25 February 2012

Weekends at Taal Vista Hotel

Taal Vista Hotel is almost a legend in Tagaytay City. Many local tourists enjoy their famous view deck carpeted by green bermuda grass and adorned by flowers and plants. The hotel is also famous for the same picturesque Cafe at the Ridge where plenty of weekenders enjoy an al fresco breakfast buffet with a foggy view of the Taal Volcano.
Our Sunday morning view from the hotel room balcony

These are all great activities to enjoy until you discover the relaxed luxury and comfort of actually staying in the hotel for the weekend.
Customary hotel photo bomb by Ashton. My fancy hat is from SM Accessories - perfect for the birthday girl (me).

I stayed in Taal Vista's Premier Room that came with its private majestic view via the balcony.

As cozy as all the amenities are, the beds were really comfy soft and the cable TV menu was such a feat, nothing beats having a cup of tea at the balcony while enjoying the cool breeze of Tagaytay. After all, everyone comes here for the weather - something we don't normally enjoy.
View from the balcony, perfect place for some tea!
Horse riding park is walking distance from the hotel

Luckily, I was able to check-in as early as 1.15PM and prepare to roam around Tagaytay. We visited the diners of Summit Ridge, had pizza at Shakey's, and off to ride some horses.

We came back just the perfect time to carelessly enjoy Taal Vista Hotel's view deck and gardens. The greens were irresistible, my son and I enjoyed rolling up and down the slopes. This is also the perfect spot to snap excellent photos with natural lighting.

Of course, next up is dinner and I enjoyed a date at Taal Vista's Lobby Lounge. We chose a spot near the fireplace which was superb and perfect to calm down a day full of running, riding, and walking around. We ordered Tagaytay's specialities Bulalo and Kare-Kare. Sad to say I was disappointed with the serving time. I waited 45 minutes for my meal to arrive and I was getting frustrated and ready to leave.
Grab this romantic spot on your next dinner at Taal Vista Hotel

The waitress said they were packed with orders but I say they should let a customer know if something will take that long to prepare. Anyhow, I just swallowed the time wasted and the food was satisfactory.

Live piano music and a hotel singer were present ready to take on requests. The music was calming and sets a great romantic mood for diners.

Each accommodation of course goes with a breakfast buffet in the morning. This is priced at Php 600-700 (I forgot) and I note the choices are fair for the price. I enjoyed fresh greens, garlic rice (tiny bit), frittatas, sausages, coffee rubbed beef tapa, bacon, fresh brewed coffee, and fresh fruits like papaya and watermelon.

Other choices include arroz caldo which my son devoured with gusto and chicken adobo. Not really a long list but reasonable enough.

The weather outside was the most appetizing as we basked under the sun again and take photos. My mom and Ashton really enjoyed the morning sitting on the grass and posing for the camera.

We headed back to our room with stomachs filled to enjoy the last few hours and relax before checking out.
I forgot to check out the children's playroom, maybe soon when we return and stay a few more nights.

Taal Vista perhaps is the best place to stay in Tagaytay, it won't be as famous for nothing. The hotel is affordable and so are their restaurants. The weather and view of Tagaytay, no matter how many times I return always prove priceless - enjoying it with a luxurious room to boot was the best time I ever had in this city :)
We will definitely return in the summer.

23 February 2012

Memoirs of Tokyo Tokyo's Baa-gaa

I have a love/hate relationship with Tokyo Tokyo, I hate that their earlier menus which was more diversified disappeared after they decided to make Japanese food more accessible and less intimidating to every Juan - a lovable gesture nonetheless.

This time, Tokyo Tokyo brings authentic Japanese burgers (say baa-gaa) to the Philippines. Now everyone can enjoy affordable premium burgers:

Shogun Burger with crunchy onion rings, and premium beef patty with savory Tonkatsu sauce - start your baa gaa experience with this to introduce Japanese burgers to your tastebuds.

Shiitake Mushroom Burger with Teriyaki sauce and shiitake mushrooms - simply the best and most flavourful baa gaa on the menu.

Godzilla Burger with double premium beef burger patties, zesty Japanese mayo, and slices of cheddar cheese - oh wow.

You will love how these burgers feel light, taste different, and infuse Japanese flavors inside the dressing. Perfect for Japanese food lovers who want something different and more casual. I can easily see myself bringing a Shogun Burger to my next movie date. They should create Japanese-French fries too (I recommend wasabi flavor). Always awesome to have something different.
For me, I had great fun trying the Tokyo Tokyo burgers (and you'll have to wait for more "secret" flavors coming your way). Of course I couldn't resist not wearing something Japanese-inspired while learning to make some American Maki :)

And you can always host your own Japanese food party at home with their takeaways. Our personal top favorites are their Chicken Karaage, Beef Misono, and Pork Tonkatsu. Their California Maki is already a standard.

Here's from our lunch yesterday because everyone was still in party mode after my birthday.

Arigatou Gozaimasho Tokyo Tokyo!

