Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bluejay Coffee: One of Iloilo's Dining Treasures

Bluejay is another Ilonggo-owned cafe that's withstood the test of time.
Who doesn't enjoy a good cup of coffee? Drinking coffee is one of the things Filipinos have grown to love. From the oldest tatang to the youngest estudyante.

Bluejay Coffee has many branches, but this one is the branch situated within the Smallville Complex.
Coffee-based concoctions have now been a staple for social gatherings, friendly chitchats, studying hyperdrives, and even first time dates.

Presentation-wise, Midnight Chocolate Cake stood out from the pastry crowd. It was a little too moist though, perhaps after having been refrigerated for awhile.
Back when Bluejay first opened, I wasn't a big fan, especially with the cost of their drinks. Now, however, I just can't get enough of their hot chocolate.

Now, this is a feel-good hot chocolate drink!
Throughout the years, it seems that Bluejay Coffee and Deli has strove to win the masses by adding value meals, cakes and sweet treats into their menu. They sure are doing it right, particularly in the price department.

For 88 php. this Chicken ala King pasta comes with an orange juice drink.
While I've always been a fan of Coffeebreak, it just breaks my heart that the quality and quantity of their drinks have dwindled in the past decade.

Same value for a different kind of pasta, this Baked Penne is also available with a 12 oz juice.
My favorite Bluejay place is in Ayala Technohub at Glicerio Pison Ave., Diversion Rd., Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

You may contact them via the telephone number 333-3961 or the email blue_jaycoffee@yahoo.com

The Ultimate Cheese Sandwich

Sunday, September 21, 2014

DoVa Brunch Cafe: Iloilo's Dining Treasure

Don't let the word cafe stop you from entering DoVa Brunch Cafe. It's a restaurant and brunch cafe that offers good food and great atmosphere. Some of their best-sellers include the Cornflake Friend Chicken & Waffle, pretty much anything with their scrumptious waffle, and deep-fried Cheese Ball appetizers.

DoVa Brunch Cafe entrance. The waiter was nice enough to take the picture for me.
Dova is often full during meal times. In fact, I suggest calling them for a reservation if you really want to eat there exactly at lunch or dinner time. Better yet, you might as well enjoy an early or late lunch.

True to their Ilonggo hospitality, Dova's servers remind me of the best Outback and Alfredo Steakhouse waiters. They're attentive, nice, and eager to please. You'd probably feel guilty for not leaving them a tip. 

Hummus Plate for 195 php. I personally do not like this Greek concoction. I'm more of a waffles kind of person.
Prices at Dova are at the higher end of what Ilonggo restaurants normally charge. Although affordable, don't expect to pay for a JD or Hungry Ninja meal. We ordered a Hummus Plate appetizer, two full entrees consisting of a Beef Brisket plate and a Bacon and Sausage Waffle meal, and two drinks. All in all, our total damage amounted to 970 php.  

Now, this is what you call an all-American meal with salty and spicy sausage, crispy bacon and overflowing maple syrup on top of a buttered waffle. Bacon and Sausage with Waffle for 240 php.
Is Dova's food that good? Yes. In a span of one week, I've gone their twice to satiate my palate and experience that Afrique's vibe in another setting. Try their Grape smoothie, it reminds me of my Cibo days.

Tiny Tidbit: You're probably wondering where the name came from. According to Panay News, Dova is the last two syllables of the name of the Chef and owner of the place itself, Chef Miguel Cordova.

The most expensive entree in our order, Beef Brisket with Black Rice. The meat was tender while the gravy and black rice was quite tasty. What I didn't like about this 350 php selection is the amount of fat on the beef. Maybe I could request a fat-trimmed one next time.
Dova is located at  Huervana Extension Street, LaPaz, Iloilo City. It's across the tennis court within the LaPaz Plaza. They're open from 9 am to 9 pm.

Eleos at Molo: One of Iloilo's Dining Treasures

I came across this tiny resto by accident. Because of the Greek symbol used on its name, we had to ask their server how the name was pronounced.

