Friday, December 7, 2012

Dining in Manila

Since I had a part of some stories published in the holiday issue of Brand Magazine, I decided to expand what I've written in the Magazine. Here are some of my top restaurants (which I had so many memorable moments) in Manila that you may want to check out next time you visit the fun Philippines.

Picking up the right restaurant for a first date has a huge impact on whether you’ll have a chance for a second date. A second-time-around “just okay” dinner might not guarantee you forgiveness or second chance.

When in doubt, go for Italian!

Italian restaurants never fail in creating a romantic atmosphere and delivering good food so when you’re on that getting-to-know-you stage and stalking her in instagram and twitter doesn’t give you a hint on what she wants for her first date, don’t hesitate to reserve one of the finest Italian restaurants in the metro!

I like the mystery of moving away from the busy streets of Makati on the way to Carpaccio Ristorante Italiano that leaves an element of surprise for the first visit and gives each other more space for conversation. The aroma, atmosphere and flavours will take you far to Italy together with the ideal service once you step in their premise until you get off! Italy’s national salad, Insalata Caprese is a must try together with Carpaccio di Salmone e Branzino alla Marinara (Salmon and Seabass with tomatoes, garlic, basil, capers and onion in olive oil) and their flavorful risottos and pizzas!

Carpaccio Ristorante Italiano
7431-C Yakal St. San Antonio, Makati City

For a more accessible Italian restaurant, Paparazzi in EDSA Shangri-la is a good choice that defines their culinary philosophy as la dolce vita (the sweet life). The dishes are presented in very modern ways which immerse the palate a very rich experience of authentic Italian cuisine.

Adventurous? Dare to eat differently!

People’s Palace is one of my favourite restaurants in any kind of date. There are some restaurants that I tried and like the first time but are never consistent on the second or third time but People’s Palace is true to its promise to deliver good food and superb service at any time and to anyone. The Thai dishes are authentic and gorgeously presented.

Tip: Try to sit in one of the terrace tables outside and you’ll surely loosen up those awkward moments and comfortably say what you want to say.

People’s Palace
Greenbelt 3, Paseo de Roxas cor Legaspi St.
Ayala Center, Makati City
+63.2.729.2888, +63.2.729.4375

Be extra romantic and try continental cuisine in CAV Wine Shop- Café. I like the unconventional taste of the Sea Urchin Minestrone from their Dining Prix-fixe menu and if you’re a vegetarian, go for an Organic Poussin! I crave for the Roasted Seabass from their Café menu from time to time.

TIP: Let the fun begin! Fully experience CAV Wine Shop- Café by tasting the eclectic selection of wines which the two of you will enjoy in 25ml (tasting), 75ml (half-glass) or 125ml (full glass) through a tasting card that they provide. You never know, your date might be an oenophile or a wine aficionado! But don't forget to take it easy with the wines, a little kick to your confidence is good but too much might not assure you of a second date! 

CAV Wine Shop-Café
GF The Spa BuildingLot 5 Quadrant 8, City Center
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

“Bon appetite!” is what I always remember about L’entrecote, a modern Swiss-French Steak & Frites bistro which is probably the Metro’s closest thing to that Manhattan experience everyone is talking about. First time I had the succulent steak and wine, I found myself wondering why the servers smile whenever they serve the food, then I realized that they were saying bon ap-pe-tite and keep their smile after uttering the word, indeed, this good service makes the dining experience notable. Long chat with your date is possible with their endless fresh hand cut fries together with the Steak topped with The Secret Herb Butter Sauce! Try the Original Swiss Fondue or the pan-seared juicy Foie Gras that are so mouth-watering. After a few question-and-answer, try breaking the ice by ordering the flaming dessert with sweet cream and fruit inside, Baked Alaska.

TIP: Have a leap of faith! Sometimes, they serve free house wine if you’re lucky!

Burgos Circle, Forbes Town Centre
Unit A Belagio 2, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Steak and Wine? That’s the expertise of Bistecca. Aside from the sophisticated ambiance, Bistecca only serves USDA certified beef and aside from their juicy steaks, they serve lobsters too!

