Monthly Archives

June 2010


[Contest] I Love to Watch Legally Blonde Because…

Contest Duration: June 15, Tuesday until June 20, Sunday 11.59pm. 

Related PostOAP | Legally Blonde The Musical in Manila!

Legally Blonde is a feel-good show, full of “girl-power” and lots of eye-candy fun. We met the star-studded cast of Legally Blonde during their rehearsals and we were surprised to see most of our favorite theater actors in one production. It will be an awesome show, and we don’t want our OAP friends to miss it!

We are giving away tickets to the Legally Blonde show. To win, just comment on this blog post by completing the sentence:

I Love to Watch Legally Blonde Because…

The best three (3) answers will win Orchestra Side Tickets (worth P1,000) for the June 26 2pm Opening Saturday show. We will also give exclusive discounts to those who will participate in this contest so that everybody who loves to watch Legally Blonde won’t miss this show.

We will announce the winners on June 21, Monday. 🙂

Read more


Gelatissimo, Best Gelato in Cebu and Manila?

When a friend told me that Gelatissimo is the best gelato in Manila, I was determined to try it for myself. I got tired of tasting just-another-frozen-yogurt-or-gelato-store out there but Gelatissimo made a big impression. For me, in the gelato arena, the best ones are:

I’m gearing up for a poll soon for the Best Gelato, Frozen Yogurt, or Ice Cream in the Metro, so please do let me know if there is a Gelato store out there worth including in the list…

Read more

Manila Life

Our Inconvenient Truth

 The “Al Gore: Live in Manila” conference was very much like watching “The  Inconvenient Truth” live but with updated pictures and more examples from Asia,  particularly from the Philippines. Ever since the movie came out, a lot more people  became aware of the Global Warming issue, but we need to be more vigilant in forcing  organizations to change their policies on controlling CO2 emissions. According to Al Gore,  the tipping point is near and he commended the Philippines for leading the way in using  renewable energy.

I would like to share with you my key takeaways during Al Gore’s talk in Manila:

Photo courtesy of Jake Versoza

1. Bangui Windmills on your Mind.

These white giants have become a tourist attraction in Pagudpud, and they are, indeed, a great example of how we can leverage wind energy. I heard they plan to put more of these gentle-looking windmills on top of the mountains. Thanks to Ilocos Norte for being a visionary in using renewable energy.

Read more

#Restaurants, Food

Ba Noi’s – Secret Vietnamese Hole-in-the-Wall in Makati

Related Post: Bawai, The Best Home Made Vietnamese I’ve Ever Tasted

Ba Noi’s is creating a buzz in the foodie community because it is probably the closest to authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Manila. It is authentic in terms of the imported ingredients used, their chef (who is Vietnamese) (it is confirmed that the pinoy chefs are the one cooking already), and the taste (which is yummy indeed). Bawai’s Vietnamese Kitchen in Tagaytay is still the best — for me, nothing can compare to their beef pho so far, but Ba Noi beats them in terms of accessibility.

In Vietnamese, “Bawai” means grandmother on the mother’s side, while “Ba Noi” refers to the grandmother on the father’s side. How coincidental could it be that two of the most authentic Vietnamese restaurants around are named after grandmothers?

I like Ba Noi’s attention to the branding details, which include a cool brand logonice restaurant facade, and good menu design (net food prices are included). It also has a unique educational table top on how to truly enjoy Vietnamese food, complete with photos (see above). For example, to enjoy the Shrimp and Pomelo Salad, you have to combine the shrimp cracker (as base) with all the different ingredients on top, including the sweet chili patis.

Best Vietnamese Restaurants in the Philippines:



Read more


Minnie Puno’s The Home Chef Private Dining

The idea of opening one’s house to strangers for private dining may seem odd and a bit foolish to some, but not for Minnie Puno. Minnie is known in the foodie circle for her Minnie Mousse (chocolate mousse with a twist of liquor), ang saWRAP asian wraps sold in Legaspi Market, and CROQS, filled Potato Croquetas. So when she decided that she wanted to share her passion for cooking with foodies in her own home, I decided to make that the inaugural event for Secret Resto.

Secret Resto is an experimental project where we invite OAP friends and readers to join us in experiencing a different kind of resto for the first time. It is innovative in terms of its promise to offer the latest restaurant experience with a different concept every time — Different Menu, Different Place, Different Chefs. We aim to achieve a foodie experience that we will all cherish and, sometimes, immortalize in the blog. We also hope to achieve lasting foodie friendships and create meaningful networks through this experience.

Read more


Yes Yes to Yen Yen

Taiwan Cha Chang Noodles – P68

We were a little hesitant about trying out Yen Yen because we had a bad food experience with the Yen Yen Stall along Shaw. Anyway, we decided to give it another shot after watching the Bellyfest at the PETA theater. I’m happy to say we were pleased with our decision to cap off the night at Yen Yen instead of the usual fast food (e.g. KFC, McDo, Chowking, etc.).

Yen Yen food has improved drastically compared to the now-closed Shaw stall. The Taiwanese partner moved on already and the current owners seem to have tweaked the recipe a bit to suit the Filipino palate. We liked the quality of the Cha Chang noodles together with the bean sprouts and the tasty tofu (for a healthier twist).

