Food Place Review – Apag Marangle, Bacolor Pampanga

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When I was planning my birthday outing with the family, I originally wanted to go to Isdaan in Gerona, Tarlac. We could just take SCTEX since we would be coming from Pampanga as we would be visiting Tatay’s resting place first. But they find the place too far and so I had to look for other options. Sister suggested we try Apag Marangle which is located near Greenbelt in Makati. Thinking of the Makati traffic, I said we should just visit the original branch which is located in Bacolor, Pampanga. ¬†And so we did.

First off, the place is a bit too hard to find. They are literally located along the highway with just a medium sized banner. We got lost and drove thru the highway twice before we found the place. It wasn’t much help that the people we asked gave different directions. I guess the place is not that popular with the locals.

The restaurant is made up of several dining area in bamboo stilts. It is located in a fish pond where you can also opt to catch fish for consumption. Sister said they recreated this set up in Makati.

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Menu is printed in a tarpaulin that is shaped and colored like a banana leaf

 

After we ordered some dishes, our server recommended chicharon and atsara for appetizer. Now that is something I have not heard before.

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Chicharon and Atsara. Good combination. (4.5/5)

I remembered two friends while having this. I think they’d love to have this with brew kettle.:) This is a solid 4.5/5.

Here’s what we had.

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Ensaladang Mangga (3/5)

Usually ensaladang mangga tastes good because of the bagoong. This is where the dish failed. Shrimp paste was too salty.

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Sago at Gulaman . (3/5)

Instead of the usual soda, we ordered sago at gulaman. I think the syrup used was overcooked. It had a bit of a bitter taste.

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Rellenong Palaka (Betute) . 3/5

I didn’t really try this one. I was just not in the mood. Lol. I guess I prefer just the frog legs. Not the whole frog that definitely looks like a frog.

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Nasing Marangle. (3/5)

Sister said this is good so we ordered it aside from the plain rice that we got. It wasn’t that good. It is just rice with pinakbet and some lechon kawali as toppings. Nothing brilliant, really.

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Pork Humba. (4/5)

This one is good. We wanted to get another order but it would take them a lot of time to prepare it so we just enjoyed this one.

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Sinigang na Manok. (3.5/5)

This is good but a bit too oily. The good thing about this is they used native chicken so it was quite tasty.

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Steamed Shrimps. (3/5)

Overcooked.ūüė¶ Not good. I could have cooked shrimp better.

We also has some grilled hito which I wasn’t able to take a pic of.

Overall, I wouldn’t be coming back to this place. Location wasn’t that nice. The food was mediocre. Nothing memorable.

Hongkong Trip 2015 (Day 2 – Disneyland, Day 3)

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Since we will already be in Hongkong, it goes without saying that part of our itinerary is Disneyland. I again used klook to get our tickets and I also got a gourmet meals voucher to cover our meals during our stay in Disney.  The tickets cost 896 HKD (for 2) and the meals, 530 HKD (for 2) which includes lunch, dinner and a snack. Pretty good price.:)

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What can I say about Disneyland? It’s for kids. Lol. I wasn’t able to enjoy much coz I get to compare the rides with that of Universal Studio. ¬†The rides here is really more for kids. Lol. The only ride I enjoyed is that of the Space Mountain. But still no match to The Mummy in Universal. Lol. ¬†So what else can I do to enjoy? I shopped. Lol. It wasn’t planned but since I felt bad that my niece wasn’t with me so I ended up buying more than I intend to shop. But it was okay. They love my pasalubong.:)

Here’s a few more of snaps which does not include my face.:)

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We also watched the Lion King and the street parade (twice). I was also tricked by my friend to go and see “It’s a small world after all.” Cute. Lol.

Here’s what I claimed for the gourmet voucher that I got. I only paid for the soda coz you are only supposed to get iced tea.:)

 

 

Lunch! :)

Lunch!:)

You also get to choose between an ice cream pop or popcorn. Ice cream won.

You also get to choose between an ice cream pop or popcorn. Ice cream won.

Dinner. :) I had a hard time finishing this one.

Dinner.:) I had a hard time finishing this one.

We no longer waited for the fireworks as we were supposed to meet our previous office mate. She was quite happy to see us and insisted that should we decide to visit again next time, we should definitely stay with them. So nice.:) She took us to this dimsum place which I totally forgot to take the name of. I also wasn’t able to get pictures of the food as we were so busy catching up. But seriously, that dimsum place is sooo good. Everything we ordered were yummy. And for a good price too. We ended up talking too long that the meal and chikahan ended at past midnight. Good thing we were still able to rely on the public bus to bring us back to our place.

