Like a child at 14 Four Cafe

Fourteen Four Cafe

“Every Summer, like the roses, childhood returns.” ~Marty Rubin~

I’ll always love blogging. =)

For my “I am blogger” photo. Credits to: http://www.freepik.com/

14 Four cafe logo courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/14FourCafe/

As a child, I grew up in my parents’ house with a huge lawn where I play hide and seek with my cousins, with my dog and with my papa. I incurred scars in my knees because I wanted to run faster than our dog. I put mud in my mini cooking plate and let it dry for a day so we will have a cake the morning after.

I miss that huge lawn, we took care of dozens of love birds and I remember waking up with their chirping calling out my mom as if announcing that it’s already feeding time. My dog’s name is Tsandu. It is taken from a character’s name from my father’s story line in Filipino comics way back mid-70s. He was an illustrator. An artist.

In that lawn, different kinds of plants are grouped in corners. Some pots are even painted in varying colors. There is a huge star apple tree that gives shade to the whole area making it an ideal place to relax in our green 4-seater garden set. In some corners, you’ll see huge lava rocks which my papa brought home when we went hiking in Mt. Mayon. Along with over-sized sea shells which he also brought home from several beaches that we’ve been to. The other side of the house is with roof because it is where our garage is. You will often hear the likes of Frank Sinatra, Matt Monroe, Elvis Presley serenading you in a humid afternoon. He is fond of Tchaikovsky too. During weekends, my parents invite relatives to have barbecue with us.

I really look up to weekends. When my mom starts preparing pre-sliced pork and marinate them, I get so excited. At the main entrance, a realist painting, (a wedding gift to my parents by my uncle who happens to be an artist too, he’s a known painter during the 70s) will welcome you. If you’re a stranger , upon passing by that house, you would have guess that it is owned by some sort of an artist. And it is. My papa was popular then, I see him being mobbed by people asking their comics to be signed by him. I was just a spectator admiring him from afar.

I had to plot this specific day trip with Jen and travel for hours to reach a very similar place. Jen hadn’t sleep yet, she just came from work, and I’m thankful that she easily gave in to my whims. This place really brought me back to that time while I was still a child. When I first saw it, 14 Four Cafe being tucked in the vicinity of Tanay, Rizal, brought me to memory lane. Since we are from the South, it was really difficult for us finding it, as we are not similar to that place.

Some drivers doesn’t even know where 14 Four Cafe is. And finally, when we reached it. I felt like a child once again. I roamed around instantly without even informing the attendants who pleasantly welcomed us of the instruction given to us when we reserved a table for two as they do not accommodate walk-in guests. Visits are limited too, which is an advantage since they can better taking care of guests unlike when it is peak, attendants will be so busy. Their service, since guests are limited is more personal.

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Now I know that 14 4 is the # of their house.
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I captured some millennials enjoying their stay as well.

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Ironically, even if we found it hard to locate, guests keep coming. The house, more so, the whole place speaks for the artist who owns it. It is owned by Nikki Sambile, a designer. His father, who happens to be an artist too (like my father), showcases his furniture collection on this same place too.

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I want these chairs in my garden too. =)
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Photo credits: https://www.facebook.com/14FourCafe/

Can you imagine that I traveled all the way from Laguna just to have this vegetarian dish? It is Veggie Quesadilla with pesto soaked tomatoes, shitakes, melted mozzarella topped with garlic crema. It has grilled eggplants too and nachos on the side. While Jen, still full from our real lunch on our way to Rizal (2pc. chicken please! lol!), had something light and sweet. She had Amaretto French toast. She chose it because of the toasted almonds. She was overwhelmed with the whipped cream though.

Lighter meal for us.

It was funny that they have Milo to offer as drinks. It really reminded me of my childhood days. I was a Milo kid then.

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I ❤ Milo! =)

I would even eat it alone scooping portions continuously.

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Table for two?=)

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Nope, I actually visited because I needed an inspiration. Being an artist myself, I have to see others in that same niche too.

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An artist’s imagination is infinite.
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Rustic type of a faucet and its’ basin.
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This is the showroom of Stick designs. http://www.14fourcafe.com/location.html

Get the feel of it and be inspired instantly!

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I am not that happy with this photo. We were not able to capture all the colors behind me.

Which surely I did! We don’t even want to leave and hoping to stay longer, however, like I said, it took us almost half of that day traveling.

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So, we left after relaxing in one of the couches al fresco, wondering if we can make time to really come back. Maybe.

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Siesta – afternoon nap.

ps

They’re a favorite of those whose about to wed too, for pre-nup photos. =)

14 Four Cafe is located at:
144 Magnolia Lane, Gregoria Heights Subdivision, Bgy San Isidro
Taytay, Rizal

For reservation, you can call them at: 0999 888 0144

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A whimsy and quirky place in Lubao, Pampanga

Prado Farm – A whimsy and quirky place in Lubao, Pampanga

“Seeing how beauty and functionality have been coaxed out of chaos, perhaps accounts for the sense of magic that one feels for Prado Farm”. ~Mariel Francisco~

It is a rare occurrence that I get to find things that are new to me. Things that inspire, fascinate and drive me to move forward. Even slowly but surely getting where I want and who to be.

