December 22, 2013

D'Mall's Boracay

D'Mall is  Boracay Island's tourist trap. D'Mall strip is laden with shops selling all sorts of beach stuffs you can think off (but beware that prices here are quite steep compared to Boracay's D'Talipapa)

If you are going pasalubong shopping, I suggest you skip D'Mall and head straight to D'Talipapa.  There are more choices there at half the price. 

Viewsite Restaurant and Seafood Inihaw - Go the extra mile!

Looking for a place to eat in Tagaytay for lunch is hell ~ oh, especially if you are picky and want a table with a view! 

You would be lucky to get in and be served right away.  We had to drive a couple of miles outside Tagaytay's busy main highway, to finally find a decent (and not full) place to eat with a view.

AMBIANCE:  Laid back and rustic, like most of the restaurants in Tagaytay, with a very good view of the famous Lake Taal and Taal Volcano. 

Like most Tagaytay Restaurants they also have local entertainers, who were amazing in belting out fairly new English and Tagalog songs.  My youngest sang with them, when they started singing the Filipino hit song "Pusong Bato" and Bruno Mars' "Lazy Song" (hahaha, I was about to request for Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball").

FOOD:  We ordered, Inihaw Platter (Included grilled sugpo, tuna belly, grilled pork, talong ensalada), pansit and chopsuey.  The waiter gave us free bulalo soup (plus additional refill, hehehe!!!). 

PRICE:  Less expensive than Leslie's, RSM, and other main road Tagaytay Restaurant, but comparable in taste and quality.

(Oh need, I say more?)
VERDICT:  Obviously under rated!  
Go the extra mile and try out Viewsite Restaurant. You would enjoy the food, the entertainment and the free view.
 Recommended for families and balikbayans!
Viewsite Restaurant and Seafood Inihaw is located at Batangas Highway Mendez Crossing West, Tagaytay City.

Orale' - my first real Mexican restaurant!

 This restaurant made me into a burritos addict and I never liked Mexican food to begin with!

Mexican slang word: Orale' literal English translation is "what's up"!  So what's up with this restaurant?
ATMOSPHERE: Relaxed and casual during 11am early lunch time.  Not sure how busy they get at night, when yuppies roam and rule BGC..., to enjoy your lunch try to come in early or make reservations.

Restaurant design is contemporary and laid back.   

FOOD:  Sorry I forgot to take pictures.  I was too busy munching, I forgot to take proofs...

For our group of three (2 ladies and a gentleman, ehem) we ordered burritos, quesadillas and arroz platillos - carnitas (since lunch is not lunch without rice for our male collegue) with soda.

Servings (especially the burritos) was huge and very filling (burp, burp, burp...)!

I am not a Mexican food fan, so I would not really know if they serve the best burritos. I enjoyed Orale's and was satisfied!!!

PRICE: P300-400 per person.  I think it was reasonable for the size servings.

VERDICTS: I would recommend this restaurant for Mexican dish first timers.  I would definitely be back and bring my family to try their other dishes.

Must try their burritos.  If you are not sure, of what to order ask for recommendations from one of the friendly and super nice attendants.

If you don't like spices, tell the waiters in advance and have the spices placed on the side.  They are more than happy to oblige.

ORALE' has a branch at the G/F, The Fort Strip,
7th & 28th Street, BGC Taguig City, Metro Manila.  It
is open daily from 11AM to 11PM Daily
Phone: (02) 552-2660

December 16, 2013

Glamour Box - Oh, La, La (happy)!!! - Santa's Secret (December 2013)


I have a penchant for nice deals and offers and was easily gravitated to a blog on a gift box containing surprise beauty product items.  
I decided on getting Glamour Box (GB) over BDJ Box based on reviews I have read on the net. 
Transacting was easy, I opted for online card payment and received my package 3 days after, as promised.
I was so, so excited to open my box!
The box looked elegant and expensive; and it was heavy..., I can't wait to see what is inside.

My box contains five (5) items and two (2) gift fillers.
  • Face 2 Change CC cream by Holika Holika (I was a little disappointed that it was just a sampler size - see the black tube in the picture? I haven't tried this yet.).  Full size 50ml tube, costs P855
  • Pure Mellow Multi-Puff also by Holika Holika (used for face application of cream type beauty products) - costs P265 (quite expensive for such a small face puff.
  • Only Imagine perfume by Avon - Full size 50ml costs P1500 (This I love!!!  Scent stays on and lasts for more than 8 hours. I saw it on an Avon catalogue and really costs P1500)
  • Bath Cream by The Cream Factory - Full size 768ml costs P699 (I was hesitant to use it at first, but when I finally got to try it,  I was 101% sold...)
  • Kitchen Fragrance by Zen Zest (again a sampler size) - Full size 250ml costs P250 (they sent me a choco cappuccino scent, I tried it in my kitchen - it was okay, but I am not a fan, it was a little too overwhelming - smelled like real cappuccino spilled on my rugs).
Add on fillers:
  • Skincare samples
  • Fashion Necklace by Fabulosa 

VERDICT - Not bad for P595 box subscription. 

