If you're from the east and you suddenly get a craving for some delicious, lip-smacking, (and yeah, unhealthy) bagnet, look no further, because Bagnetified! is now in SM Taytay!

Owned by Makeyourich, Inc.'s Mr. KC Macapagal, Bagnetified! grew from 1 to 15 stores in less than a year and they're expecting to put up 50 more branches in 2015 alone. As if that isn't achievement enough, their goal is to have over 300 stores across the country and at least one in Asia - within the next 5 years! 

We were there at its grand opening last Saturday, May 23, 2015, and we got to sample some of their yummiest dishes. I gotta say, they're all pretty tasty, and they all made our taste buds dance! Just look at our satisfied smiles:

Caccie, Juvy, and myself
Here's a quick look at what made our tummies happy that day. 

Note: The servings are pretty big, so most of the stuff on their menu is good for 2-3 persons. :)

Cheesy Bacon Dynamite - P129
The waitress said their dynamite wasn't that hot and spicy, but I beg to disagree. Haha! I only got to eat 2 and a half because it was too hot for me. But if you love spicy food, you can take it. It probably won't even sting. Haha!

Sisig Bagnetified - P289
Their sisig is a bit on the oily side, but the taste... Just wow. It just explodes in your mouth.

Bagnetified Rice - P199
They have plain rice, but if you want to go the adventurous route, try their Bagnetified rice. It can stand on its own or with just one viand. Hehe!

Bagnet Sarap - P319
Their bagnet is pretty much true to its name. Bagnet Sarap is masarap! (delicious). For those of you who love fat on their bagnet, this won't disappoint. But I found enough meat in there to keep the non-fat-eating person in me happy. Haha!

Kare-Kare Bagnetified - P279
Even their kare-kare has bagnet! I'm not one who likes innards in her kare-kare, so I was thrilled to see this on their menu. Their kare-kare has enough veggies in it to balance out the fattening (but super yummy) bagnet. Haha!

Cucumber Juice and Bits - P59 (medium) & P69 (XL)
Because it was hot out last Saturday, I ordered the Cucumber Juice and Bits for my drink. It didn't disappoint as it was extremely refreshing!

Sampaloc Smoothie - P99
Juvy of Eats and Chow ordered the intriguing Sampaloc Smoothie and she said that it didn't taste weird at all. It tasted like a good old milk smoothie with a sweet sampaloc aftertaste. I was too much of a coward to try it ('coz I'm lactose intolerant), but I think I'll have it to go the next time I drop by Bagnetified. Haha!

Bagnetified! is located at the new building at SM Taytay's open parking. It's pretty hard to miss since it's the only restaurant that's open at the ground floor.



The place is a bit small, but very inviting. Their waiters and waitresses were all friendly, and their branch manager is super accommodating. Thanks again for having us, Sir Charlie!






_______________________________
Bagnetified!
Delivery Hotline: 99-SARAP (72727)

It's been three days since Mother's Day and I guess it's now safe to come out of the shell that I've been hiding in since last week.

Now first of all, don't get me wrong. I appreciate Mother's Day. It's a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the miracle that mothers are. It doesn't ever matter how old you get. A mother is always going to be a mother to you.

However, if you've been a regular reader of my blog, you'd know that The Memet and I still haven't been blessed with a baby. Yup, that's what this is all about. That little bundle of joy that we've been waiting for - for more than 6 years now.

For the first two years, that monthly thing that females go through? It was the most difficult thing for me to deal with. Every single month. It got so bad that I'd be in tears every month. What added insult to injury was all the people who were pestering me, asking me if I was pregnant yet.

"Oh, aren't you pregnant yet?"

"Hang in there dear, it'll come."

"Have you gone to a gynecologist yet?"

Plus, let's not forget all the "Try this", "Try that".

I know all those people meant well. But if you were in my shoes, all the questions, all the suggestions, no matter how carefully worded, they all sounded insulting.

