Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ramen Cool Lunch Set, When a Bento Box Is Not Enough

Why would you want to be limited to a bento box, when you can have a lunch set like this!

Ramen Cool Pasig has daily lunch offering for as low as 199 pesos. All meal comes with an Iced Coffee, Kani Salad and Egg Roll. The Ramen Set, is a combination of Chashu Ramen, with Fried Rice and Gyosa!  This had been my favorite Friday Meal. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Love Locks in Victoria Court Pasig

I have always dreamt of visiting Paris and among my to do list is getting love locks for me and my partner at the Pont des Arts bridge.  Saving for our dream vacation would still take a few years.

I was so happy that Victoria Court Pasig, gives that opportunity to their guests.  Every stay or party at the Moulin Rouge Suite entitles the couple a pair of lovelocks that you can place on the balcony railing or the free standing letters that spells LOVE on the garage.  You also get to take home the keys.

We want to be the first few in there!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Meaningful Afternoon at Asilo de San Vicente de Paul

I decided to forego of my Bacolod trip over the weekend because of my pending work.  I need to set up a booth at One Esplanade, plus, it would also mean that I would miss our annual visit to Asilo de San Vicente de Paul.

The Asilo takes care of around 40 orphans, some of whom, we have seen grow year after year.  This would be our fifth year celebrating "Ken Estioko Day" as a tribute to my professional organisation charter president.  Since it also falls just days apart of my birthday, I would also take the opportunity to share my time as a gesture of gratitude for the blessing I have received the past year.

In spite of not having enough sleep, I was excited to reunite with these kids.  As expected, they were very accommodating and had fun with games organised by the chapter.

Looking forward to our 6th year!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

My Birthday

A week has passed since my birthday.  My partner flew in from Cebu so we can celebrate the weekend prior and to be with me a few hours on the day itself.  I spent the rest of the morning at work, but as soon as I went home, finding the house empty,  I realised that I haven't made my birthday wish.

Luckily our apartment is just above a bakery and bought myself a slice of roll, and grabbed the candle we normally use when the electricity is out.

I just thanked the Lord for all his blessings.  The greetings I have received from Facebook and phone is so overwhelming.  I feel the sincere care and love from everyone.  Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Temple Run at Angkor, Siam Reap, Cambodia

Waiting for the sun to rise at Angkor Wat!
My Tuktuk Driver arrived just in time for our 5:00 AM Meet-up.  I packed my bags and endorse it to the front desk, because it's check-out time when I get back.  It was still dark when we navigate our way from my hotel to the temple grounds.  You will need to pay for a pass to the temples.  If you're staying longer, you may opt to buy the 3 day, but in my case, I got the day pass for 20 USD.  The best time to come is during sunrise.  It rises behind Angkor Wat, and the sight of the details revealing itself as the sky brightens is breathtaking.  Also, it get's hotter at noon, and doing the tour in the morning makes it more comfortable.

The sun peeking behind the Temple

After exploring the Angkor Wat, I made a stop at the stalls to grab myself a bowl of noodles for breakfast.  I then went outside to proceed with the tour of the other Temples.

My breakfast, a bowl of Chicken Noodle!

The next we visited was my favourite. Ankor Thom, although smaller in scale than Angkor Wat is famous for the stone carved faces that adorns the towers.

The bridge to Angkor Thom, and the guardians of the gate.

The next place we visited was the Ancient Royal Palace.  They observe a strict dress code specifically for this sight, and I was not allowed entry because of my Tank Top.  You can explore the surrounding area, and cross the stone bridge leading to the gate.

The next site is the Elephant Balcony, which is connected to the Royal Palace.

After this stop, my Tuktuk Driver invited me to have lunch on one of the stalls right across.  Good thing, he brought along a few bottles of Angkor Beer and Water for our trip.  He also gave me a stick of what I initially thought as an ordinary cigarette.

After the resting my legs for a few minutes, I was back on the Tuk-tuk again for more temples.  We made a stop to the smaller one's right across each other.  I didn't  enter anymore, and just took photos of the exterior.

We went straight to what would be our last stop for the day, to the temple now popularly known as Tomb Raider.

I was awed with each site.  Each Temple has a unique characteristic to them.  It was fun, especially if your Tuktuk driver is like mine.  But it can be tiring, so be prepared for long walks and always keep a bottle of water with you.

Can't Get Enough of Siam Reap

The bus ride from Bangkok to Siam Reap took almost 8 hours.  That includes the immigration process at the border.  For ASEAN nationality, it's easier since you don't need a visa, and just fall in line to have your passport stamped.  Just make sure you board the same bus because it gets confusing especially during tourist season.

The bus fare includes a Tuk-tuk service to your hotel.  Most of the establishments in Siam Reap accepts U.S. Dollars and the bus company office has a money changer inside if you want the local currency.

My Tuk-tuk driver offered to take me on the Temple tour early morning the next day for 50 USD, but most hotels can arrange this for you.

I have booked a room at Golden Banana Boutique Hotel through Agoda, because of its proximity to the night market and Pub Street for 25 USD.  I will only be staying for the night since the tour starts early morning, and would return past the check-out time.

