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Dining @ Ban Be Ca Phe is definitely one of my memorable press trips I had in 2018. Aside from this was the last restaurant that I had to review for the year because I’ve been very busy also with work and and there were lots of activities everywhere, , this family dinner was special because that night, we also celebrated my son’s birthday.

Ban Be Ca Phe is located in upper Antipolo, (near the Pasalubong stores if you will be coming from Masinag Market). The cafe is in the left side contrary to the Waze’s directions that it is located on the right side. I was so excited because it was my first time to visit a Vietnamese Restaurant and taste Vietnamese food. As expected, I was not disappointed with the food; however, the challenge is for you to get a nice spot to park your car.

In this post, you will be able to tell why you should vsisit Ban Be Ca Phe if you haven’t visited the restaurant yet and try their food 🙂
THE AMBIANCE

The cafe can can accommodate 50-60 people. It has 3 areas where you can hang out.

  1. The Veranda (Outdoor/Smoking area)

This is perfect for barkadas or groups who like privacy (if there are many people inside) and you would like to breathe fresh air.

2. INSIDE DINING AREA

Upon.entering, there are usual tables and chairs that you can.use.

3. VIETNAMESE SEATING AREA

viet seating.jpg

shanayas place.jpg

As much as we would like to experience dining in the traditonal Vietnamese seating area, we opted to stay in the traditional dining area because there were people who were sipping coffee and playing board games at that time.

The place inside is not too spacious, but there is a homey feeling that will make you feel comfortable and I think it’s one of the reasons why customers keep on coming back aside from the food.
THE FOOD

Now, let’s talk about the main reason why you should try BAN BE C PHE. It is my pleasure to present to you their bestsellers.

Because I’m a coffee lover/addict, just as what I previously confessed in my past blog posts, I wouldn’t let it pass without trying their Vietnamese coffee.

hot coffee.jpg

CA PHE SUA (HOT COFFEE) P75

iced coffee

CA PHE SUA DA (Cold Coffee) P85

DRY NOODLES

BUN TTHAP CAM

BUN THAP CAM P160

This is one of their dry noodles made of white noodles, pork, Shanghai and beef rolls.
SOUP NOODLES

Pho No.jpg

PHO BO P110

Lau

LAU (Hot Pot)

Because December was super cold, I prefer to have hot soup. It’s a good thing they have different soups that will suit the preferences of each individual. I liked the simplicity of the Pho Bo which is made of white noodles and beef while my hubby liked the sweet and spicy taste of the Lau. For the Lau, you can choose whether you will be having the egg noodles (P250 medium) and white noodles (P290 medium). Additional ingredients are available at additional cost like squid balls, veggies, shrimps and beef.

VIETNAMESE CUISINE

Goi Cuom

GOI CUON P110

This is one of my favorites and I was amazed because it was my first time to eat Vietnamese spring rolls made of veggies, shrimp and fresh noodles, served with peanut sauce. I am a very picky eater and this dish has passed my standards. Well, it’s not just delicious, but healthy as well. THUMBS UP!

Vietnamese Shanghai

SHANG HAI (Ban Be Shanghai) P130

If I was impressed by the Goi Cuon, how would I describe what I felt when I have tried the Vietnamese Shanghai? I was super impressed! Actually, it’s hard to find an adjective to describe that feeling. I am not much into seafood and meat though I eat Shanghai rolls (but very seldom)– so when I discovered that this is not made of pork, but actually noodles and veggies, I was indeed very pleased because I could eat as many as I can. And if I haven’t known what it’s made of, I would have thought that it’s made of pork because there is no difference with the taste and the good thing is that this meal is healthy for the body.

com chien

COM CHIEN P160

Another thing that I liked is their Vietnamese Fried Rice– it is so flavorful that even without viand, I would be pleased already, but that would be very impossible for us to resist such tasty and healthy dishes. If you will be coming as a group, 1 order won’t be enough cos I’m sure you will be requesting for more.

viet grilled pork

VIET GRILLED PORK

And because we had 2 kids with us at that time, there was no question why the dish vanished in a matter of seconds, hehehe. My faher and I wasn’t able to try the Grilled Pork and he wasn’t even aware that we had tha on our table. Obviously, the kids enjoyed that 🙂 So, if you will be coming with your family and you have kids with you, you know what to order.
FAMILY BONDING

After we have enjoyed the Vietnamese food at Ban Be Ca Phe, it’s hard to leave without having photo session in their traditional Vietnamese seating area. After the pictorial, the kids played boardgames and bonded with each other.

vietnamese seating

shane with guitar
OVERALL EXPERIENCE

I was very pleased with their food. Their dishes were done with a twist– suitable for the Filipino customers. I highly recommend this place to those who haven’t been here. This is a kid-friendly place as well as I didn’t expect the kids to enjoy the food, but they did. Aside from serving Vietnamese food, they also have Chicken sisig in their menu for those who are craving for Filipino dishes. Kudos to Ms. Redd and to the staff who made the restaurant a big click to those who would like to try Vietnamese food but in very affordable prices.

What are you waiting for? Ban Be Ca Phe is worth a visit!

BAN BE CA PHE

Banker’s Village 2, Sumulong Highway, Dela Paz, Antipolo City

0966 814 4492

I always love Italian food since I was a child.  I  always have spaghetti in every birthday celebration and in my shopping and mall sessions, I always go for pizza.  The explanation to this is–probably in my past life, I was born Italian 🙂  I know that there are already many restaurants that offer Italian cuisine, but I am already sick and tired of the same brand and taste.  I thought of trying something different and I was lucky to have an opportunity to taste an authentic Italian food @ BURP RESTAURANT.   The restaurant is located in Uptown Pioneer (near Legend Villas) in Mandaluyong City.

The place looks small but it can accommodate up to 40 people inside and 12 more pax outside.  It is very cozy when you enter– you will feel at home.  In fact, while waiting for your food, you can read their books in their mini reading nook, watch TV or simply have a casual chitchat with your relatives/friends.  The staff are also very polite and friendly.

staff.jpg

Upon entering, you will be greeted by one of their staff and will be given a menu for your orders.  The glasses and refreshments will be prepared as well while waiting for the meals.

They have ala carte food in the menu but they also have exciting promos ideal for those who will come in groups.

promos

The group meals (good for 3 people) can be availed for only P410 with a choice of fish or chicken and 1 pasta in the list.  For this, we have tried both fish and chicken and two of their pasta meals.

THEIR FOOD:

Fried Mozarella Sticks

Fried Mozarella Sticks

This is one of my favorites @ Burp because I loved the cheesy taste.   I knew that it’s not yet the main course so I controlled myself in eating all of the mozarella sticks, hehehe!  Oh, well, it was served with the Pomodoro sauce that made it even more yummy!

rice

Rice

Fried-Chicken-Strips.jpg

Fried Chicken Strips

Chicken is a must in all my press trips that’s why I am very particular with it.  It’s not a shame because their chicken is crispy and I liked their honey mustard dip as well.   I was kinda guilty because I ate the last piece that was supposed to be eaten by our youngest child.  I didn’t know that he only liked chicken that time.

 

Fish Fingers.jpg

Fish Fingers

I’m not much into seafood but my family especially my father and hubby loved the breaded fish served with pesto mayo.

Of course, our visit at BURP won’t be complete without tasting their pasta.  I prefer the Creamy Mushroom Pasta but I also liked Spaghetti  Pomodoro.

spaghetti pomodoro

Spaghetti Pomodoro

The kids didn’t like the Spaghetti because they’re used the usual sweet Filipino style spaghetti that we cook at home.  What they have at BURP Restaurant is an authentic Italian spaghetti.  Spaghetti Pomodoro is  actually one of their bestsellers.   Its main ingredients are:  spaghetti, onion, garlic, butter, tomato, basil and pomodoro.

Cremy Mushroom Pasta

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

This is my favorite!  Even the kids love the creamy taste of the pasta.  The main ingredients are: penne, shitake, button mushrooms, garlic, bechamel and cream.  One plate (to share) isn’t enough for a family of 6 members because I’m sure they would be requesting for another plate.

DESSERTS:

mango creme.jpg

Mango Creme’

coffee jelly.jpg

Coffee Jelly

Burp Restaurant has been in the food business since 2013 and for 5 years, they have served customers who craved for authentic Italian food.   The restaurant is managed by Ms. Ara, who worked as a manager for Italliani’s for 5 years.  She is currently helped by her siblings, Dan and Ms. Sofia, who accommodated us during our visit.

