Unbelievable Bangkok

Imagine the skyline of progressive countries. High rise buildings, towering skyscrapers and lights of a sleeping giant waiting to be awaken. Imagine all of these with shadows and vibe of sidewalk vendors, food stalls and good affordable clothing options packaged into one gigantic City! This is Bangkok!

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Aboard the aircraft, Darren (my closest friend on my previous work) reached  Suvarnabhumi International Airport. We were really excited for this trip since we’ve planned this  before hand. I am now a student of medicine and he has been a great and professional sales coach in my former company. To cut the story short, we flew our way to BKK.

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Using the GRAB app that we have in the Philippines, we went straight to our accommodation, dropped our bags and freshen up a little bit before we head our way to “Chatuchak Weekend Market”

INSIDER TIP 1 : book your flight during weekends since Chatuchak is only open during Fridays and Saturdays. Chatuchak is really a must go destination when touring around Bangkok.

Day 1 : Chatuchak Market 

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If you want shopping then this is a place that’s really for you! Go over and haggle your way into the thousands of stall as you would find variety of good deals  from fake rolexes, potteries, food preserves, shirts, cardigans,  and AFFORDABLE souvenirs ( In fact, this is the best place to buy your souvenirs as prices in other night market doubles). When I say a lot more, it means a lot! you cannot even count on your fingers the variety of products they are selling. Again Shopping will come to you so better ready your bahts in this gigantic Weekend market but save more for some night market goodness in other areas!

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For lunch, we tried random stalls in front of the market. Personally, I would love to try the authentic pad thai if I will be a given a chance. They say opportunity knocks only once so grab it right away! Haha  I didn’t regret any single baht  for that pad thai ( 60 baht)  and Cha Yen ( Thai milktea) for only 30 baht.

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The whole afternoon was for Chatuchak and in the evening  we headed our way to the famous Pratunam Market,  where you can find affordable clothing for GIRLS! In this area lies, the Platinum mall which houses six (6) floors of  stalls of clothes. Name it they have it. If you’re into online shopping well guess what you are already in the source of all the sources!!!  Cardigans, shirts, blouses, shorts for guys, leather bags, plain tees, button downs and many more!!! I scored 2 button downs for a price of 480 baht and some plain tees for 80 baht ( Cheap finds!)

For dinner, there are array of food stalls selling local thai dishes in very much affordable price. I tried the famous Som Tam ( Papaya Salad) for 80 baht  each and every bite was both refreshing and spicy at the same time  ( idk how that happened).Tom yum goong was also my favorite. The smell and taste of the herbs and spices used were incredible. Ginger and galangal absolutely  killed it! Definitely a must try! I cannot find words to describe the intense aroma and flavor of the broth that night. Seeing pad thai was made from scratch really made me so happy. The fat kid inside in me (sorry erwan!) was really happy no exaggeration involved. Back in our country, I would dine and buy pad thai for 260 pesos but in Bangkok it’s just freaking 40 -80 baht depending on the toppings you would love to have on your noodle. Together with this, we had big grilled fish (80 baht) and some coke to pair it with (10 baht). Along the streets are random barbecue stalls (15 baht) , smoked sausages with sweet and spicy sauce (10 baht) and other goodness like fresh oyster omelette, kraw pad mee ( rice with minced pork and chili) for 70 baht.

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INSIDER TIP 2  : Never prioritize dining in  the restaurants as you would savor the authentic flavor and culture and save more of your baht in the streets.

DAY 2 : Temple run comes to life! 

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first things first breakfast! We’ve had much of Thai goodness  last night and on our 2nd day we decided to have american breakfast or something really for breakfast. The first station of the day is Siam, the center of shopping in Bangkok. We decided to have our first meal of the day in True coffee, a popular coffee shop in the area.  I had my iced coffee fix and a chicken caesar wrap ( 230 baht) as I’ve told you guys earlier,  stay in the streets that was the first and last that I’ve been to coffee shop in my whole stay haha ( thrifty traveler sorry not sorry)

Bangkok is very lucky because they have other means of effective and efficient mode of transportation. BTS and the Chao Praya river boat system. Bangkok traffic is real so most of the times train would be the best option in touring around the city. Using this train as a mode of transportation, you’ll be in your destination in minutes. Just have or download the app in the app store or google store. It’s very easy to follow!

