Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's More Fun in the Philippines: Coron, Palawan

Sun, sand, and sea.

As a Tourism student in the University of the Philippines, I was able to visit quite a number of destinations all over the archipelago, each having its own distinct character. Coron doesn't only have sparkling white sand beaches to hang out in. We barely had time to rest because there's just so much to do that you wouldn't want to miss out on! We went snorkelling, explored different islands, lakes, and springs, trekking, mountain climbing, and doing things kids do when lost in paradise!

If you're a budget traveler, you can find cheap accommodations that offer tours along with your stay. I have no complaints about the food, scenery, activities, and people. They could work on better crowd management and maintenance of facilities, but overall, you get great value for money. Try everything they offer, it'll be worth it! 

Here are some photos I took during our field trip to Coron last year:

Breathtaking view while mountain climbing

Reached Mt. Tapyas! The trail is steep, it's as if someone literally sliced a part of the mountain with a knife.
View from the top
Twin Lakes. Sometimes it's cold, and the next minute, the water feels warm.

The Barracuda Lake. Yes, a giant barracuda actually lives here, and attracts divers all over the world.
The food in Palawan is amazingly delicious and cheap!

Do yourself a favor and visit Subasco Bar. Don't ask, just do it! ;)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Reach for the Starr's! Loving Starr's Famous Shakes :)

There's nothing like sugar rush on bright mornings. Good thing we found this newly-opened great shake place at Katipunan last week after our visit to Studio Zen (read about my salon review here). They sell yummy shakes and smoothies that are so thick and creamy! You can mix and match your favorites from their wide variety of flavor options. 
I love the colors!
Here's one more thing to love their shakes - they're basically guilt-free!
 You'll notice different pop art portraits of celebrities drinking Starr's shakes on the walls. They're stars drinking Starr's. Get ittt? Pretty clever, if you ask me!

A closer look at the choices and their prices
We ordered a strawberry smoothie and caramel and cookie dough milkshake. Divine combination. I love the sweetness of the strawberry and the sweet-salty cookie dough flavor. Both were dangerously THICK, as promised.

Photo op before leaving
Visit them at: 41 E Abada st. corner R.Alvero,Xavierville Katipunan, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines

Have you tried out Starr's Famous Shakes? What's your favorite flavor? 

Getting some TLC at Studio Zen

I don't regularly go to salons, but when I do, I make sure that it's going to be worth it! Every now and then, I enjoy getting a new haircut, hair treatment, or a mani pedi with my mom. Last Sunday was one of the days we decided to stop by a salon for some quick pampering. We went to Studio Zen Katipunan for the first time.
I love the minimalist design. White walls and floors are good to have in a salon so you know it's well-maintained

My mom got a pedicure and foot spa, I got a manicure and pedicure, and my dad got a haircut. The services offer great value for money. The people are friendly and don't force treatments and products on you - that's one of the things that turns me off when I go to some salons where you'll be forced to buy whatever product they're insisting on you just so they'd shut up. Haha! Anyway, I was pleased to have a relaxing time enjoying a conversation with my mom while my nails get a makeover. 
Manicure/Pedicure corner

I had my fingernails done with Opi in Samoan Island and Orly in Bon Bon for my toenails. I had to keep my fingers tamed for work, but I decided not to match them with my toes just for the heck of it! 

With our fab manicuristas! 

Studio Zen is known for being a Complete Care Salon, with various services you can avail regularly. Visit their branches to find out more about their famous Unli Services. You can avail of unlimited hair, nails, and massage services for amazingly affordable monthy/ weekly rates! Thanks Aaron (Studio Zen's owner) and Jowie (Studio Zen's Marketing Officer), for the relaxing treat! 
Visit their branches:
- #325 Katipunan Ave. (in front of Ateneo above BPI and KFC building), QC
- 2F Kopi Roti Bldg., Tomas Morato Ave.
Learn more about Studio Zen on their FB Page.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Going Nuts with Fruitti Nutti

It isn't always easy to find healthy meals when you're on the go, but stacking up on protein and fiber-rich fruits and nuts are great snack options to keep your diet healthy. Fruitti Nutti is a newly-opened retail store specializing in the supply of U.S.-origin nuts and fried fruits, owned by Ms. Elaine Gatchalian. Click this link for my full feature on these healthy and delicious treats on Manila Foodistas.

Here's a little preview of their product offerings:

Makes you want to grab some from your screen, right?

Fruitti Nutti loot!

