Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Eat Fresh Hongkong Famous Street Food

6:36:00 PM
I think this place has been existing for a long while now. So we really do not know why we have just recently tried it.

If you are familiar with the B.F. Paranaque area, the place is just along President's Ave., after Conti's, and right before a branch of Rib Shack.

From the street, Eat Fresh looks like a small place but upon entering the side entrance, we were pleasantly surprised that it was big.

View along President's Ave., BF

Side entrance, fronting Rib Shack

It was our first time there and we can't wait to try their dishes! They actually have a lot of choices, from street food to actual meals.

We decided on the ones below.
Seafood hotpot with tofu Php 265

Cold Cuts Php 295

Special fried rice Php 100

3 kinds mushroom with vegetables Php 225
The rice arrived in a small bowl. We initially thought that it was just enough for one person but surprisingly,  it was actually enough for 2 to 3 people, depending of course on your appetite 😁 

My mother liked the seafood hotpot, while I liked their cold cuts. Their 3 kinds mushroom was so-so. I felt like i just opened a can of mushroom and put sauce on it. We would not order that again. 

I also tried their big isaw (pig intestine) and pig ears. The pig ears could be crunchier, I think.

Pig ears Php 45
Big isaw Php 45
Something new (for us at least) with lots of options. We will definitely go back to check the others. 👍😃
You can check their menu here

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Del Sol Inn, Anaheim (across Disneyland!!!!)

2:55:00 AM 0 Comments
Yup! It was right across Disneyland! That was the major reason why we booked it for our trip early this year. Since we were travelling with a one-year-old, we do not want the hassle of walking far. Walking inside Disneyland Resort was tiring enough. ðŸƒ‍♀️🏃

Google Maps: From Del Sol to Disney Resort

As a perspective, we are not frequent travelers. Our trip to the USA was spur-of-the-moment simply because my mom and JE got their visas approved! Yey! We were trying to avail of the kids-fly-free-if-they-are-less-than-2-years-old. I am not sure we really got savings since we flew on a peak season.... But anyway, we just wanted to maximize the trip, and a US trip would not be complete without a visit to the happiest place on earth!

But this post was really for the hotel we chose. Hahaha! (Really need to focus!) 😵

In our (very) few US trips, my tools were always Agoda, and google maps. The booking sites for the price and reviews and google maps to ensure that I was looking  at the right place. ðŸ˜

Hotel name at the entrance. That's my mom! ðŸ˜
I was not wrong in choosing Del Sol Inn. The place has excellent location, so it is easy to cross to Disneyland.  There was also Denny's near the entry way and about 2 blocks away, there was Panda Express (yum!), Subway and Pizza Express.

The room was okay with its 2 double sized beds, considering we were 3 adults and 1 baby. They also have the following:
  • free wifi
  • room came with free breakfast
    • though breakfast area was quite small. There were times that we took our breakfast and brought it to our rooms.
    • Not that many selection
  • pool though it was winter when we were there
  • friendly staff
  • laundry machines. We were able to do ours before we moved to our next stop
  • coffee making facility
We also bought our Disney entrance tickets from the hotel so it was very convenient for us. 

I booked through and they held my reservation. But I paid directly to the hotel. Below was the quote of for 3 nights. But actual cost was Php 1,000 cheaper.

I know it was quite pricey but considering it is peak season and the convenience of being so near to Disneyland, I know we would consider staying in the place again.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Manmaru - Makati Central Square

6:09:00 PM
Have you recently been to MCS (formerly Makati Cinema Square)?

If you are not a regular Makati person, you may not have known that MCS has undergone a lot of changes since start of this year. It is still known as MCS but it now stands for Makati Central Square.

One of the changes that I like is their new set of restaurants. Along Fernando St, fronting Little Tokyo, MCS now has Samgyupsalamat, JT's, Akitaya and our recent go-to place for Japanese food, and new favorite Japanese place, Manmaru.

Manmaru is beside the entrance to the underground parking pf MCS. I think it is also the most well lit in the area so it is hard to miss the place.

The place is also usually full but they have ample space and lots of tables so it is easy to get a seat if you are not part of a big group. So far, we have not been asked to wait. We  also like that it is so bright and clean inside. Servers were also quite attentive.

I find their price quite affordable given that it is a Japanese place. Servings of those we have ordered so far were also quite generous.  

There is a lot on their menu that it is hard to choose! Good thing that it has pictures ðŸ˜ðŸ˜ so we get an idea of those we are not familiar with. Super plus points that their menu pictures do not disappoint when the actual order comes.

Nikusai Itame Php 169

Gyu Karubi Beef Php 299

Hiyashichuka Php 249

So far, these are the must-trys, or at least what makes us go back several times:
  • Aburi Salmon roll (8 pieces) - Php 199 
  • Spicy Crunch Salmon Roll - Php 199
  • Hiyashichuka (cold noodles) - Php 249
Those are the faves but all that we have ordered so far were good!

