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Our Awesome Planet

Our Awesome Planet


39 posts from December 2006

December 28, 2006

A Popit De Leon Experience

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I am Popit!

Popit personifies the term Character Chef. He gives life to an exclusive dinner with friends, family or special love ones through his generous tasty dishes and personalized service. How can a theater actor in school plays and self-confessed La Salle bum transforms into a down-to-earth Les Roche-trained Character Chef ? How can a chef be lactose intolerant and still provides a menu full of cheese, milk and cream as ingredients that comes with an offer of free lactaid pill for lactose intolerant guests?

On weekends, Popit cooks for excited guest at his cousin Charley's place in Lipa. Charley's is the latest out-of-town restaurant set in Charley Leviste Antonio's Equestrian farm in Lipa. For 793/head net for a minimum of 10 guests, he will cook you a sumptuous meal with the freshest herbs grown organically from Charley's garden.

On weeknights, he provides an exclusive pool side dinner to friends and customers at his Crown Tower condo in Makati. It is an exclusive one man show, where Popit plays the master Chef, the waiter, the cashier, and the entertainer. At the end of your dinner, I'm sure your stomach would applause and your wallet would wonder why only pay P750/head (minimum of 10)?

Thanks to Popit for making Makati's chef-for-hire scene alive. I've never seen such passion in a chef who is not concerned about money but concerned about serving other people through memorable dining experiences. He names his catering business World Domination Through Food, and now I understand why.

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My P&G Friends (L-R): Romi Garduce, Patrick and Quennie Cua, and Aileen and Paul Albano.

It was definitely a memorable Christmas dinner event for us last Dec. 26. Nothing beats good conversation with friends and a good meal in an exclusive and personalized setting. Overall, the dinner was a building momentum in food approval ratings and culminated with the killer Mahi Mahi dish and to-die-for Tiramisu. The pool side setting was risky due to the possibility that it might rains. Our night was hot and humid on a December evening (what more in summer).

An exclusive dinner in Popit's Crown Tower condo offers a wider menu choices because he is not limited to cook his dishes with the fresh herbs in Charley's garden. On the other hand, a meal with fresh rosemary ingredients and other herbs is something worth driving to Charley's Equestrian farm in Lipa. Dinner can be held in his Condo or your own designated place within Makati for P800/head. If you want it exclusively for two, he prepares a 8-course tasting menu for 1,250/head.

Let me share with you, our unique Popit de Leon experience...

Related Posts:
The Anniversary Dinner... by Jag Garcia
LUNCH AT CHARLEY’S by Mang Mike of Lafang
The Artist Chef Experience, Joan Manalang
Pat Choa, Special Birthday Brunch from a Special Chef :)

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December 26, 2006

Beard Papa vs. Happy Cream Puff

Beard Papa vs. Happy Cream Puff

And the winner is still... Happy Cream Puff! At least for us....

First time for me to eat Beard Papa and I was surprised by its size which is a little bigger and its price at P50 just for one vanilla cream puff. The Beard Papa eclairs goes for P55 and what is nice is that they have other cream puff versions with different toppings of chocolate (White choco chips, Black choco chips, Choco fudge and Choco glazed). This reminds me of the doughnuts flavors we have. The Happy Cream Puff sells for P20 and P25 for the eclair. So technically, you can get two for each beard papa.

The cream filling taste almost the same and the difference would be: the Happy Cream Puff has a more egg milky taste versus Beard Papa that has a Vanilla after taste. I was not able to taste the vanilla bean from Happy Cream Puff.

As for the puff, the Beard Papa has a crispy/ fried base and it feels like eating croissant with cream inside. The Happy Cream Puff has a soft pillow type consistency throughout which feels like it was expertly baked. Although, I liked the crispy base of Beard Papa which gives a more crunchier texture into the cream puff experience. My wife did not prefer her cream puff to be crispy.

The chocolate layer on Beard Papa has more interesting taste but it is gone after the first bite while the Happy Cream Puff lingers more in your mouth. It would be interesting to see if there are different chocolate topping variations for Happy Cream Puff in the future and of course, the value for money when you buy more.

Overall, we still personally love our Happy Cream Puff Eclairs! Interestingly, we discovered that it can be served cold and the eclair continues to be soft but firmer and not chewy. I ate a lot of cream puff this Christmas that I should stay away from these goodies for the rest of the year ...

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Pagudpud,Ilocos Norte - The Definitive Guide to Pagudpud and Ilocos Norte

Are you going on a road trip to Pagudpud? Download this Infographic Guide before you go...
Infographic: Your Awesome Journey to Pagudpud

Enroute to Pagudpud -017

Didn't you wish that there is a one-stop online travel guide that can help you plan your awesome vacation or travel in the Philippines?

Sometimes, I myself, is frustrated with the low quality of online information we have for most of our awesome Philippines destinations. By far, the most comprehensive travel guide of the Philippines is the Lonely Planet and they are written by foreigners.

Lastly, most people ask me about tips on places in the Philippines and I thought wouldn't it be nice if I can share these tips with more Filipinos.

