TRAVEL: Japan Day 5


It’s our last day in Osaka and it makes me really sad to be leaving this place. But since we have an afternoon flight, we decided to have a free day. We didn’t really have any concrete plan.

First official business: Leave our hotel and drop our baggage so we can still roam around. It’s our first time to ride their cab! We never really did during our stay. We hopped from one place to another by using their trains.

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And we dropped our bags off. It’s a good thing Jude read this somewhere. We also saw this in Namba, in the underpass in the ‘malls’ / stores that you pass by going to the train but we felt it wasn’t that secured so we did some research. And we ended up here, just outside one of the train stations. (so it’s a plus)

Then we head to Dotonbori for Lunch. ❤ We decided to try some maki and sushi to fully experience authentic Japan. We picked Nigiri Chojiro, Conveyor Belt Sushi. It’s also one of the top restaurants in Yelp.

Ofcourse he had to order the set / sampler one. He says it’s really good and tasted fresh.

Me, on the otherhand ordered a which is also good. Nothing fancy, nothing special either. And we were also amazed how the order process go, since you order it from a computer. What’s more amazing is how much they trust their customers.

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Because we had Japanese for Lunch, of course I was not full. 😛 Who would be? I only ordered Tuna Yakiniku! :/ Ergo, I was eager for some dessert!

We asked our friend, Yelp for some best desserts in Dotonbori and was glad we were just a block away and to our surprise, there was a LONG line for takeout. We went inside and they still had a sit down area on the second floor.

Rikuro Ojisan

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We had to wait for 10 minutes to be seated. The wait was okay. It was nice to wait in the stairway rather than on the streets because of the weather. 😛

When we were finally seated, we ordered their set which comes with 1 pastry and a coffee. (I forgot how much). We ordered one each since they have a minimum amount for you to be seated and dine.

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I don’t normally eat cheesecake but it was fine. Hubby liked it and I was able to finish my chocolate slice. We both had some coffee to go with our pastries.

Next Stop: Shisekai Area

On the way to Tsutenkaku Tower, we passed by a certain area similar to Dotonbori. I wanted to stroll and try different food stalls but he reminded me that we had limited time. :/

Tsutenkaku, a symbol of Osaka is 64 meters in height. It reminded citizens of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris.

There’s a lot to see inside the tower. There’s no point going in one of the tallest buuilding if you won’t, at the very least look at the view from the highest point, right? So here we are, admiring the view from the top.

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They have a separate floor for a dining area and for souvenirs too.

But most importantly, we lined up to have a glimpse and touch Mr. Biliken. 

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We were told that Mr. Biliken bring luck and happiness to those who touches his legs! ❤ After a short trip to Shinsekai, we had to rush back to the airport to have some dinner before our flight.

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We had five days of Japanese food so by this time, I was craving for some Chinese, and Chinese it is! I absolutely love YANGCHOW rice. ❤ I can eat it everyday! We also had some hot shrimp salad. ❤

This is our last train ride back to the airport. Thank you so much, Japan! I fell in love. Now I know why everyone wants to keep coming back. ❤ ❤

EAT ALABANG: Da Gianni Cucina Italia


In this laidback neighborhood in Alabang, there’s this place called West Gate. In this, you’ll find secret gems that will feed your hungry palate. And by gem, I mean Da Gianni. ❤

We are having our late lunch on a Sunday at 2:00 pm and the restaurant was still almost full when we got there. I had to pick the one nearest the window for a good lighting. (hihi). The place looks posh with brick walls and wooden tables.

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We were given the typical appetizer at first. ❤

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We ordered Quattro Formaggi for Php 535 – Four Cheese topped with Truffles

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I’ve had A LOT of Four Cheese pizzas in my life, it’s been a favorite variant of mine and this, I have to say is my favorite out of all my favorites. ❤ It’s just oozing with goodness.

