My Reviews

The Theatre

4.0 Stars
Venue
9

Since everybody else in here’s making their last #loolooDroneGiveaway entries, might as well do the same thing cos #FOMO 128514

*Cue entrance song* The hills are aliiiiive with the sound of muuuusiiiiic! — yep, I agree with you. That was the lamest excuse for a review introduction 128553

Rewind! Let’s start with some fun facts:

1. This is my last review for the drone giveaway BUT it isn’t my last review ever on looloo.
2. This is my review on The Theatre at Solaire.
3. Since it’s my last entry, I guess it’s fitting to review about something I’ve experienced for the first time in my life: watching a play in a theater 127917

Last week, I got to watch The Sound of Music with ny homegurl Yanna B for free (thank you, Philippine Daily Inquirer! 128536) We were seated at the Orchestra area, which was at eye’s level with the stage (see photo) to the right, nearest door 4. Our seats were conveniently placed nearest the exit, which was a plus for me.

The show was scheduled to start at 8pm and we arrived 30 minutes after. We were ushered by the theater’s staff (who cannot take your photos, btw. You have to suck it up and ask other people take a photo of you. You just have to return the favor, of course) Just so you know, once a show starts, you are not allowed to enter or exit the premises until the act was done) We waited 8 mins and watched what was going on through a TV screen right beside the door.

When we finally got in, I was able to observe that the Theatre was able to make everyone feel like they’re basically part of the play. I never wouldve thought that a dark place like that could make ne feel so comfortable that I wanted to burst into a song and sing 127908

The Theatre at Solaire, albeit small compared to theaters I’ve seen only on TV, made me like theaters and musicals and plays. Cos of our experience last week, I said to myself that I would now love going to theaters to watch plays. After this, I’l be going to more plays and be that geeky theater person that was hidden in my alter ego.

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Urbiztondo Beach

4.0 Stars
Great Outdoors
8

Urbiztondo beach aka “Elyu”, as what this generation calls it, isn’t the beach that you’d automatically think of when you hear the words “pristine”, “clean” and “white”

I didn’t quite get the hullabaloo over Urbiztondo and why my co-millenials would always schedule a weekend to travel 5 hours to and from this place until I finally had a taste of it; it’s the charm of Urbiztondo that makes this place almost at par with Boracay’s white sand beaches. 🏖

To be all honest, aesthetically speaking, there isn’t anything pleasing about this beach aside from the waves you get to ride when it’s the peak season (otherwise, visit Baler instead for waves that never die, regardless of what season 127754).

I’ve been to all sorts of beaches — from the rocky shores of Pagudpud to the scorching hot sand of Palawan’s coast, but I’ve never encountered a beach that was this basic but is part of my Top 5 💯 Why? Because Urbiztondo will teach you how not to judge a book by its cover; it will teach you the importance of character vs. looks, as what mom and dad would say. 9757🏼

Urbiztondo is very much alive because of the neighboring establishments and the people that make up what is known as Elyu today. Despite the coarse sand on your feet and unswimmable water (cos it’s murky and every area you step on opens your life to a new danger that is feet aches and skin peels, care of the rocks and lost branches underneath HAHAHA), Urbiztondo is one of the North’s mainstream hidden gems. 128142

If you plan on going to Elyu for the first time, don’t forget to bring with you extra pocket money for food trips and booze, and your ‘tropa’, the people you know that you could #NetflixAndChill with, at the same time let loose in Valkyrie with cos this “extra luggage” is what will make you see the charm that is Urbiztondo. 10084

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The Manila Hotel

5.0 Stars
Hotel
10

“Why would others love this place?” is the question I was posed with as I start writing this review for The Manila Hotel.

Let me answer this with another question: why wouldn’t you?

We all know that the journey going to this part of the metro isn’t exactly something anyone would love — or like even! 🤣 But once you take a step inside their lobby, it seems as if that 2-hour drive from QC was worth it.

Here’s a walkthrough from when we arrived to when we were able to finally settle down in our rooms:

128663 Valet parking - The Manila Hotel is not your typical, high rise hotel, so much so that once you arrive at their driveway, you wouldn’t even notice that it’s already a hotel you’re driving in to (the facade looks more like an event tent venue, if you’d ask me). You’ll be greeted by, of course, K-9s that are as cute as they are lean and mean security machines — i love dogs so all dogs are cute, don’t judge! 128021 You can opt to park your car at the back of the hotel or let valet do the job for only P100, flat rate! Kuya driver guy was also super nice and greeted us with a smile.

