Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cebu Trip - December 2011 PART 3

I honestly appreciated the fact that the Hub knows how I like going to churches, especially historic ones, so I as pleasantly surprised when he said we'll be going to the Basilica Del Sto. Nino :)

Even with the hundreds of people, you can still feel how solemn it is, especially inside the church.

With Sinulog just a few weeks away, you can't help but feel the excitement building up within you :)

Just imagine, with the thousands of people coming here every time, epecially for Sinulog, they have an outdoor altar bigger than a basketball court.

At the back of the church courtyard, there stands Magellan's Cross.

There were ladies/devotees there you can buy candles from and will be praying for you and your loved ones :)

We went to Fort San Pedro (Fuerza de San Pedro) next and it is very much similar to Manila's Fort Santiago.  Don't you just love walking back into time, albeit temporarily?

(Entrance to the Fort, from

(What the Fort may have originally looked like in 1565, photo from

As usual, all that walking made us hungry for some Cebu lechon, we went to CNT the previous day this as well as the following day, only to find out that they run out of lechon real early!  After researching some more, we decided to try out Zubuchon, which, acoording to accalimed food critic and host of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain (whom I follow on Twitter too) is the best roast pig he has ever had.

Zubuchon is owned by's Market Man, and if you want a 'healthier' lechon, this is your pig.  We went to the Zubuchon branch in Mango Avenue.  Very clean reastaurant, nice interiors, makes you feel good in the wonderful Cebu heat.  Not much of a lechon fan though, but I must say it was really good!  But the best part of our meal, for me, was the dinuguan!  We were told it had coconut milk, which really made the difference.  This was perhaps the best dinuguan I have had thus far!  Every item on the menu had a little bit of lechon in it, even the pumpkin soup, which you can really taste.  And unfortunately, all the bits of lechon, you can also 'feel' LOL!  I felt very light-headed an hour after our meal heeheehee, good thing we went to the gym the night before :)

Check them out:

Going back home to Manila the next day, we decided to bring home some more lechon for New Year's Eve dinner that night, as well as a couple of frozen dinuguan.  They also have a branch at the airport.

Oh, before ending this post, you might ask, did we ever try the Sky Rides and the Edge Coasters\ at our hotel?  We decided to finally go on the night before we went home...but it was raining! :P

Maybe on our next trip we will!!

Cebu Trip - December 2011 PART 2

The room was quite big, it was like a two bedroom condominium unit, with one bath.  Had a kitchenette and a spacious receving area.  We had more than enough space for our stuff.

Dinner for the first night was at the hotel.  Now mind you, this place has a load of restaurants which you can choose from: plus a Starbucks at the ground floor :)  So up we went to the top floor, where they had the newly opened Fifties Cafe.  Served comfort food (similar ro Grams Diner) rather than your usual Cebuano fare.  Had stages at both the air-conditioned area and at the open area for those who like dining and drinking alfresco.  The restaurant, though new, has a bit of a nostalgic feel with all the old memorabilia hung on the walls as decor.  (I know, I know, where are the photos?! Will take more for future posts, promise!)

Back in the room however, and settling down for the night, my allergies started acting up.  The hotel did not have a baby crib too, so we decided to put the mattress on the floor, and requested for a smaller mattress for S, hence all of us slept camp-out style.  On the verge of an asthma/allergy attack,quickly took Claritin and decided to look out the floor to ceiling window.  Wasn't so surprised when I touched what seemed to be white 'dust' on the drapes, seemed to me that they were construction (cement :( ) dust which presumable traveled throught the centralized A/C ducts.  Requested for a thorough cleaning the following day.  Better conditions, but still not the best for someone with allergies like myself.

The following day was BEACH day and was A excited!  Day trips at the Shang were fully booked, and we needed a bit more convincing (by ourselves!) to go to Plantation Bay.  Late into the night we searched for other possible hotels with day trip rates and we stumbled upon Be Resorts Mactan , formerly the Microtel Suites also along Punta Engano Road. 

Rates were at P 500 per adult and P 300 for children 4 and above.  What a treat!  Smaller, more private than the bigger hotels, so we decided that night to go here instead, but not before having lunch at Sutokil.