After the 2nd year, it started getting easier. I learned to accept that it wasn't time yet, and I eventually gave it all up to God. But even with that acceptance, I still get this stab of pain every time I am faced with the reality that I'm not getting any younger. There are times when I swear I can actually hear my reproductive system ticking like a clock counting down the hours.

Last week was one of the worst slaps that I've ever taken. No, nobody slapped me. Well, reality did. Life did.

I turned 33 this year. The Memet is a few years older than me. Life's reality came crashing down in vivid clarity. I was suddenly doing the math, thinking if, say I was to give birth at 35 (35!!!), I'd be 55 by the time my kid turned 20 years old! That and so many other realities just swiftly tumbled into my head, one after the other, not giving me any chance to just sit back and contemplate.

There are days when I stop, breathe, and tell myself that I'm lucky I'm already married (to the love of my life, no less). There are others out there who are my age who are so busy with life that getting married (much less having kids) is nowhere on their list of priorities.

But that mindset didn't work for me last week. I withdrew and I locked myself up inside my head. When Mother's Day came around, I was as bitter as I've ever been. I remember scheduling a Mother's Day greeting on my FB Page, but I didn't greet anyone in particular. Well, I greeted my mom, my mother in law, and my sister in law. And a few friends - I think. But generally, I stayed mum.

It didn't help that The Memet was away on an out of town trip for a few days last week. His hug is one of the few things that can help draw me out of my depressed state. So God was my only solace, and for a few minutes during the last few days, I did nothing but talk to Him and weep.

Today, I'm back to my usual chipper self. Still not pregnant, but I have faith it'll come soon. I still don't know what advice to give if anyone in the same situation asks how I deal with the pain, the depression, because I know how real the pain is, and I understand how unique each journey is.

All I really do is pray and trust God. And confide in my husband. There are days (like last week) when I seem to slip from my faith and I give marriage a beady eye, but I pray nonetheless and God is quick to restore my faith.

So with that, I send out a digital HUG to all of my sisters out there who are going through something similar. My words might not have brought much hope or shed much light, but know that my heart goes out to all of you. Just keep the faith and stay strong.


GIVEAWAY ALERT! Read on for the details and the mechanics. :)



I was craving for some really yummy tapa last week and The Memet knew just where to bring me.

I've been to Mom & Tina's several times, but I always ordered pasta. I even had my 30th birthday party there. Don't even try to stop and think about how old I am right now. Hahaha!

When The Memet and I met up with some of my high school friends a year or two ago, I remember ordering their tapa breakfast meal, and I've been hooked ever since! Read on to find out why.

U.S. Beef Tapa - P295

There are five (5) main reasons why I love Mom & Tina's U.S. Beef Tapa:

1. It's not sweet. Beef tapa shouldn't be sweet. Ever.
2. It's not swimming in sauce. I've seen some beef tapa out there that looks more like heavily sauced beef steak. Not my thing.
3. It's crunchy! Like bacon! Who doesn't' love bacon?
4. It's mostly lean. I don't like chunks of fat in my tapa.
5. It comes with a side of awesome atchara.

Before we proceed, let me just define two things in case you're not that familiar with the terms "tapa" and "atchara".

"Tapa" is dried or cured beef (usually cured with salt and spices), while "atchara" is a pickle made from grated unripe papaya. (Thanks for the definitions, wikipedia!)

Aside from one beef tapa meal each, The Memet and I  also ordered the following:

Queso de Bola Spread with Bread - P250

Blue Lemonade - P60

Lychee Shake - P120

We couldn't finish the Queso de Bola spread, so we took it home instead. The Memet loved his blue lemonade, and I loved my lychee shake.

So you see, Mom & Tina's is a cafe, but it's not just about cakes and pastries. They serve some pretty wicked main course too. It's a little on the pricey side, but trust me, it's well worth it.

What about you? What's your favorite Mom & Tina's dish?




________________________
Mom & Tina's Bakery Cafe
http://momandtinas.com/
https://www.facebook.com/momandtinas
Twitter & Instagram: @MomandTinas
When The Memet and I were in Baler earlier this year, we stayed in Costa Pacifica because we wanted to treat ourselves to a posh hotel without having to pay a fortune.

