Saturday, December 27, 2014

Luljetta's Hanging Gardens and Spa

Just before Christmas came, we had the privilege of spending a weekend of fun and relaxation at the first and only hanging gardens and spa in the Philippines at Luljetta's, located in the mountain resort of Loreland Farm in Antipolo City, Rizal. Unique and a first of its kind, I wouldn't miss any chance of de-stressing after weeks of relentless parties and Christmas shopping.

We initially had qualms of booking a room at Loreland because of the negative reviews from previous guests but since we didn't want to move from one place to another, we decided to give it a try. Well, the reviews were right as the rooms were small, had musty odors and not well-maintained. The only consolation though is that Luljetta's is just walking distance from our cottage.

The standard room at Loreland costs Php2100 per night inclusive of the accommodation and use of its facilities. But if you wish to visit Luljetta's, an extra fee must be paid at the reception area.

Landscaped gardens and lush greens provide a calming ambiance that will surely cast all your worries behind the moment you step foot at Luljetta's. Who would imagine that a dreamy place like this exists just a short distance away from the hustle and bustle of city life?

There are several packages that you can avail at Luljetta's depending on your budget and needs. Since we arrived late in the afternoon because of the heavy traffic going to Antipolo, we opted to book the Hanging Gardens Retreat (Php930.00 per person) which is inclusive of 7 hours stay at the spa, welcome drinks, use of sauna, heated jacuzzi, hydro massage pool, infinity pool, dr. fish spa, shower, and locker room. Guests are also given traditional batik robes and towel that were so comforting since December breeze will make you shiver especially at night time.

Hydro Massage Pool

Dr. Fish Spa

A dip into the infinity pool with a dramatic backdrop of Metro Manila and Laguna de Bay was the highlight of my visit at Luljetta's. So even if the water was icy cold, I wasted no time and took a plunge into the inviting pool, a decision I never regret because swimming in a cold pool also has its health benefits like heightening your senses and revitalising the body to boost the cardiovascular system and seal the pores. Just a suggestion, if you want space and quiet, avoid going on a weekend because the pools are not designed to fit in large crowds. 

Infinity Pool

Last call for dinner is at 6pm so before going to the spa area, the staff took our orders which we asked to be delivered an hour after. Good thing we had late lunch before going here since most of the food that we like in the menu is out of stock except for these.

Carbonara - Php100.00

Ham and Egg Sandwich - Php160.00

Tuna Pesto Pasta - Php125.00

I'm glad that we found this gem that's not far enough from home should we need a quick getaway to distract ourselves from the stress of work and drain the toxins and tension off of our bodies. And this long holiday vacation might just be the perfect time to recuperate and book that long overdue massage so you can welcome the new year armed with a clear mind and relaxed body.


Luljetta's Hanging Gardens and Spa
Loreland Farm Resort
Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City
Rizal, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 622-8779

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Treats No. 38

Hiyashi Chuka - Php380.00


Mitsuyado Sei-Men
Blue Bay Walk, Macapagal Avenue
Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines 
Tel.: (632) 847-9514

Monday, December 1, 2014

Big Mama Chicken and Beer Korean Restaurant

It was a fine Sunday afternoon as we drove by Aguirre Avenue in BF Homes Paranaque and saw a Korean place that offers the famous Korean fried chicken. I've heard great things about Chicken and Beer in Quezon City but since we were on the other side of the Metro, we ought to search for a place that offers the crunchy and spicy chicken that I was drooling over for the past few days.

Big Mama Chicken and Beer Korean Restaurant is known for their delicious Yang Nyum, the sweet, spicy and crunchy fried chicken that everyone loves and crave for, thanks to Bonchon franchise. And why not, Big Mama's is the next best thing they can get their hands on next to the authentic fried chicken they enjoy back in their hometown Korea. 

We dined at Big Mama around two in the afternoon so we got the place and the undivided attention of the staff to ourselves. But during lunch and dinner times, reservation is a must if you prefer to be seated right away as BF is home to many Korean families.

On our table

A staple in any Korean table setting, Banchan are side dishes served to prepare your palate before your main course arrives. Or in my case, satisfy my growling tummy at least temporarily.


Salad with Apple Cider Dressing

Fish Cake

Kimbap - Php120.00

Kimbap is my go-to meal whenever I'm in a hurry and don't have time for a proper sit-down meal. I love it so much that one of my goals before the year ends is to perfect the art of rolling the Kimbap so I can just prepare it myself and put as much ingredients to it as possible!

Korean Style Fried Chicken - Php430 (Half)

My initial reaction was that the staff had drizzled so much sauce that I kinda felt umay just by looking at it. You see, I was used to the drier variations of Korean chicken like the aforementioned Bonchon, so this is somewhat new to me. But I'm glad Big Mama proved me wrong because it was so delicious and addicting! The skin was ear-numbing crunchy while maintaining the tenderness and juiciness of the meat. As for the sauce, it was the perfect marriage of sweet and spicy flavors that added more punch to an already mouth-watering dish.

I will definitely be back for more! But for the gorgeous people from the South, no need to leave the comforts of your home because Big Mama delivers them hot and fresh off the frying pan. 


Big Mama Chicken and Beer Korean Restaurant
179 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes
ParaƱaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 945-0798

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Asunaro Express at Pan Pacific Manila

See my previous post on Miyabi Express here.

We were unsure if our favorite go-to Japanese place in Pan Pacific Manila is still open but we decided to go anyway. From the street, we saw some decors adorning the small nook which was a sign that Miyabi Express was in fact, still in operation. After taking the car to the underground parking, we made our way to the ground level where the restaurants are located. It was only when we took our seats that we noticed that they actually changed the name to Asunaro Express.

