July 29, 2010

Quick Baguio Getaway

Left the hustle and bustle of Manila for a quick getaway with the hope that the high altitude would clear my mind. 

On a somewhat spur of the moment thing, HB and I boarded a Victory Liner bus last Thursday at 10pm. The bus ride was comfortable, albeit very very cold. Seasoned bus riders had bonnets on to protect their head from the aircon draft and pulled down to cover their eyes while they slept. Others had blankets. (We took a mental note so we'll know what to bring and do next time.) The trip had a couple of 15-minute stopovers, the first one in Tarlac City and the second one in Sison, Pangasinan. We arrived at the City of Pines at a little past 4:am on Friday. 

We grabbed some snacks at a 7-11 convenience store across the bus terminal then boarded an FX taxi to get to our abode in Camp 7 in Kennon Road. There, we dozed off until about 10am. Then, we headed out to Session Road to grab lunch at a local food joint called Solibao Restaurant.

Solibao Restaurant along Session Road

HB took to the task of ordering our food. After about 10 minutes, a bowl of sinigang na bagnet was placed in front of us.

Sinigang na Bagnet

perfect pair of steamed rice and sinigang

I was impressed that this traditional Filipino dish was served with a twist and it came out well. The warm broth comforted our grumbling tummies. Paired with steaming hot rice, the meal was just perfect for the cold and rainy Baguio weather. 

In high spirits, we trudged on in the rain and headed up Session Road, pausing every now and then to take pictures. We proceeded to SM and couldn't resist a peek at the view deck.

The Burnham Park as viewed from SM's view deck

We then proceeded to the grocery to purchase supplies. Not quite satisfied, our buying spree continued on to the Baguio Public Market to get the usual pasalubong stuff for my girls. 

For dinner, HB prepared a nice meal of medium well steak with fresh button mushrooms and young corn.

perfect Baguio dinner

To cap the evening, we sat in front of this:

The following day, we explored the market once again to buy fresh vegetables and flowers to bring home.

going up the Hilltop

fresh tomatoes at unbelievable prices

fresh lettuce

HB choosing veggies



brooms galore

We went back to our place for brunch. It was time to prepare our bags.

our refuge for 1 night and 2 days

We took the Victory Liner bus which left Baguio at 12:20pm. We got home to the welcoming arms of our girly girls at 7pm.

Refreshed and recharged, HB remarked that we should do this again as it was easy and convenient. I was glad that he finally understood my passion for Baguio's laid-back nature. Now he knows why I crave for Baguio's refuge of mountains and pine trees when I feel troubled with the chaos and stress of city life. With a clear mind and renewed spirit gleaned from this trip, I think I'm ready to take on a few more challenges that may be thrown my way.

July 27, 2010

Views from the top of Grand Soho Makati

Also last Wednesday, we were at the new and posh Grand Soho Makati condominium along Sen. Gil Puyat (formerly, or should I say more popularly, called Buendia) Avenue. This newest residential building was developed by the Century Properties Group and is now in the process of turn-over to the buyers. Some colleagues and I visited the property to do our "survey".

We went up to the 6th (or was it the 8th) floor where the business center and lounge were going to be. There was also a gym on this floor but I got drawn to this next amenity and couldn't help but take a picture.

the pool

Then we went all the way up to the roof deck on the 42nd floor which accorded us these views:

Buendia Avenue

H.V. dela Costa Street

Makati Avenue skyline

Salcedo Village skyline

July 26, 2010

Major Letdown at Lola Idang's

Date of Visit: July 21, 2010

When we found ourselves hungry and in the vicinity of the Scout area in Quezon City last Wednesday, we decided to grab some lunch  at:

Located along Scout Ybardolaza, it is almost in front of the Sacred Heart Church in Kamuning. We've also tried their branch in Visayas Avenue as well as their White Plains Avenue branch. 

The restaurant's interior is simple. White plates with guest raves are displayed on the walls giving diners ideas on Lola Idang's best sellers. 

Lola Idang's interior

HB and I frequent Lola Idang's whenever we crave for kare-kare. On the otherhand, the lomi is our girls' favorite, specially when they are sick. In all instances, we order our food for "take-out". 

This time around, we tried Lola Idang's set meals which had really inexpensive price tags. Maybe we should have been wary.

For starters, we ordered:

tokwa't baboy

Then we tried the following set meals:

Kare-kare and bagoong with rice set meal

lumpiang shanghai set meal

I thought they heard me wrong and gave me cheese sticks instead of Lumpiang Shanghai. This disappointed me terribly. While the kare-kare sauce was as good as we remembered it, the ox tripe slices were really small  and there were just quite a few.

calamansi juice and black sago and gulaman

Good thing the black sago and gulaman was really sweet. However, the calamansi juice was another disappointment. It tasted bland and unnatural.

I can say we got what we paid for -- which is really a big letdown. We wouldn't mind paying a wee bit more for more quality servings or portions. 

