Sakura 🌸

April is coming to an end. This month has been popularly known as the Spring Season. Undeniably, one of the best countries in Asia to experience it is in Japan. Sakura as how the they call it, is not just a blissful sight, it symbolizes a deeper meaning and tradition that the Japanese celebrates up to this time.

“The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short.” – Homaro Cantu

I’ve seen a lot of beautiful photos of Sakura posted by my friends and travel pages that I follow. Blessed with an opportunity to see it with my own eyes this year, was an overwhelming experience. After the trip, I had a deeper appreciation on why it was the most celebrated season in Japan. The relevance of Spring mirrors LIFE itself. Like Sakura, life blooms beautiful memories. Ironically, life too can be short, so we have to cherish every moment. Let’s spend more time with our loved ones, be kind, spread positivity and love fully. Let’s celebrate LIFE! 🌸

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! ❤️

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

TravelBook Philippines Inc. (TravelBook.ph) anniversary promo!

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TravelBook.ph celebrates their fourth year anniversary

Press Release

Travelbook.ph, the leading local hotel booking website in the Philippines, is turning four!

And in celebration of four exciting years in the business, TravelBook.ph encourages you to explore and see the beauty of the Philippines in the coming months with ongoing exciting promos: Win a free trip to Japan for two in the Konnichi-wow: Free Trip to Japan and avail of highly affordable deals on hotels and resorts with Super Summer Sale.

In addition to the anniversary, TravelBook.ph is also celebrating a lot of huge milestones. In just four years, TravelBook.ph grew exponentially in the e-commerce industry. Its number of bookings increased up to 200% ever since they started offering affordable hotel reservations in March 2013. Today, over 3,200 local hotels and resorts are listed on their website, providing more opportunities for Filipino wanderers to travel around the country and support local tourism.

TravelBook.ph dares to brave that extra mile and achieve even more by further establishing their brand as the only online travel agency (OTA) that promotes local tourism and highlighting the unique perks and services they offer to Filipino travelers, including attractive discounts, convenient payment options, exclusive reward points, and the TravelBook.ph mobile application.

TravelBook.ph will also be releasing TravelBook magazine, the company’s official free publication that aims to inspire Filipinos to visit local destinations, meet new people, and immerse themselves in the country’s rich culture.

All these and more will officially be announced to the media on TravelBook.ph’s upcoming Summer Anniversary Blowout press launch on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas.

The Philippines is undeniably full of wonders that are meant to be appreciated as well as explored. As they celebrate their fourth anniversary, TravelBook.ph encourages you to go out there and explore the amazing places in the Philippines and gain memorable travel experiences like no other.

For more details, please contact:

Mary Angeli Pasquin

Business Planning Officer

MaryAngeli.Pasquin@travelbook.ph

+63 (998) 840-4855

+63 (2) 662-1113

Sharah Pinky Librada

Marketing Communications Officer

SharahPinky.Librada@travelbook.ph

+63 (917) 530-7464

+63 (2) 662-1113

About TravelBook.ph

TravelBook.ph is one of biggest online travel e-commerce company (online travel agent or OTA) in the Philippines dedicated to offering great value hotel bookings and with a varied selection of Philippine hotels and resorts in Baguio, Batangas, Bohol, Boracay, Cebu, Davao, Laguna, Metro Manila, Palawan, Pampanga, Tagaytay, Zambales, and more. A total of 3,000 of affordable hotels are currently listed in Travelbook.ph.

TravelBook.ph offers the best price guarantee with attractive discounts for hotels and resorts, and various types of payment options without a credit card:

– Pay at Hotel
– Over the Counter: banks, 7-Eleven, department stores, and payment centers

Travelbook.ph also offers exclusive reward points: Customers also automatically earn back 5% of the total amount they spend as reward points, which they can use to get discounts on their future bookings (1 point is equivalent to PHP 1.00).

Customers can also use TravelBook.ph’s convenient mobile app to book accommodations on the go. It is available on the App Store and Google Play.

Lastly, TravelBook.ph is a proud Philippine-based company with 24/7 support. It has a Filipino call center ready to assist customers anytime. They can be reached through these numbers:

Landline: +63 2 662 1111

Sun: +63 925 887 2835

Globe: +63 917 850 9029

Smart: +63 998 961 3012

To know more about convenient and affordable hotel bookings all over the Philippines, visit www.travelbook.ph

Follow TravelBook.ph on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TravelBook.ph/, Twitter https://twitter.com/travelbookph, and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/travelbookph/.

Travel Promo Alert: 50% Rebate with TravelBook.ph

Who doesn’t love to travel and who doesn’t love to travel cheap? Here is the ultimate answer to our travel needs. Book now: http://www.travelbook.ph/?affid=0442

For a limited time, get back as much as half of what you paid for.

 

Typical reward programs would give you at least one to five percent rebate only, but with TravelBook.ph’s special promo for the holiday season, we will be offering an astounding 50% rebate! 