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BTS . The best way to get around the city

INSIDER TIP 3 : buy one day pass which costs 140 baht and it will be useful from the time of purchase up to 12 Midnight ( Unlimited rides)

From Siam ( Red lane) , we went straight to the other lane (blue green lane) to arrive at Sapphan taksin   train station  where the Sapphan Taksin boat pier ( ferry at the Chao Phraya River) resides. Five stations away from Siam, for just 50 Baht you can reach different  famous Buddhist temples where  most of the tourist always flocked in to have their Instagram photos taken. In the ferry there are stations corresponding to different touristy landmarks. Don’t worry you will be notified if the boat is already approaching the said spot.

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First on the list and the nearest is Wat Arun, the temple of Dawn. It is the most intricate among all the temples with is spires directly emerging from the river. It’s details is best seen during the night but I personally opted to see the colors of this majestic beauty in the morning. We didn’t go inside because there are other temples that are still on pending  but for me from the outside the view is already vivid. Just a short 4 baht boat ride from Wat arun is Wat Pho, the temple of reclining Buddha.

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Wat Pho is the oldest and largest temple complex in Bangkok. It houses the reclining buddha signifying that the buddha is just also like the normal thai people that needs to rest. The most intricate part would be the feet of the buddha that is made up of pure gold. Before going inside, you will take off your foot wear and you will place it in a plastic bag as you roam inside the temple you’ll find your way lining up to the crowd where the perfect shot of the buddha will be taken. An entrance fee of 100 Baht is required upon entering there are some souvenir shops that are are selling buddha pieces or any kind of key chains related to Wat Pho as well.

After roaming inside the reclining buddha, try to roam still inside the temple there are other artistic creations waiting for you. There are other minimal temples which I presume to be very important to the Thai. What to do next is to appreciate the beauty of the structure and try to wonder how these temples, gigantic structures were built. Don’t foget to take your artsy photos but still pay respect to the culture!

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Grand Palace supposedly was the next destination. Just to give you a heads up there is an entrance fee of 500 baht which i think is very worth it ( i just assumed cause we didn’t enter but I managed to take a photo from outside)  This will be the best and the most grandiose among the temples in BKK. History wise and details wise. Next stop, we rode tuktuk going to Wat Saket for about 80 baht

INSIDER TIP 4 : Do not easily give in to Tuktuk drivers. Most of the prices are scam. Check the location first of your destination and you can still lower the fare from 300 down to 80 baht. Just be wise and be firm ( HOHO! )

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Wat Saket, temple of Golden mount or Phu Khao Thong. It is a short 300 step hike with amazing view of Bangkok. As you go on top you will ring a lot of bells for good luck. As compared to the other temples, this one is situated in the distant part of the city. If you want to stay away from the noise of the tourist and the stress of the bustling city, I suggest you climb up wat saket. I personally enjoyed the quiet time on top. The site is perfect for reflection. Just try to feel the wind, breathe deeply, hear the relaxing sound of the chimes and get rid of negative thoughts that’s bothering you just for a moment. Thank God for everything and allow oneself to heal. After all traveling for me is an escape from reality. Aside from being fond of posting pictures and curating my feed. There’s more to that as people might think that traveling is just for leisure. One thing I like about traveling is that I get to  know myself more! I tend to talk with my inner self when I travel and to have my path fixed when everything’s not falling into place.

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The view on top of Wat Saket

Enough of those reflections! Let’s start the party! Last destination of the day after temple hopping is the famous, Khao San Road. Scorpions, affordable fried noodles, chicken barbecues and spring rolls these are some of the products being sold in the streets. The famous I love Bangkok t- shirts can be also found here. For those tourist who are not yet done shopping, affordable clothing can also be one of the great asset of this tourist jam packed road.

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Khao San Road is the site of backpacking in Bangkok. A lot of cute and affordable accomodations like hostels and apartelles were established in the area. Tourists passes by  here and there. Different language can be heard from the background of this busy and chaotic road This is heaven for party goers who loves to drink! Party all day and night long in this busy district full of fun and action!.I bet you would not even notice the time. In khao San, we had rice meals in the not so touristy food place. Krao pad mee ( rice with minced pork , basil and chili)

  • Trust me. Once you’re there you’ll get hook! Gigantic glasses of draft beers everywhere,  colorful cocktails, inviting sounds and chill drinking spots which are not expensive. It almost felt like the party never stops since happy hour is almost every hour ( NO kidding! DO NOT MISS this part of Bangkok! Happiness is surely guaranteed!)

