Sunday, August 02, 2015

Cebu Trip with the Girls 2015!

Our family trips have been happening frequently now ever since my mom retired last May. We took her to Bangkok last June, and now that July just ended, we took her to Cebu. I write this while waiting for boarding at the Mactan Cebu International Airport. Talk about ticking a destination check box by check box off her travel bucket list. It's a wonderful feeling revisiting these places. Now I need to build is a separate piggy bank for our succeeding trips.

 Some of the places we visited! Can you guess these landmarks? :)

Visiting Cebu this time was great! There were no flight delays (thanks, Cebu Pacific!) and weather was generally cooperative. Knowing the routes made me a better tour guide too, and nothing makes a vacation smoother than already knowing somehow where to go. My sister has been frequenting Cebu recently, but haven't been around the tourist spots because of work.

We arrived on a rainy Friday morning. Unlike my experience back in 2014 when we waited a good 2 hours for a cab to take us to Palm Beach Resort in Punta Engano, we got a cab immediately upon reaching the taxi bay. We arrived at Quest Hotel in Cebu City 45 minutes with traffic! 

First order of business was the breakfast buffet. It's Php 550 per head, but worth it I must say. The have the wildest and softest croissants and berry danishes :) Check in's a bit late (read: 3 PM), but they have large couches in the lobby. Upon check in, we were greeted by Koreans, Iron Man participants, and (what do you know!) Ping Lacson!

We dropped by the Ayala Town Center to kill time. We shopped for stuff, grabbed milk teas, and of course, stuffed ourselves silly with CnT Lechon. At that point, I haven't eaten Zubuchon for a second opinion, and I was immediately smitten by CnT's generous portions of pork skin. We also did a bit of grocery shopping for water, soap, and snacks at the Metro before going back to the hotel to call it a day.

Since my sister and I were with our mom, we decided to get rent a car the following day, which we dedicated for 100% touring, shopping, and eating.

This is just a portion of what we ate in Cebu! Glorious, glorious food! Thank you, Lord!

We recommend the prompt and efficient services of the Guani Rent a Car Agency. We booked a Sedan car for 12 hours with a driver. It only costed us Php 3,500.

We first visited the Taoist Temple in Beverly Hills Subdivision. Entrance is free. It's uphill and the path going up the temple resembles The Great Wall of China. The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking! And as you go up, you'll also see the beautiful Azure Dragon. It's a feature common in Taoist temples and also often paired with a White Tiger. 

Aside from buying money magnets and trinkets, we also (and very specifically) visited the monk to ask for the hu. It is a piece of paper taped outside of a front door for luck and fortune. It is not bought, but requested from a monk. We also had the money magnets blessed. My takeaway from our experience at the Taoist Temple is this - transcend worldliness. More details of our trip to the temple (as if what I had been blabbing aren't detailed enough!) on a separate post. 

Actually, more details of our Cebu trip and our weekend itinerary will be on a separate post. I'm just on a high right now to share what a travel-filled Q3 of 2015 it has been! 

Cheerios! Back to the daily grind resumes in a bit! For now, this comforting window seat view should calm the shit out of me :)

No, this is not a stock photo :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Schmidt's Gourmet Hotdogs at StrEat: Maginhawa Food Park

Jonjie and I are complete opposites. We have different personalities, hobbies, and, most strikingly, food choices. 

He hates mangoes. I love mangoes. He puts mayo on everything. I don't like mayo on anything. His idea of dessert is chicharon. Mine's a fat slice of chocolate cake. 

Despite our differences in taste, it does not mean I'm stubborn when it comes to the food he likes to try out for the first time. Although he is with mine! A bit unfair, yeah, but that's just how we roll :))

Case in point - Schmidt's Gourmet Hotdogs. Not a fan of hotdogs here, but for the love of trying out something new, push!

Luckily for us, Schmidt's food truck was parked at StrEat: Maginhawa Food Park for the week. We tried out their hotdogs one Friday afternoon. AS I write this (7/21, 4:41 PM), I think they are still there at StrEat from 5 PM to 12 midnight.

Honestly, I can't really say much about the hotdogs (useless post!), but judging the doc's expression while he was eating, Schmidt's Gourment Hotdogs is worth the try. 

I tried the Coney Island Chili Dog while he ordered the Wagamama. And as I always say when it comes to sandwiches, the secret almost always lies in the quality of the bread. That said, the hotdog bun was not able to keep things together. Poor 'dog! The toppings on my Coney Island Chili Dog kept falling off. 

