Viaje del Sol

[Viaje del Sol] Welcome to Tahanan ni Aling Meding


This is the scene that would greet you as you arrive in this mansion in San Pablo Laguna directly in front of the Sampalok Lake. I was curious to check out this mansion cum hotel and restaurant which was described by the viaje del sol brochure as: ” Tahanan ni Aling Meding is a tribute to the Borja sibling’s parents, especially their mother, Meding, who kept hearth and warm, soothing and comfortable.” One of my readers was also raving about the good filipino dishes they serve and that was enough for me to check this place out.

Just a side note: San Pablo, Laguna is a great alternative to tagaytay because it is merely 2 hours away. Imagine I already left manila at 10am and I was leisurely driving to this place and we still arrive at 12nn considering the traffic already in south super highway and in Batangas. Also, I tried to highlight the beauty of this mansion versus the scarry photos found in their brochure.

The verdict: Tahanan ni Aling Meding is San Pablo’s version of Tagaytay’s Josephine’s or Leslie’s. If you have a guest where you want them to taste authentic Filipino food at a homey Filipino Mansion ambiance, then this is the place to be. I love eating in their main dining area where you are served with good food with a hospitable service Filipinos are known for, while the Sampaloc Lake winds kissed your face through out your dining experience. Thanks to the Borja family for letting us enjoy their vacation mansion!!

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#Travel, Food

[Los Angeles vs. Manila #3] Porto’s Cheese Roll


I still can remember a couple of years ago when eating a carbo-loaded krispy kreme donut is a cool thing when you visit the US. Now, that’s a thing of the past, and Porto’s bakery is a better alternative. Its famous cheese roll is a must try along with the other cakes and other pastry delicacies. The cheese roll taste like Otap baked to perfection with cheese inside it, similar in texture to a croissant. It’s super addicting and I easily ate 5 pieces in one sitting. Porto’s Bakery is a cuban family-owned and operated business that has served Glendale and its surrounding areas for over 35 years and they recently opened a beautiful new store in Burbank.

One could argue that Becky’s or Conti’s taste a lot better, but the I’ve never tasted a cheeseroll as delicious as porto’s. If you can manage to bring one home as a pasalubong, it is highly recommended.

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#Travel, Food

[Los Angeles vs. Manila #2] Hollywood’s famous Pink’s Hot Dog


This is one of the famous must-eat destination in LA, and I was extremely curious why a chili dog can be this famous for 66 years! Paul Pink started this hotdog stand in 1939 and it stood on the same spot, giving the same quality of hot dog for years. I’m glad that Atty. Joseph Joson who was kind enough to accompany me to eat in this so-called hot dog to the stars. The hot dog heritage is a great marketing sell and they have photos to prove it (amazing)! I’m not really fond of hotdogs and I’m eating a vegetable rich diet lately, but this one is a must try (not to mention my weakness is chili). In the Philippines, we don’t really have something equivalent to this and Ogie Doggie would be the closest but far from the heritage that Pink’s hotdog built over the years.

The verdict: The chili is phenomenal, polish dogs are the best! Read on…

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#Travel, Food

[Los Angeles vs. Manila #1] Inn of the Seventh Ray! Creekside Dining

This is the ONLY restaurant I love while I was on vacation and I visited Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, and Chicago. The Inn of the Seventh Ray is L.A.’s most romantic restaurant and in fact, when we were eating on a Saturday Lunch, there was an engagement proposal with the beautiful setting — 12 red roses bouquet, a carpet of petals and dining beside Mother’s flow ( in other words, creekside :). I felt that most of the US restaurants are either man-made, full of dead food (steaks, white bread, etc.), pretentious service and too commercialized. This creekside dining experience is a dining made in heaven indeed and this is a must-eat destination for all of you who will have a chance to visit L.A.

(Note to Jay of Kinabuhayan Cafe: Jay, Kubli Springs can be a lot nicer than the Inn of the Seventh Ray. You just need to have excellent food and an overall concept. Check out the photos… )

Let me pause for a bit here before we go to the rest of the review, it just occurred to me how lucky the Philippines is with the kind of world-class nature inspired restaurants that we have and I can already count seven easily…
1. Antonio’s Restaurant, Tagaytay
2. Sonya’s Secret Garden, Tagaytay
3. Nina’s Kusina Salud, San Pablo, Laguna
4. Ugu Bigyan’s Pottery Garden, Tiaong, Quezon
5. 85/15 Restaurant, The Farm @ San Benito, Lipa, Batangas
6. La Cocina de Tita Monings, Manila
7. The Prana Restaurant, Mandala Spa, Boracay

I LOVE THE PHILIPPINES! I missed it during my vacation and I’m glad to be back. I’m creating this series of [Los Angeles vs. Manila] to challenge your own mental models that the Philippines is the best place to be in. I felt like Neo in the matrix scene where he suddenly realized that all of the reality he is seeing is computer generated, and I suddenly felt that visiting the US, everything is man-made. Enjoy this series…

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Awesome Filipinos

Romi Garduce’s Mt. Everest Quest — a symbolic conquest for the Filipino people.

GMA7 have started to air the feature on Romi’s Mt. Everest Climb last night on the reporter’s notebook– this is now mainstream media. What is funny is that GMA7 was able to get all the world class athlete to say congratulatory messages to Romi including Pacquiao, Efren Bata, and our PBA players. He continues to blog at his Official Chomolungma (Tibetan Name of Everest) Site: http://everest2006pinoy.blogspot.com/ and he is now at basecamp — woohoo! Now you are able to get all the mainstream news, while I give you the side stories and emotions behind this climb.