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DAY 3: Siam Paragon , MBK and China town

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It’s our third day so I decided to have this as a chill day. First agenda is to check famous brands like H&M or Zara. Unfortunately, clothes are not on sale when we were there so we decided to have lunch since we’re already starving (OA haha). With our disappointment, we had our lunch at Siam Paragon Food Hall, located on the ground floor of Siam Paragon mall (of course). I am personally not a fan of food court dishes when I am out of the country. No choice but I was also hungry that time. Next mall was Central world, 10 min walk from Siam Paragon. It houses different brands like Bershka, Uniqlo, Giordano, H & M and Forever 21 for girls. It also has a mini supermarket where I hoarded the Banana chocolate. Next on the list , BMK. This big shopping mall houses a lot of clothing stalls as well. You will find yourself bargaining  your way to have those I love Bangkok shirts for bulk and in affordable price . Tailored shorts, leggings and a lot more. Just like what I’ve told you guys earlier, Save your baht and spend wisely!

Since it’s the last day just like what I normally do , I make the most out of it.We went to Yaowarat/ Chinatown. I think we arrived there at a wrong time. There’s no street food to feast on pretty much just like a china town without the fun in it. I was so sad that day so I decided that I will just fill my tummy once more with all the thai goodness. Because of that,I went back to Pratunam market and have my last night as happy as I can!  I bought thai milkteas, eat whatever I can. Thai fried chicken with basil, still my favorite, Pad thai ( with lots of spices and nuts), freshly squeezed orange juice, roti banana, spring rolls, barbecue and mango sticky rice. I was so full that night I even bought a giant cola that I brought from siam to the Airbnb ( Punnawithi station) 16 stations away! I am glad that I still got in to the train on time ( 10: 45 PM) . Had a take out of tom yum goong and ate it inside the Airbnb as well. However, despite of all these, there are a lot of things that you should go and try for yourself in Bangkok.

First I forgot to ( not part of my priority) have an authentic Thai massage. When I get back I’ll promise to try that! We did not intended to see the infamous “ Ping-pong” show ( but I would love to,  perhaps some other time. There are other temples you might want to check out if time permits such as :

  • Wat Phra Kew ( Temple of emerald Buddha)
  • Wat Traimit
  • Wat Benja
  • Wat Suthat
  • Wat Prayoon

If you do have a lot of time still check out

  • Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
  • Flower market
  • Have some drinks at the rooftop of Baiyoke Hotel

This Bangkok trip of mine is  really a  dream come true for me. There are times that I would spend my days watching videos of Thailand in youtube or googling my way just to see how good and delicious the food  is. But now, I have seen the beauty of this gigantic city and tasted the flavors that most of tourist are already hooked with. Seeing the genuine smiles of Thai makes me feel I am still home and safe. Tasting the food and strong spices makes me feel alive as a human and challenged me to still try more of the food arounf the world. . Let your soul wonder let the place go inside you!  I thank God for allowing me to see, touch and taste BKK. It is really a must experience for a foodie / wanderer like me.

Acknowldgements : Thank you so much to my parents, Ervert and Liazle Avanzado for my pocket money and Darren Buquir for making this trip possible and memorable.

Enjoy some of the photos below from the trip 🙂

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Sight and taste of Taipei

I can hear the sound of the belt’s buckle, i can feel the pressure in my ears, and my eyes now seeing the bird eyes view of the lights of Manila’s skyline. I must be inside the plane yes I am and I’m not dreaming. after months of  searching and planning, I really packed my bags and turned on the airplane mode of my phone. I’m all set. I’m coming for you, Taiwan! for your food and culture!!!

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Taiwan nor Taipei is not in the list of most people/ backpackers  who wants to travel southeast asia but hopefully after you’ve finished reading the blog. You’ll book and pack your bags en route to Taiwan. As the country strives to develop as it’s other chinese country counterparts, you’ll come across different types of people, side of nature together with its evolved and the complex flavors of its cuisine.

Touchdown Taoyuan International Airport! Too excited to explore the city and eat bizarre , delicious, and bold flavors that my taste buds haven’t tried before. I travel with my eyes, feet and taste buds. This is with an emphasis to my taste buds of course.

First day in Taiwan. Aside from being the country where the famous “Meteor Garden” have originated. This small country is teeming with great architecture and cultural sites from temples to memorial halls and museums.

Taipei’s MRT is the most efficient and cost-effective way to see the city. Via Tamsui- Xinyi lane ( Red) Walking distance from the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall you will reach the liberty square  ($20 NTD) where in you will see these  (3) grandiose structures. The Chang Kai Shek Memorial, National Concert hall, and the National Theater. Don’t forget it’s artistic and grand gate. It is impossible to miss its beauty!

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Standing in front of the Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall 
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Next on the list would be Taipei 101. The financial tower is said to be the 8th tallest tower in the world and the 5th tallest in the whole Asia. This giant tower with a design resembling stacked boxes houses a lot of signature shops and food places in its lower floors and an observatory deck on its 89th – 91st floor.