TIP: Try their house sauces that will definitely satisfy your cravings!­

122 Joya, Rockwell Makati City, Metro Manila Philippines

Tired of the traditional izakaya ambiance among Japanese restaurants? Why not sophisticatedly eat healthy food in Hanaichi Japanese Restaurant? I like the quality of service together with the commitment of its chef to continuous improvement by personally greeting and having chitchat with guests from time to time.

Hanaichi Japanese Restaurant
The Luxe Residences, 28th St.
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Toki Japanese Fusion & Fine Dining makes me feel like I’m dining in Japan with its high-standard Japanese service. Though I really like their set menu, a la carte orders might help you start talking about the next date since they have perfect sharing portions. 

Toki Japanese Fusion & Fine Dining
2nd Level, 32nd and 5th Bldg.
32nd St. and 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Like what Julia Child says, “Life itself is a proper binge,” so enjoy each bite and have a taste of life! And remember, good food needs a good company.

(Photos are from Google Images)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Goodbye Amsterdam.

They say that a bestfriend is someone that even if you haven't spoken with for years, the friendship remains the same no matter what and when you start talking, it seems like you never fell apart.

I feel like a kid now.

I drafted this post 3 days before Roxanne got married because I want to express how happy I am for her and how beautiful she is but all I can put were photos and the feeling was really hard to explain. I started crying morning of Saturday, the day that she's getting married because of mixed emotions but when Taku started to laugh at me, I realized that I should get over the feeling and get going for the wedding ceremony.

"Before we get married buddy, let's go to Las Vegas or Amsterdam," it was a promise between us in our younger years that won't be possible to achieve now. 

She's my summerbuddy, we became bestfriends during our summer classes in college. Like some couples, our relationship could not be measured by length of being together but its depth. Coming away with her in Amsterdam was not a "pure" (we have a different context of the word) plan, it was because we value being young and marriage so much that we would like to live our lives to the fullest and experience all the crazy mundane things that ever existed in this world (In short, "kabastusan") before finally settling down and have the most beautiful family in the world!  

Back then, she felt like marriage was not for her. She couldn't see herself committing herself fully to someone. She has been always true to herself and has always been my mirror on things. She'd tell me if I'm wrong, she'd tell me if I'm right. She'd cheer me up when I feel bad, laugh at me then be straightforward when I look bad. 

She dreams with me and get crazy drunk, she'll dance non-stop and laugh non-stop.

But what I always love about her is she speaks out, talk things out but never insist that I need to believe in her because she is right. She trusted me from the very first and she remained by my side no matter what. 

Through the years, Roxy taught me things that no one could ever teach:

1. A true friend will always be there for you and will never judge you.
2. No matter what others say you are, don't care and follow your heart.
3. Sometimes, we get so sad that some people turn us down, but in reality, it doesn't matter because they don't care about us. As we get older, we'll learn who matters and who we should value.

She's one of those people who live a quiet life, simplicity at its finest, not bare but full of laughter. She carried herself very well that I am very much proud of.

And now, I don't care that the Amsterdam getaway won't happen anymore! When I think about how happy the two of us now, I couldn't think of writing our stories any better. 

Thinking about her getting married made me worried and scared. But I trust her so much and I know this is one of the best decisions she ever made. I know that what she feels is true, there is just one person in your life that will change your life forever and is just in perfect fit. When he comes, all the questions is answered.


Among the girls, I just knew her childhood bestfriend, Tin, and a little bit of the sweet organizer, Mica. But it was funny how I had fun and enjoy seeing Roxy crying and laughing. The girls pulled it off very well.

In the photo below, you'll see how scared she is of the thought of "macho dancer." I think she's ready to be a wife. :)

Here's how it happened:


I personally like this photo:

And I found new great friends who always complete my buddy's life:

It was a beautiful wedding. I am very honored to witness the love and happiness of a very beautiful couple.

To Wex, words can't explain but yes, I'll not worry and entrust my buddy to you. Please make my buddy happy for the rest of your lives. :)


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