Japan-eats! What to eat in Tokyo?

Aside from Sakura, Manga and Shinkansen, Japan captured our hearts through their cuisine. They are known to prepare food passionately. They set high standards when it comes to richness and flavorful taste of their local food.

So a trip to this beautiful country will not be complete without “food trip”. It has been a week since I tasted one of the well-loved cuisines in the world. So, for anyone of you who will explore Japan soon, hope my “What to eat in Tokyo?” helps.

🌸 Fresh sushi and sashimi for breakfast in Tsukiji Outer Market. Be there early. The market closes before 12noon.

🌸 Ichiran Ramen (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Roponggi and Asakusa). Experience self-service ordering machine and sip authentic tonkatsu broth ramen in one of the most famous ramen houses in Japan. It is worth the long queue.

🌸 Yakisoba, Spicy Ramen and Bread. For authentic Japanese delicacies, eat around Ameyoko Food Street in Ueno after doing some shopping. Mostly they don’t have english menu but it comes with pictures so dont be shy to ask. Saw one local ordered bread and dipped it in soya milk. I did the same and it’s really good.

🌸 Izakaya. Allot one night for an Izakaya experience. It is a typical after-work drinking place for Japanese. Here, you will eat small dishes while drinking draft beer or “sake”. You can find one in Golden Gai.

🌸 Takoyaki in Takoyaki Museum in Aqua City, Odaiba. I’m not really a fan of Octopus balls but Takoyaki in Japan tastes so good that I craved for another one the next day.

🌸 Tanuki dumplings and Chicken chops in Tanuki tea house in Kawaguchiko. Grab some snacks while enjoying the view of Mt. Fuji.

🌸 Taiyaki or fish-shaped cake in Akihabara. It comes with different filling. Most common are red bean, cheese, custard and chocolate.

🌸 Melon Pan in Sensoji Temple, Asakusa. It has a crisp outer layer but soft in the inside. The sweet smell is too hard to resist.

🌸 Tamagoyaki omelet in Tsukiji Market. Before eating fresh tuna and salmon, fill your belly with this cake-like omelet dish. Plus it only costs JPY100.

🌸 Matcha Ice Cream. Yes, we have it here in PH but of course the experience of eating Matcha ice cream in Tokyo is one for the books.

I haven’t tried other delicacies such as Yakitori, Japanese Green Tea and a lot more which means I have to come back. But for now, I’ll savor in my memory the flavors from my recent trip. Oishi! ❤️

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How Travel Changed My Life

Traveloka’s blog contest: “How Travel Changed My Life”

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 Station 2 Boracay Island (Aklan 2010)

2010 when I had my first taste of this obsession called traveling. It was a 3-day trip with friends in Boracay. Back then, flights were still very limited and expensive, so we booked a one way flight and decided to go back to Manila via RoRo. It was my first trip without my family, first trip outside Luzon, first trip that I financed myself; a completely new experience for me. From then on, I make it a point to travel at least once or twice a year. I was so fixated in booking flights just to get that stamps on my passport, ride a plane, visit tourist spots and to mark off my vacation leaves. As it turns out, my idea of traveling was very shallow.

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Ngong Ping Village (Lantau, Hong Kong, 2013)

April 2014, I finished my post graduate studies. After surpassing all the challenges in school while working, I decided to reward myself with a vacation on Holy Week. I longed to experience that kind of traveling where you are on your own, commuting, just your feet and your adventure instinct. While watching television, a travel show featured Pampanga and its delicacies. Given the accessibility and its sophisticated culinary creations, Pampanga seemed to be a perfect weekend getaway. I was telling one of my good friends about it and later on found out that he too wanted to get a taste on what the province has to offer. Although it was supposed to be a solo adventure but a friend’s company is very much welcome. I made a deal with him that I will be on top of the planning. I did my homework pretty seriously – Google, maps, blogs and friends from Pampanga were of great help. On the day of our trip, we found ourselves off to an exciting adventure. We wandered around Pampanga riding jeeps, walked under the scorching heat, got lost, congratulate ourselves when we got the directions right, endured starvation because most of the stores were closed in observance of Holy Week and made us extend our stay for us to taste  Gill’s Sherbet when it opened on Easter Sunday. I can go on and on to tell every bits and pieces of our travel but all I wanted to say is that, that trip changed my outlook in traveling.