To have a view of its skyline, the building’s elevator will take you from 5th floor to 89th floor in just 37 seconds. a speed of about 60 kph! ( that is actually fast) I felt my ears popped due to the changing pressure but the view of it’s skyline was more thrilling of all. You’ll see thousands of buildings and industrial infrastructures encircled with Taipei’s mountains and embedded bodies of water from the top view. It would seemed to be like a city trapped, captured and embraced by nature ( see photos below)

Thrifty tip: You could actually choose the 400 step hike in elephant mountain to have a glimpse of the city’s sky deck for free. By doing so, you will save a lot of NTDs that you can still use to buy delicious food items in Night markets! ( yes with “s”cause there’s a lot of it in Taipei! and even across the places and provinces of Taiwan)

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the view on top of Taipei 101’s 89th floor
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During the night, some parts of Taipei are transforming and becoming a heaven for foodies/ gourmand or food enthusiast. Whatever the term you’ll use, they are all after in one thing and that is FOOD. Dining in a fancy restaurant here in Taipei is a no no cause you actually get most of its flavors and distinct taste in the food stalls, hawkers and mostly in night markets! I repeat night markets!! So i actually have any decent dinner in Taipei cause I’m always after for it’s night market!   Read my seperate food guide for Taipei’s must try food in it’s night market.

If the first day is more of a centrail taipei view, On the second day, I’ll show you a glimpse of an old town taipei and the beauty of it’s nature. With an affordable city tour package you’ll be able to see the old towns of taipei and it’s hidden beauty.

Known for its geological formations, we headed our way to Northern taiwan particularly in Yehliu Geopark  (entrance fee : $80 NT)  It is a must see when in taiwan because there’s a lot of type of rock formations  that you can actually enjoy. such as the Queen head, Fairy rock and even tofu rock. Adjacent to the geopark is the ocean park.Just like the other ocean parks, you get to see marine forms inside through a transparent tunnel. Outside the park is a food market offering different Taiwanese delicacies such as dried seafood, fruit juices ( $20- 30 NTD) and crispy seaweed ($100 NTD)

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crispy seaweed (100 NTD)
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After exploring the geopark, time for the old town taipei sight seeing. first Jiufen followed by Pingxi, a district famous for a railroad wherein you can actually fly a lantern with your written wishes in it.

Old Town Jiufen 

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This is the old town taipei. the road on the way includes steep peaks and curves pretty much like a hill.  Lots of old house and temples can be seen in this area together withthe breath taking view of nearby towns of taipei.

Here, we had our lunch in the restaurant that specializes in fishball noodle, along with this. I personally ordered tofu ( my favorite) and some vegetables to pair with it.

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fishball noodles, beancurd, chicken and veggies 
After having that very local taiwanese dish, the next thing to do is to shop souvenir items in its market. Array of goods, delicacies and other charms are actually available. Some of the affordable deals here would be the nougat, rice cakes, bracelets and even Taiwanese ginger tea.

If you’re not yet satisfied with lunch, you can stuff yourself with a lot of different snacks in the said walkway, one would be the peanut spring rolls with ice cream. not in a photo cause I already devoured everything beforehand, passion fruit juices, sausages, tea egg, and a lot more. here’s a sneak peak of what Jiufen has to offer.

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Pingxi district  

In a railroad. Yes! A railroad. You will find vibrant colors and people lining up.The  said town is known for sky lanterns. You will write your personal wishes in the said lantern made up of paper and wire. If you’re ready to fly yours, they will light a flame inside and wait for the  signal to release the wishes into the sky. Don’t forget to take a picture before you fly the said lantern for a souvenir

 

D.I.Y trip (Bacolod- Ilo-ilo- Guimaras)

Bacolod, the city of smiles, home of the famous and authentic chicken inasal and a lot more sweets and delicacies. Touch down SIA ( Silay International Airport) since Bacolod doesn’t have its own airport in the city, We arrived in Silay, a heritage city in Bacolod, home of several ancestral houses way back Spanish Era. I can’t wait to explore the city filled with art,  flavor and hospitality!

First stop: Negros Museum. As a person who’s inclined to art this should really be a first place to see. Inside the museum, the culture, their livelihood and their daily lives as Negrenses are actually evident. One thing that i  also noted is how the museum adapted to the taste of the millenials ( check out the photos below). Way back elementary days, I know for a fact that Negros Occidental is the “sugar capital of the Philippines I thought it would just be published in books but not until my own eyes have witnessed the sprawling sugarcane fields as well as the trucks filled with sugar canes which i presumed that it would be processed in the factories or for export purposes.

