Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Litratong Pinoy: Dalampasigan

Kakagaling ko lang nang Pagudpud noong Lunes. Inabot kami ng bagyong Igme kaya maulan at malakas ang alon. Subali't sadyang ang ganda pa rin sa bayan na ito. Halos dulo na nga ng Luzon.

Ang aking maruming paa sa magandang dalampasigan ng Blue Lagoon, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. Suot ko ang aking Havaianas na munting nang tangayin ng agos.

Maraming mga bato at kabibe sa dalampasigan ng Blue Lagoon. Malinis at kulay asul at berde ang tubig nito.

Alex Lugawan

If you grew up at downtown Pasig, then you are familiar with this known eatery. Located at San Nicholas, Pasig (I think), near the Immaculate Concepcion church, Alex Lugawan is a favorite among the Pasiguenos. From the name of the eatery, it is famous for its lugaw paired with tokwa’t baboy.

As I’ve learned, sisig is also one of their best-sellers. When E and I decided to eat there one night, I opted for my favorite tapsilog. E ordered lugaw (congee) and tokwa’t baboy (tofu and pig’s ears). At the facade, Alex Lugawan appears like a carinderia. Inside though, there are several tables and chairs where one can sit – ala canteen-style. The place actually occupies two floors and is open as early as 7am and until 1 in the early morning of the next day.

I found the tokwa't baboy sweet and yummy.
I did not like the taste of the lugaw (congee). It was kind of bland.

I ordered tapsilog. It was okay.

carinderia style

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hula-Hula @ Westgate

Several firsts for me. .

It was my first time to eat at a mall located in the South. I’m an East (Pasig) and North person and well, you can throw Makati there also but I seldom find myself in the South area. It was also my first time at Westgate and it seems to be our version of Eastwood. There were several restaurants and coffee shop in the area.

It was also my first time at a Hawaiian-themed restaurant. As well, a first time to try the luau fests.

Luau Fest: food served in banana leaves meant to be shared.

Boracay-themed luau fest

Our choice of theme for the luau fest was a hit. The bagoong rice was made of bagoong balayan (anchovy sauce) and not of bagoong alamang (shrimp paste). I never knew bagoong balayan tasted good with rice. Combined with grilled squid, chicken, liempo, eggplant and okra – it was a hearty Filipino dish. It felt like we were actually beside a beach and enjoying a grilled dinner.

The other group tried these:

Davao Gulf (mostly served with salsa;
came with mango salsa, pomelo salad, cucumber salad and kilawin;
with crab rice)

Japanese Hawaiian (with pineapple pork rice)

Hula Hula is a must try especially for the experience. I have yet to try their crabs and famous belly chops.

Located @:

Business Development-Commercial Centers, FAI Administration Bldg. Alabang-Zapote Road, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang
Muntinlupa City

Sunday, July 20, 2008


It was already late in the afternoon and past our lunchtime when we finally left Pagsanjan. Starving, we were desperate for something to eat. But being in an adventurous mood, we didn’t want to opt for Jollibee or any other fastfood we could easily eat at at Manila. Besides, we were looking for a restaurant that shall serve Filipino food. After all, we were in the far South. I recommended a restaurant at the town of Bay but it was just far and opposite our direction. We then headed to another known eatery at the town of Kalayaan which was just a few kilometers of Pagsanjan.

We were determined to be daring so we decided on eating at Exotik. The name can’t be more original. LOL. And true to their name, they serve exotic food – those dishes that we do not normally eat.

The area that the restaurant occupies is quite vast. As we were waiting for our food, we explored the area a little bit. There was a small pool upstairs but I’m thinking it was just for design. There was also a store downstairs selling pasalubong. The real highlight of the resto was the creatures we discovered while exploring the place. There were huge snakes in cages. The caretaker of the resto said that these snakes were ‘harmless’ and friendly. Some of us were brave enough to prove that. I wasn’t.

(Some of my friends who were fearless enough to come near the huge snakes).

As for the food, we actually ordered only three exotic dishes. The rest were the normal, safe food.

(L-R, Top: Sinigang na Baboy and fried whole chicken
Bottom: pinakbet and chicken curry)
I can remember how the meat in the sinigang had more of fat instead of the meat.

I still prefer the food at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan sa Bay. Food there was full of flavor and tasted home-cooked. Food was just ok at Exotik but just for the experience of trying a unique resto – Exotik is worth eating at.

(T - B: fried palaka (frog), ginataang kuhol (snails cooked in coconut milk), sizzling baboy ramo (wild boar)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Litratong Pinoy: Luntian

(Dapat sana kuha ng La Salle ang aking lahok sa linggong ito. Di nga lang ako nakapasok sa klase noong nakaraang Sabado kaya di ako nakakuha ng larawan. Sayang).

