My Reviews

Starr's Famous Shakes

4.0 Stars
Juice

Finally got to try Starr's Famous Milkshakes' Oreo Oreo Pancake! Probably the most photogenic product they serve. It tastes just as good as it looks! For fried oreo lovers, this is gold. 4 stars only coz there's a slight taste of cooking oil. Not major. Anyway, this branch is cozy!

  • No. of Comments: 1
View

Capones Island

4.0 Stars
Great Outdoors

When we went island hopping in Zambales a few weeks ago, we explored Anawangin Cove, Capones Island, and Camara. Nagsasa Cove wasn't part of the package so we dint go there anymore. From a resort in Pundaquit, we rented a boat for 1,200 pesos to take us to the islands. I enjoyed the boat ride going to the islands because the view was breath-taking. I was mesmerized by the mountains, rock formations, and the distinct color of the sea in this part of the province.

Among the three, Capones is my favorite. This is mainly because Anawangin is a bit too crowded with campers and there are areas with quite a lot of trash. And while Camara is beautiful, it's the smallest of the three so there isn't much to see or do. Don't skip it, though. It has the most beautiful shades of blue of them all.

Going to Capones Island was a bit challenging. If you're planning to go there anytime soon, I hope you're mentally taking notes! :D

The boat couldn't afford to go near the shore because of the strong current. It can't go any closer than about 60m away from the shore. So we were left with no choice but to swim our way there. This meant tying our slippers or shoes in our life vests and securing our phones in a ziplock hoping it won't get wet. Well, we wouldn't wanna leave it on the boat because we have to upload travel photos on Instagram, right? Nope, we weren't bringing Go Pros. And so we risk it. But because we weren't prepared, we had to swim open-water without goggles, proper attire, not quite immersing ourselves enough in the water to try to save our phones, and fighting our way through the strong current. If you're not use to swimming in open water because it's so much different than swimming in a pool, you might panic a little. Don't. Just keep swimming. When you're near the shore, be prepared to go home with battle scars - bruises and scratches - because it's rocky and sometimes, no matter how you try to take control, the current would still defeat you.

When you get there, you'll be captivated by the beauty of the island. The shore, the trail, the view from the top, and the lighthouse! Yes, you have to hike a little to get to the top and see the lighthouse. You may find it hard to bring a beverage when you swim your way to the shore, so make sure you hydrate before getting off the boat.

The lighthouse will leave you speechless. It was first lit in 1890 to guide the ships going to Subic. The structure is beautiful not just physically but also in the way old and broken things are beautiful because they have a story to tell and they've gone through a lot. I hope the people responsible for preserving this Philippine heritage would try harder to do their jobs. The climb to the tower is no longer safe and in a few years, or months maybe, no one will be able to explore it anymore.

The cliff would give you a really great view of Pundaquit and it's islands. For a brief moment, I just wanted to stay there adore the works of God. It would somehow make you feel like you're in Batanes. Well, close enough :)

Tips:

Hike at day time - you would appreciate everything so much better with the daylight.
Prepare something for lunch - because I'd choose eating by the beach than in a fancy restaurant any given day and I know you would, too! ;)
Disconnect with your phone and reconnect with the nature. Walang signal, so wala ka rin choice :P
Befriend your tour guide and the locals - you'll learn a lot from them and making new friends is always a good idea!
Pick an awesome travel buddy - so you could say yes to adventures with a great company.

Capones, I'm coming back for you! :)

  • No. of Comments: 7
View

Tinipak River

4.0 Stars
Great Outdoors

How do you describe a place as beautiful as this? It sounds so poetic but I can't really find the best words to do so. Before going to Tinipak River, I've already searched all photos with related hashtags and geotags on Instagram but there's nothing quite like seeing it in person. It's so stunning you'd wonder if it's photoshopped. LOL. So, let's get down to the nitty gritty.

