If you plan in advance, it doesn’t happen, but when you viber each other late at night that PAL tickets from Manila to Taipei are on sale at US$75, you all end up booking a trip on the spot! At least that’s what happened with me and my high school friends Grach, Pauline, Jane, Isang, and Charlene. Continue reading “Taipei Itinerary: 4D3N with Friends”
We spent the day at Lake Pandin, Laguna one day last month. It’s a 2.5-hour drive from Metro Manila, and you have to leave your car in a small, unpaved parking lot and get to the lake on foot. There is simply no way to drive there directly.
The facilities of the lake are definitely rustic and third world, but the lake is unspoiled and beautiful. Pandin is cared for and run by about 20 locals who operate the bamboo rafts as well as prepare the food, and guests are asked to register with a woman they refer to as “Pangulo.” They can serve you lunch on the raft (fresh caught tilapia and bangus from the lake) or you can opt for just the balsa ride.
The lake is clean enough to swim in but there are no changing rooms or even proper toilets around the lake (just a rather dirty makeshift toilet and you have to pay P5.00 per head to enter). We all changed into dry clothes in the car.
Also there is a 20 minute trek through a narrow dirt road from the parking lot to the lake, and it gets really muddy when it rains. The path sometimes slopes uphill or down, and I wouldn’t recommend it for seniors or very young kids. John had to carry Naomi both ways and it wasn’t easy. Still we all really enjoyed our day at the lake, and the kids are calling it “an adventure.”
- Ideal for kids 6 and up, not suitable for very young children, seniors, or disabled.
- Bring your own water and snacks for the balsa ride if you don’t intend to order food (they serve fresh fish, rice, and vegetables).
- You can also order a fresh coconut to sip on, which is a nice touch but they don’t serve them cold since they don’t have refrigerators.
- Best to go in good weather (no rain).
- Wear swimsuits if you want to go in the water, but be ready to change in the car.
- You can also text in advance to make reservations – 0907-9952983 or 0929-9789565.
LAKE PANDIN, San Pablo, Laguna *you can simply enter “Lake Pandin” on Waze
First we tried baking these 70% Ecuadorian dark chocolate chip cookies in Ross’ toaster oven. They turned out really good…
…but a bit too expensive for me at over P1.200++ if I remember correctly. If you are sosyal like Ross, this shouldn’t stop you – she’s re-ordered these cookies already!
We also tried these dips.
The Quattro Formaggio spread was my absolute favorite. So good and so worth it! Please get me this if you don’t know what to give me for Christmas. I think this is around P600+.
Nespresso is now in the Philippines! John and I were invited to one of their launch dinners at Hey Handsome, where we were surprised to be greeted not by Chef Nicco Santos, but by Margarita Fores (she hid behind the TV monitor as guests started coming in so as not to spoil her surprise — just one clue as to how down to earth she is despite being Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016.). Continue reading “Chef Margarita Fores for L’Innovation de Nespresso”
I recently brought this to a family potluck, and it was a hit! Continue reading “DIY Rainbow Fruit Platter”
There are a gazillion posts burning a hole in my Drafts folder and I promised myself I’d start publishing them one by one. I wanted to start with Vien, my cousin Mark’s restaurant in NYC. Named after Mark’s mom, my beloved Aunty Vivian, Vien serves fast, healthy, Asian fare.
Vien lets you build your own bowl (or takeout box) by choosing your base (rice, noodles, quinoa, or salad) and your main (grilled beef, pulled pork, lemongrass chicken, turmeric tofu, or roasted vegetables) + your garnishes, sauces, and sides. It’s basically the kind of food I would love to have for lunch everyday, if I lived in New York! So good!
Learn more about Vien here, or visit them at 220 Varick Street.
I discovered Yogi Brunch through my cousin Michele, who shared discovered it at one of the Rockwell bazaars. They make all sorts of dips and sauces, as well as bottled tinapa and other goodies. My favorite is their Chana Hummus made with Indian black bean garbanzos — fantastic with everything from sandwiches, crisps, crudités, quinoa, wraps, rainbow bowls, and almost anything you can think of. It can be hard to place an order as I think the owner does this more as a hobby than real livelihood, but try and try and you shall be rewarded. I usually order a few jars at a time as there is a P100 delivery fee.
For orders and inquiries, check out @Yogibrunch on Instagram.
