Balay Dako by Antonio’s…

Balay Dako by Antonio’s

“Family is like music, some high notes, some low notes, but always a beautiful song.”

I’m so glad to have brought my family to dine at Balay Dako… It just occurred to me that when they planned going to Tagaytay, I instantly thought of bringing them nowhere else but at Balay Dako.

And because me, my son and her girlfriend were outnumbered by oldies, what we ordered were those that are a little “healthier”, even if I wanted a lot from the menu to try for myself, please take a look:

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Gela just enjoyed nibbling on these dessert from Ilo-ilo: Piyaya.
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While I enjoyed the ube turon
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I was quite disappointed with the halo-halo, I think they lack some of the ingredients.
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The oldies wanted fish, so we had sweet and sour fish for them.
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My son opted for the salt & pepper spare ribs.
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We ordered for the green mango salad too

I actually can’t figure out what matches it. We just had the beef shanks soup (“Bulalo” in Filipino), and normally green mango salad fits best with fried food.

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Their paella.
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Mama and nanay (her yaya) about to start on their fresh lumpia when I asked them to smile first. =)
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Their lumpiang sariwa.

I still want to try more from their menu, I’ll come back soon. =)

 

Menu Photos courtesy of: http://antoniosrestaurant.ph/balay-dako/#menu-section

I’ve tried most of their desserts, so we can always go out and find another, there’s a lot of places in Tagaytay where you can find a good one to get your sweet cravings. So it’s like hopping from one place to another, besides Tagaytay is a very beautiful place. You wouldn’t mind just looking around.

 

 

 

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BALAY DAKO – A must-visit…

BALAY DAKO

“Enjoy life, it is delicious.”

Catching up with myself, I decided to self-gratify and do a quick fix by visiting one of my favorite places in the Philippines – Tagaytay.

Among the long list of where to make our tummies happy, we chose “Balay Dako”.

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She’s all smile getting there.
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Waiting area..
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Piaya originated from Bacolod..
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Sorbetes! (Ice cream)

Immediately upon entering their enormous dining hall, we found our spot.

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While waiting for our food..

It is facing a central view of the famous Taal lake. It came to us with the soft cool breeze of Tagaytay. And some fogs too which were too thin to notice.

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The weather was great at that time.

Spending almost 3 hours to get there from my place, we ordered some of their specialties to our heart’s content.

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And relaxing at the same time..

And while waiting for our food, I took photos of what they’re using in their kitchen.

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It was good to know that some of these are in my kitchen too..

I must not forget to mention here that Chef Tony (Escalante) was there and smiles at everyone including me. #startruck

Permit me this awe since he is touted as one of the best chefs in Asia. The brain behind Antonio’s Restaurant. Though the Executive Chef of Balay Dako is Chef Ricky Sison.

So, here’s what we’ve had:

Our table were filled with Filipino cuisine and the usual that we cooked at home, but broadly speaking, the taste and ambiance and the service are 2 thumbs up.

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We had shrimps, beef and green mango salad.
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Two old-time favorites: Turon and bibingka..
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And another favorite: Sago and gulaman for our drinks.
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We were also provided with mascuvado sugar either for our bibingka or sago gulaman should we wanted it sweeter.
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Each table is served with staple condiments.

And these are the elements making up a note-worthy place that deserves frequent visit. I then again wished that Tagaytay is just 15 minutes away from me. More of a visceral thing to me. We were in a relaxed mode anyway.

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I had fun spotting two of the most important letters to me..=)

The place is huge, giving justice to it’s name: “Balay Dako”. Dako is big in the Visayas where Chef Tony hailed from.

You’d be glad to know that after we had our desserts, our feet lead us to their specialty shop and brought home some stuff too.

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Went shopping too.
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Neatly arranged items..
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Chalkboard menuboard which will eventually be included in my other blog that features my fascination on Calligraphy.
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When you visit this, there’ll always be something that you can bring home..
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Like these..
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Fish in oil..
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Chicharon which equates to 20 counts of burpees.. =p
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Freshly-baked daily.

Find time to visit the place and I’m pretty sure you’ll like it there too.

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Their welcome arch..

ps

They asked if we have tried these other two: Breakfast at Antonios and Antonio’s Restaurant (the pilot branch). And if not, they said that we must. =) I think I’ll start saving for the latter. Their steaks are famous. =)

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GERRY’s Grill… Tatak Pinoy =)

Gerry’s Grill… Tatak Pinoy!

I had this urge to blog about Gerry’s Grill. They have been serving the Filipinos since the late 1990s. They opened their pilot branch on Valentines’ day and the rest was history.

