Glad I did this before 30: Conquered Mt. Tapyas

Day 1 – Aug 20, 2011

Pitik / Crawfish at Kawayanan Grill

Though nourished with a hefty lunch followed by a short nap prior to the hike, my body just couldn’t keep up with the first stop in our tour itinerary — the 724 steps of Mt. Tapyas in Coron, Palawan.

Mt. Tapyas

As I and my friends took the 5 to 10-minute break per landing, we either contemplated on quitting ahead or assuring ourselves that we can make it to the peak of the mountain. Perhaps the only motivation we had at that time was our pride and curiosity. Nonetheless, we made it to the top in a matter of 45 minutes as the sun was about to set…giving us a serene view of the Calamian Islands.

glad I have beaten this snail c",)

The short dip at Maquinit Hot Springs helped sooth our trembling knees. Surprisingly, we didn’t feel any muscle pains the following day.

To be continued…


Boracay in February: Strangely familiar

My 4th Boracay trip was a mixture of strangely familiar deeds. Nonetheless, action-packed.

Jony's - Station 1


We were craving for Jonah’s fruit shakes but were too lazy to find its new location. Thus, the desperate decision to try Jony’s fruit shakes. The fruit shakes weren’t bad but not as tasty as that of Jonah’s. While this restaurant boasts of its fruit shakes and mexican meals, surprisingly, it’s just way too average for my taste buds.

*Jonah’s now has 2 locations. One at the beach front near Obama at Station 1 and the other one is by the road near Kalibo Cable.

L-R: mango banana, watermelon & mango shakes. The watermelon shake was indeed refreshing.


















nachos were a bit oily

beef shreds in a burrito was original

the chicken shreds in the quesadilla was way too chunky for me

the bami pancit was oily and too orange-y πŸ™‚

Intrigued by the flaming crepe, we tried out Ti-Braz. I’m not into bananas so I failed to see the flaming crepe. Instead, I ordered Mango Amour and it turned out be the usual crepe. To my dismay, it was over-priced which cost me P215.00

Ti-Braz Boracay - Station 2

Ti-Braz Mango Amour crepe

Among our new pursuits, the Hydro or Aqua Zorb experience was really memorable — really had fun! It was indeed another way to get wet in Boracay! πŸ˜€ Here’s a sneak peek….

these brave kids were the first ones to try it πŸ˜€

struggling to get out of the zorb ball

Yet another new discovery was the cocktail drinks to-go of Loco Frio. I’ve gone loco with this spiked frozen drink which led me to 2 refills in 1 day… an excuse to have a glimpse of Mark Nelson who co-owns it. Too bad… I didn’t see him.

*Near Obama Station 1

the first in the Philippines according to the bar tender... looking forward to see our group picture in its Facebook page... hehe!

mudslide spiked with Kahlua + Bailey's is a must-try

I always book my hotel accommodation near Station 1 to avoid the crowd and loud sounds of Station 2 & 3. The stroll to Station 3 was a surprise to me. It isn’t as crowded as I thought it would be… way much peaceful than Station 2. I also saw a couple of high-end resorts such as Boracay Sands Hotel and the widely-known La Carmela de Boracay of Boy So [as Boy Abunda usually plugs]. πŸ˜€

Boracay Tourist Center

My last dinner at the island was Bite Club‘s giant chicken burger. Quite pricey for its taste at P135. Good thing, I didn’t pay for it. πŸ™‚

Bite Club Grilled Chicken Burgerella; D' Mall

Manana Mexican Cuisine - Station 1; near Starbucks

The Conventional:

With our hotel [Mito’s Place] right beside Manana, we won’t miss a quick bite at this Mexican diner. We feasted on the usual Mexican staples such as tacos and quesadillas…leaving us blushed with its assortment of hot chili and fully satisfied [also really full of gas πŸ˜€ ] with its ample serving of onions and beans!

I never liked riding tricycles but Boracay’s 10-seater tricycles are so much fun!

my friend in her not-so-fancy coach ride

Our discovery of Hawaiian Bar-B-Que‘s hefty and tasty pork ribs last year made it to this year’s food agenda. Just the same, we had it served at Beach Bum Bar while having cuba libre [buy 1 take 1] and enjoying the fire dance show.

Beach Bum Bar + Hawaiian Bar-B-Que - Station 1

Hawaiian Bar-B-Que's Pork Ribs is way much better and worth it than Gasthof's

Hawaiian Bar-B-Que's Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice is a meal itself! Yum!

Hawaiian Bar-B-Que's Mango Chicken

Hawaiian Bar-B-Que's Chori Burger

Speaking of fire dance, I’d say Boracay’s Phoenix Fire Dancers is one of the best in the island. One of its dancers really made me laugh when he/she suddenly blurted “Sir, Ma’am… pengeng pera!” [asking for tips]. Just the same, will try to post the videos soon…

asking for tips with a big smile

if I'm not mistaken he's Freddie... nice Sparta abs πŸ™‚

After dinner, we had another round of drinks. And again, we went back to try Bamboo Lounge‘s mangojito. Such a quiet place to enjoy your drink and laze by the beach.

this mangojito will give you a real kick!