Their server informed us that they also have individual rooms for groups. But you may need to come  ahead of the lunch or dinner rush as the place gets filled quickly.

Would definitely go back! 😉👍

Read more about how MCS has transformed from here.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Japan Fudo - Ayala Malls Manila Bay

2:52:00 AM
Ayala Malls Manila Bay opened last September 26, and we found our curious selves at the mall 2 days after, on September 28.

There were still a lot of unused spaces, and not many restaurants were opened. After checking some of the food stalls in their China town section, we were drawn to Japan Fudo. Located at the 4th floor near the escalators going to the cinemas, Japan Fudo is within the Japanese-inspired section of the mall.

Japan Fudo was still on its soft opening but there were already a lot of people dining at the time. Now, we have not been to the Japan Fudo branch in Ayala Vertis North, so we really don't know what to expect. But since both of us love Japanese, then I don't think we would be disappointed.

We ordered the usual yasaitame. And their version is, well, the usual. Nothing much except bean sprouts.

Both Jie and I decided on bento boxes. He order tonkatsu while I got their torikatsu. I ordered the vegetable tempura for Elora.

There really is nothing much to say about the bento boxes except it is an affordable option. The serving and taste was as expected with any other bento box.

Torikatsu Bento Box Php280

Tonkatsu Bento Box Php280

The vegetable tempura which, unfortunately did not get any photo opportunity (haha!) 
😁 was actually 6 pieces of mushroom, carrots and egg plant. Quite good actually since I tricked Elora to eating it. ðŸ˜

My overall verdict ? Quite okay. Most likely we would go back to try the other dishes. But so far,  nothing to be excited about. ðŸ˜ðŸ¤”

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Crimson Hotel - Crimson Posh Membership

7:16:00 AM
I have not told you about our Crimson Posh membership, Crimson Hotel in Filinvest Alabang and Cebu.

We actually availed of this around October last year. It was really a spur-of-the-moment decision (aka napilitan) when an agent called Jie and asked him to become a member. 

He availed of it simply because it was just P6,600, more affordable than the recently availed Manila Peninsula membership. I was not actually too hot about it. Until I check the vouchers and we availed some of the discounts. 

Unlike Manila Peninsula where they send a black leather case full of vouchers, we got an email with instructions on how to download their app. Once downloaded, the app automatically showed all the available vouchers. It was very convenient because one never leaves without his cellphone. The app showed exactly what vouchers were still available and were consumed.  

Aside from the usual dining discounts, Crimson Posh member gets a lot of other perks. We were informed that total amount of discount is at the 100,000+ thousand. I listed most below so judge for yourself:
  • 50% discount on total food bill for 6 - 10 diners at Café Eight.
  • one (1) certificate on total beverage bill for Php 750.
  • one (1) certificate on total food bill for Php 300 at Sandwich and Pastry Corner.
  • one (1) certificate for complimentary buffet for two at Café Eight during the week of member’s birthday or anniversary. 
  • complimentary bottle of house wine when dining with at least one guest 
  • two (2) certificates for 50% discount on the food bill for a maximum of 12 diners at Café Eight. 
  • Member will receive four (4) cash certificates valued at Php 500 each to off-set against food bill. One certificate per dining visit
Accommodation Benefits:
  • 15% discount to 50% discount on Best Available Rates for all room types 
  • Member will receive one (1) certificate for a complimentary night stay in a Deluxe Room, excluding breakfast. 
  • two (2) certificates to a special room rate of Php 3,800 net including breakfast for two in a Deluxe Room 
  • two (2) certificates to a special room rate of Php 8,100 net including breakfast for two at Crimson Resort and Spa Cebu. 
  • two (2) certificates to a special room rate of Php 3,500 net including breakfast for two in a Deluxe Room at Quest Hotel Cebu. Non-Transferable.
  • Dine and Stay Weekend Package: entitles member to a two-night stay in a Deluxe Room for Php 8,888 net inclusive of daily buffet breakfast and one dinner for two persons at Café Eight when checking-in on a Friday or a Saturday. 
  • Executive Lounge Access: Member will receive two (2) certificates that entitle bearer to Crimson Club Lounge access. 
Dining Benefits:
30% for member and up to 19 guests on food and beverage
20% for member dining alone
15% discount for beverage in all outlets
10% discount during special promotions 

There were actually a lot more discounts including those for banquet services. But it is easy to check that once you have the app as everything is written there.

So far, we have availed of the following:
  • Room accommodation for 2 with breakfast with published rate of 13,000
  • Complimentary bottle of wine. We chose the red Santa Luz cabernet sauvignon. Hotel price possibly at 1,500 to 2,000.
  • Executive lounge access for the whole day with buffet dinner and unlimited drinks/ cocktails : 1,800 each for 2 persons possibly
  • Buffet dinner for 2 on the members birthday or anniversary: 3600 for 2 persons
  • We have also availed of several automatic cash discounts when we dined at the lobby lounge. 