When it comes to the staple Filipino dishes, Gerry’s is normally on top of the list. It is affordable. And their place isn’t hard to find. As they are mostly everywhere.

They have branches in the USA, Qatar and in Singapore. And they are in all over Visayas, Mindanao and Luzon.

Guests flock their place. Recently, we waited for an hour to be sitted. I even wondered if there are no more other choices than to wait for almost an hour when there are thousands of restaurants in Manila?

Well, for one, the waiting time is truly worth it. Let me count the ways. The staff of Gerry’s are very-friendly. They dont’ mind being called on for several times when guests will ask for this, for that, etc.

Maybe, it is part of their training, the Filipino hospitality – intact. Maybe, this is what they are known for. Good service. There are more than 50 branches in the country.

And their food. They didn’t change a bit all these years!

For the draft of this blog, I have accumulated different photos in several and different occasion. I just wondered why I didn’t have a photo of the famous “Bulalo” and the “Crispy pata”. As these have been a top lister when ordering entrees from Gerry’s. They are also famous for their “Binagoongang rice”.

The Crispy pata is actually one of the first that I have tried before. However, it was Sisig that became my favorite. Originally, Sisig is supposed to be just an appetizer. But it tastes so good, piquant in taste, so it is normally paired with rice and is best with their different soups. The Bulalo (beef shank soup) & the Sinigang (tamarind soup using either pork, or beef and/ or fish). Even with the Pinakbet, I specially love it being paired with the Sisig. So here are some of their offerings:

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Tatak Pinoy..

I have to grab a photo from foodspotting.com. I must have been so engrossed after being served with their Kare-kare. I totally forgot about taking its’ picture.

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Courtesy of: http://www.foodspotting.com/places/634966-gerry-s-grill-starhub-centre-singapore/items/1035-kare-kare

This one I tried when I craved for the scallops I get from Vismin. This is good, though the cheese toppings competed with the natural taste of the scallops. I like it best baked only in butter and garlic.

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Baked scallops…

So here’s the super famous, not just with me, but to everyone I think. =)

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Famous sisig… I think this is one of their best sellers..

Once we partnered the Crispy pata with Laing. And seriously, it is a great medley. Laing is a specialty dish from Bicol.

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Laing! (–,)

Recently, I tried something I haven’t tried before. The chicken kebab.

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Chicken kebab..

And when everyone is having beer, I tried their fresh mango juice.

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Everyone’s drinking beer. But me and my son opted for fresh mango juice..=)

And a dessert aside from banana caramel. Their banana split.

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Well… in exchange of the beer. We had our dessert..=)

There are several branches that I’ve visited. My favorite is the one in Tagaytay. Probably, because me and my mom were with my late father then. The place initiated a niche in my heart for my dad. I had to bring him then to Gerry’s per his request. Mom wants it at Josephine’s. But papa then was the boss! =)

So if you haven’t tried it at Gerry’s. Please do. It is truly “Tatak Pinoy!” =) Everything is delicious! =)

An afternoon at Cliffhouse…

An afternoon at Cliffhouse…

One of my most favorite part of the country is Tagaytay. I am so blessed and lucky to have it just an hour away from our house (if without the traffic jam).

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I was always aiming to take a photo of this welcome signage, then i did it this time..=)

Young as I was, we frequent the place, it was like a huge park for me, there’s the highest point, where you can enjoy the whole panoramic view of Sta.Rosa, Tagaytay and some of Batangas.

Blooms of all the colors you can think of can be spotted everywhere. Picnic Grove was very famous even when I was a child, had been a favorite of excursionists that allows you to have picnic, horse back-riding, shop souvenir items and locally produced items too. Recently, they introduced zip-lining.

Tagaytay established itself as a tourist spot enticing investors to build hotels here and there due to influx of local and foreign visitors.

Currently, there are more than a hundred hotels to choose from, each offering their own uniqueness, details of each making a difference which makes choosing a little harder and fun too.

The place had also been venues of seminars, trainings, retreats as started by DAP and a lot of weddings were held here too. Spas are like mushrooms sprucing in every corner, not to mention the restaurants too. There’s a zoo too, Tagaytay is like a one stop shop, upon your plight, everything you need is there. What captivates the hearts of so many, is the cold weather of Tagaytay, as a child, it is here where I saw thick fogs for the first time. My papa had to stop driving from time to time due to zero visibility especially during the “ber” months.

One early weekend morning, we hit the road heading to Tagaytay. My mom’s cousin is residing in Tagaytay and they are celebrating the annual fiesta. And so I grabbed the opportunity to enjoy Tagaytay to the fullest. (–,) I eyed to check out Cliffhouse.