We also ordered an Oil Based Pasta, Gambas Aglio Olio for Php 450 – Olive oil and garlic

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The Chef had to improvise. If you see their menu, they don’t really have an aglio olio dish with shrimps but we requested it. The Chef happily obliged. We just asked that we be informed of the cost first. And they definitely delivered. The pasta is PERFECT. ❤ Good is an understatement. Every bite is heavenly. ❤ ❤ ❤

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With this, we also ordered 2 Wines by the Glass, Trebbiano D Abbruzzo Doc, a sweet white wine for me and Rosato Salento, a rose for the husband.

A perfect lunch to end our weekend. Definitely not our last. ❤

TRAVEL: Japan Day 4


For our fourth day in Japan, hubby got us another Klook Tour: Kyoto and Nara Day Tour! I’m excited to meet the deers since they always seem so friendly. ❤

Since we were joining a Group Tour from Klook, our Pick-up Location is in VIP Villa in Namba at 7:50 am. But the hubby wants to be on time, and when I say on time – it means an hour early. We were there by 7:00 am! And I guess other guests had the same thing in mind since several joiners were there already. (And I noticed that almost half of our group are Filipinos too. Haha)

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The drive from Namba to Kyoto was about 2 hours so even though we got up so early, we had time to take a nap. 🙂 First Stop: Kinkaku-ji Temple. (or what they call Golden Temple) Entrance Fee is 400 yen. (but since we got this from Klook, it’s free already)

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The Golden Temple was previously a retirement home but became a Zen Temple. The top two floors are completely covered in Gold Leaf. AND, the temple has burned down several times already. Can you believe it?

I love how peaceful the whole place is. The temple is surrounded by a pond in the middle of a garden full of trees and plants. No wonder it used to be a retirement place.

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But before you get to the temple, you will pass by this house that used to be the living quarters of the head priest. See? It really is surrounded by lovely trees! especially in autumn. ❤

Next Stop: Kasuga Tai-sha

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This place is the most celebrated shrine in Nara and is dedicated to the deity responsible for the protection of the city. It is also one of the most sacred places since a lot of the Gods are enshrined in the place. On the way to this place, our tour guide taught us on how to honor the place: (as seen below, the husband is trying).

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Next: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

One of the most famous landmarks – the sky high bamboo groves are truly instagrammable. But unfortunately, we didn’t know that we needed to pay extra to go inside the road (at the back of hubby) to get a good picture. As I said, one of the most famous, thus it attracts CRAZY number of tourists!

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We don’t have a good photo to show you the giant bamboos that fill this place. BUT!!! Along side the road leading to it, there’s a LOT of food stands and stores on the road. So we managed to try  the following:

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Husband tried the Ichigo Daifuku – It is a Japanese confection, a mochi filled with bean paste, split into two and a fresh strawberry is placed within. The hubby liked it. ❤ I tried it too but I don’t really eat strawberries. Sooooo. . .

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I normally won’t go for Gyoza since I feel like the meat usually is dry. But this is good. ❤ The sauce is perfect, it was soft and the meat was not dry. Thumbs Up!

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I was pretty excited that there were ice creams in sight but as I looked closely to each store, they were all offering BAMBOO flavored desserts. I don’t eat Matcha and Green Tea so you know where my hesitations are coming from. BUT, I still wanted to try this Bamboo Flavored Soft Ice Cream – and it tastes exactly as matcha. :/ so the hubby finished it by himself.

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We also managed to try Grilled Crabs and Rice Cakes too. There’s a bunch of stores lined up in the streets and I’m a bit overwhelmed. We both wanted to try everything. 😛

Since we consumed most of our time binge-eating in the street, we decided to eat our late lunch in one of the restaurants in front of the parking, so we can see our bus. And obviously, we ate Tempura – the safest order. 😛

Another Stop: Fushimi Inari Taisha – It is famous for its thousands of Vermilion Torii Gates.