Yes, that means you get back half of what you spend! This is TravelBook.ph’s biggest and most ambitious giveaway to date, and you only have from November 21 to 27, 2016 to avail of it.

  

Just imagine how much you’re getting with this promo: If you book a hotel worth PHP 2,000.00 you automatically get PHP 1,000.00 back in reward points. With this, you can already book a room worth PHP 1,000.00 for free or use it to further lower the prices of your future bookings. Take advantage of this weeklong promo, especially for the holiday season when staycations and out of town trips are trendy!

 

This is just the start of our six-week long holiday promo to say thank you to our loyal customers. Check back on www.travelbook.ph and www.facebook.com/TravelBook.ph every week to learn about the latest special deal that we will be giving away!

 

Book your hotels now at www.travelbook.ph/?affid=0442 and earn big reward points!

So what are you waiting for book now! Continue reading “Travel Promo Alert: 50% Rebate with TravelBook.ph”

Let’s travel and explore with TravelBook.ph

Love, Work and Travel – these are some of essential elements in life. TravelBook.ph is here to provide access and solution to our travel needs. You can even earn when you become an affiliate. Read through and learn how we can earn, save and enjoy hassle-free travels.

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About TravelBook.ph 

In 2012, TravelBook.ph, under the management of Summit Media, started as an online catalog catering to more than 4,000 hotels and resorts in the Philippines. The company was established by Recruit Holdings Company, one of the biggest media conglomerates in Japan, and specializes in classified advertisements, publications, and human resources.

To date, TravelBook.ph is the fastest growing Online Travel Agency (OTA) in the Philippines and boasts more than 2,700hotel listings all over the country. Over the past three years, the company has achieved a record-breaking 200% growth rate and an average of 3,900 paid bookings per month.

With various offline and online marketing efforts, TravelBook.ph has gained exposure through media partners such as TV stations GMA NewsTV through programs like PopTalk and Biyahe ni Drew, CinemaOne, and radio stations Love Radio, Monster Radio, and Barangay LS.

TravelBook.ph also boasts increasing 1.6 million monthly page views, with 455,000 monthly unique visits, 52,000 registered members, and 299,000 newsletter subscribers.

Its social media presence also continues to grow: it has more than 540,000 likes in Facebook, while its Twitter and Instagram accounts have about 2,900 and 10,300 followers respectively.
Why Book with TravelBook.ph?

TravelBook.ph aims to cater to the needs of the ever-growing market, which is why it continuously develops and expands its strengths through various customer-driven initiatives.

1. Convenient Booking

TravelBook.ph focuses on improving its offline bookings through 24/7 Customer Care that offers competitive room rates, promo plans, rewards points, membership promos, and GetGopromos.

TravelBook.ph also has a user-friendly mobile app that offers double rewards for bookings to make the service available for the growing number of smartphone users in the Philippines.

2. Multiple Payment Options

Since only about 5% of the whole Philippine population are credit card holders, TravelBook.ph has made sure that it has various online and offline payment methods to make booking hotels for every customer convenient.

Aside from using their credit cards, customers can pay via online and offline bank deposits or over-the-counter payments. They can also pay at 7-Eleven branches, Robinsons Department Store and SM Department Store branches, Bitcoin, and the newly launched Pay At Hotel, which allows the customer to pay upon check-in.

3. Corporate Partnerships and Alliances

TravelBook.ph has also partnered with top brands and companies in the Philippines, including Cebu Pacific, Robinsons Bank, Sun Cellular, Toys R Us, JG Summit, Robinsons Land, Robinsons Department Store, and Universal Robina to strengthen its presence in the business through various campaigns.

The company also has special partnerships with GetGo, BDO, Union Bank, Eastwest Bank, and Security Bank.

5. Tours

TravelBook.ph will soon launch its 359 Tour Package Plans to cater to the travel needs of its customers.

6. Affiliate Program

The recently launched Affiliate Program now has over 600 partner bloggers. Through this program, both seasoned and new bloggers are able earn income from the hotel bookings made in their websites.

  1. Promotion of Philippine Tourism

More than just being an e-commerce company, TravelBook.ph aims to Philippine tourism by encouraging everyone to travel more in the country. The company believes that traveling should become a lifestyle as it promotes education, quality time, and bonding with families and friends.

TravelBook.ph also comes up with various creative campaigns to promote local tourism such as the recently concluded #Juanderlust, an international competition where travelers all over the world participated to be the lucky “Chosen Juan” who will embark on an 80-day adventure to 80 places in the Philippines. The winner, Mr. Dave Agbayani, traveled around the country to explore and experience the best things that the country has to offer.

Love your work, Work so you can Travel, then Travel with those you Love. To all hardworking individuals, we deserve this! 🙂

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”

A fullfillment, yet unfulfilled

I wrote this article on May 27, 2012 after I had my first out of the country trip. For most, it will always be memorable. Im sharing this piece to inspire young people to travel, to have an insight on what it feels to have your first.

