26 September 2012

The Off Price Show now in Manila - Shop famous brands at discounts

While driving through EDSA, I thought I was dreaming when I saw a bus advertisement about The Off Price Show. I knew it was a regular event in the UK but in the Philippines? Wake up to a 3 day shopping bliss starting from 28-30 September!

I'm so excited to attend this shopping event franchise for the very first time. This is happening at my oddest shopping mecca, The World Trade Center. Would you believe I do most of my bulk shopping there every Christmas season?

Paying full price is a swear word in my thrifty dictionary. For sure smart shoppers will be there early so I'm planning my trip and start at exactly 10AM. This might be a good chance for me to own my first pair of Melissa shoes.

And how many of us daydream about IKEA furniture? I am not brand conscious but the ergonomics and space saving features of this brand is just awesome. IKEA is not all about furniture, they have baby and toddler stuff too. Plus points for my toddler Ashton!

According to my sources, this won't be a mediocre show. All retailers will be selling stock at 50-80% off. I hope this is true because I've got a lot on my shopping list:

- Clothes for Ashton
- Plain cotton shirts & shorts for me (just can't have enough)
- A flat pair of shoes
- Comfy shift dresses
- Polo shirts for my husband
- Quirky stuff from Ikea

Aside from shopping, visitors can also enjoy the food center, and a styling and fashion show.

Here's a tip: Make the most out of your shopping day by wearing flats, bring lots of eco bags, and don't forget that The World Trade Center has a nice restaurant on the second floor where you can dine in peace if you wish. It's also my secret pit stop when my legs are dead tired from all the walking.

Are you excited yet? I am! See you all at The Off Price Show :)

24 September 2012

Weekend at Best Western Premier F1 Hotel at Global City

Ever wondered how it feels like to have a prime address in the Metro? To be living just beside your favorite hangout places and restaurants? We were thinking just the same and that's exactly why we endeavored a staycation at Best Premier F1 Hotel.

This curious hotel is just in front of BGC Central where the newest restaurants have sprouted. It's a playground for kids with the vast 'running space' and playful fountains and adults alike with shops and gastronomical adventures up ahead.

 Location is probably the best spiel F1 hotel will ever play. But aside from proximity and deducting that factor - this fine hotel is as good on its own.

Interiors are seriously well-thought, not mediocre at all. We loved our Room 807 which was a Deluxe King Size Bed accommodation. It was big enough for the three of us to occupy without annoying each other.

I love this little corner just beside the bed. The sofa and table are perfect for reading, snacking, and 'Facebook-ing'  

My son Ashton and I enjoyed the bed which feels like it were eating us alive, I like beds like this and I give it a 5 star for comfort, smell, and size. We could stay in it all day, oblivious of the attractions right outside.

It didn't take us long to settle in our room, we found ourselves enjoying the LG LCD television to watch Disney Junior and Lifestyle Network alternately. My husband was rather busy in his own little workspace.

I love the ergonomics in the room, Ashton and I can switch channels without ever bothering the hardworking dad. Did I mention all rooms are WiFi ready? We enjoyed sharing bits & pieces of our stay with our friends via Facebook and Instagram :)

The F1 Hotel Swimming Pool

Next up we tried their swimming pool at the roof deck. Make that swimming pools because F1 Hotel has three of them. 1 for kids fit for toddlers, another for regular swimmers, and a lap pool for the serious swimmers.

The setup at the roof deck is very convenient, lots of seating available, clean water, nice view, and a private feel. We were just let be by the staff which is amazing. It's hard to get privacy nowadays.

From the pool we could see the gym and that no one was there at the time being. I guess this is what's premier in F1 - really lots of privacy and uncrowded spots.

Food choices

After the swim we dressed up for dinner at BGC Central at Geisha Restaurant. It was drizzling and concierge lent us a big umbrella. Thank you very much.

We also just had to try and get delivery from City Delivery which was also awesome.

The front desk called us when delivery arrived and one of us just had to fetch our midnight snacks from Amici. Note that if you use the hotel phone you will be charged around P35 for a local call.


Time spent at Best Premier F1 Hotel really goes by fast. A little later it was already time for bed and with some more Disney Junior shows Ashton fell asleep.

We had the best view of BGC Central at night. It was as if we were looking at a real-life Restaurant City - a comforting view that we could all sleep in at the heart of this bustling little city.

Breakfast buffet at F1 Hotel

Our accommodation included a breakfast buffet for our mini family. I have to say there were decent and modest food choices. A few french bread, Filipino & American breakfast items, and porridge. There were also some desserts.

