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birthday trip 2013: legazpi adventure

Published March 31, 2014 by ladyemelye

every year for my birthday, we take a break and the family usually travels (out of town or out of the country).  last year’s destination: legazpi city in albay, bicol.

side story:  the night prior to our flight, it was really raining hard (due to habagat, i think) and most of the roads already had been flooded.  our flight was around 8am, so it was still dark when we left the house, and we had to move really slowly to avoid getting into an accident.  good thing i already did the web check-in the day before because when we arrived, it was almost already boarding time.  we had to be escorted by the airline employee to the gate to expedite things.

i have coordinated with Roam International Travel and Tours (roaminternationaltravel@gmail.com) for our accomodation, activities and tours.  the owner, miggie, was very accommodating.  she asked me what we actually wanted to do while we are at legazpi, and then created an itinerary around it.  i was also able to reach her via sms whenever i have questions or if i need recommendations on where to eat, etc.

we arrived at legazpi city airport at around 9am.  we were picked up by the hotel’s van and we were brought to the hotel.  we checked in at the oriental legazpi.  since it was a little early when we arrived, our room was still being prepared.  so after the check in procedures, we had breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant.

the hotel lobby

the hotel lobby

the oriental legazpi

the oriental legazpi

once we have settled in our room, we took a nap to get ready for the afternoon’s activity.  at 1:30pm, we were fetched for the ATV activity.  we got the 350cc ATV for the salvacion trail.  since we had a kid, it was only hubby who went through the trail, and we just snacked and played around the area while waiting for him.

photo ops with the atv

photo ops with the atv

after the activity, we went back to the hotel to freshen up and rest.  for dinner, we went to small talk cafe.  it was one of the famous restaurants there which featured bicol fusion food.  the place was an old house converted into a restaurant.  sitting is a little bit limited.  of course, we had the laing/pinangat and it was indeed good.  this dish is made of gabi leaves, chili, meat and coconut milk.  they also offered the mayon pizza and the pasta pinangat, but we were not able to try it out.

small talk cafe

small talk cafe

the next day, we had our breakfast at the hotel restaurant (jasmine restaurant).  i liked the options that were served during breakfast.  it was a mix of continental and filipino breakfast.  there was not too much lying around that you would be confused on what to eat, but what they served would really satisfy you.  there was the staple filipino breakfast food (garlic rice, tocino/tapa, eggs), plus other viands and usually a vegetable dish.  they were also kind enough to give us a take out container for the champorado that my kid was not able to finish so that he could still eat it in the room.

after breakfast, we changed into our swimsuits and took a dip at the pool.  one of the reasons why i chose this hotel was because of the infinity pool which had a nice view of the mayon volcano. 🙂  the water was a little bit chilly, so after swimming and playing around, and the requisite “photoshoot” we went back to our room.

the infinity pool

the infinity pool

we ordered room service for our lunch, and then we got ready for our city tour.  the van and the tour guide came by at around 1:30pm.  we went around the city — kawakawa hill, cagsawa ruins, daraga church, lignon hill and embarcadero.  we also did some souvenir and pasalubong shopping.

one of the stations of the cross at kawakawa hill

one of the stations of the cross at kawakawa hill

kawakawa hill has the station of the cross which you will pass by on your way to the top of the hill.  according to our guide, during holy week there are a lot of people visiting this place.  it was a little bit tiring going up and around the hill, but it was good exercise. 😉

cagsawa ruins

cagsawa ruins

unfortunately, it was cloudy (with a little bit of drizzle) when we arrived at cagsawa ruins so we were not able to see the mayon volcano in its full glory.  we had fun however doing the illusion poses courtesy of the guides there who were trained by the local government to do this stuff.  it was free, but you could always give out tips so that the people could earn extra.

mayon volcano view at lignon hill

mayon volcano view at lignon hill

when we arrived at lignon hill, we were able the almost the whole mayon volcano. 🙂  hubby and i did the zipline here, and it was really fun despite the fact that it was raining when we zipped.  i think it added to the excitement.

after the city tour, we met up with miggie, and she treated us to dinner at eat all be cool resto grill.  this is a purely eat-all-you-can restaurant at legazpi city.  they serve different kinds of viands (meat, seafood, soup, veggies) and also noodles and rice.  they also have different local desserts.