Falafel Yo! is a small shop at the Greenbelt 3 cinemas, and John and I recently got to try it before catching a movie. I had the Falafel with salads and sumac (P149), while John tried the Falafel Beast with beef (P179). Both were really good, and affordable too! I wouldn’t recommend them as movie food as the handhelds are a little too messy to eat in the dark. Best to sit at one of the tables or benches outside and eat them before going in the cinema.
FALAFEL YO! 3/F Greenbelt 3 Cinema, Ayala Center, Makati
Did you know that Perla is under new ownership? Procter & Gamble has sold the brand to a local, family-owned corporation. I got to meet Perla’s new owners, and I’m happy to report that they are passionate about rebuilding and growing the proudly homegrown brand.
Perla soap is a world-class product that deserves to be distributed internationally, but for now, it is only available in the Philippines. Perla’s composition is 50% coconut oil + glycerin, a natural moisturizer, with no harsh chemicals added. As a kid, I remember our helpers specifically requesting Perla to do the laundry, since it was (and still is) hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin. And just recently, I learned that it’s so gentle, a lot of people even use it as a bath soap, or facial soap for pimple-prone skin!
- Perla gently and effectively cleans the clothes you love
- Acts as a natural fabric softener
- Whitens whites and prevents color fading
- Helps make your clothes last longer
And if you need more convincing, Perla also supports the livelihood of Filipino coconut farmers. Coconut oil is a precious commodity that is always in high demand, which means it is also expensive. But Perla’s new owners assure us that they have no plans to change the original, premium formation of the laundry bar, with 50% coconut oil.
I was over the moon to receive about a year’s worth of Perla, and although they don’t have this in detergent powder form yet, you can grate half a bar of Perla to do a full load with your washing machine, no fabric softener needed. Tried and tested!
Perla is available at leading supermarkets nationwide.
I’m always on the lookout for good food platters I can order for potlucks or whenever we want to have something slightly fancier for dinner at home. One new purveyor I can confidently recommend would be one of my bestest friends, Rachelle Tan, who is such an amazing cook that I always prefer meeting up at her place for lunch instead of going out to eat.
Her new food business is called Rang’s (her nickname) and I recently ordered their Crab Fat Spaghettini with Garlic Prawns for John’s birthday. This pasta is so, so good, without the umay factor that I was half expecting! Check out @rangs_ph on Instagram, and here’s her full menu:
Callos 1 kg, P980
Binagoongang Pork Belly with Eggplant Chimichurri, good for 8-10 pax, P1,800
Crab Fat Spaghettini with Garlic Prawns, good for 8-10 pax, PHP 2,200
Lengua with mushroom sauce, good for 8-10, Php 2,400
Roasted Garlic Herb Chicken, good for 6-8 pax, PHP 1,900
Kare Kare, good for 8-10 pax, PHP 2,400
Vongole, good for 8-10 pax, Php 2,200
Pesto salmon with buttered corn, good for 6-8 pax, Php 1,600
Baked salmon with buttered corn, good for 6-8, Php 1,600
Every family should have a few no-brainer house meals that come together in an instant. Continue reading “Desperate Dinners”
Over the summer, I was invited to the launch of Pinnacle Performance + Prohealth Physiotherapy, and got to check out their facilities. It’s a 2-in-1 center combining a one of a kind gym that specialises in training both amateur and pro athletes, and a physiotherapy clinic for managing pain or injury, and overall wellbeing.
Located on the 28th floor of Centuria Medica, a brand spanking new medical services building beside Century City Mall, clients are treated to a gorgeous and relaxing view while working out or having their treatment.
Whether you’re an athlete or fitness buff looking to level up your routine, or if you have back pain, spinal problems, or sports injuries, you should pay Pinnacle and Prohealth a visit. Full membership starts at P6,995 for adults and P4,995 for youth. The physiotherapy center is open to both members and non-members. For inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 793-8763.
*Photos by Sheila Catilo for Game Changer
PINNACLE PERFORMANCE + PROHEALTH, 28/F Centuria Medica, Century City, Makati
Thanks for sending us this crate of goodies, Mott’s Philippines! My kids love having ice cold Mott’s apple juice first thing in the morning, it’s a delicious and refreshing addition to their usual breakfast.
Mott’s is made with 100% apple juice concentrate + vitamin C, with no attificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, and is the No. 1 apple juice brand in the U.S. You can find Mott’s family-sized bottles and single serve cans in the juice aisle of your favourite supermarket.
For more information, visit MOTT’S PHILIPPINES FACEBOOK PAGE.