It is the most important shrines dedicated to Inari, the god of rice. Also, You have to be really patient – since there are so many tourists here too. You can never really get a shot with no one there to ruin the shot. 😛

Fun Fact: The thousand gates are donated by different individuals — and their names are written on the gates. One gate costs around 400,000 yen.

Our Last Stop: Nara Park

A very large park home to hundreds of deers. ❤

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Like I said, it is home to deers, roaming around freely. ❤ You can interact with them! Deer Crackers are sold at 100 yen for 10 crackers!! And it’s so fun! They are so tame and it seems like no matter how many tourists are there to feed them, they always seem to be hungry.

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The deers are said to be messenger of Gods. At first, I couldn’t decipher which of them are fawns or which of them are the older ones. But after some research, I read that their antlers are removed every October. (so that’s why!) – Antler Cutting Tradition – for safety reasons.

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Another fun fact: Deer Crackers are just wheat flour and rice bran. And all of the profits from the crackers are used for the sole purpose of protecting the deers.

Before we left for Nara, we also found a good spot:

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Going back, I think everyone went back at around 6:30 pm and we left by 7:00 pm. There’s also a store where you can buy your souvenirs even deer shaped chocolates too! ❤

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It’s been good, Nara and Kyoto. ❤ I cannot wait to go back and explore you more! We got back at around 8:30 pm and since it was late, we went to dinner straight.

Dinner at Matsusakagyu Yakiniku M (The restaurant is quite famous so they require reservations.)

A winner in the 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards for restaurants, ranking number 1 in Japan, and number 5 in Asia.

We first heard about this place from a friend who is pretty well traveled. We were warned that it is quite pricey — and it is. I believe this is our most expensive meal in our entire stay in Japan.

We ordered the Matsusaka Tasting Platter for 3,000 Yen – 2 pieces for each type of beef. The Beef that’s included are Sirloin Steak, Kyukyoku and Haneshita.

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You will be the one to cook this on grill in front of you. We were taught to cook each side of the beef for at least 2 minutes for the perfect taste. You are also given different sauces to go with it.

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I LOVE MEAT. and I’m amazed how tender the beef is. ❤ it’s so flavorful. Although it’s not quite filling since we shared this, did not regret this as we really wanted to try one of the best in Osaka. ❤

And because we only shared 1 rice (you know how we Filipinos love our rice), the hubby still wanted to eat. We ended up trying Okonomiyaki. We were trying to find a particular place, famous for its Okonomiyaki but we failed.

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We ordered the Pork Okonomiyaki with Big Size Octopus for 550 Yen with Draft Beer at 430 Yen.

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I don’t really eat Okonomiyaki. But I tried it – hubby says it’s good. The size is huge too!

Okonomiyaki, when translated means ‘grilled as you like it’. It’s a Japanese Pancake with cabbage, flour, eggs and variety of meat.

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And that ends our Fourth Day! 😀 We are pretty productive, don’t you think? Sad to be leaving tomorrow. 😦

EAT TAGAYTAY: Balay Dako


Balay Dako has been around since 2015. They are serving purely Filipino Dishes with Tagaytay as its beautiful backdrop. But I only recently was aware of it early 2019. We were pretty busy last year so we were not able to try this one, not until now.

It’s a bit intimidating. The place looks posh and expensive (and it is, actually). But there are also some reasonable entrees on their menu.

The place was packed around 4:00 pm. I was expecting only a few will be there but surprisingly, they don’t have dead hours (good for them). The waiters were attentive and we didn’t have to wait long for our order to be served.

We ordered Sisig na Pusit for Php 410 – Grilled cubes of squid mixed with housemade mayonnaise, garlic and onions served in a hot iron plate.

Meh. It’s not that bad BUT, I would definitely ignore this next time. I don’t particularly think it’s worth its price. Nothing special. One thing praise worthy about the dish is that it was not like ‘chewing gum’. (Or probably because it was already sliced into cubes.

