#Philippines, Balesin

A Balesin Escape

UPDATE 11/6/13: Check out the latest blog post on Balesin Island Club developed by Alphaland:
BALESIN ISLAND (ALPHALAND): Food Tripping Around the World in 7 Beach Resort Paradise!

I want to share with you my excitement. I wrote an article on Balesin and hopefully it will be published soon in a new Travel/ Lifestyle Magazine. It will be a Nov/Dec issue and will be released by the end of October. I can’t wait to see the final printed article. Thanks to the managing editor for fulfilling one of my dreams of being published 🙂 Can you guess what’s the name of this new magazine?



Kopi Roti Love!

Set D: 4 pcs. Home Made “Roti” Kaya Toast with Kopi or Tea (P85)

I love Kaya Toast! It was on my top 10 favorite Singapore food (see Makan Food Trip – My Top 10 Favorites! ). That’s why I was pleasantly surprised that it is now available in Manila via the mushrooming Kopi Roti Stores all over Metro Manila. It is not exactly the same, but it is close enough that you don’t need to fly to Singapore to try it out. I’m sure the novelty will wear out, but at least if you haven’t tried Kopi Roti, you’ve been missing on one of the best foreign coffee shop that arrived in Manila since Starbucks. In Lori’s recent post Singapore So Good, Lah! , she raves above Kaya Toast:

“I’ve made it my mission while in Singapore to try kaya toast. I came across it in some food blog a few weeks before, and I’m hooked. In itself, kaya is a jam made from coconut milk, eggs, sugar, and flavored with pandan. It’s thick and a gentle green, reminding me of a milder version of our local coco jam. Spread on bread that’s toasted over a charcoal grill and then topped with a thick lashing of cold butter, it’s a traditional Singaporean breakfast eaten with soft-boiled eggs washed down with hot, strong kopi (coffee) that’s been roasted with corn and lashed with condensed milk. A perfect perk-me-up.” by Lori of dessertscomefirst,

The only thing is that I miss buying the bottle of Kaya so that you can enjoy your own Kaya toast at home. I asked Kopi Roti if they sell Kaya, unfortunately they don’t. Hmmn, maybe Lori can bring some bottles of Kaya from Ya Kun back in the Philippines as a pasalubong…. hint, hint 🙂

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ClickTheCity.com: Bah Bah Blog Feature

“Finally, Our Awesome Planet, a blog maintained by Anton Diaz (who, like his peers, balances blogging with a day job) offers a little more diversity in its entries. Not only does he preview the newest restaurants in the country, but he also provides personal insights on concerts, spas and local tourist destinations. Plus you get to see pictures of his cute kid, which is part of Anton’s plan to ‘redesign’ his blog to include families as his main target audience.” – Paolo Sia, Bah Bah Blog, (Oct. 5, 2006), Click the City.com.

Thanks to clickthecity.com for featuring us (OAP with dessertcomesfirst and Market Manila) ! I consider this an honor since we know that clickthecity.com is the undisputed online magazine in the Metro. This is what I love about blogs or online magazines. We love each other (even if we haven’t seen one another) and you wouldn’t find us competing negatively with each other. There is no feeling of I need to be no. 1 or I can beat this other blog. I’m happy to see that there is no crab mentality in the online space. In fact, I would argue we need to have wysgal’s rantsandraves to be part of that list!

I think the formula to become a successful blog is: Personal Advocacy + Unique Personality + Writing in your own voice = Your own Blog Niche. You cannot compare the blogs since each of us has different passions, hobbies and interest. Although, I need to work on the equity of my blog. I want my blog to stand for “The Best of the Island Paradise of the Philippines” or “Capturing the pinoy word of mouth raves.” When I get featured this is one of the things I check if I get my message or equity across. Apparently, I still need to do some more work on that aspect. Maybe, I should put up a Philippine Flag in my blog. Any suggestions?

