Saturday, September 20, 2014

Haler Baler!

Last weekend, I went to Baler with my colleagues. To be honest, I didn't have much expectations about the place, all I knew was that it was a great place for surfing but other than that, I didn't think it would be so special. Well, let me just say, Baler blew me away!

We went to Baler straight from work on a Friday and arrived at around 6 am. I have to admit the road trip was tiring because it is really far and you have to go through Sierra Madre so the road would wind up and down which is scary and a bit dizzying. When we arrived our colleague (who was to host us) laid out our itinerary for the day which included a visit to two waterfalls and surfing in the afternoon!

Mother falls was so beautiful! It is a little tough to get to, that I have to admit, but it was my first waterfalls so I'm not complaining :P The trek can be challenging but for it's a good hike for beginners. A note though, the water is freezing!

We also went to Caunayan walls, which I like calling "baby falls" which is rather pleasant and more laid back. We had lunch by the falls and swam in it after.

After spending half a day at the two waterfalls, we settled down at Sabang surfing beach to try out surfing!

I am so happy to report that I was able to stand up my board after just a few tries! I didn't think I would even learn how to surf but apparently, I'm a fast learner. I may even have found a new sport *squeeeee*

We stayed at AMCO Diguisit beach resort which is about 15-minutes away from Sabang. It's a more laid back area of Baler but the view is just spectacular! It's perfect if you want a more peaceful environment to think and just take in the beauty of nature :) Plus, accommodations at AMCO aren't that expensive too! *wink

I had the most amazing time at Baler and I will be back for sure! Apart from the surfing, I will definitely be back for the suman!!! I am telling you, Baler suman tastes amazing! I only have three words(?) for it: NOM NOM NOM.

Thank you Baler for the amazing time! See you again soon!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top 5 Filipino Restaurants

A few days ago, we were asked by an online site to give our top five restaurants. It was a worldwide community so we decided to take this opportunity to do a little country promotion as well and decided to focus on Filipino restaurants. Since we already got together and compiled a list, we might as well share it with you guys. Here are our picks:

1. Antonio's (Tagaytay City) - Hands down our favorite restaurant in the Philippines. If you've been a follower of our blog, you'd know how many times we've raved about the food at Antonio's. It is one of those restaurants you should take your balikbayan or foreigner friends if you want to show them how good Filipino food can get. We cannot emphasize enough how tasty the food is, add to that the fact that the place itself is beautiful! You can read about our visit to Antonio's at the following links:
 On Roadtrips and Breakfasts , Breakfast at Antonio's ,Easter Idea: Breakfast at Antonio's

2. Bale Dutung (Angeles City, Pampanga) - Bale Dutung is another outstanding Filipino restaurant. What makes it extra special though is that it is owned by one of the best Filipino chefs in the country! In fact, Anthony Bourdain has already visited this restaurant and raved about the good food. When we visit Bale Dutung, we were treated to a 10-course feast which you can read about in detail here.

3. Pamana (Tagaytay City) - Honest to goodness Filipino food, that is all we ask, right? Well Pamana has that and more! This quaint restaurant in Tagaytay is an easy favorite because the place is beautiful and the food especially so! Read about our visits here and here.

4. Abe's - Abe's is just one of the restaurants in the LJC group that we like. It is known for downright good Filipino food. I dine in the restaurant a lot of times and never have I been disappointed. It's one of those places that you can count on for Filipino comfort food. My favorite however is still the Sikreto ni Maria. For some reason though, we haven't written about it much in the blog (probably because it doesn't need more publicity than it already has) but you may check out our feature on this lovely dessert: Sikreto ni Maria

5. Crisostomo (Quezon City) - I remember dining at Crisostomo with Sophia's family. The restaurant reminds me of Abe's with its amazing Filipino food and ambiance. The cool thing about Crisostomo (and its siblings from the Florabel group) is that they are able to incorporate traditional Filipino cuisine and make it modern. The result is a gastronomical experience that will leave you (craving) and proud of Filipino food.
photo credit:
photo credit:
So there goes our top picks! There are so much more restaurants we would love to add to the list but we'd like to keep the list (in a way) exclusive. Here's to the best Filipino restaurants! And here's to making Filipino cuisine known all around the world! :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

MUSIKAL!: The Best of Filipino Musical Theater

I love musicals. It is one of my favorite forms of art because it is like a cauldron in which other forms of art are mixed in-- there's dance, theater, music, literature, and lighting/stage/costume design. I enjoy it a lot because it engages my senses in many different ways.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to catch Musikal! at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Musikal! is showcase of 21 original Filipno musicals, staged in celebration of the Cultural Center of the Philippines' 45th Anniversary. It showed excerpts of popular Filipino musicals that includes Himala, Zsa Zsa Zaturnah, Rama Hari, Katy, Rak of Aegis, Caredivas, Magsimula Ka, Maxie, and Rock Supremo among others.