Sun Moon Restaurant

Date of Visit: July 20, 2010

Last week, HB and I had a quick lunch at Sun Moon Chinese Restaurant along Annapolis Street in Greenhills.

Sun Moon Restaurant interior

Contrary to other typical Chinese Restaurants, Sun Moon's patrons are mostly the quiet Chinese businessmen who hold their meetings over delicious and authentic Chinese food. But still, even with this type of clients, food prices are quite reasonable.
We ordered Lechon Kawali nestled in greens (this is short of saying I don't know what the veggies are called).

sinful lechon kawali balanced with the greens

We also got black gulaman which we found too bland. I had to ask for more syrup to make it more palatable for my taste.

black gulaman

With steamed rice and the drinks, our total bill came out to be less than 500 bucks. Now this may be called value for money.

July 14, 2010

Lunch Out at Yang Chow Dimsum Teahouse

Last Sunday after we heard mass at Eastwood's Holy Family Chapel, we decided to do our grocery shopping in Shopwise Libis. And since we were all getting hungry, we decided to have lunch at this Chinese restaurant found at the ground level of the Shopwise building.

Yang Chow Dimsum Teahouse

the menu

my girly-girls and my black gulaman in the foreground

Food was served relatively quick although the waiters weren't too attentive to the diners. The food servers passing our table were concentrated on getting to the table they were called upon and didn't bother looking at other diners trying to catch their attention. But when everything was served to us, we enjoyed the food and didn't notice the taste of MSG which is fairly common to Chinese-style dishes. With no artificial flavoring, I must say that the food was generally good.

(Pardon the shots below as my brood was really famished so they already dug in by the time I remembered to take pictures.)

Beef with Broccoli, PhP 250

The beef strips were tender and there was a generous helping of broccoli and mushrooms on the side.

Fried Spareribs with salt and pepper, PhP 180

The menu said fried pork spareribs so we were surprised that it came out to be pork slices. Nonetheless, we found this dish to be tastefully good. But we also found it to be too spicy for our girls' taste buds. It would have been nice if, seeing that we had kids, they asked us at the start if we preferred it spicy or not.

Yang Chow Fried Rice, good for 2-3, PhP 150

When everyone had their fill, off we went to the grocery (where I bought a vase for the roses that HB gave me.) Most importantly, it's the bonding time with our girls that are truly worth savoring.

Why I Love My HB

There is a saying that "a way to a man's heart is through his stomach". I'd say turn the table to make it apt for me.

Let me make an admission: I hate to cook. I know how to cook a few basic dishes but they're not really good and most of the time, the meals don't come out like it's supposed to. So in our home, HB is king of the kitchen.  And the dishes that he churns out of his turf are mouth-watering. Our youngest daughter, Fiona, and I get entranced when we smell the waft coming from his kitchen. I must say that me and my girls are spoiled rotten by HB when it comes to food.

Here are samples of our weekend lunch fares:

shrimp, quail eggs and veggies

pork leg humba

beef caldereta 

fried rice, oven roasted lechon kawali and lomi 

Last Mother's Day, we had no need to go to a restaurant as HB prepared my favorites:

steamed crabs, ensaladang arosep (seaweed salad) 
and inihaw na liempo (grilled pork belly)

So, he may not be quite a chivalrous gentleman in the sense that he forgets to open and close doors for me, forgets to stay on the right side while we cross the street, doesn't know how to hold out an umbrella for me, doesn't give me flowers during anniversaries and Valentine's day, gives me roses wrapped in old newspapers ... i could go on and on ... but, he provides me with my most basic need. This is why I love him dearly.

(photo credits: HB's CK One Album in Facebook)

July 2, 2010

"This Too Shall Pass"

I first heard this line from the movie, My Best Friend's Wedding. It was in that scene in the hotel corridor when Jules (Julia Roberts' character) was smoking and a bellman walked up to her, told her that she was on a non-smoking floor. Jules then offered the bellman the cigarette and seeing that sad face, he obliged by puffing on her cigarette. Before leaving, he then delivered this line: 

"My grandmother always said, 'This too, shall pass.'"

I tried to Google this line, as I wanted to know who its original author was. Instead,  I stumbled upon this poem which I would now like to share:

This Too Shall Pass
Helen Steiner Rice

If I can endure for this minute
Whatever is happening to me,
No matter how heavy my heart is
Or how dark the moment may be-

If I can remain calm and quiet
With all the world crashing about me,
Secure in the knowledge God loves me
When everyone else seems to doubt me-

If I can but keep on believing
What I know in my heart to be true,
That darkness will fade with the morning
And that this will pass away, too-

Then nothing in life can defeat me
For as long as this knowledge remains
I can suffer whatever is happening
For I know God will break all of the chains

That are binding me tight in the darkness
And trying to fill me with fear-
For there is no night without dawning
And I know that my morning is near.