Discover places you'll love in the Philippines
The cross is located not far from Basilica Sto. Niño. I would always pass by the place. Whether on my daily commute or be it the time they renovated the place (2015) or just because it’s a route I would pass by. But.. I never got to pause and stop and just look at the famous cross and wall murals . When my friends from Japan visited, I was able to join the diy tour I orchestrated for their visit last week and was finally able to see the place. Just at the entrance and outside, there were many old women, called the “mananamba”, holding candles and selling them. They pray over the candles sometimes dancing and chanting your names or your wishes in prayers just in front of the cross. Candles cost about 5-10php. I glanced up the cross however it’s not as large as I thought it would be. I asked one of the old ladies, she told me that the real cross is found inside the Basilica. I asked regarding the signage, and all the old ladies told me the same thing, it’s hidden inside the church. They had to hide the cross, to be preserved it. Before, the real cross stood in this chapel but because people wanted a piece of it whether be an amulet or just for luck or whatever, the real cross is small nalang. Just coz people were just chipping off pieces of it whenever they visit. So what is displayed is not the real Magellan’s cross. The history of the cross itself has much more stories in it. And I’m glad to be able to hear from it inside the Parian museums
Not all bars are made equal. They are made to target a different crowd and usually, they are out in the open for everyone to visit. Today, that’s no longer the case all the time. Some bars like 20:20 focuses instead on the chill side, and they are designed more to be your destination place for drinks. This humble abode is located in La Fuerza complex, and if you are first time visitor like me, it will take more than Waze to find them. You also need a map (below) and a heightened sense of direction. Once inside, you can consider it your bar outside your home. 20:20 features a relaxing vibe with a spacious set-up, high ceiling and dimmed lights. The place is wrapped around by wooden panel, metal finishing, cement walls and a number of murals and designs that define the character of the place- Old American meets Steam Punk feel. It is owned by Anna Sobrena Ong and she concocts your favorite drink with her Russian mixologist, Alyona Vinogradova. Yes, they can also mix up your own recipe as long as they have the ingredients available in the house. My girlfriend, Mia had In Love with the Coco, a mild spark with sweet combination of pineapple and coconut rhum. I, on the other hand, had the mocktail version of Mamasun, which has a tangy fix of pineapple and cranberry juice, since I really don’t enjoy drinking. My other foodie friends had their own preferences like The Amaretto Sour and the 20:20 Mule. Apart from a long list of drinks we were given, I would like to highlight here instead, the affordable feast they served on the table. We started first with a celebrated appetizer of Popcorn with Manchego and Chorizo. This was a buttery and savory kick to welcome a long list of small plates will have that night. This was followed by a light and traditional Gambas Al Ajillo and then Chorizo con Vino, both flavored light as they are designed to be pair with your choice of spirits. We also had other tapas like well prepared pan-fried Squid a la Plancha; distinctly different Marinated Quail Eggs with Anchoas, a southern Spain delicacy; filling bites of Tortilla de Patata con Aioli; Columbian style Empanaditas, filled with tasty ground beef; classic not so greasy Fish and Chips; meaty and heavily spiced Kebabs called Pinchos Marunos; and another carb worthy Patatas Bravas con Salsa Brava. All of these are just a hundred pesos! It’s such a bargain, you think you’re drunk already. If you are looking for a space that gives you a soothing night instead of the loud type of bar set-ups, 20:20 should be on your list. It is also an ideal location to have delicious conversations with people you love. Me and Mia will surely be back here soon.