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Enjoying Gill’s Sherbet (Nepo Mart, Angeles City, Pampanga, 2014)

Planning your own trips will require you to be on top of every detail. As you go through the process, you will find interesting facts about the place, you will uncover its rich history and customs, the curiosity about each destination will ignite. Traveling made me appreciate the beauty of the busy streets, dining in carinderia with that long line of local eaters, riding jeepneys, tricycles, habal-habal or buses, visiting museums and galleries, unfolding its antiquity and experiencing how the locals live.

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Balete Tree or Millenium Tree (Aurora Province, 2014)

As I discover Philippines and other countries, I also discover more about myself. Traveling helped me to gain control of my ability to plan my own trip. It challenged my patience, tolerance and fears. There were times when we got lost, rain poured hard, stomach ached, items misplaced and committed mistakes after mistakes. All these are there to test our judgment, our composure and our capabilities. Misunderstandings and disagreements are inevitable when traveling with companions, but you will be surprised on how at the same time, traveling will strengthen your relationships with them. While I have my own faith, travel has taught me to respect other’s traditions, religion and beliefs. Truly, a different perspective was unfolded in me.

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Big Lagoon (El Nido, Palawan, 2014)

Most importantly, traveling imparts gratitude and appreciation. Reading blogs from other travelers equipped me on how to organize my trips. It readied my expectations, what to try, where to go, and what to do and not do, etc. As a way of giving back, I decided to create my own blog site where I can talk about my travel experiences and share my discoveries and takeaways. I made my Instagram page a venue where I can post places I visited and the story that lies behind it. I owe it to other travelers like me, that I may contribute even modest information to their future travels. More so, to the locals of the places that I’ve been to, it’s my own little way to help them promote their tourism. I maybe an amateur blogger and yet to explore more places, but I will do my best to advocate history and culture of every place that I will visit.

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Chinese Temple (Chinatown, Singapore, 2015)

How travel changed our lives may differ, whatever it maybe, we are one more of a person right after every travel. Each experience will add up to a person we’ve become. For me, traveling is a responsibility. It’s up to each one of us on how we will make use of our experiences in traveling.

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Kuya Din, our habal-habal driver who we had a deep conversation about Mindanao’s tradition and Muslim religion (Samal Island, Davao del Norte 2016)

Along the way, I not only found purpose in traveling but I also found someone to do it together with, my good friend who accompanied me in Pampanga. It has been three years that we have been navigating together and we are just getting started.

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To more travels! (Patapat Viaduct, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, 2017)

Link: www.traveloka.com/en-ph/how-travel-changed-my-life-blogger-contest

#TravelokaPH #WhyITravel  #TravelokaStories

Tagaytay Country Hotel: One good deal at Metrodeal

Sharing with you a good deal that I bought in Metrodeal.

Affordable, relaxing and accesible, these spells out Tagaytay. With just an hour and half drive from Manila, surely it is a sweet escape. It was my first time to purchase an accommodation voucher from Metrodeal for an overnight stay in Tagaytay Country Hotel for Php2899. Expensive as it may seem, read over and discover what else does it offer.

The place.

You may proceed to bus terminals in Buendia Taft or Cubao and choose from any bus line going to Nasugbu, Batangas like DLTB, Ceres or you may also consider Erjohn and Almark bus passing along Ayala avenue going to Olivarez, Tagaytay. The hotel is accessible, located along Aguinaldo Highway. You have to alight at Olivarez bus terminal/stop. The hotel is located across Olivarez Collage. In case you get lost or need assistance, hotel receptionists are very helpful. You may call them and they will guide you through. The deal I got was for a superior room (twin-sharing) good for 2 persons. The room is spacious with its own bathroom, cabinet, refrigerator and cable TV. Towels, toiletries and slippers are readily available.

