Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Not just for the Aristocrat

Also for us simple folks hehe...


We celebrated my sister's birthday at the SM San Lazaro Branch of The Aristocrat. Although we've had dinner here plenty of times before, it's only now that I realized how old this restaurant actually is--72 years old! Wow, that's as old as Lido! And here's something that's almost as old as the restaurant is...

The most famous Chicken BBQ in the whole archipelago.

You can not go to Aristocrat and not try their famous Chicken Barbecue! It's a travesty to do so! At only P186 for 3 pieces with java rice, you can't go wrong! This barbecue is their claim to fame, so much so that family squabbles in the Reyes Family (founding family of Aristocrat) spawnied such offshoots as Alex III, Reyes Barbecue and Serye boasting of the same Chicken BBQ formula.

To round up the feast


Traditional Pancit Canton--not exceptionally good, just traditionally ordered because noodles signify longevity in Chinese lore. I think it's a tad bit expensive at P294.

This is their version of the Bicol favorite, Laing. Laing is made up of taro leaves cooked in coconut milk and maybe garnished with either pork, fish or in this case, shrimp. It's actually one of my favorites. Though their version is pretty good, I won't go so far to say that theirs is anywhere near the best I've tasted. Not bad for P134.

Kare-kare. This popular Filipino dish is comprised of ox tripe, ox tail and if the the cook is generous, actual ox meat cooked along with various vegetables like string beans, eggplants, banana heart, and pechay in rich peanut sauce. It goes perfectly with Bagoong (shrimp paste). It's one of the more expensive dishes here at P300, but definitely a must try.

And last but definitely not the least, Lechon Kawali. This is deep fried pork belly--cooked just right to make the skin crispy and yet retain the juiciness of the meat. We enojyed it so much we ordered another serving. This cholesterol haven is just right at P246.

Good food, cozy ambiance and accommodating staff--all in all a satisfying meal with the entire family.

Yes, I've finally tried it... and it's true! It's true!

Apparently, the free tea latte offering of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is true! And it's really easy to avail of it too! (Yes, I know it rhymed, and no, it's not contrived.) All you need to do is print the coupon and present it, and you're on your way to a delightful tea latte experience!

English Breakfast Latte

And the English Breakfast Latte was actually quite good too--especially on a cold rainy evening that this one turned out to be. Its warmth, creaminess and just-right sweetness gave me a feeling of comfort amidst the bone-shivering downpour.

And here's my proof that I am indeed telling the truth.
P125 value for free!

One thing though, don't penny pinch and print the coupon in black & white, a guy got turned down because his was not the colored version. Oh, and only one coupon per person.


Hurry! Last day of the offer tomorrow!

Happy birthday Apple!

Who's Apple? My dear sister of course. Today she turns 23. Waaah! You're getting old! Of course birthdays can be viewed as reminders to take stock of our lives--what's wrong and what's right. To re-orient ourselves with our goals in life, rewriting them as necessary. It's also a time to give thanks for the blessings of the past years.

I've been asked a lot of time how to say "happy birthday to you" in Chinese, I've decided to just point them here...
(zhù nǐ shēng rì kuài lè)

And here in our family (as I'm sure is true in some other families as well) no birthday is complete without the traditional misua (egg noodle soup)!


Here's a different view of the noodles which is said to promote longevity.

It's a very thin noodle garnished with black mushroom, hard boiled egg and chicken! Truly a feel good dish!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A cheaper look at Mr. Choi

Yesterday I went to Robinson's Midtown Mall with JC, Vlad and Cheng (Vlad's lady love) after our high school reunion. When we were looking for a place to eat dinner, JC suggested going to Mr. Choi's Kitchen. Now I've tried Mr. Choi's Kitchen a few times before, their food's good enough, but the price isn't... shall we say, budget friendly. So while the Manila Foodistas' review made my mouth water, it sure made my wallet feel inadequate. Being the straight forward guy that I am, I told him that Vlad was actually trying to scrimp on cash--no chance he'd go for it.

Of course JC felt for him, after all he's a cheapskate too... must be why we're all friends. He said that this is the precise reason why he chose this particular place. Huh?!!

This is his bright idea--the Fish fillet Baked Rice!

For only P175 you get a generously served rice meal good for 2 (or 3 if you're a light eater). That amounts to P90/head including a P5 tip! Not that we left just P5 mind you. Their price is VAT inclusive and they don't charge for the service anymore.

