Cafe Juanita

BF and I decided to try a new restaurant to celebrate his birthday (well post-celebration that is). Cafe Juanita is just 10 minutes away from his office so we decided to have lunch there after his night shift.

And. It. Was. Perfect.

Food. Place. Service.

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Better to avoid lunch and dinner rush. Jojo said it tends to get super packed during lunch time. We got there around 11 am on a Friday. Their phone’s ringing non-stop for reservations I’m guessing!

Check out why I loved Café Juanita! Read my review on looloo
https://looloo.com/r/3ar8

Boracay Day 3 (February 2012)

We didn’t do much on our last day. We picked up our Calamansi Muffins and headed back to the hotel to pack. After check out, we decided to have an early lunch at the Bite Club.

It’s a cozy semi-fast food place right at the heart of Station 2. Burgers, burgers and burgers everywhere. They have this big signage that tells you how to order your food.

Choose your burger + Add your own choice of toppings = create your own burger!

Here’s their menu:

I forgot what we ordered back then. I think we had The Bomb and Bombarella.

Do I look hungry here ^ ?

 

One of the best burgers I have ever tasted. Aside from I ❤ BBQ, I have another restaurant to go back to next time I visit Boracay again. 🙂

We slept mostly during the bus ride to Kalibo Airport. It was also a first for us to talk during the flight back to Manila. Usually when we travel we sleep and listen to our own MP3 players.

 

But the weather’s really nice and we had to take it all in!

 

 

 

We were able to spot 3 rainbows!

After visiting Boracay twice in 6 months, of course I would go back! Maybe next year? 🙂

Photos taken with Canon S100

Boracay Day 2 (February 2012)

We booked a snorkeling + island tour + Crystal Cove trip during our first day’s hang-out-by-the-beach hour. We got it for Php 1500 (2 pax on a paraw) – I know it’s expensive. But hey, I didn’t really know how much  that trip should cost! Anyhooow…

We woke up just in time for our 9 AM appointment. That gave us time to eat breakfast at the hotel. You can choose from the two options: an American breakfast or a Filipino breakfast.

We are rice-lovers therefore: Chicken Tocino with scrambled egg,

and Longganisa with scrambled egg:

Small portions but they weren’t bad at all.

We met up with Romnick (09309125619) who is supposedly our boat guy but on our way to the shore, we transferred to another boat guy named Sherwin (I think it was Sherwin).

The paraw travels longer, that’s for sure. Snorkeling was bad though, the waves are too big.  We took ample photos at the Crystal Cove, that’s for sure. Our boatguy-turned-tour guide was kind enough to hold my camera the entire time to take our picture practically everywhere. Here are some photos in Crystal Cove:

There are several coves or caves on this island that you can visit. Entrance fee is around Php100. A lot of people come to Island Cove to have their lunch in one of the cottages available. They bring in lunch baskets, utensils etc. and there are also available comfort rooms around. There is nothing really going on here but what interests me is the mini-zoo available for the guests’ appreciation. And this guy:

because he seemed so out-of-place.

Hmm. This looks interesting:

We were supposed to visit another island after the Crystal Cove but we got so hungry from all that walking and boat ride we decided to skip that part. We freshened up and headed to Bistro Valhalla for lunch.

I forgot to mention that 3 meal coupons came with the final voucher we received from Cash Cash Pinoy after payment. And this was one of them (photo above). I thought the fried chicken will be just a normal dish but when it was served, I was SO wrong.

It was very juicy, delicious and crispy. We should have ordered this for dinner instead.

We headed to Real Coffee and Tea Cafe (Station 1) to order some Calamansi Muffins. We placed our order and asked them if we could pick them up the following day instead. And I think because most people do this, they asked for our name and contact number and the time of pick up.

We paid for our 6 boxes and headed to the grotto to take a few photos. It’s around 2 PM and the sun is high – we decided to buy drinks at Jonah’s Fruitshake.

While waiting for our drinks, we saw these foreign girl BFFs who were re-applying make up and sunblock. They had their DSLR on the table. And I almost cried when I saw it:

So much dirt and sand. It’s so sad!

We spent the afternoon swimming and talking and almost falling asleep. And when the sun started to go down, everyone brought out their cameras and took photos. So we did too!

We went back to the hotel, freshened up and went back to Valhalla to order dinner. We ordered soup (french onion and mushroom soup) even though the weather’s hot. Haha!

And the perfect way to end the night? Drinking your Green Tea Cream from Starbucks by the beach. 🙂

Photos taken with Canon S100

Boracay Day 1 (February 2012)

When group-buying sites were offering great travel deals last year, we immediately bought this Cash Cash Pinoy Trip for 2 to Boracay deal, complete with round-trip airfare, airport – hotel transfers, hotel accommodation and full board meals for two. We got that deal for Php 14,999 .