My sister just got married two weeks ago! 🤵 Of course, since her father in law is an employee of The Manila Hotel, they opted to hold their reception there. The day before the wedding, we checked in at 2pm, so my mom and I can accompany my sister in her bridal suite. Check-in process was fast, and was very convenient as their front office agents assisted us promptly. Note to people checking in here, you may need to prepare 4,000 pesos cash for the incidentals (this is fully refundable), or if you don't want to pay for this, you may opt to have your mini bar pulled out. I think the suite they gave us for that night was the Sunrise / Sunset Suite. The suite is comprised of a separate receiving area for the guests, and a bedroom with a king sized bed. The room comes with an overlooking view of Manila Bay, which was perfect for photo and video recording for the same day edit! The lighting is super good in the morning. Each room comes with complimentary bottled water, welcome fruit platter, and Wi-Fi access. The pillows are super fluffy, and the mattress is soft as well. I loved how clean the room is! Bathroom essentials are complete, too. While the rooms may look a bit old, I still appreciated how 'historical' the place feels. Indeed, The Manila Hotel is The Grand Dame in Manila. Now on its 105th year, this hotel has served plenty of political officials, both local and foreign, and has held countless functions and events. And now, this hotel has also cultivated a fond memory for our family -- my sister's wedding. ----- After the church wedding held at Jubilee Evangelical Church, we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the reception that night. The event was held at their Pandanggo-Polkabal Ballroom, 2/3 of their Fiesta Pavillion. It also has a wide cocktail area, which also doubles as a holding area for the guests before the reception doors open. The said ballroom is a high-ceiling function room, and can probably house upto around 500 guests. I was surprised that their function rooms are well-maintained, despite the hotel's existence for more than a century already. The acoustics were quite good as well. The food that night was superb! We had Chinese lauriat for our dinner, all from Red Jade. I honestly couldn't think of anything bad to say about the food. My favorites were the Cold Cuts Platter, Deep Fried Crabs, and Manila Hotel's signature dessert, the Baked Alaska. Truly, The Manila Hotel is a great place to hold your events, as they will surely make it memorable for you, and all the guests present. P.S.: Hello to my Hotel Trippin' badge! #EatDrinkSplurge
Friends and Family is the newest addition to the growing number of restaurants under The Raintree Group. They occupy the space where Stella used to launch her Rockets #GoFigure. Anyway, i got a last minute invite |oo|oo rendezvooz y’all. This is my nth invite and i still get giddy. I always pass by High Street Central and i had a clue that a new restaurant will open. How? Well, i am observant and whenever i see a new signage, i stop on my tracks and i spy with my little eye. Clue # 1. They used a retro font that resembles old 80’s sitcoms...uhmmm...American Comfort Food Naaah... Clue # 2. I saw the photo of a woman rocking a vintage Vilma Santos do...Bam! It is Filipino. Yup, F&F is a Filipino Restaurant that offers classic Pinoy dishes. Think food served during Holidays and Fiesta or something that your Abuela would cook on your birthday. The interior is a marriage of classic with a lil bit of modern. It sort of brings the homey vibe and yass!!! they play good music too. Our generous host served a FEAST (yup, all caps para intense) Top Three | Gising-Gising with Taba ng Talangka. Cos i am a firm believer that anything cooked in coconut milk is awesome. I love how rich this dish is - the coconut milk x crab fat is match made in gising-gising heaven! Some say it is spicy but i cant taste any, fret not, i have a super high tolerance for anything spicy. | Claypot Humba Rice. The pork belly is fall-off-the-bone tender. The meat is seasoned well, a perfect mix of sweet and savoury profiles. | Sizzling Bulalo. We were unanimous i saying that dem bulalo is the