This is a view from the back of the restaurant, and if you love Dampa here in Manila, you will definitely love Sutokil.  Fresh, live seafood and you can have them cooked whichever way you want.  And the prices! At the rate the Hub and I eat, plus 2 more adults, it didn't do much damage to the wallet as you would expect.

Then finally the beach!

(Photo from

Can't believe I forgot to take a lot of pictures, was really busy taking care of the kiddies :)

And that caps our first full day in Cebu.  Day 2 adventure next!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cebu Trip - December 2011

The brood traveled to Cebu last December as our post anniversary, post Christmas, and pre New Year vacation.  A family friend gifted us with a certficate for a three night stay for two rooms at the Crown Regency Towers in Osmena Blvd.

"Situated in Cebu, Crown Regency Hotel and Towers is close to Robinsons Plaza, Magellan's Cross, and Casa Gorordo Museum. Also nearby are Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and Ayala Center" - From (made a review there too!)

(Photo from

This was S's first trip so we were really excited, albeit a bit apprehensive.  We already knew she was more rambunctious than A but hey, it was just an hour on the plane :)  We packed a LOT for this trip.  A good number of clothes, swimwear, cloth diapers (which we use for their backs when they sweat), our own electric kettle, nebulizer, rubber shoes (we didn't want to just eat and eat and not work out), and the usual toiletries.

For this trip, we had reinforcement, we brought their Ate J with us.  We figured we needed the extra help lugging our things around and to keep the kids busy should the Hub and I decide to explore the city on our own.

We took PAL again, and if not for the snobbish, foreign looking male FA, the plane ride was great.

The hotel had two towers which had 38 floors, and our booking was originally at Tower 1.  We, as usual, requested for non-smoking rooms, and connecting or adjacent if possible.  Worst case would be separate rooms on the same floor.  Upon check in however, they had none of the above listed requests, but do note though that this was toward the end of December and a lot of people were on vacation. 

Upon reading the voucher, we discovered that the original, original booking was for a two bedroom suite, now won't that be sweet?! So we asked if they had an available suite instead, they said yes!  We'd have to check in at the 19/F floor of Tower 2. 

A number of elevator rides later, we were at the 19/F to get our room, which unfortunately won't be ready for another hour!  We didn't mind since we figured we requested for the change in room types.  An hour passed and they said, not for another 30 minutes :(  They did however, gave us free use of the massage chair room for free.  This room overlooking the river had about 20 chairs and they charged about P 100 or P 200 per hour, if I'm not mistaken.

Finally, keys to our room on the 17/F was given and we heaved a sigh of relief.

Room conditions and our adventures next...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Comfort Food - Pho Hoa Seafood Bowl

Been feeling under the weather since we got back from SG, and finally yesterday, my voice conked out.

Was craving for some warm soup for my throat, so for lunch today, A and I trekked to our default lunch and dinner place, Capitol Golf. There used to be a Dencio's here too, they allegedly burned it (speculation hehehe), never to be seen again.

Posting this from my phone so the photos will come one after the other.

For today I had the Seafood Pho, with a good amount of Sriracha chili sauce, soooo good!! Had a fit of hacking cough after though but bleh, been coughing the whole day anyway.

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Noodle House
Capitol Green St., Brgy. Matandang Balara
Quezon City, Metro Manila
(02) 351-2375

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chocolate Kiss at UP Diliman

My family loves Chocolate Kiss. Discovered this restaurant waaay back in college, brought my parents once and they were hooked. It was our regular server, Rolan, who reminded us that we've been dining there for over 10 years.

Think I've tried almost all their stuff, especially their cakes. Their iced tea is freshly steeped and you just add syrup depending oh how sweet you want it to be. Here are our regulars:

Pop - Gamberi (Spicy shrimp pasta)
Mom - Puttanesca
Sis - Gamberi (We miss her and Brian!)
Bro - Everything
Hub - Chicken ala Kiev
Me - Everything

But tonight I had this:

Beef Lasagne!

Check them out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Boracay 2012

My brother in law got married last January 6, 2012, so the whole family was here in Manila.  Everytime my sisters in law are here, my mom in law makes sure we go out of town to relax.  Before the newlyweds went on their El Nido honeymoon, we all boarded a wee plane and headed to Boracay.

Our hotel, Boracay Regency, had complimentary shuttles and speed boat transfers from the airport to the island.  It took us just about 20 minutes to reach Regency.