I love my Avon "Only Imagine" perfume and The Cream Factory's "Bath Cream".  I hope GB sends more of these stuffs instead of sampler and gift fillers. 

Can't wait for my January GB!!!  More on Glamour Box, please follow this link ~


Toy-Con 2012

The visit to a Toy Congress (Toy-Con) is like entering a humongous playground cum toy store!  An entire afternoon is not enough if your are with children. 
My boys (including my husband) were thrilled with the sight of their favorite toys in extra large sizes!
Top favorites were the Transformers, the Philippine Map made entirely of Lego and Mr. Potato Head (my youngest can't resist a picture opportunity) !!!

There are plenty of activities inside, such as various live shows, raffles and games; characters' meet and greet; and sample toys for the kids (and kids at heart) to try and enjoy before buying.

CAUTION. Toys are sold at discounted prices, but still not cheap. It your kids can't be told that you are just looking, and not buying, I suggest you skip this activity and go elsewhere. 

Toy-Con is an regular event.  Check out this link for the 2013 Toy-Con schedule.

December 15, 2013

Ilog ni Maria Honey Bee Farm (road less travelled)!

I have read such good reviews of Ilog ni Maria from the internet. So, on our way home from our last Tagaytay trip, me and my boys decided to give this much reviewed stop over a visit.
It took us a while to find the place.  We had to stop for a couple a times and ask locals for directions (who similarly doesn't have a clue about what we are looking for).
When we finally saw the signage, we were led to an unpaved narrow (one-way) road.  It took us another 3-5 minutes to reach Ilog ni Maria.

We finally saw the farm entrance and a small shop, displaying the farm produce. 
I hurriedly took a small native shopping basket and began prowling the place for "pasalubong" and possible giftable items.  I got healing massage oils and propolis throat spray. 
My boys love night massages and Ilog Maria's massage oil were just perfect. 
Products and price, I think are comparable to other organic/eco-shops we have in Manila. I was expecting something extra (I think, this is a long way from home, after all.).

We were running a bit late and rain clouds seem readying a heavy downpour and had to cut our visit short.

Alas, we were  unable to tour the rest of the farm... that could have made the extra mile travel to Ilog ni Maria more worthwhile. 

Maybe next time!

For details on how to get to Ilog ni Maria, please follow this link.

Museum of History

Hong Kong has obvious high regards of its history and culture.  For such a small country, it boasts more than 50 first class museums. They have a museum for just about everything... 
One of our favorites, whenever we are visiting is the HK's Museum of History. 
My kids love the replicas and re-creation of old Hong Kong. 
A visit to this museum was more like a make pretend game rather than a education fieldtrip. 



 If you are travelling with kids to HK, I suggest you go museum hopping and experience first class museums which are actually both fun and informative.

December 6, 2013

Porta Verde (Gate to Greenery)

 I snatched an overnight stay for me and my family at Porta Verde Resort in Cavinti Laguna 
through a group buying site. 
I thought it would be a perfect-unwind-weekend from the hustles of work; and I was correct!
I was surprised at how fast we reached our destination via Lumban-Caliraya-Cavinti Road.  In just less than 2 hours smooth travel from Taytay Rizal we were warmly welcomed by Porta Verde's friendly resort staff.
Road condition was perfect (newly paved road, with ongoing widening of the highway), less the toll fees and traffic, if we opted for SLEX. 
We would definitely be regular visitors of Laguna and Quezon, from this time on!
PORTA VERDE is truly breath-taking.  
We are surrounded by Mother Nature at its finest, the resort fronts Lake Lumot (a man-made lake), with the Sierra Madre Mountain ranges as our backdrop.  The cloudless starry night accompanied by a symphony of insects completed the "back to nature" ambiance.
We felt like camping with the luxury of electricity, soft beds and air-conditioning.  However, there are no televisions and wifi signal was quite low (although Smart gets in sometimes).  This is perfect if you want real bonding time with your family.  
The resort has 5 suites and 3 cabanas.  We stayed at the Catmon Terrazo Suites.  It has a sala, a working kitchen and 2 bedrooms-the master's bedroom has a queen size bed, the other bedroom has 2 single beds, in the sala are 2 huge day bed (I would say it could fit 8 comfortably).  There are 2 bathrooms- 1 inside the master's bedroom and another one outside.  The Catmon Terrazo has a spacious veranda with a commanding view of the entire resort.
Our package included free boat tour of Lake Lumot. 
The boys were so excited they jumped on board the motorized banca and did not bother putting on life vests.  I was shocked to learn after that the lake goes up to 100ft deep and abounds with huge (50kilos heavy) bass fishes (that info should have been given earlier - what if the boat capsizes? 