we also stopped by colonial grill to taste the chili ice cream. 😉 we also got to taste other flavors like tinutong, melon, calamansi, bailey’s, and pili.  the chili ice cream was really interesting since you will not feel the sting at first. but you will once you swallow it, the sensation will be down your throat.

unique ice cream flavors at colonial grill

unique ice cream flavors at colonial grill

on our last day, we just lounged at our hotel room after breakfast and prepared for our flight back home.

one thing i would like to take note of was the children’s play place at the departure area of the legazpi airport.  my son had a nice time playing there and he wasn’t bored while waiting for our flight to manila.

glogglogglogglog

glogglogglogglog

i enjoyed our trip to legazpi.  next time i would like to explore the other things which bicol has to offer. dios mabalos!

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food test (march): cbtl and mcdonald’s

Published March 27, 2014 by ladyemelye

here are the “new” items which i sampled for this month and what i think of them. 🙂

coffee bean and tea leaf:  melon mint frutea and macarons.

cheese muffin, melon mint frutea, macarons

cheese muffin, melon mint frutea, macarons

for summer, cbtl launched three new frutea flavors:  pomelo frutea, pure melon iced blended and melon mint frutea.  the first i tried is the melon mint frutea.

i am not sure of the exact composition of this drink is, but it has mint, green tea and melon flavors.  i really like how the flavors blended together and i could imagine myself indulging in this during a hot day.  the mint added an additional “freshness” zing.  i just wish that i could also get this over ice rather than ice blended.

they have also started offering macarons.  they offer 5 sets which include two flavors in each set.  a set costs php 165.00.  the flavors are vanilla & coffee, orange & raspberry, lemon & earl grey, chocolate & passion fruit and salted caramel.  i got the orange & raspberry set.

hand crafted macarons

hand crafted macarons

sweet little things

sweet little things

orange x raspberry set

orange x raspberry set

i was a little bit disappointed with the size.  i was not able to take a comparison picture but each macaron is smaller than a 5-peso coin.  so pricewise, you are not getting what you paid for.  my officemates even thought that it was a toy/keychain.  and also after biting into it, the macaron crumbles.  but flavorwise, it was good.  i liked the fruit flavors infused in the filling of the macaron.  on any other day, i would still go to bar dolci for my macaron fix.

macarons up close

macarons up close

mcdonald’s: black forest coke mcfloat

this month, mcdonald’s also released a new line for their dreamy decadence desserts: tiramisu coke mcfloat, black forest coke mcfloat, sans rival mcflurry, cookie butter mcflurry (albeit this was released before) and mango mcdip.

after my bout with tonsilitis, i got the black forest coke mcfloat.  the website’s description:

go for something richer with the Black Forest Coke McFloat, a party in your mouth with every spoonful of hot fudge and cherry-flavored topping.

i liked the cherry flavor in the float since it gives a little different zing to it.  coming to the end of the drink though, i wasn’t able to detect the taste of the cherry anymore.  perhaps i would like this better as a sundae, rather than as a float.

 

i am now curious to try the other flavors which have come out. 🙂

google authenticator

Published March 25, 2014 by ladyemelye

security is a must these days.  hackers are everywhere trying to get into your accounts – email, facebook, etc.  so in addition to the password/notification that google has if your account was accessed from an unusual notification, i started using google authenticator.

google authenticator is an application which you can download to your smartphone.  it generates random codes which you input after you login with your username and password into your google accounts.  it is a little bit of extra work, but it makes sure that you are the one logging in to your account.

google authenticator

google authenticator

how to activate this in your gmail?  simple steps:

  1. in your account, go to settings
  2. click on the account tab
  3. go to change account settings and select other google account settings
  4. click on security tab
  5. enable the two-step verification

you can also opt to have the code be sent to your mobile phones if you do not have the app installed.  you just have to make sure that your phone is always with you when you access your account.

it may be an inconvenience, but it is better to be vigilant.  let us not be a victim of online hacking.