Executive Lounge which offers free snack the whole day for members

At night, the Lounge offered dinner and unlimited drinks  for members. Sorry, no kids allowed.
Even just for the free overnight stay, the membership was already worth it since published rate was at Php 13,000. As early as now, Jie already mentioned that he would renew the membership, and we were already planning our next visits. 

For the price, Crimson Posh Membership was a welcome treat especially for celebrations. In our visits there too, servers were very pleasant and friendly. Special shout out to Len of Lobby Lounge who was very friendly and welcoming during Jie’s recent birthday celebration. She ensured that we were having a good time and made us feel at home. 

Yup, we will definitely renew this membership. 

Drinks at the Lobby Lounge with complimentary bottle of wine

Lobby Lounge 
Lobby Lounge
Complimentary Room
Complimentary Room

Complimentary Room
Complimentary Room 
Complimentary Room 
The Lobby last Christmas

Friday, May 10, 2019

Flying economy with an infant (and how we chose our airline)

3:59:00 AM
Elora was 22 months old in during our recent trip to the USA. It was actually spur-of-the-moment. We applied for her visa, and when she was approved, we decided to take advantage of an infant's "free fare" if that infant is less than 2 years old during the duration of the trip. This just means that when you fly out and during your return flight, the declared infant should still be less than 2 years old. 

Anyway, the booking of the airline was assigned to me, as usual 😄. It took me 2 weeks to compare between Philippine Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Eva Air, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Hongkong Airlines. These airlines were the ones with good reviews from people we know. I used the skyscanner app to check prices for all these airlines. I was also looking at reviews. Since it was a long flight, we wanted Elora to be as comfortable as possible. 

Since we were paying combined cash and credit card at the time, it was also important that they have an office here in the Philippines. 

In terms of price, Hongkong airlines was a sure winner. I read and watched reviews and it was good. I even saw comparisons with Cathay Pacific and Hongkong Airlines emerged as winner. It seemed that Hongkong Airlines was a good choice. Their office is also located just at Amorsolo St in Makati, which was very accessible to us.

Much as we wanted Eva Air, it usually emerged as the one with the highest price at that time. So this was the airline that we first dropped. 

Asiana  was something that we were considering because of good reviews. Price was also competitive. The same goes for Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. Of course, among these three, we know Singapore Airlines was the best airline. But I was torn because among the 3, it had the highest cost. I was leaning more towards Cathay Pacific because my late father gave glowing reviews about it. He took it yearly for long haul flights when he was alive. 

Finally, Philippine Airlines. At that time, it was the first choice. Jie was strongly suggesting that we take this airline since it was a direct flight. All of the other choices above had layovers. But I was hesitant simply because this was the airline we were always taking. Also, from our experience the last time when we took United Airlines, the layover actually helped for us not feel jetlag. In my mind, this was not part of the options. Of course I was silent about it. 😉

Asiana was dropped when we checked the duration of the layovers. At that time too, price was steadily increasing. Hongkong Airlines was dropped simply because Jie does not personally know anyone who has taken it. (We later on found out that it was really a good airline, and one of our relatives was recommending it. So we might consider it in our next flight). 

So now, it was down to Cathay and Singapore. In our argument, it was decided that the moment we stepped in the airport, it was already the start of our vacation. So layovers should not be a big concern. But, the layover should allow us to maximize our time. Only Cathay (Hongkong) and Singapore would give that to us because both countries do not require a visa. We planned to check both since their ticketing offices were in the same building.

We stopped by at Singapore Airlines first. I inquired and gave them a screenshot of the time and dates we wanted. After checking his computer, the agent happily announced that he was able to get the same flights at a lower amount. That sealed the deal for us. 😁 He explained that sometimes, there are fluctuations in the prices because of some of the code. Only they know what the codes on the flights mean. For them, it’s simply a matter of checking which flights were cheapest.

Transacting through their ticketing office was also a breeze. They were very accommodating and friendly. We also told them that we have an infant with us, and requested that we be seated beside each other. He mentioned that this was normal because we have an infant.

So it was settled. Our flight had a 22 hour layover, but the plan was to explore Singapore during that time.

On the day of the flight itself, we felt really special. During boarding, when they saw Elora, they immediately ushered us in, as soon as the call for boarding was announced. We were given the first row of the middle seats.

