Vela Terraces is a fairly new hotel/resort that opened before the end of 2016. According to the workers, "vela" means stairs; but to my knowledge (taking 4 years of Spanish), what it really means candle. *Please don't them that. They were all very nice.* hehehe
This lovely place stands at about three stories, and is accompanied by their restaurant Manggis, that I intend to write about very soon! The rooms, which ranges from ₱3000 to ₱4,200 (depending on the room type) are very immaculate and spacious, with all amenities working like a charm! Not bad for the prices listed, right?
From our arrival to our departure, all who have attended to us were very pleasant, funny, and very knowledgeable about where to go in Coron. With the team Vela Terraces has, it made our week's stay a very enjoyable one.
Salute to the manager and the team! Also they have the best buko pandan drink!
*hint* If you don't like climbing stairs, ask to be roomed in the first floor, if vacant. There are no elevators.
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Off the main road of Brgy. Capirispisan, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, lies a hill not many visitors know about--Marian Hill.
A few long steps to the top of Marian Hill, you'll be surrounded by two different terrains; the vast coastline of Capirispisan Beach, and the rice fields just a few hundred hundred meters adjacent off the shore. Both sites will have you gaze for hours on end in wonderment.
The sound of the waves crashing onto the shore, feeling the cool breeze, and being captivated by nature's beauty makes you free of any thoughts of any daily stressors, and makes you appreciate things we often overlook--like what I've captured in these photos. Existentialism at its finest!
If ever visiting this area, asking a resident of Brgy. Capirispisan would be advisable to locate Marian Hill since this is still off the beaten path.
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During my hiatus on looloo, I've been to many restaurants, taken myriads of photos, yet never had the time to recap my explorations because of my immersed school schedule. So now that I'm temporarily liberated from any responsibilities, I'm on a mission to reexplore those that I've forgotten to record on here for many of you to visit while in Baguio City before I head back west. First stop, Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna (LOGT).
In my opinion, LOGT is the second best restaurant in Baguio City, with Foggy Mountain Cookhouse being the first. I've been here many times since it had opened. This is another house-turned-restaurant specializing in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. LOGT is located in the center of Outlook Drive, where the closest eatery is about 300 meters away. It's sprawling and isolated area gives you a revitalized feeling after being in a crowded concrete jungle for so long.
LOGT is as authentic as it gets. I say this because the owner/chef of this establishment is himself, Greek.
I spoke to him while I waited for my orders. Conversing him this afternoon, while we each burn a cigarette, you can see the enthusiasm on his body language and hear the conviction of his voice on how much he is committed to the cause of serving nothing but the best. I genuinely admire that about chefs and restauranteurs.
Considering that I was hungry, I ordered myself a voluminous feast.
I began my meal with a Greek Salad (₱160). This salad cannot be challenged by any other restaurants in Baguio. After mixing the greens with the ample amount of feta cheese, and a very light coating of vinaigrette, you can see the freshness of the assortment of vegetables they put into the salad. The vegetables were crisp, and naturally sweet. The fresh Greek olives balanced the sweetness with its brackish taste. It has been a while since I've had Greek olives!
Next, was the Grilled Octopus (₱240). In my experience, cooking this mollusk is hard to master. It's cooking methods are very distinguishable as opposed to cooking squid. It's sublime to have someone who knows how to make this delicate dish. It's very well seasoned with Greek flavors. It's texture is firm, not rubbery (undercooked) nor mushy (overcooked) after it's been grilled. Just squeeze some lemon and add a little olive oil....beautiful!
For my main course, I had a Mixed Souvlaki (₱270). It contains seasoned grilled pork, beef, and lamb, topped with the chef's "secret" sauce, served with fresh pita, tzatziki, garlic, and chili dip. Everything was extraordinarily delicious. First off, the meats in the souvlaki were still succulent. I let the pita bread soak in all the juices before I started eating. You can distinguish from the tender pork, beef and especially the lamb each time you chew. The dips were phenomenal as well! After tasting the dips, off the bat, you know these sauces were not store bought. This is quality food in my book!