If only there is brioche for hotdogs. Is there?

Their iced tea is yummers though! We got 1 liter lol!

Keep checking their social media pages to know where they'll be next!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

S&R at UP Town Center?

Now that I do frequent UP as often as I did x months ago,  I couldn't help but ask if my memory served me right.

Last night as I passed by UP Town Center, I saw this tarp with the very familiar S&R logo.

Are they opening a supermarket there or just the stand-alone cafe?

Either way, YEY!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Harry Potter-y Saturday at The Nook, Maginhawa

Random Saturdays with cousins are my favorite! And even better when surprisingly Harry Potter-themed!

I write this as I nurse a major sugar buzz from that Butterbeer we ordered from The Nook - this newly-opened, Harry Potter-themed cafe along Maginhawa Street. It almost sits right next to Good Burger.

This greeted us by the entrance. Alam na of course ang o-orderin.

Zomato said that it opens at 12 noon, but apparently it really opens between 1 to 2 pm. Thankfully the mom's owner let us in as they prepare for opening. We had the entire second floor all to ourselves for at least an hour!

Now for serious Potter heads like me, you'll love The Nook! Aside from HP books lined up neatly on the shelves, there's also a wand from Ollivander's (gasp!) and a box of chocolate frogs! It really makes me want to visit Universal Studios in Japan -_-

The Nook also had a mural of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Though it's still a work in progress, it's beautiful art!!! There are other books too, some board games, Jenga, and this hanging nest!

Of course we ordered the Butterbeer, some iced lattes, white frappucinnos, fries, bacon-wrapped chicken, and a grilled cheese sandwich.

All yummy and amazingly cheap cafe staples, and also good that thing we ordered only 1 Butterbeer because it was too sweet! Sadly their matcha drinks weren't available yet. At least there's a reason to come back.

Thanks guys! See you again soon :)

The Nook
164-A Maginhawa Street
Quezon City


Monday, May 11, 2015

Fun Caturday at Cat Cafe Manila

Weekends are always about the search for cool places to check out and see. And blog about. And put on Instagram.

And while I'm a big big big (x3 for emphasis!) dog lover, upon my insistence, my sister, Jonjie and myself checked out Cat Cafe Manila, which was surprisingly just located in that business center in Maginhawa Street where Katsu Cafe, The Breakfast Table, Wicked Kitchen and Snow Creme are.

The first time I knew about cat cafes was when I was in Seoul last year. We visited the very cute Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae, and beside it was a cat cafe where you can pet the house cats while sipping your cup of latte.

In the Philippines, the cat cafe concept is not entirely new as well. There's the Miao Cat Cafe in Congressional, and now, Cat Cafe Manila in Maginhawa.

Just before we had late lunch at The Breakfast Table, we checked out Cat Cafe Manila upstairs to see if it's worth the visit. Upon entry, we were asked whether we made a reservation for the day or not. And although we haven't (since we didn't know!), we were still allowed to come in that afternoon.

So if you want to check out Cat Cafe Manila, make a reservation first for yourself and your pals. And you are only allowed one hour to stay inside the cafe so be there on time.


They have an entrance fee of Php 200 - 100 goes to CARA Welfare Philippines and the hundred is consumable. You can choose from their yummy drinks and baked goodies. Nothing can be more worthwhile than helping an animal welfare group and have something sweet while you're at it, right? :)

The Red Velvet Cookies they were serving were the bomb! Who still says the bomb!!??

All the cats at Cat Cafe Manila were previous strays, and CARA Welfare Philippines took care of them with baths, food, vitamins, injections and lots of love. 

The cats above are Ling-Ling, Chaka, Bicco and another shot of Ling-Ling. They're all so soft, good-smelling and really gentle with the guests. They loved getting hugs and played with. It takes some time for them to warm up though, but I guess it comes with their nature. You don't own a cat, they own you phrase is what I always hear. 

Although the cafe was small, it's really clean and it doesn't reek of cat stink. You have to wash your hands first before petting the cats and enter the cafe without your shoes on to keep the cleanliness at bay.

The vet 1!

The vet 2!