It was our first time in Boracay so we didn’t want to hassle ourselves with the planning. It was intended to be an out-of-town trip of relaxation.

After paying for the voucher, we contacted the travel agency handling the promo, Simple Travel and Tours. We set the date, received our hotel confirmation and plane tickets and we were all set.

We didn’t know most people’s preferred airline going to Boracay but I know it’s definitely not Zest Air. Zest Air only offers Manila to Kalibo flights, which leaves you an hour and thirty minutes land travel to Caticlan pier.

The bus ride to Caticlan Pier was comfortable. But then again, it was a very long bus ride. Z_Z

From the pier, we boarded on a boat then rode a multi-cab, which took us to our hotel, Hey! Jude. But when we got there, they were still cleaning our room so we decided to have lunch at I ❤ BBQ.

Even during my first visit to Boracay, this has been one of my favorite restaurants. 🙂

We both had very big and heavy lunch and technically, that was a very bad move considering you are on a vacation by the beach. But nonetheless, the food was delicious. I ordered a separate mashed potato but unlike the first mashed potato I tasted last December 2011, my second mashed potato was… fake. It was gooey, tasted like bubble gum. It was no mashed potato.

After a hearty lunch, we went back to the hotel to check in, freshen up and change into our beach wear.

Included in the Cash Cash Pinoy deal is one (1) standard room good for 2 pax courtesy of Hey! Jude (Station 2).

Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the building’s façade but I am sure that the Deluxe rooms are better. The room is big enough for the two of us, but one thing that I find odd is that the bathroom (not shown) is… how should I say this… You have to take the stairs (well, 2 steps actually) to get inside the bathroom. It’s fairly clean, complete with shampoo, conditioner and bath soap. But it’s weird that it’s “higher” than the rest of the room.

And oh, the standard rooms and the hotel’s restaurant are at the 4th floor of the lobby.

After securing our valuables and changing into our swim wear, we immediately hit the beach.

The time was just perfect. We got to the beach just in time for the sunset. We took photos, hung out and people-watched. There are definitely more people in Boracay last February than the first time I went there last December.

The very fine sand, cool waters, the warm breeze – everything’s just perfect.

That night, we had our dinner at Bistro Valhalla (Station 2). It’s smack in the center of D’Mall Station 2.

You can check their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/valhallaboracay

And look! I found this blog entry about Valhalla: http://www.thepickiesteater.net/2010/10/boracay-chronicles-hallowed-halls-of.html

Our first free meal coupon for that night was spent on their delicious Chicken Kebab.

Look at how happy he was with the food. No sarcasm involved – he doesn’t know how to look happy. Kidding.

It was delicious. The chicken was cooked perfectly. It was tasty and juicy, and (for us) the portions are just right. It may look small but after our first stick, we’re full. The meal comes with a free glass of iced tea.

Before going back to the hotel, we decided to take a walk by the beach. Fortunately, the night gave us a cold breeze to enjoy. We walked far enough to see these beautifully made sand artworks. Did you know that most of these sand artworks were done by kids around 10-15 years old?

They’ll ask for some coins though if you want to take you picture taken near the artwork. But you know, whatever, they did a great job.

We were going back to the hotel when we encountered the same group of fire dancers we saw last December. It was Travel Buddy’s first time to see them. We were both entertained by the gracefulness of these she-males. 😛

[February 11, 2012] PyroPalooza/Pyromusical

Last February, I had a project with my previous job that gave me the chance to meet David Archuleta. It was just a simple coverage interview that will only need two to three staff.

But, I requested for five all access passes. Total of six actually, (including our driver) for a simple production. Why?

  1. Me (of course, I’m heading the project)
  2. Carlo, my brother (he’s a big fan, as a production assistant)
  3. Jojo, my travel buddy (as our production assistant also, plus we get to “date”-ish during the fireworks display)
  4. Maricar, our then-OJT (to add hours to her OJT work, and she’s a big fan too)
  5. Tolits, our camera guy (for the well, camera)

We asked permission from his handler if we could get a group picture with David and when she said yes, the two big fans decided where to position themselves. Lo and behold, the final output:

So they can crop it and get to post the cropped photo as their profile picture in Facebook. Very smart!

That night, I told my mom about the project and how we were able to take a photo with my brother’s strategic position when it hit me – MY MOM WAS A BIG FAN OF DAVID ARCHULETA. His season with American Idol is I think the ONLY season she ever watched. She adores him because he’s a very humble person. And even though he is the youngest among the finalists, my mom thinks he is far better than everyone. I felt really bad because she asked for the pictures and just said “Sayang!” 