Day 3, we woke up late as we are too tired. After a quick breakfast, we went to the ladies market to buy a few more items for pasalubong. Afterwards, we took a shower, packed our bags, crossed the street and waited for a bus to take us to the airport. A bit of a hassle though. I booked our flight back via airasia since the one via Cebu Pacific is either too pricey or too early. Bad thing is that they don’t tell you that you have to check-in in one terminal and leave at another terminal.ūüė¶ We just made it at the nick of time! It’s like we are in an amazing race. And on our way back to Manila, there was a typhoon coming. So I had the most awful turbulence experience ever. As in we had to stay on air for a lot longer and we had sudden drops that feels like a few meters. Lol.

All in all, this is not one of the best trip I had. Definitely will not be on my list of must comebacks.:)

 

Hongkong Trip 2015 (Day 1)

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My friend and I were supposed to go to Thailand for our annual trip. Unfortunately,  a few months before we were able to buy our plane tickets, a bomb scare was reported in Thailand.  As much as I have been looking forward to a trip in Thailand, we had to reconsider. Safety first. So I went looking for another place to visit. My second choice was to visit Cambodia. But when I checked the cost of plane tickets, it was a bit too high for my budget. Also, the schedule of the flights are so far away that we would have to stay for at least 5 days in Cambodia. That is how we ended up in Hongkong.:)

Hongkong is not really not in my list of must visit places. Reasons? Well, I don’t really find the country exciting. I have read many accounts of how ‘different’ tourists are treated there. So yeah, not that excited.

Since I was the one in charge of setting up our trip, first thing I had to find is a place to stay. We had to choose a place that isn’t too pricey as we don’t really intend to stay that much. We just need a place to bathe and sleep. I found Cosmic Guest house –¬†http://www.cosmicguesthouse.com. I was initially shocked to see how small the rooms are but I was informed by my friend that is normal. Wow. Anyways, we got a 2 double bed ensuite with street view. Good thing I changed it to double bed. I can’t imagine how small the single bed would be. Here’s how it looks – ¬†http://www.cosmicguesthouse.com/images/stories/rooms/double_win/pano.html

Our first day, we went to The Peak. I searched for the best price on-line and found out about klook. It is a website that offers discounted tickets to attractions in Hongkong. They also have an app that you can use to get more discounts.:) I got our the peak tram 3 in 1 combo for 506 HKD. This includes a guide who took us from Central MTR Exit K to a special lane (skipped the regular line) to take the tram going up. Once we were there, we are given our tickets to go to the peak and another set of tickets for the Wax Museum. I was more excited to see the was museum. Compared to the other visitors who had their pictures taken with the wax figures, I was more amazed at how detailed the figures that I took a close up picture of them. Here are  a few.

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Right after, we went to the peak. It is not something I enjoyed. Lol. I’ve seen better view.

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After this, we went back to the hotel as we are sooo tired.  Plus we need to go early to visit Disneyland.:)

 

Office Demon

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I started out really happy with my current work. I had a great boss. The NICEST, MOST SINCERE boss that I had the pleasure to work with. As in genuinely NICE.

I have a pretty diverse group of coworkers who at first I don’t like – they were a bit loud than I normally am – but now love.

My work assignment is stressful but at the same time rewarding. A lot was expected from my group but I do feel  I was able to deliver.

Come the unfaithful day in 2014.

A demon arrived at our work place.

Of course, not the literal demon. But with his ways, thoughts, actions and words, he is quite the same. He made our lives miserable. He is a con artist disguising as a senior officer. So sad that management felt the need to place him in our midst. My super nice boss left. And four more left. Now another one is leaving. In just a span of more than a year, he has ruined a place I was considering as my second home. I have to spend 10 or more hours, 5 days a week, dealing with his evilness.

I wonder how can a person who is blessed with a good work, a relatively good health and wealth (as he often flaunts), can spend much of his time plotting revenge to people who hasn’t done anything wrong to him. Why so vengeful? What’s with all the hate? When he talks and you see his face, you can literally see how bad of a person he is. He can simply ruin your day and yes, your life.

I know that this would end. His reign will end.He will loose his ‘powers’. It’s just sad that my second family had to suffer this much.

Karma should come running to him and give him a big big big hug.

Soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Run Fatty Run! (My first 5K run)

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I always wanted to run. Not from my problems, although I tried (once or twice, or more…)

Running is one of the most popular healthy regime right now. It is one of the cheapest too. Just get some running shoes, find an open space and run like your demons are behind you. I myself prefer to run than any other sport there is. If a sport has anything to do with hand and feet coordination, then I’m definitely out. Not my biggest strength really.

