Monthly Archives

December 2019


Hard Drive Recovery: Ontrack is Your Best Bet for Data Recovery!

This is a true story.  I’m sharing this recommendation to help those creators desperate to recover data from their failed hard drive.

All hell broke loose last October when my precious SSD (Solid State Drives) decided to die on me out of nowhere.

I was in the middle of editing a very important video for Japan when all of a sudden my SSD, a modern device more reliable than a standard HDD (hard disk drive), crashed and refused to boot.

For some reason, my SSD of 2 years decided to die on me while I was working on an important project. I was shocked and I didn’t know what to do. All my work and personal files were inside and I have never backed them up EVER. When it crashed, I immediately searched the internet for information and directions.

At that point, I knew that my SSD was pretty much unresponsive and that it definitely needed to be looked at by professionals. So the next day I brought it to a highly rated data recovery center in Manila.

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10 Best NEW Homegrown Restaurants in Manila of 2019!

Greetings of a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Our Awesome Planet!

Here are the Best NEW Homegrown Restaurants by Young Chefs and Restaurateurs in Manila of 2019:

1. Metronome


METRONOME is a modern French restaurant in Makati by Joël Robuchon-trained Chef Miko Calo, RJ Galang of Bakere/Man Eat Manila fame, Restaurateur Elbert Cuenca and Alain Borgers, formerly from the Shangri-La Group.

This is the much-anticipated restaurant opening of 2019 in Manila because of the rave reviews about Chef Miko’s food in the underground supper clubs, not to mention the place was featured in Chris Dwyer’s CNN article—Great plates: 15 new restaurants to try in 2019.

Read more: METRONOME by Chef Miko Calo: The Best French Bistro in Manila? (Review)


Overall, at the end of the meal, we asked Chef Miko, “Why is your food so good?” It looks simple, classic French (not fusion), but when you taste it, the flavors overwhelm you with their simplicity. Ang galing!

For the best experience, make sure to reserve the banquet tables which are very conducive for conversations with friends until closing time. Definitely, order the Egg and Spaghettini for the small plates, the Duck for the mains, Chocolate Textures and Baba Au Rhum for dessert. Budget ₱2,500/head for the dining experience or + ₱1,000 for the tasting menu + drinks. Indeed, it deserves all the hype and the food is worth every peso.

Metronome is the best French bistro in Manila.

METRONOME by Miko Calo
G/F The Grand Midori Makati, Bolanos St., Legaspi Village, Makati
Operating Hours:
Monday to Saturday 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Reservations taken between 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Mobile: +63 917 147 3776
Telephone: +632 618 4337
Facebook: Metronome
Instagram: @restaurant.metronome

Metronome Menu: Small Plates | Mains | Tasting Menu | Desserts | Coffee, Digestif
Drinks Menu: Champagne, White, Rose | Red | Bar List Spirits | Cocktail, Beverages


2. a mano

Located at Rockwell’s Power Plant Mall in Makati, a mano is a modern Italian restaurant by Amado Fores—son of Asia’s Best Female Chef, Margarita Fores—that promises faithful and fresh Italian food. a mano means “by hand,” pertaining to the handcrafted quality of the ingredients, the food and the service.

2019 witnessed the osteria battle of new Modern Italian concepts in Manila and, for us, a mano is the winner in that battle in terms of high quality of pizza, pasta, steaks and overall vibe. Ang galing!

Read More: a mano: Best New Italian Restaurant in Manila!


Overall, we love a mano because of the hand-crafted quality of the food and the overall service. You can come back here every day and order different items, so you get to enjoy every dish on the menu.

Order our favorites: Taglierini O Tajarin, Bianco for the pasta, Stracciatella for the Pizza, the Bistecca or Pollo al Burro for the main, and don’t miss the Tiramisu for dessert. Budget about: ₱1,500/head for a full 4-course meal.