Oh well. Sorry mother, I forgot.

After the interview, we took a few clips of the event and even stayed for some fireworks display. Photo above is the VIP area.

Here are some photos of the fireworks display using my Canon S100, some in fireworks mode.

February 11, 2012 – South Korea vs Malta

(South Korea played 2NE1’s “I am the Best” haha! I enjoyed it so much)

Road Trip Part 3 – Lunch in Tagaytay (January 2012)

I love reading travel blogs. Especially those of Pinoy food and travel bloggers. I don’t know who the Grandeur Traveler is but he definitely found the best countryside dining in Tagaytay (so far, well at least for me). I found out about Marcia Adams’ Restaurant in his blog. You can check out  his post here. After reading about the food and the place, I got hooked and since then, I’ve been nagging my travel buddy to try it out.

And because we’re also passing by Tagaytay for that series of road trips, I thought why not have our lunch there instead of the usual Teriyaki Boy or Gerry’s Grill. So a few days before our trip, I contacted Marcia and reserved a table for two on a warm and breezy Sunday noon. Check out the link for their Facebook page.

The restaurant is near the border of Alfonso and Tagaytay. If you see the Tagaytay Arch with pineapples (coming from Nasugbu), turn left and go straight. A few meters ahead, you will reach this very Tuscan-inspired looking gate. If you’re coming from Tagaytay city proper and see a Welcome to Alfonso arch, do not turn right. Just look for the Tagaytay arch along the highway with the pineapples (I just hope they don’t change the fruit). Yes I had to emphasize the pineapple because we got lost that day and your main landmark would be, yes you guessed that right, the pineapples.

The restaurant is small but very ideal for a romantic lunch date or intimate family gatherings. Falling in love with the place is really easy. (Photo below with Canon S100 nostalgia filter)

Here are other photos of the beautiful restaurant:

While waiting for our food, we were walking around the place taking photos when Neil Adams (husband) explained to us how they got the bricks for the garden. I can’t remember much about that conversation, but I know that 1. those were imported and antique therefore they play an important role in enhancing the mood and theme of the restaurant; 2. Neil (and sometimes Marcia) makes sure their customers are satisfied and entertained (they personally talk to their customers); and 3. Marcia does most of the cooking.

Then our complimentary bread arrives:

Customers are required to pay a cover charge of Php 700 (consumable) per person. This mainly covers your Main Course since the price ranges from Php 700 – Php 1,000. The appetizers and desserts come with the main course, but you can  also pay for another dish ala carte.

One of the most recommended drinks in Marcia Adams’ Restaurant is the Bundaberg Ale (Php 95). Unfortunately, the Peach Ale wasn’t available so we got the Apple and Lemon Ale. Tastes awesome.

For appetizer, I got the Amalfi Prawns (comes with the main course). Pan-fried breaded prawns seasoned with salt, pepper and parsley on top of a thin wafer biscuit. It’s a really tasty dish. My mouth’s watering now just thinking about it.

We also got the soup of the day (comes with the main course) – a clear soup with bits of bacon and beans. It has a subtle creamy taste which I like because it complements, rather, balances the salty taste of the shrimp. Unfortunately that time, Travel Buddy is still allergic to shrimp so I finished all three and even got three to five spoonfuls of soup. Haha!

Dear impatient customers, when you decide to dine here, you should note that the food will arrive (fastest would be) 10-15 minutes, maybe longer depending on how many customers are there. The main course takes longer to arrive. But the upside is you get to bond with your friends or partner or family and the ambiance makes you unaware of the time. After all, this is not a fast food place. Your meal’s being cooked to perfection. And you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s another photo : a view from our table. Would be very nice if we could take the table at the other side of the restaurant, the view there looks more countryside. 🙂

Our main courses arrive. I got the Grilled Aromatic Pork with Organic Rice (Php 700). The meat was cooked evenly and perfectly. With the unique blend of herbs and spices (not the usual blend you’ll get in most restaurants), the dish was very juicy and delicious!

He got the Beef Tenderloin and Bacon Kebabs (Php 845). The beef and bacon are tender, easy to chew, and full of flavors! Also served with organic rice. He loved it! I’m curious about the chicken kebab though. But! There is always a next time!

And now, the best part: DESSERTS.

For Him: Banana Split with creamy chocolate ice cream (comes with the main course). I thought the bananas were coated with chocolates but they were I think grilled for a few seconds then drizzled with the special Nutella sauce. Death by dessert number 1 = Nutella + chocolate ice cream + smartly prepared bananas.

