Monthly Archives

October 2006


Chef Tony’s Popcorn-Fest

I love popcorn! Specially the holy kettle corn ones. At some point I was addicted to it. I would usually buy a large pack (P60) from Petron Buendia cor Makati Avenue on my way home. More than usual, I would finish it off and afterwards feeling guilty about not sharing it with my wife.

I first tasted Chef Tony’s popcorn when I passed by Pricesmart before it closed down. So when an invitation from Spanx on Penny‘s Popfest to try out Chef Tony’s popcorn flavors, I immediately raised my hand.

We (me and Yuga) went to Penny’s place in Kamuning and we were late. The event was supposed to start at 4pm but we arrived at 8pm coming from Antipolo. I underestimated the time it would take coming from Sassy’s house-on-a-hill in Antipolo to Kamuning. Also, we had a very interesting conversation with Sassy at Vieux Chalet for the Awesome Blogger series. We’ll tell you more about this in a separate post. So, we were not able to meet the other bloggers but I’m glad that there are still some popcorns left for us to taste.

There were 7 flavors to choose from: Original Caramel; (special flavors): Light, Pesto, Cinnamon; (premium flavors): White Chocolate Walnut, Parmesan, Mochachino with Almonds. It was popcorn heaven for us and thanks to Penny, Spanx and Chef Tony for this blogger’s popfest. The Original sells for P45 for the small plastic tub and P100 for the big plastic tub. While the Special flavors sells for P60/P120, and Premium flavors for P95/ P180, respectively.

What’s the verdict?

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The Blogging Gospel of Yuga

In my quest to promote the Philippines, I came to realize that I need to push further the envelope of alternative media. Aside from photo-blogging, I’m attempting to learn to develop creative videos that would highlight the beauty of our country. It is a long journey, and it took me a one year and a half to really learn how to blog and how to take good photos. Did you know that I only started to take photos on January 2005? Yes, that is the time when I also started my blog. The catalyst for this was my son Aidan, when he was born on January. Well, you can look at the archives and see the difference in my writing style and photography from the time I started until now.

Finally, I’m starting my video-blogging quest this month. To kick it off, I’m starting an Our Awesome Planet show entitled: “A Blogging Life: Awesome Pinoy Bloggers”. The intent is to inspire other Filipinos out there on the power of blogging and to give a glimpse on the blogging life of the blogging idols in the Philippines. I’m starting the series, with Abe Olandres known as “Yuga” in the blogging circle. He runs his personal blog at He also runs,,, and sites, among others. Yuga is one of the person I admire because of his rags to riches blogging story. For those of you who are not following his blog, just watch the video to get a glimpse of one of the pioneer pro-bloggers in the Philippines. He revealed some of his blogging secrets and keys to his success 🙂

Check this out: Clipcast Director’s Gallery: The Blogging Gospel of Yuga

If you have a slow connection, just let the video download first before playing the entire 4mins+ show. Please please let me know what you think… Thanks to my brother, Rommel for teaching me the tricks of the trade on video editing! Thanks to for hosting the video!



My Kaya Addiction

I am officially a member of Kaya-holic anonymous. I’m totally addicted to Kaya!

Super thanks to Anton Lim for bringing me these two bottles of super addicting Kaya! There are two versions, the usual Authentic Ya Kun Kaya brand from the Ya Kun chain in Singapore. The other one is from Toast Box which gained a good following with allegedly long lines in their Wisma Atria outlet. I love them both!

The Ya Kun version comes in green color brought about by pandan. It also has the same consistency as the sweet filling in Brazo de Mercedes and it taste like it too. The this Kaya version boast of all natural ingredients of egg, sugar, coconut milk and pandan. Imagine a leche flan that you can spread in your pandesal and enjoy it for its sweetness. Put it with butter and toast it together, and you will have your own Kaya toast right in your own home! I can even put as many jam as I want unlike when I buy it at the Kopi Roti store. It is perfect if it goes with your own coffee with condensed milk.

The Toast Box version comes in golden brown color because of the honey. This is similar to our Coconut Jam with a honey twist and a smoother light consistency. I was wondering why our own coconut jam, is not elevated to this level of addicting status. If you love the honey taste, then this is perfect for you. I agree with Anton Lim that this is a special kind of Kaya that is worth lining up for. Thanks Thanks so much!

I do hope these Kaya bottles could last me until end-November. But I doubt it though 🙂

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Sa In Yo

Maong: “Where are we going to eat?”

Anton: “sa inyo…” (in your place)

Maong: “sa amin?” (in our place? )

Anton: “no, sa In-yo”

I always love discovering new places and make my wife or friends guess where the new place is. At the rate that I’m discovering new places, it is seldom hard to find a nice resto that we have never eaten before. So when the buzz about the new In-Yo cuisine kept on arriving in my inbox, we decided to check this place out. I have a good feeling going to In-yo, since it’s a filipino house converted into a restaurant and a promising Nino Laus as head chef.

