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13 posts from June 2005






June 26, 2005

Yet Another Ultimate Chocolate Buffet (YAUCB) in Shangrila!

Shangrila Buffetmixing my choco drinkmy choco plateShangrila lobby choco buffet

Alot better than Manila Pen, but still not worth it :)

When I arrive last Saturday from a whole week meeting in Singapore, I was soo excited to eat in yet another Ultimate Choco Buffet in Shangrila Makati. Yes, it is a copy cat of the Manila Pen's ultimate choco buffet and we fall for it again. Who wouldn't fall for it with these descriptions:

" Ultimate Chocolate Buffet -- Indulge in a seemingly endless spread of mini valrhona cakes, royal chocolate gateaus and tempting truffles in the most remarkable chocolate showcase. Every Friday and Saturday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. "

Here are my two cents worth for those who are in the same target market of these choco buffets:

1). Choco Buffets are not worth it! For the price of P550 +10% service charge, you would die eating alot of the chocolates. The best that I can do is eat a small plate of the chocolate selections and the mixture of the best chocolate drink I've ever tasted. You should have a Shangrila Gold Card for a 20% discount or AMEX platinum for a 15% discount. We had an amex discount and we still netted out with P520 per person.

2). Shangrila is alot better than the Manila Pen. I should say that what I love most is the chocolate drink ala fondue. You could select the chocolate that they would put in your choco drink with skim milk and a touch of almond syrup/ kahlua or baileys. You should definitely try the 65% cacao chocolate. Also, come in early so that you could still get the strawberry covered with Chocolate. Other than these two, all the rest are nothing special from the creme brulee, to the mint chocolate, to the chocolate puddings and cakes. Don't expect any fondue that comes with different fruits for dipping because you would only get marshmallows.

>> More Pictures of our Shangrila Ultimate Choco Buffet Experience


June 20, 2005

Coldstone Creamery -- the cult ice cream is here!

Coldstone

Something different

I'm excited that coldstone is starting to test market their ice cream in the Philippines! This is in the league of cult food like what krispy cream did for donuts. However, the rockwell branch is just a test market place, and the final outlet would either be in podium or greenbelt. Also, they are just offering packaged "I like it" cup servings and the choices are limited. They only have three flavors: Strawberry Banana Rendezvous, Coffee Lovers only, Chocolate devotions, Apple Pie ala Cold Stone, and Birthday Cake Remix.

We tasted the Strawberry Banana and I did not find it specially different or maybe I'm just not an ice cream connoisseur. They said that the full line would be available in the final outlet and I can't wait for it to arrive!

>> More info on Coldstone Creamery
The initial coldstone creamery is located in rockwell near Fully Booked.


June 19, 2005

Father's Day @ Chinese Monk in Rockwell


Chinese Monk, Rockwell
Originally uploaded by antondiaz.

Chinese food without MSG!

We decided to celebrate in Father's day in Rockwell because we wanted to eat in a place that we have not been to, and at the same time easy to park and not alot of people. Rockwell fits nicely into this criteria and originally we were hoping to try out the N restaurant -- but it was closed. Since popsy's favorite (and mine) are chinese food, we decided to eat at Chinese Monk.

Chinese Monk is located in the Dencio's, Crustacia side of Rockwell. Surprisingly, there are alot of people who decided to eat here too and like us, wanted to avoid the many families celebrating father's day. I actually have mixed reviews about Chinese monk. One great thing about the food is that they don't use MSG similar to Zhongnanhai. I particularly like the Mixed Seafood Medley, the ribs, and Hot & Sour soup. However, some of the food tasted like Filipino Chinese like the Szchezuan Crab (which outrageously costs P580) which tasted like the sauce is with Ketchup. The Sesame Prawn Salad is too sweet with alot of Mayonnaise and alot of shrimp bread coating (really fattening).

This is not a good place to talk since in a typical chinese restaurant where there are no acoustic and you can barely hear each other. Also, if you arrive past 7.30pm there are already alot of people eating dinner, so I suggest to arrive before 7pm if you want to get a seat specially during special days.


June 17, 2005

Aidan's Flickr Photo Album -- Cool App!



flickralbum
Originally uploaded by antondiaz.

Cool!

I'm continuously amazed at how many cool applications are being created for Flickr. Recently, Henry Jones created the flickr Album application that creates a page-turning animated album that loads photos based on a flickr username or a certain photo tags. Now, this is a very promising beta application that if you would have the ability to personalize and download the album --- it would definitely be a killer app.