The hotel may be old and a bit outdated, but you can still see bits of its former glory.

We had a family room, which was really a big place with two separate rooms.  A hallway with the bath located at the middle separated both rooms.

We got a crib for our Shobe and I tried to keep her busy while Hub and Achi made sandcastles and I organized our room to prepare S for her nap.

MIL got us the full package, so we had buffet meals from breakfast till dinner.  Food selection was ok, and food was good, I especially liked the roast beef and mashed potatoes.

The hotel was right smack in the middle of Station 2, so everything was pretty much accessible.  Our rooms were located near the front so walking to the shore won't even take a minute, and we had our own pool right outside!

Being a bit of an OC mama, I would always bring with us our own electric kettle since S likes her milk warm.  Don't really trust the hotel rooms' kettles, not sure how often they get cleaned, regardless of which hotel you're staying at.  I also make sure I wash all utensils before we actually use them, can't be so sure.

Wasn't able to take a lot of photos but here's one of the cousins, A, S, E having a great time on the sand.

With the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people on the island each day, Boracay will always be Boracay.  The nicest, softest, coolest white sand beach your feet will ever feel :)

Lunch at Cerchio


Having lived in QC my whole life, and working in the Timog-Morato area since 2007, I've only recently discovered hidden restaurants that, in my opinion, will rival the fancy ones in Makati and at the Fort.

Take Cerchio for example (pronounced as tser-ki-yo).  Thanks to my bestfriend T, we've explored the area and now have our favorite haunts.

Nice interiors, ample parking (during lunch at least), and sooo near the office.

Service is always great, and so far we haven't ordered anything sub par.  Food here is Asian fusion, so you won't get stuck with only Filipino food (those who know me will get this hehehe).

It's at Sct. Limbaga St., QC.
(+63 2) 355-0998, (+63 2) 351-5279

Singapore 2012 PART 3

(Photo by the Hub)

We were able to visit the pool I have wanted to swim at for the longest time (after reading in Yahoo Travel that it IS one of the world's prettiest hotel pools  It's on the top floor of the hotel, was drizzling a bit that morning so I just decided to walk around with Shobe while Hub and Achi went for a swim.  The view was marvelous, service was once again exceptional. 

However, since we were not booked on a Club floor, the breakfast buffet was exclusive for Club floor guests only, boohoo.  The other restaurant was already closed, preparing for the lunch fare.  Our girls opted for their Champola as their breakfast.

Lunch was at the Rasapura Masters, a food court of some sort, with culinary delights from all over the world. 

(Photo from

We had traditional Singaporean and Thai food, you will actually have a difficult time deciding as there so so many options!  I again had some Hainanese Chicken Rice and Char Kway Teow for the Hub.  Both were great!

3PM already hence not so much time to visit the Zoo which was outside city limits, we decided to go to Sentosa instead.

We got the Noon Pass, you pay for 4 out of the 15 attractions, which you have to to finish by 7PM.  The kids had a blast at the Tiger Sky Tower, The Cable Car ride, and The Butterfly Park.  Tried to watch a 4D movie and heehee they got scared!  Only the Hub stayed inside to finish the 20 minute pirate movie.

(Photo taken by A, she has a great eye)

Pooped from all thte fun they had at Sentosa, Achi fell asleep in the cab at 7PM and stayed asleep until about 930PM.

The flight going back home was ok as both girls were sleeping. 

Thank you my dear Hub for the wonderful birthday and V-day trip!  Till our next adventure!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Singapore 2012 PART 2

We headed back to the lobby, and with two kids in strollers, the elevators were a great help. This was already about 2PM and there was a long queue at the counters since majority of the guests were already coming in. Was in line for a good 10 minutes and when I finally reached the desk, the lady said that our room was in Tower 3! To make up for this slight inconvenience, the lady offerred us a late check out of 1PM (regular check out is at 11AM). Trudging back to Tower 3 makes you feel like you are in a train station, that's how long and massive the lobby is, similar to the grand hotel lobbies in Vegas.