The entire show was like walking through memory lane for me. So much memories! I grew up watching a lot of shows at the CCP and with every exceprt, it was like I was taken back to that day I first saw that same scene. It was so beautiful!

I cannot congratulate CCP enough for staging such a great show! I am not exaggerating when I say I was teary-eyed so many times. The talent present on that stage was just overwhelming. I am so PROUD to be Filipino and to see how amazing our artists are. World-class talent indeed! You all deserve my respect, applause, admiration, and unending gratitude for being so passionate in your craft. Congratulations! And thank you. A thousand times over, THANK YOU.

Let me leave you one of my favorite songs from Rock Supremo:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Get your party on at Neverland Manila

I admit, it was only fairly recent that I got into Electronic Dance Music. But it came to me like the plague--strong and all at once. I've had this fever for about two years now and I've always wanted to watch an EDM concert live. Of course, the ultimate goal is to fly to Belgium for Tomorrowland but while I'm still gathering the funds for that trip, I'm grateful that EDM artists are starting to visit Manila more and giving us the chance to experience (or even just get a glimpse of) that sort of Festival.

photo credit:
photo credit:
Well to all fellow EDM enthusiasts, I have two words for you: Neverland. Manila.

Set at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds on October 3, Neverland Manila brings in some of the topnotch DJs in the world such as Afrojack, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Knife Party, and Ferry Corsten. Complemented with impressive effects and a gathering of the country's most dynamic audience, it will surely be a music festival to remember.

I am personally excited for the festival! I can't tell you enough how obsessed I am about Afrojack's Ten Feet Tall. Such an amazing song! And I just know it would be so much better live!

INSTAGRAM and TWITTER: @neverlandmanila

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Azkals barking out loud

Let me hear you shout: PI-LI-PINAS! I am obviously still on a high from watching the Azkals game versus Chinese Taipei last night.

I don't want to say I'm a very big fan of football, in fact, I don't watch that much, but the Azkals are the exception for me. It's only my second time to watch their game live but like the first time, I am again elated from the entire experience!

 We were actually having second thoughts to watch the game or not because it was already raining hard yesterday afternoon. But for a couple of minutes the rain let up and so we decided to just go for it. Plus my friend who is a bigger fan says it's also a cool experience to watch the game in the rain.

When we arrived, it was only drizzling so it was all fun at first. My friend was smart enough to bring garbage bags for our bags and to sit on cause the bleachers were already wet (and umbrellas are not allowed inside the stadium). It was all good in the first part, we scored two easy goals before halftime but in the middle, it started to rain. HARD.

Since umbrellas weren't allowed we had to rush into a side pit to take cover. It was really raining very hard but much to our surprise, they didn't stop the game! Our boys played for a few minutes more in the midst of the rains (with lighting to top it off!)
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The referees had to stop the game though because the rain was starting to get ridiculously strong and the water puddles made the field unplayable (the balls were getting stuck!) We had to wait for about an hour for the rain to stop but afterwards, it was game time again!

The game ended with a strong 5-1 finish from the Azkals. I am happy beyond words for the turn out of the game. Not only did getting drenched in the rain worth it, it also made up for that heartbreaking loss from Gilas :( (yeah, we were also following the FIBA game via twitter) Thank you so so much Azkals! That was truly an amazing game! I am so proud!

On a side note though, I would just like to comment on how some people criticize the Azkals for not being "pure Filipinos". I understand where they are coming from, I myself prefer to have a National team who doesn't look so white but I also don't want to discriminate against the Azkals for being half-Filipinos. I think it is offensive to not acknowledge the fact that they are still Filipinos. Having a foreign mom/dad does not immediately make you less Pinoy. You are still Filipino because Filipino runs in your veins. It doesn't even matter if you grew up in the Philippines or not. I even think it is unfair to take that against them because I know people who have purely Filipino parents but grew up abroad and are acting more Caucasian than Pinoy. I wish people would stop making it a big deal just because the team looks white. No matter what they look like or where they grew up, they are Filipinos and that will not change. If you take that against them, I say that that is a show of discrimination.

I am proud of our team for what they have done and is doing for the Philippines. And whether they are purely Filipino by blood or not, it doesn't really matter because they have the heart of a Pinoy. And if what they are doing (and sacrificing) for the country is not enough for some, then so be it. I still believe that what makes Filipinos Filipinos is dictated by what you give back to the country. It is all about how you represent the country. About how you show your love for it. And how despite all the options you are given, you still choose the Philippines above all. That is what being Filipino truly means.

Thank you Azkals for making the Philippines proud!

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