My charming room at Golden Banana.  For a little more than 1000 pesos, its a good value.  I just wish I had more time to stay.

To make the most of my trip,  I decided to explore the night life of the city.  I went around the night market, had a bowl of Vietnamese noodles near Pub Street, followed it with a foot massage and explored the Gay Club called Barcode.

The entire Pub Street is a mix of restaurants, shops and bars.  Barcode is located at the far end, on a more quieter area.  They have nightly performances of impersonators and a wide selection of drinks.

Foot Massage!  The price is almost the same as here in the Philippines!

I haven't tried Cambodian food, so I went for the familiar Vietnamese Pho
The Night Market

Barcode Drink of the Night!
One of Barcode's performers.
I would have stayed and drink all night but my temple tour would start in a few hours.

To be continued....

Monday, October 12, 2015

Date Night at Barbara's Heritage Restaurant

It's been more than 2 months since my partner moved to Cebu for work, and we have been coping with the long distance set-up.  We have been trying to visit each other as often as we can and fortunately for him, his works requires him to be in Manila every so often.  We originally planned for the 3rd weekend, but his work demanded he comes over last October 9 for his Monday meeting.

Photo credit to Barbara's Heritage Restaurant Facebook Page

This is his first weekend back in Manila and we want to make it special.  It was a friend's Facebook post that convinced us to try Barbara's in Intramuros.  I have heard about their dinner buffet that comes with cultural show, but its only this Saturday that we found time to actually visit.

I called the number posted on the web (+632 527 3893) to make reservation and found out that dinner service starts at 6:00PM and show starts at 7:15PM.

In spite of the traffic in Manila, we were able to arrive at Plaza San Luis Complex just before 7:00PM.  The buffet selection was a mix of Filipino and International dishes.  Don't expect a spread as huge as Vikings.  This is not the place to get get stuffed.  They offer 2 meat dishes, a fish option, vegetable, pasta, rice and soup, plus a separate station for dessert.  I think its a good deal for 699 pesos and lunch buffet is even cheaper at 549 pesos.  The crowd was a mix of locals, Balik-bayans, and tourists.

The buffet, offering a mix of International and Filipino food!

The Dessert Station

The Cultural show started as scheduled with the 3-man Rondalla, followed by a series of dances.  First, they highlighted the Spanish inspired dances, followed by the Muslim and was capped by the Fiesta theme.

The beautiful Curtural Dancers of Barbara's!
Audience we're given the opportunity to try out "Tinikling".  The dance that would challenge your coordination as you hop to the beat trying to avoid getting your feet trapped between the bamboo.

My attempt at Tinikling!

I really enjoyed the evening.  I like the Nostalgic Charm of the restaurant, the food, and Cultural show makes it worth the visit.  Plus, its a real value for money.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

One Night in Bangkok

I originally planned a 5 Day / 4 Night trip to Bangkok and Siam Reap, but because of the limited promo slot, it was reduced to 4D/3N leaving me with only a night stay in Bangkok.

My flight departed Manila as scheduled around 9:30 PM and arrived Bangkok just before midnight.  It was almost 1:00 AM when I cleared all the immigration procedure.  I decided to book a cheaper hotel, since I would only be using it to sleep.

I was up early that morning.  I  really didn't sleep much because of the excitement.

The first thing I did was secure myself of the bus ticket to Siam Reap.  I have pre booked my accommodation there, and I need to get the transport out of my worries at the start of the day.

I went to the North Bus Terminal in Mo Chit.   The ticket sellers speaks english and it was fast and convenient.

I started my temple tour of Bangkok right after that.

The first spot I went to was the Marble Temple.  Taxi is the most convenient way to get around.  My mistake was not asking the driver to wait for me.  It will only take a few minutes to explore this place.

Afterwards, I took a cab to the Grand Palace.

The Palace was beautiful but the tour can be exhausting, especially at noon when the sun is at its peak.  They have a strict dress code.  It's handy that you have a jacket with you.

I had lunch right outside the palace.  There are restaurants that line the street, but if you want to sample the street food, walk further towards the direction of Wat Pho, and you will see the stalls.

Afterwards I walked my way to Wat Po.  The temple with the reclining Buddha.  It's close to the Royale Palace, and is famous for the massage within the complex.

I was exhausted that afternoon and was really looking forward to checking in to the Hotel to rest.  For this night, I booked a room at Babylon. A Gay Man's visit to Bangkok would not be complete without it.

I got one of the Barracks room with 2 single beds for myself.  The toilet and bath is shared per floor.  After catching up on sleep, I explored the amenities that included the gym, pool, and bar.

After a few beers, I went back to the room to change for  a visit to the night market.  Since this will be my only night, I made sure I got stuff to bring home.  I made a stop for dinner somewhere close to the hotel and took a cab to Silom.

After spending most of my Thai Baht on shirts, I had a few rounds of Beer at Telephone on one of the street very similar to Malate where you could just watch people passing by.

I went back to the hotel after, for my early trip to Siam Reap.

Day 5: Tito's Roadtrip Travel Guide to Bicol

Our last day in Bicol is dedicated to our long drive back home. We decided to leave early around 3AM in order to reach Manila late in the ...