Baguio Food Trippin’

Strawberries, peanut brittle, choco flakes usually come to mind when I think of Baguio. Little did I know that it could or should I say have become a foodie haven.

How to go here: Gone are the days when it will take you long to get to Baguio. With the development of SCTEX and TPLEX, the ride could take 4.5-6 hours depending on the mode of transportation. For public transportation, you can go to Victory Liner at Cubao (683 EDSA, South Bound). Ticket is at 450/head inclusive of insurance. You can buy a ticket for the earliest available trip then just line up at the Chance Passenger queue for an even earlier trip. A chance passenger could be one of these things: someone who missed his trip schedule, has a purchased ticket but is hoping to get an earlier ride, or has no ticket at all but hopes to get a seat on the next bus.

Now, let’s get down to business. What are the food that me and friends have tried and our verdict?

1. Canto

A placed that lived up to its reputation! This is a favorite for locals and tourists alike because of the Lomo Baby Back Ribs priced at PhP245 for half slab and PhP470 for whole.

When we arrived, there was a long queue, literally around 30 people before us. We tried falling in line to help us decide if we’ll stay or go – we need to make significant progress in 15 minutes was the deal. As we were waiting, the smell of the barbeque wafted through the air. That made the decision for us! We will stay and glad that we did. The wait was for almost 45 minutes since it was 7pm when we arrived. (Quick tip: go for early dinner like 5:30 pm or later like 9pm)

Verdict: everything was delicious!

Canto

Lomo Baby Back Ribs with Cascade Salad and Rice/ Mash Potato

Smoky barbecue sauce and meat that’s juicy and easily falls off the bone. Plus the serving was good for 4-5 people! It has surpassed our standard for ribs! I know that this alone deserved a standing O, but I had to put this in — the Cascade Salad was refreshingly flavorful! Combine the vinaigrette sauce, cucumber, watermelon, alfalfa sprouts, and cheese, and you’ll have one memorable salad.

Chicken Pastel

Just by looking at it, I know you can imagine how creamy and cheesy it tastes. And you’re right! Those are two of the things I love about these. Add to that the savory chicken flavor and this easily becomes a favorite.

Buffalo Wings

Reminds me of Shrimp Bucket’s. 3 big pieces for PhP190 is worth it! The wings were coated in a spicy tangy sauce and you can also dip that in garlic sauce for additional flavor.

2. Korean Palace/ Kung Jeon

KP1

Unlimited meat and side dishes for PhP399! Need I say more?! For side dishes, they offer so many kinds. You are not limited with kimchi or kimbap, but there are seafood pancake, marble potato, rolled japchae, watercress, etc. For the meat, we enjoyed both the marinated pork and boneless chicken and samgyupsal (unanimous favorite).

KP2

3. Arca’s Yard

It’s a 3-storey restaurant cafe located a bit far from the city proper called Ambuklao Road. They offer meals, desserts, coffee and tea. Me and my friends ordered drinks only since we’re full from the lunch buffet. Cacao Hot Chocolate is good but can be made better with thicker consistency and more concentrated cacao/ tablea flavor. The Artist Cloud Tea was perfect for the cool weather, refreshing tea paired with sweet wild honey.Arcas1

What makes this special though is the view and ambiance. As you peek outside, you can see the mountain range as backdrop of faraway homes and verdant greens. While seated inside, you get to huddle close with friends around low lying tables and colorful pillows. Oh and for the bookworms, there are shelves filled with various reads at the basement.

Arcas2

4. Cinco Antonios Bistro near Mines View Park

We ordered strawberry sinigang, pork sisig, and buttered chicken. I had high hopes for the sinigang as I’ve tried watermelon in another restaurant, and the taste had the right blend of sweet and sour. Sadly, it was just sinigang with slices of strawberry. The soup was good, but they should have brought the flavor of the strawberry by smashing it or squeezing out its juice to mix with the soup. Perhaps that would have made it a true blue strawberry sinigang. Good thing that the other 2 dishes were good and worth it, so we still enjoyed the entire meal. Aside from butter, the chicken was coated with red sauce that made it salty to the palette, and it was juicy.

Cinco115. Strawberry Snacks

Strawberry Shortcake at Visco’s Cakeshop

What I like about this cake is that every bite fills your mouth with STRAWBERRY! From the fruit slices on top, the pink velvety icing, and the fluffy chiffon cake, it screams strawberry and in a very good way! One thing could have made this better, moist and compact cake, but that’s just my preference. It’s still so good that I would have easily bought a whole cake if travel time permits.

Visco1

Strawberry Taho

I missed eating taho, so when I saw one at Mines View Park, I ordered a cup! Kuya was selling it for PhP35. It’s sweeter than the usual taho especially if you get a sip right off the arnibal, but the sweetness is exactly what works well with the bland silken tofu.

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There you go! Baguio truly has a lot to offer, and I will definitely be back for another food trip in this cool City of Pines!