Of course I had to wash my meal down with something besides water. To finish off my delicious meal, I ended it with a Lemon Ginger Iced Tea (₱120). When I was receiving my tea, I saw from afar the large ginger root, lemon slices and lemongrass; I knew I was in for a treat. At first, it was bit too sweet for me. After I finished it halfway through, I added water that was given to me. It solved [that] minuscule problem! I technically had a glass and a half of the iced tea after adding the extra water!
LOGT is the place to be when it comes to authenticity. Whenever you're in Baguio, make this place one of the first restaurants to visit on your list!
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After the dinner at Kushikatsu Daruma. I met up with a couple folks from Baguio. With all the bars surrounding the Taguig area, we decided to go to Craft. Somehow we ended up sitting and ordering from the Scarlet Wine Lounge, which is literally right next door to Craft. I thought all throughout my stay, we were in Craft, until I read my receipt.
No regrets at all from our mistake.
* It's quiet
* No other customers outside but us
* Promo drinks!!
I first started my night cap with a shot of Jim Beam on the rocks (₱150). If you're a whisky drinker, or new to drinking whisky, this is one is good. It sweet, smooth and a nice bite, that you'll be able to tolerate, unlike most whiskeys.
While I was slowly sipping my poison, I was observing my surroundings and saw a flyer that read "Buy 1, Take 1" of any Johnny Walker cocktail for only ₱250; and so I ordered. You can't say no to that, can you? So what I chose was the Johnnie Ginger cocktail.
Johnnie Ginger is basically Johnny Walker Black mixed with ginger ale. It was a good choice for me, because ginger ale isn't too sweet. The mix of the two was a perfect match. And because it was that good, I got myself a second order.
It was a perfect ending for me after having hefty dinner with the looloo reviewers. Hopefully we all will be able to night cap together next time.
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The summer heat in Cabanatuan is no joke! Where my parents decided to build their retirement home is about 20-30 minutes away from civilization. Ocular survey fail.
Since reading Norman Lester T.'s review, I became intrigued by the Sunset Obsession drink. It was the colors that got to me, like how moths become magnetized by light. Luckily, this fairly new SM branch had Chatime.
It took me a while to decide which of the three Sunset Obsession drinks to order, because as stated many-a-times on my previous reviews, I'm not much for anything sweet. And because of the sweltering heat, I needed something cold and refreshing. So upon looking at the choices, I opted for the Grapefruit Sunset Tea (₱85), and Chocolate Mousse w/ Pudding (₱110) just in case the GST was too sweet for me.
Surprisingly, I was happy with the GST! It was as refreshing as I imagined it to be. The sweetness was just right. It surely saved me from having a heatstroke.
Since I had also ordered the Chocolate Mousse, I killed that drink as well. Similar to the GST, the sweetness was perfect. Maybe it was the ice melting which watered down the sweetness, or maybe it was the pudding. In any case, that was an awesome drink to beat the heat.
I encourage anyone that's trying to find a nice, affordable place to get away from the unforgiving summer, I implore you to try one, or all of Chatime's Sunset Obsession drinks! Norman Lester T., I'd totally give you credit for this!
The only reason why I gave this particular branch a 4/5 was because the service was very slow. There were 5 employees behind the counter, yet I had to wait 20 minutes for my orders to be fulfilled.
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Coming from Baguio the other night, I had to get a little something in my belly prior to the looloo rendezvoos since I hadn't eaten anything the entire day. What better quick fix than sashimi and a roll from Watami?!
Located on the 4th floor food court of Uptown, Watami brings to you an array of Japanese dishes suited for your stomach's needs.
Now, I didn't want to overindulge myself knowing I had a prior dinner with the reviewers, but I was extremely tempted to order more that what I did.
So as an appeteazer, I ordered 2, 7-piece Sake Sashimi (₱425), and a King Dragon Roll (₱355). It sounds like a meal more than an appetizer, I know.
I was really smitten with the Sake Sashimi. The freshness of it was witnessed by my tastebuds as it melted as soon as it reached the tip of my tongue. It was buttery sweet, and even more delicious as I lightly brushed lemon on top of the salmon and gave it a quick dip *bloop* on the wasabi and soy sauce mixture. As you can see from the lines on the salmon that it's farm bred, but it didn't hinder me from ordering a second helping. It was that good!
