Niña’s Kitchen in Biñan, Laguna

Niña’s Kitchen in Biñan, Laguna

“Everyday may not be good, but there is always something good in everyday.”

Niña’s Kitchen is probably one the most talked-about restaurant in Laguna. Or becoming if I may say. It is a residential house which ground floor they turned into a commercial one, serving Filipino dishes (with a tweak) from breakfast to dinner.

I have been seeing it every so often from social media threads lately and out of curiosity, I dragged Jen one Sunday afternoon.

What made it more famous than its’ competitors is because it was endorsed by our former Ms. Universe since the owner is a friend (and a classmate) of hers.

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Photos and memories..

The most photographed item that they offer per my research is the “suman sa lihiya (lye)”. So it was my first reason why I wanted to visit their place. My mom used to prepare this before, and I really miss it. She is old already and can’t perform usual tasks anymore.

suman

The place is snug, there are decorative objects equally distributed in the garden,

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there’s even a bike with a basket holding a bouquet of flowers, which created a country-feel and very laid-back scenery. Relaxing and thought-provoking as well.

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The dining area is quite huge, which can hold more or less 50 guests. There are actually three separate rooms to dine and we chose the one in a corner. The space outside is huge too.

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It leads to the front yard too though it stays unopened and the entrance for guests is the one in the main dining hall where the counter and kitchen is situated.

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Jen and I both sitted in the tufted bench beside that gorgeous red door.

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On your left upon entrance is the stairs with quotes that I spotted in several blogs. So I made sure we have a picture on it. #thisthingwithstairs

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The decors that are equally distributed in every corner were hints that most of which were from the owner’s many travels.

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We’re supposed to order pasta and burger, but they’re no longer available. According to the attendant, there was a surge earlier. When we came before dinner time, only three tables were occupied giving me the liberty to take photos of items that are interesting to me.

We then chose pizza with pepperonis and still they’re no longer available. We ended up ordering the one with mushrooms. Jen ordered for the churros and I got my suman sa lihiya.

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As a disclaimer, the attendant warned us that the pizza must be consumed immediately. The pizza is good, a healthy option since it is meatless. But true enough, in all fairness, we were warned, the pizza dough got firmer, and it’s no longer chewy to the bite.

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The churros for me is over-rated, there is nothing special to it except for that mint leaf, just as how you expect churros to be, while the chocolate dip is good, it didn’t remind me of a brand, and only a good chef can do it or it is home-made. =)

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The Filipino way of gathering is skillfully interpreted in this place. Local favorites infused with some internationally known dishes and a homey ambience. Huge tables, family pictures, souvenirs, hanging plants, a Sto. Nino to guard the place, the greenery, makes-up for the over-all cozy feel.

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Surely, we can celebrate some occasion here with friends and family. Or maybe even if without something to celebrate. =)

It is located at:

Lot 32 Blk. 8, Silmer Village, Biñan, Laguna. You can call them at: 0915-649-3952

 

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GELE Milkshake Cafe…

GELE Milkshake Cafe..

Nowadays, it is ironic that these so called millennials, have greatly influenced people of all ages. I am coming from this habit formed to perform activities outside of home over cafes that serve milkshakes, coffee, smoothies, flavored teas, paired with sandwiches, pastas and burgers with varying twists.

Millennials are undeniably showing hunger and thirst for change for something unconventional. I think their keywords are freedom and adventure. You will see black burgers which you normally find not so appealing but to its being different are catered and enjoyed by many.

As I also observed, the love for coffee has been a strong inclination by Filipinos. The competition from those beans coming from different countries and those beans that are locally grown is truly tight. What’s surprising is that both were thriving.

Proofs of these are the numerous hole in the walls establishments taking turns in coming up with something unique. The trend is attractive, the chalkboard menus are everywhere and full of color. Coffee shops, cafes are in all corners.

Just in my vicinity, Jen and I have listed a number of cafes to visit so as to verdict which one has the best tasting coffee on top of the aesthetic side that if not present, said cafe will lag behind by those who are bold enough to offer what is sometimes I used to call “out of this world”.

Weekends for us are our chance to visit these places. One from the list is Gele’s… It’s a 15 minutes drive from my place.

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While searching for it, the place looked big in the photos. However, when we get there, it is but a small place that can seat more than 4 groups of 3 to 4 pax.