Here's a photo of my share.

Best of all the the fillet was generously proportioned, the fried rice went well with the sauce and the serving of the cheesy sauce was bountiful--enough to satiate my appetiete and that's no mean feat!

Sure you might find it unappetizing--like what one might feel looking at pig slop, but I bet as soon as the first spoonful touches your palate you'd stop minding because then you'd be to busy pigging out (even sloppily perhaps).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008

This is my entry for the The Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs in 2008.

1. Manila Foodistas - What can I say? I love food and have now come to love photography. Love their food and the photos of their food hehe

2. Food Blog for Hungry Bachelors - I'm hungry all the time, I'm a bachelor... How can I resist? Truth be told, they got me at food!

3. Tipid Meals - Now this here is a useful blog. No pretensions, just the goodies that comes affordable. Updates regularly too!

4. Rarely Ordered - Food! food! food! I'm not one to shy away from the adventure of eating the rarely ordered food.

5. Fail Blog - Really funny photos! Just go check!

6. Visit Sagada - I've always wanted to go to Sagada. We actually planned to go a few years ago but it was difficult getting information on the how-to's, I scoured forums after forums just to get the information I need. Thanks to them, there's no need for that anymore!

7. You Got Tech - Ever met a guy who's not a techie? Meet me. Thanks to You Got Tech, I can now pretend to know stuff hehe

8. Kaycee's Bubble - A Filipina's photo chronicle of her travels in the UK and beyond.

9. Memoirs of a Med Student - Armed with her smile and her positive outlook in life, she chronicles her life as a Med student and more. She definitely has some loyal following in such short a time!

10. A visit to King Hearthur's Court - I know I know, this is just shameless, but I'd like to think I've influenced at least a couple of people out there through this blog to eat as much as I hehe

Do you have blogs you want to vote for too? Join this writing project. Click here for more info!

Photohunt: Hanging with a legend (A tribute to the greatest coach in the PBA)


Arguably the greatest coach in the history of the Philippine Basketball Association, Coach Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan steered the Crispa Redmanizer to the league's first ever Grand slam1 in 1976. He went on to win 8 more titles for them, and won another 5 with the Great Taste Coffee Makers. He ended his storied coaching career by giving Purefoods TJ Hotdogs their first championship and his last in the league by leading them to an improbable 3-2 win after dropping their first 2 games in what could now be viewed as a "passing the baton" moment against Coach Tim Cone (who would go on to win 11 titles including the coveted Grand slam, ranking 2nd only in the number of championship to Baby Dalupan).

He retired with 15 championship under his belt--the most by any coach to this date. In 2005, 20 years after he first stepped in the basketball courts of the PBA, the PBA Press Corps "Coach of the Year" award was renamed the "Virgilio Dalupan Coach of the Year" award in honor of his lasting contribution to the league.

Here's me hanging with PBA Great, Coach Baby Dalupan.

Now at 84--despite numerous health struggles including a bypass surgery in 2000--Coach Baby Dalupan is still a picture of hard work and persevering energy. He encourages his "classmates" in CCReP just by being there. I consider myself lucky having met the man.

Truly it is an honor for me to be hanging with this legend.

1 A PBA grand slam is winning all three titles in a single PBA season.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sonya's Garden Cheese Hopia: Hopia like it!

Hopia derived from the Chinese words "好餅" which in the Amoy dialect (what we call Fookien here) reads "ho pia" pronounced with a somewhat nasal affect. It literally mean "good pastry"--a name that has largely become a misnomer seeing as the number of inferior hopia being made these days greatly outnumber the good ones. It was thus to my great surprise that my sister brought home a pack of hopia from her trip to Tagaytay as pasalubong. She even shared how she only managed to snag a couple of packs before it all sold out--apparently this is a specialty of Sonya's Garden.


Now despite being of Chinese descent, I can't say that I like hopia much. I suppose I simply got tired of its taste. It was thus with hesitation that I tried a piece... then another one... and just to make sure a third one (or fourth, I lost track). And I must say that I found it unexpectedly good--I didn't even warm it in an oven! Perhaps I just like cheese (their site says its parmesan), or maybe it's just that good, but I love it. Don't go taking my word for it, go try it yourself.

My sister says a pack of 10 costs only P80--not bad at all eh? Here's a closer look...


Hopia like it!