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Awesome Filipinos

a Prayer for Romi Garduce’s First Pinoy Mt Everest Quest…


I break my vacation silence to express my good luck wishes and prayers to Romi who just reached Mt. Everest Basecamp. This is a very dangerous climb that could mean life or death situation and I’m really worried at the same time proud that the dream is within reach in a month’s time. I know that you want to die on a mountain but this is not the one, you still have a few summits to go and conquer the rest of the 7 summits and make us Filipinos proud. We pray that you go home safely whether you are successful or not and we don’t want to lose the very unique Romi character that we have grown to love and appreciate. May He guide you to the right path and strategies and may He give you the strength to conquer Mt. Everest! Amen.

Please send your good luck wishes and support @ the Official Chomolungma (Tibetan Name of Everest) Site: http://everest2006pinoy.blogspot.com/

#Travel

Sunset Over LA :)


I’ll be on a blog leave until the end of March. I’ll surely miss updating this blog regularly and I’ll surely miss exploring the culinary delights of Manila. It’s been fun over the last few months, specially when I receive comments and feedback from my readers. I love the conversations! This blog is very fulfilling for me in making connections with other people and in the process, I learn more secrets 🙂 I leave you with this beautiful sunset picture of LA taken during the landing of our PAL flight. My brother was teasing me about some insider secrets of Los Angeles and I might have some posts on our LA adventures. Stay tuned…

Anton

Blogging

[Dear Awesome Planet #3 ] My Favorite Blogs about the PhilippinesI

Dear Awesome Planet,

Hello there!

came across your blog recently (When I was checking out info for the Philippines) and ended up trying the 5-hour-massage of Bing. It was great referral. Thank you so much.

I am an expat living in Manila and would like to explore what more this city has to offer, outside of big malls and Greenbelts. I would be grateful if you could refer me to other blogs from where I can get additional info. Thank you and have a nice day!

Ben

Dear Ben,

I’m sharing with you my favorite blogs about the Philippines. I love these blogs because of the personality of the people behind these blogs and they would truly give you an honest-to-goodness perspective about what Manila has to offer:

desserts comes first blog by Lori ( http://dessertcomesfirst.blogspot.com/ )
rants and raves by wysgal ( http://wysgal.blogspot.com/ )
writings on the wall by aj ( http://www.annalyn.net/ )
marketmanila by marketman ( http://www.marketmanila.com/ )
celdran tours by carlos ( http://celdrantours.blogspot.com/ )
ironwulf by ferdz ( http://ironwulf.net/ )
old manila walks by ivan ( http://oldmanilawalks.blogspot.com/ )
my sari sari story by sydney ( http://my_sarisari_store.typepad.com/my_sarisari_store/ )
pinoy travel blog group led by abe ( http://www.pinoytravelblog.com/ )
awesome Pilipinas! by anton ( my compilation: https://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/awesome/awesome_pilipinas/index.html )

Let me know if these helps!

Sincerely,

Anton

Awesome Filipinos

The quest is ON for the First Filipino in Mt. Everest!

Armed with the passion to become the first Filipino to set the Philippine flag proudly on top of Mt. Everest in May 2006, Romi Garduce kicked off his quest in conquering the highest mountain in the world last March 3, Friday. The plan was to make this as low key as possible because of the political implications (won’t elaborate anymore :). Romi is an officemate and a good friend for some years now, and I’m glad that our company supported him in this quest. We ensured that back-up plans are in place and agreed on a 3 months leave of absence. He would be attempting to climb the summit and be back in Manila by May 15 (at the earliest) or May 29 (at the latest). May is the best time and the only window for safely climbing Mt. Everest @ 29,028 feet (8,848 meters).

On a related topic, the 1st all Filipino Mt. Everest expedition team has now been trimmed down to 17 core members. The core group of the Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines Inc. (MFPI), including Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Art Valdez, Butch Sebastian, Fred Jamili, Jong Narciso and federation president Regie Pablo, will spearhead the Philippine expedition. They just finished a 10-day alphine Mountain Course training in Mt. Cook National Park in New Zealand. Here they tackled the 3,754m Mt. Aylmer and the 27 km long and 3 km wide Tasman Glacier, the biggest among the range of glaciers present in the park. The team is set to climb Mt. Everest in May 2007 and for sure will set other records including becoming the first all Filipino expedition team and the first Asian woman on top of Mt. Everest. Female adventure racers Janet Belarmino, Noelle Wenceslao and Bukidnon-bred Karina Dayumdon are part of the selection. Also John Tronco, is their official photographer ( talk about a well funded star-studded team ).

Stay tuned for this and good luck to all our Filipino Climbers!

Anton

#Restaurants

Chef Ed’s Spanish Cuisine + Chef Canoy’s Mediterranean Cuisine = Fig & Olives


I was surprised one day, when I say our favorite business lunch place Chef Ed’s was converted into Fig & Olives Mediterranean and Spanish Restaurant. The story is Chef Ed decided to concentrate on his other restaurants (Filos in the Fort, Teak Bistro in Rockwell and managing the Splendido, Tagaytay Resto?) and Chef Canoy took over. However, what’s great is that they kept the spanish cuisine menu intact and Chef Canoy introduced Mediterranean cuisine specialties. I’m a great fan of mediterranean food because of its unique taste, the availability of couscous in the menu and it has healthier food options than Filipino cuisine. The ambiance was kept intact, the great service of the waiters, and unfortunately, the expensive pricing too (Hummus for P180?!) But I love the healthy name of the restaurant — Fig & Olives!

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