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Saturday, April 21, 2018
KERMIT MANILA: FROM SIARGAO TO MAKATI NOW OPEN

IF you go to SIARGAO, you have to try KERMIT. This has been the advice of every person I've talked to that has been to SIARGAO. That place seems to be a fantastic place to visit. Surfers, swimmers, beach junkies, and every adventurers dream is to visit Siargao. It seems magical.
Manila based foodies can now have a taste of Siargao with KERMIT MANILA opening in Makati. For the first time ever, this institution is now open in the streets of Poblacion. Located on Molino street and just a stone throw away from A Venue and Century City Mall, this house turned restaurant is quite the charmer. The ground floor is an open air bar while the second floor houses the kitchen and the dining area.
Drinks such as craft beer and even the cocktails are all reminisce of what's in Siargao. This General Luna Monkey Eagle beer has a deep IPA characteristic that would definitely work with the dishes in their menu.
For starters, one could go for their pizza. These are made in their brick fired over and are made to order. Take note though, they're still on their soft opening phase so the menu isn't as extensive as one would like. According to Gianni, the owner, they plan to add more dishes as they get used to the operations here in Manila.
Their pizzas have a thin crust that's semi-fluffy. There is a chewy bite. The cheese is wonderful and their ingredients fresh.
Pasta is the bread and butter of KERMIT. The pasta are made daily and are quite spot on.
The staff would recommend to try the Penne Al Salmone and Cream. It's salmon with cream sauce. Even if there's a slight chance that the outcome might be too salty, I will still give it a try next time around. The combination is just stellar and delicious.
For truffle lovers, the Tagliatelle alla Tartufata would be the bomb.
Topped with Parma Ham, this spinach tagliatelle is quite generous. The ham is thick and the pasta just amazing. I won't mind it being made with spinach.
There was some hesitation to order the Pan Seared Tuna. Thankfully, we did. The tuna was cooked just the way it should be. It was between medium and rare with a dash of olive oil. The capers and mangoes gave it contrasting flavors.
Kermit Manila opens its doors to the public on April 20 at 7pm. For the mean time, they'll be open only in the afternoon till night. After a few weeks or months, they will go full time daily. Welcome to Manila KERMIT.

KERMIT MANILA
Molina St., Poblacion, Makati,
Metro Manila

*** Parking will be an issue as this is a residential area.
*** Suggest to park at A. Venue or Century City Mall.


Disclaimer: Wrote this based on my experience. Visited on their dry run. The meal was courtesy of Gianni.
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Friday, April 20, 2018
EASY TO MAKE HEALTHY MAC AND CHEESE WITH REAL CALIFORNIA MILK

When I was a kid, my parents had a hard time making me drink milk. There were tons of running and hiding and I just wasn't really into it. As I grew up, I realized how important MILK is to a developing body. It's a great source of protein and amino acids. The fact that there's a lot of calcium in milk, makes it an added bonus and a must when it comes to your daily intake.
Aside from the different vitamins that it carries, it has niacin that supports proper brain function and improves cholesterol levels as well. So you see how important it is that you get and source your milk from the best. Let's check out REAL CALIFORNIA MILK AND CHEESE.
For me, there was only one sure fire way to get milk in my system. It was to make a MAC AND CHEESE SNACK. This would be my breakfast or early morning snack just before lunch. With the help of my mom, we recreated her take on the traditional mac and cheese with the help of REAL CALIFORNIA MILK AND CHEESE dairy products.
Here are the different ingredients that you will need:
2 CUPS OF REAL CALIFORNIA MILK
3 TBSP BUTTER
2 TBSP FLOUR
Different types of REAL CALIFORNIA CHEESE. (Mozzarella, Orange Cheddar Cheese) - All grated just before using. 
2 CUPS of cooked pasta. Fusilli would be my personal preference.
3 Strips of Crispy Bacon.