Too bad, I wasn’t able to taste the pizza and their coffee– probably next time 🙂

For Italian food lovers, BURP Restaurant is open from Sundays to Saturdays from 7:30am to 10:30pm.

burp staff.jpg

BURP Staff

 

Wait, do you think that their food is only available at the restaurant?  It’s good news because they also have catering services for different occasions or events.  For catering, the food isn’t limited to Italian cuisine as you can customize your own list.  You can avail their catering services for as little as P15k for 20 to 30 pax.

 

BURP RESTAURANT

G/F Uptown Pioneer Center 56-58 Madison St., Mandaluyong City

Phone:  (02) 531 8384 /0917 5066 168

life is coffee

“Life Begins With Coffee”

“Life begins with coffee,” that’s what coffee addicts like me believe in.  No matter how complicated life is, one cup of coffee will definitely ease your burden and would make you feel better.  I’ve been in several cafes and there were times that I was disappointed with what I expected from the quality and taste of the food and drinks. I must say that my visit in Cafe Esse is one of the best experience I had.

 

 

Cafe Esse is located at the 2nd floor of CEO Building, L. Sumulong Circle, San Roque, Antipolo City.  My colleagues hang out here once in a while and now I know the reason why they keep coming back– it’s because of the superior quality of coffee and delectable food that they serve.

 

The word esse came from the word EXISTENCE or essence.

Cafe Esse was established in May 15, 2014.  For four years now, they continue to satisfy their customers.  It caters not only to barkadas who would like to chill, but to families who would like to spend quality time together and even for colleagues or business partners who would like to have their meeting.  When we arrived at past 4pm, there were different groups outside in the smoking area (barkadas).  Inside, there were few tables which can accommodate 20 pax.  Near our table, there was a college student who was doing her assignment or research work while sipping her coffee.  (There is FREE WIFI that customers can use).

mirror

It’s very obvious that I enjoyed their coffee 🙂

 

Cafe Esse has a function room for special events which can be rented for P5,000 (P1,500 for 3 hours use and P3,500 for consumables).  Extension per hour is P500.

wooden frame

Here are their bestsellers:

HOT DRINKS

Hazelnut Latte

Hazelnut Latte  (  16 oz  P130 /20 oz P140.)

vanilla machiatto

Vanilla Macchiato   16 oz P130 / 20 oz P140

matcha latte

Matcha Latte  (16 oz. P145/ 20 oz P155)

Of the hot drinks, I like the Vanilla Macchiato next to the Hazelnut Latte.

FRAPPES

 

I remember the famous choco-banana fruit shake in Boracay (Jonah’s fruitshake) when I tasted the banana choco-nut frappe.  I prefer the choco mint frappe though because it was very refreshing.

MILKSHAKE

frappes

Strawberry Milkshake   P155

Because we brought a 4 year old kid with us, this one is the perfect drink for him.

THE FOOD

I super loved their pasta!  I loved both the Spicy Seafarer and the Creamy Carbonara.  The kids are not pasta lovers like me but they loved both also.

spicy seafarer.jpg

Spicy Seafarer  P195

creamy carbonara

Creamy Carbonara   P195

choco ala mode waffle

Choco ala Mode Waffle P115

I felt like a kid again–I loved the combination of chocolate syrup and the waffles topped with cream.

cheesy meat fries.jpg

Cheesy Meat Fries P110

We love french fries, but we love it even more when it is topped with cheese.  In a span of less than 3 minutes, the plate was emptied.  I was about to get another round but the food just vanished instantly.  I didn’t scold the kids for that– actually, it was already a big achievement if you let them finish eating in a matter of minutes.  Usually, it took a long time for them to eat.

3 little pigs

3 Little Pigs   P190

This is one of the most popular bestsellers, this sandwich comes with potato chips.

classic blt

Classic BLT P190

Classic BLT is short for sandwich with bacon, lettuce and tomatoes.It is also served with potato chips.

all day breakfast

All Day Breakfast  P195

Since the cafe opens at 10am, the All Day Breakfast can be your brunch.  For breakfast, I’m already solved with one sunny side up egg and one regular sized hotdog, but in Cafe Esse, they have 3 small pancakes with a sunny side-up egg, jumbo hotdog, and bacon strips.  This is perfect to be paired with a cup of hot coffee.

enjoying the food

Hahaha!  It’s evident in the photo that I really love the food.  One sandwich can already fill your tummy so it’s worth every penny that you will spend in the cafe.

pastries

Cakes and pastries

Unfortunately, we were nnot able to taste the sweets but definitely we will when we come back.

CR/Washroom Inspection

In my feature about Comida China de Manila, I have mentioned that I was impressed with their washroom.  Well, in Cafe Esse they have a small but very clean washroom.  They have quotes and note written on the wall creatively.

outside cr

The staff were very friendly and polite.

staff

The Cafe Esse Staff

Recommendations Button                             HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

yman and bruce

You will definitely love their drinks and food and I assure you that you will come back.  For reservations, you may call the contact numbers below.

CAFE ESSE

2/F CEO Building, L. Sumulong Circle, Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City

Tel. no.: (02) 507-3956 ; 0927 8610571

 

 

It’s still my birthday month and as what I have mentioned in my previous post, I will feature restaurants where you can celebrate important events.  It’s one day after my son’s birthday so technically, we had his post-birthday celebration last Saturday.  This is one of my unforgettable trips because I was able to bond with my family in a not so distant place from ours and savor the beauty of nature.

This hidden gem  is already part of Baras, Rizal (though the address in Google is Antipolo).   Park, Rest & Dine Restaurant is a place where you can literally park your vehicle and taste delightsome”lutong bahay” food.  Being at the place made me feel more relaxed and for that particular moment, I had peace of mind.  Temporarily, I forgot about all the negative things I had in my mind and felt secured and relieved.

parking area

the parking area

trees

shane2

WHY PARK, REST & DINE?

I was curious with the title– how they come up with such name and it’s a good thing that the owners were very accommodating though they were really busy at the time we visited.

We were able to have a short chitchat with the owners Ms. Melody and Sir Romano Syaman and asked about the concept of the place.  They lived in New York for 10 years and  during their stay in the United States,they would often see the sign “Park, Rest and Dine.” and from there, they got an idea what to name their restaurant.  It is for travelers who would like to park for a while, check in a room or dine for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Originally, when they started out in 2013, they had two rooms available for rent, but they decided not to offer the rooms anymore because they have limited supply of water.  They opted to just focus on the restaurant.

While waiting for the food to be cooked, we explored the place outside.  We didn’t even notice that 20 minutes have already passed.

THE RESTAURANT

You will definitely feel at home when you enter– the typical wooden furnitures, sofas, modern lighting and native decors will set your mood to relax and enjoy.

inside seating area

table inside.jpg

This is a 12-hectare property— actually, they can accommodate more customers because they still have more tables with umbrella outside, but according to Ms. Melody they are just accommodating small groups.  Inside the restaurant, seating capacity is 20-25 pax.  The entrance can accommodate 10 pax and the veranda for another 20 pax.

veranda

       Park, Rest & Dine is open from 7am to 5pm.  Though they close that early, they are open for walk-in customers who would like to dine for dinner.  You can also call their Globe number for reservations (0926- 0560103).  They are open from Sunday to Saturday and even holidays.

Basically, the restaurant is just for families and barkadas.  They do not sell alcoholic beverages because they do not want to deal with drunk customers and they want to preserve the cleanliness of the place and maintain its wholesome image.

front area

shane1

THE FOOD

family pic

These are some of the bestsellers that we have tried.  For the starter, we were served with a bowl of Sinigang sa Sugpo.  Not only the adults loved it, but the kids as well.

sinigang sa sugpo.jpg

Sinigang Sa Sugpo P280

diced chicken with veggies

Diced Chicken with Mixed Veggies P280

Chicken is one of my favorites and I was really glad that we were served with this dish.  That made it even better because it was served with half-cooked veggies (very good for health-conscious eaters).

sotanjon guisado

Special Sotangjon Guisado –  P280

This is an all-time favorite especially during parties.  What made it more special is the pork and veggies.

tanigue steak

Tanigue Steak     P380

The Tanigue Steak is one of their bestsellers because of its taste.  This is made of fried fish steaks cooked in soy sauce, topped with white onions and red bell pepper.

bulalo

Bulalo     P480

This soup is made of beef, cabbage and potatoes.  This is a hit for the adults but the kids prefer Sinigang sa Sugpo.

pancakes.jpg

Pancakes    P280

This is what I will remember about Park, Rest & Dine– I had the best and most delicious pancakes here!  Their pancakes are quite big and thick and they come with scrambled eggs and sliced hotdogs.

unli coffee

Unlimited Brewed Coffee   P60

Here at Park, Rest and Dine, you can have unlimited brewed coffee for only P60.  Yes, you read it right!  So for coffee lovers, this is surely something you won’t like to miss.

