30 March 2012

FOODIE THOUGHTS: Kazam Kebab House at Maginhawa St.

I actually have a growing list of must-visit foodie places at the famed Maginhawa St. in Quezon City and I have not reached 50%. But I plan to, especially that it's just a stone's throw away from where I live during the weekdays.

Coming from work, I was feeling famished already but I could not think of anything specific that I wanted to have for dinner. I though of coming down to Araneta Center or near my apartment here in Sikatuna Village. In the end, Maginhawa St. won and it was a cross between places near my street: Cafe Quezon or Kazam.

Kazam Kebab House won hands down! My first time! =)
Heard one good feedback from a friend and that has been mentally noted. 
And I got the:
Chelo Kebab Kobideh. 2 sticks of beef kebab served with buttered rice and grilled half onion and 2 tomatoes. 
Keema. My sidedish. When I heard the server said that the Keema was spicy, I thought if she was sure about her answer. I already helped myself to my first spoonful and I did not taste 'spicy' there but then, eventually, it kicks in then I said to myself again, "yep, it is a bit spicy". I liked it.  
Of course, one cannot go on without the condiments. You want it hot or just right? =)
I loved the combination of the buttered rice together with the Keema and the grilled onion and tomato with the white sauce. The natural sweetness of the onion is so good. I was headed home after dinner so I was not bothered by the aftertaste and onion breath. Not that keen with the beef kebab as I find it a bit bland, but that is just me. I said that I would not finish my rice serving but I did. It was so good. Better than Mr. Kebab. 
Check out their prices. Reasonable..considering that they serve great tasting fare. 

I will see you again soon! =)
You can actually mix and match the side dishes to create a main dish good enough to fill your tummy happily without overdoing your budget.

Next time, I'm going to have the buttered rice for P20, Keema for P45 and the Grilled Onion & Tomato for P25. Thirsty? Bottomless iced tea for P30 is a sure win with its very affordable price. And they don't serve it with less quality in flavor, it's freshly made!

Loved it! That's it. =)

Kazam Kebab House
162 Maginhawa St. Sikatuna Village 
Quezon City
09175366627 / 09228195606

27 March 2012

St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church of Marilao, Bulacan

I have been attending mass in this old church but this is the first time that I have thought of writing about it. Sure proves that we sometimes miss the things that we often take for granted, in this case, because of its proximity from our house in Marilao,Bulacan.

Located at the bayan, it is centrally located and is not hard to find.
An old church dating back to the 1800s. Looks faded from afar but its not. The paint on the church exterior walls is of a light pink shade. 

I like this very much! Usually, when you dip your fingers in the Holy Water to make the sign of the cross, you often  encounter basins that one can see clearly the dirt that has been collected from numerous fingers (no offense), but here in St. Michael the Archangel Parish, it Holy Water flows. For me, this is more appealing. 
When you go inside, it is a bit darker but once you get near the front, your eyes will automatically zoom in to its altar with its beautiful religious depictions ensconced in gold hues. I remember way back my childhood years that the altar was designed differently, very simple.
The church dome itself will provide the natural lighting from outside. Very old niches may be seen at the side walls of the church. 
Very beautiful and elegant
Christ The King
The high ceiling gives the church its air of authenticity. Very fitted for a place of worship. 
According to the National Historical Institute...
Rain's coming! Glad to have taken a photo still before it poured

On a Sunday, this is the regular scene after mass
A grand old church that we (Marileños) are proud of! 
For its history, per  http://www.flyphilippines.com.ph/bulacan/info.php,  "Church of Marilao (Bulacan) – Originally a chapel, Fr. Vicente de Talavera erected the first church on 21 April 1796 simultaneously with the founding of the town and parish of Marilao. St. Michael the Archangel was enthroned patron saint. A bigger church was constructed in 1848 and was finished in 1868. It was gutted by fire during the Fil-American War. The church was reconstructed to its original size in 1922. Restoration was fully done in 1967 under the supervision of Fr. Jose M. Salas."

Since Holy Week is just around the corner, I suggest visiting/adding this church to your list of Visita Iglesia destinations. =)

19 March 2012

FOODIE THOUGHTS: MIlk Tea at Tea.Ology

I find myself loving cold milk teas nowadays. Is it because its the '"in" thing now or is because it's more healthy than drinking my usual frappes or because of the affordable price?

I think it's all of the above. Right. Definitely.

For today, me and some friends tried this tea shop at Katipunan, Quezon City instead of heading to our original choices Serenitea or Moonleaf, we chose the new place as variety is good.

