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#Travel

Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcakes-16
“Let’s be clear, they’re not just pint-sized cakes. Cupcakes are something else entirely. At Sprinkles Cupcakes, with over tantalizing flavors to satisfy the sweet tooth, we get it right. Baked fresh in small batches throughout the day, Sprinkles cupcakes are handcrafted from the Finest Ingredients, including sweet cream butter, bittersweet Belgian chocolate, pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, fresh bananas and carrots, real strawberries and natural citrus zests. Topped with Sprinkles trademark modern dots, rich chocolate sprinkles from France or seasonal sugar decorations, Sprinkles cupcakes are a deliciously sophisticated update on an American classic. “ (www.sprinklescupcakes.com)

The best pasalubong from anyone who is coming from LA is the Hollywood’s famous Sprinkles Cupcakes. It is so far the best cupcake I’ve ever tasted. They bake it fresh on that day itself using fresh ingredients with a satisfying icing that is not too sweet just right. The cake is soft like a sponge and crumbles when you bite it. No wonder, this cupcake bakeshop was copied here in Manila. Do you recognize the similarity with the box design and font?

Happy with Sprinkles
Just look at Aidan’s face when I gave him his surprise pasalubong…. I got pogi points from my wife because of the cupcakes 🙂 Sprinkles is located along South Santa Monica boulevard and it is already near the LAX airport. The cupcakes taste great for a day or two and they put it in a nice recycled box with elegant recycled fork and knife.

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#Travel

Diddy Riese Cookies

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LA is crazy about the Diddy Riese cookies and you can see the long lines above to prove it.

Diddy Riese-5
I love Diddy Riese cookies because they are fresh, crunchy in the outside but soft / chewy in the inside. The bestsellers is the Cookie Sandwiches where you can select any two flavor of cookies and a choice of Dryer’s ice cream. Diddy Riese is 2x better than Mrs. Fields (yes, that is how good these cookies are). I do hope somebody franchises it in the Philippines.

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#Travel

Jewel Box, Mount Faber, Singapore


Mount Faber View — The Highest Point in Singapore.

“An Extraordinary hideaway which stands out with its pleasing sense of rustic sophistication. The Jewel Box offers an ethereal ambiance in which you will enjoy the privacy and tranquility of nature, as well as the exquisite variety of bars & restaurant. In the midst of an enormous wealth of flora and fauna, of colorful sunsets, and songs of birds, this exuberant architectonic combination offers the most spectacular scenery of the city and harbour and is perfect for after-work drinks, intimate dinners and serious partying”
(www.mountfaber.com.sg)


(Left to Right) Apurva (Indian), Siriwan (Thailand), Mui – The boss (Singaporean), Donald (Australian), Alex (Singaporean), Birthday Boy Steven (Malaysian), Calvin (Chinese), and Mark (Australian).

Usually, our regional team meets twice a year and I always look forward to the group dinner. It is the only time I’m able to go to “bloggable” places, otherwise, we spend most of the time between the hotel and our Novena office. I was excited because I’ve never been to Mount Faber which is allegedly the highest point in Singapore. We went to Jewel box, Singapore’s Iconic Hilltop Destination, which serves a 4 course set menu of salad, soup, entree and dessert. Despite the fantastic 180 degrees view of Sentosa, the lush forrest, and nearby islands, it was not enough to compensate for its uninspired ambiance and cuisine. They also have a very nice and enticing website but I have a hard time to even say that the food was OK.

In any case, it is always a nice experience and more learnings about Singapore. Thanks Alex for arranging this!

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#Travel

Desert Safari Arabian Night

Authentic Arabian Belly Dancers

The Dubai’s Desert Safari organized by Dubai’s biggest operator Arabian Adventures is one of my coolest adventures to date! It is an exciting experience from the late afternoon start at 3.30 pm until it ends at night at around 10pm. It starts with Dune Bashing where you are inside a 4×4 vehicle and you drive through the sand dunes of the Arabian Desert for almost an hour in the Al Maha Desert reserve. It is guaranteed that this is even better than a roller coaster ride, and guaranteed to make you shriek and laugh with excitement. After the desert drive, the tour stops over in a Camel farm where I came in close encounter with a camel for the first time in my life. Before heading to the camp site, it is a must to see the orange sun sets in the arabian desert horizon. This is a great backdrop for fun shots and group photos while on top of the Arabian Desert sand dunes.

