Aaaaand I'm back!

After practically a year-long hiatus from the blogging world - and an even longer hibernation from blogger events - I decided to finally come out of my cave and mingle with people. Ah, the life of a work from home mom. Haha!

I'm going to make this blog post short, because I have to get back to work right away... plus the little one is waiting for me to leave my laptop. So without further ado, here's my first food crawl for 2018:

SM Masinag Food Court Food Crawl

When people say "food court", what normally comes to mind is "just okay", sometimes blah, often unexciting food. Usually not instagrammable either. Well, the tenants at SM Masinag's food court sought to change that mindset, and I have to admit, my mind was changed.

We were served different "entrees" from eight different tenants - yes, eight. Burp. Here you go, and you're welcome:

1. Tropa-Res


UL - Kare-Kare; UR - Tapsilog; LL - Pork Ribs w/ Rice; LR - Beef Pares
Chef Carlo Gamboa presented Tropa-res' plates to us. They pride themselves in providing good quality beef - the kind that's not fatty or 'ma-litid'. I had a small sample of everything they served and I have to agree. The beef was tender, the kare-kare was tasty even without 'bagoong' (I'm allergic to 'bagoong'), and the presentation was actually pretty good. Not the typical, old-fashioned food court look.

And their tapsilog? It includes grilled tomato with pesto cheese, and the egg is scrambled with butter. Definitely not your typical food court quality from the olden days.

2. Chica's


UR - Bagnet with Chicharon Bulaklak; LL - Sisig with Chicharon Bulaklak; LR - Tokwa with Chicharon Bulaklak
Mr. Symon Siman, owner of Chica's, presented their 'butok-batok' fare to us.

I don't really eat pork anymore, but to be fair to everyone, I had a taste of what Chica's had to offer. Everything was actually quite tasty, and most especially, crunchy. Pretty good if you're looking for that putok-batok experience. What I loved actually was the tofu in the Tokwa with Chicharon Bulaklak. It was crunchy on the outside, and cooked just right and firm on the inside. (Failed attempt at trying to stick to eating healthy. Haha!)

If you're looking to balance out your meal from Chica's, they also offer Kare-Kare, Ensaladang Talong, and Garlic Kangkong.

3. InasaLaing




I never really paid much mind to the inasal kind of chicken before. But after having tasted InasaLaing's inasal, I think I had a change of heart.

Ms. Andrea Villalon owns InasaLaing, but she was not available on the day of the food crawl, so it was her mother, Atty. Angie De Ramos, who presented the food to us.

Atty. Angie proudly shared with us that they do not use 'vetsin' (MSG), their soy sauce is homecooked, and their vinegar is sourced from their own farm in Quezon. I was amazed.

I had a taste of the Laing and the Inasal, and I was quite positively surprised. The chicken was tender and tasty and the Laing didn't make me itch. Haha! Y'all should definitely give them a try.

4. Rye & Dean's



When it was Rye & Dean's turn to present their food to us, I was awed at the seemingly unending parade of food. They just kept coming!

While the long table was being filled with Instagrammable plates, I quickly asked Mr. Ryan Denosta, owner of Rye & Dean's, what kind of bread they use on their sandwiches. According to Mr. Denosta, they use different kinds of bread ranging from charcoal (the black one) to wheat bread. For their corn puppies (smaller version of corndogs, get it?), they actually use real cornmeal.

I sporadically have cravings for corndogs, so I'm absolutely thrilled that there is now a place I can go to to get some.


Rye & Dean's corn puppies were, hands down, my favorite nom that day. Haha! By the way, if you like it spicy, it's also available in jalapeno flavor.

5. Chin's & Inihaw Express




Chin's and Inihaw Express are owned by the same person, so they were presented to us at the same time.

Just like majority of the food we had that day, it was my first time hearing about Chin's and Inihaw Express.

Chin's has 7 varieties of healthy shabu and some pretty good rice bowls. Inihaw Express on the other hand offers your typical Filipino inihaw food. If that's what you're after, they have just about everything inihaw/grilled. I did not get to taste the hito (the fish in the upper right corner of the Inihaw Express group of pics), but it was quite the crowd pleaser.

6. Mr. Kimbob



By the time Mr. Kimbob laid out what they had to offer in front of us, we were practically filled to the brim. But like good bloggers (haha), we trudged on and tasted their Bibimbobs.