TEA.OLOGY. Loved their artwork on the chalkboard.  Wished  I can be this creative =)
Per www.citydelivery.ph, Tea.Ology is a lifestyle tea café that aims to serve high quality tea based beverages. In order to guarantee a cup that is rich in aroma and full of flavor, they create their products from 100% premium loose leaf teas that are freshly brewed every day. They have a vast selection of imported teas that serve as the base of their drinks. Drinks are all personalized since the customer gets to choose the flavor, the toppings and the sweetness level of the drink. Because the orders are personalized, the orders are all made on the spot so the freshness and quality of the beverage is assured.

For me, I got the large Amaretto Milk Tea (P95.00), with 75% sweetness and a topping of egg pudding. I did not push it this time. I loved my order and it filled up my craving for the day. My friends ordered differently but they said they liked my order. So that's a thumbs-up! 
This is a very cozy place because its very small, more intimate in setting. One can't be too noisy here, you have to go easy with the loud chatter. You have to respect the privacy of each customer as most of their patrons are students who does some serious studying, I think.

What I also liked about this place is that they offer 1 free topping of your choice: pearls, coconut jelly, coffee jelly, sweet tea jelly, egg pudding and grass jelly. Sweet! Unlike the other tea shops that charge you extra for it. I hope this stays the same forever!

G/F Xanland Place
Katipunan, Quezon City
Mon-Sun 10am-10pm

12 March 2012

FOODIE THOUGHTS: Maitre Chocolatier Boutique Cafe is chocolate heaven!

Finally, the perfect opportunity to eat here. Heard and read good reviews so now, we finally get to taste it ourselves. We were expecting a gastronomic treat of dishes with chocolate incorporated in them. Let's see!
Cozy ambiance. Perfect for a date, whether romantic or with a friend. 
Free candy to munch on, for starters. 1pc per person. 
For their promo, just an additional P10.00 (if I'm not mistaken), we got to order soup of our choice which on a regular day, is priced at P99.00. Lucky night!
My Pumpkin Soup. So-so. Blah. Nothing to rave about. 
Friend's choice -Mushroom Soup. Yum! 
My choice-Grilled Chicken in Chocolate with Pomegranate Sauce. The menu said that its a "pan-grilled chicken coated in Lindt Excellence 70% Dark Chocolate with tangy pomegranate sauce served with buttered potatoes, fresh vegetables and cumin rice". For my verdict, it was a total failure for me. Totally not satisfied with the taste. Coated in dark chocolate??I just tasted a slightly burnt skin of the meat. No trace of chocolate there. The pomegranate sauce was tangy alright, but the totality of the dish was a disappointment. The vegetables were bland and a bit overcooked. To cut the long story short, I was NOT happy. 
My friend's choice-Linguine in Pesto Sauce with Parm-Crusted Chicken. Menu's description was "Al dente pasta linguine with fresh herbs and spices, served with crisp and tender parmesan crusted chicken strips, perfected with white chocolate sauce made from Frey Classique Blanc".  Now this I liked more. Way, way more. The serving was generous and   even though the pasta had a lot of pesto on it, I liked the taste. It was not lacking. The chicken strips were perfectly cooked and the sauce was so good. I think it was me who finished more of my friend's food. Sorry! Dissatisfied customer looking for some sort of salvation from her choice.  
The piece de resistance..dessert! Sweet Revenge-Lindt Molten Lava Cake. "Dark chocolate molten lava cake made from Europe's finest Lindt Excellence Dark 70%, filled with oozing sweet and vengefully spicy chocolate lava served with vanilla ice cream". We truly loved this dessert. It has a kick of spiciness on it. We thought it would be overpowering but it was just right, just enough to make you taste it. So chocolatey! The cake was still warm and fresh and thick chocolate was  literally oozing out  of it. Paired with the vanilla ice cream, it made the whole experience so heavenly. For only P195.00. Highly recommended!  

Aside from dining here, you can buy any fine chocolate that you crave for. They got lots of choices to choose from. A wonderland for those with a sweet tooth. Even for for those who are health-conscious, they have choices of sugar free goodies.

So pretty! Made out of Ferrero Rocher wrappers. So creatively done out of an expensive material. =)

Apart from my rather simple tasting choice of soup and disappointing main dish, I still appreciated this place. Why, because of the dessert mainly. Loved it! Maybe I just chose the wrong dishes that is not suited to my taste buds. I hope so. I will still definitely come here in the near future to try my luck again. =)

Maitre Chocolatier Boutique Cafe
Unit 2A, 28 Jupiter. St. cor. Astra St., Bel-Air 1209 
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maitre-Chocolatier-Manila/236539026998?sk=wall

11 March 2012

DAY 4- Iloilo's Grand Old Churches and so much more! (The Bacolod-Guimaras-Iloilo Trip)

(This last post was so delayed due to time constraint but finally! Yehey!)
The final leg of the Bacolod-Guimaras-Iloilo trip! Time flew by so fast especially when you are enjoying the moments along the way.