The first step is to melt the butter in the pan. Afterwards, you could add the flour. Gradually stir in the milk over medium heat until it thickens. Slowly add the different cheeses. Stir them until they melt. I would suggest that you leave a bit of cheddar for the top layer later.
Once everything is settled, you now have your sauce. From here, you could introduce the pasta. Don't forget to mix it all properly so that each on is covered by this special and delicious sauce.
From here, you'll get to have cheesy and milky mac and cheese. Granted that you could already enjoy it as it is, my mom does a little bit more. She adds some cheddar on top and bakes it until it melts. If time is of the essence, you may use the microwave to melt the cheese.
You're then rewarded with something comforting and healthy. I know adding bacon may sound a bit too much for some but a little bit more flavor and texture won't hurt.
Remember to look for the Real California Milk or Cheese Seal when visiting the supermarket. By having 100% Real California Milk, you are assured that these are high quality dairy products. All are made from milk from more than 1,300 California Dairy families that prioritizes the well being of their animals and as such makes sure that they produce high quality milk.

These amazing dairy products are available in the different shopping outlets in the Philippines. From S&R, to Landers, Robinsons Supermarket, Sm Hypermarket, Merkado Supermarket, and even Unimart. Be sure to look for the REAL CALIFORNIA MILK SEAL. 
Also don;t forget to try out COOLHAUS this summer. They have a wide range of interesting ice cream flavors to choose from. 

If you want to learn more, check out the website www.RealCaliforniaMilk.com 

#LookForTheSeal #RealCaliforniaMilkPhilippines
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Thursday, April 19, 2018
BPI'S SIP AND GRAB CHALLENGE: 100 Seconds To Win It All

 The feeling of excitement. Adrenaline rushing through your veins. Every single movement is planned out. That was what Jamie Lirazan felt when she was the first of three lucky winners of BPI'S SIP AND GRAB PROMOTION.
 Just earlier this week, the lucky winner was brought to Manila for one in a million chance to get everything and anything one would want from SM APPLIANCES. Different items were laid out and the stage was set. The whole store was closed just for them.
 The goal is to bring all your hearts desire to the red carpet in 100 seconds. Everyone present was already thinking about the different tactics one should do in order to maximize everything. You could use an object to carry the small items but that would mean that you need to drag something heavy and it could kill your time. Maybe you could also go back and forth and aim for the small but pricey items. It was a toss up! A 100 seconds could be fast or slow depending on how you work your magic. Either way, the experience is definitely exhilarating for anyone.
 That day, the challenger went home with appliances and gadgets worth Php 456,000. There was a Samsung Curve 55", a PS4, laptops and cellphone units. It was nerve-wrecking but a once in a lifetime opportunity.
For all you lucky BPI credit cardholders, you have a couple more chances of being the chosen one. Every time you use the Special Installment Plan with a minimum transaction of Php 20,000, with a 12-month term or longer, you get to earn a raffle to this amazing promotion. It's open to all active BPI Credit Cardholders in good standing. The Promo runs until May 31, 2018.


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Monday, April 16, 2018
NOMI MATCHA: MORE THAN JUST GREEN TEA IN BGC

Here we go again. Those were the words that was in my mind. I didn't know what NOMI is and why I was walking towards it. I just heard matcha and I think my body moved on its own. As I entered, I noticed all the different things that would make this a place for millenials.
The writings on the wall leads us towards something positive. Different things to motivate us and go for something better. The place was bright and gives off good vibes. As with what the owner of this restaurant wanted, it's basically healthy, delicious, and fun food.
Although not yet on the menu, this baby is a breath of fresh air for matcha lovers. The smores is created right infront of you. Just a few seconds of being torched and you get something delicious.
Surprise! The Matcha Ice Cream inside didn't melt. I think it worked like that because there was a thin layer of chocolate around it. Just be careful not to over burn it. The home made marshmallow might go full blown super sweet on you.
Another best seller to try would be the matcha tiramisu. The green tea flavor was very evident in this dessert. If you're into that bitter taste, this one is for you. I guess old school matcha lovers would enjoy this. Don't worry though, they have other flavored version to try out as well for first timers.
Aside from the salted caramel matcha cookie, you must not miss the churros. Their version was a delicious trip for me. Each bite was soft and dreamy. I realized that my mouth was watering after one bite. I would definitely go back for more.
Drinks are also a big part of the menu. Granted that they're only on their soft opening, NOMI'S drinks are pretty cool. They even have different pairings and secret drinks that you might enjoy.
More than just dessert and matcha, NOMI offers a variety of cooked dishes. It was a pleasant surprise for me. They had healthy bowls as well as Japanese inspired plates that infused Filipino flavors. Take note, all of the matcha are imported from Kyoto. One of the owners' family runs a museum in Kyoto that focuses on tea. As such, you can be assured of its quality and authenticity. Can't wait for them to roll out their entire menu.