While there, it was inevitable that we try out some of the food from Beach House's menu. Beach House is Costa Pacifica's in-house restaurant. Want to find out what we ate while we were there?

The first time we ate at Beach House was right after we checked in.

We were a bit early, so our room wasn't ready yet. While waiting, we decided to have lunch at their restaurant. Killing some time with good food and a great view sure was a good decision.

Here's what we had:

Bagnet!
 


I'll be honest and say that I cannot, for the life of me, recall what the names of the dishes were. But again, I will be honest and say that everything that we had at Beach House was mouth-wateringly good.

I hope my photos can do them justice.

Here's what we had for dessert:


Just. Look. At. That. Beauty.

This dessert was absolutely heavenly and downright sinful. (Have I finally used an oxymoron?! LOL!)

It's served in a small bowl, but the serving size is perfect for two people.

On the afternoon of our 2nd day, we were absolutely tired after being on tourist mode the entire day. We found ourselves lounging by the pool and taking in the beautiful view. Not long after, our tummies started to growl, and since Beach House was right there, we decided to order some snacks.



This one below is a complimentary plate. Cool, huh?


After chowing down on the fish crackers and the tacos, we took a nice dip in the pool and had fun splashing around for a good hour and a half. Yep. That means we were hungry by the time we got out of the pool.

Diets be damned, we decided to order some steak for dinner and had it sent up to our room.


There's rice under there... Somewhere. Haha!

It was damned good steak, and we had a good night's rest after eating. Well, we let our dinner digest a little before we went to sleep.

All in all, I'd say that you  have to try dining at Beach House if you find yourself in Baler. I think we spent around 3K for all the food that's in this blog post, so yeah, it's a bit pricey. But what's the harm in treating yourself to a little luxury every once in a while?
If you're wondering how to get to and from Baler, there are 2 routes you can take. If you use your vehicle's GPS, it will direct you to drive through Pantabangan to and from. But The Memet and I decided to mix it up a bit.

On the way to Baler, we went through Pantabangan and then on the way home, we drove through Bongabon.

Here's a helpful link on how to get to Baler from Manila.

My goal here is to show you what the roads looked like. Hehe! Here are some photos of the road to Baler via Pantabangan:




Here's a video too:



Although it had a lot of zigs and zags (Haha!), approximately 95% was nicely paved with a generous smattering of civilization here and there. It was quite a long drive though.

~ o ~

On the day we checked out from Costa Pacifica, we decided to ask around for directions on how to get back to Manila from Baler. A lot of the people we asked suggested we go through Pantabangan again. But a few mentioned that there was another option: Bongabon. It was supposedly 30 kilometers shorter compared to the road that we drove through in Pantabangan. The thing was, it was only around 30% paved (hello, rough road!).

When we told them we were driving an SUV, they mostly nodded and said that we can easily navigate through the unpaved roads. With that in mind, we decided to have a little adventure. With plenty of daylight left, we started our drive back to Manila via Bongabon.

With one look at the rough roads, it was quite obvious that Bongabon isn't safe during rainy weather. Landslide galore.



But the view from up in the mountains sure was pretty!



It was a thrill driving through a small river. I'm not sure it would be safe to drive a car through it. But an SUV won't be a problem. So long as the sun's shining and it isn't raining anywhere in the vicinity. The water was quite shallow when we crossed, but the current was pretty strong.


Over speeding wasn't an option either. I just stuck my hand out my window when I took this photo below. That's what the edge of some of the roads looked like. The greenery there? That's the canopy of the dense forest below. If you fall off that cliff, it's highly unlikely you'll see the light of day.


When we came across some clearings and easy to navigate roads, we couldn't help but stop and take in the view. It was awe-inspiring.



To sum it up, the rocky twists and sharp turns were aplenty via Bongabon, while there were few to no people at all. Some of the turns brought us face to face with a huge truck or two so, yeah, you can just imagine what it was like trying to get through that with only enough space for one vehicle.