And for me: Lime Pana Cotta (comes with the main course).

I ordered this mainly because of how tasty-looking this dish is. And it did not disappoint. Creamy milk base with zesty, tangy heavy sauce for that perfect combination of sweet and citrus-y fruity taste. Death by dessert number 2!

I’ve read a lot of blogs talking about the same dish (soup, kebab and lime pana cotta) but don’t worry, they have a lot of other main course dishes and desserts that you can try. I am eyeing the stews and casseroles next, and Lavender Creme Brulee or the Strawberry yoghurt ice cream. Check Marcia Adams Restaurant’s Facebook for the menu. 🙂

At roughly Php 1,000 per head, combined with the ambiance, delectable food, great staff/employees, and an awesome bunch of friends or family, this is one experience that is totally worth your time and money.

I just hope that Marcia Adams doesn’t get commercialized (not that I don’t want the business to grow) but its existing low profile and word-of-mouth marketing keeps everything (from food to experience) simple and elegant.

Road Trip Part 2 – Canyon Cove, Nasugbu Batangas (January 2011)

That morning, we decided to seek help from the built-in GPS device in our car. But unfortunately, s/he gave us the longer route (that would take 4 hours from Laguna to Batangas) and we found about that after driving for 20-30 minutes. We turned back and referred to instincts and our trusty South Luzon map.

A lot of roads, trees, cars, Tagaytay pass-by, and a few hours later, we arrived at Canyon Cove.

At the entrance, security will immediately do a headcount of the passengers and give you a piece of paper to present to the lobby. If you can book a deluxe room, there is a big chance you have to pay for extra person/room even though the it is big enough for five.

It has a balcony with an awesome view of the beach. Plus, a huge bathroom! (minus a tub)

(Have you noticed the big bay window couch? It can almost fit 2-3 people!)

We settled down, freshened up, and hit the beach.

It was a bit crowded, mostly families with kids but a peaceful sight nonetheless. You can also rent jet skis or go snorkeling and island hopping if you like. They also give you beach towels so you won’t have to worry about taking your bath towel to the beach. 🙂

The place was far from the city/town proper so you can’t afford to go out of Canyon Cove for dinner. That’s why we had our meal in the restaurant – buffet-type, food’s okay but kind of expensive.

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Canyon Cove offers a quick getaway from the city with its fine accommodation and amenities partnered with a great beach.  Your membership is surely worth it. 🙂

Road Trip Part 1 – Laguna (January 2012)

My first out of town trip for 2012 was a 3-destination road trip in South Luzon.

(DAY 1) 1ST STOP: FOREST CLUB – LAGUNA

Our first destination was Laguna. We went to Forest Club Conference Center and Botanical Gardens in Brgy Puypuy & Masaya, Bay, Laguna for my travel buddy’s company team building seminar.

Forest Club is perfect for big family outings, organization/company team building, spiritual retreats or simple out of town business meetings. For those who want to experience outdoor team building sessions, they have a 10-ft high 500m walkway to the mud-crawling area, bamboo rafting area, hanging bridge and log-crossing part of the resort. Forest Club also provides Teambuilding Marshalls who will facilitate the activities.

I love the place. With the right amount of breeze, the place is cool and quiet. Time seemed to pass by slowly because of its relaxing vibe.

Nice addition to the earthy ambiance. Mother Earth is proud of you.

Since it’s called ‘Forest Club,’ expect insects joining you in your games. Be sure to apply insect repellent if you’re planning to wear shorts.

I am not sure if it’s safe to post the pictures, but here are some ‘safe’ ones. It’s a big company after all. But you can check out more of the available activities, accommodations and other amenities of the place at http://www.theforestclub.com

(DAY 1) 2ND STOP: VILLA SOCCORO – LAGUNA

The seminar ended right after merienda time and after downing a plateful of spaghetti, we (me plus my travel buddy’s co-workers) headed to the other side of Laguna and checked in at Villa Soccoro.

http://www.villasocorro.com.ph/

Vance took care of the reservation and food. But you can check out their website for the full list of room rates. We gave Php 1,600 for the room accommodation and food (dinner+breakfast for 2).

As you can see from the above photo, you can find the Balanac River at the back of Villa Soccoro. It’s a good 5 minutes or less walk from the parking area. The staff says you can swim at the river but we chose not to since it was getting dark. We just took a few photos and went back to our room.