So when I got an email from World Vision that they will be holding their annual world vision run, I decided to join. I opted to join the 5k run instead of the 3k run cause I feel 3k is a bit too short. I do runs on my elliptical machine and 3k I can do easily. I want to challenge myself so I went for the 5k run. I actually was tempted to do the 10k cause I like to have a medal but decided against it. I don’t think a 10k is a good first run for me. After all, I know that running on a machine is quite different from actual running.

I did try to prepare on this run but then stress took over. Which means the start of stress eating. The few pounds I lost on our biggest looser challenge (which I won) at work made a great comeback and even invited a few more pounds for added measure. REALLY HARD to stay fit when you’re too stressed at work. Not to mention the microwave oven in our office is now broken so instead of bringing food from home, we usually buy at the nearest fast food shops. Anyways, I tried to run on my machine every time I have the time. I was also able to have a few weekend run in Rizal park with my co-worker.

And then I got my race kit.:) It is now real.:)

Race KitWas glad to get a lot of support from my friends and family. On the day of the run, which is a Sunday, my friend and I met at McDonalds in Gil Puyat at around 4 AM. Too bad that the cab I took opted to take me to some “scenic routes”. If I wasn’t afraid he’d leave me in some place, I would have called out on his antics. Anyways, was about 5 minutes late on our meet up. We proceeded to SM MOA where the event will take place. We went to the baggage counter to leave our things and watched the start of the 10K run. After a few minutes, it was our turn.:) We had some warm up, and then it was time for the run. And off we go. Lol. It was hard! I don’t have any issues with my knees. My legs. But I had a hard time running. It must be my weight. As my friend said, I can run fast but I cannot sustain it cause I find myself too heavy. But the good thing is I finished the run.:) In 46 minutes. Lol. Not too fast. But I wasn’t the last so, Yey!:)

I do plan to run another 5k and then a 10K. We’ll see if I have the guts to go on 21K.:)

On off the bucket list!:)

Food Place Review – Funnside Ningnangan (San Matias, Sto. Tomas, Pampanga)

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This is our current go to place whenever we go to San Simon Pampanga to visit Tatay in his resting place. Apparently, this is the flagship branch and they now have branches in Angeles City, Pulilan in Bulacan, Tarlac and Apalit.

Here’s what we got last January 25, 2015:

Lumpiang Ubod for Nanay.

Lumpiang Ubod for Nanay.

Didn’t get to try the lumpiang ubod but since Nanay liked it and I didn’t get to hear her complain, that would be a 4/5.

Bistek Tagalog

Bistek Tagalog

This was a big hit. From my brother to my two sisters. It was that good that we have only started to eat and our eldest sister decided to order right away two servings of this for take out. 5/5

Pork Asado

Pork Asado

This wasn’t such a hit with the family. Not because it wasn’t good. It’s just that we (I) can and have cooked this one. 3/5

Grilled Hito (Catfish)

Grilled Hito (Catfish)

I love this one. The fish was fresh and it was grilled to perfection. I think I ate half of this. 5/5

Lechon Macau

Lechon Macau

We ordered this cause Nanay wants to but nothing out of the ordinary. Wasn’t that crisp too. 3/5

Butter garlic shrimps

Butter garlic shrimps

I requested this to be cooked chili garlic style but I guess the cook doesn’t know how. 3.5/5

Funnside Crabs

Funnside Crabs

These crabs are cooked in salted red egg. Was good! Just can’t eat that much cause you gotta take card of your blood pressure. 5/5

Miki Bihon

Miki Bihon

This was a token order cause it was my birthday. Gotta keep up with the tradition. 3/5

All of the items above excluding the noodle dish but including 7 cups of rice and two 1.5 liters of soda, I only have to pay Php 1,800++. Way below my budget for that food trip.:) We also bought some Maja at Php 120 each. Was good. It was like a cross between a maja and a leche plan.  Those with sweet tooth would love it.

Location – 4/5

Ambiance – 4/5

Cleanliness – 5/5

Food – 4.5/5

Service – 4/5

Value for money – 5/5

Will definitely go back again and again and again.

Trip to Kamay ni Hesus, Lucban Quezon

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2015!

First month of each year – January – is also my birth month. As it had been my custom for the past few years, I have rewarded myself with a solo trip. This time, to Lucban Quezon to visit Kamay ni Hesus.

