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15 posts from March 2005

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March 30, 2005

Yahoo! 360 Beta Invites are flowing...

ma_360-beta_1

Thanks to Jeremy Zawodny from Yahoo for sending me a Yahoo! 360 invite. The Beta service started yesterday March 29, and the invites are flowing (it is by invitation only similar to the gmail model). You can view here --> Jeremy Zawodny Yahoo! 360 Page . I'll try to setup my page over the weekend, and I plan to use it for blogging my personal thoughts and anything regarding the consumer goods industry where I work. Send me an email if you want to receive an invite here.

March 28, 2005

Lovely Easter Lunch @ the Mango Farm

Aerial shot of the mangofarm lunch

Try it out!

Rache and I decided to invite our parents to have an Easter lunch with us at the Mango Farm. Overall, the experience is very satisfactory but there are a few things they can improve to make it exceptional and unforgettable dining experience.

mango farm scenes 1mango farm scenes 3

What I like about the Mango Farm?

1. Excellent Ambiance. Definitely, the open air ambiance of eating a relaxing Sunday lunch is a winner for me. Mapresko! Eating lunch under a Mango Tree in Metro Manila is certainly a novelty that you want to pay more for special occasions. Of course, there are minor problems to this setup which includes falling mangos and dead leaves as an ornament to your meal; and this summer, the sun's ray is so hot that it starting to pierce through your skin. But when the sun is already covered by the clouds and your diligent enough to guard your food against the falling surprises, then this setup should not be a problem.

family picture with owner -- mike santosseared french-cut chicken breast with herbed pomodoro

2. Down-to-earth owner. Mike Santos (the owner) is very accomodating, friendly and a good hosts. From the time that I was talking to him about reservations, he was able to answer my questions and accomodate our needs. He was able to interact with my dad and father-in-law about agriculture and interact with us about photography which is one of his hobbies. Thank you Mike for the warm welcome and accomodation!

3. Very good food! The food is parity versus other makati restaurants in terms of taste, presentation, and quantity of food. We like the seared french-cut chicken breast with pomodoro sauce, sesame herbed chicken cordon bleu, and poached salmon fillet with roasted pumpkin sauce. Admittedly, the beef tenderloin steak is bland and not juicy anymore. Overall, the main course was a pleasant treat. The coffee was really great as remarked by my Dad who is very critical about his coffee.

a fallen mangomango farm scenes 7mango farm scenes 8

What the Mango Farm can improved on?

1. The food is nothing special not even a signature mango dish. Apparently, the food is served by Cardamom Catering headed by Alvin Ong, and Mike, the owner of the property seems to be just renting the place to Cardamom to serve their food. The setup is wrong and the concept is not wholistic. What make's Sonya's, Antonio's, Chef Lautico, Tita Monings click is that the food is integral to the whole concept of the experience and the entire ambiance. Let me explain. There is no signature dish, even yet a Mango dish which you would expect in a mango farm. Also, the single serving of the mango drink served in a small glass is not FRESH and made from concentrate! This is not what you would expect from a "Mango Farm". We asked for fresh mangoes for dessert and there's not even one that can be offered because the Mango season is still in April. A signature dish with ingredients coming from the farm would have boosted the entire concept like the rose petals on Sonya's in her salads, the bread pudding of Tita Monings, the steak of Antonio's, or Poie Gras salad of Chef Lautico.

2. Fine dining with no attention to details. I would not classify the experience as fine dining as marketted in the brochures. There are details that was just OFF like: the aluminum chairs and small tables; only one waiter and the service was really bad. There was another family (the Tantoco's) eating when we arrived and they were seated right next to our table --- we need some space. I'm glad that they were already finished when we arrived and they decided to move to another table to have their dessert. The meals are not a complete course --- no soup or salad even! Also, the guest book is lousy --- you can be more creative than just having people sign it. (In tita monings, you get to have your picture taken to be posted in the scrapbook with your comments) Lastly, Mike was in his biker's outfit as you can see from the pictures and I have no problem with it but it does not match the whole concept.

3. Too Expensive -- not worth the price. The 3-course chicken meal (appetizer, main course, dessert) costs P500, while the steak and salmon 3-course meal costs P750. Way too expensive, considering that the entire experience does not match with the other garden restaurants, private dining places. I'm glad that both our parents have a senior citizens card that we got a 20% discount on their meal. So the P750 was discounted to P600 for the steak/salmon meal. It is either the entire concept and experience is improved by adding more food or addressing the first two(2) concerns above. It should have special discounts or packages for special events like Easter, Christmas and other special occasions (i.e. birthdays) to make it worth it.

