My Favorite Malls <3

My Favorite Malls ❤

Sometimes, being a home buddy take its’ toll. You wanted to breath some different air and you need things that aren’t available nearby. Normally, we get them from malls, where varying stores of things we need (and want) are with open doors welcoming everyone on the look-out for something.

Personally, I am not a mall rat, I lose my breath seeing too many people (Is it a disease? Am I claustrophobic?). I used to work at a themed park and when it was my first time to witness more than 10,000 guests inside the park. I was catching my breath. I had trouble going out since I need to fulfill my duties catering to these thousands of guests. Though as a disclaimer, I have nothing against those whose fond of malls.

And it’s also good to know that there are malls that aren’t “peopley”! =)

I can name a few: Alabang alone houses those on my list. Like Commerce Center, Molito and Westgate. The more “peopley” are: Festival Mall and Alabang Town Center which I sometimes visit too with friends and family.

At Alabang Town Center

In Ortigas, I find Podium not too “peopley” and there’s Estancia too. Evia which they termed a Lifetime Center is my favorite too. The newly opened Southwoods mall is one. In Makati, even I grew up in Quad (which is Glorietta now), I prefer Rockwell Center and Greenbelt. On your way to Tagaytay, there’s Nuvali and Paseo de Sta. Rosa which we frequented when I used to work nearby. Serin in Tagaytay is “peopley” for me.

At Evia.
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At Greenbelt.

Recently, looking for something, Jen and I ended up at Madison Galleries. A Lifestyle Mall. And it’s not too “peopley”.

It’s even in front of a church which we first visited and uttered some prayers and took some pictures (as it’s built very beautifully) before we proceed to this 5 level mall offering all that you’ll ever need. Apparently shadowing the principle of self-sustained places or township. With residential, commercial, retail, recreational, educational establishments allowing its’ neighboring residents to not go as far because it has everything they would need (and want) too.

And there we found a very dainty place to dine: Relish cafe. We surveyed first for other delightful places to eat. There’s actually a lot. Normally, Jen and I filtered our choices by these basis: cravings, type of cuisine, ambience, traffic, and if there’s dessert ahaha!

At Madison Galleries, we spotted 5 and we ended with two: Derive Cafe and Relish Cafe then we agreed to choose the latter. It’s interiors looked so immaculate. I found out from Jen too that it is included in Phonebooky’s top list of best Restaurants in Alabang. Hmmmn I didn’t know she’s ticking off items on her list or I didn’t expect that she got her own list too. =)

I just love its’ harlequin floors! =)

Relish Cafe offers cross-continental food and it’s a habit that we asked them their best sellers.

I got their lengua and Jen chose barbecued pork belly (which has too much fats on it) and both came with three choices of sidings: a cup of rice, veggies and mashed potato. I guess you know what we’ve chosen. =)

We also got a slice of sansrival and a chocolate cake with caramel fillings in it. =) They have coffee concoctions too though we opted to just have water.

Because of their attentive and friendly attendants, great taste of their food, personalized cakes and ambience, we enjoyed our dining experience and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it here too! =)

How about you, where is favorite mall? =)

Madison Galleries is located at 398 Don Jesus Blvd., Cupang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila

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Blue Ginger Restaurant – “Blame it on my Gypsy Soul”

Blue Ginger Restaurant – Blame it on my Gypsy Soul

“One of the beautiful effects of living your passion is that it inspires other people to live theirs.” ~ Curiano Quotes

I found it difficult what title should I bestow in this specific blog of mine. I truly enjoyed the brimming colors of Blue Ginger interiors and of course the food they offered and how beautifully they were presented. So I considered titles that has something to do with colors, like “Color your life” or “Live your color”. Especially now that I’m needing inspirations for my crafting. =) However, I have mull it around my head, the common ground of what really fascinates me is when a place exudes diversity. During college days, one of my professors call it “eclectic”.

Like a gypsy’s collection from her travels curated in just one place. Arranged aesthetically when upon seeing, you will truly admire. This what struck me when I accidentally discovered Blue Ginger. I really had to see it. =)

While for the delight of our tummies, Blue Ginger exceeded our expectations.

From the prawn kropek with a very nice vinegar sauce. The healthy and delicious Tom yang soup we got as starter. We both craved for veggies, so we had their fresh lumpia. It was a good choice, the sauce tasted great. It’s always in the sauce right? It came with chopped peanuts and roasted garlic.