NOMI MATCHA AND ACAI
W City Center, corner 30th St, 
Taguig, Kalakhang Maynila
 
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Thursday, April 12, 2018
EMPACHO: An Open Filipino Secret In Tomas Morato

 Being surprised is one thing that I enjoy. It's like you're given special attention on a number of occasions. When you get that cake on your birthday or when you found out that you passed your difficult exam, it's all good. Lately though, I encountered a Filipino Food Joint, that wowed me. No Joke. Enter EMPACHO.
 The word itself was a giveaway but EMPACHO delivered above and beyond. Located in Tomas Morato, Empacho gives of a relaxed vibe. The dishes they serve are Filipino fusion with a twist here and there. From my perspective, they elevated the different aspect of each dishes and made them better.
 With a complete bar setup, EMPACHO offers a number of finely concocted signature drinks that are a welcome treat. They aren't your usual cocktails so to speak. Some infuse Filipino flavors with each sip. For me, I went with something familiar, an EMPACHO SIZED beer. Yes, I surprised myself as well as I finished it.
If you can't decide, you could try out some of their appetizers to start. The TRIPLE BYPASS is a combination of three deadly yet tempting dishes. They have crispy chicken skin, salt and pepper chicharon bulaklak or pig intestines and isol or chicken ass. If you're not that adventurous, you might be better off with the CRISPY TOKWA'T BABOY. It's basically deep fried pork belly with tofu swimming in a special sauce. This would already be perfect with plain rice!
 Another dish that hits the spot would be their SISIG FRIES. These aren't your ordinary potatoes. They're actually longer than usual. With a sisig as the topping, it's pretty much a done deal.
 To help you recover from all then oily and diet killer dishes, they have a few salad offerings as well. Although, I can't really say that they're healthier. The fact that one is covered with chicken inasal and the other is topped with roasted pork belly just goes to show that they really want you to get your money's worth.
 Another shocker would be their version of the CHICKEN WINGS. Theirs has a sweet and tangy blend as tamarind is infused to make it so. There's a little bit of kick as well but this is a sure hit.
 To recover, they created the PARES LOMI. A combination of classics, this gives guests a chance to relax and have something filling and classic.
 But, the show didn't stop there. EMPACHO has a lot of dishes that would cover your cravings. They have a number of mains that would entice you to come back for more. They even have new dishes like laing na sugpo, sinampalukang tadyang, and even a carbonara pasta with laing.
 After everything is said and done, you have to go with what your body tells you. The LECHON BELLY and the CRISPY PORK KARE-KARE are both hands down conquerors. The belly has a layer of crispy skin. Partnered with a vinegar based dipping sauce, you can't stop yourself from having more. The Kare-Kare needs no introduction. The sauce is very old school as it's a mix of nuts that would remind you of your childhood. It's just something that you got to have more of.
If you have room (which you should have), I can truly say that desserts are a must. Aside from the Salted Egg Lava Cake and the Kamias Cheesecake, their BIBINGKA CASAVA CAKE is a sure winner. The fusion between the bibingka and casava is a genius combination.
EMPACHO gave quite an experience. The dishes were all simple yet masterfully done. It's like elevating Filipino dishes to something straightforward but delicious.


EMPACHO
2nd floor unit 201, 170 Tomas Morato Ave, 
Diliman, Quezon City, 1103 Metro Manila

Protip: Their building is on the left of the McDonald's.
There are a lot of guarded parking space at the back that actually surprised me.
They have a few activities at night. From bands to spoken word and even stand up comedy.