If you would like to have a unique dining experience, go out with your family or barkada and  give this a try!

PARK, REST & DINE

Marikina-Infanta Hi-Way, San Jose, Upper Antipolo

Mobile:  0926-0560103

 

 

 

family pic1.jpg

 

       Special ocassions are meant to be celebrated with people who are dear to you– friends, colleagues, your someone special and family.  In my birthday month, I am featuring cafes/restaurants that are perfect for celebrating special events.  In my previous post, I already have featured a cool place to chill with stunning ambiance and cozy hang out place in Antipolo- Yellow Lantern Cafe. This time, because I will be sharing about my birthday celebration as well, I decided to celebrate my special day in one of the premier restaurants in Pasig– COMIDA CHINA DE MANILA.

Comida China de Manila is formerly known as Panciteria San Jacinto– one of the few restaurants that serve authentic Chinese food.  It was established in 1894 in Manila and in 1996 it has moved to E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue in Ugong, Pasig City( along C5 across SM Hypermart).  It was just in 2011 when the management has decided to change the name to Comida China de Manila– new name but still the same touch of authentic Chinese food that they serve to their satisfied customers for 124 years.

MY COMIDA CHINA DE MANILA EXPERIENCE

       Upon entering the restaurant, I couldn’t help but to appreciate everything that I see.  Others might visualize the place as a typical Chinese restaurant because of the table designs– I couldn’t help as well but to reminisc the days when I was a kid, we always go to Mamon Luk where we eat mami noodles), but here @ Comida China de Manila, everything is exquisite– from the contemporary furnishings, cleanliness of the place, delectable food and first class service. 

       In my press trips for restaurant reviews/features, we do not just check the ambiance, food and staff, we actually check the restrooms.  It was similar to the five-star hotels that we’ve visited like Shangri-la and Marco Polo because of their impressive, well-maintained and very clean washrooms.

       The restaurant is commodious enough to cater families and barkadas and other groups for lunch, merienda, dinner to late snack.  They open from 11am to 10pm from Mondays to Saturdays and 10am to 10pm during Sundays.

       They have a conference room (good for 20 pax) for business meetings and function rooms where you can hold events like christening, weddings, birthdays and Christmas parties.  (You can get info about the function room rates here).

function rooms

MY BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION @ COMIDA CHINA DE MANILA

On my special day, I wasn’t feeling well, so instead of having an overnight staycation in a hotel, I opted to have a simple birthday dinner with my family @ Comida China de Manila.   After waiting for hubby and the kids, we headed there right away.  I thought this will just be a simple dinner, but I was really dumbfounded when I entered the place.  I was treated with such royalty that I was indeed wearing an invisible crown and dazzling diamond jewelry set.   Well, I was quite speechless but after a second that seemed like eternity, I was back in my senses.  There we were, escorted by Harry, Norlan and Racquel to  the conference room to use which can accommodate 20 pax.

table1

        Actually, the room was too big for us–there were two long tables in the airconditioned conference room.  We occupied one table and because we have a hyper 5-y/o kid with us, it’s fine for him to run around the room because the door is closed.  At the time that we arrived (8pm), the restaurant was already jampacked with people.  I suggest that you reserve the conference room (if you will come in small group) if would like to have privacy and enjoy the ocassion with your visitors/companions.

THEIR FOOD

          Are you wondering why people keep coming back to Comida China de Manila?  I will share the bestsellers that we have enjoyed in my birthday celebration.

menu

            At Comida China de Manila, they have set menus that you can choose from (for meetings and events) but you can customize your own.  If you plan to just hang out and have simple lunch or dinner, you can order ala carte instead.  Here are the recommended dishes if you will be holding your event here.

cold cuts

Cold Cuts Platter (M) P603.00

This comes with their famous Asado, Pata Jamon and Lechon served with Chinese Sausage, Century Eggs and Seaweeds.

Comida China Soup

Comida China Soup (M) P522.00

Comida China Soup is their House Special (also known as the “balut soup” ) because it looks and tastes like “balut.”  This is made of eggs, minced porl, peas, carrots and seaweeds.  This is a must-try for first timers in this restaurant.

Bird's Nest with Quail Eggs Soup.jpg

Bird’s Nest with Quail Eggs Soup (M) P420.00

When the staff saw that we have kids, Ms. Raquel suggested that it would be better if we will have either Bird’s Nest qith Quail Eggs Soup or Sweet Corn Soup.  I chose this and I was right– my five-year old kid loved the soup!  This is their version of the traditional soup made with nido, minced pork and quail eggs.

Comida China Chow Mein.jpg

Comida China Chow Mein (M) P552.00

Because it was my birthday, and as part of tradition (I’m 1/4 Chinese), we have noodles or pasta on the table everytime we celebrate our birthday.  The Chinese believe that the noodles/pasta will give you long life.   It has shrimp, pork and Chinese brocolli leaves, carrots and black mushrooms.  I loved the sauce and the half cooked veggies.

Yang Chow Fried Rice

Yang Chow Fried Rice (M)P441.00

I love flavored rice that’s why I was delighted when I saw the Yang Chow Fried Rice.  I didn’t even force the kids to have more rice because of its taste.

China Chicken.jpg

China Chicken  (1/2) P428

I always look for chicken in parties and I was really glad it was included in the dishes for my birthday celebration.  My father told me that my Chinese grandfather used to cook something like this before– golden brown chicken with soy sauce gravy.  Of course, the presentation here is quite different– they topped it with crispy shrimp crackers. 

Sliced Fish With Sweet & Sour Sauce.jpg

Sliced Fish with Sweet and Sour Sauce  (M) P524.00

For fish lovers, this plate of golden-fried sliced parrot fish topped with fresh julienned vegetables with sweet and sour sauce is also a must-try.  

fried shrimp bals.jpg

Fried Shrimp Balls (M) P1,116.00

This is the star of our feast and a big hit to the kids– we loved the scrumptious shrimp balls.  Every bite is sooo heavenly that we had to eat slowly to savor every minute of it.  This is one of their most expensive dishes, but this should be in your list especially if you have kids in the event.

Butchi

Butchi (3 pcs.) P99.00

          My hubby and father enjoyed the butchi but the kids and I wanted and was craving for something.  I was feeling dizzy even the day before (abnormal uterine bleeding and mild anemia), so I just stayed in my bedroom and didn’t even manage to order a cake and ice cream for myself.   After few minutes, Sir Norlan came in with a birthday cake from Mom and Tina’s Bakery Cafe. That made my day!  I’m a kid at heart so definitely the sumptuous meals won’t be complete without the luscious cake 🙂  

             We were extremely satisfied with the food but we didn’t manage to have another plate for another round– it’s because our tummies are already full.  

feast

          Thank you again, Comida China de Manila— that was so sweet!  I was speechless for a while but I managed to express my gratitude to them and to their staff who were with us in the conference room to attend to our needs.   

staff

Comida China de Manila’s staff


with norlan

With Sir Norlan

For a hassle-free meetings and events, Comida China de Manila will take care of all your needs.  No need to worry about cakes and other desserts because Mom & Tina’s Bakery Cafe is just beside the restaurant.  

mom and tina's facade

 

 

TBIP highly recommends Comida China de Manila. 

Please refer to these details:

 

 

Address:  FRDC Bldg., 106 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City 

Tel Nos:  (02) 671-5942 /(02) 914-0832

Website:  https://comidachinademanila.com/

 

Few cartwheels and somersaults away from my home in Antipolo City is the Xentromall, but my brilliant discovery that I would like to share with you is the Yellow Lantern Cafe, a cool place where you can hang out with your friends, chill during weekends, bond with your family and celebrate your special occasion.  I had my pre-birthday celebration here last weekend and we really had a blast!   Yellow Lantern Cafe is situated in Comoda Ville in Mambugan, Antipolo City (near Cafe Lupe).

jas tables

Upon entering the cafe, you will be filled with positive energy and happiness because of the yellow vibrant color that eliminates all the negative vibes. The cafe is furnished with tables and yellow chairs with a mini yellow lantern and sartin cup on top of each table.  I couldn’t help but to notice the creative yellow chandeliers made of bottles.

lantern

yellow lantern and sartin cup for each table

Christmas is already in the air!  They have the Christmas tree and Santa Claus in the entrance door and we couldn’t let the day pass without having a photograph beside it.  The atmosphere creates a homey feeling wherein you can simply stay and enjoy the place with your friends and family.