10024 Lobby - once you enter the premises, you are greeted by ushers and usherettes wearing that classic Filipiniana and Barong with somewhat a more modern twist — and they look lovely. Apart from the beautiful faces, The Manila Hotel is known for their Lobby Lounge. Picture this: marbled walls lined with gold and glitter, huge chandeliers hanging from the ceiling that locks in the soothing sound of the piano playing classic melodies, mirrors reflecting all the gold, turning your reflection into gold as well. 128525 I actually don’t know if that made sense or even tickled your imagination one bit but you get the point. See photo 128514

🛏 Rooms - yes, we got 2 rooms. 1 for my OG family and 1 for the adopted sons aka the boyfriends. 128113🏼128104🏽 Both rooms had your usual: robes, room slippers, TV, bed, comfort room, tub, safe, coffee/tea. The unusual: TV in the comfort room (yup, you get to watch while nature calls 127811), JBL speakers, free fruits, free office/school supplies (see photo), and the view of Intramuros from the boyfriends’ room and the view of Manila Bay from our room. 128674 and for less than P10k/night/room, you get to experience all of that plus breakfast at Cafe Ilang-Ilang (review up next!)

You’re also entitled free use of the gym, pool with a bar, sauna and jacuzzi (I couldn’t upload photos of those cos 10-photo limit 128557) — and we were able to make use of all of that during our overnight stay... super sulit HAHAHA

The Manila Hotel offers you a not-so-typical staycation in the metro. Staying in this hotel gives off a somewhat historical vibe to it, making it feel like you aren’t in 2017 Metro Manila. If I felt like going on a staycation, I’d make The Manila Hotel my first choice, no doubt.

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Seoul Train Korean Barbeque

5.0 Stars
Korean
8

This place triggered the annyeong in me.
Disclaimer: I am no fan of K-Pop whatsoever but this place’s ambiance, food and TV screens kind of made me a K fanatic for a night. 🇰🇷

The main man and I decided we wanted to go out on a Korean date the night before our staycation at the Manila Hotel (see next review) since we both craved for Korean while browsing through restaurants to try while in Manila during the duration of the upcoming staycation — yep, the best restos in the Pasay area were mostly Korean.

I’ve been wanting to try out Seoul Train ever since that Train to Busan hype so I offered this place.

Upon entering, you’ll be welcomed by the sound of a railway train in transit. The entrance corridor gave out that subway vibe which had games you could play while you wait (see photos) and wait we did. It was a Friday pay day and the subway corridor was full as it served as their waiting area. We waited for about 45 minutes which felt like 15 minutes only since you had lotsa things going on in the waiting area that you’d never feel bored.

We were seated in a room with less that 10 tables that could sit a maximum of 6 people. Here’s a run through of the whole experience:

11088️ Staff - Ate Races was our server for the night and she never left our side. She knew the menu well, considering she was fairly new as their waitress. Then out of nowhere, a chinese-looking lady by the name of Ms. Kathy approached our table and discussed all the meats like she was some sort of meat connoisseur 127830 Turns out, she was the manager and she made sure to visit most of the tables to discuss the dishes thoroughly. Very hands on! 128076🏼

11088️ Food - To start ordering the sides and other Korean dishes, you first had to order the meats. A minimum of 1 premium meat or 2 regular meats was required in order to proceed in ordering the “extras.” Since the meats were discussed in detail to us, we ordered 1 premium and 1 regular (cos we love meat so much that 1 is never enough)

Premium meats cost P1,200 - P4,000 while the regulars cost P350 - P500 per serving. I forgot which ones we ordered but I dont think it matters cos both were really juicy and flavorful and melts in your mouth — literally! I think all their meats are of the same caliber as the ones we ordered.

The extras we got were rice (of course!), Kimchi soup, and the Cheese Tteokbokki. Everything we ate was A++ especially the Tteokbokki. THE. FRIGGIN. BEST.

The Tteokbokki is a staple street food in Korea apparently. It looks like penne pasta with red sauce but once you take a bite, you’ll be shookt. The “penne” wasnt exactly pasta, rather it was cylindrical rice cakes and the red sauce wasnt exactly tomato sauce; it was sweet with a hint of spicy. I really couldn’t describe it but it was sooooo good. Don’t forget to get the one with cheese! 🧀 The next time we’re going there, all the extras will be the Tteokbokki 128514 10084

11088️ Ambience - as stated previously, the whole place felt like the setting of Train to Busan minus the zombies and the eerie-ness. It felt like entering Korea in all honesty, like I wanted to speak Korean during the whole duration of our stay hahaha.