The theme is clean and crisp with touches of nature’s colors. Browns and greens.

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We just had our drinks to chill and matched them with our staple Mexican favorite. The nacho salad. There was always excitement in our eyes upon the attendant’s arrival handing down our orders.

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I fell in love with the colored nachos, however, I didn’t like it much since I can taste the onions. It was too strong for me and I wished for more tomatoes.

I had Mudslide and Jen had Salty Pop. We both liked our first trys, it was not like those times when you get disappointed with your choice and wished for another. I took them more than 10 minutes to prepare both. Not bad.

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Who’d think, these drinks can match nachos? =)

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We finished them satisfied. And as we’re about to leave, some millennials are pouring in. It’s good to feel younger sometimes. =)

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THE FUSION CUISINE

The Fusion Cuisine

When the main bridgeway in our town closed for re-construction, our route going to Manila pass by two villages which includes Pacita Complex. The trip was longer but it allowed me to discover some new food places to visit anytime.

One of which is The Fusion Cuisine located at the main road of Pacita complex. It stood out along several restaurants.

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D’Fusion Cafe..

It caught my interest since the facade is very attractive and welcoming, an attendant is cooking “Takoyaki” right in front of their entrance when we came and it is enticing.

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Takoyaki…=)

There is a “Menu for the day” signage in a miniature easel, where the menu is written in chalk and the attendants are vigilant enough to greet you upon entry.

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I ❤ easels and chalk-written menus!

It is a joint that pours booze until midnight. It was only after dinner time when we arrived.

Jen was adamant to get a bottle of her favorite beer. An Estella. What I had is my usual iced tea.

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Finally, she got one..

For our food, we normally inquire what their best seller is and should it fit our preference, we get it.

I had grilled pork. And Jen had grilled salmon. Both of which are two of their best sellers.

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Attack! (–,)

It took them more than fifteen minutes to serve it. Slightly too long for me, I just had to kill our time while waiting for our orders to arrive by taking photos of this small nook. Literally, its’ name fits their place as it showcased a mix of cultures strongly hinged to Philippines, Thailand and Japan.

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We found it weird not to find the usual sidings for grilled items. They’ve attempted to create a twist, when we’re used to buttered veggies and probably only the lemon slice is suited for Jen’s salmon. The slightly buttered corn in that mini bowl is okay, however, it doesn’t fit the slices of cucumber and tomatoes. We then affix the term “fusion” to all our observation.

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We missed the soup..

It made sense that the attendants asked how our food is. It is a traditional take that I think is effective when you want to improve on your craft.

It made me raise the glass. Or should I say the Estella bottle. =)

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This is Jen’s, I don’t drink beer for almost 20 years now.. =)

 

MTV Cafe…

MTV Cafe

There is one cafe in our town that I always passed by but since it is in somewhere in between where I live and where I do my grocery every weekend, I haven’t got the chance to stop by and check it.

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MTV Cafe..

One afternoon, when my mom attended an activity out of town with her siblings, I was too lazy to cook dinner and foodie buddy and I opted to find some place cool to dine.

We thought of MTV cafe to veer away from the usual “inihaw” stuff (grilled fish, grilled chicken, grilled pork, etc.), and even quick-service restaurants that are scattered in our neighborhood. MTV cafe could be an option.

There were only a few guests when we arrive, and the attendant directed us to the counter. We are to place our orders there and not while sitted on the table.

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Healthier coffee… #organic
menu
Choices..
menu board
Chalk menu board.. =)

The atmosphere is comfy, though the interiors isn’t not as grand or impressive. Just the usual benches facing 1 seaters and some coffee tables for two, 3 to be exact.

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Lotus candle holder..
for twos
Coffee tables..
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Their greens matched..=)

Not too many offerings in the menu too. Though what we need are there.

Jen had the buffalo wings.

buffalo wings
Chicken wings that isn’t too spicy..

I opted for the Isabela longganiza. The attendant claimed it is better than the famous Vigan longganiza.

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Isabela longganiza..

For a starter, we had their nachos first.

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I’m not so happy with it..=(

And for thirst-quenchers, we had iced coffee.

Ice cafe latte for me. And Black forest for Jen.

our coffee
Syrup pleease..
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Oh, there’s my simple syrup..