I think Amado is the next Larry Cruz, who was a great restaurateur (before my blogging days)—with well-executed restaurant concepts based on his well-traveled background and taste for good food even though he does not know how to cook.

Don’t miss Amado’s awesome concept, and make sure to reserve.

a mano by amado fores
R1 Level (Stall 144), Lopez Drive, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell
Operating Hours: Open Daily 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Mobile: +63 917 552 6266
Facebook: a mano

A Mano Menu: Antipasti, Insalate | Pizze | Paste | Secondi (Mains) | Dolci (Desserts)


3. Test Kitchen 2

The Test Kitchen 2.0 moved from the actual test kitchen of the Bistro Academy in Kamagong to the posh neighborhood of Rockwell with bigger space, a la carte versions (vs tasting menu) and the cool kitchen lab playground of Chef Josh Boutwood.

Read more: Test Kitchen 2.0 by Chef Josh Boutwood in Rockwell


Overall, this feels like eating in a Michelin-star restaurant in London with food grounded on aged meats, seasonal ingredients and in-house fermented food. It’s updated with the latest trends (but not faddish) with a nice curated selection of natural biodynamic wines. I love the tour of the test kitchen, aging rooms and different fermented ingredients used in the menu.

Start with the charcuterie and bread of the day and order the appetizer of cucumber, squid, dill and beef, horseradish, cauliflower. For your mains, the chicken, seabass and wagyu steak are quite good. Best to eat family style. The desserts were not remarkable so just order what you want to try to end on a sweet note with cold brew.

Budget about ₱2,000/head for a 4-course meal plus ₱1,500/head if you’ll get the steak and the wine pairings.

The Test Kitchen 2.0 by Chef Josh Boutwood
G/F One Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Mobile: +63927-958-9727
Instagram: @thetestkitchenmnl

The Test Kitchen Menu: Snacks, First | Second, Third | Beverage Menu | Wine by the Glass

Drink Menu: Red Wine (France) | (Italy, Spanish) | (USA, South Africa, South America) | White Wine (France, Italy) | (Spain) | Rose Wine (France, Italy), Dessert Wine/ Port, Sparkling Wines/ Champagne


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Linamnam by Don Baldosano: Joshua’s Birthday Celebration (A Review)

As featured in 10 Best NEW Homegrown Restaurants in Manila of 2019!

We celebrated Joshua’s 12th 🎁 at Linamnam private dining by Don Baldosano at their kubo-inspired home in Greenvale 2.

Linamnam serves modern Filipino food 🇵🇭 with a 16-course tasting menu at ₱1,700/head.

Here is our Linamnam experience with the family…

Linamnam MNL by Don Baldosano
31 Greenvale 2, Marcelo Green Village, Parañaque City
Operating Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 6:30pm onwards
Mobile: +63 917 573-0246 (By reservation only)
Instagram: @linamnam_mnl


First Things First

We had a hard time finding 31 Greenvale 2 (Dr. Baldosano’s house), inside Marcelo Green Village (via the service road between Sucat and Bicutan).

It’s a quaint bahay kubo with a hardin courtyard and an outdoor open kitchen where Don cooks. (Tasting Menu and Family A La Carte Menu)

Don Baldosano, the cook, has Junior Masterchef experience, training at Toyo Eatery and a culinary degree at Enderun and is going for internship abroad soon.

Since we were celebrating with seniors and kids, Don agreed to create an a la carte set for the kids and seniors while serving the tasting menu to the adults.

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METIZ Modern Filipino by Stephan Duhesme (A Review)

As featured in 10 Best NEW Homegrown Restaurants in Manila of 2019!

METIZ is a modern Filipino restaurant by French-Filipino Chef Stephan Duhesme who moved back to Manila from his restaurant stint in Bogotá (formerly Tria Neo Bistro) to embrace his Filipino roots, push our cuisine forward and be part of the young Filipino chefs who are driving the chef-driven restaurant dining scene in Manila.