shiz! The beef is oh so tender and oozing with bulalo goodness. We were in awe when this was served. I think everyone fell silent when the sauce was poured...the sound of the sizzle is music to my ears. The Honourable Mentions Embutido. A sudden rush of nostalgia on every bite. This tastes like home. Cheesy Butter Scallops. Scallops is always a good idea - add some butter and cheese in the equation and we got ourselves a keeper. Sizzling Pork Sisig Rice. Hmmmm...two of my favourite things. I think i have never had mixed rice like this before...wait, guess i had but none was as memorable and delicious as this one. Lechon Manok Special. Roasted Chicken is the quintessential “handa” in every Filipino household. F&F’s version is cooked perfectly - juicy and flavourful. Roasted Chicken & Tinapa Russian Salad. I like this dish as it brings a wonderful flavour contrast, who knew that tartar sauce would work well with tinapa flakes. Those i will not rate | Beef Tadyang | Sisig | Putok Batok Platter | Isawan Platter | Barbeque Platter The skewered meats and deep fried stuff has the makings of excellent dishes. We took our sweet time taking photos, you know how it is. These dishes are best eaten after they are served not one hour after. Birthday Spaghetti. I prefer my spaghetti traditional, i was was never a fan of the sweet ones. The others liked it though, so yey! Salted Egg, Tomato & Onion. This is F&F’s take on Caprese. Instead of using mozzarella, they used good ole fashioned salted egg. If you ask me, this is deconstructed ensalada as the ingredients are not mixed together. Pickled Ampalaya Crispy Catfish & Buro Platter Nope, not a fan of bitter gourd nor catfish so i skipped these two. I wasn’t feeling adventurous enough. Sweets Banofee Pie. This is happiness on a plate! I like how they made it not overly sweet and let cinnamon and banana do the job! The crispy thingy on top are a lovely concoction of banana and wonton chips. Yema Cake. Who doesn’t like yema? Soft and pillowy chiffon cake drizzled in yema sauce. I mean, come on!!! This is a crowd pleaser. Okay, so what are my thoughts about F&F after i tried some of their dishes? Well, two words - Comfort Food. This is the kind of place wherein you can bring anyone (even the picky eaters) and they will leave with a smile on their face. Peace Out! ~Reich
Before that photo showing a great amount of tourists on Cloud 9’s boardwalk went viral, I was there in December last year and had the place pretty much to myself. Cloud 9 refers to the surfing wave that surfers from all over the world go to Siargao for. In the area there is a board walk that leads to a view deck. I walked there all by myself and spent, maybe 30 minutes, up on the deck, enjoying the view of the sea. There are not many surfers that day and I was not in the mood to surf, I just went there for the view. There are a few restaurants in the area but I was not in the mood to check them out. I just took as many photos as I could. One of my favorite photos is that of a local man, whom I spotted walking with a fish in tow. When I went back to the side of the beach, I walked along a path lined with palm trees on each side. There I saw some surf boards leaning on the trees and further down the path are the surfers, resting in their respective hammocks. Some of them asked me if I wanted to surf, I shook my head no. The first and the last time I tried surfing was in Baler years ago. It was an exhausting activity and quite challenging, but not something that I found to be exhilarating. Hence, I never surfed again in other surfing destinations like La Union and Siargao. I am not sure if I will ever do surfing again, but I decided it wasn’t going to be on that Siargao trip. Having been there, I can understand the lure of Siargao and couldn’t blame people from wanting to visit this paradise. I think though that Siargao is not yet ready to accommodate a surge of tourists unlike Palawan or Boracay. I just hope that we would all be responsible when we visit not just Siargao but any other tourist destinations. Do not leave your trash behind, don’t throw it into the sea, and leave with just memories. Maybe the crowd is explained by the peak season. I guess I made the right decision visiting in the time when others are busy doing something else. Being alone at the Cloud 9 view deck is one of my favorite moments in my short time in Siargao.