disney junior asia birthday book

Published March 18, 2014 by ladyemelye

“today’s a big day, it comes once a year, it’s your birthday…”

if you’re a parent and you have the disney junior channel at your home, chances are you know this song.  this is the theme song of the birthday book segment wherein children who’s birthdays fall in that month are given a special greeting.  for your child to be included in this, you have to submit your details plus a picture to the disney junior website, 2 months before your child’s actual birthday.  here is the link to the site: http://www.disneyjunior-asia.com/birthday-book/

i was not able to do this for the past two years, so this year i was so prepared.  come, january 1, while everyone else was still busy with their post new year activities, i submitted our details. 😉

it is important to note that only the first 100 submissions are considered for the video.  beyond that, you will still have your greeting but you will just see it in their website.  so imagine my excitement when i received an email saying that my son was chosen and he will be included in the video.

when march started, we have been almost always glued to our tv sets.  we’ve managed to conclude that the birthday book is shown every 3 hours (9am, 12nn, 3pm, etc) but since there are 12 sets of greetings for a month, you really have to watch out.  we have only seen our son’s set one time.  but i have already got a copy from youtube. 😀

here is the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4YCWhaGdOc&index=4

“happy disney junior birthday to you!!!”

build your own pizza at project pie

Published March 13, 2014 by ladyemelye

one of the food fad these days is how they let the customers customize the food however which way they want it.  project pie is an artisan-inspired create-your-own-pizza place.  several branches have already sprouted around the metro and i was very eager to try it out.  finally, hubby and i were able to go to the alabang branch.

design. build. eat.

design. build. eat.

we went on an “off-hour” so the long queue of people was not there.  plus we had the luxury of choosing where we wanted to sit.  we chose a couch by the window on the second floor.

so how do you order?  line up and decide whether your having their signature pizzas (php 245.00) or build your own (php 285.00).  they have 7 signature pizzas, both red (wit tomato sauce) and white (olive oil based).  if you choose to build your own, you will be then asked for your toppings as you go through the line, and then your pizza will be put in the oven.  when your pizza is done, you will then be called so that you can claim it.

available pizza toppings: mozzarella, feta, gorgonzola, ricotta, parmesan, pepperoni, italian sausage, crumble meatballs, bacon, grilled chicken, canadian bacon, prosciutto, anchovies, red onions, green bell peppers, jalapenos, cilantro, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, caramelized onions, fresh mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, pineapple, artichokes, fresh chopped basil, black olives, pesto, bbq sauce.

since we wanted the “full experience” we went ahead and decided to build our own pizza.  we went for a white pizza.

our pizza plate?

our pizza plate?

cheese!

cheese!

the dough starts out as a ball, then a machine flattens and shapes it.  then sauce, or in our case, oil is put on top of it.  you will then be asked what cheeses you want.  i chose mozzarella and gorgonzola.

meats

meats

next stop is the meat.  you can choose from a variety of meats they have.  we chose grilled chicken, prosciutto and bacon.  i would have wanted anchovies, but that would make our pizza too salty.  maybe next time. 😉

veggies

veggies

and then we added fresh mushrooms and caramelized onions to balance the flavors.  i also requested for fresh chopped basil.  then in goes our pizza to the oven!

our finished product

our finished product

i loved the flavors of our pizza (of course, i created it! :P) the sweetness of the caramelized onion balanced the saltiness of the meats and the gorgonzola.  plus a hint of freshness care of the basil.

customized water bottle

customized water bottle

classic caesar

classic caesar

we also ordered a classic caesar salad (php 165.00) to go with our meal.  the salad had romaine, parmesan, croutons and caesar dressing served on the side.  i super like the croutons since they are cheese flavored, it’s like eating cheese curls. 😉  i got water while hubby got the soda.

there are a couple other salad you can order, and also dessert pizzas – banana nutella (php 145.00), peanut butter nutella (php 145.00), strawberry mango nutella (php 195.00), cinnamon sugar with icing (php 145.00) – which i plan on checking out next time.

overall, i enjoyed eating at project pie.  we shared one pizza and a salad for lunch since we were still a little full from earlier, but i think one person can finish one pizza.  it was a nice experience and it’s likely that we will visit again to try out other pizza flavors.

the remains

the remains

 

 

Project Pie

Block 28 Commerce Avenue, Alabang

projectpie.ph

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