Ito na lang ang aking lahok. Isa ito sa mga paborito kong larawan. Kuha ito sa Calirana Resort kung saan kami namalagi ng ilang araw noong Mayo ng aking mga kaibigan. Ang bata sa larawan ay anak ng tagapag-alaga ng nasabing resort.

Noong nakaraang Sabado lang ay nasa Caliraya uli ako. Ang lawa ng Caliraya ay matatagpuan sa bayan ng Lumban sa Laguna. Ngayon naman ay sa Caliraya Recreation Center kami namalagi. Maganda ang lugar na iyon at maraming outdoor activities na pwedeng gawin. Ilalahad ko na lang sa mga susunod na araw. Ito naman ang mga kuha ko sa lugar na iyon.

so many things to do

1. review for two midterm exams - one for tomorrow and the other on Saturday

2. finish several pending CGQ for reviews
3. prepare for Level 3 training next week

- secure (again) a transfer credential from UP since La Salle somehow lost it during their transition from the Makati to the Taft campus
- a Jollibee party for kids from a day care center (this Friday)

- dinner with college friends for Mic's birthday
- watch The Dark Knight
- watch A Very Special Love (kakakilig!)
- a trip somewhere North from the 27th to the 29th

August, what's in store for you?


Monday, July 14, 2008

Shooting the Rapids @ Pagsanjan

Over the weekend, my officemates and I visited the famed Pagsanjan Falls at Caviniti, Laguna. How was the experience? It was exhilarating and a mixture of all sorts. At the beginning, it was really scary. Halfway though, the experience was just really fun.

Prior to going to Pagsanjan, we have already contacted a resort to facilitate us with the boat ride. As posted by Anton Diaz in his blog, there are several illegal flaggers who will try to convince you to get the boat ride from them. When we stopped to meet our contact, there were indeed several men who approached us and tried to convince us to get the boat ride from them. Our contact directed us to a house which had several rooms for staying there or just for changing clothes. We were not planning to stay overnight so we just used the resort to shower and change clothes.

We were a total of 15 people and so we rented five boats (three persons each). As soon as I sat at the boat, a wave of fear swept over me. I do not know how to swim. I do not trust the life vests which they provided us as those seemed to be just hand made and not of high quality. I was overly sensitive with the slightest movement or tilt of the boat. I was seated in the middle. If the person in front of me looks behind, the boat moves immediately and I was really frightened. I was feeling that way because I do not know how to swim. It actually takes time for one to get comfortable with the boat ride.

About 30 minutes of the ride, the boat was traveling through calm waters. The view of which were the various houses beside the lake. As we went deeper into the woods, we were greeted with various trees and rocks around us. It was a beautiful sight.

After the calm waters were the flowing rapids and huge rocks along the path. These were the parts where the boatmen had to carry the boat for us to pass through. Indeed, it was a difficult task. There were three of us in the boat; surely we were heavy to carry.

A few more meters ahead, there was a stop over for the boatmen. There was small store there selling refreshments to the tourists and the boat men. The food being sold was priced steeply (softdrinks in can for P50). We then proceeded with the boat ride, with the huge rocks becoming more frequent. After about an hour we finally reached the legendary falls.

Of course, we wouldn’t miss experiencing Pagsanjan Falls. For a fee of P90, we rode a bamboo raft which will pass through the falls. The ride promises a once-in-a-lifetime experience of massage under the falls. Tip: It’s best to seat at the left part of the raft. That is the section that will surely be hit by the falls and will guarantee that massage. The feel of the waterfall was so strong. The irony of which is it was also relaxing. The water was cold but felt pleasant to the skin. We stayed for a while inside the small opening behind the falls, feeling the splash of the falls on us.

We then went back and headed to our boats which will bring us to the resort. This time no longer was I nervous. I’ve already gotten use to the feeling of the boat and wasn’t scared anymore. This time also it was easier to navigate through the river as we weren’t against the currents. It was thrilling every time the boat falls down from a high level. The perfect ending: it was raining when we went back.

We gave the boatmen P200 each as tip. Some of the boatmen didn’t ask for a tip. Some dropped hints for a tip. There were signs posted in the bridge that tipping is illegal and must be reported to the Pagsanjan tourism office or to the mayor. Considering that it was a difficult job and they have to wait more than a week for another chance of a boat ride, the tip can be considered reasonable.