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In Just a Matter of Days…

It took 5 days.. and just like that, I knew that I fell in love. Not with a someone but with a mission. OD or Organization Development seems a new word for most of us. It’s anchored on Behavioral Science, similar to HR, as it deals with people in organizations. In a nutshell, it involves planned changes for the purpose of organization effectiveness (the here and now) and organization health (the future). It’s not just one time but seeks sustainability! 

As I learned more about it, I knew that I could be in this for the long haul. This is in part because I’m a nerd for anything behavioral or psychological, but a bigger part screams it’s because I know I will become a better person in this journey. 

Here are some of the key take-aways from that 1-week learning adventure:

1- Balance confidence with humility. Each person has so much potential, and our beauty is unmatched because we are created in the image of that loving and good God. This should give us confidence in our capabilities and maximize the gifts, no matter how unique it is or how “useless” as some people might think. 

Humility should be on the other end of the seesaw – a reminder that we are not invincible but everything that we have is attributable to that all-powerful God who has blessed us.

2 – Eloquence is expressed both in words and intention. When we think of persuasion, of power, we come up with words like articulate, fluent, confident. However, power can be manifested too in that still soft voice of authenticity – a simple sincere desire to be of help in whatever way you can. At the end of the day, you know that you are in a good place not when you are applauded by strangers because you’ve spoken well, but because you’ve made a difference in your own little way.. somehow, somewhere, for someone.

3 – You know that you are in the RIGHT place when your gifts and heart meet at the center of God’s mission and His glory. There’s that career where you know you got things under control; you know your talent and are able to put it to good use. Or you see yourself going to your work day in and day out,  not tiring, not getting bored, but enjoying every bit of it. Talent intertwined with Passion. One of life’s blessings is to be in that adventure of being used by God for His purposes, and you just get to enjoy the ups and even the downs with Him in the driver seat.


5 days seem short to fall in love. In my case, it wasn’t the impulsive kind. I know that God has been preparing me all these years, just like a patient father to any of His children. He’s just there, inviting, guiding, and waiting until such time that I am ready to heed His call on that adventure!

Listen. It might be your turn. He might be telling you about your next adventure.:)

Scarlet Heart: Ryeo

Finished the series in a week’s time! It has the ingredients of a story that gets your attention, reels you in, and keeps you captive down to the last happening. *sigh*


What are the things that I like about it? 

A compelling story that paints a picture of the good and bad in the olden days. The series was set at the Goryeo era of Korea’s rich history which was a thousand years ago. 

Imagine a king whose words can make or break a person’s life, a family’s hope, or a servant’s dream. A good king will be its nations source of strength, provision, and security. On the other hand, a king may be the people’s greatest enemy when swallowed up by personal ambition and greed. Good thing that we no longer live in such a time of absolute power where one can easily fall prey into its abuse.

After the king, we have the princes. Sounds exciting and intriguing to be in the midst of real royalties. Like a girl’s dream of meeting his prince charming could literally come to life. But wait, that’s not the entire picture. Our fairy tale memories captured only a part of what really happens.

It’s harder to find that happily ever after because arrange marriages were common. The family decides who one will marry and seals the deal with that man’s family. Unthinkable to even consider this in our times. Sure, it still happens but true love stories are more prevalent than the staged ones. Plus come to think of it, we don’t need a real prince, we just need a man with the heart of a prince, who will pursue us relentlessly, protect us tirelessly, and love us unconditionally.


Wang So and Hae Soo. It was a star-filled cast, having several major characters, but the love story of the 4th Prince and Soo is what kept me expectant and awake at the wee hours of the night. Aww.. it was heartbreaking but genuinely real. I don’t believe that a person can change someone. I still don’t, but something definitely changes with another person when he experiences love that is beyond reason. Imperfections are seen but sincerely accepted. Hurts and disappointments are felt but freely forgiven. Because of love and the value given to equality and justice, the history of a bloody monarch may turn to the future of a good and wise king. For this, I can find rest in the ending. 


It made me laugh and cry, and I hope you give it a chance to do the same for you.:) 

What Cancer Does to You

It’s not me, but my dad has it. He was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer last May 2016 then it progressed to stage 4 last July. 


When you hear that diagnosis, it changes you and the people around you. Drastically. Significantly. Surprisingly, it’s not all that bad. Because to a good and faithful God, He can turn this darkness into His light. That’s just what He did to our family.

When your life has been turned upside down, and you’ve been broken and shaken to the core, the valuable things become much clearer. Ironically, when you’re in the darkest times of your life that’s the time that you see things clearly, without the haze of personal ambition, self love, personal comfort, or social recognition. It’s you, your loved ones, and your mighty God. 

God has blessed us with so many things for the past year: faith that may be tested but will not be shaken, character that may become weak but will not be shattered, and a heart that may bleed and weep but will not be irreparably broken. 


So summing up the lessons that I’ve learned for the past year.