My Boracay trip would be incomplete without having a quick snack of chori burger and spicy hotdog charcoal grilled to perfection. πŸ˜€

Seafood anyone? D’ Talipapa offers day’s catch of seafood where you can have it cooked by nearby paluto restaurants. Cooking charges starts from P75-150 per dish.

yellow-finned tuna

huge parrot fish

another alternative pasalubong, dried fish and squid

baked scallops
Galeria Kulay offers unique Boracay souvenirs from accessories, sarong, paintings and wood carvings

Not sure though whether Big Mouth is famous in Boracay but as I understand it is known for its halo-halo. I haven’t tried it but I ordered [again] its pancakes and tried out their ube [purple yam] shake. Yummy and affordable!

There are still a lot of food, places, activities yet to be experienced. Thus, I’ll be booking my 5th trip by next year. Suggestions anyone? πŸ™‚

Baguio in January: It Kissed My Blues Away [part 3]

I woke up the following morning freezing to death. My toe socks and fleece blanket were of no help to beat the biting cold breeze of Baguio. So I went out to go on a steep short walk to release some heat… to perspire πŸ™‚ …. and these beautiful skies greeted me that one fine morning.

For some reason, these clouds and view reminded me of those ‘dream’ house & lots for sale in brochures. And so I tried to re-create it. πŸ™‚

We headed off to Cafe by the Ruins to have lunch and have a taste of the famous Rizal’s Tsokolate-e.

They say it’s much cozier at night but I prefer to see it first in daylight so at least I could see what I am eating.

However, I was too hungry and forgot to take a decent photo of what we ate.

bread + Baguio Bagnet with Padas Bagoong

The bagnet was not as yummy as I thought it would be. The brown rice doesn’t appear to brown but more of purple. Though I liked the Padas Bagoong, I liked it so much until my lips turned a little swollen and itchy. πŸ™‚

Other than bagnet we had the following:

  • Sinigang na Malaga with Shrimps > simply put “Sinigang na Hipon”
  • Pinikpikan > which appears to be native chicken
  • Rizal Tsokolate-e > not as thick and rich as I’ve expected but fair enough

All in all, it wasn’t really a bad experience. It wasn’t since I get to eat without shelling out a single centavo. πŸ™‚ But I’m looking forward to have one of those colorful salads and rich champorado…. and probably nail their best main course. Suggestions, anyone?

Our day in Baguio ended with satisfied stomachs and we could all definitely sleep on our way to Manila but still with a short side-trip to Our Lady of Manaoag Church in Pangasinan.

Excited, I can’t wait to get there. Not that I’m a devotee nor religious, I was just really looking forward to tupig.

And my senses didn’t fail me, I can smell burnt banana leaves everywhere with an assortment of Pangasinan native delicacies, fruits and of course religious articles.

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And that concludes my overnight trip to Baguio-Pangasinan… and of the life of this little bird on our way to SCTEX. 😦

As I write this article, I am planning to go back to Baguio to get hold of those famous raisin bread of Baguio Country Club while I enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. Yum!

A taste of Syd’s Kitchen

I had a wonderful Sunday last week with the company of my boss, her girlfriend, and her girlfriend’s cousins at Syd’s Kitchen. It was past 12 noon and we were all hungry while waiting for my boss’ girlfriend finish her yoga class at EDSA Shangrila. We all haven’t tried Syd’s Kitchen but our officemate has been promoting her brother’s new restaurant so we headed our way to Banawe, Quezon City to explore the Chinese fusion diner. Well, our long wait and drive was all worth it. Great food for the right price!

A simple broth of pork ribs warmed our growling stomachs.

pork ribs with mushroom soup > P150

The shrimp hakaw [4pcs > P90] was really good with ample shrimps in it, served hot and fresh.

I’m not a fan of meatballs but having these meatballs on sticks laid on a chopping board was irresistible [9pcs > P120]. With the rightΒ  concoction of sweet and sour sauce, I’m surprised to have eaten 5 pieces of which.

salted fish fried rice > P250

We ordered 2 kinds of fried rice but I liked the salted fish fried rice as I could recognize the taste of salted fish, not too salty… just the right kick to flavor the fried rice. The other one was yang chow fried rice but I didn’t enjoy it that much as I don’t eat chorizo.