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Monday, April 9, 2018
THE FUNNY LION HOTEL IN PALAWAN: Amazing Stay in Coron

The most iconic view that you would always see in postcards and in magazines would be this one. It's from the Kayangan observatory deck in Coron, Palawan. Now, this place is an amazing tourist spot that is one for the books. It's all island hopping and ship wreck diving. A lot of snorkling and swimming would be involved. One of the things that would make any adventure and vacation to this wonderful set of islands perfect would be to have a wonderful place to stay at every single night. Lucky for me, I was able to book a couple of rooms from the boutique hotel, THE FUNNY LION.
 Roughly 30-45 minutes from the airport, THE FUNNY LION PALAWAN sits near the mangrove area on the outskirts of town. It's perfectly situated that it only takes 5-10 minutes via tricycle to get to the town center and that it gives a nice quiet and relaxing time for its guests.
 Even if the lobby is open air, you are assured that they will take care of your every needs. From check-in, they would assist you with you luggage without question and would even give you a small tour of the property. With only roughly 30+ rooms, this boutique hotel really gives importance to its guests by prioritizing their needs and wants. As you enter, you are greeted by the swimming pool area. It has a jacuzzi on the side, a shallow area for kids, and ledge that gives an infinity touch. On its sides are day beds and chairs perfect for sunbathing.
Just beside it is their quaint in house restaurant. This is where they serve their breakfast buffet in the morning and also where guests could have complimentary snacks from 3-5pm. Their breakfast usually consists of 3-4 viands, an egg station, salads station, soup, breads, cereals, fruits, and even cold cuts. Don't forget to try out the traditional hot chocolate.
 For snack time, they usually offer old school Filipino dishes like bananas and sweet potatoes with some fresh juice mix. To be honest, their food in the hotel was delicious. Granted that it may seem a bit expensive. To compare it with some of the restaurants that we tried in town, my family and I agreed that we enjoyed the dishes from the hotel more. Please don't forget to try out their squid rings and other dishes.
The 4th floor offers a view of the different islands near Busuanga. Here, they also have a couple of jacuzzis over looking the bay. The menu for this rooftop bar is different from their restaurant down stairs. They offer a list of bar chows that really works. Try their small pizzas and even their special snacks. Also, you may want to have a go at their version of a BOODLE FIGHT.
You could go for their happy hour promo from 4pm to 7pm while reading a book and relaxing in a jacuzzi while waiting for the sunset. During Saturdays, they have a bbq buffet here, plus they also have a band playing twice a week.
When we checked in, we were pleasantly surprised with all the gifts we received. We were given a couple of bandanas and even a bag. There's even a turn down service every night. If you're lucky enough to stay at a PRIDE ROOM, you are given a veranda or a lanai for extra space. Usually, CUB ROOMS are perfect as there is a provision for a pullout bed. Furthermore, you need not worry about your wet clothes, there are free spaces outside your rooms hang them dry.
 At the FUNNY LION, they're all for sustainability and lessening thrash. AS such, they offer water in a glass bottle. The shampoos are in refillable containers as well. I also liked the fact that they have a welcome fruit tray and also drinks that are replenished daily. You see, this mini-bar is part of the amount you pay for your stay.
The FUNNY LION knows how to take care of their guests. Aside from having an in-house massage service, they also go above and beyond. Guests are called in their rooms when their tour van arrives. Plus, they also offer different activities through their partner tour operators. If you will be going for the private and exclusive tours, you may bill it to your room and pay for it when you check out. If it's a joiner, you would need to pay for it in cash.  If there was one thing I didn't like, it would be the internet connection and the phone signal. According to the manager, the internet connection was down because of on-going upgrades being done by the telecoms. As for the phone signal, it's available in some parts of the property. Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the FUNNY LION. The staff from the front desk and the restaurant and bar were all amazing and very thoughtful.

THE FUNNY LION
Sitio Jolo, Poblacion 5, Coron, Palawan


Disclaimer: Wrote this based on my experience. Paid for our stay and our meal.
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