As part of our itinerary, We made an effort to see Lakawon Island which is a 2 hour bus ride from Bacolod city proper.It boasts it’s newly opened attraction, the “Tawhai floating bar “. To get there that would be a 2 hour bus ride – one tricycle ride and a 10 min boat ride to reach the island. Exhausting but definitely worth the wait! From a far, the Lakawon Island felt like an isolated beaut with it’s white prestine beach and white huts ( Maldives feels). For the visitors, the speed boat is free for you to get into the floating bar.  The floating bar was made for those people who actually enjoy chilling and parties cause they’re playing chill songs and sick beats. Just beware of the wave,you might get dizzy at first but everything would fall into place.You can actually swim, eat , read and drink in the bar. There would be a lot of couches , bed and of course hammocks where you can just chill and enjoy the good life.

Second day! Breakfast at Manokan Country! YES! Chicken Inasal and Isol for breakfast I don’t mind gaining calories in every trip cause for me it would just be the only time that the flavors would register to my palate and will hit my taste buds so might as well indulge! yes I N D U L G E. We’ve tried Bernadette’s Chicken Inasal, one of the authentic inasal place. There would be a lot of inasal places in the area but be careful to choose the authentic one. You’ll know which is which when you’re already there. You might be shelling out more money  but it would be really worth the try and every peso Judgement time. The way how they grill the chicken is very different from the mainstream inasal places found in the metro sorry but that’s the truth. The juices are still inside the chicken and not dry. The flavor of the marinate have really come together even in the bones! I opted to pair it with a glass of softdrinks! I just really can’t get enough how good the chicken was together with the garlic rice and chicken OILLLLLL!

Aboard the ocean jet, We’ve reached Ilo-Ilo, the city of love.  I was surprised how great the architecture was in this city. Call me OA but I felt like God have showered the greatness of architecture in Visayas haha. Okay so before food trip sight seeing first! Ilo-ilo river esplanade is the place where Ilonggos show their love for their river. It is a  jogging path/ park/ strolling place for the locals.  One must have to do church hopping when in the city but our time didn’t allow us do that. Good thing we tried to see one. There’s only two gothic churches in the country, one would be San Sebastian Church in Manila and Molo church in Ilo-ilo. I was able to see Molo church, the structure is gigantic and pleasing to the eyes with its mini dome beside it  call which depicts the 4 Greek Godesses the basis of  calling it, the feminist church.

Of course visit to Ilo-ilo would not be complete if I won’t be able to try their famous La Paz Batchoy. I personally asked which is the best among the rest and most of the locals are saying that Deco’s actually got their vote. End of the story, we tried Deco’s! For less than a hundred we’re so full! Tasty broth, perfect texture of noodles and fresh liver topped with chicharon thats their game. Finished it off with a cold bottle of softdrinks and their heaven Puto! If i say heaven it was really heaven. not that soft no that hard just the right balance of cream and flour in every bite.  we actually tried to bring home some but the said puto only lasts for a day. Sad lifeeeeeeeee.

Again this trip was from BCD ILOGUIM. feels like all International destinations but no. forgive me. So for the last part of this DIY trip here comes Guimaras. 15 minutes away from the ilo-ilo we’ve reach Jordan, Guimaras via boat ride.In this humble place, there would be only 2 ATM machines. The only way to explore the greatness of the place would be via tricycle. The trip  to Guimaras was unplanned. no accomodation reserved and no concrete Itinerary.

We’ve had our pictures taken in the said smallest plaza. It was just really small. the highlight of the tour was the Guisi Light house. At first, light house, so i already have an angle in my mind, it would be a  minimalist shot for the tower but NO. The barracks was stunning. It felt like I’m in Angkor Wat or any temples in Cambodia haha  and that’s part of my bucketlist. I’ve conquered the fear and made it on the top of the tower. The view was amazing. Seeing the blue waters of Guimaras and the greens from the palm tress and fields.  I also didn’t know that Guimaras would be that great when it comes to seafood! We sampled the dishes like their local sinigang version. The amount of shrimp for a 250 peso meal was unbelievable. end of day 2. It’ s just day 2 and I’ve been to a lot. It’s not sinking in that I’am already in Guimaras but not until I tasted the mangoes that went beyond expectation. I was really there no daydreaming involved!