I was invited for another Looloo Rendezvoos for Dencio’s Tomas Morato Branch. It’s a 2-storey restobar with a very casual set-up. The restobar is situated in one compound together with Pancake House. One thing I noticed is that the compound provided a good parking space for the customers who wants to dine. The second floor is also part of the restaurant. Band/s were also performing there where you can also sing or listen while having your favorite drinks. This summer, Dencio’s introduced the All Grilled and All Fried Dencio’s Boodle. And we were lucky to try the All Fried Dencios Boodle. The Boodle is good for 5 and it’s only Php1,500.00. They can share the following in the boodle (served with plain rice): Calamares - ️️️️ 4/5 Lumpiang Shanghai - ️️️️ 4/5 Lechon Kawali - ️️️️️ 5/5 Krispy Tilapia - ️️️️️ 5/5 Mangga at Bagoong - ️️️️️ 5/5 “I like the Lechon Kawali, even it is cold already, it was crispy, tender and tasty. I also like the mangga at bagoong, it balances the flavor of the boodle.” Aside from the boodle, we also had the following: Boneless Chicken Inasal - ️️️ 3/5 “The chicken was grilled tender. It’s good but there’s an after taste, I find it bitter.” Krispy Sisig - ️️️️️ 5/5 “I agree with the tagline “Basta Krispy Sisig Dapat Dencio’s”” Inihaw na Liempo - ️️️️️ 5/5 “The winning inihaw na liempo in Looloo’s BTT. It was flavorful and really good with rice. And it was super tender too.” Dencio’s Chill Treats and Desserts: Buco Pandan - ️️️️️ 5/5 Mais Con Quezo - ️️️️️ 5/5 Halo-Halo with Ice Cream - ️️️️️ 5/5 Sago’t Gulaman - ️️️️️ 5/5 Maja Blanca - ️️️️️ 5/5 Mango Float - ️️️️️ 5/5 Fried Buco Pie - ️️️️️ 5/5 All the desserts were so good. If I will to choose one, I will go for Fried Buco Pie. Sweet but not that sweet, which I am in favor of it. It’s like I am eating a normal buco fie in a turon way.” The management of Dencio’s entertained us well. The staff and crew also provided excellent service. Thank you Dencio’s for having and providing us good dinner. Thank you Peanut D and Roegan T 🏼 Nice to meet you again guys! Aileen L Herl C Nievs G Jaja R Jairus d Julie L Muffy T Sally #ilovetoeatph ️
Eto naaaaa! 4yrs in the making 4.18.2017 | My first #looloorendezvoos was memorable because of three things (F4!) : 1. new foodie FRIENDS I met that night; 2. the dishes we got to try that are reminiscent of FAMILY mementos; and 3. childhood FILIPINO FAVORITES Coincidentally, all three things perfectly fit what this restaurant is all about! One might mistaken this for a Johnny Rockets brand, a diner, or a cozy board/card game lounge because of the name and vibe. To my surprise, it’s a homey, retro restaurant serving comfort Filipino favorites that trigger nostalgia and prompts to stroll along memory lane! #thatfeeling 5-STAR (PERSONAL FAVORITES) ***** ***** ***** ***** ****** ***** ****** SIZZLING BULALO STEAK P995 (family platter as seen on the photo) 🥢 with peppered beef gravy, potatoes, corn, carrots, cabbage, baguio pechay, and green beans ❗️MUST not miss this. We all swear by it!!! The drool is strong in this one. We were like hungry hyenas waiting to prey on the star of the table while the peppered gravy was being poured over. Ohhhh the ecstatic smell of everything in that big, black sizzling plate!When we finally got to eat, I had this first and I kid you not —— it’s the best you’ll ever have! Incredibly tender beef, and slurpy buttery bone marrow tucked in every bulalo chunk; lavished with velvety peppered sauce that accentuates the meat. . . Ahhhh. Reminds me of my lola in heaven who made us the best bulalo soup when we were kids! GISING GISING WITH TABA NG TALANGKA (P220) Not really a fan of starters like this but boyyyy did it make my eyes big after my first spoonful! Although it isn’t too spicy for me (as a benchmark, think Ramen Nagi level 4 as just ok for me), this thick and creamy soup was perfect with crab fat! Lasang lasa talaga yung taba ng talangka, hindi nakakaumay, at magigising ka sa sarap! 