Front View

hotel lobby

The reception area

where the wifi connection is a lot stable

The spa

What’s so hot with the deal? It comes with a 45-minute body massage or 45-minute body scrub at La Costa Spa. The spa is located within the compound of the hotel. At the entrance, the masseuse will welcome you cheerfully. About five rooms were located in the second floor and can accommodate just the same number of individuals. We both opted for body massage. The staff were courteous and will ask you each time if the pressure is ok. I usually go for soft massage and I had a relaxing experience with La Costa Spa. What is missing though is the sound of soothing music, no complimentary hot towel or tea. But then, that might just be what the deal offers.

 

La Costa Spa

spa rooms

View from second floor

thumbs up!

The food

After a relaxing massage, our tummies were enraged and craved for a sumptuous food. Another catch of the deal? It includes dinner at Kubo Resto-Bar and breakfast at Country Cafe.

Food stubs

Dinner

With 5 big kubos or nipa hut, Kubo Resto-Bar has 4 sets of meal to choose from. Each consists of 2 cups of soup, 2 main courses, 2 drinks and a platter of rice. For the main course we had Inihaw na Pusit (Grilled Pusit) and Ensaladang Talong (Eggplant Salad). Not included in the set meal, we added Sizzling Tofu. The eggplant doesn’t delighted my taste as I enjoyed eating it with bagoong (fermented fish). Darwin loved the Pusit (squid). I had a blast with the Sizzling Crispy Tofu, as usual. For dessert, we had Halo-Halo. Tagaytay is known as one of the coldest place in the Philippines, but who can resist Halo-Halo? Well, we can’t.

Soup of the day

Ensaladang talong and Inihaw na Pusit

Sizzling Tofu

Halo-Halo

Let’s eat

Breakfast

To pump up our day, a healthy breakfast is a must. Country Cafe offers the usual American and Filipino breakfast. It has a cozy ambience that will make you feel like you are in a fine dining restaurant. I ordered American breakfast (omelet, bacon, bread with butter and jam) while Darwin had Filipino meal (tocino, omelet and garlic rice). Both meals come with a cup of brewed coffee. The meal is very satisfying and I commend the good service.

Country Cafe

Breakfast ala Fine dining

Much needed breakfast

Oops the deal doesn’t end here..

The Php2,899 voucher carries with it a whole lot more. Guests can enjoy free use of wifi, swimming pool and other amenities. Just ask the receptionist. Since, we have to check-out at 12noon and the day we were in Tagaytay is Manny Pacquiao’s last fight, we had to stay longer for lunch to watch. We had our lunch at Country Cafe and voucher also comes with 10% discount on food and beverages. We weren’t able to make use of the discount because I forgot that we do have it. So for those who’ll purchase this deal, keep that in mind.

The pool located beside La Costa Spa

Our lunch – Tawilis, Sisig and Pinakbet while watching Pacman’s fight

And yes, that’s us. See our smiles? Thank you to Kuya Guard for the shot.

Before leaving, the receptionist asks us to rate our stay, you might probably have an idea on how it went for me. For improvements, I suggested for a water dispenser and stable wi-fi connection. I often hear complaints on buying vouchers from various online deals, some say it is not what they paid for, some had a hard time transacting with the seller, but for me, I might had a beginner’s luck. Then again, I owe it to the management of Tagaytay Country Hotel for exceeding our expectations.

If you had a pleasant experience, SHARE! 🙂

 

Continue reading “Tagaytay Country Hotel: One good deal at Metrodeal”

Only in Baguio City

Summer is fast approaching and a breath of Baguio City is a must. Soon enough, a friend invited us to her wedding in Baguio City over the weekend. It was a short notice but we agreed eventually. After enduring a 6hour travel from Manila via Sctex, we arrived. We stayed at Hotel Supreme at Magsaysay Road for our accommodation. Since the wedding is just a halfday event, we have the whole Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to spare around the City of Pines.