I’d recommend this place to you times two! 128588🏼 Although we spent more than 2k for the both of us, it’s worth the money. We only spent more than we should since we ordered a premium meat but if it weren’t for that, a good 1.5k was enough.

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Main Street

4.0 Stars
Canadian
6

Main: (adj.) coming before others in importance — everything else is secondary.

Tell me, when you hear the words “Hoisin Baby Back Ribs”, “Bacon Jam” and “Steak & Gorgonzola Pizza”, would you be able to say to yourself to not try these at once like they aren’t the most important food spectacle you have to admire and devour?

I kid you not, I was at work that day, wondering where I wanted to treat myself to after a long day in the office when I stumbled upon Main Street here in |ooloo (yes, of course it’s here that I run to when I need to know where I should get my food fix next! Everyone’s reviews are usually on point. I trust all of you 128591🏼)

Of course, I had to call up my main man to join me in my Main Street escapade so that I can enjoy it more than I should — yup, I already expected that I would enjoy their food even before I tried it. C’mon! Does their menu seem basic to you?

11088️ Bacon Jam and Grilled Cheese - the tomato soup was good as it was but it was perfect together with the sandwich. Their grilled cheese had an unusual twist to it: it had homemade bacon jam. Guys, BACON FRIGGIN JAM. 🥓 Who jams bacon?! Apparently, Main Street does #notbasic. The consistency was that of wet corned beef but once you taste it, it’s the perfect marriage between sweet and salty. At first, it’s weird since it tastes like honey with a bacon aftertaste. But 3 bites in and you appreciate the masterpiece that is bacon jam.

11088️ Hoisin Baby Back Ribs - 8-hour braised baby back ribs with honey hoisin sauce, roasted carrots and mashed patatas 🥔 PSA: any dish that states how many hours it was cooked is a good idea. We love our 8–hour, 16-hour, 24-hour cooked meats so we decided to order this, especially when it comes with the words “honey hoisin sauce.” The ribs were fall-off the bone and it was beautiful 127830 The sauce was not too sweet, which we loved. Ya’ll gotta try this one

11088️ Steak and Gorgonzola Pizza - 1. Kitayama Flank Steak 2. Melted mozzarella and Gorgonzola cheeses 3. Arugula and balsamic reduction drizzle. Yep, be the judge.

11088️ Grilled Chicken Salad - this one was okay for me but my man loved it. In fact, it’s in his top 10 salad list 🥗 — I don’t have a list for salads. I’m a carnivore, my friends, and salad is not my forte. This one had herb grilled chicken topped with peanuts-lime-honey vinaigrette.

Basically, if you’re up for some un-basic comfort food and in the Kapitolyo area, Main Street is the place to be. The price ranges from P250-P400 per dish so it doesn’t hurt your wallet so much.

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Fireside by Kettle

4.0 Stars
International
2

How do you unwind after a long work week? Some stay at home to #NetflixAndChill with their families, some binge eat with their friends and colleagues like 5 1-hour lunch breaks weren’t enough to fill ‘em up for the week, some dance the night away & meet new people in bars and clubs, and some look for a good drink with great company to flush that stress away.

I’m usually the type to involve alcohol to destress so, last Friday, we did #SangriaAndChill at Fireside. 127864

It was only then that I noticed that there weren’t any legit after work unwinding areas in Megamall, specifically in the Fashion Hall. I was really looking forward to drinking in a typical bar setting with dim lights and the calming aroma of liquor everywhere, instead, we opted to go to Fireside for their unli Sangria promo.

To our surprise, we just missed the schedule for the promo (boo) 128530 but we did not let that stop us!

As we stepped inside, Fireside gave off that dim lit chill bar vibe that I was looking for, only with that audible chatter from the tables surrounding you which wasn’t really a bad thing considering all the revelations and juicy stories my colleagues and I talked about. 128527128517

We ordered a pitcher of their White Sangria and 2 bottles of beer before we called it a night. We stayed there for at least an hour, talking about everything colleagues can possibly talk about that were not allowed to be heard in the office (HAHA!)

It was good! Surprisingly, really. It was good enough for a place that isn’t known for their alcohol. Also, for the 2 glasses I was able to consume, I already felt a bit buzzed which was good — for me! — cos it meant that I was having a great time and that the alcohol wasn’t a ripoff 128514

I’d deffo go back to Fireside, this time to try what they’re known for cos if alcohol wasn’t their forte and it was already good enough, I bet their food is 1108811088110881108811088

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Frankie's New York Buffalo Wings

4.0 Stars
Wings
3

“Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.” - Anonymous.