Around 6:30, I was already in Gil Puyat, ready to take the bus. But first things, first. Claimed my free breakfast meal at McDonalds courtesy of my credit card spending.:) I took a JAC liner bus going to Lucena Grand Terminal. Fare is Php 209.50. Bus got off the terminal at 7:22 AM. When all the fares were paid, I was surprised when the bus conductor started asking if we wanted to order Jollibee meals. Weird! Turned out they have this contact in Jollibee and the orders are to be picked up when we stop at Turbina.  We got there at around 8:25.  It was a long trip!! I kept on looking at this picture that I took off the website of JAM liner so I would have an idea how much longer the trip is. We arrived at Lucena Grand Terminal at exactly 11:11 AM.

List of all places to pass thru

List of all places to pass thru (partial list, mind you..)

At around 10:13 AM, we were already in Candelaria. At exactly 11:11 AM, our bus stopped at the Lucena Grand Terminal. Lucena Grand Terminal is a transpo hub wherein you can get ride to different parts of Quezon. This is the same place where my sister and I took the bus going to Padre Burgos when we stayed at Tamarind Resort to visit Borawan. First thing I did when I got off the bus is to rush to the paid wash room. Good thing it is well maintained. No flush but at least you get some running water. After freshening up, I decided against having lunch. I really wanted to reach Batis Aramin which is the place where I would be checking in for the night. At Lucena Grand Terminal, I took a jeepney ride going to Lucban. Fare is Php 30.00. Good thing the driver did not wait for the jeepney to fill up. It was a long jeepney!

This might easily be a 20 seat (each side) jeepney

This might easily be a 20 seat (each side) jeepney

If you also plan to visit on a cold season like I did, better wear a long sleeved shirt or a jacket when you take the jeep. It was so cold! We had to put down the side shields of the jeepney (trapal) that is normally reserved when it rains.  It was that cold.

The instructions I got from Batis Aramin where I had a reservation is that I should go to the town proper (Bayan) and then take a tricycle going to their resort. Around 45 minutes of travel, I think we have already reached the town proper. And then the jeep conductor (yes, there is one) said that they will already be going back to Lucena. I asked where they could drop me so I can get a tricycle ride to Batis Aramin. Turned out we already passed the place. He said I can just ride along and they will just drop me off.  No extra fare.:)

After like 5 minutes, I was dropped off along a highway. On the side where I got off is Kamay ni Hesus and on the other side is the way to Batis Aramin Hotel. It was a minute walk going to the gates. ¬†At the gate, I just told the guards my name and I went to the reception area which is located a couple of meters away from the gate. The staff was accommodating. I paid the fee at once and got my room key. They accept credit card by the way.:) Here’s what the resort looks like.

This is where the reception area and restaurant is located.

This is where the reception area and restaurant is located.

I stayed in Pretty Paw room which is good for two person. Rate is Php 2,000 per night which already includes breakfast for two. You may ask for a twin bed or a queen sized bed. I of course requested for a queen size bed. This is Pretty Paw.

Pretty Paw. I had the downstairs room.

Pretty Paw. I had the downstairs room.

The room was clean and quite comfy. Best of all, the hot shower works!:)

 

My Bed for that Night. Quite Comfy.

My Bed for that Night. Quite Comfy.

 

Old School TV but with Cable. So all is good.

Old School TV but with Cable. So all is good.

 

CLEAN Comfort room and a hot shower that works!

CLEAN Comfort room and a hot shower that works!

I immediately unpacked and called for room service.  I was famished! I checked in at almost 2 PM! The thing is most of the items in the menu are good for 2 to 3 person. I had to settle with some crispy fried chicken which serves one. While waiting for my food, I roamed a bit and sent this picture to my colleagues who are at worked at that time. Rubbing it in.:)

This scenery on a Friday. :) Best!

This scenery on a Friday.:) Best!

This is just a few feet from my room. See the ripples in the water? That’s how windy it is at 2 PM. ¬†Finally, my chicken meal arrived with some ripe mango shake. Cost is only Php 220.

Chicken!

Chicken!

After the meal, I was actually torn between going to Kamay ni Hesus or to roam in the town proper. I decided to rest a bit and then decide what to do. Unfortunately, it started to rain. And since we are almost at the foot of Mount Banahaw, it also became foggy. So I just stayed at the room.  At around 5:00 PM, the thought of having dinner inside my room made me decide that it is okay to get wet in the rain. So off I go to visit the bayan. See how rainy and foggy it was.

Even the guards were wearing raincoats.

Even the guards were wearing raincoats.

 

Foggy and no soul in sight. Creepy. A bit.

Foggy and no soul in sight. Creepy. A bit.