If you haven't tried their King Dragon Roll, I suggest for all to do so. It's a 6-piece roll topped with shrimp, salmon and tuna. What I enjoyed about this roll is that it's not overwhelmed with rice or the sauce they glazed over it. It had the perfect balance wherein you can taste all that the roll contains.
Japanese cuisine is all about balance. Even with my short experience in Watami, I was done right by them.
Did I mention their service was top notch? If I haven't, well, now I have!
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Last night, I, again was honored to join some of the reviewers for another looloo rendezvoos at Kushikatsu Daruma sponsored by Mr. Charlie Paw & the good folks of Tasteless Group. I was taken aback to find that there's more goodness aside from the everyday Japanese restaurants we frequent.
I'm not knowledgeable when it comes to Japanese cuisine. Like many, I enjoy a good sashimi, nigiri, rolls, gyoza, ramen, and katsu. Never in a million years would I ever thought there was anything more to that until I was introduced to kushikatsu.
Some may ask what kushikatsu is. According to tsunagujapan.com, "kushikatasu is a dish of meat or vegetables that has been cut in mouthful portions, skewered, battered and deep fried. Kushikatsu is said to have originated from Shinsekai in Osaka."
Also, according to the same site, "When eating kushikatsu, you dip it in a sauce. While it isn’t necessarily the case in all kushikatsu restaurants in Osaka, the sauce is usually shared between the customers, so for hygienic reasons, you aren’t supposed to dip kushikatsu that you have put in your mouth into the sauce. This is a rule you have to abide by." In other words; NO DOUBLE DIPPING!!!
Throughout our adventure here, I was introduced to a smorgasbord of delicious deep fried kushikatsu that will surely make your heart stop; metaphorically and literally once you take a bite into one, two, twenty, or even more of these delectable skewers. 🙃🙃🙃
Though breaded the same way, and each being perfectly deep fried in the same beef lard (yes, beef lard), each kushikatsu delivers its own distinct flavor without having to guess what you're eating. That's what I enjoyed the most about this place.
With all that I've tried, and with all I believe were sinfully delicious, the following kushikatu stood out for me, which I hope many of you should try as well.
*Foie Gras (not yet on the menu, but can be ordered)
*Chicken with Garlic
*Classic Kushikatsu (beef)
*Suntory High Ball (a refreshing Japanese Whiskey with lemon)
This by far was the most excited I had become in eating fried food. Each lush skewer tasted fresh, and light. If I hadn't asked what oil was used to deep fry these flavorsome meats and veggies, I wouldn't have stopped eating and would have just died and gone to kishitasu heaven!
Many [many] thank you's again to looloo, Mr. Charlie Paw, and for those whom I've met for the first time on making this happen.
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Naruto Japanese Restaurant (NJR) is a fairly new place that opened towards the end of 2016. By the name itself, there's no need to guess what kind of cuisine this place serves.
NJR, unlike most Japanese restaurants in Baguio City differs. Interior-wise, it has a nice close-to a Japanese feel; nice sturdy wooden tables, some walls resembling shōji (Japanese doors), and even the workers dressing in Japanese restaurant attire.
Menu-wise, I believe it lacks the authenticity that NJR aims for. It's missing an element of having a great Japanese restaurant--sashimi. Yes, bento boxes, tempura, and ramen are sold, but to not have sashimi is like not selling popcorn at the movies. You have to sell popcorn!
This afternoon, I ordered a Crispy Kani Salad (₱128), Salmon Belly Yaki (₱258), and a Dynamite Roll (₱188).
The Crispy Kani Salad was delicious! It came with balanced portions of lettuce, kani, alfalfa sprouts, Japanese mayo, ripe mango, corn, and ginger sauce that didn't drench the salad. Another balance that it had was the taste. In each bite, you get a very good mix of sweetness, saltiness, and tanginess that for will definitely keep you salivating and wanting more. It was light, refreshing, and it was just enough for me to finish the rest of my orders.
The Salmon Belly Yaki was the best of the three items that I ordered. It was seasoned, and grilled (but I'm sure it wash pan seared) perfectly. Once you get to the belly portion of the salmon--butter!! Just add a smidge of lemon, and this dish will come to a full circle. No soy needed for this!