🤤 Ramen Nagi should’ve had this kind of limited edition variant instead of binagoongan hahaha swearrrr ang sarap nito BAGOONG RICE For me, almost everything fried or grilled is perfect with bagoong na alamang! Since we had bbq and isaw platters, bagoong rice is king! What’s WOW though about their bagoong rice is the added texture because of the FLOSSY EGG (that I thought was okoy of some sort) The usual bagoong rice has egg strips, but THEIRS really gave me a wow moment. // SISIG RICE is a bolder option to try if you’re going for other mains on the menu like crispy pata or ... anything fried Reminds me of college days at Agno where the best sisig of my life was served CHEESY GARLIC BUTTER SCALLOPS (P375) One of the most delightful treats from the sea reminds me of family boodle fights back in the 90s! Uhhh baked tahong, butter garlic shrimp, huge crabs and THIS BEEF TADYANG (P795) Fried to death! It’s a crazy risk to pull off BEEF, that’s TTFN and crispy at the same time! Hands down! 🤤 *see TTFN meaning at the end of my post TASTE TEASE ***** ***** ***** ***** ****** ***** ****** Beverage : GUAVALICIOUS SMOOTHIE (P175) // *my preferred drink; others had sago’t gulaman, lychee calamansi refresher, etc ❗️DO NOT get this as a drink with your meal. Get this as a DESSERT if you’re feeling adventurous! My mistake to have it served right away I got a bit full cause it was like pink frozen yogurt milk shake/jamba juice white gummi bear bbbbut with chunks of sweetened guava + sweetened saba on top! Really a #tasteTease! I like it! Sauce/Dips/Sides * Special Peanut BBQ - came with the bbq platter (P850) and isaw platter (550). Adding this to grilled meat swerves you to pad thai It’s an awesome #tastetease * Buro - if you like atchara, or kimchi, this is a #tastetease for you! It’s part of the CRISPY CATFISH & BURO PLATTER (P375) 🥢 served with mustasa leaves, green mango, red onions, nuts, ginger, garlic and chili! I found it a bit bland though, and sticky 🧐 🥠HACKS / TIPS FOR A DASH OF WONDER🥠 ***** ***** ***** ***** ****** ***** ****** 🗯 when you order. . . 🥠 PUTOK BATOK PLATTER (P350) 🥢 isaw manok, chicharon, kropek, chicken skin, isaw bilog, isaw baboy Ha! “Texture here I come!” Crush (or take a few bites of) the crispy isaw bilog or isaw manok or chicken skin for an extra crunch in between mains! It’s my ultimate pang tanggal umay tip! Best PAIRED with their CLASSIC SIZZLING SISIG(P350 / P225). Crush emm and mix with sisig —- Uhhhh sarapp! Crispy/sizzling hybrid mannnn! 🥠 CLAYPOT “HUMBA RICE” (P395) 🥢 braised pork belly topped with banana blossoms and grilled pineapple served with banana OK, the braised pork belly was just OHHH SO TENDER and definitely slow cooked! Light gummy skin + juicey meat = humbalicious! Would be better though to ask for extra humba sauce you could pour over so the rice won’t soak it all in. You’d love it more!!! // or maybe im just really a sauce/dip person 🥠 CRISPY CATFISH & BURO PLATTER (P375) Use the leaves as a base, add bits and pieces of everything, and ROLL IT LIKE A SOFT TACO! 🥠 ISAWAN (P550) or BBQ PLATTER (P850) The above mentioned special BBQ PEANUT dip comes with this platter! + achara, suka, calamansi, of course! Dip your skewers here once a while for a thai twist! I find it surprisingly good, actually! 🥠 EMBUTIDO (P220) DON’T attempt to slice a lot as it will easily break Treat it like maki! *I couldn’t taste the raisin that much thus the lack of a sweet kick but I still found it delicious! Definitely a childhood staple for baon days I even had mine wrapped in aluminum foil 🤣 ◼️HACKS/TIPS FOR #SULIT MEALS ◼️ ***** ***** ***** ***** ****** ***** ****** ▪️Skip the bbq platter, and have the classic sizzling sisig + isawan platter instead! For me, the bbq platter was a bit too ordinary for P850! Had it been saucier, jucier, and tastier, I’d go for it but nope Same is true for the Isawan Platter though. It’s surely clean, but IS dry and toasty Easy to spot on my photos actually! BETTER YET, mag sizzling bulalo steak ka nalang for P995! ▪️Yema cake is good, but not for P175 BETTER YET, just have water, then have any of the CON HIELO smoothies for dessert! All the same price or less! Both