TIPS when eating @ the mango farm:
1. You can order a variety of main course from all their past menus since November. You just need to inform the chef in advance.
2. You should try to visit the nearby organic farm and buy fresh vegetables.
3. Cash basis only.
4. Bring your camera since the place is photogenic.
5. Alot about 3 hours for the entire dining experience. Enjoy the place.

Antonsig_7



MORE INFORMATION:

Check out their website for directions, menu, and other info --> http://www.themangofarm.com/
There is a yahoo group for the mango farm --> themangofarm@yahoogroups.com
View complete photos here --> Easter Lunch @ the Mango Farm Photos

the complete diaz family

Around Laguna Lake in 11 hours! Yahoo!

lagunamap
Finally, together with some of our friends, we were able to complete a day trip to the Laguna area via going around the Laguna Lake! This is the first time I tried it last Black Saturday. We left Manila at around 8.30am, had a stop over @ petron in south super h-way to grab big chill and jamaican patties. Then we proceded to Calauan Laguna for to visit Field of Faith at around 11.30am. After an hour in FOF, we left Calauan at around 12.45pm enroute to Exotik restaurant for lunch @ around 2pm. After 2 and a half hours, we left the restaurant and dropped by the famous Paete Church. Most of the shops are closed because of Black Saturday in Paete but you can still see some wood carving shops in the middle of the town. After praying for 3 wishes, we head back to Manila via Rizal @ around 5pm. We arrived in Ortigas at around 7pm -- woohoo! Still have plenty of time to have dinner @ Metro Walk.

paete churchpaete church2

The map above is courtesy of Paete.org.
See the collection of photos from me, Maong, Diwat ---> Pictures of Laguna Lake Caravan

Antonsig_5

March 27, 2005

Exotik Restaurant -- worth it if your eating exotic foods

exotik 2exotik bannerhorsie

Try it out! Exotik restaurant is located in Longos, Kalayaan Highway in Laguna. It is about 4 hours drive from Manila and you need to pass by Pagsanjan and Caliraya (yes, it is that far). From the field of faith, Exotik is about 1 hour away and some of our friends are hungry already when we left Exotik at around 12.45pm and we arrive about 2pm in Exotik. The food is Filipino and I like their Sinigang, Tuna sisig, grilled Tilapia, grilled squid. The food is great! (specially if you are hungry :) One funny thing though, we did not order any of the exotic food this place is known for. Our billed turned out to be P3,500 for the a group of 9, so we had to pay P400 each --- and I think that is expensive priced for tourists! Even the pasalubong place who sells espasol for P45 which could be bought easily at 3 for 100 with the same quality. The ambiance is really nice, it offers a few of the Laguna lake, and one of the attraction is Samantha (a pet anaconda shown below). Check it out if you happen to be in the Caliraya area. This is definitely a place for tourist to eat exotic food!

Click here for more photos--> Flickr Photos: Exotik Restaurant Longos, Laguna
Antonsig_4

exotik gangeve & samantha

Field of Faith -- a healing garden in Laguna

agony in the gardenscourging at the pillarcrowning with tornscarrying of the crossthe crucificion

Highly Recommended!

When our friends were looking a place to visit last black saturday, my friend Maong stumble upon this Inquirer Article (3/21/05): Field of Faith offers solitude, rosary garden. We were inspired by the story and we decided to visit the place. Upon arriving, you are greeted with a wonderful view of a fountain and the main chapel over a backdrop of coconut trees. The place feels fresh, peaceful, and it is like you are transported to a magical garden.

our family in the fountainthe complete FOF gang
Click here for more pictures --> Flickr Photoset: Field of Faith Pilgrimage, Calauan, Batangas

The best part of the garden is the rosary path where you could see inspiring quotes on the concrete road, find a comforting meditation spot, reflect on the joyful mysteries in resin and metal, meditate on the sorrowful mysteries depicted in wood carvings, or pray in the cement and glass cross on top of the hill. Also, you can pray the stations of the cross on the right side of the entrance with the stations wood carvings nailed to trees.