Most tourists are after Baguio’s tourist destinations, the likes of Burnham Park, Mines View Park, Camp John Hay, Philippine Military Academy and Strawberry Farm. The places are quite far from point to point, but the transportation is accessible although traffic can be a little congested in some areas.

This time however, my food partner Darwin, and I were just with our adventurous feet and Panagbenga feast was still around so we decided to explore the taste of Baguio. How will you know if food is good? Look for the longer waiting line. So we ended up lining up in a sandwich stall and bought a footlong just for a quick snack. What’s so special with the sandwich is that it has fresh vegetables – cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce. It is indeed a Baguio footlong for only Php 35.00. The fruit juices however is a failure.

As the real search for local delicacy began, we resorted to Google for the list of restaurants which serves Baguio authentic delicacy. To our dismay, Baguio is a diversified place so they don’t have that authentic Sisig Kapampangan or Pinakbet Ilokano cuisine that we are looking. Instead, we decided to stroll around Session Road to continue our quest. Then it led us to Café by the Ruins Dua. It is a second (dua) branch of the famous Café by the Ruins in Chuntug Street. The place is serene with wood interiors and artworks. The menu serves burgers, pasta and main courses. Baguio Bagnet and Sinigang na Bagnet are amongst their best sellers. We ordered Baguio Bagnet but instead of Sinigang we had Pinikpikan.

 

Pinikpikan is a dish from the mountains of the Cordillera region in the Philippines. It is prepared by beating a live chicken with a stick prior to cooking. It tastes like Tinola with less saltiness.

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Pinikpikan

Just when we thought that Bagnet are all the same, it isn’t. The Baguio Bagnet has its distinct flavor compared to other bagnets that we’ve tried. It has that herb-kick taste that made it unique. More so, it complements the red organic rice that the resto serves.

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Baguio Bagnet

For dessert, we took the Rizal Tsokolate-e with Suman. It was told that when a chocolate was served during Spanish era and it is favored by the drinker it is called Tsokolate-eh (espresso). On the contrary, if the drinker disliked the taste it is called Tsokolate-ah (aguada). To keep a Baguio twist, you must take a bite of suman with the strawberry bits that comes with it. Its sweet-sour taste combined with a hot chocolate suits perfectly with the cold weather.

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Tsokolate-e with suman

The next day, before we leave we got a chance to see my bestfriend who took up her med school in St. Louis University. She introduced us to another food haven owned by Heart Evangelista’s cousin Happy Ongpauco-Tin. You can do cross orders in these three restaurants: Pamana for fine dining Filipino delicacies, Hawaiian Backyard Bbq for casual dining and Tsokolateria Artisinal Café for desserts.

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You will be welcomed by the Igorot statues as you go down. The place is enticing and sanitary. Each restaurant has a dining place of their own. The eye-catcher is the Tsokolateria located down the Igorot stairs. You’ll surely get that backyard feels while enjoying your cup of chocolate.

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At Tsokolateria

Upon opening the menu, we were overwhelmed with the choices. They give each normal menu a twist. Irresistible to Darwin, he had Pampanga’s Sisig which costs P150. For us girls, we gave their pasta a shot. Malunggay Pesto and Longganisa Pasta both which goes with Baguio Salad and Soup which only costs P200 and P240 respectively. I have to admit that the Malunggay Pesto is a must-try. As a pesto enthusiast, the Malunggay gave the pasta the veggy taste that will make indulgence guilt-free. Additionally, it comes with Baguio salad served with honey chocolate as its dressing.

Chocolate balls with choco dip and Chocolate-e for dessert is already good for 3 persons. Sticking to its Artisan theme, you get that feel of preparing your drinks with the stirring wood that comes with it. I commend the huge servings both for pasta and dessert, these are real value for your money.

Finishing off, it was a satisfying Baguio food trip adventure for us. Though most dishes are not authentically Baguio cuisine, but the twist that they add into it made us say “Ah, Only in Baguio” Continue reading “Only in Baguio City”