Pass the giant Far Eastern Hardware Depot is a tiny, cozy resto with three tree stump tables within its glass entrance. The second floor was being renovated for the increasing number of customers they cater to, particularly on weekends and special couple holidays.

Eleos' Cakes and Pastries Indoor Front
Upon entering, Eleos gives us a homely vibe that's only found in Ilonggo-owned restaurants and cafes.

This table is located at the entrance.
Since the place was practically empty on a school night, we had the staff to ourselves. I asked for her to explain the menu since I wanted to taste the best they had to offer, and she summed it up pretty well. Our server was courteous and energetic at the same time.

Greek-themed menu paired with tree stump tables.
Their menus were Greek-themed with budget-friendly meals that had the god names appended to it. e.g. Zeus Delight, Poseidon Adventure.

Zeus Delight is a plate consisting of Eleos' Pasta Deliciosa (I picked their sweet Tuna Caserole), Spare Ribs (a little too fatty for my preference) and Garlic Bread.
So, it's no five-star resto. I'm sure some people will still prefer JD Roadhouse or even Manila's Banapple over it. Still, if you're the type who loves romantic ambiances and budget-friendly menu prices, Eleos is a place to add in your restos-to-visit.

If I remember correctly, Poseidon Adventure has their best-selling Beef Stroganoff. I totally forgot what this particular meal was paired with. It probably has something to do with tomato sauce. Both meals cost 169 php each.
Tiny Tidbit: After teaching us the correct pronunciation, they also shared the meaning of Eleos. The Greek word's English translation is Mercy, which is also the first name of the owner.

This Chocoholic Dream Cake cost 45 php. Not bad for its heavenly taste. It's moist, tasty, and best of all, just with the right amount of sweetness.
Eleos is located at 414 Avanceña Street, Molo, Iloilo City.

Will I dine at Eleos again? Hell, yes!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Lotus Garden Suite: One of the Prettiest Hotels in Palawan

It's not the best suite, neither is it the cheapest one. Still, the coziness of this Palawan hotel is just unbelievable. I stayed in The Lotus Garden Suite for two nights. 

First thing's first, why should I stay at the Lotus Garden Suite in Palawan

1. Great Location. The Lotus Garden is a cozy refuge that's situated between the airport and Puerto Princesa City Proper. It's about a 3-5 minute ride (or even less) from the airport. 

The best view to welcome your morning
This Palawan hotel is beside the famous Kalui's, and Kinabuch's Bar and Grill is within walking distance . Those two restos are a must-visit for people who enjoy great seafood and great ambiance,

2. The Lotus Garden is breathtakingly beautiful. Sure, the white silk cotton tree (known as Buboi or Doldol) sometimes kills the beauty of their ponds, but their landscaping is definitely one of a kind, paved in artfully-placed cracked tiles. 

This is one of their lounge areas. The stairwell beside it is a mosaic of broken tiles.
I bet it's the only hotel/suite in Palawan that has a treehouse, three ponds, and beautiful lotus flowers.

Beautiful, beautiful lotus flowers
3. Nature-friendly all the way. I stayed in the Okisaki room. It was built like a wooden cabin. Beneath my room was a fish pond with kois swimming beneath the lily pads. The man-made falls beside adds to the naturalistic vibe.

Best room in The Lotus Garden Suite. Paid 1,300 php for a night.
4. They have a cat mascot. Okay, this was definitely something I just had to mention. The funny gal is just lounging about reception area. She's often caught stretching out on their plush purple seat.

Mascot Cat on Purple Couch
5. Friendly hotel staff. It's so adorable that their staff is hospitable, accommodating, and very eager to help.

6. Great ambiance and set-up. I did mention this awhile ago. It felt like I owned the place because they barely had customers (probably because it's not peak season yet). My driver mentioned that he thought the place only had Asian fine dining.

Romantic lighting crafted with bamboo
They have seashell tables and a whole book collection beside their bar.

