Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Portico Series: Bloggers Food Tour
Restaurant: Portico
Place: Serendra

I've been having difficulty making posts about the bloggers food tour organized by since we had to visit about 18 establishments on the first day at the food tour at Trinoma and 24 establishments at the Bonifacio High Street and Serendra. It was a mean feat to accomplish! Anyway, I'm determined to blog about each and every establishment I went to and hopefully I'll manage to share my "reaction" on the food the we sampled.

Last week I had the privilege of going back to Portico and I thought of starting off this series of Lakwatsas with my Portico experience.

Among all the establishments I might say that my favorite "spot" at Serendra is Portico. Here's why:

1. The cheese fondue is THE appetizer to order. I love cheese so dipping bread on melted cheese is heavenly delight. Sweetie and I ordered it when we went out on a date last week and we almost licked the bowl clean (it would've been bad manners so we wiped the bowl clean with bread).

2. THE main course to order is the "pork barrel". Oh such cardiac delight! Ooops, I mean it was just perfect since it wasn't oily and crispy and chewy at the same time. I would've wanted the regular Mang Tomas sarsa to go with it though.

3. It was during our visit that Sweetie and I managed to eat dessert since we were so full during the bloggers food tour. We got the cream brulee and I just really had to ask Sweetie how they managed to make the caramel thin and perfect for the leche-flan-custard-like dessert. My tonsils are quite sensitive, but the cream brulee was the perfect dessert to order.

Other must-haves at Portico: salbicho pizza and the tofu filled omelet.
Can do without: fried chicken (too dry) and the mango fruit shake I had was overrated and maasim

Price range: PhP500/person and just share dessert with someone

Place good for: romantic dinner, dating, meetings

The Lakwatsera's Rating: Definitely going back but must save up for it

Sunday, May 25, 2008

SM Science & Discovery Center

Miguel and I have been planning to go see the SM Science & Discovery Center for sometime now especially since I've enrolled him for a couple of sessions at the Lego Mindstorms Robotics Center. By some fortune and misfortune we ended up roaming around the gallery yesterday.

The place wasn't as big as I thought, but it had a really high-tech planetarium, a far-cry from the planetarium I visited when I was in grade school in Manila. We watched a short-film about the possibility of life in other planets. I kinda freak out over the thought of "life in other planets" a.k.a. "aliens", but that's what Harrison Ford logically narrated in the film. Brrrr, scary thought. I whispered to Miguel then that if he wanted to find more information about planets he could just to and check out the "Sky on Google Earth" since it's got hoards of information fro NASA integrated into eat. A planetarium right on your desktop!

The friendly gallery attendant gave us a short tour of the 8 galleries they had installed in the center. They have an area where you can test your "Grossology IQ", a Sniff Sniff area (my nose was disgustingly accurate in guessing the icky-dicky smell) and the Burp thingy which Miguel enjoyed. There was also the "Urine Game" which worked like a video arcade game but an educational one.

I felt proud when I saw the replica of the "Sinag" solar-powered car. I'm proud that it's a Filipino invention plus the fact that my alma mater, De La Salle University, was deeply involved in the project. I wonder when this will become a commercial car. I think this should something that our government should really push for since we do get a lot of sun in our country. Nearby the car was the flight simulator where Miguel disappeared to while I was scrutinizing the Sinag.

At the second floor of the center we saw replicas of the world's tallest buildings. We also tried out the earthquake simulator which we found quite funny. And then we checked-out the robots gallery where Miguel enjoyed the bump-car-like game.

Overall, it was an "okay" experience. I wasn't really ready to roam around the center since it wasn't a scheduled one, but I think the place would be more appealing to young children. I had hoped though that there would be a feature on Filipino inventions and scientists.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Juned Sonido Manila Tour

Disclaimer: I justed named the tour after my dear friend, Juned, because he gallantly volunteered to be the tour guide for us and not because it is an "official" tour.

My friends from Davao flew in last week for the iBlog4 Summit and mentioned that they wanted to tour Manila. Being a Manilenya I just took it for granted that all the "Old Manila" places are just around. At one point in my career I was there almost everyday, so I really didn't notice much what was in Binondo and Intramuros.

So last Sunday off I went with my friends to Binondo where we walked from Savory through Quintin Paredes where the Binondo Church is located. After taking photos of the famous church we traversed Ongpin to the Estero where we had a sumptuous lunch of Chinese food. A quick walk around Binondo proved that there weren't any "Quickly" stalls in the area so we turned back towards Quintin Paredes when we reached Reina Regente.

We then proceeded to Intramuros for a quick look of the place and settled at the San Agustin Church where we witnessed 3 weddings in less than 3 hours. I must admit there were a lot of makatindig-balahibo places at the museum and a photo just mysteriously showed up in my camera when I was downloading photos (creeepyyy!!!). There were a lot of beautiful relics though made of ivory and gold. I cannot imagine how the olden priests wore those gold-laden robes, mabigat na, mainit pa! Security was quite strict about photography in those places.

After Intramuros we rushed to the Mall of Asia to catch the 5:00 p.m. Manila Bay Cruise. Yes! Seriously! A cruise on Manila Bay. The Metrostar Ferry claim that the cruise is, "Scenic. Romantic. Relaxing." After the long day walking around Binondo and Intramuros I must say that the three adjectives describe the cruise appropriately. Too bad though, there was only a semi-sunset. Boohoo.

Here's my vlog about the J.S. Manila Tour -

Some tips if you want to do the tour:

Binondo: Go on a Sunday, most establishments would be closed, but it's easy to park. Park at Savory and just take a walk down Quintin Paredes and then turn right at Ongpin (by the Binondo Church). You can also buy gold jewelry at the many shops in the area. We spent around PhP200 each for food.

Intramuros: We parked beside Casa Manila and just crossed the street to the San Agustin Church and Museum. The museum fee is PhP100, students get a discount.

Manila Bay Cruise: The Metrostar Ferry terminal is located behind the SMX at the Mall of Asia (beside the church). The Manila Bay Cruise cost only PhP120. Schedules: 11:15 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. If you go on the 5:00 p.m. trip on a Friday or Saturday the ship docks near the fireworks barge. Tel. No. 632-4078826/26 or 0928-6774221.