Next, we ordered Binagoongang Baboy for Php 380 – Pork Belly stewed and sauteed in fermented Shrimp Paste

THE BEST! I told you! HAHA. It’s such a given for us to order this. And we were not mistaken. UGH. Their version is so, so good. I love that it has enough oil but not too much. ALTHOUGH, I hated that there’s a LOT of fat. :/ BUT, I will definitely order this again. ❤ Pure love.

We also ordered the Inasal na Pecho for Php 170 – Grilled Chicken Breast marinated in Vinegar, lime juice, black peppercorn and annatto oil.

Hubby LOVES anything chicken so when he requested this, I just had to. (though I don’t like chicken inasal). I had a taste of this. Again, nothing special. It was alright.

We also tried one of their icecreams – Cookies & Cream ❤ It’s really good too!

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If we had to, I’ll never forget to order the Binagoongang Baboy again and try some of the Sugpo Dishes. ❤ I especially want to try the Piniritong Sugpo at Sarsang Itlog na Pula and Lechon Kawali. It looks yum! 🙂

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Finally ticked this one off. ❤

EAT MAKATI: WOODEN SPOON


I don’t know why we never go here when I know for a fact it will be a good meal. We decided to have dinner here to celebrate my birthday. (I know! It feels like I aged 3 years since we’ve been celebrating several times)

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Crab Pancit for Php 229 This is a must try! This is one of my favorites. ❤ and it’s one of their best sellers too. I don’t know why but my family is not a fan.

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Binagoongan for Php 299 Again, a favorite. ❤ It’s not woah for me but it was good too. However, there’s a lot of fat. :/

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Crunchy Garlic Bangus for Php 350 It’s so crispy, I’m gonna dieeee! I like mine crispy! Thumbs up!

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Stuffed Pechay for Php 205 The bomb! I love pechay alone, stuff it with pork, drenched in coconut and a bit of spice. ❤ LOVE.

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Pork Sisig for Php 275 This is one of my husband’s requests! I hate cartilage and the small bones. Luckily, everything is as crispy as it should be. ❤

We also ordered Kare Kare for Php 375. But since I don’t eat such, I forgot to take a picture. HAHA. Sorry. :/

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Honestly cannot pick just 1 viand. Everything is so, SO GOOD. ❤ I gained and keep on gaining. 😦 But glad to be sharing a meal with my loved ones. ❤

EAT KAPITOLYO: LOCAVORE


If you happen to be a Kapitolyo Fan just like us, then you would know how hot Locavore is. right?
Locavore is located in the not so popular side streets. 20160213_173653

What else to order besides the famous Sizzling Sinigang na Baboy for Php 475.
Beef short ribs, sauteed french beans, sampaloc gravy and garlic confit.
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It was superb with a triple okay hand sign if I actually have three hands. It had no soup, obviously. It was placed in a sizzling plate. But there are remnants of ‘sauce’ which absolutely tasted like an actual SINIGANG. If you’re not convinced so far, then let me put it out there. The vegetables were crispy. The meat was tender. Need I say more?

Aside from that, we also ordered Street Food Platter for Php 180.00
Fishball, Squidball, Kikiam, Kwek-kwek served with Manon’g sauce, sweet chili and honey vinegar.

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There’s not much to say. As if there are really any difference with street foods. There’s none.
Except that I like this one because the squid balls was definitely not reheated – it still had its crisp.

And ofcourse he had to order a chicken dish.
Mac’s Boneless Fried Chicken for Php 220.00
House special glazed boneless fried chicken.

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Glazed Chicken. Surprisingly, I actually liked this dish. Their mix of marinated spices was so good.
The size was monstrous.

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All in all, I LOVE LOCAVORE.
I need to try the rest of the dishes. I’ll bring my family here. Until next time, Locavore!

EAT ORTIGAS: SPATZLE


We are Rice Eaters! Our Chubby Cheeks and Voluminous Bodies says yes!
We were looking for something with Rice and we ended up with — Yup! Spatzle.