The satay platter is nicely presented too. I must say it’s really in the sauce. =)

I stressed my buddy out, due to her busy schedule, we only had the chance to visit 2 weeks after New Year when I told her about the place as early as December while I was doing my Christmas ornaments. And I’m so happy to be there. The wait is truly worth it. I’m planning to go back and bring my loved ones there too.I should say, the pictures are worth a thousand words.

Jen wanted the raw chopped garlic and voila, they granted her wish in no time, in that cute little dish.

What else, that apple crumble cheesecake is why I’ll keep coming back here. =) Or maybe try the others: Ube cake, blueberry, red velvet and salted caramel alongside a slice of my apple crumble.

It was good to end this with something that really surprised me when I visited their Al fresco area. Those lanterns! It blew my mind because I didn’t see it from the researches I’ve made before our visit. It’s definitely unexpected and a sight to behold! =)

You might remember how I loved lanterns! =) That festive feel and whimsical mien of adorning a place. You saw them from my previous blogs like Another Story (same owner), Cafe Juanita, Fourteen Four Cafe, and about to post Tagaytay’s Cafe Voila soon, which happens to be of the same creator: Miss Ica Sebastian. She’s an instant idol of mine. =)

I can’t wait to see more. =)

Blue Ginger is located at The Wharf at Lakefront, East Service Road, Sucat, Muntinlupa City.

I’m Staying With Jen

I’m Staying With Jen (Hotel)

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”~Mark Black

This 4-star hotel has it’s own special way of pulling back their curtains. One weekend, Jen and I were able to witness Hotel Jen’s unique personality.

Hotel Jen has been alluring us since last year especially my travel buddy: Jen, since it bears her nick name. She’s declaring then she’s wanting to visit just to have a photo with that personalized pillow that says: “I’m staying with Jen.” Ahahaha!

Said pillow has been around some parts of the Asia Pacific (under Shangri-la Hotels & Resorts Management) and her excitement is overwhelming me. =) It is located along Roxas Boulevard, just across The Cultural Center of the Philippines,

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and Star City. Our window is overlooking that giant “chubibo!” (Ferris wheel).

Manila bay with its’ beautiful sunset (and sunrise) is just a short walk away from us. However, we were too busy sleeping, we missed them both (sunrise and sunset). Like we went there just to rest, watch some movies, read and enjoy the placidness of our room with 2 comfy beds which allowed us to elude the city’s bustle. I was planning to unplug for that particular weekend but the speed of their internet is too fast so I enjoyed browsing and uploading photos as well. =)

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Come dinner time, after scrutinizing choices of where we could eat at the lobby,

we opted to just go out and proceeded to this Seafood market which popularly known here in our country as “Dampa”. It took us less than 20 minutes to get there. The method of dining at Dampa is you choose first your seafood from the fresh market, everything are still in the water and the vendor will recommend restaurants where it is best to prepare and cook it. The charge will be separate.

You might want to look around and not settle right away on the first stall you bump into, who knows there’s a better price somewhere else. =)

What we had are shrimps, scallops, and lobsters. The last item is for Jen’s heart’s content. You’ll get crazy when she craves.

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I had to go out to buy pineapple juice for her.

We partnered them with broccoli and Yang chow rice. We went back to the hotel after an hour with happy tummies.

Oh, there’s more. We later found out that our breakfast will not be sent to our room the following morning since what comes with our package is a Breakfast buffet. Hmmmn. Happy tummies again. =) I think this is the best part of the stay, we just enjoyed eating together without the need of going to the market, prepare our meal’s ingredients, cook them before we can eat, like everything here is free-flowing and just in front of us. Foodies!

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Hotel Jen is in the following countries:

Hotel Jen Beijing

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Shenyang

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Hong Kong

hongkong
Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Puteri Harbour, Johor, Malaysia

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Penang

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Malé, Maldives

Hotel Jen Male Maldives
Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Hotel Jen Manila

Club Lounge

There are 2 Hotel Jen in Singapore and they’re putting up one in Kota Kinabalu by year 2020.

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Photo courtesy of: https://www.hoteljen.com/

Jen wanted to know how did they end-up with the hotel’s name. So I had to research for it. The website says that it is the brainchild of a virtual persona: Jen, that she owns a hotel, and all-time lover of life, travel and discovery.

It’s just great to know that some of our “Where to next” destination(s) were included in their list of locations. Jen is excited again. I was telling her can we try other hotels and she played deaf even on my second query. Hmmmn.