The road through Bongabon actually led us through a part of the Sierra Madre mountain range that was in Aurora. Sometimes, I was busy holding my breath (mostly because of the close encounter with the cliffs) and sometimes, the view just took my breath away. Mother nature sure is a stunner.

WARNING: While I actually enjoyed our drive through Bongabon (a lot), I would have to warn y'all that you need to be extra careful (as if the photos aren't enough) if you decide to take the same route. Make sure you're driving an SUV (not a car) and that you have plenty of daylight left. It took us around 2-3 hours to get back to civilization. Hehe!

Your cellphones will highly likely not have any network coverage while you're up there, so be sure your vehicle's in tip top shape. You won't be able to call for help if your vehicle breaks down, and there aren't a lot of people who pass through there.

Be sure to check the weather too. Don't go through Bongabon when it's rainy. Read: LAND SLIDES.

With that, I'll leave you with a short video that I took while we were pulled over for a quick break somewhere in the wilderness. Hehe!



One of my friends from way back when was in the country for a while and since we hadn't seen each other in so many years, we wanted to do some catching up. After a few text messages, we finally agreed on a schedule - a lunch date at a restaurant in Capitol Commons where her husband works.

I wasn't really sure what to expect , but on the ride over, they told me that we'd be eating at a modern Korean restaurant. The first thing that came to mind? Kimchi!!! I love kimchi. Hehe!

Eum•Ma•Ne (pronounced uhm-MA-ne) is located in the up and coming Estancia Mall in the Capitol Commons complex, in Pasig. If you know where Shangri-La, Lourdes School of Mandaluyong, One San Miguel Ave. Bldg., and Astoria Plaza Hotel are, it's easy enough to find. Otherwise, you can always consult Google for directions on how to get to Capitol Commons. *wink*


Let's take a look at what my friend and I had for lunch earlier today, shall we?

Kimchi Quesadillas - P395 (Good for 1-2 persons)
Kimchi and cheese-filled quesadillas served with cilantro sour cream and Gochujang-spiced tomato salsa.

We ordered two starters, and Kimchi Quesadillas was one of them. It was a very interesting mix of kimchi and cheese, and I loved how the two flavors seemed to dance on my taste buds. Of the two dips, I absolutely loved the cilantro sour cream. It was a great compliment to the kimchi and cheese's strong flavors.

Bulgogi Jalapeño Poppers - P375 (Good for 1-2 persons)

Beef bulgogi and cheese stuffed into breaded jalapeños served with cilantro sour cream and Gochujang tomato salsa and crispy taro chips.

I've never had a jalapeño popper before, and I gotta say that this one set the bar quite high. It had a nice bite to it and the flavors just seemed to explode in my mouth. I'm not as tolerant as The Memet when it comes to spicy food, but this one's just right. It's an absolute must try.

Soju Battered Dory Tacos - P395 (Good for 1-2 persons)

Korean Soju-battered cream dory fillet, house-made guacamole, and sesame coleslaw inside two flour tortillas with a side of mango relish and Gochujang Sauce.

I've been craving for tacos for the past few days, so when I saw they had tacos on their menu, I jumped at the chance and ordered it for our main dish. First off, can I just say that I love their guacamole? Hehe! The coleslaw in the  mix also added a nice flavor to the tacos, so there really wasn't much need for the sauces. The dory fillets were really crispy too!


Banana Milk Cake - P225 (Good for 1-2 persons)

A favorite drink in Korea, banana milk, is transformed into a cheese cake that will satisfy your every desire.

This dessert was absolutely yum-o! I was really full by the time it was served, but my friend and I were able to finish it nonetheless. It wasn't overly sweet and the different layers gave a vibrant taste to the entire dish.

~o~

Overall, I would say that I'm absolutely thankful that my friend treated me to lunch at Eum•Ma•Ne. The food was really good and the staff were all polite and pleasant.

