June 29, 2014

PMA Museum

Have you been to the PMA Museum? 
Well it was a must go, during our last Baguio vacation for our military wannabes kiddos.
The museum is small and outdated. 
There is a video presentation in the entrance gallery and mannequins in PMA cadet uniforms from yesteryears.
There is model cadet room on display, but that is just about it.  About 85% of the exhibit are photos.  Not very enticing.

My boys love  museums here and abroad, and so I was not surprised to hear my youngest quipped, "..so Ma, what happened to the rest of museum?" 
We were literally finished 10 minutes, right after paying the P10 entrance fee. The place needs major revamp. 

June 22, 2014

Our PMA Fieldtrip

My boys have always been fascinated with men in uniform, with my youngest wanting to be a soldier.  What better way to fuel their dreams but by bringing them to the primary military institution in the country.
So in our last Baguio vacation, we found ourselves on a field trip with the kiddos to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
PMA grounds has been kept pristine clean and refreshing.
Picture perfect playground with the most relaxing of atmosphere.
One of the highlights of our PMA trip are the model tanks and helicopters.

I was a bit saddened my boys did not get to see marching cadets. Although we did manage to take glimpses of cadets walking in unison - good enough, hopefully next time we will strike lucky. 
(a) Drop by the souvenir shops and buy PMA shirts and PMA trinkets for cool "pasalubong".
(b) Visit the PMA webpage and read its history to get better appreciation of your trip.
(c) Head off and check the PMA Museum, it may be small, but still worth the visit. 
(d) PMA is very strict on traffic rules.   Remember to cross the street using the  pedestrian lane and maintain car speed while driving.
(e) Don't wear slippers as these are not permitted inside the academy.

SOUL Cafe - Back for More!

We are no strangers to La Union's SOUL Café,
although admittedly it has been a
while since we were last here.
Good memories of this restaurant had us wanting to come back again!
It has aged a bit, but food remains great (that means delicious and affordable). 

Buffet breakfast from our Baguio hotel screwed up our appetite and we ended with a very late lunch
(or a "lurienda").

We ordered honey glaze porkchop and pork igado for lunch and pansit bihon for merienda and some  
strawberry crepe with coffee to finish our meal.

All our orders are sumptuous - clean plates testify.

I will always love a stop over at SOUL Café. 
SOUL Café is located at Mcarthur Hiway, Camp One, Rosario La Union visit their facebook webpage for more details. 


June 21, 2014

Forest House Bistro and Cafe Baguio

I had to make sure, that we get in, the famous Forest House Bistro and Café this time!  The last uneventful visit, when we were refused entry (since I underestimated the place and forego reservations) - was truly a bad experience
I called up Forest House and confirmed a dinner table for four. 
We came a little early for dinner and it was a good thing, since parking is limited and could be a nightmare if we came a little later.
The place was half full when we came in.  The place is intimate and nicely decorated in cottage-country home motif and lovely eye candy trinkets all over. 
There is a small veranda outside,
but view wasn't as terrific as I thought.  
We ordered the house specialties from L-R/T-B, Forest House wine sauced chicken, mini burgers with fries, fettuccine carbonara and baby back ribs.
AMBIANCE - Homey and relaxed, however, I was disappointed with the view. I was expecting more.  BenCab's Café Sabel has by far a more superior view and would choose Café Sabel on the basis of view alone.
STAFF - Nice and attentive, but service is quite slow.
PRICE - On the expensive side. 
FOOD - Good, but not exceptional.  The carrot cake that we ordered was perfect with our Forest House coffee.
Next time, we would probably be back for an afternoon coffee or tea, with one of their yummy deserts.