Syd’s Original Chick! [6 pcs] > P300

Fresh Lumpia > P95

Ma Po Tofu Stacks > P130

Chopsuey > Pxx

Watermelon shake > P80

The best part of the meal was the desserts… just superb!

green tea in a pot > P60; green tea cheesecake > P120

Just the same, I’m not into cheesecakes but Syd’s green tea cheesecake was the best I’ve ever had. The flavor wasn’t strong, just a hint of green tea. Served in a bowl all covered with cream, cinnamon [which I don’t fancy as well] and mango puree, the tea jelly didn’t seem appetizing but it was so good!!! It was a simple dessert [not too sweet nor flavorful] to clear your palate.

almond cream with tea jelly > P95

Hot to the taste: [AUM] New Bombay

New Bombay @ Salcedo Village

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It was a hot Sunday morning when I started salivating for vegetable samosa and ube [taro] lassi. So I went off to [AUM] New Bombay-Salcedo to satisfy my craving.

It’s been a while since the last time I’ve been to New Bombay and it was nice to see the restaurant expand with new furnishings.

I’m not an Indian food fanatic….the liking was more of an acquired taste. But other than the craving, last Sunday was another pooh adventure –to test my taste buds for new exciting flavors and spice tolerance. With just a few clicks away, I researched for Indian food terms to help me explore New Bombay‘s menu. Just the same, I’m no Indian food guru but this might help those who would like to experience the ‘spicey’ cuisine.

vegetable samosa

Soups, Breads & Appetizers

  • samosa = stuffed pastry snack commonly served as an appetizer. It can be stuffed with vegetables or meat with an assortment of potatoes, lentils, coriander, etc. The triangular fried or baked pastry comes with tamarind or mango chutney [curd] as its dip.
  • pakora = fried snack or fritter. It may be cheese, onion or other sorts of vegetables.
  • pappadum or papad = cracker-like flatbread that can be eaten as an appetizer or eaten with other toppings or the main dish itself.
  • shorba = either vegetable or meat soup
  • chapati = also known as roti is an unleavened flat bread
  • naan = leavened flat bread
  • paratha =an unleavened flat bread which is made of layers of flour

Mutton Rogan Josh

Rice & Main Dishes

  • kebab = skewered meat and vegetables cooked over flame
  • tandoori = vegetable or meat cooked in tandoor [clay oven]. Common dish would be chicken tandoori.
  • paneer = ideal for vegetarians, it is an acid-set farm cheese that makes a good source of protein.
  • mutton = goat or lamb meat
  • lentils = also known as masoor, it is a legume. Commonly included in most Indian dishes
  • dosa = fried crepe
  • biryani = rice-based dish with meat, egg or vegetables either fried or roasted
  • raita = yogurt-based condiment or dip
  • tikka = cutlets of meat and vegetables
  • masala =pasty dish of a mixture of spices
  • dal = stew made of lentils, peas and beans

Fish Tawa Masala with Chapati & Naan

sweet lassi”]

ube sweet lassi

Desserts & Drinks:

  • gulab jamun = a popular wedding treat, it is a s sweet dessert made of dough with milk and rosewater or saffron
  • kheer = sweet dessert made of boiled glutinous rice with milk topped with raisins, nuts, etc. similar to a porridge.
  • halva = dense sweet confections either flavored with vegetables or nuts with honey
  • kulfe = Indian ice cream
  • lassi = yogurt-based drink which helps put off the spice. It may be plain, sweet or flavored with fruits such as mango, pandan, strawberry, ube and the like.

[AUM] New Bombay Branches:

  1. Salcedo Village, Makati City
  2. The Columns – Makati
  3. Glorietta 3 – Makati
  4. The Podium – Ortigas

Growing up with Aling Tonya’s

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Just like every other years of celebrations, my sister and I celebrated our birthday feasting on seafood at Aling Tonya’s Paluto Restaurant with its original branch in Baclaran Seafood Market. It has been a family tradition but this year we invited two more families (from my estranged father’s side) whom I haven’t seen and have lost touch for almost two decades now.

It was truly a happy gathering…and looking forward to celebrate more occasions at Aling Tonya’s. Though I haven’t met Aling Tonya, Alvin has been always there to accommodate us. πŸ˜€

Alvin serving Aling Tonya's for 16 years!

Many similar restaurants have sprung at Baclaran Seafood Market and other locations in Macapagal-Roxas Boulevard and Metrowalk-Ortigas but we remain to be loyal (just like Alvin) to Aling Tonya’s home branch. Though still a bit crowded and stinky (what else do you expect of a seafood market? hehe!) with few parking spaces, the Baclaran Seafood Market has been renovated adding more floors to it to accommodate more diners.

We usually place our orders ahead of time so we wouldn’t haveΒ  to move around the wet market and wait for the food to be cooked…more than anything, we trust Alvin to pick the freshest and cheapest seafood for us.

While waiting for the Chua-Ton and Ton-Catipon families, my sister and I went down to take pictures of the colorful sea creatures. Too bad, most stalls have already closed since it was past 7pm.

Baclaran Seafood Market

abundance of shrimp, lobster and crab varieties

red lapu-lapu and various species of alien-looking dover sole fis
an assortment of sea shells

frogs anyone?

nice to meet you mr. octopus

turtle: please don’t eat me…

And this was what we ate last night…burp!