We were offered 3 different kinds of Bibimbobs: beef, chicken, and pork. Of the three, my favorite would have to be beef.

Their Seoul Spice sauce was pretty cute. I actually thought it was toothpaste at first. Haha! Be mindful not to put all of its contents into your plate unless you love really, really spicy food. Go slow and add to taste.

7. Potato Corner



And last but not the least, Potato Corner!

I haven't had these fries in ages, so I was glad I was able to sink my teeth into them again. I love cheese, so you can just imagine which one's my favorite.

What about you? What's your favorite Potato Corner flavor?

Conclusion

Overall, it was a pretty exciting Saturday for me. I'm glad I came out of my blogging hiatus and spent the day stuffing myself with my SM family. Haha!

Can you guess which of the 8 food stops was my favorite?

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Yep, it was Rye & Dean's. Their corn puppies, those cute and yummy little things, managed to snag my heart. I am definitely dragging The Memet there so I can sink my teeth into those yummy corn puppies again. On a cheat day of course. Haha!

So happy to be back! Thank you, SM Masinag for having me. It was definitely a pleasure.



To celebrate my birthday, The Memet, Sofi, and I headed up to Tagaytay some time last week. It was an unplanned trip. The Memet just happened to come home early from work, and since we didn't really go anywhere on my birthday, we packed up real quick and were on the road around 4pm.

With a quick stopover at Paseo de Sta. Rosa, we were in Tagaytay by nightfall. Since we didn't have a reservation, we drove around for quite a bit before finally deciding on Summit Ridge.

Because I packed quickly (too quickly for my liking), I didn't pack any jackets for any of us. It's been quite hot in Manila the past few weeks, so The Memet and I weren't expecting it to be a windy and chilly evening in Tagaytay that night.

Summit Ridge


We booked a room at the front desk while the three of us shivered in the cold. Haha! It was so cold and windy that Sofi shivered even after I wrapped her up in my cardigan.

Here we are all warm in our room with the a/c turned off. Haha! (Sorry, it's just the two of them. I hardly ever have a picture when I'm the one holding the camera. LOL!)



It's a small room with a king sized bed, a couch, a television, a personal fridge, a desk, and a table. There was also a closet, but no bathrobes.

Here's a peek at the bathroom:





The bathroom was spacious enough, but didn't have a bathtub. We wanted one for Sofi. Hehe! But beggars can't be choosers - and it was too cold anyway.

The bathroom had the standard set of toiletries, a hair dryer, but no bidet. I wish all hotels here in the Philippines had bidets.

We enjoyed our stay - even if we were really just there to sleep. We didn't even have a chance try the complimentary breakfast. Hehe!

Before we move to Breakfast at Antonio's, here's a picture of my baby, all fresh from a night's sleep. Haha!


Breakfast at Antonio's


For my birthday, I really just wanted a nice meal at Breakfast at Antonio's with my little family. Yes, I'm at that point in my life when I want nothing but to spend time with my family. Hehe!

It didn't happen on the exact day of my birthday, but The Memet did his best to make it happen eventually.


Sorry. Just had to include Sofi's pictures. Hahaha!

I already shared a post about Breakfast at Antonio's (click HERE) roughly 2 years ago. Although it's been quite a while, the service and the food remains the same. So I guess I'll just share some photos of what we had for brunch:






Good, yeah? They all tasted as good as they looked. But The Meme and I agree that Mom and Tina's still serves the best beef tapa out there. See blog post HERE.

So that ends my short blog post. Gotta go because Sofi's starting to eat her book. LOL!

Thanks for dropping by!



Hello there! I've finally gotten the chance to write the 2nd part of our Tugawe Cove vacation. Sorry if it took a while. I wanted to write immediately a couple days after the first part, but as usual, life got in the way.

So anyway...


After the exciting travel to Tugawe Cove Resort (read about it HERE), we were welcomed with warm smiles and some yummy refreshments.


We loved their maruya so much (they're banana fritters, I think?) that we ordered them every chance possible. Sigh, how I wish they can deliver to Rizal. Haha!

This is their reception area.
Tugawe Cove Resort is a huge property. They have rooms up on the hill top, on the hill side, and at the bottom right beside a lake, near the ocean.

We got a lake side casita, and because there were no king beds available, we settled on the one with twin beds.