This has rocks on it. The other table has seashells beneath the glass pane.
Celebrities who have gone there include Mark Nelson (I'm not sure about this), Pokwang, Renee Salud, Ai-Ai delas Alas and Aljur Abrenica. I know there's another actor model who's gone there... but seriously, I'm not really familiar with celebrities.
Here's a Japanese-themed pavilion surrounded by lush greenery and a beautiful lotus pond.
Of course, there are some downsides about the hotel.

1. 24-hour front desk wasn't 24 hour at all. I could perfectly understand this because it's not peak season yet. Logic dictates that there's practically no guest in their right mind who would leave the suite at 3 in the morning except me.

2. Hot water is extremely hot. I couldn't adjust it to warm even if my life depended on it. Hahaha. 

It's like bathing in hot brewed coffee!
3. Continental breakfast portions are a little too small.

Two continental breakfasts combined. I missed my first breakfast so I asked them to combine both meals into one large morning feast.
4. Okisaki Room--the room with the best view-- doesn't have a canopy bed. I can deal with that, too. I love that the room was cozy, but some customers have expected this beforehand...especially with the pictures on their site.

On the bright side, I admire their effort in renovating the place. During my stay, they were working on improving their dining area.

Front desk is on the left. The shell table above is the center piece in this photo.
The million-dollar question? Will I stay at The Lotus Garden Suites again? HELL YES!!! It's affordable, beautiful, and nature-rific. I got the Okisaki room for 1,300 php!

The Lotus Garden Suites Information

Address:371 Rizal Ave. Puerto Princesa City, Palawan PH 5300
Phone:(048) 434 11 32
Tip: Rather than booking it through their site, give them a call! If it's not peak season, you'll most likely get the room at a cheaper price. You should check Agoda or Tripadvisor rates too. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

8 Places to Enjoy in Iloilo

Say you're on a business trip to Iloilo, or maybe you're just there for a quick vacation. Are you browsing the web for ways to enjoy your Iloilo vacation? Do you want to see some of Iloilo's tourist spots?

Here are just some of the places to visit when travelling to Iloilo.

"I am Iloilo" sign in the Iloilo Esplanade
Just so we're clear, there are a lot of great places to visit in Iloilo, especially now that Iloilo is preparing for the Asia Pacific Economic Council (APEC) Summit.

1. Iloilo Esplanade

Iloilo Esplanade Entrance Sign
Post Script:
This 1.2 kilometer esplanade celebrates Iloilo citizens' love for their river. It provides a functional, as well as beautiful venue that accommodates varied leisure activities open for all to use and appreciate. It also brings everyone closer to the water's edge, reconnects people back to nature and increases awareness of the environmental balance necessary for the city to sustain those who live within its borders.
A closer look at the newly paved pathway inside the esplanade.
The Iloilo Esplanade was created alongside the Iloilo River. It's a known shortcut from the highway to Molo. It's also a safer walking route to the Boardwalk which leads the path to Smallville, Iloilo's nightlife central.

Iloilo Esplanade's Beauty at Night
The Iloilo Esplanade is a great place for joggers and exercise buffs. At one end of the Esplanade (the one near  Zyron's), group exercise programs like Taebo and Zumba are being held on a daily basis.

The path to Molo and the entrance of the Riverside Boardwalk
2. JD at Huervana St., La Paz

Whenever someone mentions JD, they often refer to the famous JD Roadhouse. Unfortunately, their food quality has begun to decline. The last time I ate there, I was so disappointed with the Palabok (too little sauce) and their famous Baked Mac (too dry).

This JD Bakeshop is located in Huervana St., La Paz, Iloilo City
Then, I was able to eat breakfast at JD La Paz. Boy was my disheartening experience erased.

I just love eating at the place early in the morning. It's virtually empty.
For me, the best JD (in terms of food preparation) is located in La Paz, in front of the La Paz public market, along Huervana Street.