The lake was calm and the wind refreshing as Lumot Lake is a freshwater lake. 
Porta has huge grounds for the kids to roam around and learn a bit or two about getting dirty and chasing bugs (my boys had loads of laugh).

My boys having fun!!!

My boys working out their appetite!

The resort pool was cold, but that did not stop my boys from getting wet.

Striking a pose  (or should say taking a break before climbing the stairs)!

The Catmon Terrazo Suite!

The view from the Catmon veranda was just lovely!  I can spend hours just admiring the view.

VERDICT:  Price is quite steep and would wait for another deal to come, before returning.  Our package was a real steal at 50% off, paying full, however would be a different story.
The resort has no restaurant, so you would have to bring everything in to cook your meals.  This could be a bother to others who would rather just enjoy and relax. 
As for our accommodations (I cannot say anything about the other suites/cabanas since I never got to see them).  I am sure the Catmon Suite had been splendid in its heyday.  The structure has aged and traces of which already showing on its interiors, walls, ceiling and furniture. The accommodations looked better in pictures.
The view, however, is undeniably perfect and enough for one to decide to comeback for more!

PORTA VERDE CAVINTI  is located Lumban-Caliraya-Cavinti Rd, Cavinti Laguna. 
You may contact Telephone: 632 807-8414 or 8405 or Mobile phone: +63 922 813 3950 / +63 907 556 4214  for inquiries and bookings.
Please see also related article of our relaxing Lake Lumot boat ride.


December 3, 2013

Porta Verde Boat Ride

The Lake Lumot boat tour came free with our Porta Verde overnight package. 
It was a 20 minutes tour via a motorized banca around Lake Lumot.  Lake Lumot is man-made reservoir / embankment dam for the Kalayaan hydroelectric plant located in Cavinti Laguna.


Sunset view may not be as magnificent as the others we have in the Philippines, but this one is still special, viewed from a man-made lake surrounded by mountain ranges.

December 2, 2013

Tok's Manggahan Foodhaus (and everythingelse)

Lunch at Tok's Manggahan Foodhaus was purely accidental! 
We were on our way home from Porta Verde in Cavinti Laguna to Taytay Rizal via the National Hi-way.  It was  running late and everyone in the car (including my husband-driver) was near irksome from hunger!!!
My husband stopped by the first food house/restaurant he saw and before we knew it, we were already seated at Tok's Manggahan Foodhaus for lunch!
The restaurant's façade looked exotic and rather expensive. 
My family loves trying new things and exotic seems appetizing at the moment.  We were celebrating a special occasion, so I thought an exotic restaurant would be perfect. 
However, lo and behold, we were dumbfounded to learn that we entered a canteen "turo-turo" type restaurant (lol, my dad was easy on his pocket this time and offered to foot the bill - he was of course just joking)! 
The food was decent and the place seemed clean.
The bill:  We were a party of very hungry 9 pax (7 adults and 2 kids) - my husband ordered: everything on the food display table, rice, drinks and dessert and ended paying P500. 
Plus: The restaurant doubles as a "pasalubong" center.
On one corner they have sweets, native delicacies from Laguna and nearby Quezon.  On the other is a gift shop, where you can get cute, inexpensive fashion jewelries, trinkets, bags and blouses, slippers.  Talk about maximizing space!
Tok's Manggahan Foodhaud is located along the National Hi-way of Fami, Laguna.

Please see my related post on Porta Verde Resort.

November 20, 2013

Bulawan (not) Floating Restaurant

It was a fine Saturday morning for a road trip.  So we packed our bags and headed off to
Cavinti Laguna from Taytay Rizal via Manila East and Lumban-Caliraya-Cavinti Road.
It was almost noon time and I swear I heard my kiddos' tummies grumbling.  Along Pilillia Rizal main highway we saw the Bulawan Floating Restaurant signage.  Without hesitation, my hubby entered the restaurant's gates and hurriedly parked the car (I guess he is hungry as well :). 
We were greeted by the restaurant's waiters and led to the main pavilion (I was eyeing a more private seating, but the private cottages where all occupied).