Yes, I was on the phone that afternoon. Day-work called. Haha. Here’s another view of the Balanac River:

Our room:

It’s a dorm-type room with several double bamboo beds. They’re surprisingly comfortable! I also love how this room comes with big bath towels for everyone and 2 spacious bathrooms (14 people can occupy this room, how can you not have 2 bathrooms, doh). What I don’t like is the lack of wall hangers or hooks inside – so difficult to look for a spot for your clothes and toiletries.

Villa Soccoro is big enough for family gatherings, reunions, weddings and birthday parties. They also have nice and friendly employees. 🙂

The next day, my travel buddy and I left in the morning after breakfast since we have reservations in Canyon Cove in Nasugbu, Batangas. The rest of the group went to Pagsanjan Falls. Check out Vance’ blog to read about their trip. 

Photo by Jerome Mendoza
Photo by Jerome Mendoza

This is my first out-of-town trip using my new Canon S100. Check out this blog post and video I stitched together using its movie digest feature.

Bolinao, Pangasinan (May 2011)

We badly needed a vacation last year and because I went to Bolinao a few months before, I insisted we go here for our summer outing. With each paying Php 2,000 for accommodation, food and transpo expenses, we had one of the most awesome summer trips we’ve always wanted.

We rode a northbound bus to Pangasinan and I slept throughout the trip so I don’t know where exactly we got off. But here’s what I’m sure of: we went to Kevin’s house where we had breakfast while waiting for our hired van to take us to Bolinao. Our group stopped by the market to buy water and food to cook and grill in the resort. I was still dizzy from the lack of sleep so I stayed in the van while they shop. Hehe.

We originally planned to stay in Bing’s resort but we changed our mind because:

  1. The room was still unavailable
  2. The room was not beach front, you have to cross the road to reach the beach
  3. My contact person was not available when we got there
  4. Beach was small and kind of dirty
  5. Grilling station was a bit dirty
  6. There is only one available hut in the area
  7. There is also a big group having their team building / outing and we’ll be overpowered and annoyed if we stayed there
  8. We felt it was not our beach.
So we apologized for the inconvenience and left, and looked for another resort. We went back to the start of the resort-filled beach front stretch and stopped by SCL Garden Paradise Resort. We were so happy with the place (you can check out the video below for proof)! They gave us a room big enough for 7 people. We unpacked the shopping bags and started cooking lunch.
We had salted eggs and tomatoes, grilled pork chops, hot dogs etc. Just thinking about what we ate that day makes me hungry. 😐
 After lunch, some of us decided to take dip, others played frisbee, some volleyball.
That afternoon, our frisbee friends taught us how to play the game. I initially thought that frisbee is just a catching game. I thought you just have to catch the disk. But you actually have to RUN and pass the disk to your side/base to get a point. I was not ready for this. It was a rough fun game though.
After a tiring game, we hung out and talked and took photos!

We just had to do a mini-photoshoot!

I forgot what we had for dinner but I was really glad we stayed in SCL because the staff were so nice and friendly, they let us use the cooking utensils they have there! I guess it’s open for all the guests because when we left, another batch of visitors went to the dirty kitchen to prepare their dinner. I love it!

They have a videoke machine too but a group of teenagers was using it so I can’t say if the songs were updated or not.

Nope, we didn’t go night-swimming because it was too dark and dangerous, but you can opt to sit on the sand, listen to the waves and watch out for falling stars with your cold beer!

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Day 2 is a going around Bolinao day.

We said goodbye to SCL Garden Resort

We’ll definitely go back there.

I want to stop by the gorgeous rock formations but the sun was still high and too early to take pictures, and well, we didn’t think we’d have enough time . Instead, we passed by the Enchanted Cave:

From what I remember, there is a different entrance fee for those who want to take a bath inside the cave. We didn’t plan on swimming so just paid for the cheaper fee. The water is really cold down there so if you have a lot of time to spare, I suggest you have your lunch there and experience the icy cold water inside the cave.

We also stopped by Cape Bolinao:

And took a looooot of photos. The lighthouse itself was a beauty even if it’s small. Good thing the sky was clear, we had a lot of good photos 🙂

We had a hearty lunch at Bolinao Seafoods Grill just for over a thousand pesos. We ordered chopsuey, a plateful of sizzling mushrooms, pakbet, liempo and my favorite, crispy bangus! YUUUUM!

This photo above I took last March 2011. This is the sign inside the restaurant but they have a different name posted outside the gates. I’m a bit confused too. But you can immediately see this place (right side) before you reach the main road (coming from the resorts area).

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Perfect weather, awesome beach, great company = epic weekend!

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Check out our Bolinao Trip video and outtakes here, compiled and edited by Kizia 🙂

*Photos above by everyone