The interior design of the cafe is impressive– it actually displays the artistic side and showcases Filipino touch in their furnishings and displays.

tables.jpg

Each table inside the cafe can accommodate 5-6 pax.  They also have tables in the veranda wherein you can enjoy watching the overlooking view and sunset.

sunset

In time for meetings, videoke sessions, celebrations or special events, YLC has two function rooms (Simone’s Room and Sadie’s Room) which can be rented for P5k for 3 hours (with consumables and videoke) and can accommodate 20 pax.  The 2 rooms can be combined to accommodate more people (10k for 3 hours with consumables and videoke).

So, what else made YLC exceptional?  Aside from the charming and homey ambiance, what you should check here in YLC are their bestsellers.  Traditional dishes are complimented with Filipino touch– It’s comfort food presented in a classy style and affordable prices.

 

menu

menu1

THE APPETIZERS:

gambas

GAMBAS P230

We had Gambas for the starter.  The kids and I loved this shrimp dish because of its sauce. (What makes the marinate special is the shrimp extract that gives the dish extra tasty flavor) I am not much into seafood but this definitely is a must try 🙂

battered chicken fingers

Battered Chicken Fingers P385 (3-4 pax)

Battered Chicken Fingers is served with camote chips.  For picky eaters like me, this one is a life saver! It is also best to order this if you have kids with you.

MUST-TRY SPECIALS

umaapaw in paellera

UMAAPAW IN PAELLERA  P450 (5-6 pax)

This is YELLOW LANTERN CAFE’s  signature dish.  We were amazed to experience having the traditional paella served in Filipino style.  Instead of the usual seafood and meat in Spanish Paella, Umaapaw in Paellera has bagoong rice, topped with dilis, scrambled eggs, salted duck eggs (itlog na maalat), longganisa, eggplants, onions, and mangga.  They serve it with homemade spiced vinegar and chili garlic.  Instead of lemons, it is served with calamansi.

papa bbq ribs

american bbq ribs

American BBQ Ribs with Hickory Sauce   P585  (5-6 pax)

This is also one of the kids’ favorites in YLC.  The meat is so tender and tasty.  We loved the potato wedges as well.

DESSERT

chocnut cheesecake

Chocnut Cheesecake  P145

This is their signature dessert– cheesecake combined with Chocnut.  I couldn’t help but to reminisc my childhood days wherein I used to eat a pack of Chocnuts (hihihi!).

fruit platter

FRUIT PLATTER     P275

We had a platter of fruits for finale –  slices of watermelon, apple, orange, pineapple, etc.

DRINKS

The drinks were refreshing, but I prefer the fresh lemonade.  Thank you, Sir Oliver for preparing these drinks!  They also have a bar wherein you can enjoy having your favorite drinks with your friends.

bar

The meals I presented above are their bestsellers.  They still have other dishes in their menu which you can check out here.

YLC is open everyday except Mondays from 11am to 12 midnight.

jas and shane

We really had a blast!  Aside from the family bonding and the sumptuous meal that we had, we felt at home.  We would like to express our gratitude to the YLC staff  especially to Chef Carl Bautista in making my pre-birthday celebration extra special.

staff yellow lantern

The YLC Staff

with Chef Carl Bautista

With Chef Carl Bautista, Operations Head of YLC

What are you waiting for?  Come and check this out!

YLC_Logo_lowres(with-background)-1

267-268 Comoda Ville, Sumulong Highway, Brgy. Mambugan, Antipolo City

(02) 631-5648 / 0995-0898538

YELLOW LANTERN CAFE LILAC

84 Lilac St., SSS Village, Marikina City

(02) 231993 / 0923- 4471158/ 0995- 0898538

Email:  yellowlanterncafe@yahoo.com

 

 

 

I was on leave for one month due to abnormal uterine bleeding, and when it was time for me to go back to work, I  though of destressing for a night.  Well, I didn’t make up my mind that day– that’s why I didn’t prepare and pack my things for an overnight stay in Marco Polo Ortigas.

I was in Marco Polo that morning because I had to screen tutor applicants.  My plan was to go back at home after few hours, but then part of me would like to take a break and release all the negative energies.  After mentally arguing with myself, I just made an impulse decision!  I booked a continental room online and voila! After a minute, the booking was already confirmed.  I went to the 24th floor where I checked in before, but I was redirected to the 44th floor where Continental Club is located.

continetal club sign

 

check in

Private check-in @ The Continental Club

I checked in around 9 am and after filling out the info sheet, I was asked to go back at 12nn to get the keycards.

Realizing that we had no extra clothes, I called at home and asked my father to bring some clothes for me and my daughter Shane.  Because it was unplanned, I knew that I won’t be able to wear what I wanted.  I had to accept the consequences though because I decided to push through with the booking at the last minute.

Before 12nn, we went back to the Continental Club and got the keycards.  I was with my 11 year old daughter (Shane) that time.  I asked the front desk staff (I forgot her name) about the afternoon tea @ the Continental Club Lounge but I was informed that children are not allowed in the lounge during weekdays.  She said that Shane will be allowed in Connect Lounge @ the 24th floor.  That was confusing though because I still have to accompany the kid and quite weird because she will have her meals at Connect while I will have mine at the club lounge.

3918

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suite

We checked our Continental Club room first.  We didn’t have our bags because as what I have mentioned earlier, this was an unplanned booking.  They were probably wondering why we didn’t have our luggages.  After taking a peek in our room, we decided to rest for few minutes and dine there.

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freebies:  3 pieces of red apples

elevator shot

We went down to 7-11 to buy take out food for our lunch.

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This Continental Club room is larger than the previous one that we have booked last summer.  It has a sliding glass door that separates the bedroom from the mini dining area.  The bathroom is also more spacious.

The reason why I always want a Continental Club room is because of its FREE access to the Continental Club Lounge where guests can have free drinks and have afternoon tea & snacks @ 2pm.  Another benefit is the free use of boardroom for 2 hours.  It was in time that I booked there and we were able to use the boardroom because at that time people were in the community meeting room in the 19th floor where supposedly was scheduled for us.

boardroom

We had our tutor orientation @ The Continental Club Lounge Boardroom.

After utilizing the boardroom for the tutor orientation,I went back to our room and let Shane get ready for the afternoon tea @ Connect Lounge in the 24th floor.  I decided to join her rather than leave her and have my snacks at the club lounge.  When I approached the lady at thebar, she already knew that we would be coming.  She said that she got a call from the Continental Club and instructed her to reserve a table for us for the afternoon tea.  I assumed that they knew what they were doing, so I convinced myself that everything has been taken cared of.

reserved

It was also a time for my daughter and I to bond so it was just a perfect decision for me to join her.    In my previous post about our afternoon tea @ CONNECT Lounge, I already featured the inclusions for the Traditional Afternoon Tea. Again I have chosen the Traditional over Asian.   I just had Cappucino and juice for Shane instead of tea.

 

connect

shane connect

When we went back to our Continental Club room, I felt uneasy and quite bothered.  I couldn’t help myself but to  call the frontdesk to confirm whether we have a problem having our snacks at Connect Lounge rather than having it at the club lounge.    I hate HASSLE during our stay and I wanted to make sure that I won’t pay extra upon check out.  I asked if my privelege as Continental Club guest is the same as what we had at Connect Lounge.   If we can eat unli snacks and have unli drinks in the Continental Club Lounge, I wondered if it’s also the same in Connect since the receptionist told me that Shane won’t be allowed in the Continental Club Lounge.  I was alarmed when I was informed that it’s not, but after few minutes of talking, I was assured that I didn’t have to worry about anything and that Shane will be allowed to be with me in the club lounge since she is already 11.