The towns of Pagsanjan and Caviniti in Laguna are just two hours away from Manila. Planning a trip there is really quite easy. And best of all, you can cross Pagsanjan Falls from your list of must see spots in the country. I already did.

Boat Ride: P660
Tip to boatmen: P200 each, 2 men in a boat
Raft ride: P90

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Throwdown with Bobby Flay

I am not a big fan of Bobby Flay. Well, actually not at all. He is my least favorite Iron Chef. I find him too arrogant. I do not really find his masterpieces that amazing. If you regularly watch Iron Chef America, you might have observed that he is fond of using green and red sauces, both of which were extracted from chili. Somehow that leads me to a very undue conclusion that he is not that creative. Yes, I may be that cruel.

When my Saturday afternoons are free as I go straight home from school, I usually enjoy the time relaxing – just lying in bed and browsing through different channels. Usually I would just be flipping between Lifestyle Network or the Asian Food Channel, with an occasional dose of HBO or Star Movies if there is a good picture showing. Once I came upon Bobby Flay challenging the very nice-looking Michelle Doll in the creation and design of a wedding cake. Doll is well-known for her cake designs and a regular for hip New Yorker brides. As I later realized the format of the show is like this: The crew would search for the best ‘food’ being sold – it may be cake, ice cream, bbq, pizza and many others. The creators of these best foods would then be asked to feature their talent and creation in a food show sponsored by the Lifestyle Network. What they do not know is halfway through the show – Bobby Flay barges in proposing a throw down. In this case, Flay challenges Doll that he can make the better tasting and looking cake. Of course, Flay does not come unprepared in every challenge. After all, he is aiming to win. Backed by a team of culinary experts, he practices and alters recipe good enough to face up to the connoisseur.

I have only seen four episodes – cake, doughnut, pizza and fried chicken – all of which Bobby Flay did not win the challenge (perhaps the reason why I like the show LOL). He came close though to winning the pizza and cake challenges.

I enjoy watching the show because it showcases food experts who sometimes are not at all chefs with formal training. They just happen to love food and had the passion to experiment and come up with the best tasting type of food that one can taste. The best doughnut maker worked in the basement of his home for five years perfecting the recipe of his now best-sellers doughnut. If only I live in the States, I’d want to try the restaurants and stores of these food enthusiasts. It makes me wonder who cooks the best Filipino food. Who bakes the tastiest chocolate cake in the Philippines? Who cooks the best sinigang? Where are the not so well-known restaurants whose food are home-cooked and simply the best? Hmm, sometimes I just have to go blog-hopping and perhaps I’d find the answer already. Perhaps it will be another throwdown, if I’m home this Saturday.

Here is the cake Michelle Doll created for the challenge.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Litratong Pinoy: Tatak Pinoy

Nakakaaliwalas uminom ng sariwang buko, lalo na ung manamis-namis.
Ang kare-kare ay masarap kainin kasabay ng ginisang bagoong.
Leche Flan, bilang panghimagas, gusto mo? Kapag ako ang kumakain ng leche flan, nilalagyan ko ng maraming arnibal.
Sa UP naman may sikat na isaw. Alam mo ba na sa Tagaytay - malalaki ang kanilang isaw at kulay pula dahil sa ketchup?
Sa Tagaytay, masarap ang mainit na sabaw ng bulalo. Kilala ang bayan ng Batangas sa putaheng ito.
Masarap akong magluto ng menudo. Gusto ko sa luto ko ay maraming atay.
Sa mga pulutan naman ay di mawawala ang sisig.
Kapag maulan, masarap ang mainit na sabaw. Lalong masarap kung ito ay maasim katulad ng sinigang na bangus sa miso.
Ang halo-halo ay sikat na panghimagas. Ito yata ang bersyon natin ng shaved ice. Paborito kong lahok ang saging at langka.
Sa pagluluto ng kaldereta, ang ginagamit ko ay atay ng manok. Gusto ko ang maanghang na kaldereta.
Sa may Laguna ko kinain ang sinigang na tuna belly sa larawan. Malinamnam!
Ang pinakapaborito kong almusal ay tapsilog. Gusto ko ang malasadong luto ng itlog. Sa Pancake House ko kinain ang tapsilog sa larawan.
Nilagang okra at bagoong isda- pinakasimpleng paraan ng pagluluto, pero sobrang sarap!
Banana que (matamis na saging na may asukal) - ito ay parte ng miryendang Pinoy!
At ang kahit anong prito ay pinapasarap ng sawsawan na toyo na mayroong asim ng kalamansi at anghang ng sili.

Pitumpung libo at isang-daa't pitong lasa at linamnam.

Tatak Pinoy!