There’s no need to claim that it’s authentic (because it’s not); nevertheless, the food has a unique flavor that sets it apart from our usual North Park orders. Highly recommended for those looking for a cheap, unique, and yummy hole-in-the-wall around Greenhills.

Read more

Performance Arts

Why I Love Bellyfest 2010

I’m pleasantly surprised to know that there’s a flourishing Belly Dancing community in Manila. I met Jill Ngo and her Goddesses of Bellydance, who introduced me to the Bellyfest 2010, during the Ultimate Taste Test 4.0 event.

According to Jill, most women belly dance because of the following reasons:

  1. It is fun and creates camaraderie among women. (I guess it is a girl thing.)
  2. It is great exercise. It keeps the spine flexible. The joints, like the elbows and hips, also loosen up. 🙂 
  3. You can dress to the nines, wear your fave costume and fulfill your fantasies! Who wouldn’t want to be a goddess even for a day? (It is like cosplay, but on a sexy belly dance level.)
  4. You become more graceful and confident. Why? Maybe because you get to realize you can do these mind-blowing moves that require great control of the body! (The confidence of belly dancers is amazing.)
  5. You can play up your ample hips and bosom. 🙂 Who said curves are out? (Actually, authentic Belly Dancers are a bit chubby in the hip and bosom areas.)
  6. You can learn to balance a sword on your head, play the finger cymbals, dance with a sheer veil — the possibilities are endless!!!
  7. Too often, we work out the limbs and neglect the torso during our workouts. Belly dance will surely tone your stomach muscles. (I guess this is probably the number 1 reason why it is gaining popularity, especially in gyms.)

Read more


Isabelo, Marikina’s Secret Restaurant

We were blown away by our recent Isabelo Garden restaurant experience. It was indeed a secret restaurant — you really have to journey to the heart of Marikina to find it. The food tastes good and you can tell that everything was cooked with love by the lovely Ms. Portia. The rustic Italian ambiance is set in an ancestral house (with old trees), which is artistically decorated by Portia’s mom.

Isabelo is a combination of the concept behind Sonya’s Garden, the kitschiness of Cafe Juanita, and the home-cooked goodness of Conti’s. It is also a family showcase: the garden is created by the Mother, the Daughter is the queen of the kitchen, and the overall inspiration comes from the Grandmother. The walls are adorned with photos, paintings, pots and pans, mugs with faces, animal figurines, empty wine bottles and empty bottles of perfume (with contributions from some guests).

Read more

Manila Life

In defense of Filipino food (a rebuttal by Claude Tayag)

(I love this rebuttal from Claude Tayag in defense of the Filipino Food. I'm publishing this with permission from the author so that more Filipinos could read this. Let me know what you think…)


(Photo from Filipino food: Off the menuLA Times, Feb. 25, 2010, by Amy Scattergood.)

May 7, 2010

The Editor
Los Angeles Times
202 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012-4105, United States

Dear Sir:

In defense of Filipino food

This is in reference to the article, Filipino food: Off the menu (LA Times, Feb. 25, 2010, by Amy Scattergood.) featuring Filipino chefs working in Los Angeles who the author says grew up eating Filipino food although the cuisine “has yet to assimilate into mainstream culture, much less their restaurants.”

Ms. Scattergood, for instance, quoted Filipino-American chef Andre Guerrero who, by the way, I commend for being voted Los Angeles’ Top Chef by the Los Angeles Times magazine, as saying, “I love it. I grew up eating it. But how does it fit into what we do? It really doesn’t.” Yes, I agree, Filipino food doesn’t fit into what Chef Guerrero does, but how could it otherwise when he has little familiarity with it, having left the Philippines at a very young age? And subsequently, having been professionally schooled in Western/Continental cuisine, his expertise is limited only to such cooking and does not include Filipino cuisine, no matter if he says he grew up eating it and to what degree of authenticity, I wonder?

Read more

Boracay Island

What’s New in Boracay in 2010? (Part 2 of 2)

Read First: What’s New in Boracay in 2010? (Part 1 of 2)

5. Battle of the Best Spa on Boracay Island!

Mandala Spa.

Considered as one of the best spas in Asia, Mandala continues to push the envelope in holistic wellness with its Shodhana Karma rejuvenation program and The Mandala Spa Hilot Trilogy. Recently, an innovative 24-hour stay-out Detox program was offered, where you can do the cleansing program while still enjoying the life on White Beach. Also, you can stay in the Mandala Villas and enjoy healthy food in the Prana Restaurant.

What I like about Mandala is it provides you with an escape from the busy, urban life, and it empowers you to strengthen your mind, body and soul without being preachy about it. Mandala tries its best to give you an experience of the “old Boracay” before its commercialization and before the 650,000 tourists/year trooped to this small island.

Related PostsMy Mandala Spa Experience [ The Bora Life #2 ]

Tip: Don’t forget to meet Ria (also known as Batang Dagat — check out The Real Batang Dagat blog).


Read more

Looking for a new place to eat?
Or a guide for your next destination?

Looking for a new place to eat?

Or a guide for your next destination?

Our travel tips and restaurant reviews delivered straight to your inbox. Join our mailing list to receive the latest food reviews and travel guides from Team Our Awesome Planet.

You have Successfully Subscribed!