Hotel Jen isn’t too luxurious since it is just a 4- star hotel but as long as the people are friendly, the amenities are clean, everything is working, we are safe, all that we need is there, it is already truly an R&R for the two of us, and she is already checking her calendar for our next staycation.

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Meet Hunter, he is hyper during daytime, and lazy and always lying on the floor, just notice his nostrils, still active, meaning, he is still working. =) #sniffer

We missed doing this a lot. The last one we had I think was a few years ago. =) I know we’re going to do it more often.

It is so gratifying to always have something to look forward to right? =) Because we deserve a break every once in a while and #seizethestay …

PS

Hotel Jen is previously Traders Hotel also under Shangri-la Resorts and Hotels Management.

To book your stay, you can call them at: 02-795-8888

Be amazed by ABRA

Be amazed by ABRA

If it doesn’t scare you, you’re probably not dreaming big enough.” ~ Tory Burch

I have always been inspired by bloggers all these years and as I do my daily readings, I came across this place: Kaparkan Falls in Tineg, Abra. Upon research, Abra is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Bangued, and is bordered by Ilocos Norte on the northwest, Apayao on the northeast, Kalinga on the mid-east, Mountain Province on the southeast, and Ilocos Sur on the southwest. Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abra_(province)

I have been to the Ilocos region several times, and I honestly wondered why I missed this spectacular province. Thanks to the bloggers I follow who’ve been there and densely illustrated its’ beauty and what to expect. In my heart, I knew then, Abra is one I shouldn’t miss. Specifically that falls in Tineg.

So one weekend of October, our travel agency announced that it’s time to go, it has been postponed for several times already due to the typhoons in the Philippines and my heart is pounding at the thought of waiting for another year to see Kaparkan falls. The best time to visit is during rainy season as it runs dry during the summer months. However, I’d still insist to call it my own Summer in October. =)

I have to thank the agency: Traveler Point PH for being so organized, caring and had us experience this “ABRAMAZING” weekend.

Day 1 – Friday night:

Our pick-up point is at Greenfields (Mandaluyong City) at 9:00 pm, our organizer is a couple who loves to travel too, we shared the trip along with 8 millennials who made the trip more exciting and full of fun despite of the perplexity of reaching our destination(s). We arrived at The Department of Tourism Office, Tineg around 6:00 am, it is estimated at 8 hours travel time from Manila, however due to several stop-overs, it took us 9 hours to reach Tineg, Abra. We were briefed before hitting the road. And at exactly 7:00 am, we are ready.

I am actually surprised knowing we’re riding on this Army truck.

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They refer to it as “Monster truck”…

Its’ tires at 1100 x 20 (all terrain), I thought I was lucky that my assigned seat is at the front with 2 millennial girls who made me laugh the whole time. While Jen is at the back along with the other travelers. I was telling her she wouldn’t like it in front, and she’s also saying I wouldn’t like it too at the back. As they say: “Sa harap, kitang-kita, sa likod, damang-dama!” (English translation: “The rough road is so visible in front, while the roughness and bumpiness is felt most at the back!”)

Here’s why:

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I can do this! =)

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It is necessary to lodge the tires with these chains to avoid being bogged down in the deep mud.

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Connecting Tayum and Dolores municipalities:

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is The Don Mariano Marcos bridge. The third longest bridge in the country with a total length of 886.812 linear meters. #thisthingwithwelcomearchs

Reference: http://wikimapia.org/2423591/Don-Mariano-Marcos-Bridge

red bridge

As oriented, this “one hell of a ride” is more or less than 4 hours, and less than an hour trek to reach our destination.

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It is my first time to experience one such ride, upon being there, and finally witnessing this magnificent falls, I hear everyone saying “Oh My God!” several times! Myself, speechless. I must say it (bruises, scratches, broken nails, etc.) was truly worth it, I totally forgot about that “ride” upon seeing Kaparkan falls. Let these pictures speak for themselves. =)

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Nature has it’s own special way of taking my breath away.

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If you noticed, they do not bother to remove the falling leaves for a purpose, it adds beauty in time, the marks they leave, creates art naturally.

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You will notice too that the place isn’t that populated by guests. The Dept. of Tourism gave strict directives that the maximum # of guests is only 90. This will allow guests to enjoy its’ tranquility too.

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Those rows of limestones are naturally formed in that wondrous presence through the years, though it made me wonder, they aren’t slippery. I was too careful as it glistens when one of them told me that it isn’t slippery. Because of this, I began my wanderings and conquered my fear. =)

Our coordinator must know how famished we’d be, upon reaching our Transient home dinner time, they had this “Boodle fight” dinner set-up to welcome our group. Yum! =) We have fresh fruits too!