After resting for few hours, we went to the lobby and looked for my father.  I asked him to bring us clothes– as expected, I got what I didn’t want but it was fine with me.  What I wanted was a relaxing stay and a night to chill @ the hotel.  This is not the usual photo sessions during my press trip.

lobby

After unpacking, we got ready for the cocktail time @ The Continental Lounge.  I am not into drinking wine so we just had dinner in the club lounge.

at your service lounge

Everybody @ the Continental Club Lounge takes good care of their guests 🙂

continental lounge 1

library

In Continental Club Lounge, you can get as many food and drinks that you want (that’s the reason why I always book for a club room in 5-star hotels).  Actually, before we get our things in the lobby, we dropped by here to drink a glass of orange and apple juice.

pasta chef

The staff asked us about our preferred pasta and I chose spaghetti in red sauce and penne in white sauce.

burger

Our tummies were satisfied– we had pasta and sweets so we didn’t have to go out and order for expensive food.    We just watched TV in our room then I had a relaxing hot tub bath.

Evening won’t be perfect without having a cup of coffee.  We have tea/coffee making facilities in the room.  I opted for the free instant coffee because I preferred to use the Nespresso machine the following day.

view at night

We had a good night sleep, but I made sure that we will be able to enjoy and make the most out of our stay.  While I was preparing our things, we had a cup of cofee in the room using the Nespresso machine.

nespresso machine

After that, we had breakfast @ the Continental Lounge before we had  our morning swim.

breakfast

Because I couldn’t use the fitness center (I had abnormal uterine bleeding last month), we just conditioned ourselves to spend the morning in the indoor pool.

flow2

flow reception

We headed to the changing room first and had a quick shower before getting our fresh towels in the pool area.

changing room

 

shane

You almost have everything in the changing room from warm water to drink, mouthwash, cotton buds, lotion, toner, shampoo and body wash.  You just have to bring your own comb or hairbrush.  They do not have one unlike in Edsa Shangrila.

me

 

shane swim

I didn’t spend much time in the swimming pool, I enjoyed the jacuzzi more.

jacuzzi

I was not comfortable during the morning swim because of the pool attendant.  It’s as if he can see every single movement.

shane poolside

Before 10 am, we went back to the changing room to spend few minutes in the sauna room and take a quick shower.

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Because we had to leave before 12nn, we went back to the Continental Club Lounge for our lunch.

afritada lunch

In a while, we prepared our things and called the Continental Club Lounge for check out.

check out

Since it was an impulse booking experience, and I didn’t have any fashion photoshoots, it’s just the experience that I would share here.

Actually, I prefer Edsa Shangri-la than Marco Polo because the amenities and the room is way better than the latter but I was already there, I didn’t want to transfer to another hotel anymore.  You can have a club room in Edsa Shangrila for 15k but I got mine at Marco Polo for only 10k.  Of course, the 15k has its own living area while the latter doesn’t have one.  The swimming pool, fitness center and jacuzzi is also better as expected.

So, did I achieve my purpose?  Yes, though it wasn’t carefully planned.

Rating:  fourstars

It’s above average but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the breakfast.  They need to have variety of choices for their customers but the staff are very polite and attentive.

MARCO POLO ORTIGAS MANILA

Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City

(02) 720-7777

 

It’s been a while since I had my last spa treatment–that was before my summer Boracay trip last year.  I missed the skin pampering and destressing sessions I had when I wasn’t that busy yet.  Now, I have health issues and even if I have the time, I feel sooooo lazy to go to a spa and destress.

Oh well, Xentro Mall Antipolo was just built few months ago and it’s just walking distance from our place in Mambugan, Antipolo City (across Josefina Subdivision).   Now, it’s very convenient for me everytime I want to have my nails get polished and have a body scrub or foot spa, it’s just few somersaults away!

 

AMBIANCE: (4 stars) Very relaxing and clean.  Colorful and modern furnishings are pleasing to the eyes.  You will also be relaxed by the music as you enter the place.

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SPACE:  The space for foot and hand treatments are just for 5-6 pax and I won’t bother to come in if the place is already full with customers. They just have two small rooms for waxing, massage, facial treatment and body scrub.  They have a common CR where staff and customers use.

SERVICE:

FOOT SPA:  5 stars – I super love their premium foot spa for only P250.

MANI/PEDICURE:  3.5 stars- Probably, I just didn’t like the nail polish shades they have.

BODY SCRUB:  1 star- I wasn’t satisfied with the body scrub I had because I expected this to be done in almost an hour.  I would still go for Z Spa and Soulscape’s body scrub.  After the treatment, I didn’t feel anything special with my skin.

I wanted to try their facial treatment but it is kinda expensive.

PRICE:  3.5 stars – The premium foot spa is worth the price but the other services are overpriced.  It is not even inside a hotel.

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Because I’m a CERTIFIED SPA DETECTIVE, I am committed in giving you my honest opinion based from my experience.

SUGGESTIONS:

1. Create affordable packages that the customers won’t be able to resist.

2.  Offer tea/refreshments to the customers especially those who would avail the spa services/treatments.

3.  Renovate the small rooms and restroom.

This is all for now since I haven’t tried their other services yet.  If ever you would like to visit them at the 2nd level of Xentro Mall Antipolo in Mambugan, Antipolo City, look for Berly.  Everytime I wanted to have a foot spa or mani/pedi service, I look for her– she’s good 🙂

with shane

with my daughter, Shane

I was with my daughter one time in Marco Polo (we took advantage of the class suspension).  I wanted to try a new cafe, but that particular day, I think I had 5 or 6 cups of coffee already– I wanted to try something new instead.  The next thing I knew, I was dialing Marco Polo’s phone number and inquired about their afternoon tea @ Connect Lounge and  I successfully reserved seats for two at 3pm.

shane

iced tea for kids

at your service

CONNECT Lounge is located in the 24th floor of Marco Polo Ortigas– near the lobby where hotel guests check in and out.  Usually, business meetings and coffee breaks are held there.

Upon approaching the staff in the counter, we were immediately ushered to our reserved table.  We were given our drinks first– tea for me and iced tea for Shane.  We super loooooved the view!  While sipping our drinks and enjoying the snacks, we also watched the view from the glass window.

shane2

tea.jpg

When I was asked to choose between Asian and Traditional Afternoon Tea, I instantly have chosen the latter because I like sandwiches and sweets than Asian treats.

tea n caketea with snacks

TRADITIONAL AFTERNOON TEA (Php 1,200)

1st Tier (FINGER SANDWICHES)

  • tomato and mozarella
  • egg and cucumber
  • ham and mango relish
  • smoked salmon

2nd tier- SCONES

  • cream
  • raspberry jam

3rd tier- DESSERTS

  • English fruitcake
  • Chorix swans with passion-fruit cream
  • Chocolate eclair
  • Strawberry tart

Honestly, we couldn’t eat everything and we had to ask the staff to prepare the leftovers for takeout.

My rating for CONNECT’s  Afternoon Tea

5 stars

Why did I give a 5-star rating?

AMBIANCE:  Perfect!  The place is clean and has a nice view of the buildings.

STAFF: very friendly and attentive.

PRICE:  quite expensive but it’s worth the price I paid for

TASTE:  above average

CONNECT LOUNGE

24/F Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City

Phone # : (+632) 720 7777

 

In my previous post, I already have toured you in our spacious suite. Now, I will tell you about our second and last day in The Manor @ Camp John Hay.   After getting disappointed because I wasn’t able to use the jacuzzi at the Health Club, we decided to go back to the room and take a shower.

We had a problem with the toilet because the one that we have in the bedroom is clogged.  Unfortunately, the water basin didn’t flush so we had to go to the smaller toilet in the living room and we have to wait for our turn if needed.  That was uncomfortable on our part.

After packing our stuff and getting dressed up, we headed to the restaurant.  Oh yes, everytime we have a staycation or in a press trip, I always look forward to the buffet breakfast.  Before we entered  Le Chef, we were able to clear things out with the additional charges with the staff and I already have asked the hotel about it prior to our arrival and everything was settled.  There were plenty of tables inside but we opted to sit outside where we can see the beauty of God’s work.

It’s a good thing that they had corned beef, hashbrowns and chicken sausages at that time.  I was quite pleased with what I have chosen. The hot congee and sweets made it perfect.  I didn’t go for coffee that morning; instead, I settled for pineapple juice.

bruce breakfast

My youngest just tried the sweets but my other kids had taho– this is a breakfast ritual for them eveytime they are in Baguio.

Hubby picked fruits as usual.

Out of 5 stars, I would give 4 to their buffet breakfast.