It's our first time to hike and we're supposed to take Mt. Daraitan but we were told they've already reached the limit of hikers they can accommodate in a day. So we we're offered to hike Mt. Mamara instead. We learned that Mt. Mamara takes only about 3 hours to hike compared to Mt. Daraitan which takes 6 up to 8 hours so we thought of it as green flag since we can be home in Pampanga earlier than expected. We got there half past 9 in the morning and went straight to the barangay hall of Daraitan where people are supposed to register and be assigned a tour guide. The tour guide fee is 500 pesos per trip for a maximum of 10 pax. The environmental fee is 20 pesos per pax. Once you're registered, you would take a tricycle up to the jump off point of the trail.

The moment we got off the tricycle, I was in awe of the beauty of the mountains and the river and the rock formations. I keep on saying "Ang ganda!" while taking photo every few meters. Then the tour guide told me "Hindi pa po yan ang maganda, wala pa po yan kumpara sa pupuntahan natin". And that inspired me to get to our destination. The heat was insane and it was my first time to hike but it wasn't as hard as thought it would be. And when I saw a glimpse of the river my energy and happiness level skyrocketed back to a hundred real quick. Just hearing the river flow and feeling the cold breeze brushing my face, though I'm still a little far from it, refreshed me. When we got there, we took photos, but not as much as we wanted to. There are spots where in there are just too many people. I mean, it's good for Tourism, I get it. I hope they really regulate the number of people, specially campers going here, though. But I'd like to commend the tour guides for consistently reminding hikers to not leave any trash. The place is still clean though a bit crowded.

After being amazed by Tinipak River, we proceeded to the summit of Mt. Mamara where we had lunch together with other hikers. We only had tocino, spam, hotdogs, and bacon for lunch but it's got to be one of the best meals I've had in my life because of the view and that feeling you get when you've just conquered a mountain - literally and figuratively. It also felt great being surrounded by people who shared the same interests.

I pray that this place never loses its beauty, that the people who go here would give it the love and care it rightfully deserves. #LeaveNoTrace.

TIPS on Hiking: Always stay hydrated, bring a plastic bag where you could put all your trash, just enjoy being in the moment, take in the beauty of the nature, and choose faith over fear :)

Will I go back? YES! But let me explore other mountains first! Until then, I'll just keep the memories of the wonders of Mt. Mamara and Tinipak River in my heart. Cheesy travel post alert! Too late for an alert. Oh, well! :)

P.S.: First travel review ever. Yay! Next on my list is Mt. Pico de Loro!

  • No. of Comments: 0
View

House of Chops

5.0 Stars
Fusion

House of Chops is one of the restaurants we visited for our #ForkSpoonManilaxDiscoverMNL Pampanga Food Crawl, a collaborative project with @ForkSpoonManila and @DiscoverMNL. We went there on a Sunday at lunch time and it was almost full. Even before trying their food out, it became obvious to us that families love to dine here during weekends.

The location of the place is great, strategic, if I may say. It is near both Clark main gate and Clark Friendship gate. It's just along the highway, too.

If you're a fan of American diners, then you'll surely love the ambiance. I like their mural and the chopping boards with quotes displayed on their walls. Also, though the place is full, it isn't noisy so you really get to share stories over a hearty meal with your loved ones. Or spend your quiet time alone while indulging on good food. Whichever works for you. ;)

Their food is quite famous for coming in big servings. We were 6 in the group and they served us Crackling Pork Belly Roast (featured in the photo), Three-cheese and Bacon Stuffed Double Cut Pork Chop (yes, that exist), Slow Roasted US Beef Belly with Peppercorn Gravy, and Country Fried Chicken Steak for entrees. We had Steak Fried Rice and Cheesy Broccoli Rice, too! We weren't able to finish everything because it was probably good for up to 8 pax. If we're talking about value for money, I'd say you get more than what you paid for. Everything was too good!

Too bad we weren't able to try their desserts because we're so stuffed already. I guess that calls for a couple more visits!