13 February 2012

Valentines in Style: Greenbelt Treats & Flicks!

Let's call this a quick dry-run of how to spend Valentines at Greenbelt :) Over the weekend, my partner and I had the agenda to dine and watch a movie here. The sun was scorching so we headed first at Greenbelt 5 and found ourselves inside Pinkberry.

Pinkberry is just the perfect place to catch your breath after a long afternoon drive. It sets a healthy and fruity mood for the day with their frozen yogurt treats. Plus, the atmosphere in Greenbelt is always quiet relaxing with the sparse crowd and greenery.

We love Pinkberry so we ordered a take away tub (but enjoyed it in). With a take away tub, you can have two flavors - perfect for opposite duos.

You can also choose from fresh toppings like kiwi, mangoes, and even mochi balls.

Here's ours, original tart and green tea. We failed to finish it in one sitting so the take away insulated bag came very handy.

I figured it will go really well with some Tofu chips from Chimara. I love the white cheddar tofu chips! Actually, I was more excited about it than the movie. I get the big bag for P270 - ahh the price you pay for being healthy.

And after gathering mouth stuffings, it's time to pick a flick. We compromised to watch Journey 2 which was the second installment for Journey to the Center of the Earth. Adventurous and light-hearted watch. Perfect with my light healthy snacks!

It's always nice and comfy to watch in Greenbelt, just the right place for a casual date. Especially with the myriad of diners to choose from.

Ayala Cinemas also had this fun and free photo booth. Get your photos taken and printed on a ref magnet for free after your movie. Have fun with funny hats too!

And that concluded our afternoon early Valentine weekend in Greenbelt. We trooped to SM Mall of Asia after and that's coming up next :)

Beauty: There can be Miracles - Looking 10 years younger with Pond's

Whenever I hear the word "miracle" I think of the parting of the dead sea and hear Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston sing When You Believe. Then a week before I turn another year older, I heard someone say I can look 10 years younger. And the TV started to prophesize about it too.

I'm talking about Pond's Age Miracle which is not a really new product. In fact, I have not really paid attention until they started talking hardcore science during its re-launch. Some interesting keywords - stem cell regeneration and bio actives. Two words that landed three Pond's Age Miracle products on my beauty counter.

Pond's Age Miracle cleansing foam, day cream, and night cream.

Let me dive in straight to a quick review upon two days of usage. The cleansing foam is a grown-up version of the Pond's we are used to since high school. The scent, the texture, and the ingredients are sophisticated. The lather it forms is not as rich and bubbly, so instead of rubbing the product between your hands prior application - you're better off dotting your face with the product and work it from there. The after wash feel is not tight, skin feels quiet moisturized (like invisibly), and the scent lingers for hours. A treat if you ask me, in case someone gets close ;)

Next up, the Pond's Age Miracle Day Cream is a lighter version of the night cream. I find it is quick to be absorbed and has fantastic optics as if you are wearing light liquid foundation at home. You'll want to keep using it. Already, your face feels younger because of the product's texture - did I mention you'll want to keep using it? Though I find that because my skin is on the oily side, some products remain unabsorbed so what I do is to wipe my face after a few hours just to protect it from oiliness and possible clogs.

Last but not the least, Pond's Age Miracle Day Cream. It's not the best for oily skin but after using the two products I just couldn't help but dip my finger in it. I did wake up with a more supple look to my face but remember to just put on enough of it to avoid greasiness if your skin is like mine. I had a couple of emerging bumps that I believe was tamed by all three products and I may be only imagining this but I think impurities are significantly reduced.

I think it is about time that I believe in Miracles. I can't wait to look and feel 10 years younger on my birthday!

Do you use this product? Share your sentiments about it!

09 February 2012

Spark-Filled Valentine at Marriott Hotel Manila

Girls and boys, I present to you another luxurious option for your Valentines day celebration. This time, it's form Marriott Hotel Manila.

Have a happy Valentine’s stay no less than at Marriott Manila. Avail the room package from February 13 to 15 for only P12, 500 which includes buffet breakfast for two and with tickets to the Seasons of Love or Love Valentine concert at the Newport Performing Arts Theater of the adjacent Newport Mall.

The Marriott will also have a romantic dinner buffet on February 13-14 featuring their chocolate room and exemplary international gourmet selection.

You can also consider is visiting Quan Spa located at the second floor, to get pampered together the way you deserve it as this month highlights a refreshing combo of aroma salt scrub and aroma fusion massage for two, affordably priced at P6,750 net.

Read other blog posts about The Marriott Hotel Manila

08 February 2012

Valentines in Style: The Peninsula Manila

I've been spying nice hotels around the metro for sweet Valentines deals and so far, the most promising in terms of accommodation package comes from The Peninsula Manila.

Celebrate that special day of the year in style at The Peninsula Manila.