God is sovereign and is unchanging. His goodness, faithfulness, and graciousness remain no matter what our circumstance is. During daddy’s 1-month hospitalization last April to May, I saw puzzle pieces fall into their rightful place… as if God has been preparing our family for that battle, and He gave us the weapons to win. First weapon was my sister’s medical background. My dad tend to easily get anxious over pain and uncertain things. My doctor sister was the one who appease him by explaining the medical condition in a way that only a loving physician and daughter can. Second weapon was financial advantage. We’re not rich, but we’ve got so many help to cover for our skyrocketing bill of over half a million. Daddy is a senior citizen so everything is given a 20% discount. My dad is my healthcard dependent, and he still has over 100K in coverage. My sister’s husband is in the health insurance field and gave us tips on how to process the bill to maximize the healthcard’s use. Since my sister is a doctor, my dad’s main surgeon waived her professional fee in honor of the Hippocratic Oath. We got blessings too from PCSO, relatives, and friends. So to date, we are debt-free through His provision.

Family mirrors heavenly love. God uses people to bring you strength during those times that you feel so weak and close to giving up. My mama, sisters, my brother-in-law’s faith encouraged me to continue this fight and believe that we have the victory in Christ. My relatives brought joy and hope to daddy when they visited him. They blessed us and help raise some of the needed money by doing garage sale for us! 

Miracles do happen! At times it’s exacrly how you envision it. My dad’s two successful surgeries. His positive response to chemotherapy. No hair or appetite loss. He even gained weight because he was hungry most of the time and ate! At times, God will give you something different but exactly what you need. Before daddy’s diagnosis, we’re praying that the mass is benign. It turned out malignant, but through that daddy drew closer to God, reaching the point that he accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. What I ask for was physical healing but God has something better, daddy’s spiritual restoration.

I need to grow up. With my sheltered background, I had to learn domestication and independence fast! This involves going to the market early on a Sunday, figuring out what’s a fresh carrot and which ones to buy, preparing the clothes to be sent for laundry service, cleaning up our house, throwing the garbage at the end of the day, cooking rice, etc. I still have a long way go to in this domestication journey but I will get there. 

Looking back, it was the toughest year for me. That was the time that I said to God, “I’m all in, Lord. Break me.” Little did I know that His answer would come soon, really soon! But given the chance, that would still have been my prayer. Otherwise, I would have missed out on witnessing God’s great power, unwavering faithfulness, and overwhelming love. 


So for 2017, Lord, I’m still all yours.

Food trip at Pino and Saint’s Alp

I’ve been hearing much about the Kare-Kareng Bagnet but it was only last Saturday that I got to give a firsthand verdict on it. Me and 4 of my friends decided to eat somewhere fairly new, at least something new to most of us. The chosen place– Pino at Maginhawa Street. True to the hype, they offer such good and unique eats.

Perhaps it was the hunger after playing hours of badminton or the excitement of eating in a new and much talked-about restaurant, but we ended up ordering quite a number of food. There was even a time that we were eating so fast, as in sort of like panicking that we won’t have enough table space to accommodate the incoming food. Haha!

We started with their nachos topped with longganisa and their platter of fried shrimp with salted egg. The nachos are delicious but nothing out of the ordinary. The bigger surprise came with the shrimp as it blended so well with the salted egg. I was wondering all along why I did not ever think of trying to combine these two things at home. Oh maybe, it’s because salted egg is seen as a partner of tomatoes and eaten with a grilled meat rather than a fried shrimp.:P

Of course, we also tried their Kare-kareng Bagnet and the rice wine Adobong tadyang. The Bagnet is just delicious and the Kare-kare sauce with bagoong just made it a lot yummier. So for anyone who’s going to eat at Pino, this is a must-try. The Adobo dish is just okay. The meat was not that tender though and nothing special about the flavor of the sauce.

Since we’re all so hungry, we did not stop at ordering these meat dishes. We ordered 2 more pasta– Pesto with Tuyo and Carbonara Sisig. The Pesto pasta is very flavorful and creamy. I liked how the herbs were not too overpowering and they did not leave an earthy taste in your mouth after. The Carbonara Sisig was a pleasant surprise. I’m not a fan of Sisig and honestly it sounds weird being placed on a pasta dish. But it turned out quite well.:) The meat paired well with the pasta and the cream.

For a very filling and hearty meal, we paid around P450 per head. It was quite pricey but worth it nonetheless.

Saint’s Alp is where we decided to chill and relax after our delicious dinner at Pino. They are known for their delicious teas. I ordered a hot Strawberry Milkshake knowing that I don’t want a normal hot tea or won’t be able to sleep if I ordered something with coffee on it. The shake is really good. I had doubts about a good hot milkshake but it turned out to be a good choice. They serve the tea and shakes in this little teapot that allows you to just pour the right amount of drink that you’d like to have for a certain time and also allows the drink to stay hot longer.

This is just one of our food trips. 🙂 We plan on trying out new places. Why you might ask? Cause nothing beats good food when shared with good friends. Things just become simply more delicious.:)