Eye Spy


Manila is home to the world’s oldest Chinatown located in Binondo.  It’s funny though that despite living in Metro Manila for almost 10 years now, I only got to visit Binondo last October. Apart from being a historic place, Binondo is perhaps is better know as a food lover’s heaven. One of the cheap dining options there where one can try a variety of Chinese dishes is Estero Fast Food Restaurant. I wondered if the  place is called “estero” because it is literally located near a big canal a.ka. estero in the Filipino language.

Apart from the variety of food options, I learned that part of the dining experience  in Estero is a battle with cats. The cats roam around the tables waiting for leftovers. Some of them were even aggressive enough to attempt an eye to eye contact with me. LOL.

Staring contest.

A post shared by Melissa Bulao (@milaiski) on

Check out more entries for “Eye Spy” at Daily Post.

(Travel Diary) The Ilocos Adventure Part 2: Laoag City


In the first part of Ilocos Adventure post, I shared about the places I visited in the towns of Batac and Paoay, Ilocos Norte. For this  part, I will share about my quick stop in Laoag City. I and my co-workers just stayed in the city for a half a day but I can say every second we spent in Laoag was worthwhile. The city proper was smaller and less urbanized then I expected but I was surprised that it was this fact that made me love it even more. So onto my Laoag hullabaloos…

Seat of power in Ilocos Norte
Seat of power in Ilocos Norte

Laoag City

On August 9, during the last day of the conference, most of officemates went back to Manila already while I and four co-workers (Ate Kate, Shei, Sab and Io) decided stay to visit the rest of the Ilocos provinces. We were also later joined by Ate Kate’s husband, Kuya Vince who flew all the way from Manila.

La Preciosa Restaurant

 After checking out of Plaza Del Norte, we proceeded to the city proper of Laoag. We then checked in at La Eliana Hotel, a budget accommodation. We agreed to just stay there for the night since we will be leaving for early in the morning anyway. After resting for a bit, we went out to start to our half day tour of Laoag. Our first stop was the the La Preciosa Restaurant, which was situated just across La Eliana Hotel. They are famous for their cakes and a poqui-poqui, an eggplant dish. La Preciosa seems to be an old Spanish house converted to a restaurant. The interior is reminiscent of old antique houses and is very homey.

La Preciosa Restaurant.
La Preciosa Restaurant.

Since it was just around 2 PM, we decided to try the cakes and reserve poqui-poqui for dinner. We ordered three flavors: carrot cake, toblerone cake, and blueberry cheesecake. All the cakes were good but my personal favorite would have to be the carrot cake!

Continue reading “(Travel Diary) The Ilocos Adventure Part 2: Laoag City”

Weekly Photo Challenge: The World Through My Eyes


Just random shots that I hope can show  how I perceive and appreciate things and places differently.

Going low.
Going low.
One of a kind.
One of a kind.
Meeting place.
Meeting place.

Entries for this week’s challenge can be found at Daily Post.

(Travel Diary) Weekend in Caramoan Part 1


Last February 15-17, most of my relatives from the father side trooped to Naga City for the long planned getaway to Caramoan Islands in in our home province of Camarines Sur. My Uncle/Ninong Albert and his family also came home from Canada so it was a great opportunity to bond with them.

The beauty of Caramoan is quite famous in the international community and  so, it is ironic that even though it’s only about two hours from my home town, I never managed to visit these past years. Finally, I had the chance to see its charms and I was quite surprised we have a paradise so close to home.

The shores of Matukad Island.
The shores of Matukad Island.

Continue reading “(Travel Diary) Weekend in Caramoan Part 1”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime


I love this week’s challenge! Since I pretty much take pictures of everything I eat, this week’s theme is a easy as 1-2-3. The pictures I’m sharing were taken yesterday. It was the office’s 31st anniversary so we were at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza for the celebration. Of course, events mean food! There were a lot of dishes to choose from but nothings beats these two classic Filipino favorites:

Lechon!!!
Lechon!!!
Ube (yam) and keso (chesse) ice cream for dessert.
Ube (yam) and keso (cheese) ice cream for dessert.

For those who are not familiar with lechon, it is prepared by roasting a whole pig over charcoal. The pig is usually stuffed with several spices to give the meat some flavoring. One can find lechon in almost all corners of the Philippines but the best ones are definitely in Cebu. The crispy skin is a must cry especially when it is still hot.

On the other hand, the ube and keso (yam and cheese)  combination of ice cream is a favorite of Filipinos especially the kids. Branded ice cream are delicious but nothing will beat the experience of  buying dirty ice cream from a street vendor and eating  by the sidewalks under a hot scorching sun.

Check out what others had for lunch at Daily Post.