Check this out ---> Aidan's Flickr Album

>> Discussion Thread on Flickr Album in Flickr Central


June 15, 2005

A beach resort called Honey!


honey beach postcard 3
Originally uploaded by antondiaz.

Proceed with caution :)

I love beaches and when I got hold a copy of Philmap's beaches of the Philippines, I immediately looked for a beach area that is a driving distance from Manila but still exotic (or unexplored). I fell in love with the pictures of Honey Beach which is located in Sawang,Lobo, Batangas. Finally last Independence Day weekend, we had a chance with my wife's balikbayan friend, Espie. Yes, Lobo batangas beaches are not popular -- I can't find any google info about these beaches and nobody talks about them and I now understand why. Aside from the Philmap's article, which focuses too much on the positive and don't give you the negatives, I intend to give you local travelers, adventurers and beach lover like me what to expect and how to have a fun time in Lobo beaches.

Here are some of the key highlights:

Honey Beach Accomodation is OK for family/friends specially if you have kids! The place is a private resort (recently opened to the public) owned by the Macalintals who shuttles back and forth between the US and their retirement place in Honey Beach. There is a whole article on the background of the place in Philmap's article and I don't intend to replicate it here. There are only 2 airconditioned rooms (suppose to be good for 5 each but from experience one can have 4 and the other 3 persons that could sleep comfortably) and 2 cottages (suppose to be good for 12 there are only two beds and the rest should sleep in a banig or mattress). Resorts should be more truthful on the maximum capacity of the rooms considering that people are not skinny girls and people needs to sleep comfortably. Having said that, since the place is a little private it is ideal for kids because it is not crowded, there is a putting green where the kids can play with the golf balls, and the service is warm + personalized.

You would spend P3,500 for the airconditioned room and P600/person for 3 meals (lunch, dinner, breakfast). Service Charge is not included and they have a song and dance number when you arrive that encourages you to provide the staff tips if you feel happy about their service.

This is definitely a great place to relax and breath fresh air with your family and friends!

Honey Beach BargeSawang, Lobo BeachLobo, Batangas Sunsetrelaxing chairs

There are alot of negatives (consider yourself warned!)

1. The road going to Lobo is terrible (although it has improved alot from a few years ago) -- 20km of rough roads sporadically spread throughout your journey to Lobo. Bring a big car or SUV -- highly recommended.

2. The Lobo beaches sunrise is behind the mountains and sunsets in front of the resorts but still behind the mountains (not the horizon). You have a feeling that there is something wrong with your location and wanted to move the mountains. So this is not an ideal place for sunrise/sunset shots.

3. Although they would say that the beach area in front of the resort is already protected recently (proclaimed as a marine sanctuary)-- the catch is the corals are alread DEAD! It is so sad that the fisherman killed the vast corals and snorkeling is a sad experience. It's like looking through grey dead corals.

4. The beach area in front of honey beach is disappointing. It is definitely not white, lots of rocks, and it is only clear in the morning but looks murky in the afternoon. Don't expect a stretch of white beach along a cove. Although, there are nearby resorts which have the kind of beach (submarine, and lily) -- This would be next on our lists of places to explore.

Some tips on how to make your trip exciting and fun.

1. Since it is a private resort, there are only a few things you can order. We can't even order san mig light, peanuts, and the like. Since there are no corkage anyway, bring the drinks and junk foodies you need to make your stay alot more exciting. Drinking by the beach is definitely a must!

Ponte Fino Scenes

2. There are two ways to go to Lobo, one is via Batangas City and the other one via Rosario which is 30 minutes shorter. Both have a long stretch of rough roads. I would suggest to go via Batangas city (just follow the road going to Ponte Fino which leads all the way to Lobo) and on the way back go via the Rosario Batangas route. I suggest that you make Ponte Fino as a stop over and savor the nice view of the pool in this hotel. If you don't know your way to Ponte Fino, just go via Startoll-- exit batangas city-- turn right after the exit toll-- just go straight past the batangas pier and makro batangas-- turn left going to ponte fino and follow the signs. Email me if you need directions.

3. This is an ideal getaway from all the hussle and bussle of manila. So bring your close friends and family and enjoy the night away.

More Information:

>> Photoset on Honey Beach, Lobo Batangas
>> Honey beach tag on Flickr photo

Click below for the contact info:
Honey Beach info



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