For this trip, here is the summary where we've been for the past 3 days:

-Jomabo Island (Escalante City)
-Ancestral houses, El Ideal Bakery and the San Diego Pro-Cathedral (Silay City)
-The Ruins (Talisay City)
-Dinner at Imay's and desserts at Calea (Bacolod City)
-Mambukal Resort (Murcia)
-Pasalubong shopping at Bongbong's (Bacolod City)
-Late lunch at the Manokan Country (Bacolod City)
-Late arrival at Iloilo City
-Dinner at Breakthrough Restaurant (Arevalo District, Iloilo City)
-Chill time at Smallville (Mandurriao, Iloilo City)
-Countryside tour (Guimaras)

For Day 4, one should not pass up the chance to visit Iloilo's heritage churches as it encompasses a culture and faith that this region is made of. Here are our adventures:
Bye, Guimaras! Till our next visit.
Well, hello again, Iloilo. We'll conquer you today. But gotta have lunch first. So hungry!
1ST STOP: For lunch, of course, we just got to have Iloilo's prode..La Paz Batchoy! What to choose..Ted's or Deco's since they both claim that they ARE the pioneers in making this dish. We opted to go with Deco's since my companions have tried Ted's in Manila already.
We told our rented van driver to head off to the nearest Deco's and he drove us to the SM Mall at downtown. I requested if  he could bring us to another branch as we wanted to experience authentic batchoy in a more 'proper' setting other than the mall. Luckily, there was a branch near the mall. We were in a mad dash to start our itinerary and we just have 5 hrs to accomplish all of it.
2ND STOP: Nelly's Garden mansion located ar Jaro, Iloilo. One of the grandest mansions in Iloilo that was built in 1928 by Don Vicente Lopez y Villanueva. It is owned by the Lopez clan and this beautiful mansion with its splendid gardens is a landmark in its own right.
See how beautiful the mansion is and how expansive the front lawn is. Simply majestic. A haven in the midst of modern life.
3RD SPOT: MUSEO ILOILO. We arrived here during noontime, if we could have more time to spend, we surely would've went inside to check out the collection that defines the cultural and archaeological history of Western Visayas. I was interested to see the Mickey Mouse money that they have piles and piles of. Well, there is always a next time. For now, a picture outside would suffice.
4TH SPOT: BISCOCHO HOUSE. A trip into a new place would not be complete if you don't take home its native delicacies. Biscocho House is the leading 'pasalunong' place to shop for great snacks such as, of course, the sugary & milky Biscocho, butterscotch bars and a whole more.
5TH SPOT: JARO CATHEDRAL. The only cathedral found in Iloilo City. The seat of Catholic faith in the region.
It was a sight to behold. The structure is massive and its grandiosity will pull you towards it to come and visit.
Too bad we did not have the opportunity to come in so I just took a sneak photo of how it looks inside. I just slipped my camera inside the closed bars. I bet it would have felt great to offer a prayer and make 3 wishes, as they say that if it is your first time in a church, ask for 3 wishes and your wishes will be granted. Some of mine happened, some did not, I think.
6TH SPOT: Molo Church. A grandeur of the finest level. Called a "feminist church" due to all the female saints that stands on pillars on each side of the church. Sta.Ana is their patron saint.
Images of female saints line up on each side of the church. High ceilings gave an airy and light atmosphere. And Gothic design is very visible in the interior designs.
The church is made of coral rocks. Per larryscaprockandstone.blogspot.com, coral rocks are resilient and natural and has a timeless beauty. And that is so right, the Molo Church withstood the test of time and the elements but it still stands proudly, for all generations to come.
7TH SPOT: Mama's Kitchen. Their chewies and crunchies are so good! I like the Pinipig Crunchies the most! This was introduced to me by my former ward when I was still working at GMA-7 and it has stuck like glue in my mind. I haven't had these for a couple of years already so I would not let this moment pass by. Bought a couple and also 1 box of Mango Chewies. Happiness!
Mama's Kitchen is housed in an ancestral house that also houses the Sinamay (also known as Abaca) house where products from this fiber are being made and sold. Whew! A lot of 'house' in just one sentence. =) Look at that vintage car!
Mama's Kitchen is located at 16 Osmena St, Arevalo, Iloilo City. Prices of their yummy products are very affordable, I do not remember the exact amount but it's less than P130 per box of crunchies/chewies. A must try and great pasalubong idea.
8TH SPOT: San Joaquin Church. 53kms away from the city, southernmost part of Iloilo.
This was the farthest that we have reached on this journey. We were near the province of Antique already. Since we were under time constraint, it was a good thing that we got a van rented for this trip so we can get around much faster and get in time to the airport for our trip back to Manila. The van rental cost was for P3,000 for 10hrs, driver and fuel included, since we went out of the city. Plus, we were very comfortable. It was drizzling that day, so having a rented transpo was a big bonus.
9TH SPOT: San Joaquin Cemetery. This was built back in 1892 and is located along the highway leading to the town. I have seen blogs about this place and it was a must that we see this place. For a cemetery, it's the most eerily yet beautiful resting place of the dead that I have ever seen. I was entranced! If only time can accommodate, I would have loved to spend some more minutes just to drink in the ambiance of the place.
The highlight of this visit is to have our photo taken at this structure in the middle of the cemetery which is the mortuary chapel designed in Baroque architecture. You need not to be educated just to appreciate the design. It's everything I love to see, old and structured.
So well-preserved!
10TH SPOT: Miag-Ao Church. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1993 under 'Baroque Churches of the Philippines. There are only 3 other churches declared under this category-- San Agustin Church in Manila, Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Santa Maria in Ilocos Sur, and San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte.
A must-visit for any tourist going here. According to Iloilo Board, "The history of the Miagao Church began in 1797 when it was built, and was done so out of the conviction that the Christian population living in the town needed a place where they could show their love and devotion to the Creator." Its present look now is the product of a restoration work that began in 1960 as the church was destroyed during the 1898 Filipino revolt against Spain. Then, it was again rebuilt as it was badly damaged by fire in 1910 and an earthquake in 1948.A lot of catastrophes that this beautiful church has experienced already. Whew! But the people came together and gave money in order for the restoration to be done.