After we filled out our tummies, we went for a walk around the area.  We decided to spend the rest of the hours there because we will be checking out in a while.  The kids were amazed of the animal statues, park and mini playground.

cjh

facade

We were enjoying our walk outside and we didn’t want to go back to the room yet but we had to because we had to get ready for check out 😦  I got a letter when we got back to the room, reminding me that we had to leave before 12nn.

I had no issue with the check-out.  Kudos to the hotel staff!

check out

Check-out was hassle-free.  Thanks to the staff!

So, another sad part is this:  we had to walk with our suitcases and other luggages from the hotel entrance to Ayala Technohub where we looked for a place to eat, but unfortunately, the restaurants were jampacked with people.  Luckily, there was a vacant table @ Pizza Volante.

Here’s my rating for The Manor:

3.5 stars

Should I come back?  Not sure.

Would I recommend it?  See and experience for yourself, haha! If ever you would, bring your own car.

Honestly, I didn’t really know what happened, but it’s been five months that I haven’t blogged about my recent activities– this is already quite alarming! I must admit that I felt so lazy that  I didn’t even post about our Baguio trip last May and I am really soooooo guilty of myself and to my readers that I haven’t shared any post at all.  I just woke up one morning and thought that this couldn’t go on for so long and so, I AM BACK!
       I tried to figure out why and I guess I was just too exhausted.  Last month, I was confined in the hospital because of D&C procedure.  I still couldn’t understand why I had my abnormal uterine bleeding and for a week already I have my UTI attack.  I didn’t go to work because of pain and I need to rest.  I’ve been dealing with stress lately– to the point that I thought of quitting my job already.  It’s no joke, folks!  I’m dead serious about this.  If only I have enough resources this time and I already am debt-free, I wouldn’t have second thoughts and could’ve taken the plunge.  Well, it’s not easy as ABC and 1-2-3, unfortunately… I should accept that reality.  As days go by, I motivate myself that in few months, I would be able to get out of this (That’s the least I can do to help myself.)

 

october stats

       I just opened wordpress today and was quite pleased with the stats.  I couldn’t believe that I have readers everyday even if I don’t have new posts.  Oh well, the more I feel guilty!  I realized that I have stories that readers might be interested with.  Let’s name a few:
1. Tea Time @ Marco Polo Ortigas Manila 
2.  My Auto Loan Experience
3.  Nails Glow Xentro Mall Review
4.  Horrible experience and Harrassment from Fitness First
4. My 16th Wedding Anniversary (I cancelled booking in one of my favorite hotels Discovery Suites because of my UTI.)  I prefer booking somewhere near our place but still unsuccessful because Vieux Chalet isn’t responding to my email message and text message.
and more to follow…
Til next post, dear readers!

 

 

 

I was having second thoughts of booking in The Manor CJH because of its location.  I have mentioned in my old post that I would think a million times first before I book a room there because few years ago, when we went there a week after Christmas, we had difficulty in finding a cab and it was a terrible experience for us.  My colleagues had to walk from CJH to Victory Liner.  From then on, everytime we go to Baguio, especially during press trips, The Manor isn’t in my list.
So, how come we had our family vacation there?  Here it goes– One day, I was just playing around and  looking at Baguio hotels.  After few minutes, I got a confirmation email already from the hotel.  Realizing that the transaction got through and couldn’t be cancelled anymore, the next thing I knew was I already arranged the transportation for us– in other words, that was an instant Baguio trip!  Besides, how would I know if I wouldn’t try it myself.

check in 2

Prior to our arrival, I made sure everything was in order as I hate hassle during the trip.  I emailed them to make sure about the additional charges if they have.  They answer every email message that I sent and for me, that’s a plus factor and they sent me a text message to confirm what time will we arrive.  That was GOOD customer service on their part.
When we arrived, we were kinda hungry but the prices of the goodies in their mini bar were too pricey so we didn’t get any.  As usual, there were free sachets of coffee and tea, but were very limited.  As a coffee addict, of course, it won’t work for me.  Actually that’s the reason why I book for club rooms–because they have 24 hour free access to drinks.
Let’s have a tour in our one bedroom suite:
living room

This is our spacious living room

dining area

The dining area

bedroom

This is our bedroom with two beds where hubby and I as well as the three kids slept.

Leading to our own comfort room is a vanity area which became very useful to me during my make up and retouch sessions.  They also have a closet where we put all our clothes and footwear so they aren’t scattered in some areas of the room.

vanity

They have a decent bathroom (though it’s quite old already).  Unlike the other five star hotels I’ve been to, I wasn’t astounded with their bathroom.  In Shangri-la and Marco Polo, you can literally stay for hours in the bathroom without complaining as everything you see is first class and of excellent quality and taste.

 

I didn’t attempt to get stuff from the mini bar as everything is EXPENSIVE.

 

Even the freebies are basic though.
terrace
But we loved the view in the terrace.  If you are having an overnight stay, it is advisable for you to just enjoy the view and rest in the room.  That exactly was what we did– we just spent the whole day at CJH.

tempted in bed

It was raining hard that afternoon that I was tempted to sleep early, but I remembered that I booked for massage for the three of us in Belfrei Spa at Ayala Technohub. I called the front desk and asked to deliver a paracetamol because I was not feeling well.  After we dropped Papa in the spa, we went to get ourselves takeout dinner in my favorite pizza house in Baguio, Pizza Volante.
We went back to the room to place the food in the dining area while Papa was having his massage.  It’s a good hing that we were able to catch the rainbow at the veranda.  It was such a beautiful sight!  Rainbows remind me of new beginning and hope.

rainbow

Few minutes later, the extra bed was brought to the living room and they also brought additional toiletries and towel.
After having dinner, we went back to Belfrei Spa.  We had no choice but to wait for a cab going to Technohub.
When finally we were already in Belfrei Spa, I was soooo excited for the treatment.  I had the facial, body scrub and massage minus the foot spa because I just had it few days before we had our instant trip.
Ms. Joe took care of us and it was indeed a pleasant experience.  After the loooong trip, we were rejuvenated and ready again to explore the City of Pines.
It was all worth it!  When in Baguio, there’s only one spa for me-  thank you Belfrei for the best spa treatment everytime we were in Baguio.  After the relaxing massage, I almost forgot that we had to leave (hi hi!).  If only we could sleep there, we would.  We were given hot tea before we leave.  Don’t miss Belfrei, dear readers.  They got the most affordable rates and you will be satisfied with their outstanding service.
After the pampering, all we wanted is to have a good night sleep.  Too bad, we had to wait again for a cab because they don’t have service in the Manor 😦
When we woke up, we cleaned for few minutes, tried to sort the clean clothes and dirty ones.  Then, of course, our visit won’t be complete if we won’t be able to check the gym/health club.  I was expecting a bigger gym but I was kinda disappointed, especially when I discovered that I won’t be able to use their jacuzzi.  That’s my fave part when I go to the hotel and too sad for me because we had to leave when they were about to let the guests use the jacuzzi.
I think we were the first guests to enter the health club.  It was a smooth registration and we were given the locker keys in a while.
Actually there is no need to have a locker because the place is too small.
The restroom is also small but clean.
So after the very short tour to their health club and after working out for few minutes, we went back to the room to take a shower and get ready for breakfast.
At that time, I didn’t enjoy probably because I didn’t sweat at all.  I knew then that I was having a problem with my health.  I was also upset because we were not able to use the sauna and jacuzzi.
It was about less than 30 minutes when all of us got prepared for the breakfast and morning walk.  In my next post, I will be presenting our buffet breakfast at Le Chef and our tour in the Manor grounds.  Til next post–Ta-ta!

 

Last week. I booked an overnight stay at Marco Polo Hotel to relax after my busy day at work.  Since our office is located also in the same building, it was very convenient for us to just head to the hotel room and rest.