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Our itinerary come Sunday is composed of some interesting places which I will blog separately.

Just this one at Kaparkan Falls substantiates that my more than a year waiting time to visit Abra is truly worth it. While there’s more this province can offer.

It is the highlight of this trip while I have my own personal highlight too, it is our visit to Gabriela Silang Carino Gallery of Fine Arts, which really satiated not just my eyes but my soul too.

Our itinerary for Day 2 includes: A visit to St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, Tangadan Tunnel, Gabriela Silang monument and Abra Pasalubong Center, passed by Don Mariano Marcos bridge, the open theater and view deck at Victoria park, another visit to an old heritage church: San Lorenzo Ruiz church at the Camposanto, Bangued, side trip to Calle Crisologo, Vigan City, we also went to Balay ni Gian to buy Vigan longganiza and Bagnet (at Carl Louie) as pasalubong (goodies for loved ones at home). Our itinerary includes the Bantay Church Bell tower, the Gourd hat maker, the Loom weaving village, Acosta panciteria (that famous Abra pancit miki). But due to time constraint, we missed those ones. But it’s okay. For those who will visit Abra, these are also some spots you would want not to miss.

So this is how we spent this one amazing weekend at Abra. I must agree whenever they say it’s “Abramazing!”

Below is a map of Abra:

 

Courtesy of: http://www.abra.asia/_pages/GoSeeStay.htm

Should you be interested, feel free to call Grace or Chris of Traveler Point PH for more details at: 0945 813 0618.

PS

Kaparkan falls is prettier in person. =)

 

Las Casas Manila

Las Casas Manila

So much of our future lies in preserving our past. ~Peter Westbrook~

Aside from food, Jen and I shared our love in exploring new places and travel together as far and as much as we can. Anything new to us. She had been requesting from me for years to bring her to Bataan, at “Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar”. However, we’ve been busy lately and when I discovered that there’s an extension of said place somewhere in QC, I am thrilled to inform if she’s okay into venturing to this one that’s nearer, for now.

So up we went one Friday, and reveled in its’ own version of preserving and restoring one of the old manors in Quezon City – Casa De Juico.

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They converted the place after being sold to Jerry Acuzar: The owner of San Jose Builders, it is complete with a boutique hotel and a restaurant by one of Asia’s Best Female Chef: Margarita Fores.

After the attendants with pleasing demeanor took our food choices, we wandered around the place with its’ classic ambience and took pictures (a lot) while Jen is checking from time to time if our food is already served. We were starving as we arrived there at almost 2:00 pm.

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We were ushered by two smiling faces and directed us to the dining hall and let us choose where we want to be sitted.

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I definitely enjoyed chosen spots which they call Instagram worthy. Little did Jen know, I’ve spotted some favorites since I already saw them several times from Instagram. =)

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A version of “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt .

So here’s what we’ve got: Spaghetinni con Mariscos (Seafood pasta), Callos (Ox tripe, Chorizos and garbanzos), Tres leches (a slice of chiffon cake topped with smoked coconut and dried mangoes and jackfruit) for dessert and red grapes shake for me (which I so loved) and yellow mango shake for Jen. She loved her pasta as it is thinner than usual, they used Spaghetinni, my Callos were made of slow-cooked to tenderness tripe.  

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We also had Huevos con gambas, for a starter. It’s hard-boiled egg topped with prawns relished in paprika.

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This wheel of cheese is part of their buffet offer, it’s called Parmeggiano Regiano, it’s known to be the “King of Cheese”, it’s so tasteful, gritty and lactose-free too. The cheaper version, is known as “Parmesan” cheese.

It’s just one manor, unlike the one in Bataan, there are more than 20 Casas there, but just this one brimmed our phones with pictures both inside the place and outside as well, I actually enjoyed more the “Al fresco” feel. You wouldn’t know how much I belong to it. The trees, the grass and all. =)

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For a different experience, visit Las Casas Manila and it’ll stir your senses until you realize that you’re heading to Bataan the soonest you can. =) Either places, I’m sure, you will enjoy. =)

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You can make reservations thru: 866-8500 and 0917-711-3714. They’re open from Tueday to Sunday from 11am to 10pm. Las Casas Manila is located at 134 Roosevelt avenue, San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City. You can also check them out at: https://www.facebook.com/LasCasasQC/

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