Thursday, August 30, 2012

Palawan Adventure: Spelunking + Zip Line at Ugong Rock

When my friends went to Palawan last year, they can't stop raving about spelunking and how enjoyable the experience was. So after the Underground River Tour which ended at around 12 noon, I asked our tour guide from Sanctuary Tours (contact them at +639175911234) if it's possible for us to go to Ugong Rock. She then asked the other couple we are traveling with and when they agreed, we headed straight to Brgy. Tagabinet where the cave is located with no additional fee.

Upon arrival, we were instructed to proceed to the tourist center for briefing. According to the staff at Ugong Rock Adventure, the area was under the care of ABS-CBN Bantay Kalikasan at first but later transferred the management to Tagabinet Community Tourism Association.

We paid Php200.00 for the caving and additional Php250.00 for the zip line. Helmets and gloves are provided free of charge but make sure you bring proper shoes especially for the climbing parts. I totally forgot about bringing one so I just wore my flip flops which made it harder for me to climb on pointed surfaces.

All the guides and staff are residents of the barangay. It's nice to know that there's a source of livelihood for almost everyone here.

Ugong is the reverberating or echoing sound made whenever you tap the hollow rocks. It's like nature's own doorbell.

The gloves will protect your hands from the sharp rocks so wearing one is a must.

Our journey continued to the climbing parts of Ugong Rock.


View from below

There are a lot of cramped spaces so be ready to squeeze yourself in.

Manny Pacquiao's glove

And the most exciting part of this adventure is climbing your way up through the steep parts by the use of ropes and harness. No worries though because there are guides to help you reach the top.

In order to reach the entry point of the zip line, everyone must climb this vertical ladder. It looks scary in the photo and it is in real life!

What sets Ugong Cave apart from others is that the exit point is located at 75 feet high! So you can either walk back down or take the more enjoyable route which is the zip line ride.

If you're a bit on the heavy side, they will put a sack behind you so the wind will somehow slow down your fall.

I really had a great time with the adventures at Ugong Rock. Spelunking is one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done in my trips so far and I'm planning to do more caving soon, hopefully more challenging than this! Sagada and Tuguegarao anyone?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

La Copa Wine Bar and Restaurant

According to my friend, La Copa started out when a group of Philippine Airline pilots thought of opening a restaurant where they can serve the steaks they are bringing in from their flights abroad (no excess baggage of course!). When I was still in college, I would always pass by La Copa near the Manila Domestic Airport but never had the guts to go in since I was still on allowance then.

A few weeks back, I was invited to a birthday celebration at La Copa Wine Bar and Restaurant currently located along Ninoy Aquino Avenue beside Duty Free. I was so excited because finally, I can try it out for the first time after years of waiting! *grins*

On the table

First to arrive was a basket of hot pandesal fresh from La Copa's oven. No photos available because even I can't take my hands off the basket to take one photo.

The best Ceasar Salad available in Manila! We ordered two plates and we can't get enough of it! Even my friends who don't usually eat salad can't stop raving how delicious it was and when I looked around, everyone has at least one on their table. The salad is made from scratch and if you're seated near the kitchen, you will see the waiter mix up the ingredients in making the most tasteful Ceasar Salad you could ever find!

Ceasar Salad

La Copa serves the biggest shrimp in a Gambas I have seen. It's like Sugpo Gambas.


Lapu-Lapu Fillet

Charlemagne Steak

Sinigang na Sugpo

Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon

I ordered Filet Mignon (Medium Rare) since I love my steak soft and easy to chew. One bite and now I know why La Copa is still on business after all these years. I'm not sure if the steaks are still imported but nonetheless, their Filet Mignon is tender and very flavorful! Did I mention that it is priced at under Php500?

For dessert, we had two orders of Icy Hot Banana which is basically banana fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream, chocolate syrup and nuts on top.

Icy Hot Banana

And a slice of Blueberry Cheesecake for the birthday boy.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Belated happy birthday OF and thank you for a delicious treat!


La Copa Wine Bar & Restaurant
707-7 Ninoy Aquino Avenue, Sto. NiƱo
Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 853-2927

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bulgogi Brothers

I've always wanted to try out Bulgogi Brothers ever since I first heard there's now a franchise in Manila but traveling all the way to Greenbelt seems like a tiring and stressful task with all the traffic in Makati City.

Good thing they recently opened a branch in my second home, the Mall of Asia!

We failed to go on their launching day when they offered 50% discount on the total bill. How's that for a welcome treat right? And so, after watching The Bourne Legacy one afternoon, we decided to finally get a table and try it out for the first time.

The interior is nice and sleek. A modern version of most Korean restaurants in Manila.

Beautiful hand-painted ceramics

On the table

First to arrive is a unique platter of Banchan (Korean appetizers) which has quail eggs, boiled sweet potatoes and ultra sweet corn.

I really love this Korean sweet potatoes!

You can request for the refillable Tea of the Day, which at that time is the Bori Cha or Barley Tea. Served hot or cold, this is really a thirst-quencher!

Then came the Banchan I am more familiar with but Bulgogi Brothers' taste so much better.

Spicy Cabbage Salad


Spicy Eggplant

Pickled Radish

Looking back, it seemed like we were so hungry then because aside from the unlimited side dishes, we also ordered this appetizer which we rarely do whenever we eat Korean.

Haemul Gungjung Mandu (6 pcs.) - Php450.00

Haemul Gungdung Mandu are fried dumplings with seafood like mussels, shrimp and squid, served with spicy sauce. If you're not too hungry, you may skip this and proceed to the main course as it is a very filling appetizer!

Unyang Style Bulgogi (6 pcs.) - Php595.00

This heart-shaped Bulgogi patties also comes with some onions and sliced sweet potatoes. The Koreans really love their sweet potatoes with their meals, I bet we will all get along.

The waitress will grill/cook your orders on your table but no worries because Bulgogi Brothers has a state-of-the-art exhaust. Thank goodness I won't smell like grilled meat anymore!



The Bulgogi Patty really goes well with rice. Just dip it to BB's special fermented paste, which by the way is the best I have ever tried in the numerous Korean restaurants I've been to, and I promise, you're in for a treat!

From top to bottom: Fermented Bean Paste, Salt and Pepper and very spicy sauce

Seoul Style Bulgogi (good for 2-3 persons) - Php595.00

Seoul Style Bulgogi is really DB's choice. I was leaning towards ordering Bibimbap but he insisted on trying this out. After all the Bulgogi Patties were grilled, the waitress left and came back with a pot full of sliced beef with vegetables which she placed on the induction stove in our table. She then poured the broth made from fruits, onions and soy sauce.

After letting it simmer for a while and the beef turned into color brown, the waitress told us that it's now ready to eat. I pour a some in my cup and for the first time, I felt the urge not to share this to anyone, not even with DB! It was so delicious and tasty and bursting with flavors! I didn't care if I was sweating or if the beef was still too hot that it numbs my tongue but I just ate and ate as much as I could.

If the Japanese has Sukiyaki, the Koreans did it better with this Seoul Style Bulgogi!

The long wait was so worth it. Bulgogi Brothers is really one of the best Korean restaurants in Manila. I would definitely come back for more!


Bulgogi Brothers
2L Entertainment Mall, Mall of Asia
Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines
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