Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wonderful Cebu

I was in Cebu last week for a business trip and it was my first time to visit the Queen City of the South. For years, I have friends urging me to visit but haven't really had the chance. During my first pregnancy trimester, I wanted to visit but based on the options given to me, I just agreed to stay put until the time I can travel again.

I only learned that we will push through with the trip, a week before our departure date. For a month, I knew we will be going but I kept delaying preparations as we were still not yet sure if it will be approved. Once I got the paper approval, I had to submit it to the necessary departments (per diem, allowances, airline tickets, hotel etc). My officemate and I were booked on a Cebu Pacific flight leaving Sunday afternoon and we're booked at Cebu Midtown. I realized too late that my husband and I were booked to stay at Hotel Sofitel the day before my departure. So that means I will have to pack for an extra day (my stay in Sofitel would entail another post).

My husband and I checked out early at Sofitel so I can see Basti again (who we left with my sister-in-law) before I leave for Cebu. They took me at Terminal 3 two and a half hours before our flight leaves and I met up with my officemate, Eunice, there.

We arrived in Cebu just on time and after checking in at Midtown, we took a cab to Ayala Mall where we met up with my friend Kay, for dinner.

She took us to Sunburst Chicken where we had sarap-to-the-bones chicken and had dessert at Oh, Georg.

We had a job to do and we spent office hours (and even beyond) in the office doing our review but during lunch break and after office, we spent time exploring the city and its wonderful delights.

On Monday, we had lunch at the Ayala Mall foodcourt. Eunice had CNT lechon while I had something at the neighboring kiosk (yes, it was so unremarkable that I've forgotten what it was). For dinner, we just went back to our hotel and ate at Jollibee (the hotel was located on top of a Robinson's mall).

On Tuesday, we opted to be more adventurous. Based on the numerous recommendations given by my friend Kay and my former boss, Joanne, we ventured forth to Ayala Mall for lunch and ate at Desserts Factory. I had their own version of Chicken Cordon Bleu wherein the chicken was grilled instead of friend and the ham and cheese is on top.

For dessert, I had their banana split ice cream cake. It was oh so heavenly and I found myself finishing one whole slice. The slice involved three different ice cream flavors with a cookie base and chocolate syrup. It was just absolutely divine.

For dinner, we went to SM City Cebu. We had no idea which restaurants we can eat there so we just looked for one that was not in Manila. We found Jonie's which somehow reminded me of Kenny Rogers. The food though is a far cry from Kenny's but apparently, the place is popular in Cebu because of the unlimited rice (and beer, I think). Nevertheless, all I can say is that at least we tried it but I'm never going back there again.

Wednesday, we resolved that we'll eat at Casa Verde. The day before, we stopped by the place and asked them what time is the best time to eat there where the line is not kilometers long. She said 2pm for lunch and 8pm for dinner. So we had a late lunch and was able to snag ourselves a seat. We asked for the bestseller. Eunice and I had their spectacular ribs each and I ordered the Death by Chocolate.

On Imagine my surprise when this was served to us each. We had no idea how to finish it. It was served on a humongous plate and when you dig in, the meat was soft and fluffy. And the sauce was absolutely delicious. Better than Raks. Better than Tony Roma's. Better than any other ribs that I've ever tasted. And best of all, it was so dirt cheap! That big plate was only worth P188!!! No wonder lines are SOOOO long. And they don't take reservations so you really have to fall in line.

After demolishing those huge ribs, I don't know if I still have room for dessert. But I knew I had to try the dessert that I ordered as there is no way I will be able to bring it home (it's an ice cream cake). So I just breathed in deep and tried not to gag when this was served to me. There is no way in hell I'll be able to finish it moreover when Eunice wouldn't share as she's sporting a cold. The first taste was pure bliss. Chocolate ice cream coated with chocolate syrup with marshmallow and nuts on a bed of chocolate cake. Absolute absolute bliss. I was only able to eat half as I didn't want to die of chocolate overload but it was definitely worth it. It was also as affordable as the ribs. That one big slice only cost P125!!!

That night, we skipped dinner as we were still digesting our very heavy lunch.

On Thursday, we had lunch at Moon Cafe, another referral of Kay. It's a place in Ayala Mall that serves Mexican food. I ordered a Chimichanga and Chicken Fingers with Mozarella Cheese and Tomato. Both are absolutely delicious! The Chimichanga was so fluffy and soft. The crust melts in your mouth.

For dinner, we went back to SM to buy more pasalubong at Don Merto's and eat at Cafe Laguna--which was a recommendation of my former boss Joanne. We were a loss at what to eat there as the servings seem so big. We settled for Sinigang na Baboy which sourness was just enough for me. Too bad we wanted to eat the Kare-Kare but was too wary that the servings might be too big.