Over the years, I have explored in my own little way and maybe more in the coming years if I can afford them already. A few friends inspire me too, pushes me to my limits because they know and desires seeing me making my big dreams come true.

They knew what’s it like how to place random items together and uncover a new-born artistry. They don’t just know how, they feel it.

Targeting a place somewhere in Bulacan, as I do my research, I went farther north and landed to a farm in Lubao, Pampanga. Thanks to fellow bloggers, they unveiled to my senses a place that arrested my attention.

I researched further if those who wrote about it are professional photographers as their photos are really amazing and soulful. It reminded me that it takes two to create beautiful pictures. Someone who’s got the eye for it, and the subject itself. I didn’t include a modish dslr, cool tripods/ monopods or even gargantuan lenses. All it takes are young convivial hearts that are unafraid, seeking and lovers of fun with their up-to-the-minute mobile phones. And voila!

So their photos brought us one weekend to Pampanga. A few hours travel by bus and we reach our seasoned and whimsical destination.

Prado farm is located at Siongco, Prado in Lubao, Pampanga. It is strategically situated in the main road and can easily be spotted if you have your own vehicle or just riding a bus.

The gate that’s made of old gas tanks was the only thing that I wanted to see in my own eyes, but Jen introduced me to several Instagram photos that there’s a lot more to it. Seriously, I don’t know what inspired the owners but the place is a mixture of anything which results into a very bewitching place.

I even got a vintage coaster which has a “1930” stamped to it. There’s a lot of grizzled items but they’re a bit pricey. Just to get there is sufficient to me already and to shop is something I candeal with another day soon.

I must say the 5-hectare farm is truly a “wander and wonder” thing to me.

The Facade

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The Souvenir Shop

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The Blue House

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The Old Train Station converted into a Museum

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On our way to the Yellow house

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The Yellow House

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On our way to the Hotel

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I opted not to visit the pool as like a mermaid I might plunge into the water instantly, rather, listed in our bucket an overnight stay with them soon.

Junk architecture, sustainable designs, vivid colors, a vast flora, unique innovativeness, organic food, a set of artworks here and there that are literally surprising, country and vintage feel, a place that brings you back in time, giving you feelings of incredulity yet reckon that they are real right there in front of your eyes. All quirky and whimsy. =)

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If you want to visit the farm, their address is: Km 94 -95 Jose Abad Santos highway, Prado Siongco Lubao, Pampanga. You may call contact them at: 0920 903 0964 and you can visit their website too: http://pradofarms.com/

 

My “LAS CASAS” Experience…

My “Las Casas” Experience

Every year, everyone at work is excited as to where our boss will bring us come Summer.

I didn’t expect that we will have the chance to see “Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar” as they have visited this awesome place for several times already. But yes, we are going there for a Summer treat. A heritage resort it is. Yey!

It is a 3 – hour drive from Manila. More or less. That day is specifically humid but it didn’t have much effect on the incredible feeling I got that I’m traveling again. Better yet, with my colleagues. I usually travel alone and sometimes my travels are with just one buddy, or with my family and whoever I am with, traveling gives me this feeling of excitement.

We arrived after lunch time and spent waiting for our shuttle by admiring their lobby.

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=)
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And these tiles..

The staff are so used in attending to guests, from the driver to the ushers and to the servers at the restaurant where we had our lunch after unpacking.

My colleagues and I didn’t waste any time. After a few minutes of rest, we immediately did our rounds. Part of the package is a tour that comes with a tour guide enumerating details per house.

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(–,)

We opted to explore the place on our own. There is a total of 30 ancestral house, one of which, I have come to witness as a child, the one from Binan, Laguna.

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And what a day it was. A day is not enough for you to be able to capture all corners from west to east part of the whole place. Not only that it is literally huge, you can not help but linger at each corner for its’ beauty. It is truly wander and wonder mood for all of us.

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I especially love this.

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I imagine this with a few locals wearing this.

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Isn’t she lovely in that terno?=)

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mirror
They say, at 12 midnight, face the mirror, on a full moon, and you’ll see your future husband…=)

It brought me to the past. Something that is quite hard for many. It requires careful study, replicate’s intricate details, and probably passion to achieve this.

To complete the feel, they have a studio wherein you can wear costumes that have been worn during the 1800s.

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I just regret that we weren’t able to do it. Maybe next time.

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They also have a pool and it is an option if you do not want to go to the beach. The eastern part where the beach is located is part of the South China sea.

They have a souvenir shop. It showcase some stuff that really looks very familiar to me. And when I touched them, I was reminded of Antipolo. Then I found out some of their dishes were made by Ms. Lanelle Abueva, the potter whom I’ve met at Crescent Moon cafe.

potter

It was amazing though, and reminded me of the story of this famous psychic, who was handed a pen, and he immediately figured-out as to whom the pen belongs to. It was a crazy feeling. =)

Before dinner time, we were able to watch a show that featured young artists dancing folk dances and it was so much fun.