Ashton had pancakes and I had rice with eggs and beef.

It was good enough for the price but I hope F1 improves the choices and taste if possible. Overall, breakfast was nice. The cafe is just beside the pool so children are very excited to skip their meals and go for a dip. It's a nice plan to go back swimming again in the early morning.

If you ask me, I would stay again at Best Premier F1 Hotel for its location. The rooms are a real comfort. The facilities need some getting used to, like tapping your hotel card for you to press a button on the elevator. One time our card didn't work and we went up up up with our bathrobes on right after swimming.

It wasn't a biggie though because you can swap your card with a new one of the 5th floor. Service wise, it could get busy during meal times and you might have to fall in line at the cafe to wait your turn.

In a nutshell, this is a nice hotel to stay in. It's a real value for your money and a good place to spend a staycation with the family. I am looking forward for F1 Hotel's future improvements, they are fairly new in BGC but seem to be going to the right direction :)

12 September 2012

How to Enjoy Authentic Teppanyaki at The Marriott

Let's start with some basic Japanese here, Teppanyaki literally means flat grill and this is where teppanyaki dishes are all cooked. Meals are usually served in small bowls that feature a variety of combinations including meat, vegetables, and sauces.

Your choice of vegetables to go with your meat

Small bowls are pure genius because it only means you get to eat and try more flavors. Since Marriott Café come to terms with the fact that Japan will be forever loved for its culinary offerings with a classic appeal, the restaurant added a teppanyaki station for buffet dinner still at P1750 net, grilling only the freshest and meaty choices of seafood, fish, beef, pork, and chicken.

 Japanese sauces to excite your teppanyaki

I tried The Marriott's Teppanyaki station just a few days ago and self-learned the ways to enjoy teppanyaki like a master.

First, teppanyaki can be both main course and appetizer. I started with the usual greens in balsamic vinegar in tandem with Kaisen (seafood) and Gyuniko (beef) teppanyaki.

Kaisen teppanyaki. There are various versions depending on your taste.

You can ask the grill master right there to adjust the teppanyaki to your liking. Spicy, sweet, lots of veggies, etc.

Gyuniko teppanyaki is made of hiqh quality and super tender marbled beef

Now onto the main course, I had teppanyaki rice freshly cooked and requested a sweet and spicy blend.

The grilling station is conveniently beside the sushis and sashimis so I grabbed a few slices of fresh salmon to balance my meal.

I also just had to experience Gyuniko teppanyaki again, this time with rice. The grill master also concocted a Tori (chicken) teppanyaki with gotamari (sesame seeds) sauce.

Japanese food is great with it's foodie neighbours like this Thai-style seafood. We had this made fresh by the chef at the adjacent food station. Be nice and the chef will do this for you :)

It's hard to describe the enjoyment I had in relishing all these food. It was a great discovery and education for my tastebuds. Afterall, we kind of restricted ourselves with the usual Katsudons, makis, and sushis. It's high time we had a real encounter with the art of  Japanese Teppanyaki.

To provide a sweet ending (and because you can still enjoy all the other buffet offerings of The Marriott Cafe), we tried new gelato flavors - samurai style.

Hazelnut nutella and tiramisu gelato with cone - it's included in the buffet

And just to keep things healthy, a dose of fresh fruits that this cafe never runs out of.

The Marriott Cafe remains our go-to buffet place when we want some more privacy and comfort. With the addition of another Japanese feat, I highly recommend you experience their dinner buffet. It won't be long until the cafe switches things around to offer more flavors. So my friends, enjoy all of these while it lasts :)

04 September 2012

Halal Food Buffet at The Manila Hotel

ews flash: Halal food is not just for Islams or Jews, it is for everyone. This is what I learned at the launch of The Manila Hotel's Halal Kitchen. The first of it's kind in the Philippines for a 5 star hotel.

Halal involves food experts, food technicians, scientists, and more to reach the quality of food that is fit for the health conscious and discerning when it comes to food hygiene and sanitation. The Manila Hotel received their Halal Certification from the Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board last August 1, 2012.

Beginning this September, Halal certified food will now be offered in the Ylang Ylang Cafe lunch and dinner buffets, and also to room service orders. Here's what to expect at the Halal food spread. Let's start at the Salad section:

This is called Taboulleh which is minced parsley mixed with spices. It's a good companion for Babaghanuj.

Babaghanuj is made from roasted eggplants mixed again with delicious spices. It was my first time to try this although I've heard about this so many times. I love Indian and Middle Eastern food but haven't had the chance to explore their salads and appetizers until Manila Hotel.