On Friday, our last day, we took time to see the sights. Aside from the side trip last Monday at the Basilica to see the Sto. Nino shrine, we haven't done any other touristy thing since we arrived five days ago. We had the cab driver drop us off at the Magellan's Cross where we had our photos appropriately taken. We went back to the Sto. Nino Basilica intending to take one last look at the Sto. Nino image but was dissuaded by the long line. We then walked to the Cebu Cathedral and to the Museum. By then, the sun was up and very hot. I was sweating buckets and after buying some last minute pasalubongs at the nearby Shamrock store, we hailed another cab which dropped us off at the hotel where we checked out.

Overall, Cebu is a wonderful and beautiful place. The people, especially the unit which we reviewed, were very warm and helpful. I definitely enjoyed my stay and look forward to returning and seeing more of the sights. Hopefully, I'll be back with my husband so he can experience the extraordinary food and culture with me.

See you soon, Cebu!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Maayong Buntag, Cebu!

Talk about photo-finish.

We initially planned to go to Davao last February. But since my boss went on Maternity Leave, we had to postpone our trip. She returned last April and we're now ready to go out of town. We rechecked whether Davao is still our destination but according to our bosses, we should go to Cebu. So, Cebu it is.

We're leaving on Sunday and will return Friday evening. I'm quite excited as I have NEVER been to Cebu and it will be something new for me. I've heard great things about the place from my friend Kay and previous bosses at SCB. Since we can't do much sight-seeing due to our limited time, I asked around on good places to eat. I've received numerous suggestions. I hope we'll have enough time (and budget) to try everything out.

Probably the downside of the trip is that I will not be seeing Basti for a week. I'll miss his hugs, kisses and laughter. I'll be bringing my laptop and Globe Tattoo with me so I can chat with them.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


We have some sort of epidemic here at home and we're still trying to figure out the source.

I was sick during the weekend but the illness that most of the people in our household are down with are not related to what I had. I had upper respiratory tract infection but the symptoms that they, and now including me, have are LBM and fever. My husband and FIL has it. Since I'm in antibiotics due to my recent illness, I'm only sporting the LBM symptom. Basti is also sick but in his case, it's cough and he threw up 3x this evening.

Hopefully this will subside, especially Basti's cough.

Starbucks May Promo

Though my husband says they're very expensive and not worth the price, I love the Starbucks planners. Every Christmas, I religiously buy coffee so I can gather the corresponding amount of stickers to get the diary. I remember only missing two years (the first year it was offered and the year I was pregnant).

What I loved about the planners especially when they first came out, were the freebies included. The buy-one-take-one promo was a big deal for us moreover when we have a Starbucks store at the ground floor of my office then. (I remember that branch with bittersweet memories. That store became our office extension too and I can still recall the times that we had powows there and even cried my heart out to my boss then. No wonder I was so interested and passionate about the company when we had it as a case in my STRAMA subject last year.)

Going back to the planner, I noticed that the latest issues did not have the freebies anymore. Maybe that's why they reduced the number of stickers required to qualify for the promo. I'm still having mixed feelings when they brought it back this year. The planner only have 6 coupons and only 2 can be considered as useful. One of them can be used this month of May.

So for 2010 Starbucks planner owners, use your May coupon from May 1-31, 2010. Buy your friend a frap and you'll get one too for free.

See you at the nearest Starbucks branch!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

"Niluluto sa Sarili kong Mantika"


This is the common complaint very much heard in the metropolis nowadays. Everytime you would meet someone, the weather becomes an instant conversation starter.

"Grabe, ang init ngayon!"
"Nagkakasakit na ako sa init!"
"Tumayo lang ako, tagaktak na ang pawis ko!!"
"Niluluto na ako sa sarili kong mantika!!!"

are very much repeated (especially the last part, for rounded and healthy people like me). Having spent half of the day out of the office, I could very much attest to the heat and have discussed it with at least 2 people I met today.

My husband's balikbayan aunts have even made a game out of it. The next time somebody says "ang init", they have to pay P20. They've been here for a week and will leave this coming weekend. I wonder how much they've contributed to the pot already.

The intermittent rains do not help at all. They seem to make the heat worse, especially yesterday. I got sick also because of it. I nursed an upper respiratory tract infection during the weekend which did not let me enjoy the extra vacation day. The fever started Friday evening (39.2C. That's my highest temperature in more than 5 years) and broke the morning after.

Hopefully, this coming weekend will not be as hot. Not only do we have to go out and vote, I have to do a lot of cleaning and doing so in this weather will not make the task enjoyable at all.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Basti's Picture Company Shots

Last April 25, we took Basti to Picture Company for some studio portraits/shots. This was supposed to be taken during his birthday but at least it's better late than never.

Here are some chosen shots out of the numerous cute ones:

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Basti Picture Company Pics - 25April2010

This was supposed to be taken on his 1st birthday, but it's better late than never.