The name is mestizo-inspired as a tribute to the mixed heritage of Filipino food and the chef’s roots. The menu is a fixed 5-main course experience using 100% local ingredients at ₱1,500/head. We had a Christmas dinner date with the Lechon Diva and here’s what we think…


Karrivin Plaza, Ground floor, Building A, 2316 Chino Roces Ave, Extension, Makati, Philippines.
Open for dinner 6.00 pm and 8.30 pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
Mobile: +63917 898-5751
Instagram: @metizresto
Facebook: Metiz

It’s located at the back of the first building of Karrivin Plaza where Toyo is and  in front of the Moment group’s Mess Hall.

The open kitchen felt like one big living room with Stephan and his Colombian girlfriend Karen Urriago welcoming you as you enter.

If you are going with a group of 6-8, make sure to reserve the special private table with cool leaf-covered lamps.

Stephan’s food philosophy revolves around fermented ingredients and vinegar as the distinctive difference of Filipino cuisine versus other Asian food.

Our favorite spot is this Chef’s table where you feel part of the kitchen action yet still feel like you’re in a private nook with good lighting for your photos.

Five Courses choice of mains

Five Courses choice of mains (₱1,500++). Dishes vary according to the seasonality and availability of our locally sourced, organic and sustainable ingredients.

Metiz Menu: Menu Carte Blanche | Cocktails | Wines

Stephan personally wants you to experience a progression of flavors in 5 courses with a choice of main course based on what’s seasonal and fresh.

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The Sphere Manila x Little Flour Makati Staycation!

The Sphere Serviced Residences is a cool place to stay at the heart of Salcedo Village for your next family staycation in Makati. The rooms are bigger with a chic modern fit-out and a fully equipped kitchen to enjoy nice meals in the room.

Breakfast is served at the Little Four Cafe for an awesome morning start, and you can enjoy the cafe during lunch, dinner and dessert sessions. It’s a central place where you can have your business meetings around Makati, while your family enjoys the room and dining at Little Flour.

Check out our The Sphere Manila x Little flour staycation with the family.

First Things First

The 120-room serviced residences, owned by Singapore-based Six Stratos, is located on the 21st-26th floors of The Stratosphere.

The Sphere Serviced Residences
The Stratosphere 136 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati
Operated and managed by Hospitality Innovators, Inc. (HII)
Telephone: +632 8635-7288
Facebook: The Sphere Serviced Residences
Instagram: @thespheremanila

Check out low The Sphere Manila rates and availability from

(L-R) Lisa Zakharka (Group Director), Alec Yatco (The Sphere Operations Manager), Luis C. Monserrat (HII Founder and CEO), Mitzi Gonzales, Agnes A. Luna (HII Executive Vice President and CFO)

There are 20 well-appointed studio and one-bedroom suites per floor, all managed by Hospitality Innovators, Inc. (HII).

The Stratosphere lobby, sandwiched by Starbucks and Little Flour Cafe, also serves as the check-in counter of The Sphere.

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10 Best Restaurants/Cafes of One Bonifacio High Street!

Here are the 10 Best Restaurants/Cafes of One Bonifacio High Street!

1. Elephant Grounds

Elephant Grounds Manila is the Hongkong third-wave coffee franchise concept by The Standard Group (of Yabu and Ippudo fame) with the dynamic chef duo of Nicco Santos (executive chef) and Quenee Villar (formerly of Hey Handsome).

In Manila, it’s known more as an all-day brunch One Bonifacio restaurant, noted for its food more than its coffee. As the opening hype and queuing lines die down, here’s what we think of Elephant Grounds in Manila.

blog: Elephant Grounds Manila (A Review)


Overall, you’ll love meeting up at Elephant Grounds because you can feel the creative energy from the people, the service and the food. Excellence attracts excellence; I do hope they maintain this culture and quality of the food and drinks.