...and fly I did with Frankie’s wings 🦅

Before anything else, I’M BACK, LOOLOO FAM! 🤗 10084128557 It’s been ages since my presence was felt in here and I apologize. I haven’t really been trying out places lately cos:
1. Work
2. Work
3. Work
I know... I shouldn’t really be making excuses.

But hey, I’m back and I’ll ease my way into your stomachs again slowly, starting with 1-2 reviews a week. 127881

Yesterday, my colleagues and I headed out to Megamall for some unwinding after work. They brought me to Frankie’s cos they say they have the best wings ever and that they adore them. I doubted them and now, I regret doubting them.

A little background about me and my wandering foodie-ness: I don’t like spending on chicken wings. It’s the only food choice that I think I’m wasting my money and efforts (in eating) on. C’mon, I’d rather pay P99 for a crispy juicy thigh part than P200 on 5 pieces of boney chicken wings! Wouldn’t you?

So I got to order half a dozen of Garlic Parmesan wings with extra rice — byes, I doubted I’d be full after eating only wings — and was shookt to see:
1. Wings the size of my hand
2. Parmesan literally covering every inch of the wings
3. Butter! (Butter is life, tbh)

I’ve only been able to try 2 other wing joints and was never satisfied with what they offered. But Frankie’s was different. For less than P200 for half a dozen, you get quality wings + double the flavor. This changed how I perceive the wing industry. I’m starting to like wings now and see its purpose in this world, thanks to Frankie’s. Ya’ll gotta try this!

P.S. i thank my colleagues, Lorenz and Sam, for forcing Frankie’s into my system last night. They changed the wing game for me.

And since we’re talking about wings and flying, #loolooDroneGiveaway 🦅 128514 thank you for the FYI, Peanut D! 9996🏻 the Spark would be great for food flatlays... 128527

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Diamond Hotel

4.0 Stars
Hotel
7

I swear, I wouldnt think that the facade that Diamond Hotel has right now would have an interior like it does and a 5-star rating...

As the saying goes, "never judge a book by its cover" 128514 in fact, I would have given this a 5-star rating here too if it only weren't for the facade. As much as you would not want to judge it by its initial look, you cant help but consider it as a part of your rating because it's the first thing you will see!

Rooms - 1108811088110881108811088️ - super clean, well ventilated, boasts a beautiful view of Manila Bay and the buildings around it, has complimentary water, coffee, tea. Im a sucker for spacioud bathrooms so guess who the happy girl was -- ME! They're bathroom is huge, around 100-150 sqm! And super clean too! I fell in love, I swear 10084

Ambience - 1108811088110881108811088️ - your usual 5-star hotel ambience. You really would not think it belonged there

Staff - 1108811088110881108811088️ - super friendly and accommodating! We didnt have to go near them to ask for elevator access. Once they noticed us searching around with our eyes, they immediately asked if we needed anything. That is service i would definitely commend!

Food - 1108811088110881108811088️ - we were able to have our brunch there at the room floor lobby. Mind you, all the hotel floors have their own lobby/breakfast area so you don't have to go all the way down to the ground floor to avail of the buffet breakfast. Their food was good! Especially fhe breads. They also offer a wide array of dishes and all were really flavorful.

Location - 11088110881108811088️ - as stated earlier, you would never imagine seeing Diamond Hotel as a 5-star hotel. That's because of its stiff facade and location. It wasnt a big hotel located in the middle of the busy district of Pasay and with the booming hotel business in the area, you wouldnt notice it existed! Kinda wished they could've decorated it outside for Christmas.

Either way, pretty facade or not, I'll deffo go back. I might even treat my fam out to a small staycation here!

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Ilustrado

3.0 Stars
Filipino
5

I LOVE WEDDINGS. They make you feel all fuzzy and warm in the belly even if you don't even know the couple getting hitched-- yep, that's right. I just recently attended a wedding of 2 beautiful lovers whom I've never met.

The boyfriend insisted I become his plus one to his highschool friends' wedding. I've never met them before the actual wedding day since they all went to highschool together in a Filipino school in Saudi. Nonetheless, seeing two lovebirds tie the knot is a beautiful thing.