There's one more thing that's worth mentioning here: I love how I could see into their kitchen. Having just recovered from a horrible tummy flu, it was reassuring to know that the food at Eum•Ma•Ne was meticulously prepared in a clean and sanitary kitchen.

Our seats had a direct view of the kitchen so we could see how our food was being prepared.

Here's my friend's husband in action; Head Chef Alain Viado.
(He's the one with white embroidery on the chest of his uniform)

It's also worth noting that their servings are quite big. On the descriptions in their menu, the dishes we ordered were meant for 1-2 persons. But in reality, the two starters were good for maybe three persons. One proof that they have huge servings is I'm still full until now. It's already past 10pm. We had lunch around 12:30pm. Hahaha!

So there. You guys should consider visiting Eum•Ma•Ne for lunch. There were only two other diners during the entire time that we were there, but I heard they get a lot of customers during dinner hours.

Eum•Ma•Ne's business hours are as follows:
Sunday to Thursday, 11:30am - 3:00pm and 6:00pm - 11:00pm
Friday to Saturday, 11:30am - 3:00pm and 6:00pm - 2:00am

Jay Anne, Chef Alain, and myself. =)

Before I end this post, I would like to thank my friend, Jay Anne, for treating me to lunch. It was really nice catching up with you! And thanks, Chef Alain, for making sure that our food was yummy and that we were enjoying our lunch.







________________________________
Eum•Ma•Ne Restaurant and Lounge
Ground Floor, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons,
Oranbo, Pasig City
Facebook: www.facebook.com/eummane
Instagram & Twitter: @eummane
It's been almost three years since I left the corporate world and it's been a heck of a roller coaster ride.

In the span of almost three years, I went through months of doing completely nothing to going on last minute out of town escapades with The Memet. I joined bazaars and held garage sales, I even went around coordinating events for family and friends. Oh, and not to mention the handful of freelancing gigs that I did on the side.

This year, it seems like I'm going down a different path. It's nearly the end of the first quarter, and I think it's a good time to predict what I'll be doing for the rest of the year.


1. Marketing Assistant

I studied Clinical Psychology in college and after I graduated, I went on to work for a call center - for eight years. In the call center world, I experienced being an agent, a quality coach, an English coach, and an English specialist (kind of like a supervisor of English coaches).

Just recently, I started working as a Marketing Assistant for a company in the US. My boss is that company's VP for Marketing. While I know next to nothing about marketing, my boss seems to like what I'm doing because last week, he gave me a bonus just for going above and beyond. Hehe! I'm so glad my boss appreciates my efforts.

My responsibilities as Marketing Assistant includes managing the company's social media accounts (which is a bit more complex than I expected) and maintaining the company's blog. I recently gave the company blog a makeover. Here's the URL: http://blog.easy-commission.com/.

Please feel free to give me feedback, since I'm still quite new at corporate blogging. :)

Anyway, the social media and blog management are just two of the things that I do as a Marketing Assistant. So far, I'm finding it a fun and challenging role and I'm enjoying learning new things.

2. Blogging Community Administrator

I've been a blogger for God knows how long. Haha! I've always loved writing. As a kid, I kept a journal, so it was all but natural for me to try out blogging when it started becoming popular in the early 2000's. Or was it in the late 90's?

Anyway, I've been blogging for about a decade now, but I believe I'm still an amateur blogger. Unlike the many popular bloggers out there, I mostly blog because I want to get my thoughts out there just for the heck of it. It wasn't until late last year that I started attending blogger events. But even then, I still strive to stick to posting only the things that I believe in. If you noticed, I also started posting more about travel and food - because it's something that The Memet and I both love.

Sometime this month, one of the administrators for Bloggers ng Pinas messaged me on Facebook and asked me if I wanted to join their team of admins. It felt like a big responsibility because Bloggers ng Pinas isn't that big of a group yet. It's more like a small business that's just starting up. So the pressure is there to grow it and help it become more successful.