As a Christmas Gift to everyone, I was inspired to create online travel guides that can help you plan your next awesome vacation in the Philippines! One of the most frequently asked question from me, recently, is how to plan the Northern Trip to Pagudpud or Ilocos Norte. I've written an extensive and comprehensive travel guide that is short, complete, and full of pictures.

Introducing... Awesome Philippines Travel Guide on Pagudpud

The Definitive Online Travel Guide to Pagudpud

Favor. Can you check it out? Please place some comments in the articles and additional suggestions if you have been to Pagudpud and Ilocos Norte. Spread the word... Traveling in the Philippines should be easy and awesome!

P.S. This might be late already for people traveling this Christmas Season 2006. Sorry for that...

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December 25, 2006

Fort Ilocandia

Are you going on a road trip to Pagudpud? Download this Infographic Guide before you go...
Infographic: Your Awesome Journey to Pagudpud

Fort Ilocandia

Fort Ilocandia (www.fortilocandia.com.ph) is the only rated hotel in the Ilocos Norte Region. This was originally constructed by the Marcos Family for their daughter Irene's wedding reception. This spanish inspired resort mainly attracts taiwanese gamblers but it still never fails to charm the first-time Filipino tourist. It is best suited for hosting conferences and events but it could be quite expensive to stay here for your family's vacation or use it just as a stopover. If you decide to stay here, might as well maximize the facilities and even walk to the famous Sand Dunes of Suba.

Virtual Tour of Fort Ilocandia

Fort Ilocandia
This warrior of Fort Ilocandia welcomes you in front of this 2 storey high reception area.

Fort Ilocandia
A red carpet with matching chandelier greets you as you enter Fort Ilocandia.

Microsoft 5th QuestMicrosoft 5th Quest
You can feel that this is pretty much, Marcos territory and you can find these interesting photos in the 2nd floor of the reception building.

Microsoft 5th Quest
There is a huge impressive fountain in the center of Fort Ilocandia. I was fortunate to see the fountain operational only during events and wedding reception.

Fort Ilocandia
The red brick facade and interiors are simply amazing and gives a cozy warm ambiance to the entire place. This is the hallway that leads to the hotel rooms.

Fort Ilocandia
The rooms are spacious and well maintained with a veranda that has a view of the sea. Surprisingly, the restrooms are well maintained with bath tub. This is what you will expect from a rated hotel in this northern part of the Philippines. The usual complaint is that there is a lot of chinese channels in the cable TV.

Fort Ilocandia
There is a mini-zoo with interesting animals that could amaze your children.

Fort Ilocandia
Amazingly, there is an olympic size swimming pool in this resort! You should never miss taking a dip in the swimming pool :)

Fort Ilocandia
The gardens are well maintained and you can play with your kids or have awesome portraits.

Fort Ilocandia
The Suba Beach is directly in front of the resort but due to dark grey sand and rough waves, most people don't even attempt to take a dip in the beach...

Suba Beach Evaluation

Sand quality and color- The sand is dark grey when dry but almost black when wet. The sand particles are large enough that it would hurt when the strong beach wind carries it.
Fort Ilocandia
Water quality - Dark and cloudy. You cannot see anything underneath.

Pollutants- The beach in front of Fort Ilocandia are well maintained. No locals or guests not booked in Fort Ilocandia are allowed to use the beach.

Gradient Waves- The beach gradually slopes down as it meets the waves. Then you don't want to know what's beyond that.

Fort Ilocandia
Currents- Strong current and definitely not advisable for kids.

Underwater obstructions/ Marine Life- Beware of Jelly Fish.

Sunset- The sun sets in front of the resort but most of the time it is cloudy where you can't see the sunset fully.

Fort Ilocandia

How to get there:
Once you see the welcome to Laoag arch and before you enter the bridge leading to Laoag, you NEED to turn left. There is no clear signs in this intersection so don't miss this turn. From here, there are already road signs pointing you to the direction of Fort Ilocandia.

Links and Resources
- a Fort Ilocandia Affair by Our Awesome Planet
- The Youngest Quester @ Microsoft CIO 5th Quest by Our Awesome Planet

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Patapat Viaduct

Are you going on a road trip to Pagudpud? Download this Infographic Guide before you go...
Infographic: Your Awesome Journey to Pagudpud

Anton and Car @ patapat

Patapat Viaduct is an elevated concrete highway constructed along winding mountainside in the northernmost section of Ilocos Norte. This viaduct was constructed to solve the problem of landslides in the area which have caused so many vehicular accidents in the past. Footed on the rocky seashore just several meters from the mountain side it gives motorists a spectacular view of Pasaleng Bay.

It is practically deserted except for occasional photo taking from Tourist (like me from years ago). You should take this leisure drive along Patapat and be mesmerized by its awesome beauty...

How to Get there:
The Patapat viaduct is about 16+ kilometers from Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte (about an hour away). This is farther north from Blue Lagoon. From Pagudpud, simply head northeast towards Cagayan. This will take you through winding mountain roads that have lush vegetation on both sides and occasional views of the sea until you reach the patapat viaduct.

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