6AM was our call time for island hopping!We’ve reached Baras cave, Natago Beach and Ave Maria Island. The view going to the said places was beautiful and I thank God for those creations. Going back to Bacolod on our 4th day but we didnt forget to try the famous Pit stop’s famous ” Mango Pizza“. Yes you heard it right Mango in a pizza. There was also Mango Adobo that I’ve tried (check the photos below). I didn’t believe it was that delicious there’s a bell pepper in it and it just tasted goooooooood but not weird. I even put hot sauce in it! En route back to BCD after that meal and I  had the most memorable meal in Bacolod that night. We decided to try Seafood Pala- Pala Market (pretty much just like the dampa in Libis and Macapagal)  in a much more lower price. NOT to mention I had three cups of rice! no judgements here. I just really enjoyed that dinner! Burp!

For our last day, we really planned to visit The ruins since our flight was 2PM in the afternoon. We decided to buy our pasalubong firstin merczi, the famous shop for souvenirs and sweets. Hint: There is  a 10%  discount in the total bill upon showing your travel ticket to the casheir so hoard all the goodness! I bought Piaya, biscocho, barquillos, pastillas  and Napoleones. Don’t leave the city without trying the locals favorite. You can also buy keychains at a bargain price  nearby the city plaza. Look for merzci and buy a fresh hot piaya which only costs  3 pesos / piece. We actually bought a lot of  piayas for us to eat inside the airport since the airport food is way too pricey! After souvenirs, we made our way to our last stop which is the ruins.

to cap off the trip, We went to The ruins, the epitomy of destructed beauty. The remains of the Mansion of an influential family in Bacolod. It remains are just wonderful and fully preserved. This is the highlight of our last day. The view from outside still left me in awe. Seeing the grandiose mansion really felt like you’ve’ been into a palace. You will wonder how does a ruin turned into aesthetically appealing attraction. Inside, there would be a lot of intiricate designs in the columns, the original flooring  and it’s foundation itself .

Enjoy the photos i took in that 4 day DIY trip! 🙂

Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Elaine Avanzado, Ernesto Avanzado and Kristine Tenorio for making the trip memorable and fun!! Thank you guys!!! Till our next DIY trip!

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Simply Fukuoka

Street lights in the evening, busy streets  and the distinct sound  whenever you cross the pedestrian, normally, that’s how most of the people would picture Japan in their minds. Those descriptions are said all true if you’ve already been to Osaka and Tokyo but Fukuoka, in the region of Kyushu is way different from those two parts of Japan you’ll know later why.

Three hours and 45 minute flight  from Manila ( Ninoy Aquino International Airport) and  you will reach Fukuoka International Airport. Setting my feet into this simple airport feels so different. The wind was too cold for my bomber jacket, and layered outfit to combat. Pretty much a different experience as  compared to my previous trips. Upon checking , It was 11 degrees Celsius. No wonder why I was close to freezing that night! brrr. Anyways,Thanks to their FREE shuttle bus we were able to get inside the train to warm ourselves. Ten minutes from the terminal station and we finally arrived in Hakata !!!! this is where we actually stayed for three days.

Of course the first cold night would not be complete if I will not be able to try their authentic ramen. We decided to have our dinner in one of Japan’s famous ramen place,  Ichiran RamenAs expected,  Japanese and foreigners were already waiting for their turn and the line was quite long. The traditional Ichiran in Osaka is known for their individual counters but here in FUK was the first time that I’ve seen Ichiran served restaurant style where people are actually facing each other just like a normal american dining setting. Amazing!! Ichiran is a Hakata style ramen well known for its rich Tonkotsu  broth ( pork bones)  and this is the flavor  the Japanese has been enjoying  since 1960s. The picture below would not suffice for me to share the aroma, richness and flavor!!! It was really good!

Next stop, Don Quixote, the famous souvenir shop wherein you can actually save your yen This is the perfect place to buy  chocolates , potato chips and green tea in bargain prices. TIP: try to buy here  if you can cause the price in the airport is way too much expensive! so hoard until supplies last but of course save some of your yen for your shopping!!!!

Second day! I opted to wear neutral colors but decided to add  Japanese style to it.  Most of the people are wearing boots and thick material for their shoes, but  I braved the cold with my joggers and white shoes ( good thing i survived lol) .  Oh well, 25 minute train ride from Hakata is Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, it is famous to all Japanese students since just  like most of the Tenmangu shrines,  this shrine was made in honor of  a scholar and politician of the Heian Period,  Sugawara Michizane.  Having said that, Japanese students always go to this temple during the entrance exam seasons. The latter of our second day was just merely shopping in tenjin’s shopping malls where it houses famous Japanese brands such as UNIQLO, MUJI and BERSHKA and oopsss! not to mention the food trip that I had that night!