June 19, 2014

Revisiting Azalea Residences

We were so pleased with our previous stay at Azalea, so a repeat stay was an obvious no brainer.  We were back for the 2nd time for a quick last minute vacation before school officially opens.
I got a 1 bedroom loft via Agoda.com.  I think it was a very good deal that came with buffet breakfast. 
I was half-awed to see how spacious the room is.   The room is 45sq m.  It has a bedroom with a queen size bed and a sofa bed in the living room (sleeps 4 comfortably). The place is so big it can fit probably another 2-3 single beds more.
The room also came with 2 LCD TVs with cable (however, I find the channels were very limited) and DVD players. 
Like the previous room we stayed in the last time, there is a working kitchen and dining area with full size refrigerator, microwave oven. 
Unfortunately, the 1 bedroom loft does not offer a view.  The windows were small and too high.  Not much natural lights comes into the room. I actually find it too dimmed.  Would have loved to get a view and some fresh Baguio air.

The bathroom is clean, but has a wet wood smell.  Complimentary toiletries were just okay. Hot water was, however, near impossible to get. 

Having said that, this place is still perfect for travelling families who would like to save a few bucks by cooking their own meals instead of outside dining.  Huge rooms at very reasonable price.

TIPS: Bring lots of DVD movies for the kids to watch as the cable channels were limited. 

June 17, 2014

Matutina's Seafood House and Restaurant (the real deal)!

If you are looking for an authentic Filipino dining experience in Pangasinan, I suggest a stop over at Matutina's
(skip the annexes and head to the original branch; we were at  Matutina's Annex I branch last time and we were a bit disappointed).

The main branch is beautiful. It's ceiling is adorned with exquisite capiz tile chandeliers. 
The restaurant has an outdoor seating next to a small but lovely garden and an indoor air-conditioned room for those who would like to escape the summer heat.

We wanted to keep our orders simple (since I over ordered in our initial visit - for sharing orders are quite big and we were not very hungry, and decided on their breakfast viands).

From L-R, T-B we ordered (a) 2 sets boneless bangus; (b) turon (with generous portions of  saging and langka); (c) complimentary bukayo sweets; and (d) 2 sets longsilog  (not in picture is our pitcher or brewed tea and coffee

Our orders were all spot on.  I especially enjoyed the boneless bangus and turon (yummy). Ambiance is way, way better here than at the annex. Staff here were very amiable and attentive as well.

We will definitely drop by the Original Matutina's again in our North Luzon adventure!

Le Monet Hotel - Our Family's Best Find Hotel at Camp John Hay, Baguio

To officially end summer, my husband and I decided on an impromptu last minute Baguio escape. I turned to the ever reliable Agoda.com for hotel promotions and found the perfect place for our rendezvous, the Le Monet Hotel.

The Le Monet Hotel is located in touristy Camp John Hay (CJH).  It may be troublesome to stay here if you will be using public transport, but CJH remains to be the best place to be at, when in Baguio. 
The surrounding pine trees and forest, cool climate and serene environment is what I have always loved about this city.
It's location makes Le Monet a more reasonably-priced alternative to expensive Camp John Hay Manor.

From L-R; (a) Flat TV with very good movie and children channels; (b) Our veranda with forest view; (c) Mini bar (prices not as expensive as I first thought); (d) Two huge twin beds which can fit a family of 4 comfortably

The hotel is spic and span and beautifully scented too. The carpet, linen and curtains looks newly washed.

We stayed in a deluxe twin with a forest view veranda (perfect for a cup of hot coffee or cocoa). I find the room quite small, but it has everything we needed for a comfortable stay.

From L-R Bathroom is immaculately clean (a) Separate shower with good hot and cold water; (b) A plus TV inside the bathroom, which my kiddos grew very fond of; (c) Toiletries (not much to say)  

It is truly a beautiful hotel and we love that it has a heated pool (I don't know any other hotels in Baguio with a heated pool).  Seems a bit zany, but my boys enjoyed swimming in Baguio.

Crazy boys swimming in cold Baguio City (remember to inform any of the attending staff ahead of you plan swimming so that they can pre-heat the pool, before diving in) 

Le Monet is indeed a perfect alternative to expensive Camp John Hay Manor.