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Alex ordered the Spatz Beef Stew — Php 480.
It’s a Slow braised USDA short ribs with bacon, mushrooms & shallots served with organic arugula side salad & garlic fried rice.

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I ordered the Spatz Fish & Chips – Php 370
Crispy & light battered sole fillet served with home made fries and coper mayo.

I can only speak for my order because I didn’t taste theirs. It was delightfully crispy but just like all other fried foods, you can only have so much of it
then you get tired of it. The savior? the fries! Big on Seasoning, I see! It’s goooooddd.

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Jude ordered the Spatz Fried Chicken with Paprika Gravy – Php 320
Crisp homemade fried chicken served with fries and paprika gravy.

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Our drinks? All Natural Citrus Cooler Soda for Php 145 and Mint Lemonade for Php 125.
We love love love our drinks!
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This one is pricey with a so-so food.

TRAVEL BAGUIO: MT. CLOUD BOOKSHOP


I finally had the chance to go inside. You may have passed by this place and not know there was a bookstore.

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BENCAB MUSEUM (1)
Casa Vallejo is along Session Road. The Mt. Cloud Bookshop is under it, and beside is the Baguio Cinematheque where there is free admission everyday.

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The place was a bit small. You can see the whole store from where you are standing. there’s also a second floor but it was only a one long wall of  display.

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The store is open from 8:00 am to 8:00 in the evening.
Here are our Book Snatches for this trip:

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I’ll be back Mt. Cloud! That’s for sure.
I just hope you expand this to a little quaint cafe where we can read.  

EAT BAGUIO: CAFE BY THE RUINS


One of the more popular food stop at Baguio: Cafe by the Ruins.
It’s a Garden slash forestry slash restaurant. It has a rustic wooden feel to it.

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The whole restaurant was busy, it was beaming with people. You have to get listed to be able to seat.

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As for me, I ordered the Shrimp and Mango Curry — Php 250.00
Prawns in coconut milk curry. It is served with 7 condiments: hard boiled egg, grated coconut, fried onions, chili, churney, papadums and peanuts.

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The dish itself was so good. And I actually expected to be served only with a few pieces of shrimp but to my surprise, I think I ate about 8? and some for him too.
The plating was okay. It was full of color and was far from being dull but the plate was too busy. It had all sorts of things one cannot manage to take in everything at one time.

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He ordered the Baguio Bagnet – Php 280.00
It’s a double fried pork belly, it is tenderized in lard, then redried to a crisp. Condiments are Podas Bagoong and tomato relish.

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The pork was good. It was tender yet crispy. The only thing we didn’t like was the Bagoong. It’s Baguio Bagnet. Bagnets are supposed to come with Bagoong as its perfect pair.
But the Bagoong served in this dish is home made where the fish is still in its raw form. It does not even compliment the dish. The whole point of eating a Bagnet is to eat it with the
most delicious Bagoong. So without it, the dish was set to be ‘boo-ed’ like a child star actor who grew old.

The waiters were fast but they lack the smile they should be willingly giving to their customers. In addition to that, since they’re the garden type, the place was swarming with flies as
it is an open space.

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Though I am not fully satisfied and impressed, I’m still looking forward to trying the other dishes on their menu.

TRAVEL BAGUIO: BENCAB MUSEUM


After experiencing the tiring trek to La Presa, we head out to BenCab Museum.
Coming from the city, it would probably take you 30 minutes.

This museum permanently houses the works of our Philippine National Artist, Benedicto Cabrera. — the reason behing the Museum’s name. He is widely known as the Master of Contemporary Philippine Art.
He graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Fine Arts in 1963. He has exhibied widely in places as far as Asia, Europe and United States.
Aside from his collection, some galleries also exhibits other Filipino Artist’s Works.

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General Admission is at Php 100. While Senior Citizens and Students are priced at Php 80.

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You will be greeted with these paintings and you know for sure, you’re in a good place for art.

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I believe you can say that he is very fond of Bulol Sculptures.