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Cliffhouse – at last!

Initially, I was just craving for froyo (frozen yogurt) feeling bloated after having lunch with more than 5 different viands to choose from (this is how fiestas in the Philippines are being celebrated – fiestas: festivals celebrating the patron saint of a particular town), and then later I discovered that Cliffhouse is a a whole block of the following establishments: Fire lake grill, Buon giorno, Cafe Breton, Domicillo, Burger bar, there’s a hotel too, a Souvenir shop,

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Souvenir shop!
Attendant claimed it's prohibited to take photos inside the Souvenir shop, sowee, she's too busy to notice...
Attendant claimed it is prohibited to take photos inside the Souvenir shop, sowee, she’s too busy to notice…
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I so love this mannequin!
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Excited for my frozen yogurt!
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Where to? =)

The shop where I got my yogurt!

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want to have a fling?=)

There’s a space where you could get a good view of the Taal volcano,

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This area allows you to have a good view of the Taal volcano..

some comfy benches, trees and flowering plants made up a place worthy of being revisited time and again.

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Tweet-tweet!
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Symmetry..
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Balance..
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Focal point..

Plus, the many choices nearby of whatever that you are craving for. We had some pizzas from Buon Giorno with drinks that comes in giant mugs shaped like a muscled arm. I found it really cute so I had to take a photo of it. (–,)

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Buon Giorno is “Good morning”!
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My yellow mango shake!

This resto by the way coveted the Best Restaurant award from the Philippine Tatler.

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Tatler’s taste..
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Personalized dressings..
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Where are the birds?

And this is just one of the many authentic restaurants that you can find in Tagaytay. Please take a look at my top 10 list:

1. Eateries from Mahogany market

2. Mushroom Burger

(I even heard my former boss saying “What’s Tagaytay without Mushroom burger?”)

3. Antonio’s 

4. Mile-hi

5. Bag of Beans

6. Gerry’s Grill

7. Rowena’s

8. Verbena 

9. Sonya’s Garden

10. Buon Giorno

After seeing my own list, I was thinking of the other places that I think are as good as those I listed. I think I’m listing a second batch soon. Suggestions are always welcome! As I will never get tired going to Tagaytay, the more I see it, the more I love being there. The place is so peaceful to me. There’s a different air that I always feel being in Tagaytay, not just because it’s colder there, it’s really something special. (–,) And it’s best felt than told. Please come and see for yourself! (–,)

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So where do I go next in Tagaytay? (–,)

Canyon Woods…

Canyon Woods

I keep on picturing this beautiful place in Tagaytay which is still vivid in my mind even if its been years since I’ve been there.

Then I recall, its in Canyon woods. I also recalled how traveling makes a person. Personally, it fills up my memory with sublime thoughts until I can’t hold it no more. And then after a wink, I started dreaming of another. Ready to immerse my mind into resplendent proliferation.

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On our way to Canyon woods! papa driving for me and mama!

Canyon woods (aside from it’s name), at first glance or literally the first time I’ve entered the gates, it was able to bring me somewhere else which felt like I was not in my own country not to mention the colder altitude at that specific time.

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We’re here!

Good thing I was with a shawl (in anticipation), as the wind sends specks on your shoulders every now and then.

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Indoor pool. Photo grabbed from: http://canyon.ph/canyon-woods/

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This is a place ideal for busy individuals who yearns for tranquility and requiescence. It is literally a “breath of fresh air”.

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I have never been so relaxed when I got here…
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I’m lovin’ bridges!<3

Each gaze directs you to rawness. It was so relaxing. I enjoyed walking a few blocks while I won’t when I am at my usual environment.   The clubhouse is specially extra-ordinary.

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At the Indoor Clubhouse.

The lavish food they offer, there are pools and a spa which we noticed was similar to Sanctuario in Malate only to find out it’s one and the same as I was going through their brochure.

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On my way to the spa…
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Been here twice and both were really fun…
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Miss the laughter! =)

I was able to visit the place twice. Honestly, I was wishing for a third one to stay for a few days.  The first one I was with my former staff, we were accompanied by my parents and the second one was with my high school friends because I was able to convince them to witness the grandeur of the place.

Both experience were unforgettable. Till Then! =)

Coming from Canyon woods, we opted for a coffee which is best for the weather Tagaytay is famous for.

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Coffee and friends! Good combi! ❤

Tagaytay is such a gifted place. As a whole, Philippines is. I could not fathom God’s ingenuity to create a world with such unending beauty.

ps

The place will allow you to take a peek at Taal volcano too!

Canyon woods..
Canyon woods..