

1. Apartment 1B serves one of the best comfort foods. Each dish we had were nicely executed and presented. 

2. The ambiance is very relaxed, perfect for rolling your sleeves up after a hard day at work. A candle-lit date might be impossible but the place is perfect for a fun date. It is also good for meals with friends and families. 

3. Price slides to the expensive side but this is to be expected in Makati. Also, food is good so it's typical to pay this much for the quality of the food.

Apartment 1B
Unit 1-B, 132 L.P. Leviste cor Sedeno St.
Salcedo Village

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lolo Dad's: A Fine-Dining Winner

Among the fine-dining places in the metro, I am most curious to try Lolo Dad’s. Why? Chef Ariel Manuel, the man at the helm of the restaurant, has been winning competitions world-wide year in and year out; second, the place has really good reviews since opening its doors in 2000.

We intended to dine at a different restaurant but for 2 straight years we were turned down due to booked events. So two days before our weekend dinner, I phoned Lolo Dad’s and our party of 2 successfully reserved a table. There’s a lot of 2 going on in this paragraph. This is the best Plan B ever: the ambiance is nice, the food is excellent and to summarize, it’s the best fine dining experience we had… yet.

The restaurant is located in the busy and crowded Malate district. Not to worry, the short walkway and mini-garden in front of the restaurant transport diners to a quaint and romantic interior and separate them from the busy traffic in Quirino Avenue.

It is a fine dining place so expect to shell out load$ to fatten your selves up and be able to enjoy the food without thinking how many hours of toiling you saved up for a small slice of foie gras.

You have two options, you can order ala carte or go for a tasting menu of 2 appetizers, 3 main courses, a palate cleanser and 2 desserts for PhP 2600. These are generous portions so if you have a bottomless pit in the stomach and can appreciate good food, I recommend the tasting menu. If you opt for ala carte, you can order a regular portion or modest portion. My suggestion, if you go for more than 1 course, choose modest portion, if you want one dish only, go for regular. To cover more mileage, Person A and I strategized: I order ala carte while he goes for the tasting menu then we’ll just feed each other with morsels from our plate. Yeah we’re sweet and scheming, like that.

Off we start the meal with complimentary soft, hot bread served with herbed butter.

Bread tastes subtle yet creamy, perfect for the strong-flavored butter. Yummy!


Gourmet Salad of Lobsters and Prawns (Modest portion, PhP 325)

Mushrooms, feta cheese, kalamata olives and sundried tomato vinaigrette tossed in leaves. Cheese, leaves and mushrooms taste fresh. Lobsters and prawns rightly grilled and what makes it unique is the grilled-flavored dressing. This is a winner, love it.

Garlic Pimenton Prawn with Spanish Caviar and Grilled Chorizo on Vacuum cooked Cantaloup (from the Tasting Menu)

Really soft prawns complemented with the taste of the caviar. Person A and I will order it again. It’s his favorite.

The strong-flavored chorizo is tempered by the fresh flavor of the cantaloupe. Nice twist. This is good if you have like strong-flavored appetizers. I prefer something lighter to start my meal.

Main Course

For the 3-main course tasting menu, each dish is served a dish at a time. Since the lady ordered one main course compared to the 3 of the gentleman, the restaurant is gracious enough to give me a small plate so that I can share what my date is having while waiting for my dish to be served with his third dish. That’s one thoughtful move.

Duck Breast and Duck Liver (from the Tasting Menu)

Honey and macadamia nut oil glazed duck breast, pan fried duck liver, with cranberry marmalade, young lettuce and popcorn salad.

Duck breast with cranberry marmalade to the right, salad at the center and pan fried liver to the left. Duck breast is soft in the mouth and goes well with the cranberries. The liver is also awesome, lotsa flavor and melts in the mouth. Worth the order, is soft in the mouth and goes well with the cranberries. The liver is also awesome, full-flavored and melts in the mouth.

Scallops and Potato (from the Tasting Menu)

Truffle powder dusted diver scallops with three pea and sweet potatoes. The best! Every component on this plate tastes so subtle and good that if Person A gets to order only one dish from Lolo Dad’s, this will be it. The scallop is so soft and has that light flavor couple it with the very creamy mashed potato. Oh, don’t forget the truffle flavor, you don’t see it but you can definitely taste it.

The kalamansi sherbet palate cleanser is served on this cute pot cooled by dry ice. It’s so cool, literally and figuratively. Na-ignoy kami. And like true-blue curious (pakialamero) engineers that we are, we deconstructed the entire thing after finishing the tiny scoop. I was served with the sherbet, too. I find that generous considering that I did not order the tasting menu and by this time, they haven’t served my main course yet.