Monday, July 21, 2008

A visit to the heart of Chinatown: Panciteria Lido

It just occurred to me that few of the food blogs I've been to feature menus from one of the all-time treasure chest of the local cui-scene, Chinese food! So I've decided to go and introduce them (inasmuch as my budget allows me to) here! Where better to start than in Chinatown, and which better to feature than one that is closest to my heart. Permit me to begin this worthwhile endeavor by blogging about one of the oldest restaurant in Chinatown, Panciteria Lido!

麗都餐館 (lì dū cān guǎn) literally means a restaurant in a beautiful city. And Manila is indeed a beauty--maybe not in the way one sees beauty--the fierce and stout-hearted yet amusing and relaxed sort. Lido (as it's more popularly known) has had a long flavorful history as Manila waxed and wanned throughout the 20th century. It's been a silent witness to the changes sitting at the same address in Alonzo St. near the corner of Ongpin St. since the 1930's--moving with the times, flourishing during Manila's golden period and likewise struggling in periods of economic turmoils.

I've personally encountered many old timers who recount with fondess their daily coffee sessions on countless early mornings and middays spent with their friends. Even the current Father of Manila, Mayor Alfredo Lim is a fixture here on Sunday mornings! Boy, this is a fun place on Sundays. Some of the "young-once" reminisce going there on Sundays with their family when they were kids. I've even heard of love stories that began while sharing a plate of Pancit where else?


Last Sunday, me, my brother and his fiancee, and my sister met our dad for lunch at Lido. My brother and his fiancee ordered the Beef Brisket in Hotpot (P215). This is actually good for 2-3 people, and is unlike most of the beef brisket serve elsewhere. It's flavor enhanced by the hotpot it's served in.

My sister ordered Steamed fish fillet in soy sauce (P250), one of my all time favorites. Simple yet filling, this embodies the simplistic nature of Chinese dishes.

I of course ordered my favorite rice topping (of all time?), Portuguese Chicken Rice (P125)! This dish is reminiscent of the time when Lido was still owned by a Cantonese man from Macau. This photo can be deceiving, it's actually a huge bowl (hence my attraction to it hehe...)
It's a combination of carrots, celery, green peas, tomato and chicken fillet in a delectably thick tomato sauce on top of plain rice (or fried depending on your preference I guess).

Pwede bang puro pambara na lamang? Syempre dapat may panulak! (I can't very well just stuff my face with solids right? I chugged all it down with a tall glass of Papaya shake! (P75) Ain't that beautiful!

This is a photo of their Pugon Roasted Asado (arguably the best Asado in Chinatown) and Lechon Kawali. (P175 per order--that's good for 1/4th kg!)

And their claim to fame, their very own Siphon-brewed Coffee (which you can enjoy for only P55 a cup) that's been dubbed as The Best Coffee in Chinatown!

The word "panciteria" (and of course pansit) actually originated from a Chinese phrase that means "let's all eat in a big table" so how appropriate that I chanced upon one of the tables, all set and ready with no one was occupying it. I suppose you can't blame me if I decided to go over and steal... some shots.
(From the center going counterclockwise: Pata Tim, Sweet and Sour Pork, Fried Chicken, Chopsuey, Chami, and Yang Chow Fried Rice. Served on the side is the traditional Nido Soup.)

Go on, give them a visit. And when you do, don't forget to say hi to the owner, Mr. King.

Who I'm sure will be more than willing to say hi back.

You can also find Panciteria Lido at West Avenue , Quezon City at the Westlife Center just besides Starbucks.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Because I'm too lazy to twit

  • Dougie Howser MD is all grown up. He seems to have taken a wrong turn somewhere though he's retained his MD--in singing? (If you're going to check this out, check it now because they're pulling it down by the 20th!)

  • Dont ya wish you were hotter than Lebron? Well wish no more, play fantasy basketball like never before! (I have the rhyming sickness... don't mind me, it's an illness.)
  • Failing has never been this funny!
  • Agent 0, a real stand-up guy, has this to say: "One thing I want to say about Filipinos: they’re very warm people, very good-hearted people. Like, everybody was nice. You know, you meet nice people, but a whole country of nice, genuine, warm-hearted people was unbelievable. These are diehard fans." To summarize, everbody should visit Manila. (Photos here.)
  • Over at Chicken Mafia, JC is irked with cats but not lolcatz. "In my experience, cats are really stupid stupid creatures, especially when it comes to avoiding cars."
  • Apparently, not much more stupid than squirrels.
  • Ok, I know you there is too much NBA in this post, but you got to check out tatoo proposals for Starbury.
  • Finally, I'd like to share a blogger's response to a main stream journalist's unprovoked attack. A trully insightful, well written piece.
That's all for today, have a pleasant weekend you all!

