Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sinamak, my Prized Vinegar from General Santos

When I was handed a bottle of vinegar I started planning on how I could bring it home from GenSan. I knew it was going to be confiscated at the airport if I handcarried it. And it would've been dangerous to bring it as is. I didn't want to risk having the bottle broken in my luggage.

So... I transferred the contents to two empty water bottles, wrapped it with 3 plastic bags and put it inside the bayong for added protection. That's how I successfully brought home the yummy vinegar from GenSan.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

GenSan: Little Dubai

I just had 24 hours to spend in General Santos City so I packed my lakwatsa in bite sizes. Andrew insisted that I should try out Little Dubai, so off we went after having a snack at Firenzo Deli.

I'm always excited to try out new things and my experience with Middle Eastern food has been sparse. I have taken a liking to it though, minus the spicy stuff. Drew briefed me on the menu and recommended I order kebab. I got one kebab meal and we split the soup (forgot what it's called).

The Kebab. I loved how the meat was prepared with exotic (well that's what I think) spices. It was served with grilled tomato and white garlic sauce. I passed on the orange spicy sauce.

The Soup. I forgot the name of the soup, it was good in the chinese hot and sour soup way. It was flavorful and matched the kebab perfectly.

Next time I'm in GenSan I'll surely bug whoever I am with to dine at Little Dubai.

Little Dubai (map)
National Highway,
General Santos City

Must have: kebab (of course!)

Price range: PhP85 per meal with iced tea, soup was at PhP45

Lakwatsera's Rating: I love it! I wish they had a branch in Manila.

Friday, December 24, 2010

GenSan: Firenzo Deli

I was ravenous after going to the new spa at East Asia Hotel and nagged Eric and Andrew to have a snack with me. Eric and I chanced upon Firenzo Deli, located at the Sun City Suites and thought we'd try it out.

I didn't want to eat too much since dinner was just an hour away, so I ordered a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich.

I had my doubts since I'm not so fond of steak sandwiches, but my palate and tummy when to heaven after the first bite. The steak was soft and easy to bite and the cheese just matched it perfectly. I took out the red bell pepper though since I'm still teaching myself to eat it with any food and not just pizza and sisig. Ahhh... I would've ordered another sandwich, but Drew said I should reserve some of my appetite for Little Dubai.

Firenzo Deli (map)
Firenzo Building/Sun City Suites
Pan Philippine Highway
General Santos City

Must have: Philly cheese steak sandwich

Price Range: a tad bit expensive, PhP200-250 for a sandwich and a drink

Lakwatsera's Rating: I'll definitely go back for the Philly cheese steak sandwich and will check out the imported ingredients they're selling

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best Bulalo in Tagaytay, Leslie's

Leslie's. I have a friend who raves about Leslie's everytime he gets the chance, so I thought we should dine there during our trip to Tagaytay last weekend.

Leslie's offer affordable group meals in their menu. We could've gotten a package, but we thought we'd end up with too many leftovers, so we decided to order the following dishes:

Bulalo. I only eat bulalo at home when my Dad cooks it. It's been sometime since he has done this, so I was absolutely floored when I sampled the soup and beef. It's exactly like how my Dad cooks bulalo!

Crispy Pata. I am sure my crispy pata connossieur-friend, Juned, would approve of Leslie's crispy pata. It was delightfully soft, crispy and chewy at the same time. Basta masarap!

Sizzling Kangkong in Garlic and Oyster Sauce. To balance off the sinful crispy pata my sister and aunt ordered a platter of kangkong. I had my doubts, but I was pleasantly surprised how the oyster sauce and garlic sweetened the kangkong. It was really good!

Leslie's Restaurant
Emilio Aguinaldo Highway
Silang West, Tagaytay City

Price Range: approx. PhP400 per head

Must have: Bulalo and Sizzling Kangkong in Garlic and Oyster Sauce

Lakwatsera's Rating: a bit pricey, but serving sizes are big.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another Look at Sonya's Garden

A few months ago we visited Sonya's Garden with friends. There were a lot of people during our visit so we only got the chance to buy some plants and baked good. We wanted to have lunch, but the place was full so we were forced to look for another restaurant (ended up at Antonio's).

My sister's in town, so we thought we'd bring her to Tagaytay for some fresh air. Our first stop was Sonya's Garden. This time around we got to see other parts of the secret Tagaytay garden.

The Country Store. I immediately fell in love with the takatak "chimes" and got one for the house. My aunt got some orchid tree seeds (she gave it to my Mom for planting haha). Also found a lot of spa stuff, hand-crafted cloth and other home materials.

Sensuous Spa. One day I will go back and have a heavenly massage!

You can also buy spa oil/scent/soap etc. from the store.

And don't forget to get some yummy baked items!

Sonya's Garden (map)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shopping: Dapitan Arcade

A few weeks ago my high school friends kidnapped me one early morning to check out the Dapitan Arcade. It was my friend Mercy who planned the escapade. I had never heard of the place, but she said there was a lot of Christmas stuff I could get at really cheap prices. She also mentioned that some of the photos from doing a Google search showed that bauls were also available at the place.