Wagyu Steak (from the Tasting Menu)

Roast Tajima Wagyu eye of rib eye and melt in the mouth oven-braised ox-tongue, goat’s brie cheese fried pie, shallots and mushrooms. Person A had it medium-well. The steak is relatively softer but I think the texture will be better if he had it done medium. It was still good though especially with the heavenly ox-tongue and the generously stuffed pie.

Herb de Provence crusted Rack of Lamb (Modest Portion, PhP 915)

Three cheese risotto (Roquefort, gruyere and parmesan), forty melted garlic and tomato confit. I went with the Chef’s recommendation to do the lamb medium. It was heavenly, the lamb was really soft, melts in your mouth kind and tastes awesome. (walang anghit! As in walang anghit!) . The perennial eyebags, child-like smile and small, crooked fingers express all the excitement.

The risotto is excellent with the old-cheese taste dominating. I find it too flavorful with my lamb. The modest portion is enough for one-person who ordered an appetizer. I had a hard time consuming it considering the 6 dishes I already tasted. However, since it tastes so good, I stuffed my little tummy para hindi sayang.

At this point, the restaurant had done everything excellently that we considered the hole in our pockets worth it. And we ate leisurely that we already clocked in 2 hours sitting down and spoiling our taste buds.


Yep, we’re not yet done. There’s always room for dessert. Coming from the cholesterol-high, I came up with this picture.


In a fine dining restaurant. Hindi na ako nahiya.

Chocolate cake, buttercake and ice cream (from the Tasting Menu)

Dark valrhona chocolate cannoli with fresh strawberries, the flavors are so subtle but the texture is silky to the tongue. The rosemary buttercake tastes like herb-flavored cake (lasang dahon-dahon, kakaiba) while the vanilla almond ice cream is a fine-dining version of Chef Ariel’s Selecta concoction years back.

Vanilla Cream and Mango Beignets (Modest Portion, PhP 180)

The plate comes with spice mango marmalade, rose syrup and parmesan ice cream. The vanilla cream and mango is mango float with very subtle flavor yet sexy silky feel in the mouth. The parmesan ice cream is a gourmet rendition of the classic cheese sorbetes from Mamang Sorbetero. The flavor is fresh and extra creamy with a nice texture.

Iced Tea (PhP  170)

Brewed iced tea with pineapple orange. The juice dominates the taste so we’re not too ecstatic about it. We also shared a can of Coke Zero with the wagyu and lamb. Gourmet cheating never felt this good.

In Summary

1. You don’t get to be the most coveted fine-dining place for 11 years if you don’t serve excellent food. I am now a Lolo Dad’s fan given that they haven’t done anything wrong from the appetizers to the dessert. This is the place to be, when you want extremely good food. Four thumbs up! A word of caution, if you are like most Filipinos who love strong-flavored dessert, you might not get enamored with the barely-there flavor of the restaurant’s fares.

2. The ambiance is standard for a fine-dining place, nothing spectacular. It is perfect to impress your date and if you have lotsa moola to spare (read: high roller na high roller) you can binge with your friends and family. Btw, Lolo Dad’s can improve by offering bag stools for its lady guests. I am a perfectionist so I nit-pick.  I was given a chair when Person A requested a stool for my bag.

899 Quirino Ave cor Leon Guinto St

P.S. I am in no way claiming to be a food reviewer. I simply love good food and share my restaurant experience. I hope you understand the amateur article. –(“,)-*wink* 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Flowers of the Night

I and a group of 16 friends capped off the work-week with a dinner at Marcia Adams. The place is exactly how I remember it.

Neil Adams is very gracious, the garden is blooming with flowers, the restaurant still takes my breath away with its rustic charm and oh, the flowers are gorgeous.

Oh, so gorgeous bursting in different colors

There's a huge bundle of baby's breath and another white flower in a wicker basket

White and yellow mums on the table top

A burst of yellow on a steel stand

Alstroemerias all over the hallway

And a bunch of white roses in a tin can by the window. My favorite.

It was a lovely, cold, fun evening to start the year. Thanks for having me.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Linabo Peak: We Came, We Climbed, We Conquered

We Came

I ushered the new year by conquering Dipolog’s highest summit. At 463-m above sea level, Linabo Peak commands a 360-degree view of Dipolog and Dapitan from different vantage points. If you’re going around Dipolog, Linabo Peak is the looming mountain where 4 communication towers are perched. Before it was developed in 1994, it was a massive stone-ground mountain slope with scattered boulders leading to the summit. Due to extensive tree planting activities, the once stone-ground mountain slope was turned into a massive verdant forest.