I now understood why Singapore Airlines was consistently the best. Here were the comforts despite economy:

  • As soon as we were seated, a stewardess immediately arrived and ask if I would want to have my meal first or Jie since one of us would be holding Elora. I volunteered that Jie have it first.
  • Before take off, Jie was invited to take a vacant seat on the other aisle, so Elora can seat, and it would be more comfortable for all of us.
  • Elora was given an Olaf plushie. This entertained her during the flight. 
  • Entertainment selection was great. They even had a kids section which contained all the animations and family movies. There were also games. 
  • New earphones everytime
  • Hygiene kit and socks during the long flight (SG to US) 
  • Food was good, and soooo filling. I think we gained so many pounds during the flight alone. 😅
  • Stewards were so friendly and accommodating.

Our original seat before Jie was invited to transfer

New seating arrangement

Enjoying her own seat

In one of our flights, I transferred Elora to the bassinet when she fell asleep. However, a few hours into the flight, the head steward came and ask that I carry Elora. Reason is simply because she was already too long for the bassinet. This was actually not an issue because it was clearly obvious. Her feet were dangling from the bassinet! Hehe Just a tip for those with long-legged infants 😁

With the few airlines we have tried, clearly Singapore Airlines was a winner. It also made travelling with Elora so much comfortable. I’m sure we would want to try the other airlines in the future but currently Singapore Airlines would be our default airline.

Hey, in case you want to check out the others: 👇

Hongkong Airlines:
Suite 402, Alexander House, 132 Amorsolo St.,  Legaspi Village Makati Metro Manila
Telephone: +632-812-2382

Singapore Airlines
33/F LKG Tower, 6801 Ayala Avenue Makati City 1226
Telephone +63 2 7568888

Cathay pacific
22F LKG Towers, 6801 Ayala Avenue, Makati City 1226, Philippines
For PLDT landline & Smart Mobile: 180014411011 
For Globe: 180087395117 

6F, The Salcedo Tower, 169, Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City, M.M. Philippines
Phone:  63-2-662-8000/8088

Filinvest Ticket Office, Westgate Center, Commerce Ave. cor  Filnvest Ave. Filinvest Corporate Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Tel: (632) 966-9046
Makati Ticket Office: G/F PNB Makati Center, 6754 Ayala Avenue cor  Legazpi St. Makati City
Tel: (632) 320-8983

There were a lot of PAL offices. I just copied the one most convenient to us. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Staycation at Microtel by Wyndham (Mall of Asia)

4:37:00 PM
We had the opportunity to enjoy a staycation at Microtel at Coral Drive, Mall of Asia over the weekend. Actually, it was more staycation for Jie and Elora, work for me because I had an event that Sunday in the same hotel.

The hotel was a pleasant surprise. The room was spacious enough with 2 queen beds, considering we just got the standard rooms. It had a mini-ref but no coffee making facilities, which I thought was standard. The room had a pitcher and glasses and the hallway near the elevator had a water dispenser. One floor below had an ice dispenser. These 2 alone can make the stay a little more convenient. 

My office mates got the family room, which was complete with 1 queen bed and bunk beds, good enough for 4 people; a microwave unit, mini-ref, a sink and water heater. Their restroom also had a bath tub, while ours do not.

Another good thing going for the hotel, I guess, was their location and the view. Our room was facing Mall of Asia Baywalk so we can clearly see the MOA eye / Ferris wheel. Just across the street was Buffet 101, and Conrad Hotel.

I mean, I would not really stay at this hotel since I live very near the area. But I was thinking that it could be a good location if someone was attending a function or event at MOA that would finish very late. The hotel was in a very convenient place, very near to the mall.

Elora was feeling extra active that day so Jie and I decided to just dine in the hotel. We discovered that they have a rooftop dining. You would need to go up to the 12th floor and climb one flight of stairs. The dining place was beside their pool. Actually, the pool was in the middle of their dining area, which we find quite weird, and think not properly laid out. So imagine if you are dining and there were a lot of swimmers around haha.

But the area was nice and cozy, i think good enough for an intimate dinner. At their rooftop dining, they had an option of salmon, baby back ribs, chicken kebab and pork chops. Each one comes with soup, bread, salad and rice. They also had pasta arrabiata. Since Elora was with us, and their grill menu was not exactly a kid’s fare, they offered that we can order from their restaurant Millie’s downstairs. But our order took a while, even the coffee, since it still came from downstairs. They did not have a kitchen at the rooftop, just a grilling, soup and salad station. Between the baby back ribs and the chicken kebab that we ordered. I liked the baby back ribs more. 

Breakfast was buffet. I was not able to take pictures any more as our event was about to start, but I remembered that that there was fried rice, vegetables, scrambled and boiled eggs, daing na bangus, corned beef and glazed ham. They also had a juice station, cereal, yoghurt, fruits, dessert and assorted breads. Pretty good considering that charge for an additional person was just P500.

More than the location and the amenities, what I noticed about Microtel, especially at Millie’s and their rooftop dining, was its staff were extra friendly., They really took the time to make us comfortable. For that alone, a stay at Microtel was worth it.




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