I think I'm becoming more mature, because I didn't commit right away. I thought about it for a day or two, and this is what happened:


Haha!

I'm now one of the 11 admins for Bloggers ng Pinas. We have so many things in the works, but our members would be happy to know that one of our priorities is helping them become better bloggers. I'll stop there, because I don't want to divulge too many details before the General Assembly actually happens. Hehe!

3. Bigger Responsibilities in Church

I'm an active member of our locale's Secretariat Department, and with all the movement that happened early this year, I sort of got "promoted".

I can't get into too much detail because it can get a little too technical, so let's just say that I now spend half my Sunday in church - I'm not a morning person, but I wake up at 4am on Sundays and stay on until around noon. That's aside from my regular worship service duties as a secretary. (I'm not writing all this to brag. It's actually more for reference so that I have something to look back to in the future. Haha!)

~ o ~

To be quite honest, with everything that's going on, I sometimes feel overwhelmed. I work as a Marketing Assistant from Tuesdays to Saturdays and my Bloggers ng Pinas admin duties are interspersed with everything else during the week. But no matter how hectic things get, I make sure that my church duties come first and The Memet and family comes next.

The Memet understands this as he shares the same priorities with me. God and church duties above everything else. After all, if not for God, we wouldn't be blessed with all our responsibilities. Our church responsibilities help keep our faith strong and keep us away from sins - as much as humanly possible. Hehe! (The Memet is an active member of our congregation's choir). My work responsibilities on the other hand give us additional funds, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Our house is still under construction and we've had to tighten our belts a bit over the past few months. A construction loan is no joke, and we've already started to pay for our monthly amortization while the construction's still ongoing.

Even though I feel tired most days now, I thank God every single day for keeping us blessed. In December and January, The Memet and I started feeling the weight of the financial liabilities that our house's construction was costing us. It was during that time that I prayed really hard for something more stable than my old freelancing gigs. Come February, I was hired as a Marketing Assistant, and things just started rolling from there.

Every single day, I thank God for always giving my life direction when I feel lost. It might've taken me almost three years to get here after quitting my job, but the wait was most definitely worth it. And no, I'm not saying I'm already "there", but I'm happy I finally got started. Hehe!

Next up? The baby. I'm confident it'll be soon. Maybe when we move in to our new house? Hehehe!

What about you? How's your year shaping up?
Being the busy folks that we are, The Memet and I usually have a hard time planning some of our trips way in advance.

Back when I was working and The Memet had a different boss, we always had ample time to plan our trips and book our accommodations. We're looking at 3-6 months of advance planning here. But since I started working from home, The Memet's schedule has become more hectic and we don't usually have the luxury of time to prepare for our trips anymore.

Remember my birthday post from last year? I only found out that he had time for a quick out of town trip late that afternoon. Haha!

Well, something perfect just came up for folks who are perpetually in need of last minute hotel bookings - and I attended their press launch last week.

Along Quezon St. in Baler's Barangay 2, The Memet and I found a small, unassuming restaurant. From the outside, it didn't look like much. But we were quite amazed at what we found when we set foot inside the place.


On our first night in Baler, The Memet and I went for a stroll on the boardwalk to check out what the "night life" was like in the area. The boardwalk was a bit dark and the area was mostly quiet, save for the sound of the crashing waves.

On our way back to Costa Pacifica, we noticed a brightly lit restaurant and decided to head in for dinner.




Look at that photo. Doesn't it look like the gateway to paradise?

Paradise. That was the first thing that I definitely thought when we set foot on Dicasalarin Cove. Want to read more about our experience? I'll tell you all about it after the jump. :)

Yesterday (February 13, 2015), I drove to Angono, the Art Capital of Rizal, to witness Simply Shoes' Grand Opening at SM Center Angono.


An SM Retail affiliate, Simply Shoes is a one-stop shoe store that offers a wide assortment of footwear for men and women as well as children. They carry a lot of different brands that range from casual wear to even formal wear.

Want to take a peek at some of the brands and designs that SM Angono's Simply Shoes carries?