Before wrapping this up, I'd like to highlight that the owners, Atoy and Chay Tayag, were so warm and accommodating. Same goes to all their staff. So you come for the ambiance, the food, and the people. :)

P.S.: It's been a little over a year since my last food review so forgive me for being a little rusty. :)

#50kSummerGiveaway

  • No. of Comments: 9
View

8065 Bagnet

4.0 Stars
Filipino

Definitely a favorite when in Taft! There's something about their food that makes me come back every time I'm in the area. So far, I've tried their Bagnet Curry and Bagnet Spicy Gata. I'm looking forward to try everything on their menu! Planning to try Bagnet Sinigang on my next visit coz it's my cousin's pick all the time. All. The. Time. So it must be something special.

Most meals cost only P110. It is really affordable. No wonder why it's loved by students in the area (from DLSU, CSB, and St. Scholastica).

I heard it is owned by Kitchie Nadal and has another branch in Makati. I wish the place is bigger, though. It is always full and at times, you could literally follow the convo of the ones on the next table. It's eat-and-run. The place has that laid-back and homey feel but you won't really hang out a little longer after eating. Anyway, I love it still.

P.S.: Can anyone recommend other places where there's great Bagnet? Thanks! 128522128076

  • No. of Comments: 0
View

Flaming Wings

4.0 Stars
Wings

The home of the famous Wicked Oreos! Scroll down and you'll see previous reviews that are mostly about this favorite dessert. And yes, I am joining #TeamWickedOreos! It's happiness in three fried oreos, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with those cutesy Idk what you call them 128513. You'll get it for only 90 bucks!

I have also tried their Smothered Pork Chop. The presentation is great but the taste is average. Their chicken wings are a little expensive but worth breaking the bank for.

I rated it 4/5 because they're always out of Rice Pilaf and no wi-fi. Plus, the place is always full so you have to do a little waiting. Yes, they're amazing like that! 128521

  • No. of Comments: 3
View

Mochi Creme

4.0 Stars
Dessert

As a lover of "anything green tea", it's an instant favorite! I tried their Matcha Mocha Latte and their Matcha & Almond Dacqois (as seen in the photo) and I was swept off my feet. The cake was heavenly without the 'umay' or 'sawa' factor. I also wanted to try their Frozen Brazo de Mercedez (which is a bestseller) but I was too full to do so. I shall come back for that!

Others say it's a bit pricey, but I think it's fine coz you get what you pay for. The price is on a par with Starbucks and CBTL. The reason why I gave it a 4/5 rating is because it tends to be a little noisy in there (not in the annoying level but in the I-can't-read-a-book or finish-a-report level). Well, SM North is SM North. Looking forward to see more branches in other areas.

  • No. of Comments: 0
View

Amo Yamie Crib

5.0 Stars
Dessert

Not your ordinary coffee shop. The place is chic and cozy, you wouldn't mind staying here for insane hours. Please believe me when I say all corners are Instagram worthy! Haha. Too bad I can only post one photo. Follow them on Instagram (@amoyamiecrib) to see awesome photos of the place and their food. Their coffee and waffles are above average. They have movie rooms which look just fine. They need to update their movie library, though. Overall, I love the place and I have yet to see their new branch in San Fernando.

  • No. of Comments: 7
View

The Sandwich Guy

5.0 Stars
Sandwich

The Sandwich Guy is underrated. I wasn't planning to give it a try because the place is too small (good for less than 10 pax) and since it's new in Pampanga, it hasn't really made its name big here. What changed my mind was when I saw its branch in Taft and noticed that people actually love it. I ordered a Crab & Mango Sandwich (as seen in the photo) and it was love at first bite! I became a regular customer since then. Their Bacon & Eggs Sandwich is a favorite, too. All their sandwiches are very yummy yet affordable so that's an A+ for value for money!

  • No. of Comments: 2
View

Kebab Express

5.0 Stars
Middle Eastern

A great HOHOL place located in the AUF area. There's a KTV room and there are Cable TVs. The food is great and very affordable. Their Tokwa't Baboy is to die for! And who loves below-zero beers? Just about everyone! I just hope they offer cocktails soon for a wider selection of drinks.

  • No. of Comments: 2
View