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Some of the paintings you will see there.

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They also have a rather popular gallery: Erotica.

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I am glad we have this kind of museums that cater to Philippine Art. They deserve more time and exposure. Filipino artists deserves more attention and appreciation.

Km 6 Asin Road. Tadiangan, Tuba, Benguet

TRAVEL BAGUIO: SITIO LA PRESA


After having our Breakfast at Good Taste (Experience), we headed immediately at Sitio La Presa.

Sitio La Presa has increasingly becoming popular because of the Teleserye Forevermore where most of its scenes were shot at this so called place. Not everyone knows it, but Sitio La Presa is actually called Sitio Pungayan which is not in Baguio. It is actually situated at the top of Mt. Kabuyao.

How to get there? You may rent a car at Avis, which is just beside the Victory Liner Terminal. It would cost you about Php 2,000 – 5,000 depending on the vehicle. The price is for 12 hours alone. Or, you may decide to hire a taxi just like we did.
The average rate of the cab drivers is Php 800 back and forth the city proper of Baguio. We haggled. So we were able to push our luck to Php 800 for two destinations already. Sitio La Presa and BenCab Museum for Php 800.00

You may want to go to this place really early morning. We were on our way about 8 in the morning and the vehicles were already lining up and causing traffic. From Baguio City Proper, it will probably take you about 30 minutes without traffic. Since we already experienced traffic, we went down the vehicle and walked towards the trail.  

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The place was beautiful if only the government keep the vendors only at the foot of the trail and limit its numbers. Both sides of the trail are full of vendors selling corn, potato chips, hats, pasalubongs and other sort of things. There are also some photo op backgrounds prepared for the tourists.

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We will be back at an earlier period maybe and a stronger set of legs.

LEARN / THOUGHTS: DO’S & DONT’S IN LINKEDIN


I stumbled upon this article 10 minutes prior this. If you are familiar with linked in, it’s a a social network for job seekers. And with a very tight competition nowadays, we have to prepare for the battle at all times.

I’ll share you an article from Business Insider.

DO’S AND DON’TS IN LINKEDIN

This should really be helpful.

And if you still don’t have an account, create one now!

EAT MAKATI: GINO’S BRICK OVEN PIZZA


Hooray for Saturday Nights! This restaurant has been on my list for ages! And come to think of it? This is just a 10 to 15 minutes walk from where I work.

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We arrived at the scene of gluttony past 7 I think and the place was crowded already. A group of friends, couples and families are gathered outside waiting for their turn. We were fifth on the list and I think it took us 30 to 40 minutes waiting period for us to be seated. I’m not sure if they have reservations but if you want to try this, I suggest that you go there early.

We were I-can-eat-a-whole-pizza-by-myself kind of hungry already. And it was too hot outside – it probably is summer but nonetheless.

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We asked for their Best Sellers in the Pasta and they gave us two choices: Salted Egg or the Lemon Mushroom. Both are quite unique right? We wanted to try both but we figured that our pizza was already full of dairy. So we ended up ordering the Salted Egg Pasta for Php 190.

It’s a mix of Bacon, Parmesan, Cream, Salted Egg in Fettucine Pasta. It was good. It was creamy yet it had texture. This is not to mock this dish, but to me, I am reminded of the tiny orange bits and pieces that comes with a Malabon Pancit. It actually is a compliment because it’s one of my favorite dishes. Jude loved it!

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We ordered the Four Cheese Pizza for Php 340. It’s Tomato Sauce,  Ricotta Cheese, Mozarella, Cleu Cheese and Parmesan. What not to love?

I guess there’s one. The crust was a bit hard and difficult to pull. The taste though, I loved it.

We also ordered the Buffalo Chicken and it was deliciiiooouuus! This one is spicy though.

IMG_3793We will be back soon! This is making me hungry at 11 in the evening – or it’s probably because I haven’t eaten anything for dinner.

Any, You should definitely try this!