(Travel Diary) Davao Part 3: Of Hidden Paradise, Ladderized Falls and Good Food


I finally managed to find some time to finish my overdue Davao City Travel Diary. It’s been more than a  month now after the trip but the surreality of that experienced is still clearly etched in my mind. On our third and last day in Davao, I’ve discovered the places and things that made me finally fall in love with the place. After that day, I was finally able to say… I won’t mind going back to Davao City for a third time.

The humble Hagimit Falls.
The humble Hagimit Falls.

Day 3

We were schedule to start our island hopping tour at 7:00 AM so we woke up very early. While waiting for the boat, Bounty Hounter, and the boatman we decided to stroll first around Kaputian area and bought bread for breakfast and some snacks to eat during the tour proper. When we got back to the inn, we surprised to hear someone greeting us, “Pangit, pangit! (Ugly, ugly!)”. Turns out that someone was actually a parrot that can say all sorts of stuff from pangit and  magandang umaga (Good morning) but not gwapo (handaome) and maganda (beautiful).

Continue reading “(Travel Diary) Davao Part 3: Of Hidden Paradise, Ladderized Falls and Good Food”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate


I’m back! My body is still aching from all the things I’ve done the past four days but I’m so ready to get back to my normal routine. And to start my week, here’s my share for this week’s photo challenge theme “delicate”:

IMGP3045

The dish is simply called “buttered shrimp” and it was one of the food we tried in Chikaan during our stay in Davao. The way the shrimps are arranged is so delicate and pretty. It made me didn’t want to eat it at all! 😀

I’ll be writing my Davao travel diary soon so stay tuned and have a happy week everyone! 😀

 

Eating the Bicolano Way


I’ve been back in Manila for almost a week now but I  still can’t help but think about Bicol especially its food. I went home to Iriga City for almost eight days and I literally did nothing but indulge myself with  Bicolano dishes that I rarely get to eat in Manila.  I guess we are like that to some extent. No matter where we go, nothing beats home. I, for instance, would not trade Bicolano food for anything else. I may not be good at eating hot food but I love my share of anything with coconut milk (ginataan in our dialect) and recado (mix of tomato, onions, garlic, ginger, salt and black pepper). So let me share to to you some of the  Bicolano food that I really love.  Let me call this “eating in a day the Bicolano way”.

Breakfast

I usually eat rice for breakfast  but I would not mind a combination of pansit and fried banana. There’s a particular type of pansit that can only be found in the Rinconada district of Camarines Sur. It’s called pansit bato. It’s either made of squash or malunggay leaves. One thing I love about this pansit is even if you just saute it in onion, garlic, tomato and a little bit of salt and black pepper, it’s already very tasty.

This is how it look when it’s raw.
When cooked, tada!

Continue reading “Eating the Bicolano Way”

(Food Trip) One of a Kind Pasta


On a random afternoon, after listening to the talk of Filipino historian Ambeth Ocampo, my best bud Nicole and I found ourselves very hungry. Our hunger brought us to Greenbelt II and ultimately to Ma Maison. Ma Maison is a Japanese-America fusion restaurant and true to its name, its interior is very interesting and eye-catching.

Too bad I only took few pics.

 I can’t comprehend which is the Japanese and American but the atmosphere of the restaurant was really very cozy. Too bad I only took a few pictures. I ordered a pasta while Nicole beef curry. I was expecting an ordinary plate of pasta so I was dumbfounded when this humongous and gorgeous plate was served in front of me:

Gorgeous!

The pasta was served in a sizzling plate, topped with the juicy hotdogs and lines with scrambled eggs! Yes, you read that right. What I thought to be melted cheese were in fact scrambled eggs. I never heard of such practice in why whole life but it was good experience trying it out. I remember posting this picture in my Twitter account and called it “one of the best pasta I’ve had in my whole life”.  Two months after, no other pasta has yet to top this on list.

I sort of hate myself for not taking a picture of the beef curry my friend ordered but Nicole said it is the best curry she tasted her in life. We both agreed that we definitely got what we paid for (at almost 400 bucks per meal) and we will definitely come back to Ma Maison to try more their Cuisines.

So, if you happen to be around Greenbelt, has money to spare, go to Ma Maison. You will definitely enjoy every bite!

 

(Food Trip) Hunky Burgers of Dong Juan


For every travel, I usually write a travel diary but I seldom write anything about new restaurants that I and my friends discover. I am not really a foodie but since I have friends who are, then I also became a foodie by default. So I decided to feature some of the restaurants that I’ve been to and share my eating experience. I’ll start with the restaurant we tried out when we went to Cebu: Dong Juan.

Dong Juan offers all the fast food we love from burgers, fries, pasta and pizza but with a different twist. Everything has been upscaled that one would thought it’s almost a fine dining restaurant. There are a lot of goodies on their menu but of course I did not want to miss out their famous burger so I ordered a cheeseburger (~Php 200)  for myself. Didn’t knew it would be big as this:

This.
And this.