Linabo Peak is one of the premiere eco-tourism sites in Dipolog. It is famous for its 3003 steps marked with the 14 stations of the Way of the Cross. The annual Lenten“Katkat Sakrispisyo” (Sacrificial Climb) is the most-attended religious re-enactment of Jesus’s death in the city. For adventure-junkies (wanna-be!) like me, I am more interested to reach the summit and tick one mountain off my non-existent list.

The jump off point of the climb is in Barangay Lugdungan,  6 kilometers away from the city. I and Person A left my parent’s house at 6 in the morning. After traversing 20 mins of concrete and 1-km stretch of unpaved road we finally reached the first step towards the peak.

If you plan on commuting, there are trucks from the public market or you can hire a “habal-habal” (stretched motorbike) anywhere around the city to take you to the starting point. Do haggle for the lowest price.

We Climbed

With its remote location, water and food are hard to come by so bringing your own provision is a must. Although, there are small sari-sari stores at the foot of the steps and at the end of the 3003 steps you can go to for emergency supplies. A bottle of energy drink and a banana would also come in handy once your body needs electrolytes during the climb.

Climbing steps is no easy feat. 

Trust me. It is also important that you prepare yourself by doing cardio at least a week before and wearing comfortable sports attire. If you just want to conquer the steps, a pair of regular trainers would do. However, if you intend to trek to the top, mountaineering shoes/footwear is a must to provide traction when going through the slippery rocks.

Off we started the ascent. The steps are whimsical early in the morning.

The first four stations were conquered in a jiffy.

With the lush vegetation, battling the sun is not a problem, although I can’t really say considering that it was an early morning climb and the sun was still rising behind us.

Interesting geological formation

By the time we reached the 7th station, we were tired so starting at that point, it was purely mind game and encouraging each other. Person A concluded that if he lives in Dipolog, he would do cardio once a week conquering Linabo’s 3003 step. I consider that a brilliant idea.

And finally, the 14th station! 

There’s no view of Dipolog and Dapitan in this area but you get to see the community. Makes me wonder how do they get all their supplies up those steps! Well on the positive side, these people must have extra toned legs and nice butts!

There’s a school

A piglet getting a tummy rub from the monkey. Priceless.

Nothing like a bottle of coke to quench Person A’s thirst. 

I had water.

We Conquered

With our tired legs we pushed ourselves to get to the peak. 

By this time, it took us an hour and 30 minutes to finish the steps, much longer than most climbers time: an hour. We took our sweet time, held hands climbing the steps, took pictures on the side … namamasyal lang sa parke ang drama.

We came so unprepared. First off, we did not expect that the way to the top be laden with rocks, slippery rocks as it rained the night before. 

Second, we had running trainers on, no traction. Climbing up was easy but requires wall-climbing skills and extra care. A minimum of 3-point contact is necessary.

Going down is totally a different story. With the steep, slippery rocks and cliff, it is a DIFFICULT DESCENT. For amateur (and unprepared) climbers like us, extra care should be taken unless you want to seriously injure yourself. We accomplished the descent with at least 4-point contact, mostly on 6-point contact (including our butt-cheeks) and that did not stop Person A from slipping and falling hard: big, black bruise and a strained shoulder.

After 30 minutes of sweating it out and promising to obtain basic rock climbing skills, we conquered the top.

Got a good view of Dipolog

And Dapitan

Shared our sandwich with the communication tower’s guard dog, which I named Shaider. It was very shy yet very curious.

Cheers to conquering peaks in 2012 and beyond.

In Summary

1. Linabo Peak’s 3003 Steps is a worthwhile climb. The lush trees, Stations of the Cross and the cardio exercise are reasons enough to give it go. It is an easy climb as long as you don’t have muscle-bone limitations and cardio problems so this can be done with anyone: with your kids (at least 7 y.o. unless you want to carry them to the top!), friends, significant others or family bonding activity.

2. Reaching the top is an entirely different story due to the slippery path. If you want to conquer the peak, come in footwear with sufficient traction and arm yourself with basic rock climbing skills. If you want a good view from the top, there’s a spot a few feet from the end of the steps that doesn’t require difficult climb. You can consider this as an alternative.

Linabo Peak/3003 Steps
Lugdungan, Dipolog City


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