It’s like a Chef Nicco restaurant with a third wave cafe hip vibe. Don’t miss the Duck & Waffle, Sourdough Toasts, Duck Krapow and Toasted Rice Ice Cream. Budget about ₱500/head.

Congratulations to Chef Nicco Santos and Quenee Villar for a job well done with the food and execution of the cafe concept at Elephant Grounds!


Independent micro-roaster and café concept from Hong Kong
Lower Ground Floor, One Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Operating Hours:
Monday to Thursday 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Friday to Saturday 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Mobile: +63 999 887-1417
Facebook: Elephant Grounds Manila
Instagram: @elephantgroundsph


2. La Picara

First, La Pícara, pronounced as la pí-cara (with emphasis on the pi), means the mischievious or naughty.

It’s a Spanish restaurant with Tropical Cuban/Central American-inspired design that transports you from the city into an oasis in the center of the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The food was surprisingly very good, Spanish food with a naughty playful twist of Filipino ingredients or Asian interpretation but still classy elegant Spanish food.

We tried it three times in the last few weeks before their grand opening. Here’s what we loved that you should try:

blog: LA PICARA: This Awesome Spanish Restaurant at One Bonifacio High Street


Honestly, we initially thought this was just-another-resto-riding-the-Spanish-wave in Manila, but it turned out to be one of the best restaurant concepts at One Bonifacio High Street Stock Exchange Mall.

We recommend starting with the Sangria Picara and tapas of Kimchi Croquettas plus Sisig Tacos and the Burrata Salad, ordering the Chili Crab Paella and Beef Cheeks for the main course and ending with Puto Flan de Queso for dessert. Budget about ₱1,000/head for a full meal + drinks.

Best to go with a group of 4-6 so that you can really enjoy the paella. Best to reserve the round or group tables inside because this area is where you get transported into a tropical oasis with a relaxing view after a hard day’s work.

Congratulations to Isabel and Felipe for the awesome Spanish restaurant concept. Welcome to the vibrant restaurant dining scene of Manila!


High Street corner 5th Avenue, 2Floor, Exchange Stock Market Mall, BGC, Taguig
Mobile: +63 927 172 4480
Facebook: La Picara Manila
Instagram: La Picara PH


3. George Town Super Steak

George Town Super Steak is a steak house specializing in steaks and seafood cooked in the Spanish Mibrasa closed charcoal grill oven. The Mibrasa-cooked meats have a nice sear and are not dry because the oven keeps the juice sealed into the meat. Once you’ve tried it, it would be hard to appreciate other meats cooked on a normal grill.

La Cabrera, the Argentinian steak house, uses their own charcoal grill oven, and the steak houses in hotels often use a similar Josper grill to cook their steaks. George Town SS aims to make higher quality Mibrasa-cooked steak more accessible with better value for money in a mall setting.

We visited Super Steak with the family and here are some tips to make your visit memorable…

blog: George Town SUPER STEAK: How Mibrasa-Cooked Meats Ruined the Steak Experience Anywhere Else


Overall, after enjoying the Mibrasa-cooked meats, it’s hard to enjoy other grilled meats in other places because you’ll look for that seared tight juiciness in your meat. I love that the ambiance is down-to-earth but with high quality of steaks you can only taste at steak houses in hotels.

Our favorites include Triple Cheese Potato Skins for the appetizer; Super Steak Signature Burger, Fire-Grill Baby Back Ribs, Dry-Aged Ribeye 700 grams, Norwegian Salmon Fillet Skin-On for the meats; and the Strawberry Pretzel Mousse for dessert. Budget about ₱1,500/head. Best to go with a group to share and try more dishes.

Congratulations to George Pua and the No Limits Food, Inc. team for an awesome home-grown steak house concept!