This is the official meaning of In-Yō : “In Filipino, inyo means yours. In Japanese, in and yo represent the two opposing forces in the world, much like the yin and yang; and when these elements work together, a fusion and a balance are achieved. In-Yō Restaurant is a casual fine dining restaurant that offers delectable creative cuisine complemented by a one of a kind ambience. In-Yō was brought about by the love of the owners for good food and the fondness for tasteful interiors, scenic landscapes and gardens. “

It is French and Japanese fusion that I’ve never tasted before. Head chef Nino worked for Parallel 45 and Kai, then decided to create In-Yō along with his partner Cris the manager of the resto. They converted a part of his lola’s house along E. Abada (in front of Ateneo), to a unique Filipino zen like ambiance.

There are two floors, and the 2nd floor can be reserve for special occasion for 10 people. This is where we stayed and disarrayed everything for our impromptu photo shoot. The Staff were very friendly and accomodating. Definitely a dating place that we want to keep hush hush for the moment. It is cash basis only as of now, but hopefully credit card services will be available in 2-3 weeks time. Expect to spend P600/head if you plan to eat a 3-course meal.

The verdict? In-Yō delivers on its promise of being a place of delicious food, relaxing ambience, and excellent service — at a friendly price. This is one of those word-of-mouth secrets that I hate and love to share. Congratulations on In-Yō’s first month anniversary last night!! Thanks to Thomas, Bing and Kitch for the tip on In-Yō! Lastly, another friendly tip, stay away from the ice tea and the desserts if you want to save on your bill 🙂

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The FunnelCake Factory

Lately, I’m getting education on different types of cakes that are available here in Manila. The lesson for today is all about funnel cakes. For me, it is the cousin of pancakes and waffle. It taste like Maruya (a local delicacy of fried banana in flour) and it has the same consistency. It is fried and crispy. Usually it can go with any sweet toppings like chocolate, cream and fruits. Some of the existing flavors include, caramel almond, cinnamon, nutty choco loco, peanut butter banana, mango graham and tuna cheese. Funnel cakes are associated with Pennyslvania Dutch region of the US and popular around ball parks, country fairs, and festivals.

The funnel cake factory used to have a stall in the Fort strip and they transfered to the third floor of Festival Mall. Finally, they setup a 45 sq meter dining resto along President’s avenue in BF. We were surprised that they were opened on a Fri and Saturday night until 12 mn when most of the shops would already close by that time. For late night desserts, they have a funnel cake fondue composed of three-piece fun-size funnel cake topped with banana and powdered sugar. They use toblerone for their chocolate and this would costs around P150 net. Here is a copy of the menu since they also serve sandwiches and coffee –> Funnel Cakes Factory Menu.

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#Restaurants, Food

Hula Hula @ Westgate

I must admit if not for my readers, I would have miss visiting this place @ Westgate in Filinvest, Alabang. From the outside, you only have a glimpse of the white staircase and there are no visible signs of happy eaters. The name sounds cheesy and childish that you will make you think twice if you want to eat here. The place just opened in June so for the record, it was ahead of the hawaiian resto — Polu Kai in Serendra.

It feels like Gerry’s grill with Japanese, American, Portuguese and Asean cuisine fusion. Is this really how Hawaiian food should look and taste like? Polu Kai actually beats Hula Hula in terms of ambiance, warm welcome and space (*** it feels like it since Hula2 seems to be crowded). But this Hawaiian inspired resto in Westgate, is definitely much more affordable and you won’t complain about the quality of the food. We were tempted to order the Luau feast which is good for 3-4 persons and the price ranges from P550+ for the Bora Bora to P695+ for the Japanese Hawaiian. The Luau feast is quite innovative since they put composition into the arrangement of ordinary food and it appears like food painting from the distance. Since it is only me and my wife, we decided to try the best sellers of the house which includes the Mess of Steaks and the Paella in Bamboo Sticks (this turned out to be more expensive though).

Overall, great affordable food that you would come back for more. I usually have a rule that once I’ve eaten in a resto, it is seldom that I go back since I would like to save our resto money for other new places out there. But for Hula Hula, we’ll make an exception since by the looks of the Luau feast, not only is it a good photo opportunity but you can also see the happy faces of the people eating it 🙂 Lastly (huling hirit na), this is a good place to treat your friends or family on your birthday or celebrating milestones like graduation.

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#Restaurants, Food

TheFrench Corner

October 18, 2006 Update: Formerly Voulez Vous which means “Do you want? “, I just recently went back to Westgate and realized that this place has a new permanent name “The French Corner”. Here is my original post on Voulez Vous and I was wondering if only the name was changed or is there also something different with the menu and the chef?