I had just moved in to a new home and need some storage boxes for my bags, linen and towels, so the prospect of buying a baul excited me. So off we went one early morning. We arrived at Dapitan Arcade at around 8 in the morning. Most of the stalls were still closed, but they opened one after another. There was indeed a lot of Christmas decors available, as well as ceramics and bauls!

My hoard consisted of some Christmas decors -- a Santa Claus candle holder and chimes, paper plate holder made of basket material (I forgot what it is called), and a baul set (3 boxes!). I spent less than one thousand pesos for the stuff I bought -- PhP600 for the set of 3 baul (tawad from PhP750!). I wanted to purchase a couple of ceramic houseware, but realized I had no space for them at home. My friends got some Christmas decors, bags, ceramics and a baul. We just stayed until ten in the morning since it got quite warm already and then had breakfast at Burger King around the corner.

All in all, I had a great time at the Dapitan Arcade. The prices were really affordable and the store keepers were nice and accommodating (unlike in Divi!). Next time I think I'll get more storage boxes (take note though I had to put lining in it by myself) and some ceramic houseware -- a cookie jar maybe! =)

Thank you Mercy and Chare (and Chare's tita) for the fabulously fun day!

Dapitan Arcade

View Larger Map

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cupcake Heaven

This cupcake beckoned me to buy it when I saw it displayed at Shell Select Magallanes. My allergy for chocolate has become selective and I was confident I wouldn't experience any with this cupcake... so I got a half-dozen.

My hunch was correct! The cupcake was rich, not too sweet and soft. I devoured two on the way home. It's just like Tita Cuc's famous chocolate cupcakes! (I have yet to convince her to give me the recipe).

Anyway, if you pass by Shell Select Magallanes, grab some Cielin's Cakehouse chocolate cupcakes and experience heaven!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bistro Ravioli

It was Jay who introduced me to the wonderful, yummy world of ravioli eating! I had my doubts, but when we finally found the location of Bistro Ravioli at SM Mall of Asia we dropped other plans and immediately dined in.

Bistro Ravioli offers fresh pasta, brick over baked pizza and ravioli (no rice dishes at all). You can also watch their chef prepare your food by the resto window. I was transfixed watching the pizza being swirled by the chef. We've eaten at bistro ravioli several times and here's some stuff we tried:

Italian Sausage Ravioli in Romesco Sauce (PhP190)

Sausage Ragu (PhP190)

Margherita Pizza (PhP250)

All the dishes we tried were sumptuous and filling and you can share most of it. They also have family sizes. We haven't tried the pesto dishes, I heard that it's one of the most ordered from their menu.

Bistro Ravioli
SM Mall of Asia
(2nd floor near the middle entrance, department store side)

Price Range: approx. PhP300/head (with drinks)

Must have: ravioli (of course), I love their pizza too!

Lakwatsera's Rating: we've tagged it as one of our favorite restos at the SM Mall of Asia 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Zamboanga: Pasalubong

I only found out that most of the sardine brands can their products in Zamboanga. I don't remember the exact number (was it 11 or 17), but most of the popular brands according to Mayor Celso Lobregat work with the local canning factories. Wow!

And I was mighty surprised to see Spanish sardines being sold at the airport and hotel shop. Here's one I bought for my husband who I noticed loves Spanish sardines (I also got one for my Dad who loves it too):

Aside from the usual durian candy etc. I noticed a unique pasalubong find at the airport -- the Lokot-Lokot. I tried to ask more info about it from the store, but the clerk just said, "Lokot-lokot". Okay, so it's made of rice, flour, oil, sugar and water. Juned and I tried one stick at the airport and after one bite he said, "Bagay `to for ice cream!". It's true. When I got home, the boys and I tried it out, and it's as perfect as eating ice cream with barquillos.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Zamboanga: Fort Pilar

The structure of Fort Pilar looked a lot like Fort San Pedro in Cebu. For Pilar was built in 1635 during the Spanish era. Alongside the fort is the outdoor shrine of Our Lady of Pilar. A statue of Our Lady of Pilar was added in 1734. My friends shared that in September 21, 1897, an apparition of Our Lady of Pilar was seen  standing over the Basilan Strait commanding waves to stop its rush towards Zamboanga, stopping a tsunami from ruining the city. Arnel told me that they believed that she was miraculous and many devout Catholics come to pray at the shrine.

This is the area where you light your candles. There is a prayer by the cross which you can use to make your requests. Light the candles after praying. Locals usually bring the smoke from the candles close to the body part they requested for healing.

Tip: buy candles at the pasalubong center across the street

More about Fort Pilar at

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Iligan: Chedeng's Peanuts

I have not been to Iligan, but have definitely tasted their super yummy peanuts! I know you can buy them now at Market, Market, but I used to get them at airports in Mindanao. This time around a true-blue Iligan native gave me one during the 4th Mindanao Bloggers Summit! Lucky me!!!