Luckily,  our flight schedule is still in the evening. So during our last day, I personally insisted to check and visit the Canal city mall, Fukuoka’s famous shopping and food district. This very aesthetically  appealing mall boasts its prominent circular designs together with the plant drapings ( as if you’re inside the Gardens by the bay in Singapore) . This mall houses a lot of signature shops/ boutiques for those who are looking for luxury shopping and their Ramen stadium where most of the Japanese ramen shops can be found like Hanamaruken and Ippudo, the said ramen houses  had their actual debut in the Philippines for the past few years.

Although, It was a quick trip, I was able to enjoy it , satisfy my cravings and at the same time reflect  in the cold streets of Fukuoka. I am thankfuI cause I was able to see one of Fukuoka’s trademark,  “Yatai” / night food stalls where most of the locals go to after their work to have sake and grilled meat/ fish  for a very affordable price. When the clock hits 6PM most of yatai owners are already setting up their stalls in the side walk to cater to their customers. Lawson, Family Mart and 7- eleven. These are just few convenience stores that can satisfy your hunger from sandwiches, onigiri, karaage , shabu-shabu and a lot of bottled flavored drinks.During my stay, I wonder  why most of the drinks are really good!!! What  is it about Japan’s water and technique that  made it possible to come up with such great flavored drinks! P.S Hoard Coke from Japan if you have enough coins in the airport!

If you do have more time in the city check out and visit

  • Fukuoka Tower
  • Momochi Seaside Park
  • Ohori Park
  • Sumiyoshi Shrine
  • Kushida Shrine
  • Shika Island
  • Fukuoka city museum

You can also have a side trip away from Fukuoka to reach the following destinations

  • Nagasaki
  • Yanagawa River Cruise
  • Huis Ten Bosch ( Tulip festival)
  • Komyozenji Temple

Nevertheless, Fukuoka is way different from the usual Japan scene  since it is a province,  you’ll find yourself wondering how quiet the place is.If you are not up for shopping, a pocket money of 30,000 yen would already be enough for your meals and transporation as you discover the city. Fuk is a Perfect place to get lost and find yourself enjoying your bowl of ramen and walking your way  to its humble streets without worrying anything .It is  very simple as compared to the  view  of the towering billboards of Dotonbori in Osaka and huge pedestrian lanes  in Tokyo. It is perfect to those who would love to experience Japan away from the stress of the city. Chill nights and just a perfect blend of lights and civilization to experience Japanese culture. Fukuoka it is!

Acknowledgements: Thank you very much Tito Larry  Amante and Tita Michelle Santos for making this trip possible and unforgettable ! I’ll be forever grateful 🙂

Take a look at the photos below. comments are greatly appreciated.

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Venture the unknown: Baler and Cabanatuan trip

I’m  not a fanatic of surfing nor an adventurer but as the time goes by I’ve realized that there’s more to life than food and relaxation sometimes you need Adrenaline in your system to boost creativity and awakening. After all, life is too short to live in one place.

First stop on my weekend adventure is the town of Baler in the province of Aurora. You’ll never go wrong with the simplicity of the town. Calm winds, tropical vibe, breath-taking view of  Sierra Madre and the large waves , the reasons why most of the surfers and adrenaline junkies are always visiting the area. Early in the morning, we’ve tried  to surf after breakfast and was able to play with the large waves. Truly, the waves are large and perfect for surfing. Though, I was able to do it. I really think that surfing is really NOT  for me.

After leaving Sabang beach,my college best friends and I have decided to see the mother falls or the “Ditumabo falls“.At first, i thought that it would be a only a  15 minute walk from the site but the trail was far more than what i’ve or we’ve expected. It consists of a lot of trekking and 3 river crosses just to get into the said falls! but the falls was very stunning and beautiful . It was worth the climb and good thing my leather mandals didn’t give up on me. Haha

Minalungao National Park was really part of our itinerary. I’ve witnessed the Gigantic rock formations circling the river and other boulders. Known for its river rafting where friends and family members can enjoy having lunch. This park also boasts a zip line, a hanging bridge and a 1000 step trail to have a view of Mt. Arayat . Here i discovered a lot about myself and of course still had fun with them. I know for a fact that it was just a park but I didn’t know that there would be caves in it. After almost 1 hour of darkness,  being  inside and hiking in  the cave, we all survived and saw the hope of light.In this part of the trip, I’ve realized that you need to conquer your fears in order for you to be more courageous enough to face other battles. You also just have to trust and believe in yourself in the darkest days of your life to surpass it. The trail inside the cave was steep enough for a not so physically fit man wearing cargo shorts to climb !?!?!  haha  nevermind the drama, after that we tried to get along with the currents of the river. Wearing our life vests , we jumped with uncertainty together in the river. As the saying goes, ” go with the flow” we’ve ended up on the other side of the river and decided to do it for a couple of times!