At the top portion of a picture is their new sandwich. I love it. It's way better than their JD Clubhouse Sandwich.
3. Plazuela de Iloilo

Sorry for the sucky picture. Hahaha. I took this shot with a Samsung Galaxy Y.
I've been gone for such a long time that last June, when I visited Plazuela, I was so amazed by the new additions in the place. There were enlarged colorful flower fixtures accompanied by bees and butterflies.

4. Teds at Iloilo

Teds is just Teds. It's famous for its batchoy. I personally don't like eating batchoy, but I'm sure the adventurous palate would beg to differ.

5. Sharetea in Smallville

Okay, so it's not all about local restos. I know Sharetea isn't from the Philippines, but I'd be damned if I don't include them in this list. I would rather drink in Sharetea than in Iloilo's damned Starbucks anytime.

Sharetea is located inside the Smallville Complex. My favorite drink is the Ice Blended Cocoa with Ice Cream. 
Yes, bitter ako because we've had multiple undesirable experiences with them, ranging from a Frappuccino with too much sugar to an over-charged "dagdagan mo ng cream" request.

Ooops! Sorry, wrong tea. Although, my usual Sharetea order does remind me of my favorite Chatime Mousse drink. Mmm...Chocolate...
And besides, at least Sharetea was not responsible for mass food poisoning Iloilo citizens, Dakasi is.

6. Roberto's

Of course, there are other places worth mentioning. This restaurant is particularly amazing as the owners don't allow franchising.

Roberto's is relatively small compared to the massive number of customers that buy their burgers, siopaos, meatballs, shanghais, and fried rice on a daily basis.

Roberto's with their amazing Lumpia Shanghai and Queen Siopao. 
7. Coffee Break
Coffee Break because it's a local cafe
This last picture was taken YEARS ago. I just love Coffee Break's Baked Mac and Tuna Casserole.

As for their Frappes? Let's just say that it has been a struggle for them to maintain their old standard in coffee drink quality, especially when it comes blended iced beverages or frappes.

8. Love & Kisses Pizza Pies

Love and Kisses is a late addition because I've completely forgotten about it. I do have two sucky pictures of my favorite pizza choices.

Love & Kisses is the only pizza place that lets you order Seduction.
Love and Kisses has always been one of my favorite pizza place ever since time immortal. To be more prices, that's two decades ago.  I have enjoyed Love & Kisses' pizzas even back when their tiny pizzeria was located in narrow street within Iloilo Central Market.

And if all else fails, there's always Fantasy, right?
Sure, they're no Afrique's. Then again, Love & Kisses creates a nostalgic atmosphere that Ilonggos have learned to enjoy throughout the years.

There you have it. 8 Places to Go to When in Iloilo

Tags:
8 Places to Go to in Iloilo
8 Iloilo Tourist Spots
8 Iloilo Spots to Enjoy
8 Places to Visit in Iloilo

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Marikina Sports Center Rates, Schedules, and Brochure

In my opinion, Marikina has one of the best sports center in the Philippines. It has well-kept facilities, and most of it are open 24/7. So the swimming pool is closed during Mondays, and only during summers do they allow night swimming, it's not that bad when the rates are affordable.

Marikina Sports Center's Soccer Field.
Given the government's average budget, the sports area and its staff is proof to where the citizen's taxes go. 

Marikina Sports Center contact number, information, and rates.
Postscript: 
MARIKINA SPORTS CENTER
Administrator: Dr. Angelito A. Llabres 
Bookings/ Reservations or Inquiries (02) 682-9573
Administration Office (02) 646-1635
Visit us: www.marikina.gov.ph
But let's not talk about that. I didn't put this post up to review the place.

And if all Badminton Courts are fully-booked, where better than to play beside the track oval.
Beside the veteran chess players...
Honestly, I just wanted to post some pictures and information the Marikina Sports Center rates.

Multicolored bleachers surrounding both sides. Entrance fee is 10 pesos per person.
To make things easier, I took the liberty of posting the Sports Center's brochure.

Marikina Sports Center Brochure
Just click on the image to enlarge it.
Marikina Sports Center Brochure
Just click on the image to enlarge it.