At the end, I felt I was a bit cheated when it came down to my Dynamite Roll. I guess, I was spoiled from other restaurants that presented this particular roll with more appeal. As shown on the photo, the roll itself lacked that "umph". In other places, most Dynamite Rolls are covered with uni sauce, Japanese mayo, tempura flakes, green onions, and ebiko. Also the filling used in the traditional Dynamite Roll is spicy tuna. The chili powder they used to spice up the roll didn't have a kick, nor had a hint of heat. But was the roll good? I'd say it was mediocre.
Please don't let this review deter you from trying out this place. I did enjoy what I've ordered thus far, being that it's only been my first visit. If I were to have a craving on Japanese food without having to break my wallet, I most certainly would come back here for a quick fix. No question!
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This was my last stop before I headed back to Baguio. I believe this was my 8th, and final restaurant of my Manila foodventure.
I traveled all the way back north to QC to have a late dinner with relatives at Muang Thai. In all honesty, I couldn't take another bite. But as the soon as the smell of our orders came in, I was rejuvenated to eat once more for the road!
Our orders were:
Muang Thai Fried Rice: This house fried rice is their best seller. It had the perfect blend of meat and seafood. I savored this rice, because it wasn't oily at all. I had myself seconds and thirds. hehehe
Stir Fried Broccoli with Beef: What's an Asian restaurant with broccoli and beef?! Can't go wrong with this one! The beef was tender, the broccoli still had its crispness, and the sauce was ever so delicious!
Crispy Catfish Salad: Cripy flakes of catfish was awesome! The saltiness of the catfish with the sour & sweetness of the mangoes played well together. This is a must try!
Spicy Mixed Seafood Soup: Pretty much, this Tom Yum! It had the sourness, a nice kick from the peppers, and well cooked seafood Tom Yum should have. The authenticity was shown on this soup when I saw the fresh lime leaves used to make it sour. 🙃🙃🙃
Chicken in Pandan Leaves: I loved how tender and plump the chicken was. It had the right amount of saltiness and sweetness that went well with the fried rice.
Sticky Rice with Ripe Mango: This was the pièce de résistance of the entire meal. This not so overly sweet dessert was very vitalizing. The delectable balance of 3 different kinds of sweetness gave me the energy I needed to head home.
Muang Thai is a special restaurant. Location wise, it's not somewhere where most would visit, but I assure the ambiance and the food will make up for it.
Muang Thai is the place to be.
That was all for my foodventue in Manila that day! I hope to have at least one, or two more before I head back overseas.
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Stop #7. It was already 5PM, and I'd been eating for 12 hours straight. Did I have enough room to eat more? Oh, yes I did! More so, because--steak! 🙃🙃🙃
As aforementioned, I'm a steak guy. I enjoy premium cuts, like; porterhouse, New York strip, t-bone, rib-eye, fillet mignon, and even skirt. It doesn't matter whether it came from the U.S., Australia, or Japan. Just as long as cooked medium rare, and seasoned just right, I'll be a happy camper. I'm an equal opportunity steakaterian.
To my dismay, I have to rate this a 2 out of 5. I know some may beg to differ, but I believe what score I gave is just.
I availed of H&G's "Wagyu-All-You-Can" promotion (899). If you look at their advertisement on Facebook, you see a NY cut. Disappointingly, we were served with flank. If you're not familiar with flank, flank is the cut between the hip and rib. It's purely muscle with very minimal fat. This leaves for a dry and tasteless piece of meat, which I experienced at H&G. The plus that I received from the steak was that it was soft, as wagyu should be, but the rest wasn't up to par as I hoped it would be. Knowing that flank has a bland taste, even if seasoning it with salt, pepper, and rosemary, maybe they could have marinated it overnight to liven it up.
Maybe they were all out of the cut that was shown on their advertisement?
Well, I had to make lemonade out of the lemon thrown to me. With BBQ, and Worcestershire sauce, it made the steak not-so bad. Their mushroom soup wasn't bad either.
Would I avail of their promotion again? I'm sorry, but no. Would I come back to try their other steaks? Yes! They have other things on the menu that sounds delicious.
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