THE CHECK-IN EXPERIENCE:  Miscommunication

 I inquired at the concierge area near their lobby and I was informed that check-in will be done at the 24th floor.  They accepted our luggages and informed us that those will just be delivered in the room.
Upon approaching the front desk officer named Adi, I was surprised that I had to pay the full amount there.  In other hotels like Fairways and Shangri-la, they take the full amount already one or two days before you check-in.  A night before, I called to check if I had to settle something in the hotel and I was informed that I only had to prepare incidental deposit of P2,000 and additional payment for the kid’s breakfast.  It was a wise decision for me to bring cash; otherwise, it will be a humiliating situation.  In my experience with Holiday Inn, they explained to me via email the total amount that they have taken in my credit card and the balance that I have to settle upon check-in.  Though Adi explained that the reservation was just guaranteed by credit card and that the full payment will be over the counter, they shouldn’t have confirmed to me over the phone that payment was already settled when the truth is they just blocked the amount.  If I was informed about that, I still had the option to cancel.  Adi is very polite and I was not stupid not to understand her explanation– so it was settled already.

check in

Just a secret-  Shhh!  In the photo above, the man at my right side was complaining about the deceiving rates in their website.
 I requested for an early check-in at 12nn and Adi asked for my mobile number– just in case there is already an available room, she will text me.  I actually wasn’t expecting that but I got a call from her around 12nn informing me that I can get the keycard in the frontdesk area.

CONVENIENCE

elevator attendants
After the quick registration in the 24th floor, we were ushered and greeted by elevator attendants (I don’t know if my term is correct, hehe!).  They will ask you if you will be going up or down and will assist you in entering the elevator.  Hmmm, I loved that kind of spoiling.

THE CONTINENTAL SUPERIOR ROOM

For P8,100 we got a small room with double beds and a spacious bathroom– actually not bad enough but for a five star hotel, it has to be almost perfect.

view 1

There was a Nespresso machine and minibar.
coffee.jpg
We had a city view in our room with complimentary fruits (three oranges).  I was thankful but I was about to burst into laughter when I saw those.  In other hotels like Shangri-la and Discovery Suites, we used to receive more freebies like assorted cakes, pastries and ASSORTED fruits.

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beds

bath1

Our room was in the 43rd floor.  I chose the Continental room because of the benefits including three buffets (afternoon tea, cocktails and breakfast).  Aside from that, the guest can also use the boardroom for two hours, complimentary laundry and pressing service, use of the private library, packing and unpacking service, shoe shine service, business center services and daily newspaper.

 

We were able to use the boardroom from 3-5 pm for our tutor orientation at Smart Tutee.  The only downside was that because we were busy, we were not able to take advantage of the cakes and other pastries.

 

BREAKFAST @ THE CONTINENTAL LOUNGE

continental club

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Because we didn’t have a choice, we only had limited selection at the continental lounge.  We prefer to have our breakfast in the regular buffet that they have in regular rooms.  I am looking for variety of foods since I am a very picky eater.  They should have the option if the guest would like to have his/her breakfast served at the restaurant or at the Continental Club Lounge.

pastry station

 

I only had Chicken Afritada and scrambled egg for breakfast and sweets.

 

 Because there were sweets, I couldn’t complain anymore.

 

Before we proceed to the room to change and head to the pool area, we had our pictorial first 🙂

 

THE POOL & GYM @ the 22nd FLOOR

lobby2.jpg

Upon reaching the 22nd floor, there’s a lobby and reception area where you can get your locker keys and borrow towels in the pool area.

pool

I super LOVED the indoor pool.  The time when we went in the pool area, it wasn’t crowded yet.  We soaked ourselves in the jacuzzi– hubby and I decided not to swim because we might feel cold after.
infused water pool area

infused water

junry
While we were soaking in the jacuzzi, Junry (the pool attendant) approached us and gave us glasses of infused water even if we did not ask for it.

pool sofa

 

After swimming, we went to the sauna, had a shower and just visited the gym.  We didn’t have the time to work out.  The staff didn’t tell us that it’s open for 24  hours.  Had we known about it, we could have visited a night before we check out.

flow spa.jpg

We also didn’t have the time to go to Flow Spa because we’re too exhausted and we didn’t want to waste our time.

gym

dumbbells

jas gym

Like the Gold’s Gym Express @ the Holiday Inn, the gym in Marco Polo is also small.  What I didn’t like also is that the jacuzzi is in the pool area and not in the changing room like that of Discovery Suites and Edsa Shangri-la Manila.

vanity kit

The changing room is just fine, but not that impressive.  The vanity kit wasn’t complete– no comb.  I thought there was so I didn’t bring mine.  I ended up finger-combing my hair.

lounge changing room

There were lounge chairs inside the changing room where you can rest or take a nap.

 

LUNCH @ THE CONTINENTAL CLUB

lunch

After swimming, we had another round of breakfast which actually served as our lunch because we had rice and other dishes.  Luckily, there was chicken afritada left 🙂

soda

TOUR AT THEIR EVENTS AREA AND FUNCTION ROOMS

lobby at the function room

tables

CHECK-OUT

with shane
Check-out was a breeze but what i didn’t like is that they didn’t have a late option for club guests.  In Shangri-la you will be asked upon check-in what time do you prefer to check-out.  Their usual answer would be:  ” I apologize but due to high volume of guests we can only give you until 12nn.”  I think, they were lying.  The truth is they can give a late check-out if they want to.
Anyway, we have enjoyed our stay though it wasn’t perfect.  In the future, I might book a larger Continental room but I’m also considering Shangri-la since only the breakfast incident @ Heat ruined my day.
MARCO POLO ORTIGAS MANILA
Meralco and Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
(02) 720 7777

 

tables
If we had a disappointing breakfast at Heat, Edsa Shangri-la, we had a blast in Fab Restaurant @ Holiday Inn Manila Galleria.  We have not encountered any problem because the staff seem educated enough to answer my queries and they coordinated with the front desk as well.

kids buffet

As soon as we have entered the restaurant, we were ushered to a private room with a city view.  We were given a form wherein we would check how we wanted our eggs to be done.  (For omelet, you need to check what fillings do you want.)  Since we have the kids with us, we assisted them first to the kids’ buffet area.  There were colorful plates but the dishes were only limited.  They only had pizza and potato wedges with cheese.  I actually tasted the kids’ meal because I am naturally a kid at heart, but honestly, the pizza is not that appetizing anymore– probably because it was like I was biting a cardboard.  The potato wedges with cheese were okay though.
Here’s what they have in their buffet area.
ASSORTED BREADS AND PASTRIES

 

 

 

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Of all the breads in the buffet area, I only chose the cinnamon bread.  I was tempted to have pancakes but I just let my daughter have that since I wanted to have more heavy dishes to fuel me up for the entire day.

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The kids stopped by the cereal station as usual.
cereal 2.jpg
The kids also loved the taho 🙂

kids

One of the foods that I’ve tried is the buttered vegetables.  I loved the taste– medium cooked and buttery.

 

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They also had Japanese food– my son enjoyed the Maki and my father tasted the siomai.

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The rest of my companions had the dried fish and kimchi.

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For the beverage, though I am a certified coffee lover, I opted to have a cup of hot chocolate instead for a change.

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They also have cranberry juice, infused water and mango juice.

juices

Here’s what I had for breakfast:  a bowl of congee, scrambled egg, lemon chicken,  buttered vegetables, potato wedges and pizza.

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Though I loved the VIP treatment that we had @ Fab, I will just give them a 7/10 because they only have limited choices of foods.  They do not have desserts like cake and ice cream as well.  Probably if they have those, I would have given them 8 or 9.  Should I recommend Fab?  Definitely!  Check them out at 4/F Holiday Inn Manila Galleria, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

 

 

I know that there is no such thing as perfect in this world, but there are cases wherein the positive things that you’ve experienced cover all those imperfections. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed with the one-bedroom suite that I booked last May 8, but  the warm welcome and genuine smiles of the staff are enough to have an unforgettable family staycation in Holiday Inn Manila Galleria.