Cat Cafe Manila is still on its soft opening. And on their grand opening, these cared for cats will be up and open for adoption. If your heart can be a forever home to these cats, make sure to attend Cat Cafe Manila's grand opening, which is happening very soon :)

Cat Cafe Manila
2/F 189 Maginhawa Street, QC

Monday, May 04, 2015

Labor Weekend Staycation at Azumi Boutique Hotel!

Jonjie and I love checking in at boutique hotels. The fascination isn't really about the breakfast buffet the next day (although breakfast buffets are great!) or the kind of crowd it attracts, but what draws us to one are the cool interiors, unexpected grass beds on the walls and other hotel features that make it worth the money and the upload on Instagram.

Of course, like any other person craving for some beach time, we had our eyes set on spending the labor day weekend in Boracay. But then the kids beat us to it - plane fares and hotels included. And so like any other tita and tito of Manila (I seriously need to stop using this age group reference to the hilt), we spent the long weekend in the city. In his turf in the south to be exact.

Azumi Boutique Hotel is that black-orange building at the Madrigal Business Park in Alabang. It's easy to from ATC / The Metro. And if you're coming from there, you can cross the overpass to get to the other side, ride a jeep and have the driver drop you off by the Shell station that's at the front of the Madrigal Business Park.

Cool Japanese vibe starts with the shelves!

We arrived a little for the 2 PM check-in, but we still had to wait a few minutes for our room key cards. But I give it to them for handling the deluge of staycationers with grace. The people at the front desk were polite and quick. The lobby also smelled like baby's cologne. I was loving it already.

We booked one of their Queen rooms for the weekend. And as you can see, I blended well with their choice of colors.

We freshened up for a bit and at 5 PM, we checked out the penthouse where the popular infinity pool was. Of course, we donned our swimming gears on just in case we could squeeze ourselves in.

And squeezed ourselves we did! We made sure to guard one of the pool's corners well to ourselves. Well, almost.

Kebs na lang!

The penthouse overlooked a vast area of the Alabang Business District, and Jonjie immersed me with some credible stories like how old the McDonald's along Zapote was and how it remained untouched for renovations for a long time, where the usual traffic jams were when he was little, riding a school bus going to Zobel, and basically how the place has changed so much.
1 pointer up for Manny!

We took this pic while waiting for the sunset, 
which we surprisingly found to be red with a tinge of... green. Weird!

While there was a quaint Cafe Romulo downstairs, we opted to cross from the Madrigal Business District going to the Molito area for dinner.

Of course, since we spotted a Nathaniel's shop from the penthouse a while back, we secured our favorite goodies first before heading to the Molito restaurant strip. The night would have been perfect if not for Chicken and Beer's excessively spicy dishes. I love spicy food, but this one's really annoying. Ugh.

Went back to the hotel, jumped up and down the beds before calling it a night. The next day, we swam early in the morning, ate our Nathaniel's goodies for breakfast and took a bath before heading back up the penthouse for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. They had a good deal that weekend! 400 pesos for the pay-per-view fight plus meals! 

While waiting for the under card fight to finish, we snapped this photo and submitted it to 36. 36?!

And although Pacman did not win, we checked out of the hotel and called it a really great weekend. In our heart of hearts, his unwitting skill, candor and sportsmanship makes him an all-time champ! Great job as always, Manny. You do us all proud.

And to the heroes of the 36 workers unions in 1913, thank you for the standard 8-hour (not 12!) work day we now enjoy today. Thank you!

Til the next time, Azumi!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

8:18 Thoughts on Wednesday

It's creepy how you can know a person SO much without having to meet them over coffee first. I guess the creepy aspect of how digitally wired our personalities are these days is if you use it like a real creep would do. 

Totally off-tangent - I've been reading this book, The Copywriter's Toolkit by Margo Berman. Useful stuff like super!

I really find it useful since being in the industry for quite some time (at least I'm not yet in for a decade!), the learning never stops. Which brings me back to what my great sociology professor always said.

You're forever a student of your discipline. 

There may be exams to validate you as an expert, still, being thrown in the real world, there will always be people (or books!) who will teach you a wisdom or 2 every now and then. Life is truly a big university, and we are forever students trying to figure out all the damn lessons! That said, don't cram life!

Random idea - buy a domain. You think I should do it? comfortfoodstuff is so 2008.

New Look. Sort Of.

Basta ayako na ng patweetums na layout.

Clean. Karesperespeto. Smooth!

Hope you lone little reader of this blog appreciate this.
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