Other Features Index:
Pinoy Big Blogger: Online Food Critics, July 21, 2006
Anton’s Awesome Planet — BLOG-O-RAMAed 🙂, October 17, 2005



Top10 Fine Dining Dating Restaurants

I’m still continuing to build the indexes for Our Awesome Planet. For those people just tuning into OAP, here are my Top 10 Fine Dining Date Places in Metro Manila. I’m not really fond of restaurants inside the malls or hotels so you won’t find any of those in my lists.

1. A memorable dinner @ La Cocina de Tita Moning — My Favorite!
2. Nothing beats an Antonio’s Dinner @ Tagaytay!
3. Bistro Filipino by Chef Laudico — Best Filipino Fusion Food!
4. Je Suis Gourmand: Revisited
5. Lemuria’s Mystic – a Romantic Restaurant in the Metro
6. Le Souffle
7. Lolo Dads
8. French Fine Dining @ Parallel 45
9. Mezzaluna-First Night High!
10. Are you a Vieux Chalet virgin?

I’m sure I’m still missing some fine dining dating restaurants out there. Would you know of any other fine dining places in Metro Manila?



Playa Calatagan- First Signs of Life’s a Beach

>>>> Our Playa Calatagan 254sqm Lot and Membership for SALE! <<<<

Playa Calatagan Mornings @ Calatagan, Batangas

My son is almost 21 months old now, and he enjoys going to the beach or simply swimming in a pool. You can see the joy of discovery painted on his face every time he sees a pool or any body of water. So we would usually grab the opportunity of taking a day trip to Calatagan, Batangas just to enjoy nature, the beach, the beautiful clouds. Recently, we were so happy that the river pool in Playa Calatagan was opened last September — finally! As a bonus, there is a kids pool where my son can enjoy playing with his balls in the pool without the risk of drowning.

The river pool is awesome! It has Jacuzzi bubble stations, and a long stretch of water that ends with an infinity pool. There is no monthly dues in Playa Calatagan. The pool and facilities are exclusive to members and their guests. The model is pay as you use the facilities which a lot better than paying a flat fee rate per month. My only disappointment with Playa, is that the beach is not that nice during the rainy seasons and it would just get a lot worse with typhoons like Milenyo. Finally, I was able to update my original Playa Calatagan posts after 6 months.

Read my earlier posts on Playa Calatagan (March 2006)
a Beach Discovery in Calatagan, Batangas
Stay a week or stay a lifetime @ Playa Calatagan!
Beautiful Golden Sunset!!

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Tagaytay Index by Our Awesome Planet

Just to help you out specially for those who have just discovered my blog. This is a helpful index on all my posts about Tagaytay Restaurants and Places.

My Top 10 Tagaytay Restaurants

1. Nothing beats an Antonio’s Dinner @ Tagaytay!
2. a Manos Greek Tavern Dinner
3. Bag of Beans: Beyond English Pies
4. Discover Verbena @ Discovery Suites, Tagaytay
5. Paul Huang’s Fire Lake Grill @ Cliff House, Tagaytay
6. Highland’s Steakhouse finally in Mall of Asia!
7. Breakfast @ Antonio’s “Halfway House”
8. Sonya’s Secret Garden
9. Opium Bed @ Buon Giorno, Cliff House, Tagaytay
10. Antonio’s Grill

Sanctuario Revisited: Ho-hum food?
Inspiring story but a disappointing lunch @ Carlos Restaurant

Tagaytay Adventures
Cliff House, Tagaytay — US Ambiance in a Tagaytay Setting 🙂
Taal Vista Hotel Reinvented — Amazing!
Guide to Trekking Up to the Taal Volcano – world’s smallest volcano!
Relaxing Tagaytay Escape @ Nurture Spa
Sanctuario Spa, Tagaytay


#Restaurants, Tagaytay

Discover Verbena @ Discovery Suites, Tagaytay

Ready to eat once more?