I was immediately given the menu and proceeded to ordering for my family of 9. 
I ordered buko, 2 sets of halo-halong inihaw, halo-halong sinigan, buko pastel, 2 orders of pansit. According to the waiter, each order is good for 3 pax, but for a hungry road-tripping family I would say each order was only good for 2).
They have huge tables.  It was difficult to pass the food around, one would have to stand to reach across. 

The first to arrive is my dad's order of buko! 

The halo-halong inihaw, included - tilapia, hito, pusit, liempo (with side vegetables: okra and talong).

The halo-halong sinigang meanwhile included - hipon, alimasag and fresh fish catch.
My boys while waiting for the rest of our entourage to finish, gamely posed for picture taking.

Bulawan's main pavilion.


FOOD and PRICING- Food was good, not splendid.  I also find the servings quite small for the price (average 300-400 per order). 

AMBIANCE- Since it was an open area, there were plenty of flies hovering around. A fly literally dived into our Singing.  It was a constant struggle to keep them off your food.

SERVICE - The crew were nice and friendly.  I requested for fish feed (since the restaurant has an area for fishing and I thought my kids will love seeing fish feeding) and one of the attending waiters nicely got me fish feeds for free.  Unfortunately, the fishes must have been sleeping or probably just had lunch 😄, since we did not see any.  I was a little disappointed.

Overall it was a good experience. Not sure if I will be back though.  There were plenty of other restaurants in the area and I would gladly try them out first before any repeat!

So is it floating - not really!  The cottages are not on stilts and were in fact made of concrete.

Bulawan Floating Restaurant is located at
Km. 59, Manila East Road, National Highway, Halayhayin in Pilillia Rizal (Contact No. 585-3234).

November 19, 2013

A Ninjago Birthday Party for a 5 Year Old!

I thought it was a cute idea to have a Ninjago Birthday Party.  My 5year old is a Ninjago fan, so a Ninja themed party was an obvious easy decision. 
The excitement, however, was short lived and ended right after I started scouting for party supplies and give-aways.  There were no readily available party supplies on ninja parties and had to rely on my DIY prowess (lol!).
Booking the venue was the easiest part of the party prep.
My 5 years old told me that ninjas love pizza (he pointed out the Ninja Turtles, hmmn) so we ended booking the event at Shakeys. 
I sourced Ninjago pictures from the ever dependable internet and designed this "save the date invites" and posted it in facebook to set the tone of the party.

The tarp was designed by MKA de signs printing.  Very efficient and well made. 


There were very limited ninja costumes in the market, so I ordered this through Amazon online.  He specifically requested for a green ninja, which apparently is the color of  "Ninjago Lloyd". 

This was one of the party teasers I posted in the fb event page. 

Finding a family costume was difficult, good I chanced upon this online shop - The Krafty Junkie that sells customized Ninjago shirts.  I had the shirts labeled as follows:

  • Master of Spinjitsu (green shirt, Spinjitsu is the Ninjago martial arts ) - for the celebrant
  • Big Bro San (blue shirt, "san" means mr. in Japanese) - for my eldest (kuya)
  • Sensei (red shirt, "sensei" means teacher) - for me
  • Dai-Sensei (black shirt, dai-sensei means great teacher) - for hubby

Krafty Junkie is very efficient.  The shirts were nicely printed.  I got very good feedback from our guests!



I got the Ninjago cake concept also from the internet.  I gave the design to Toy Cakes and was quite pleased with the end result. Tastes good and very reasonably priced.  Highly recommended.

Toy Cakes contact number is (0906) 2959093). 

Shakeys Ortigas Extension has ample parking and fits 70 easily.  However, I had over 90+ guests and had problems sitting them.  I can't seem to find the crew nor the manager.  I had to make several follow ups for additional chairs and personally find chairs for my guests...

Loot bags came with the party amenities.  You can opt to exclude, but find the goodies inside of good quality and decided to keep. 

I also ordered Ninjago pillows for additional give aways, but I forgot to take pictures.  Fortunately found them posted in my suppliers (Jmxstudios net) sulit page.  I used the pillows as game prizes. 

I ordered Shakey's Monster Meal and had it served buffet style. 


I ordered personalize Ninjago shirts for my son's classmates.  I got their names in advance and had it printed on the shirts.  I thought it was a nice touch to the party theme.
All his classmates were present in their Ninjago shirts. 
William the Magician was a big hit with the kids.  He took charge of the games, did fabulous magic and ventriloquism. 

After party picture taking...

One tired, but happy ninja~!