Many, many thanks Ate for the peanuts!

Zamboanga: Paseo del Mar

I had very limited time to go around during my first visit to Zamboanga, but I'm happy to share that I managed to get around by backriding on Arnel's motorcyle! It was a short ride, but I got to see Plaza Rizal, the City Hall and  the perimeter of Fort Pilar.

Paseo de Mar is Zamboanga's newest park -- a really huge park by the Zamboanga Peninsula and you can see Basilan and Santa Cruz from there. Aside from the cool clean breeze I loved the fact that Paseo del Mar had a lot of restos. I was famished when we arrived so I got some pizza. It was very affordable at PhP35 and was as big as a paper plate. This is the pizza I had before it orbed to my stomach.

I was unable to try the yummy looking halo-halo with strawberry ice cream that my friends had, so I just ordered more food at Distrito. I was amazed at the humorous menu of Distrito. Here take a look -

I got some bistek tagalog, kilawin, squid balls and ube quezo shake. Blogie and I ravished our main meal in seconds, but we had to wait awhile for the rest of our order. The kilawin burned my tongue, but was fresh. Good thing the ube quezo shake was delivered a few minutes later and that helped ease the pain (haha!). I loved the shake though. Here's a photo of the kilawin that would surely make you cry.

How to get there (assuming you're just visiting Zamboanga):
1. Take one of the many flights of either Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air or Airphil Express.
2. After you check-in a hotel hop on a tricycle (it's the main mode of transport in the city). It will just cost you PhP30.

How much to bring: PhP200 in Paseo del Mar will bring you a long way.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Little Tokyo: Umareshi-ya

I never knew there was a gem beside Makati Cinema Square. The area called Little Tokyo. I have long ignored this place since I didn't think it was a good place to dine in, but I have long wondered why a lot of cars were always parked in the area. May ginto naman pala kasi dun.

It was Nina's idea to have a "meat-all-you-can" evening since she said she was in the area that day. So we found ourselves (Jay and me) with blogger-friends Juned, Jayvee, Maro, Winston, Nina, Fritz, Coy, Sha and Karla. Rochelle and Panda San joined us too.

I didn't really know what to expect. Nina just said, we'll eat as much meat as we can and just bring PhP500 each. We entered Little Tokyo through the grocery fronting Pasong Tamo. I ended up buying 3 bottles of milk tea to sample for my tea blog. We wanted to try out the Japanese ice cream, but Fritz said that they weren't that frozen anymore.

The experience was quite different from shabu-shabu. We were served different kinds of meat for 45 minutes. Mix of beef, pork and sea food which we had to grill. We took turns cooking and eating and were quite full half-way through the alloted time, but since Rochelle and Fritz kept cooking, I ended up eating a lot and surprised myself by finishing almost 2 bowls of rice.

We all smelled like grilled beef after eating, but hey it was a fun experience! I'd like to visit Little Tokyo again soon and try out the other Japanese restos in the area.

Little Tokyo (map)
2277 Pasong Tamo
Makati City
*it's in front of Herald Suites

Friday, August 20, 2010

University of Sto. Tomas Museum of Arts and Sciences

University of Sto. Tomas is the oldest school in the Philippines (399 years now!). It was my first time to really go around the school (even though it's where my best friend got his Bio degree) and the last time I visited UST was four years ago when my Mom was confined in the hospital.

The building is earthquake proof because it was built in segments.

Sweetie and I grabbed the chance to visit and tour UST with blogger friends, Nina, Juned and Winston and the hubby. We met up with them inside the campus and was pleasantly surprised that we had student-tour guides! A lot has changed since my last visit (2006) when a lot of construction work was being done. The campus is now greener and eco. A lot of students were hanging out under huge trees (something that's quite rare in my alma mater).

The lush greenery encourages students to have fun outdoors.

The tour of the UST Museum was a real treat. It had a lot of very interesting artifacts. Here are some of them:

Two floors of artifacts and paintings from Filipino masters.

I asked the curator if this two-headed carabao is real. It is! 

Three dimensional bulul. 


This is something I want for my kitchen! Ancient siyanse!

An awesome model.

 Mama Mary and Baby Jesus. I got my Mom a post card of this statue.

The UST Museum of Arts and Sciences have the following collections (a lot though are in storage):

The Natural History Collection
Coins, Medals and Memorablia Collection
The Ethnography Collection
The Oriental Arts Collection
The Hall of Philippine Religious Images

I wish though that they'd have more space so they can feature everything that they have!

UST Museum of Arts and Sciences
3rd Floor Main Building
University of Sto. Tomas
Calle Espana, Manila 1015
Tel. No.: +63(2) 781-1815
Telefax: +63 (2) 740-9718
Email: museum @

Viewing Schedules:
Tuesday to Saturday
9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(Gallery is closed on holidays)

Admission Charges:
Non-student: PhP30.00
Student: PhP20.00