check in

After the very hectic day at work, we checked in at the hotel and everything went smoothly.  Though at first, the front desk staff told me that breakfast was not included, after telling her that I inquired via email and phone before I checked in, she spared a minute to double check and after that, she acknowledged that breakfast for two is already included in the room rate; however, we had to pay for the additional two adults.  Buffet breakfast is P1,100 per head but we were able to get a discounted rate of P800 per head.  The two kids were totally free.  The front desk explained to me about that she had to block the amount needed in my balance, incidental deposit and buffet breakfast for two.  She gave us the keycards and wifi password.  If there’s one thing that I love about the hotel–it’s the STAFF.  Everybody in the hotel was polite and attentive to our needs.
luggage assistance

luggage assistance

Even if we did not ask for luggage assistance, somebody was already waiting for us and escorted us to our room.  That was quite a good start 🙂
When we have entered our one-bedroom suite, I was surprised because it was too spacious.  The only negative thing that I can say is that it was kinda gloomy because it was quite bare and dark.  If only they invested in good lighting and purchased modern and elegant furnishings, my rating for them would be 4.5 stars.
Let us have a tour in our suite.
The sofa that they are using are kinda worn out already.  They need an interior designer to plan how to make the suites and rooms elegant.  I like the idea of having a bar/counter in the suite.  They do not have a kitchen where you can cook your own food and wash the plates and glasses that you have used.
There were two large bedrooms– the master’s bedroom where hubby and I and our four-year old kid stayed.  The other one was also large– it’s just that there is no bathroom inside.  The common bathroom is located just in front of bedroom 1.  The beds were comfy and we had no problem with the aircon and television.
Their bathrooms are large also but I prefer the bathroom in the Linden Suites and  Edsa Shangri-la.  The toiletries were also basic, but we didn’t mind at all.
After an hour of resting and fixing our things, we visited our new office in Marco Polo Ortigas and bought take-out foods for dinner in Robinson’s Galleria.  In the 4th floor, we used the direct access  leading to the hotel.  Because we were really exhausted,it was easy for us to fall asleep.

dinner

When we woke up, we had a cup of coffee and prepared to go to the gym for workout.  Unfortunately, we didn’t even perspire 😦  The gym opens at 6 am so we explored the hotel and looked for the swimming pool.
 The changing rooms are not impressive either unlike that of Discovery Suites, Shangri-la and Marco Polo.  I was looking for the jacuzzi but I didn’t find it in the pool area nor the changing room.
At exactly 6 am we were able to get in the gym– my reaction?  I was actually disappointed because it has limited space and we were not able to use the treadmill.  It was already crowded at that time.  We went back to the suite and prepared to have breakfast at Fab at 7am.  (A separate post will be written for my review about their restaurant).

breakfast

We were taken cared of by the staff @ Fab Restaurant.  All of them were attentive and we felt spoiled.  Food choices were quite okay but there is no pasta and sweets.
Before we checked out, we went to the pool area to have our morning swim.  Though it’s not crowded, we were not impressed with the pool either.  But just like what I’ve said, even if they have imperfections, I loved the way the staff treated us.  We might come back but I guess the hotel needs a makeover because it’s quite old-fashioned and very simple.
HOLIDAY INN MANILA GALLERIA
ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
#633-7111

 

 

 

 

After spending a fabulous night in Edsa Shangri-la’s Garden Premier Suite, I was expecting that the following day would be as perfect as it was– but it didn’t turn out  that way.  I was excited to experience their buffet breakfast that’s why I made it a point to be there with hubby and Shane at past 6am.  I knew that it would be jampacked with people if we came late.

 

When we arrived, we were greeted by Shai, who immediately asked us about our room number.  After few minutes, I sensed that she was having trouble in finding our names in her list, but she escorted us inside and let us be seated while she was double-checking.  When she came back, she asked us if nobody informed us that breakfast is not included in the room that we booked.  It’s a good thing that I asked because it was unbelievable.  How come that breakfast in Heat wasn’t included but one of the inclusions in our booking was access to their exclusive Horizon Club Lounge?  From there, something wasn’t right.

welcome letter shang

I told Shai that I was given that letter and I had the option to have my breakfast in either Heat or the Horizon Club Lounge.  She excused herself for few minutes to check again.  I was getting impatient at that time because I myself couldn’t visualize the looks on our faces if we would be escorted out of the restaurant.  Of course that would be very humiliating on our part– how stupid I was on that part— that I didn’t check beforehand that our breakfast wasn’t included.  I was about to give up but another part of me was insisting that it was part of our booking, so I grabbed my wireless landline and called their hotline.  A male agent answered my call and clarified that breakfast was included in our booking.  I was put on hold because I think he was already calling Heat at that time and when he talked again on the line, Shai already appeared and explained to us that breakfast for 3 pax  was included in our booking since we were staying in a suite.  In that point, I told the male agent I was speaking with that it has been settled already.  It was normal for a person to commit errors– it’s part of being human, but what we noticed was that Shai didn’t have the humility to accept her mistake.  She didn’t even apologize 😦  Because I was not in the mood to make any argument at that time,  I didn’t make a formal complain to her manager/superior.  Probably it was also because we were starving as well.   Anyway, I just shared about our experience– the fault of one person doesn’t reflect the entire property.  Let me show you what they had in the restaurant that morning for the breakfast buffet.

Table at the Heat

BREAD AND PASTRIES

Ensaymada

Jams

Yogurts

Yoghurt

Chocolate loaf and banana bread

ASIAN FAVORITES

Noodle station

If there’s one thing I regret about this, it was because I didn’t try their taho!

Taho

My daughter tried the Pork Siomai.

Siomai

Chicken sausage

INFUSED WATER

Infused water

The Juice Station

 

Juice station
DIFFERENT KINDS OF MILK

Milk station

FRESH FRUITS

Fresh fruits

Here are few of my favorites in the buffet:
1.  NOODLES
2.   Pizza

Pizza, quiche tart and blueberry tart

3.  Pancit Canton

Pancit canton

4.  Roasted Potatoes

Roasted potatoes hash brown

5. Corned Beef
I’ve tried this but was kinda disappointed– it was too soft:-(  I asked hubby and he had the same opinion as mine.

Corned beef

6.  Ice Cream
I super loved their ice cream.  I tried the Peanut Choco with Strawberry– super yummy 🙂

family pic 1

Honestly, the food was okay, but nothing special.  Probably, I actually lost my appetite because of the incident. How would I enjoy the food if my day was already ruined?  But the ice cream saved the day!  Too bad there was no chocolate cake– if there was any at that tme, I could have forgotten the whole incident (hihihi!).  Anyway, I plan to go back some other time.  I hope that this won’t happen again.

 

There is no such thing as perfection– that’s what they say so as far as expectations is concerned, I always consider that we are only human and sometimes, we commit mistakes whether we like it or not.  Well, yes!  That is indeed a fact, but despite of some flaws or imperfections, an error or a slight mistake is acceptable, but if you have done more than one mistake, especially if you are a luxurious five-star hotel, that one is another story.  Let me share to you about our experience in staying at Edsa Shangri-la Manila a week ago.
As what I have said in my previous post, I wanted to give a memorable birthday gift to my daughter who just celebrated her 11th birthday and that’s the reason why I decided to book an overnight stay in Edsa Shangri-la Manila.

Registration at Shangri-la

I commend the Front Desk Staff for being very professional in dealing with us from check-in to check-out.  Even without asking, ESL offered us luggage assistance, which we appreciated much.   Let’s talk first about the things that we have enjoyed and loved about our stay.

jas lobby

stairs

 

1.  Let us have a tour of our Garden Premier Suite.

 

When we opened the door, we were impressed with the elegant furnishings.

Living room and birthday treat

Cake from Shangri-La
On the table in the living room, there are welcome treats for us– native delicacies and a slice of birthday cake for my daughter Shane.

 

Since the suite is for business travelers as well, there is an executive table with charging station and a fax machine.
Morning shane Shangri-la
I didn’t expect that there was an extra bed as I didn’t request one.  Extra toiletries, bathrobe and slippers were also given few minutes before we checked in.

 

They have a minibar counter wherein you can have goodies and drinks without going out– of course, you need to pay for what you have consumed.

 

Shower Shangri-La

I loved the spacious bathroom– we had a separate toilet, bath tub area wherein you can hear the sound of the TV program that you are watching in the speakers above.  There is also a shower area and a vanity area with luxurious toiletries.
The walk-in closet is connected to the bathroom and the bedroom.  I would like to adapt that brilliant idea in my own bedroom if I will have it renovated.

 

2.  The Horizon Club Experience

hrizon sign

If there is one reason I will go back in Edsa Shangri-la, I would say this is our Horizon Club experience.  As a club guest, you will be treated as a VIP and you are allowed to hang out in the lounge and get anything you want for free.  The videos below were taken after we have unpacked our things.  They serve free cocktails and canapes for their guests at 5 to 7 pm.

 

 

Yman horizon lounge
If you are practical, no need for you to have dinner somewhere else as they also have rice and other dishes.  Unlike the other luxury hotels that serve concentrated juice, in the Horizon Club Lounge, they serve fresh juice!

Real juice

 

They are open 24 hours so you can drop there anytime that you wish.  Because we were not there for business, I wasn’t able to use other priveleges like the free usage of the meeting room for 2 hours, the concierge and secretarial service and the free pressing/washing of the suits.