George Town Super Steak (Meat and Seafood)
3rd Level, One Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Operating Hours:
Sunday to Thursday (7.00 am – 10.00 pm)
Friday – Saturday (7.00 am – 11.00 pm)
Telephone: +632 8363-1447, 8361-3937, 8293-5562
Mobile: +63 917 532-0000
Facebook: George Town Super Steak
Instagram: @georgetownsupersteak


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Malongo Barista Atelier in Manila (Review)

As featured in 10 Best Restaurants/Cafes of One Bonifacio High Street!

Malongo Barista Atelier is a French specialty coffee studio featuring premium and organic coffees and teas plus a coffee roasting facility inside the workshop.  The chain’s first branch outside of Paris, the BGC store also serves authentic French crepes with savory versions by Chef Alain Llorca and sweet versions by Chef Jean-Michel Llorca.


Malongo Barista Atelier Philippines
Ground Floor, One Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Operating Hours:
Sunday to Thursday: 7.00am to 10.00pm
Friday and Saturday: 7.00am to 11.00pm
Instagram: @malongoph
Facebook: Malongo Atelier Barista Philippines

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SEDA Residences: Best New Family Staycation Experience in Makati!

The 293-room SEDA Residences in Makati quietly opened its doors at Ayala North Exchange (beside Makati Med) and quickly became the preferred 4-star hotel among those working in offices and embassies around the area. Though quite busy on weekdays, it becomes a haven for those looking for an intimate staycation with the family on weekends.

Here are some tips and secrets for your next family staycation in Makati…

SEDA Residences Makati
Ayala North Exchange, Ayala Avenue Corner Amorsolo and Salcedo Streets, Legazpi Village, Makati
Telephone: +632 7756 9288
Facebook: Seda Hotels
Instagram: @sedahotels

Check out low SEDA Residences rates and availability 

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PIN WEI: Seda’s Most Anticipated Chinese Restaurant in Vertis North! (Review)

PIN WEI is the first specialty Chinese restaurant of the SEDA Hotels group with the flagship branch at SEDA Vertis North. Its promise of “good taste” is assured by the Chinese culinary team headed by Executive Chinese Chef Hann Furn Chen of Tin Hau fame.

We celebrated Ama’s birthday here with the family, and here are some a la carte and Sunday buffet tips…

Address: 2nd Level, Seda Vertis North, Vertis North Estate, Sola Corner Lux Drives, Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City
Operating Hours: Open Daily 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10pm
Telephone: +632 7739 8888 | +632 8981 4100
Facebook: Seda Vertis North
Instagram: @sedahotels

SEDA Vertis North Staycation Series:
SEDA Vertis North: Guide to the Best Staycation in Quezon City?!
PIN WEI: Seda’s Most Anticipated Chinese Restaurant in Vertis North! (Review)

First Things First

Located on the 2nd level of Seda Vertis North, Pin Wei is a 130-seater restaurant offering traditional Cantonese specialties.

Executive Chinese Chef Chen, with international hotel experience in Indonesia, Singapore and Dubai, is the former executive chef of Tin Hau.

It highlights natural lighting from floor-to-ceiling windows, bleached wooden panels and seats with woven rattan backrests.

Pin Wei Menu: Rice Roll, Steamed Dim Sum | Deep-fried Dim Sum, Congee | Roasted Chinese Meats | Appetizers, Soup | Abalone and Dried Seafood, Fresh Seafood | Lobster and Crab Delight | Seafood | Beef, and Pork | Poultry, Vegetarian | Vegetarian and Bean Curd | Noodles & Rice, Hand Pull Noodles | Desserts |

Drinks: House Wine | White Wine, Red Wine | Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Spirits | Whiskey, Single Malt | Cocktails, Beverages | Juices

They are known for their a la carte Cantonese specialties (and Sunday Brunch, until the promotion lasts).

Lauriat Set Menu: Set Menu A | Set Menu B | Set Menu C | Set Menu D | Set Menu E

Reserve the special lauriat rooms to celebrate your family’s special celebration!

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