On the way to the lakeside casitas.




The room wasn't huge, but we had ample space for ourselves. The bathroom was the same. It wasn't huge, but it spacious enough for two people to shower at the same time.



Here's the view right outside of our room:




It was tranquil and a stone's throw away from the ocean. What we didn't anticipate was that we would hardly be spending time at the beach... And that the restaurant would be at the top of the hill. Grabbing a meal meant going up the hill every single time - not a walk in the park if you're not exactly fit. Haha! So we ended up ordering room service for dinner all the time.

Here's the beach. I think we only went there once. That was it. Haha!



Here are the stairs that we had to endure every time we had to get to the top of the hill:


Yes. It's quite a climb. Haha!

Good thing they this buggy that you can ride to the top - but you still have to climb halfway.



It's quite slow and when you're riding to the top, you're facing downhill... But if you absolutely can't bear the stairs and you're not in a rush, then take the buggy. Hehe!

Everything can be found on top of the hill: the restaurant, the pool, a playground for the kiddos, the entertainment area... If I had only done my research properly. LOL!


More stairs going up to the restaurant, the pool, and the entertainment area.


We loved lounging in the pool. The view was awesome and the birds were quite an entertainment. There were a few birds that liked to dive into the pool only to get their feathers slightly wet. Some others only did some fake dives. Haha!



It's just now that I realized that we don't have any pictures at the restaurant. I guess it's because we're always very hungry by the time we get up there. Haha!

Tugawe Cove Resort is a wonderful place. It's very exclusive (not like there's a choice) and the staff are friendly. If you're looking for a place to party, this place might not be it though. It's very peaceful and quiet, especially at night. It's the kind of place you go to if you just want to chill.

Do check them out if you've plans of going to Caramoan. Here's the LINK to their website. :)

Before Sofi came into our lives, the Memet and I went on a road trip to Caramoan. Flying to Naga would've been the easier (and faster) option. But why go on a cramped plane ride when you can stretch out in a car and enjoy the long and winding road?


Well, I stretched out and dozed while the Memet drove, but he likes driving, so we both had fun. Haha!

The drive to Camarines Sur was roughly around 10 hours. It was fun, but the real adventure began when we arrived at Sabang Port.

We found a nice and secure parking spot, freshened up a little, used the bathroom, and then the guy who was helping us out with our luggage said that the boat that was going to Guijalo Port was leaving. LOL!

We hightailed it to the beach with 2 guys carrying our bags for us. The boat was in the water and I couldn't find an actual port anywhere. I got the shock of my life when the 2 guys put us on each of their shoulders and carried us to the boat - yes, they carried us as they waded in waist-deep water. It was at that moment that I wished I was a big time blogger so I'd have a team of photographers and videographers to document the moment for me so I can show you guys what happened. LOL!



Tip # 1: Wear flip flops and secure your things. You don't want anything valuable taking an unexpected dip in the ocean.

Here's a look at the boat. It's pretty big in person.


The boat ride to Guijalo Port took around 2 hours. You can take a nap, but the view's also amazing. If you're lucky, you'll see Mayon Volcano too!




After we arrived at Guijalo Port, we called Tugawe Cove Resort to let us know that we were there. Then around 20-30 minutes later, a speed boat arrived. Yes, a speed boat. Haha! We noticed 2 other folks who seemed to be heading to Tugawe and were unsure how to get there (I overheard their conversation), so the Memet and I approached them to let them know that a Tugawe Cove speed boat had arrived.

The ride to Tugawe Cove was fast. Duh, speed boat. Travel time was around 30 minutes. Yes, the resort was a bit far.

Tip # 2: If you're preggo, you might want to mention that to the resort so they can send you a regular boat. It'll take longer, but it'll be safer for you. The speed boat's really cool, but the ride can be quite bumpy.


The ride from Tugawe Cove Resort going back to Sabang Port was pretty much the same. Except when we got to Guijalo Port, it was low tide so the big boat couldn't go inside the actual port area. It could only go as far as the entrance, so that's where the speed boat dropped us off.

We got on the big boat pirate style. Haha! The speed boat got as close as it could and then we were boosted on to the side of the big boat.

Getting to and from Tugawe Cove Resort was quite an adventure, which is why I decided to make a post solely about it.

Coming up next, a blog post about the resort itself. :)