Finally, the group heads over to the Arabian Desert camp site where you are greeted with a free camel ride and an Arabian BBQ Buffet dinner. We decided to stay in the majlis (low cushions) in the Shee Sha area instead of the traditional Bedouin tents area. After satisfying your craving of hummous, arabian bread, arabian BBQ and mousaka for dessert; the gracious belly dancer seduces the audience. The best belly dancer makes you fall in love with her via the hypnotic gyration of her hips and graceful playfulness of her hands. At this point, we are all enjoying smoking the strawberry flavored Shee Shas while enjoying the open bar of wine and beer. But the best part of the night happens when they close all the lights in the campsite to have pitch black effect where you can only see the stars and if you stare long enough, the satellite slowly orbiting the earth. At this point, you don’t want to leave but the entire surreal experience is only enjoyed for a few minutes before you head back to your hotel.

This is a must experience when you are in Dubai! The safari costs Dhs. 250 (US$ 68) for adults and Dhs. 180 (US$ 49) for children between 3 and 10. Since we booked via our hotel, it costs us 295 Dirhams about $80. The good thing is it is all inclusive and generally you don’t need to pay anything extra during the entire tour (except for minimal tips to some).

Definitely an Awesome Experience you shouldn’t miss in your lifetime!

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#Travel

The Great Pyramids of Giza


The Great Pyramid of Khufu or Cheops ) 146m high, the oldest and largest pyramid in Egypt!

I never understood the word, surreal until I saw the Great Pyramids of Giza. It is like watching a dream of seeing the sole survivor of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World. It is like being transported 2,500 years before the birth of Christ when these great Pyramids where build by three generations of Pharaohs –the father, Khufu (Cheops); the son Khafre (Chephren) and the grandson, Menkaure (Mycerinus). I even hesitated to use the word, awesome, because it felt like these pyramids were built by aliens and it was an out of this world experience. Until now, I still look back at the pictures, and I can’t believe that I saw, I touched and I even entered the Great Pyramid of Khufu — the oldest and largest pyramid in Egypt!

This is my humble attempt to share the experience with you, and I feel that there are no words to describe accurately the experience. I immediately went over to www.new7wonders.com to vote for The Great Pyramids of Egypt as part of the new 7 wonders of the world which will be announced on July 7, 2007. Thanks to papa Procter for making this surreal experience with the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt a reality!

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#Travel, Food

Eating Turtle, a slice of Snake and a Water Bug in Guangzhou, China



WARNING: Please don’t read this post. The pictures are disgusting but I wanted to blog about this to serve as a blog memory for me on my exotic adventures in Guangzhou, China. Hopefully, it will never happen again.

In my post, Snake, Water Bug, and Centipede looking Shrimps

Q. What do these animals have in common?
A. I ate all of them for dinner in Guangzhou, China.

This was the second time I ate snakes in China. It was tolerable, and the Guanzhou locals loved it. It actually taste like lamb ribs with fish bones. It looks slimy but is is not. The skin is tender instead of rubbery and if not for the stripes you will forget that you are eating snakes. But still, every time I look at the picture above, I want to throw up and I can’t imagine eating these disgusting snakes.

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#Travel, Food

Josephine’s Restaurant — a Filipino Resto experience in Central London

I had an argument with my brother before I finally convinced him to go to this only Filipino Restaurant in London. It was a first time for both of us in Central London. We spent two and a half days, going to the different tourist places and usually we eat on the go to save time. We were debating on why do we need to eat in a Filipino restaurant in London. First of all, eating in a restaurant would set us back at least 2 hours and why do we need to eat Filipino cuisine in Central London when I am from the Philippines and going back the next day! Endless discussion but in the end, my argument of loving our own and supporting our fellow kababayans outside our country won. Also, I’ll tell you an open secret, the Londoners have no food that they can call their own — except for Fish and Chips. I hated all the food I ate and I was dying to eat Filipino food. After having the food trip in Singapore, I thought I would also be able to do this here but I was dead wrong! I was already dreaming of eating at least a decent meal in a Filipino restaurant only to find out that there is one and only Filipino restaurant called Josephine’s somewhere around the Oxford shopping area.

If you are a tourist and you only have two days, would you spend the time to eat in a Filipino Restaurant in Central London? Or, maybe I’m just weird.

Josephine’s Restaurant was a 5 minutes walk from Tottenham Court Tube station corner Oxford street. It was the best meal I had in London, and my brother would agree. The food is home cooked Filipino Fusion that could rival Guava or Filos in the Fort. They have been operational for 10 years now this September.

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