Original Post Title: Voulez Vous? Do you Want? (January 17, 2006)

Formerly C’est si Bon (which was registered already to a pastry store) , Voulez Vous offers Mediterranean cuisine — I crave for this type of food 🙂 This is manned by Billy King’s proteges Larry Cruz and Chef Mauro Arjona. Billy King’s claim to fame is having worked as the executive chef of Le Souffle which is one of Manila’s Best Fine Dining restaurants. This is located in Westgate Filinvest, Alabang and if you look at the building structure, you won’t be immediately attracted with its weird shape building facade.

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#Restaurants, Batangas, Food

Kainan sa Dalampasigan!

3/17/15 Update: KAINAN SA DALAMPASIGAN: A Must Stop Over Filipino Restaurant in Nasugbu! 

A Warm Welcome to Kainan sa Dalampasigan!

Doesn’t this remind you of a scene in The Lord of The Rings?… These hanging vines are enough to set the tone for a lunch/dinner in a middle of a rustic garden. The nearest beach places in Manila are the ones in Nasugbu or Calatagan Batangas. I like going to these parts of Batangas, because it passes by Tagaytay. So almost, always, Tagaytay is the setting for Breakfast on the way to Batangas and for Dinner on the way back home. I’ve always been on a look out for a good lunch place within the Nasugbu area. The ones that gives you a give provincial feel/ welcome, with a nice ambiance, good food with a good value for money. I’m glad we found Kainan sa Dalampasigan right in the heart of Nasugbu Town.

I would recommend this place as a good stop on your way to Punta Fuego or the Calatagan Beaches. The places serves home cooked food with Tangingue steak as the main attraction. The ambiance is quite nice and they took time to invest on the ambiance to compete with the beach resorts to attract the beach goers for a lunch or even merienda affair. I must admit this place has been in existence for a long time now, but they just renovated recently so during my first visit — I was happy to find this garden place. Of course, this wouldn’t compare with Sonja’s garden or Antonio’s but you can say that this is more of a provincial version of a garden leaning towards a rustic feel to its ambiance.

I was just excited to see the hanging vines and I took a picture above to remind me of the opening welcome scene when you arrive at this place.

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My First Blook (Blogs-turned-Book)! Thanks to Blurb!

Wow! I finally got my invite for the new innovative beta Blurb service that converts a blog into a bookstore-quality book!! They are currently running the beta blog-to-book service for 600+ typepad blog users and I got one of the invites 🙂 I’ve been dreaming already of converting my blog (just the Awesome Pilipinas category) to a book in its raw blog form. I intend to use it as an ultimate back-up for our 20 months family adventures with my son Aidan. This serves as an autobiography for my son, so that he can read it someday. This is the main reason I started my blog and if you look at my first month’s posts, it is about the birth of my son, Aidan 🙂 Secondly, I’m thinking of selling it to people who would want to travel to the Philippines and who would need an offline version of my blog. This would be good for that long trip from the US to the Philippines 🙂 Also, this would discipline me to be careful with my grammar and for dotting my “i” and crossing my “t”.

Also, I’m hoping that this would be one of the first Blooks (blog turned into a book) in the Philippines!! We’ll share with you the picture once I get the Our Awesome Planet Blook! Also, all your comments on the restaurant posts will be included! You guys will be part of this blook, so keep the comments coming!! The only catch right now is that each book could cost from $30 to $80 (ouch!). BTW, I can share another invite to another pinoy typepad user who would have the passion and energy to convert their blogs into a book. The only one I know that also uses typepad is Bryan Boy. Check out the Blurb Invite email below.

Related Posts:
From Blogger to Published Author, for $30 and Up Gets Book Smart


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GREENs With Envy

Strolling along Greens’ small homey garden into its alcove, one’s senses is pleasantly enveloped by the colorful atmosphere. We immediately felt at home! Greens has been operational for more than 5 years now but they just moved the restaurant to the Duran’s residence about a year or so (not sure about this). Some carnivores won’t even put this vegetarian resto into their dining consideration set. But not for this struggling vegetarian, who have been recently seduced again to the dark side of meat+carbo diet (the worse combination), Greens was a taste of heaven and a taste of live food.

We decided to eat here for a family birthday celebration of my wife’s birthday and brother-in-law. At first, we were not sure if the other members of my wife’s family would like it here but images of Latasia fusion vegetarian food or 85/15 cuisine at The Farm @ San Benito, convinced me that we should take the risk and eat healthy food for a change even for just one Sunday afternoon. Also, some of my readers have constantly suggested this vegetarian place after my feature on Latasia Fusion.

It was a hit! Greens vegetarian food cleverly imitates its dead/ unhealthy meat versions, which makes it palatable to ordinary filipinos even those who are not used to 100% vegetarian meal. The homey ambiance is conducive for family lunch and dinners and we were able to get our privacy for a group as big as 12+. I like it for its vegetarian innovations. They were able to cook glutten (substitute for meat) to have a texture and appearance of meat. It is usually accompanied by an overpowering sweet sauce which I think is too sweet for my taste. We were able to order a wide variety of vegetarian food items and the entire family was satisfied with the experience.

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