1Timothy6wood paintings 5thefieldoffaithstation15the cross

We were awed-inspired when we visited and I'm sure to come back to this place this time to meditate and pray (instead of taking pictures and acting like tourists). The place was designed to find God and find your inner strenght. To the Singson family, thank you for sharing this place with us.

Antonsig_1


For more information about the Field of Faith:

Field of Faith is 2-3 hours (with traffic) drive from Manila. You should watch out for the pansol area and los banos junction traffic. There is no entrance fee but food and drinks are not allowed so that you can buy from them (one way to augment costs). The CR is clean according to the women and this is worth mentioning. There are alot of good restaurants within the area including Samaral and Kamayan sa Palaisdaan.

Please call Nene Quintos, 0919-378-1664 or 721-0081, or email field_of_faith@yahoo.com

Directions: Download Map to the Field of Faith.doc (463.5K)

March 25, 2005

Fr. Armand's 7 Last Words -- Awesome Homily!

I've always been a follower/fan of Fr. Armand (SDB, Salesian) who delivers awesome homilies -- touches your heart & soul at the same time funny, full of anecdotes and alot of references to funny expressions in the commercials. I really missed his homilies during the 8pm Sunday mass in Don Bosco ever since he left his parish duties about a year or so ago. So when I hear the announcement last Sunday that he will be giving the 7 last words today, there is no doubt in my mind that it would be the best 7 last words that I would have ever listened to. No doubt, Fr. Armand does not fail to amaze us with his excellent funny delivery (for 2 hours) and I learned alot of things. I would like to share with you my reflections/insights on Jesus' 7 last words:

1. Loneliness is the biggest suffering of Jesus and the 7 last words teaches us, how He finally triumphs over it. Contrary to Mel Gibson's depiction of the Passion of Christ, the biggest suffering of Jesus is not the physical torture He suffered or being nailed on the cross; but, being alone through out His crucifixion. Judas betrayed Him, all His disciples abandoned him when He was arrested, and Peter denied him 3 times. This must have been very painful inside specially getting through it without your trusted friends or family.

2. Reflect. Pray. Find your inner strength. God, the Father, loves us so much that sometimes, He would prolong our agony -- a little more that we can bear, so that we would find time to pray, listen and communicate with God. In the process, we would find the solution within ourselves and realize that God already gave us enough strenght through the Holy Spirit and He won't be giving us trials that we can't bear. This process might be longer than you would expect but He would send us the gift of our friends and family to help us through the ordeal. When Jesus said "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me", He was not complaining but actually praying (psalm 22) to find that inner strength to overcome his loneliness on the cross.

3. To give life, you must die. When Jesus said, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit", He was offering His life to God proclaiming that He was able to fulfill God's will and save us from our sins by dying on the cross. This really touched me specially now that I want to change to a more healthy, pious lifestyle. I realized that changing for the better is not only about cultivating new habits but more importantly dying and burying your old self. You must say goodbye to your old habits in order to say hello to the new and better ones. Lastly, it is important that you strive to be a lifegiver to other people through encouragement, positive outlook in life, and touching people's heart.

Antonsig


The 7 Last Words
"Father, forgive them, they know not what they do"
"I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise"
"Woman behold your son, Son, behold your mother"
"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me"
"I Thirst"
"It is finished"
"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"

March 24, 2005

I'm too sexy for my pinoy blog!

Anton @ Awesome PlanetMomma Rache & Aidan

Mabuhay to all Singapore bloggers! What the heck, I succumb to my desire to join Mr. Brown's I'm too sexy for my blog project and join our fellow asian bloggers with this craze. Here are some of the entries from the project: I'm too sexy for my blog: Part 2. Just for some background info, it started with the famous singapore blogger Xiaxue --> read on for the background of the campaign: Thank you from Xiaxue. Also, you can view all the photos @ flickr via the sexyblogger tag .

March 23, 2005

Juan Gabriel's First Birthday Party!


For the complete pictures, click on ---> Juan Gabriel's 1st Bday Party

Last Sunday, we attended Juan Gabriel's 1st Bday @ Serye in Quezon City Circle. It was a fun Sunday afternoon with Rache's barkada. We can't wait for Aidan to grow up and enjoy these children's party. Check out the fun pictures, including Aidan's first baby love @ first sight. Enjoy!

Todd & Mina - Thanks for the wonderful Sunday Party!