a #tastetease and definitely #sulit ! I had GUAVALICIOUS (P120 only) see review above On my next visit, I’ll definitely try the YEMA CREMA!!! THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY (due to biased tastebuds and/or have gone past ideal temp and/or I forgot to try) ▫️ Birthday Spaghetti (P350) ▫️ F&F Lechon Manok Special (P850 / P550 / P220) ▫️ Roasted Chicken & Tinapa Russian Salad (P220) ▫️Pickled Ampalaya (P76) - I initially thought was “okra” ▫️Saled Egg, Tomato, Onion (P95) ▫️Banoffee Pie (P195) - I tried this last, and I kept looking for bananas and coffee spark but found none OTHER LOCAL FINDS ON THEIR SHELVES ▫️Chili Chili Bang Bang chilis! ▫️Salted Egg Chips! ▫️Bottled Preserves (ie Alamang na Bagoong, tuyo, pickled veggies etc FINALLY ENDING THIS JOURNAL ——- ️ three take homes : ️I have nothing but praise for their main beef or pork dishes! #TTFN! Tender, Tasty, Flavorful, and Nomnomnom! 🤣🤣🤣 ️You’ll always unearth a piece of HOME in Filipino dishes ️the 4Fs were rightfully justified! Friends, Family, Filipino Favorites 🤤 PS : Browse through their beverage menu (The Coconut Club). Everything is hand-drawn!! PS2 : Thank you Peanut D for inviting me 🧚🏻♀️ PS3 : Great concept, Raintree! Yet another restaurant that pulls heart strings! Thank you for sponsoring our foodie tummies ** more photos on my blog soon! :) Looloove, B 🏻
From the salads to the pizzas to the pasta and yes even the dessert, you could be assured of the quality and the taste with each bite at CPK The ambiance is very relaxing and the furniture were delicately selected to compliment the overall appearance of the place. Spinach Artichoke Dip was superb! It is one of most popular appetizers and my favorite dips to order at CPK. Rich, delightfully creamy dip oozing with artichoke and spinach goodness. But I always find their Tortilla chips a little bland. BBQ Chicken Salad What's not to love with the crunch of the jicama, corn chips, and lettuces; the explosions of different flavors with every bite; and the contrast of the sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauce with the cool ranch dressing...mmmm...mmmm! Chinese Chicken Salad A bowl of healthy goodness. This salad is oriental-inspired from the ingredients it used. Other than its Chinese chicken mixed with red cabbage and Romaine lettuce, crisp wonton strips, scallions, fresh cilantro and sesame seeds were also added, tossed in a Hoisin ginger vinaigrette. The service is a thumbs up, even with all the dinners eating, we still felt special and well served to my satisfaction. Fast service despite the fact that the place is packed with incoming and outgoing customers.
Nomi Matcha is one of those places I’ve been wanting to visit. My ‘want’ turned to ‘need’ when I saw the reviews of Jayson J Christina R Dennis O and Ruth S about this place. I immediately told Cindy S that we need to visit this place asap. And so we did last week. I was so excited to order their Matcha Latte because I like everything matcha. Matcha peeps, where are yah? I had their Iced Matcha Latte with high expectations as this is a matcha haven as one review suggests. I took my first sip and it was.. okay. Just okay. The matcha taste was strong, which is actually good. However it lacks something. I would describe it as it lacks depth. If you can use that in describing food or drink. The matcha kick is there but the drink is not rich. I’m not sure, maybe because of their milk? Wala yung lingering aftertaste na pagtapos mo inumin mapapasabi ka ng “ahhh ang sarap!” Since Cindy S and I were not satisfied with our drink, we tried the hot version. It’s kind of better compared to the iced one, but there’s really something that’s missing. We also had their Matcha Churros with white chocolate dip and their Tiramisu Dream. Both were good actually. I particularly liked the matcha churros as I think it’s value for money. Cindy S liked the Tiramisu as it has strong matcha powder on top. It’s also so IG-worthy! I hope they become more consistent with their drinks as I truly believe that Nomi has a lot of potential to be the next favorite matcha place. I’ll definitely be back again to try other items in the menu.