Indulge in romance and love with the "Key to Your Heart" room package from February 3 to 19. Rates start from PHP8,500* for a Deluxe Room, which includes: Buffet Breakfast at Escolta, Afternoon Tea at The Lobby, "Ning Sling" cocktail in Salon de Ning, 20% off on the weekend "Barbie by The Pool", preferred seating at The Lobby's Valentine Dinner Buffet and more (*subject to 10% service charge and applicable government taxes).

I also took note of their baking class this coming Sunday, for dads and kiddos so they can bake mommy dearest a cake.


Join our Executive Pastry Chef Sebastien Coquery and his team as they teach Daddy and his kids how to decorate a two-layer heart-shaped Red Velvet Cake that they will take home to Mommy for Valentine's Day. The Cake Decorating Class comes with a merienda. PHP1,600* for a group of three (one adult and two children under 12), PHP400* for every additional participant (*subject to 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes).

Highly recommend that you book a room on Saturday and checkout in time for the baking class. I've never stayed in the Peninsula yet and right now, I am contemplating long and hard while guessing they should be probably fully booked by now. Or aren't they? Oh dear!

Valentines: Box of 9 and other goodies from Max's Restaurant

I will sleep really well tonight because of this! My partner came home bearing sweets from Max's Restaurant and so far, I've indulged in the heart-shaped chocolate ganache with cherry. I heard it's just P199 and it is such a beauty! :)

The pastry bites look so great I asked if we're celebrating V day so early (and that will be such a bummer!). But then again, it was just a really special pasalubong from Max's - not only for me but our 1 y.o. boy who played with the heart-shaped cookies and broke them!

Check out other Valentines goodies here

07 February 2012

Event: Yoga in the Wild Book Launch | Feb. 13 @ Fully Booked BHS

Learn about the adventurous yet healthy and healing lifestyle that yoga brings. Strictly RSVP. The book’s proceeds are going to Roots of Health, an organization that advocates to improve the reproductive health and overall well-being of women and girls, and to decrease malnutrition in babies and young children within community groups in Palawan.

06 February 2012

Sunday Brunch at The Marriott - Reinvented with Cru and a Chocolate Room!

How do you feel about a glass of Martini for brunch? Shocking! But that's how the new Sunday Brunch at The Marriott Hotel Manila becomes an interesting buffet brunch. M Cafe has piled up the selection with steaks and foie gras from CRU - The Marriott's signature steakhouse opens it's elusive doors to brunch diners every Sunday.

At Php 2,000 you can enjoy 14 food stations managed by over 30 chefs on the dining stage. That includes dear pastry chef responsible for the "secret" chocolate room which makes this brunch buffet a must this Valentine month.

You guessed it, I've tried and "tasted" this special buffet that happens every Sunday. Executive Chef Meik Brammer personally toured us around - I've been to The Marriott several times and have grown very familiar with this guy.

Let me present these photos from the chocolate room.

A chocolate tree bearing macarons as fruits.

A human chocolate chef - as in, she is alive.

A centrale chocolate fountain to dip fresh fruits in. Dragon fruit, papaya, kiwi, grapes, etc.

Oh sweet valentine cakes

Cakes, cookies, and more chocolates.

Hansel & Gretel will be jealous - Chocolate blocks & pieces on a chocolate table

Ahh the amount of chocolates is at the risk of being more intoxicating than the Bloody Mary! Their buffet includes drinks so I ordered for a cup of Green Tea to go with my sweets.

US ribeye begging for some gravy action

Get ready now carnivores as I present photos of steak, foie gras, fish, and more meat than you can imagine.

Lamb leg fit for a king

Say foie gras all you can

Two chefs searing my duck livers

I delighted in sinful foie gras which easily makes the Php 2,000 buffet fee worth it. Then some strip loin steak, and grilled fish. If you're becoming guilty of the cholesterol, worry not as they have equally generous options of grilled vegetables. I enjoyed beats, carrots, artichokes, asparagus, and more.

And this... my super protein plate - Ive eaten up the roasted pumpkins long before the shot

I've featured The Marriott's Japanese station before but it's worth another mention for the unlimited number of salmon sashimi I can have. Again, this makes 2,000 bucks super worth it - by now I should have eaten worth 5,000 pesos of dishes.

Before I forget, a majestic roasted pork or lechon made it's presence known. If I were not trying to eat healthier, I would have poured sauce on hot steaming rice topped with this lechon's crispy skin. I ate a block of meat and a strip of its crispy sinful skin. Delicious!

This brunch is highly recommended in celebration of V-day! We'll definitely return as a couple and enjoy brunch here at The Marriott.

It's not everyday all these food choices get together in one luxurious spot. Anyone MUST visit The Marriott on a Sunday - perhaps this is the best Valentine's gift you can give your partner and give each other a faux pass on dieting.

Other food stations include the pasta, Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Yakitori, ice cream, salad, bread, and Martini bar among many many others.

Be informed that food choices are rotated so items may vary but nonetheless, your Sunday and your budget is worth spending here! Brunch is from 11.30AM-3PM.