Photohunt: What is that?


A perfectly innocent looking piece of wood lying in the middle of the road.

Aha! Not as innocent as it initially looked huh?

Yep! They "stole" this piece of wood to use it as a speed bump.

Boy did they enjoy going back and forth over that piece of wood.

Must've gone back and forth at least a dozen times--each! So much so that they've started being a nuisance to people who actually wanted to use the road.

Yikes! They're dad has just about gotten enough of their horsing around. Can you imagine the next scene?

And away we go!

These photos were taken last Sunday while I was lazing around waiting for my mom to attend to some details about the finishing touches on our new house.
Yes, we're moving in to that neighborhood. I'm still unsure as to whether I'd end up liking those kids or not. Let's hope they don't give me any reason to not like them. We shall see.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Don't forget to skip work today!

Now if for some strange reason you haven't heard of some Brazilian schmuck's alleged prediction about an 8.1 earthquake later, read this first.

Crazy? You bet. How does staying at home help you? Nothing to lose? You lose your reputation (assuming you have one) as a sensible person. You admit that you're gullible and possibly stupid. Gullible for believing in the bogey man and stupid for wasting a day's pay (or leave credit).

Just the same skip work. I promise not to consider you stupid nor gullible. It'd be a whole lot easier dealing with the Friday traffic with all the idiots home. And please do not panic, the only thing I hate worse than a stupid person is a stupid mob jumping at every change of wind direction.

By the way, earthquake's can't be predicted! Oh, and even if it's ends up happening, who'd get to tell me "I told you so?" No one, I'd be dead by then and so would you.

UPDATE: Didn't happen. Like 'duh!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

LRT Poetry (whoa! it even rhymes!)

If you use the LRT 1 and 2 (or maybe even the MRT--I'm not sure) you might have encountered the ads posted as a promotion by the Instituto Cervantes translating into Filipino, Spanish poems written by such giants as Pablo Neruda side by side with the orignal Spanish verse. Most of the poems I read were boring, but I must say, I was enamored by Luis Cernuda's "Si el hombre pudiera decir lo que ama".

The verse reads:
Tú justificas mi existencia:
si no te conozco, no he vivido;
si muero sin conocerte, no muero, porque no he vivido.
Which they translated as:
Ikaw and dahilan kung bakit ako nandito:
Kung di kita nakilala, di sana ako nabuhay;
Kung ako'y mamamatay nang di kita nakilala,
Hindi ako mamamatay, dahil hindi ako nabuhay.
Translated in English by Spanish to English (in case you don't understand Spanish or Filipino) as:
You justify my existence:
if I do not meet you, I haven't lived;
if I die without meeting you, I don't die, because I haven't lived.
(You'd have to trust me when I say that the Filipino version is much more romantic and melodious than the lousy English version. Click here to read the whole thing.)

Isn't this a romantic thing to say to someone? I don't die because I never lived. I'd love to be one who would make someone live their life so fully that they forget they're alive without me. With that said I must say that I think this rather cheesy and a tad bit extreme. I can imagine ladies rolling their eyes to heaven if I said anything as queso-crap as that. Yeah yeah, so I'm incapable of saying something romantic.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My thoughts on the Reproductive Health Bill brouhaha

I just have a few things to say about this topic, and I'll try to use the sandwich approach (positive-negative-positive) so nobody gets hurt.

1. To those who support the bill:
P - Good for you, you realize the need for population control. Our country has now more people consuming our resources than producing it. I agree, we need to do something.

N - What I don't get though is why you would want to stage protests against people who resist this bill. The reason that "they're promoting AIDS and homeless children" because they don't support the bill and abortion is stupid. People know about AIDS, if they choose to risk it and they get burned, tough luck. Legislation should be about moving us forward, and protecting the rights of the people--not protecting us from ourselves. If you want to have wild unprotected sex, make sure you're up for the challenge. No law can protect you from yourself.

P - Continue the good job (or bad job since you don't seem to be getting it done) educating the people to plan their family.