The burger was greaaaaaaat. One of the best I had in my entire life. The patty had the right juiciness and the cheese did a good job of enriching the Dong Juan burger experience. The burger was also so huge that I had to cut it into four so I could bite properly. I wouldn’t mind ordering another one if someone can tell me if there’s a Dong Juan branch here in Manila.

Continue reading “(Food Trip) Hunky Burgers of Dong Juan”

(Travel Diary) Quick Cebu Getaway (Part 2)


Hurray! I managed to finish my travel diary earlier than expected. So here’s the second part of my Cebu getaway last weekend:

I will go wherever my feet will take me to.

Day 3

 We didn’t swim anymore on our second day at the resort since we had to go back to the city proper by lunch time. We left the resort at 8:30 am and then dropped by Sharmrock in the town of Barili for a quick breakfast. We arrived in the city proper at around 11:30 AM and then proceeded to Taboan market to buy pasalubong.

The market has every imaginable dried fish and pasalubong from Cebu. Price for a kilo of danggit or pusit ranges from PhP 450 – 650 depending on your bargaining skills. One can also buy dried mangoes, otap and rosquillos in Taboan.  From Taboan, we dropped off Tena and Sanch somewhere in the city proper and agreed to meet at around 2 PM at SM Cebu. Thea and Lukas also parted ways with us (I, Shei, Sab and Io).

 The four us then proceeded to SM traveler’s lounge to deposit our bags and settled to eat at Chikaan sa Cebu. The restaurant serves mainly Filipino food with a Cebuano twist. Food was great and surprisingly, prices were very reasonable. We just a paid about Php 1000 for an order of unlimited rice, pork sinigang, camaron rebosado, grilled squid, kinilaw and fruit shakes.

Continue reading “(Travel Diary) Quick Cebu Getaway (Part 2)”

(Travel Diary) Quick Cebu Getaway (Part 1)


Last July, my officemate Thea informed our office gang (which consists of me, Io, Shei, Sab, Thea, and Nico) that Cebu Pacific has promo flights going to Cebu. She booked herself a round trip and then asked us if we wanted to join her in Cebu. Of course we readily said yes! Php 1,200 for a roundtrip fare? Yeah baby. Yeah.

A memory worth relieving for.

Day 1

 After almost two months of waiting, September 24 finally came! Our flight for Cebu was at 6:30 PM so we were supposed to leave the office at 4:00 PM. I had to report for work at 7:01 AM so that I don’t have to commit an undertime! We arrived at the airport just on time and apart from the change in the departure gate and minor delay in the runway, our travel was very smooth.

Continue reading “(Travel Diary) Quick Cebu Getaway (Part 1)”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge


And no. I didn’t make these beautiful babies. I just took pictures of them at the Sofitel Lounge while waiting for our office car on an awesome night last week. It was the Philippine National Health Research System Week celebration. After a whole day of listening to presentations of would-be and already great scientists, I had the chance to witness the performance of the country’s national dance group, Bayanihan. I must say… it was nothing but astounding. I was so overwhelmed by what I saw  which led me to post this Einstein quote in my FB account: “The arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

I concluded the post with this remark, “I agree. I was able to prove this again today. Thank you Lord for reminding me why science is my first love and why every form of art is beautiful. =)”

So where does this picture come in? Culinary, I believe, is a product of science and art. Behind the beauty and form of this masterpiece was the careful and calculated moves of an expert hand. We will never have this art without the science behind it. Likewise, what’s the point of the all the science behind if the end product is not a work of art?

This, my friends, is what i call a MERGE. 🙂

Share a Photo: Feed Your Eyes


Because I have nothing to share. Because all day I’ve done nothing but to eat. LOL. Die with envy. 🙂

First Week of June: From Korea to America


The first seven days of June is already over and guess what? I am having a blast! And it seems the blast will not stop there. I bet there is more to come!

One my penchant in life is Korea: movies, government, economy, dramas, music.. Name it. I have a particular bias for YG Family so when I learned that 2NE1 is coming to the Philippines, I and some friends immediately grabbed tickets for the concert.

The Party

The “mini” concert finally took place last Saturday, June 4. I had one hell of a time! It was first time attending a Kpop concert and it was also my first time at the Big Dome. LOL.

I was definitely insane while they were singing.

2NE1 is great at performing live. They only sang eight songs but it was enough for me to feel how contagious their energy is as performers. They also sang Lonely and Clap Your Hands, so I am partially satisfied already. I am definitely hoping they will come back to the Philippines for a full-fledged concert. Continue reading “First Week of June: From Korea to America”