I was only supposed to take a jeep going to bayan but none was passing thru. So I decided to cross the road and go to the tricycles lined outside Kamay ni Hesus. I asked one to bring me to Ground Zero where I plan to have my dinner. Manong said since I would be the only passenger, cost is Php 50. No problem with me. As long as I get out of the rain and get to my dinner.

Ground Zero Pizza place is well recommended in most of the blogs that I have visited. No wonder. Food was good and serving is quite big. Took a while though to get my food. Ordered at 5:40 PM and got served at 6:15 PM. I guess coz they prepared the food from scratch. I ordered Kalissa Almama (Php 108) and Ravioli (Php 120). When the order came out, I knew I won’t be able to eat all of it. I at once thought of the guards and just asked that the Kalissa be boxed so I can give it to them when I get back to the hotel. The ravioli, I demolished. Quite good!

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Kalissa Almama. Ordered but not tasted. Next time.:)

Ravioli. Very Good! (And heavy)

Ravioli. Very Good! (And heavy)

I was actually eating a bit faster than normal cause when I looked out the window, the rain did stop but it was already dark. I got a bit anxious that I’d be passing the highway in a tricycle plus of course the fact that I am not familiar with the place. After gobbling my food, I hailed a tricycle and asked to be brought to Batis Aramin. I gave the Kalissa to Manong and Manang guards and went to my room. Took a hot shower and rested for the night.

Dark highway going back to the resort

Dark highway going back to the resort

The following morning, my first agenda was to tour the resort. See this pics. I’m sure it would be uber crowded in summer.IMG_20150124_071306

 

 

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After touring the resort, I went to the restaurant to have my complimentary breakfast. What else? Lucban longganisa.:)

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After breakfast, I just crossed the street and visited Kamay ni Hesus. Saturdays, the healing mass is scheduled at 9:3o AM. I got there at around 8:30 AM. I have enough time to go to the top. Along the way, there’s a lot of signs saying one must observe silence as it is a place for reflection. Unfortunately though, it was quite loud. I just busied myself appreciating how good the scenery is.

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The Church as seen half way from the stairs.

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After attending the mass, as I usually do when I visit a church for the first time, I light up candles for all my family and friends.

Each color represents a different intention.

Each color represents a different intention.

A prayer when lighting the candles.

A prayer when lighting the candles.

What each color means.

What each color means.

After this, I of course went pasalubong shopping. I was hoping to do this in Bayan but I really don’t have enough time. The mass finished at around 10:15 AM not including the healing activity. I just bought some items within the grounds of Kamay ni Hesus. Got some Budin ( a kind of cassava cake), merengue (better than the ones bought in groceries), broas (in the can so it don’t get crushed on my travel back to Manila), and of course some longganisang lucban. All in all I paid Php 800.:)

Hauling my purchases, I again crossed the highway to go back to Batis Aramin. It was already 11:15 ¬†and I know I won’t be able to check out at 12:00 noon which was the official check out time. What I did is talked to the reception and told them that I might have to leave on a later time. I was willing to pay if there is a need. Well, no need as per the receptionist. I’m sure it would be a different story when this happened in the summer. So off again I go to Bayan to have lunch at Mustiolas.

It really is just like a carenderia with a very clean and cute set up.

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The Claim – Best Carinderia in Town!

 

Heavy lunch for the long ride back home.

Heavy lunch for the long ride back home. Only costs me Php 140!

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Fish wrapped in mustasa leaves.

Fish wrapped in mustasa leaves.

Some pork dish I really don't what it is called. Good though. :)

Some pork dish I really don’t what it is called. Good though.:)

Facade of

Facade of Mustiola’s

Food was good! Only thing I noticed is the rice isn’t that good. It’s the same to what was served to me at the resort. Wonder if Quezon doesn’t have that good of a supply of rice?

After lunch, I went back to the resort to pack. ¬†As with most of my travel, packing my things plus the pasalubongs are always harder. Specially since I would only be commuting back to Manila. Anyways, one body bag, one re-usable bag and one (very) heavy backpack after, I was on my way out of the resort. Jeepneys going to Lucena Grand Terminal are lined up opposite Kamay ni Hesus. After an hour, we arrived at the terminal. Going back took longer than usual cause I noticed that the driver didn’t use much gas. We are on our way down and he just let gravity do its work and not try to go faster by stepping on the gas.:) From the terminal, there would be a lot of buses you can ¬†choose from to go back to Manila. Those going to Cubao, Alabang and my ride, going to LRT-TAFT.

That was the end of my first trip for the year. Really really hope to get more.

So we work, work, work so I can travel, travel, travel.:)