2. To those who oppose the bill:
P - Good for you, you have an opinion. I agree, abortion is wrong.

N - I've got news for you, this bill isn't about abortion. I know you disagree on the use of artificial contraceptive because it supposedly "hinder" God's plan. I've got another news for you, nothing hinders God's plan. Not an IUD, not a condom, and certainly not this bill. And just because the country has a policy on educating everyone on proper family planning methods does not mean you need to do them--nobody's forcing you to do them. If it's immoral, no law will make it moral.

P - Thank you for not causing traffic with your rallies (I'm just going for the reverse psychology here).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Quo Vadis? UECP!

If you've read this entry, then you must be excited about the upcoming plays Call Waiting this coming Friday, and Pamilya Maleta, this Sunday! A friend emailing me to ask about these events brought to my attention one important thing I neglected to mention--how to get to UECP!


If you're commuting, you can use the LRT 1 and alight at the D. Jose Station. From there, you can choose to either walk the remaining 4 blocks, or take a pedicab. If you're using LRT 2, alight at the Recto Station, use the walkway to D. Jose and follow previous instructions. If you're driving and don't know how to get to either CM Recto Avenue or Rizal Avenue, leave a comment here and I'll do my best to assist you.

<--- Inspiring Gospel Fever material.

Hope to see all of you there! God bless!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hong Kong Chef Seafood Restaurant

After hearing a lot of good reviews (mostly from my grandaunt who works there), we went to eat lunch at Hong Kong Chef a couple of weekends ago.


It was a pretty straight up affair since we're pretty much born and raised eating Chinese food. We didn't order any dimsum since we wanted lunch and we wanted to keep it cheap.


Permit me to start by saying I love their free appetizer. I think it's some sort of honey glazed peanuts with sesame seeds. They prepare it themselves.


One of my favorites, Hot Prawn Salad for only P360. There must've been a dozen good sized shrimps in there.


This one's called Steam Beancurd with Fresh Shrimp - P250. Good if you love shrimps because it has lots. I specially enjoyed this because I hate having to remove shrimp shells.


Fried Bacon Roll which came highly recommended wasn't really expensive at P250. It's pretty good if you enjoy fried foods but I personally don't.


Their version of the Salt and Spicy Spareribs. Not bad at P225, but I didn't enjoy it much since it's fried.

All in all we spent P1365 (including 8 orders of plain rice at P35 each) good for 5. Not exactly cheap, but not too expensive either. The meal was satisfying and I will definitely go back--I intend to try their much vaunted dimsum though.

You can find Hong Kong Chef Seafood Restaurant at HK Sun Plaza right along Macapagal Avenue across Dampa.

Guess who's on the cover of Starstudio Magazine July 2008 Issue?

Go buy one and find out!
I'll wait.
Ok so it's not me. Surely you didn't think it'd be me right? It's actually Richard Gutierrez and KC Concepcion. They're hot right now so I hear. They have a bit there about their supposed romance, and why they couldn't possibly be together.

(Here's a nice photo from PEP just in case you don't actually know the two.)

Who cares? Really?! I'm not exactly sure as I couldn't really care less. The reason I urged you to purchase a copy is because it might just end up becoming a collector's edition. You see, I'm in it.


Heart marks the spot on hearthur

This one's actually from the speed dating I attended a couple of months ago at the Big Kahuna in Eastwood. This event did not actually generate a single date for me, but at least it landed me on a magazine. I can't say I like this shot all that much--not my most flattering angle, but hey I'm now on the same page with Anne Curtis hehe... I feel like a socialite. (Or a retarded idiot for carrying on the way I am right now.)

May I just clarify that I don't exactly read these kind of magazines. It was a good friend's mom who actually spotted me and told her son, who then proceeded to confuse me as follows:

Friend: "You're in a magazine. "
Me: "Really? Where? Why?"
F: "I'm not sure. My mom saw it. It's the Dating Marathon you attended."
M: "Then why didn't you ask her? Why don't you ask her right now?"
F: "Maybe later when I get home."
M: "Ask her now so I could buy a copy."

Later that day through SMS...
F:"Yes Magazine".
M: "Which one?
F: "The one with Richard and KC on the cover."

I couldn't find it. A couple of days later, another SMS...
F: "Sorry, it's Star Studio Magazine, July issue."

Anyhow, if you're turning green with envy, you may want to try your luck landing a date doing speed dating or possibly getting your face on some showbiz magazine. They have another one this coming August 2. They're calling this one the Astring-o-sol Grand Dating Marathon.

In case you're wondering, yes I did buy a copy of the magazine. They do have the juiciest showbiz tidbits. Tata!