Another name of this church is the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church. St. Thomas of Villanueva is their patron saint.
It was already raining but we did not let that dampen our eagerness to have souvenir shots of all the places we've been to.
Before we moved forward to our next destination, we stopped for some sustenance and nothing beats the local and cheap yet truly satisfying street foods.
Passing through Guimbal Steel Bridge, the longest bridge in Iloilo. Constructed during the American period. The construction was ordered by US President Roosevelt. It is approximately 0.350 kilometers long and made of Pittsburgh Steel, which were imported from Virginia, USA. It is the longest steel bridge in Western Visayas.
11TH SPOT: Guimbal Church at the town of Guimbal. Per Wikipedia, Guimbal is a 4th class municipality and it has been cited as the most business-friendly local government unit in Western Visayas, and the cleanest and greenest town in Iloilo. With a 9 km shoreline facing the blue waters of the Panay Gulf, it has attracted tourists from different places because of its scenic beaches and inland resorts.
The newly restored 400-year-old church made of yellow adobe and coral stones, is one of the oldest in the country
This church has already undergone several reconstructions as it was destroyed during World War II and like the Miag-Ao Church, during the 1948 earthquake.
The full name of the Guimbal Church is the Church of San Nicolas of Tolentino. We thought there was a mass going on when we visited, well, there was a mass indeed but for the dead.
Translation: "Ating simbahan, Ating Linisin". True!
Guimbal was awarded the 2010 Cleanest and Greenest Municipality. Discipline and love of the people for their municipality made this happen. Keep it up always!
12TH SPOT: Tigbauan Church. Per www.exploreiloilo.com, the church is unique in the country because of its Latin American churriquesque architecture. The church was constructed in 1575 and destroyed during an earthquake in 1948.
Because of the rain, we were not able to go out and take a peek inside the church and make our 3 wishes (they say that if it is your first time to go to a church, make 3 wishes). Such a shame. Next time maybe.
13TH SPOT:  Santa Barbara Church and Convent. Declared a National Landmark by the National Heritage Institute back in 1991. The church was built in 1845 and is of Baroque Renaissance architecture. Because it was raining heavily already, we just stopped in front but did not go out. I really wanted to but due to lack of time, we just took a photo, and literally, fled straight to the airport. What a rush!
Boo-hoo! The hardest part, going back home to reality.
The Airphil Express queue.
Got our dinner here. The small place was packed to the brim so we just ordered our food to-go.
Their Clubhouse Sandwich was a sure winner1Just less than P100 but so filling and delicious.
Their Leche Flan was good. A nice finish to a great sandwich.
Bye, Iloilo! We'll be back for sure, especially me.
For just around 6 hrs, we went to all of these. So tiring but so fun. So worth the effort and trip and everything else. A cultural experience that made us aware how rich our country is and how big it is to be part of our responsibility, duty or advocacy, to share these things to the rest of the world.

For more posts on this trip, check these out: 

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