Cafe Verbena. noun.
1. Resto that is an alternative to Antonio’s but not quite at par;
2. A place with a homey country ambience and free wifi in Tagaytay!
3. It serves contemporary country cuisine by Executive Chef David Pardo De Ayala

This is a good alternative if you want a private dinner place with a country ambiance. The service was very good. I was surprised to see that instead of magazines, they have Filipino great books like Bahura and Manila My Manila (by Nick Joaquin) for reading to pass the time. Since Wifi is free, you can now have a place to check your emails, update your blog, or upload your photos of your Tagaytay adventure. It does not have a clear view of Tagaytay lake but at night, you wouldn’t care anyway.

I’ve got mixed reaction on the food from my readers about this place so I was determined to checked it out for myself. Don’t expect an Antonio’s type of food where the food is prepared as you ordered. I have a theory that if Chef David is not in the house, most of the food are frozen or prepared in advanced so the quality of food is degraded. It is still a lot better than most restaurants in Tagaytay, but since the quality of food is just OK, some would feel that it is over priced. This was our experience and let me know what you think about this place.

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#Restaurants, Food

Bistro Filipino by Chef Laudico — Best Filipino Fusion Food!

 UPDATE March 6, 2014:  This restaurant is now closed 🙁

I can still remember celebrating our first year wedding anniversary last January 2004 at Chef Laudico’s house in Urdaneta, Makati. At that time, it was still a secret or only a few people knew about it. We loved it and I earned a lot of brownie kisses for it. So when I learned that Chef Laudico will be opening a Filipino restaurant in the Fort, I was excited and the timing was perfect for my wife’s Birthday last October 1. Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino soft opened last Sept. 27, 2006. After 3 days of operation, it was already a witness to the strongest typhoon that hit Manila in past 11 years, and a Christian wedding/ reception which was celebrated last Saturday (maybe you would know who it was).

Bistro Filipino by Chef Laudico serves Filipino fusion food and these are the sort of food that could take off in the international scene. I saw a lot of expats and sossy people eating here because dining here would costs you around P1,500ish easily. I love the Filipino fusion food by Chef Laudico and the desserts by his wife, Jackie! These are the kind of food that won’t make you feel bad spending that much. The interiors are designed by their mom with contributions from the family which made the whole establishment a true family affair. I’m sure you’ll love this too and Je Suis Gourmand (JSG) would now have a match in the Fort 🙂 It is literally two blocks down from JSG and it is located in Net One building along the same road as JSG. One can just walk whenever one restaurant is full but I don’t advise you to do so because I’m sure that both would be full especially on a weekend.

I know you will love this and they will have a grand opening on October 8, 2006. Here is our experience and share with us your food experience at Bistro Filipino. Thanks to Anna Ria for the tip on Bistro Filipino’s opening.

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And the first Phil SEO Star is Gio! Congratulations!

Congratulations to Gio (Guy in red shirt) for winning the first ever Philippines SEO Contest for the term “Isulong seoPH”! Thanks to Marc, founder of SEO Philippines for taking the lead to make this contest a reality. Thanks also to lakeside technologies founder, Boris for supporting the event and for the free food during the awarding night in Pier 1 last Saturday.

Nice to meet all of you guys! Check out the pictures during last Saturday’s event.

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Awesome Festivals

Hope After Milenyo

I do hope that everybody is OK after the storm Milenyo last Thursday. I was in our building in Makati when the storm hit Manila, and entire building shook due to the intensity of the storm. We were watching the cars along Ayala Avenue trying their best to avoid the flying tree branches and other objects. Most of the trees are uprooted and I was tempted to take pictures of the devastation to post it in my blog.

Instead, I decided to take a picture of this beautiful sunrise sky a day after the storm. During this time, there is still no electricity and most of Metro Manila’s power was restored only last Sunday, October 1. I’ve never seen the sky so beautiful when I woke up on a friday morning. There are establishments and places which stood the test of typhoon, Milenyo. But also, there are those who failed and their weaknesses revealed.

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