Service is good, however, my longganiza was a bit burned. And the nachos I think lacks the usual ingredients. I was looking for shaved cabbages, lots of tomatoes, maybe cilantro if they wanted to be authentic and cheese. Where is the cheese? The cheese sauce is okay, though for a cheese lover like, I find it incomplete without some grated cheese on top of it. I also noticed that the oil that they used for the Nachos salsa tasted like re-used oil.

I can be corrected when I’m wrong. I’m so sorry for being the pickiest kid on the block. Still, the service masked my discontent over their food. Not that really bad.

MTV cafe can be an option if you just wanted to have coffee – hot or cold. Their coffee is from Organo, while syrups is again by Torani.

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Toranis!

It is located at: #15 Oliver compound., Barangay Landayan, 4023 San Pedro, Laguna

Kamay ni Hesus Shrine in Lucban

Kamay ni Hesus Shrine

“If one has faith, one has everything.” ~Ramakrishna~

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I have taken this adage by heart. Source: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/faith-quotes/

Lucban is not just popular for the Pahiyas festival. I was also introduced to “Kamay ni Hesus shrine” where thousands of believers visit, it is a 5-hectare property which you can sight the following:

Luklukan ni Maria,

Noah’s Ark,

Resurrected Christ,

Gallery of Saints,

Garden of Eden,

The Angels Hill,

The Marian Park

and the religious Murals.

A priest named Fr. Joey Faller put this up through donations from here and abroad.

On the side, I also encountered the Lucban longganiza and pancit habhab. These two are what Lucban is famous for.

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I “must” have a photo of the signages. #obssesivecompulsive
signage
History…
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That’s what I’m gonna climb.
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I can. And I will.

They also boast the beauty of Mt. Banahaw, a favorite of climbers, but not my cup of tea while I still hold admiration to those trekkers and mountaineers who would not mind the difficulty of conquering heights with those heavy and huge backpacks behind them.

Though I did just a little to be able to touch the base of “Kamay ni Hesus” shrine, it took us more than 300 steps to get there, and it was a good experience and a test of endurance as well. I now understand the unexplainable feeling of climbers when they already reached their goal however high it is. There is the “high”.. =) It was visceral.

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A replica of the famous Pieta.
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Readying myself to climb, we stopped by the “Noah’s arc”..
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Almost evening, I saw the moon…

It has drawn huge crowd of tourists (local and foreign), media, photoholics, and all kinds of people from all walks of life. We even encountered a vendor who came from Canlalay and its just a town away from my hometown. It was happy and fun…=)

I knew that some of the devotees are a bit overwhelmed, thanks to the stations equipped with benches where people can rest for a while.

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There’s a grotto too..
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Almost there..

It is very timely this Lenten Season that I reminisce back those days when I am religiously practicing my Faith. I remember that as a teenager, me and my choir mates would literally visit 13 churches to commemorate the 13 stations showing us the sufferings of Christ, as written that it is the only way to save mankind.  This sacrifice until now, is something that is very deep for me, coming from God our Father. With my bleak understanding, it was with a hope that mankind will not only acknowledge that kind of sacrifice, but to live by it, for it’s purpose.

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50 feet tall statue of Christ..
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Captured it in all angles..

Years back, my son’s father and I for some years, dedicated our time in doing the “Visita Iglesia” too. It was at that time when we eyed a church on a hill top in our hometown and planned to get married on that same church. Even if it didn’t meet my future husband’s must-have requirements for our wedding, I just knew I was wishing to have our vows on that particular church.

However, according to the Parish priest, we are supposed to get married at the Parish where we’re residing. It was a beautiful church. You will instantly feel the solemnity as it is standing on a hill, overlooking the vast lowlands of our hometown.

birds eye view
Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/684336/priest-says-3m-people-drawn-to-shrine

As years passed, it is only during Lent (the Holy week per se), when I have the time to have my own definition of “peace”.  When everyone else got their tan lines after Easter, my skin is still in even tone. Like the “homebody” side of me at its’ strongest. There is a kind of pleasure, the simplest of its’ kind when you’re at home.

May the message of this season be in our hearts not only on these days, but the whole year through..

Happy Easter everyone! =)

sibol
Appreciating my surroundings.. #newbud

Kamay ni Hesus Shrine & Healing Center is located at:
Brgy. Tinamnan, Lucban Quezon
Telephone: (042) 540 2206
Email: info@lucbankamaynihesus.com
Website:http://www.lucbankamaynihesus.com/