Of course the trip would not be complete without sight seeing or a food adventure. Hapag Vicentico’s, one of the famous Filipino restaurant in Cabanatuan would always have a space in my tummy and in my heart. Every bite and serving is full of hospitality and creativity I loved the Boneless crispy pata, sinuglaw , papaitan and their signature salted egg rice!!!! Actually we didn’t get tired of its flavor and dined for three times a row in that trip. Barj Cafe, one of the coffee shops that we’ve tried. Nothing fancy here but their blueberry cheesecake hits the spot as well as their endless summer iced tea ( strawberry and watermelon). Finally before we head home, we went to “Edna’s Cakeland” where in cakes of course are delicious. The iced coffee are way way affordable as compared to those commercial brands in the metro. Other pastries are also available such as silvanas, cream puffs, macaroons and a lot more.really a must try when you’ll have a stop over in Cabanatuan! The trip ended with a korean village adventure in Clark, Pampanga  wherein we enjoyed unlimited Samgyupsal and korean side dishes.

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Taste of Allegra’s

Growing up, I was and still an avid fan of American food! I would really love to spend my night in a classic dinner way back 1950’s where black and white flooring are popular, colors from the condiments filled the space with bright spectra, jukebox , silver lights and a lot more stuff that will complete my American dinner dream. Enough of my dream! Let me take you away from Manila to Sto. Tomas,  Batangas.  Kilometers  away from San Pablo is a newly opened Filipino American food place. Bright white lights have already made an impact and was very inviting to our eyes apart from the dull lighting of other establishments in the said place.

The interiors are combination of wood, brick and metal. The kind of lighting also adds to the mood of the place where you can feel that you are really in a good food place. They offer Filipino rice meals ( Tapsilog, tocilog, and other silogs in town), Mac and cheese, burgers and sides like coleslaw and fries, For our  food, My best friend , Nichole and I  ordered BLT Sandwich. My other friends tried their burger and pasta. If there’s one thing unique in their food , it is their presentation.I loved how this knife are incorporated into every meal with bread (see the picture below)  I know that for Japanese people, they hate to see their food having a knife in it or chopsticks placed inside their rice. Maybe that’s a form of disrespect or unethical move in their culture but I really respect their belief.

I haven’t tried most of their menu items but for my verdict, I enjoyed their BLT sandwich! It has a generous amount of bacon and lettuce in every bite with the right touch of mayonnaise.  Their burger was just good nothing special to it typical burger with beef patty, tomato and onion but without cheeseeeeeeeeeeeee.  Their Carbonara pasta was creamy enough but lacking saltiness to it. I guess cheese was not that abundant in the dish. All in all I still enjoyed my stay and the food. I’ll go back to try their rice meals and especially their mac and cheese


It’s really Piri- Piri

From Portugal comes a new style of cooking that will surely be a hit to the public. It’s no other than piri- piri chicken. There are a lot of Portuguese (Piri- piri chicken ) places out there in Quezon City or other parts of the metro  that I haven’t tried yet  but I am blogging about Frango’s cause this will be my baseline . First thing first the ambience is suited for the kind of food they are offering. Colors  of the Portugal flag reflects the walls and the whole architecture of the place, There are light yellow concentrated lights that highlights the table and the place.  the mood is  inviting from the view outside as well as the couch and windows . For the food, my food critic friends, Wendy and Enzo decided to order whole Frangos chicken, pita, frangos rice and the cous cous salad.

Our glance in the chicken already told us that it is delicious. I smelled herbs and unknown aroma coming from the chicken. With one bite, I was overwhelmed how juicy and tasty, herby ?, aromatic it was (YOU SHOULD TRY IT YOURSELF!!!). Did I already mention that the chicken comes with a tropical refreshing salsa with tomato , mango, onion and herbs plus additional 3 sauces (chili oil, green sauce and the tomato based) The pita was soft The frangos rice  has turmeric in it giving that light kick that will last only for seconds the moment you eat it. The cous cous salad was just okay cause it was served cold. They got a lot of drinks to choose from including ginger Ale, crafted beers and other alcoholic beverages. This palce is perfect for a group nightouts, casual dinner or just a midnight snack. The bad news is they are not open for whole day they are closing before lunch and opening before dinner! Sounds funny but it’s true. All in all I enjoyed my piri-piri experience in this place. A must try for food bloggers, foodie or adult who want a serious and flavourful meal