The reception is another thing. I also love receptions. Who doesnt? C'mon, free buffet anyone? HAHAHA

Kidding aside, Ilustrado is apparently, one of the most sought after reception venue for newlyweds. Being able to attend this one made me see why: Ilustrado has this beautiful rustic garden with an aisle covered with vines and lined with wooden furniture that will excite the hipster Instagram photographer in you. The garden is very thematic and dramatic, almost like some Spaniard's backyard. It felt like I was in Vigan at that time. Even the facade of the restaurant looked like one of those historical Spanish houses in Vigan.

Going there though is a tough one. It's located in a narrow alley in Intramuros and is kinda hard to find especially at night. It's facade is not located along the alley, rather it is tucked in between 2 other buildings. You'll know you've reached your destination only through the placard that says "Ilustrado" that is peeping throgh the 2 buildings.

Why only 3 stars? I wasn't happy with the food. They had dry pasta and only a small selection for the buffet. But I'm still giving them 3 stars because of the ambience and fee of the place. It's perfect as a post-wedding ceremony intimate get-together venue. 🦄

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Thunderbird Resorts

4.0 Stars
Hotel
9

HAPPY NEW YEAR, FAM! 127878 2016 has been one helluva roller coaster ride for all of us but it was surely not boring!

To back that up, my last few days of 2016 was spent in this lovely place. I guess ya'll heard of Thunderbird from travel blogs and word-of-mouth because of its resemblance to the beautiful land of Santorini, Greece. It has been my long time dream --- and im guessing everyone else's too! --- to actually visit Santorini but my wallet is telling me otherwise HAHAHA

This wonderful place by Thunderbird Resorts made me one step closer to my dream destination.

Last weekend was my second time to visit the resort. The first time was in 2013 when only the main lobby and part of the hotel and main infinity pool were accessible to the public. This year, they expanded almost threefold!

From Manila via TPLEX, we traveled 5-6 hours with a breakfast stopover to Poro Point, La Union. This was faster compared to our 7-hour drive 3 years ago when TPLEX was still under construction. Once we got to San Fernando, La Union, it was already lunch time so we decided to make a stopover to Halo Halo de Iloko (see previous review)

After lunch, we went straight to Poro Point. You will be greeted by a guardhouse -- with friendly smiling guards btw -- and a long road lined with bushes that had magenta flowers (much like this one: 127802) and Parisian-like lampposts that complemented the blues and whites that lined the horizon which gave that Santorini vibe. Driving uphill was so calming, it was a perfect sight to see after the long and exhausting drive from Manila.

Once in the lobby, you will be greeted by the friendly bellboys and blue lemonade welcome drinks as if the view wasnt spectacular enough 128514 The view from the lobby is unbelievable especially when the sun sets. Thunderbird welcomes you with the breathtaking view of the South China Sea horizon with the infinity pool below, all in shades of white and blue (and pink, purple and orange during sunset) A photo of it can already pass as a postcard, with love from Santorini!

Ambience: 110881108811088110881108811088️ -- yep, 6 stars. That's basically what you pay for!

Staff: 11088110881108811088️ -- accommodating and friendly but I really think they're understaffed. I guess they didnt expect the outrageous volume of guests during their NYE Countdown. During that time in the whole 2 hours, I only saw 5 staff moving around the Beach Club, all Haggardo Versoza!

Stay: 11088110881108811088️ -- complimentary welcome drinks, mineral bottled water in the room, the daily newspaper, access to all areas except for the private residences and usage of all amenities including the 2 pools, Beach Club, gym, etc., free breakfast for 4 all for the price of 10k per night. Kinda costly considering the travel time and lack of extreme/adventurous water activities (i guess that comes with being a millenial: vacations aren't "vacations" without the extremes like cliff diving, bungee jumping, hiking, etc. but i guess that's just us HAHAHA) but if you're there to experience a taste of the serene Santorini, it's worth it.

Activities: 11088110881108811088️ -- because even though they only offered Jet Skiing, banana boat riding and their version of the Flying Fish as the water sports, my mom was able to get 2 team building games free of charge for us to experience! (see photo of the action that took place) Each games will cost you 4k-5k depending on how much materials it will take to execute. But you may avail of the games even if you're not there for a team building activity.

Check out the photos I took of the place. It will describe Thunderbird Poro Point that words cannot.

PS they also have a 9-hole golf course. My dad, an avid golfer, says it's one of the prettiest he's been to but he prefers an 18-hole course. It's called The Cliffs because it's basically the top of the cliff with an outstanding view of both the resort and the sea in one panoramic viewpoint. 128149

PPS I know I shoudnt place this but just to make sure -- #UnicornGiveaway 🦄

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