If you're looking for an alternative to your daily western salad, here's a killer salad spread that shouts Middle East.

I was clueless until one of the helpful chefs approached me. Chef Hanna Usman helped me create my salad plate. It was delicious and the variety was a feast to my tastebuds. Greens were smothered with garlic-lemon olive oil dressing.

That creamy white dip is actually hummus which is made of garbanzos aka chic peas. Hanna told me I should try it, especially if I saw the movie Zohan haha :) I am now in love with hummus, it's so creamy and it's true you can dip anything in it!

Let's cross over to the breads

A variety of Samosas, Papadums, and Nan.  It's hard to decide whether these are appetizers or desserts. Especially when you dip them in chutneys. As you can see, I had papadums with my salad and hummus.

Main entrees


Chicken Biriyani is the foundation of your Halal feast. It's great for all the forthcoming dishes. This rice is great with some yogurt. You'll really learn a lot from this Halal buffet - don't be afraid to experiment and try new food.

Roganjosh Lamb is a famous Indian dish which you'll normally see in other restaurants. This one has five star quality though. There's generous lamb cutlets which are all very tender. The spiciness of all food items are friendly for everyone.

Beef Rendang is rubbed with sweet and chili spices. I lean towards dishes that are saucy so I skipped this one. My date says its incredible though.

Fried prawns are great to dip in hummus, or it could be just me. I'd dip anything in hummus now.

Here's my plate for the main entrees, in case you want to compare notes later :) I had to save a lot of room for my favorite curries and masala.


I loved all of these and wish I had more than one stomach. Here's my tip, don't pour all dishes together on your plate. Use the small bowls or saucers for different dishes.This way, the flavors don't mix and you can decide later on which your favorite Halal food is.


To end my Middle Eastern exploration, I had vegetable samosas and more papadums with chutney. I also thought our local dessert, guinataang halo-halo should join the coconut based curries in my tummy.

I asked for hot water afterwards so everything is digested well. We were very much satisfied with the Halal food selections at The Manila Hotel. They have over 11 food stations at Cafe Ylang Ylang but that day, my focus was on their Middle Eastern fare.

Can't wait to go back, I shall call this place curry heaven :) Enjoy the Halal Buffet and the rest of  the 11 food stations at Cafe Ylang Ylang for P1,800++

P.S. This cake puts the Cake Boss to shame.

The Manila Hotel Centennial Cake.

03 September 2012

Shopping day at SM Manila's 3 Day Sale

Oh Manila, my SM Manila! Last Friday, my husband and I happened to be in the veins of Manila and decided to try our luck at SM Manila's 3 Day Sale. We've been watching too much TLC shows like Extreme Couponing that we are now self-pledged bargain hunters.

And Manila is the home of flea markets that it's not hard to imagine how the bargain culture can transverse into a shopping mall like SM. Especially when the sign is as big as this:

We were greeted by a flock of shopaholics, window shoppers, and the loud fiesta-like boom box SM has setup near their entrance.

It was the 31st of August, a day before the first day of the first 'ber' months. We heard our first 2012 Christmas song inside the Department Store.

Onto the Department Store where famous fashion bloggers have collaborated with SM to bring new collections like this to life. Fashion fit for it girls, we're so lucky this A-level fashion is accessible in a jiff.

I liked this Betty cardigan which was also on sale. 50% off from P649. What do you think? Excuse my hair, I rode the jeepney to SM :D

Almost all the shops were participating, including Solo. I read they released Pupung Comics shirts and just had to go in. I wish I were early because choices were already limited when I arrived.

They have loose shirts like this on sale though. From P645 to just P349. Plains and soft cotton blouses are great for anything.

You can wear them as they are or add accessories if you need to go somewhere important. I wear my plains with just shorts because I'm now fashion lazy like that.

I didn't forget to shop for the little boy. At SM Department Store, I look out for Disney apparel for my 2 year old. Lo and behold, I found rows and racks of discounted kiddie wear.

Lightning McQueen shirt for just P250 from P500 at 50% off.

And more shopping for the big boy (my husband). These polo shirts now retail from P300-P250. Perfect for his daily activities and I love how flexible collared polo shirts are.

It's not hard to imagine why we spent so much time in the Department Store. I found Maybelline was also having 20% off discounts. Just had to try new eyeliners :)

To cap off a successful shopping day, we tried a new and exciting joint in SM Manila called Kung Fu Kitchen. This restaurant deserves a blog post of its own.

Here we are finding comfort in Asian cuisine.

We loved the 3 Day Sale at SM City Manila and can't wait for our next SM adventure!