The menu was pretty much the same from when they were still called Miyabi Express. And thankfully, so is the excellent quality and superb taste. No matter how many times we browse the hardbound menu, we always gravitate towards ordering the same things all the time!

Spicy Maguro - Php280.00

Uni Maki - Php180.00

Shimesaba Sashimi - Php280.00


I already lost count of the times we've been to Miyabi since I was first introduced to it some five years ago. And knowing that Asunaro Express serves the same quality and quantity, I don't think we'll be considering of going to other restaurants anytime soon for our Japanese food fix.


Asunaro Express
Pan Pacific Manila, Adriatico Square
M. Adriatico St. cor. Malvar St.
Malate, Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 536-0351 to 54

Monday, November 17, 2014

The World on my Plate at Dad's World Buffet

Dad's Ultimate Buffet including Saisaki and Kamayan, has been a household name even before Vikings, Yakimix or Buffet 101 came into the picture. With the vision of bringing different cuisines, unique menu and diverse cooking styles from all seven continents in one place, the first of its kind culinary dream called Dad's World Buffet was born.

Now, let me take you to a succulent tour around the world.

Appetizer - Salad, Cold Cuts, Pesto Tuna Bites, Beef Carpaccio, and Mussel Kirkpatrick

Japan (Saisaki) - Sushi, Sashimi, Makimono, Temaki, Tempura, Saisaki Steak, Robatayaki, Sukiyaki, Katsu and Furat, and other authentic Japanese specialties

China - Assorted Dim Sum, Salt and Chili Squid, Beef Broccoli with Oyster Sauce, Sweet and Sour Pork, Pata Tim, Chicken Hot Salad, Steamed Fish Fillet with Oyster Sauce or Garlic and Onion, Fried Noodles with Seafood and Vegetable Toppings, and Yang Chow Fried Rice

Thailand - Poh Pia Tod (Shrimp Egg Wrap - Fried with Sweet and Sour Sauce), Yam Pla Duk Foo (Catfish Salad), Chicken Pandan (Fried Marinated Chicken Fillet Wrapped in Pandan Leaves), Fish Tod Lad Prik (Spicy Sweet Sour Fish Fillet), Seafood Massaman (Seafood Green Curry), Fish Cake (Thai Prawn Cake), Kaeng Karee Ki Haeng (Yellow Chicken Curry), Kang Keaw Wan Thalay (Assorted Seafood with Spicy Green Curry and Coconut Milk), Tom Yam Goong (Spicy and Sour Seafood Soup), and Kao Crook Kapi (Rice Stir-Fried with Shrimp Paste)

Singapore - Hainanese Chicken, Spicy Beef, and Cereal Shrimp

India - Vegetable Samosas, Lamb Kebab, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Masala Machchi 

Malaysia - Lamb Curry, Seekh Kebab, and Sambal Goreng Sotong

America (USA) - Beef Ribs in Honey, Beef with Mushroom Sauce, Salisbury Steak, Buffalo Wings, Cajun Fried Chicken, Texan Pork BBQ Ribs, Clam Chowder, Chicken Fingers, Turkey Tetrazinni, Oysters Rockefeller, Mixed Green Vegetables, and Clam Bake

Mexico - Beef Fajitas, Chicken Fajitas, Nachos, Tacos, Chicken Quesadillas, and Beef Burritos

Spain - Paella, Lengua, Callos, Chicken Pastel, Chicken Relleno, Gambas Al Ajello, Mushroom Ala Plancha, Chorizo Croquettas, Turkey Croquettas, Menudo SulepeƱa, Calamares, Onion Rings, Calamare con Potato Gratin, and Garlic Chicken in Olive oil

Carving Station - US Roast Beef, US Roast Turkey, New Zealand Roast Leg of Lamb, and Dad's Ham

Greece - Beef Souvlaki, Pork Souvlaki, Chicken Souvlaki, and Muossaka

Italy - Pasta, Fish Fillet in Salsa Verde, Lasagna, Mushroom Lasagna, and Baked Scallop Potato

Philippines (Kamayan) - Lechon de Leche, Crispy Pata, Kamayan Pritson, Kare Kare, Kamayan Soup, and other Kamayan regional specialities

Dessert - Fresh Fruits, Rice Cakes, Leche Flan, Halo-Halo, Cakes, Pastries, and Chocolates

Some of the dishes we tried

Oyster Rockefeller

Assortment of Sashimi

Saba (Mackarel)


I must admit that I was overwhelmed with the variety of dishes at Dad's World Buffet that I didn't know where to start! After making two rounds at the buffet spread, I finally picked up a plate and grabbed a few slices of Saba, Tuna, and Salmon Sashimi as my appetizer. Since Japanese is my favorite cuisine, I spent most of my time talking to the chef for his recommendations because I knew that I won't be able to taste everything in one night. His top picks include Sukiyaki and Yakitori, which I gladly devoured and finished to the last bite.


I love that the restaurant has lived up to its name with the wide selection of dishes that will satisfy whatever cuisine you fancy. The staff are also very attentive to their customers, checking if we needed refill with our drinks or if we wanted to try something else from the buffet.

My only, and probably the biggest concern is that the dishes on display were not kept warm during the duration of our dinner either because the air-conditioning was too cold or the food warmers are not efficient enough to keep the dishes at its best form and taste. Such was the case of Kamayan's Cebu Lechon which supposedly, has the crispiest skin there is available.


Dad's World Buffet (including Saisaki and Kamayan)
Special promo price - Valid until further notice
  • Monday-Friday Lunch Php688
  • Monday-Friday Dinner price Php788 (reg. price Php888)
  • Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays Lunch & Dinner price Php838 (reg. price Php888)


Dad's World Buffet
523 Merchant Bldg., Faura corner Adriatico Sts.
Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines 
Tel.: (632) 528-1723
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