Fruitti Nutti is located at Unit 7, 8 Jade Bldg., Santolan Rd., Greenhills, San Juan City. For more information, you can contact Ms. Elaine Gatchalian through these numbers: 975 9689 / 0917 537 2361 or send an email to

 Happy healthy munching!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's More Fun in the Philippines: Batanes

I am feeling a bit nostalgic today because tomorrow is the first day of classes in UP and I am left without any classes to study in advance for nor friends and field trips to look forward to. Thus, I opened my laptop and browsed through some photos. Now, I'd like to share with you one of the best field trips I've had in college. I went on a filed trip to Batanes last March 2011 with my classmates from the UP Asian Institute of Tourism. Batanes, the northernmost province in the Philippines, is what they call heaven on Earth with its lush landscapes and unspoiled environment. Our trip there made me realize how heavily endowed the Philippines is of natural beauty. The breathtaking scenery, the kind people (Batanes is practically crime-free!), and the good food, all make up for a fun and relaxing getaway. I'll let the photos do most of the talking from here. 

Fields in Basco makes one want to belt out The Sound of Music tunes!
Valugan Beach
Lying on grass: one of life's simple pleasures
Marlboro Country
One cannot help but snap photos of every astonishing sight
Fundacion Pacita sits on a hill in Basco
Fundaction Pacita was once the studio of artist, Pacita Abad. It was rebuilt into a lodge, with each room resembling a gallery. It is now the premier accommodation establishment in Batanes, with exclusivity and comfort unparalleled by other inns and lodges there.

Staiway leading to a better view of the ocean
I love this photo of my friends

The wind is strong and cold, but you can ditch your thick jackets for an experience you won't get in the city!

Visit the famous lighthouse in Basco and go for a stroll on the beach (Sorry, I forgot what the name of this beach is).

The typical food choices in Batanes include fish, carabao meat, yellow rice, seaweed soup, and of course,  veggies! 

This is how you get around the mountains. It's more fun on the top load! 

We also visited the famous honesty coffee shop. It was not manned by anyone, there are just rules on the walls and a price list on the table.
Would you dare to steal with this plastered in front of you?

The children of the villagers are timid and polite.
A tourist-y shot before leaving the traditional stone houses

I wish I could go back there with my family. Have you visited Batanes or any similar place, too? Share your travel experiences or leave a link to your blog! :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Meat of the Matter: Brickfire Oven - Roasted Steaks and Chops

This is a cross post of my blog entry at Manila Foodistas. Thanks to my friend Therese for showing me how! :)) 

Where else can you find brick oven - cooked steak served with delectable sidings, all for an affordable price?  You don't need to travel far, because there's a new place in town that offers diners a casual, cozy environment to indulge in your favorite comfort food. 

It was an idea that came out of the blue while owners Aaron Macalinao and Tadi Diaz were biking in Sierra Madre. They both shared a love for steaks, and given that Aaron already owns a meat shop (yes, he proudly calls himself a butcher!), and Tadi, an experienced chef, the partnership was a match made in meaty heaven. They opened their steakhouse last April 21, 2012, and has been making quite a buzz with students and families frequenting the restaurant. Located just behind the dynamic Katipunan food strip, Brickfire is the place to go for satisfying your carnivorous cravings! I was lucky enough to try out their best-sellers, and I went all gangsta on the meat!

This is the scene right after a packed lunch hour. There are still some customers taking their time to savor the goodness!
The house specialties are fork-tender steaks and chops, but there's something for everyone here. You can order their Baked Fish, Pasta, Tofu Tempura, and Los Indios, a different take on the adobo. Take a look at their wide range of choices:
The menu
If reading the menu isn't mouth-watering enough, check these out. My photos aren't doing these dishes justice! You must try them out for yourself.  

Cowgirl Annie
This T-bone steak is marinated in a special sauce (you can choose from original or honey-mustard) and is tender as can be. Some of the T-bone steaks I've tried are so easy to finish because they've been cut so thinly. I couldn't get enough of this one, but I had to make room for the rest!

The Duke
This premium tenderloin is a juicy slice of heaven, bathed in Brickfire's homemade gravy and eaten alongside the mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes may seem innocent enough, but once you bite into the delightful chunks inside, you'll realize you might need extra rice with this one. 

Los Indios
Los Indios is an adobo experience I haven't had in a long time. Remember going out on family picnics and unraveling delicious Filipino delicacies wrapped in banana leaves? This take on the adobo is special because the meat so gracefully shared its juices with the rice, making it all the more flavorful. You can choose from pork, chicken, spicy, or sisig.

Tofu Tempura
Not in the mood for meat? You can try their Tofu Tempura. Not too dry, and not too soft as well. The crunch is balanced out by the creamy sauce. Great for sharing!

Brickfire's Marketing Officer Ms. Jowie Maulawin, Me, and founders Mr. Aaron Macalinao, and Mr. Tadi Diaz
It was really a great experience for my taste buds. Chatting with Aaron, Tadi, and Jowie made my experience all the more special. I can't wait to go back! :)

Brickfire is located at:
2/F Xavier Residence Building, E. Abada corner R. Alvero St., Loyola Heights, QC
Contact numbers:
(02) 4262254
Operating Hours: 6AM - 10:45PM

Visit their facebook page for more details and get updated with their promotions.