In just a few days boracay will be temporarily shutdown but before that here is a review to one of the best hotel in Boracay. Coast boracay is by Raintree group and they really excel in providing the end to end experience. From the time exit caticlan airport there is coast crew that will assist every step of the way. With the umbrella to wet towel to bottled water they are prepared to really make every step an awesome experience. I love have each crew of coast have that contagious sincere smile that if I'm a foreigner I will gladly share to everyone this wonderful character of Filipinos. The hotel resort is located in Station 2 of boracay. Love the wallprints and artistic fun nature of the resort. They have two wonderful swimming pool that I really enjoyed. They also provide free unli icecream and popcorn which was really a treat after a walk in the sun. For the room it was again artisticly fun! If you are the type of person that love just staying in you room. You'll love that they have free netflix in your Smart TV. Wow! Perfect! The bed and pillow are comfy. Toilet was also spacious. Also love their bath toiletries. Breakfast buffet was also awesome wide choices of great dishes. Just sad that I didn't get to try the famous ube champorado but I still enjoyed the other dishes available. Another thing that I love about Coast is that they support local products. They showcase homegrown products like leather products by rubbertree, Yakan weaves and Happy Camper cocoblock. Overall Coast Boracay have perfected the superb hospitability that will pamper their guest. No wonder they are the top hotel resort in boracay according to Tripadvisor and Agoda. Good Job! Can't wait for the out of the ER rejuvenated boracay come November.
Kamiseta hotel could easily be one of the prettiest hotels in baguio if not the whole country! Each and every corner is super instagrammable and every little detail has been attended to. It's definitely not easy to mix and match different patterns and colors and still remain charmingly pretty. We were lucky to book 2 out of their only 6 rooms. With their number of rooms it's more like a bed and breakfast yeah? Our rooms - Alicia and Katie occupied the whole lower level and we had our own little lobby and seating area. Chandeliers were everywhere! Big, small and everything in between! We were served welcome drinks and snacks - a delicious deconstructed strawberry cheesecake. The rooms were quite ample in size and ours even had a bay window. However, there weren't any closets, just two hooks where you can hang your jackets or whatever. Beds were very comfortable and pillows were super nice and fluffy. They had cignal cable which was great but became intermittent when it rained. There was also a sink in the bedroom, quite old fashioned European style which was nice for washing your face but a bit weird imo. We enjoyed the l'occitane toiletries which they replenished everyday. The bathroom was nice although I didn't like the half glass partition which left the rest of the bathroom wet if you didn't angle the shower head properly. Also, the heater didn't work well. It needed about 5 mins to heat up and you can even run out of hot water in the middle of your shower (which happened to both hubby and I). I hope they attend to this soon. The bathroom also had a sliding door which was esthetically nice but it was noisy! Especially at night when you need to go to the bathroom. Breakfast came with the room and it was provided by their in house resto - vanilla Cafe which I will write more about in another review. Overall, the place was really, really nice. Good service, good Wi-Fi, comfortable beds but just needs a bit more improvement especially for the price. #looloosummergiveaway2018
Another #looloorendezvoos so getting the usuals out first: * We were given a sample of the menu (with our very own menu card for the night) ** Sponsored review thanks to The Raintree Group *** We were joined by someone from the group behind the restaurant for feedback and extra tidbits (Hi Mich!) When I got hold of the details for this #looloorendezvoos , it was timely since we did want to try the "replacement of Stella & Rocket Room" and we were thinking of eating there one Friday night. For first impressions, they still stuck to the division between the two locations - so there's "Friends & Family" on the spot of Stella, and "The Coconut Club" replaced Rocket Room for the drinks and tapas place. They went with the 80s and the 90s on the theme for this concept since the look and feel was pretty much based on the owner's own experiences during those two decades. However, this review will focus only on Friends & Family. Items Served: (with descriptions for the non-obvious) Appetizers: • The Classic (Crispy Pork, Tenga, Pig Face, Liver) - Php225 / Php350 * • Putok Batok Platter (Isaw Manok, Isaw Bilog, Kropek, Chicharon, Chicken Skin) - Php350 * • Cheesy Garlic Butter Scallops (Topped with Calamansi, Garlic and Butter) - Php375 * Salads: • Crispy Catfish and Buro Platter - Php375 * • Roasted Chicken & Tinapa Russian Salad (Roasted Chicken Bits, Tinapa Flakes, Carrots, Potatoes dressed with Tartar) - Php220 • Salted Egg, Tomato & Onions - Php95 • Pickled Ampalaya - Php75 Barbeque: • Isawan Platter - Php550 • Barbeque Platter - Php850 * Roasts: • F&F Lechon Manok Special - Php220 / Php550 * • Claypot "Humba Rice" (Braised Pork Belly with Banana Blossoms & Grilled Pineapples) - Php395 * Crispy: • Beef Tadyang - Php795 * House Special: • Sizzling Bulalo Steak - Php550 / Php995 * • Embutido - Php220 Meryenda: • Birthday Spaghetti (Yes, spaghetti with cheesy beef sauce as if it's a fiesta) - Php250 * Vegetables: • Gising Gising with Taba ng Talangka - Php220 Rice: • Sizzling Pork Sisig Rice - Php195 * Desserts: • Banofee Pie, Php195 * • Yema Cake, Php175 * * Items the writer got to try, the rest I had to avoid either because of allergies or lack of interest or simply lack of stomach space. :) My Top 5 for the night: 1. Birthday Spaghetti 2. Sizzling Bulalo 3. Cheesy Garlic Scallops 4. Crispy Beef Tadyang 5. Claypot Humba Rice The spaghetti really brings you back to your childhood eating with neighbors, cousins on a fiesta. It's very simple, but very authentic and true to it's roots. The nostalgic effects was enough to make it my top choice. The sizzling bulalo had beef chunks which was very tender, the whole platter had everything bulalo would have except the soup but it was prepared really well. I'll always be a sucker for the baked scallops, even got caught consuming maybe more than my share for the night, so good thing they were nice enough to give another round. The crispy tadyang is actually hard to come by, with a lot of places serving it really tough, practically like rocks already but this was totally edible tasting how it should. The pork humba itself was also very tender, the pork almost tears itself apart when we were getting our portions. There was so much food that it was essentially getting portions here and there to be able to try more than what the stomach can take, the barbeques taste like they should. The isaw sticks I didn't take anymore since I guess I've had too much of them already on my younger days. The lechon manok tasted like it should, but I guess I now have a preference for "Chooks-To-Go" thus why I didn't like it as much. What I was guilty of however was getting more spaghetti than normal and the sisig rice. My favorite for sisig rice is from Bacolod Chicken Inasal, this would now be the better version since the sisig here is crispy! There was a debate that went on with the desserts, with the second batch tasting better than the first - it was concluded that since the first already sat out for too long that's why it tasted drier and courser. Between the two ones we sampled, I like the banofee more than the yema cake as I'm not really a fan of overly sweet desserts. Another original which hit the spot for me was the gulaman! It's very hard to find authentic gulaman here in the Metro, with those selling them mainly settling for the cheap versions with practically no toppings nor flavoring other than it being sweet. So finding one, tasting like the original - really really hit the spot! As for the group, they all enjoyed the gising-gising which I unfortunately couldn't have and the embutido likewise since I've already had some bad encounters in the past since I'm not too sure on how it's made. (yeah, living with allergies mean having these moments of needing to decipher on the spot or risk running to the ER) Since this is Raintree, whose concepts we've all gone to at one point or another, service was excellent - theme well thought of and well executed, atmosphere pleasant - AND attention to detail superb. The font of the Friends & Family signboard itself reminded me of Cheers, the old TV show back then which I would watch with my older siblings on my younger years. I did a small sampling for questions within the group and I sadly belong to the older demographic of #looloo reviewers since most of them didn't have any idea about Cheers. The place put an emphasis on the open kitchen, but having a glass divider to keep the heat out of the dining area. A swing door separates The Coconut Club from Friends & Family, where servers pass by shuffling drinks and food between the 2 places. In conclusion, it's another nice concept that will bring the foodie groups something to write about. Raintree is among the few groups in the country (like The Tasteless Group and Foodee Global) which I admire for having these new concepts and would trust in the Filipino's evolving taste and dining needs. It doesn't stay within the "usual food types," but when it does like in this case, there's still something special and worthwhile about the restaurant. It's now the top choice when I have foreign clients who are looking for themselves a sampling of Filipino food and what it means to eat with Filipinos. Tidbits: 1. Pricing is similar to other Raintree restaurants 2. There's no real story behind the name, other than it denotes the notion that with intimate gatherings it usually for "Friends & Family" only 3. The family behind The Raintree Group is Filipino-Polish with the last name we all couldn't spell (Andrej Wisniewski) - kwokie -
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