What I admired most in this place, is the attention to details.

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They call this “tranvia”..

What else can I say? =)

I had one of the best breakfast at Las Casas and especially loved the home-made cinnamon ensaimadas..=)

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Burp! =)

Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar is located at: Brgy. Ibaba, Bagac, 2107 Bataan with phone number: (02) 332 5338. 

 

 

BALAY INDANG, Finally..=)

Finally, Balay Indang…

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, however, only those who are true friends will stay…”

It has been months that we have been eyeing to spend one of our birthdays at this cozy locale in Cavite – Balay Indang. And due again to schedules that won’t meet, we had to postponed it, until finally, It is Theresa’s birthday this month of October, so we all agreed to do it at Balay Indang.

here we come
Chel to drive with 5 back-seat drivers!Lol!

It is a less than 2 hour drive taking the new MCX, we went straight to Trese Martirez and after reaching the junction at Tagaytay, we turned right several times (Savemore and Mendez) and 30 minutes after, we’ve reached our destination.

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Welcome arch is a tradition for me..
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The signage…

Balay Indang is a 5-hectare lot of massive flora. I’ve mused on numerous rare species of very pretty flowers in all colors.

sweet violet

violets

pink

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The orange petals blended with Theresa’s blouse..Beautiful!

Big and small trees with leaves in different shapes and varying shades of green. Being around it, nature per se, is truly beguiling. Like it was rendered by an artist in an all natural crisp palette that went well with the country-side like setting on this secluded part of Indang, Cavite.

sukal

pool

fountain

It is a Bed and Breakfast destination meant for those who really needs peace and quiet or that so called R&R (rest and relaxation). Once you are there, as we were, it is just between the sound of silence or the sound of frolicking leaves.

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Aaaw! They dedicated a room for us! Lol!
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Lanai ng Balay…
were here
Spanish era..Vigan tiles..
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Can’t help but look up!
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Cutie pie!

They also accommodate Retreat activities and the place is just so right. I just learned it later prompted by my wondering of seeing several Holy bibles in the area. There are 17 rooms, a pool, some gazebos, some cabanas, even a vast hall probably to hold events like birthdays and weddings for big groups.

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feel at home

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balcony

The staff are friendly as expected, they will instantly greet you with an anticipated smile on their faces, and even if you are enjoying your own moment, you can’t help but greet them back. As I have been observing them, they all too must love their surroundings. I am amazed how positively genuine ardor can nature provide to anyone who see through its’ beauty. It reminds me of this famous saying: “May the force be with you.”

And so some force led us to the dining area. Lol! It’s time to make our tummies happy. It was a long trip anyway.

dining area
Signages…
sun flower
Happiness!
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It’s hers next month..=)
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Yey!
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Lunch time..=)

So this is what we feasted on:

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In less than 10 minutes… our food were served…

Fried rice with teeny weeny bits of
carrots.

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With teeny weeny carrot bits…

Chicken – Inasal style.

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Chicken – Inasal style..

Oatmeal coated shrimp balls was the winner on the table.

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Winner! (–,)

Among those on the spread, the green salad is my personal favorite. I especially love their vinaigrette, the mixture worked for me and I guess with everyone else too.

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Greens! =)

Beef Caldereta. Flavorful and very tender.

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Loved the chorizos here..

Gising-gising is another chance for us to have veggies. =) (Oh my, I don’t have a picture of it!)

Baked Cream dory in cheese.

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Baked in Parmesan cheese..

And pancit (for the celebrant’s long prosperous life) utilizing sotanghon instead of the typical bijon.

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Pancit sotanghon for Tere’s long & prosperous life! (–,)

We had fresh Dalandan juice, we consumed a number of pitchers.

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Thirst quenching, not too sweet for me..

And a very soft maja for dessert.

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Happy birthday Tere! =)

at rest

at res wdo tere

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Total of six sissies!
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Bday girl’s is the biggest one! ehehe

The talks were non-stop, from while traveling, eating, taking photos at every chance, laughter in between. Even inside the loo. Even jump shots!

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Mirrors became our favorite too..
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One of my favorites! This certainly “Look up” mode!
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Vintage mirror..
the story of the doll
And this doll! Ahaha!
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Fun side of these two..=)

jump

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May relo ba jan? lol!

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And we were like kids during the 30 minute trek, wandering and wondering. It is doubtlessly moments created out of sterling friendship.

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Bday girl! ❤

Our photos might have give justice to it.

Happy birthday Theresa!!! Now we’re all looking forward to (Jhona) our youngest’s bash, where and when we will do it, is yet to be known. #excited

god bless
Our friendship has always been one of our life’s greatest blessings!

ps

We wouldn’t want another group chats reaching 400 plus messages. Lol!

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? (–,)