Luckily, it was our original front desk guy who handled us again at Tower 3, but he said our room won't be ready for another 30 minutes! Still being polite, I told him about our minor confusion. He apologized and looked flustered while looking for a room. Having worked at the front desk of one of the best hotels in Manila, I know how he must have felt. It's not actually his job of getting the room ready, that's why you have Room Controllers people!! For a hotel as massive a the MBS, your rooms controllers must be on their toes. Have read various reviews that even at 6PM, confirmed guests are made to wait for over 3 hours for a room, not so good.

The heavens must have heard my silent prayers because just after about three minutes, he was able to give us the keys to our new room...on the 37th floor :D Our original room was located at either the 13th or 14th floor so this was quite a nice surprise for us.

And this was what officially welcomed us to Singapore...

A wonderful view of the Marina Reservoir, our room also had a mini balcony to boot! Sight of the ships and planes landing and kite flying were just plain wonderful for Achi and Shobe.

Too tired to eat out, we went back to the hotel after an hour at Suntec City. We had room service instead and once again, MBS did not disappoint.

The Hainanese Chicken was one of the best we've had, with enough rice and soup for the kids too. But being the dessert freak that I am, couldn't get the cupcakes I saw at a cafe called High Society at The Shoppes out of my mind! I hurriedly went to the mall and these babies were waiting for me...

Got the chocolate-hazelnut and the pistaschio raspberry. They were good cupcakes, but not great, and like everything else in Singapore, these weren't cheap at SG$ 6 a pop :)

The pool on the 57th floor and our afternoon at Sentosa next...

Singapore 2012 PART 1

February has always been MY month.  Love the fact that my birthday and Valentine's Day are a few days away, love that I get double goodies from the Hub :)

For this year, we decided (last minute!) to go to Singapore for the weekend.  The trip was originally intended for just us, and we tried to get an online promotion with PAL.  Booking the trip did not go as smoothly as it usually does (another story), so Lolo and Lola decided to sponsor our babies', ages 4 and 1, tickets as their birthday gift.  So off our little family went to the Little Red Dot.  Be reminded though, that PAL tickets purchased online does not include the travel tax yet.  Make sure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare for settling this account at a separate counter.

We recently discovered 'overnight' parking at designated areas at the airport; this saves you the hassle of having someone drop you off and pick you up on arrival.

Our luggage composed of one big piece for all our clothes, milk, nappies, and nebulizer (can't risk travelling without this).  We had their baby backpack as carry on, plus two strollers.  Airline personnel will collect the strollers from you before boarding, and you'll be able to claim this along with your luggage (imagine how filthy it becomes hehehe).

Make sure you bring your stuff to keep your kids busy during the flight.  Honestly, we thought that the three hour early morning flight would be a breeze, boy were we mistaken!  Our Shobe woke up an hour into the flight.  We just tried to keep her busy with our gadgets, plane magazines, and food.  Good thing our Achi was asleep for the entire flight.

Changi Airport, was at its usual clean and organized glory.  Going through immigration was no problem at all.  Then we were off looking for the hotel's airport shuttle, which had trips to and from the airport every 30 minutes.  Just couldn't wait to get to the hotel!

(Photo from

My dear Hub booked us at the Marina Bay Sands, and this, for me, was a super TREAT.  He knows how much I love nice hotels, and that I would rather stay at the hotel than going on tours or shop. 
MBS has three towers and we were booked at Tower 3.  Check in time was 3PM, and it being only 1130AM, we expected that no room would be ready for us yet.  Our front desk guy said he'd be able to get us in by 2PM (yay!) and we could just go directly to Tower 1 where he found us a room.

By this time, the kids were both getting uneasy and already asking for milk, but we wanted them to have lunch first.  Great thing that the hotel mall, The Shoppes, had Din Tai Fung!

(Photo from

DTF is a Michelin-starred Taiwanese restaurant with supposedly really good Xiao Long Bao (steamed pork dumplings with soup inside the dumpling).  Have been on sort of a quest for the best xiao long baos, and these take the number 1 spot thus far!  You eat them with Chinese black vinegar hmmm yum.

(Photo from

We also had some yangchow and porkchops, which were both just ok.  The kids loved their dumpling soup as well.  Too hungry to take photos first, we'll take more photos soon!!

Next up, finally checking in to our room...

Family Travel Journal

This is my first blogging attempt.  The hub and I thought it would be nice to write about our family trips and though we're no experts on family travels, this might help our fellow little families out there and maybe you can share your experiences too! Happy reading!