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I wrote this article on May 27, 2012 after I had  my first out of the country trip. For most, it will always be memorable. Im sharing this piece to inspire young people to travel, to have an insight on what it feels to have your first.

There’s always the first time. And so they say. Indeed we had our first jaunt out of the country. Initially, all we wanted was to step foot outside the Philippines and to have our passport stamped. Me and two of my friends hurriedly booked our flight last February 2012, Manila – Ho Chi Minh – Manila, travel date on 11th to 14th of May, 2012. Excited. Thrilled. It was a 3-day trip, with the objective of visiting both Vietnam and Cambodia. We’ve done our researches, planning, asking people who have been there, coordinated with my cousins (where we’ll gonna stay) and financially preparing ourselves.

Day 1
Come May 11, we’re all energized for our trip. Eventhough our flight sched is at 11pm it kept us awake and excited. Ironically, the cabin crew that night was my bestfriend in grade school. We exchanged hello’s and small chats. The trip just made me more eager. 130am local time in Vietnam, finally we arrived! Since first bus trip going from Vietnam to Phnom Penh Cmabodia will be at 6:30am we took advantage of our time in Vietnam and took a walk along Benh Tanh market, we even ate the ever famous Pho noodles together with our new found Pinoy friends – Andy and Fil. Around 6am, we got hold of our ticket for 7am trip going to Cambodia.  Along the way, we had our passports stamped for Vietnam boarder and Cambodia boarder, the bus rode a ferry and after 6 hour drive we finally reached Phnom Penh. We had our stay in my cousin’s friends – Kuya Jojo and Ate Yvonne. As a true blooded Filipino, hospitality is an instinct. Our first day in there was spent taking pictures along Independent Monument. Cambodians are busy preparing for their King’s birthday on the 15th. We also visited Hotel Cambodiana (where my ate is working) and Phnom Penh Night Market, where we found cheap souvenirs like keychains and ref magnets. We headed back home for our early goodnight sleep to prepare ourselves for another exuberant day.
Day 2
The next day, we woke up early with plans of buying all our souvenirs in the morning. We shopped our hearts out at Toul Tompong Market. We bought bags, shirts, shorts in very reasonable prices. It is with great help that my cousin knows how to speak Khmer thus we had a good deal with the natives. The afternoon we rented a “tuktuk”, we call our driver Kuya Bong (Bong in khmer means kuya). Our first stop is the famous Royal Palace. We paid USD 6.5 for our entrance. Upon entering the palace, we were mesmerized by the structures of the palace. It was endearing and well scuplted. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside the palace. It remained very sacred to them and they value their culture deeply. We took a quick tour on each palaces and we were filled with awe upon staring at their heritage. Since we are Angkor Wat-frustrated goer, we took pictures on the Angkor wat replica inside the Palace and promised ourselves that next stop will be Siem Reap. After the palace, we headed to Toul Sleng (place where victims of the war were prisoned and tortured) and National Museum, but due to time constraint the place will close at 5pm we weren’t able to make it. Our driver, brought us to Wat Phnom, where the giant clock was located. It has the same features as that of our hundred steps in Baguio City. Upon reaching the top, visitors will pay USD 1.00 as an entrance fee. Me and my friends decided to take one last tour around the city. Of course, tours wont be complete without desserts. We stopped by an ice cream parlor named Lucky Ice Cream located along Toul Toumpong and ate their best seller Happy Friend. The name itself reflects our friendship. After indulging sweets from Cambodia, we headed home for our rest and readied ourselves for another adventure tomorrow at Vietnam.
Day 3
We were booked at 10am departure from Phnom Penh and arrived Ho Chi Minh around 4pm. The first thing we did was to go straight to Benh Tanh Market to buy souvenir from vietnam. With each of us carrying two full backpacks, we strolled the streets of HCM in hopes that we can at least see the famous spots such as War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace. Luckily, we did but as rain starts to pour we headed back to Sapaco and had our dinner at ABC Bakery. In there, we met an English backpacker who had visited most of Asian countries except the Philippines. We hurriedly persuade him to plan his next stop in the Philippines where he can find tranquiliy in our beaches and sumptuous heritage. We bid Vietnam goodbye at exactly 11pm HCM time.

Indeed, the trip served as a not so bad for first timers. We learned a lot from planning, packing, travelling, respecting culture and appreciating beauty from other countries. Most of all, the trip wont be as blissful as it is without the assistance of our fellow Filipinos. With my cousins and their friends assisting us on our itinerary, feeding and sheltering us – was a heartfelt gesture. It was a bitter-sweet experience with us lacking time to do everything as planned yet, still felt the completeness of our journey. On my next trip, I know, I know better. Continue reading “A fullfillment, yet unfulfilled”