Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Zaifu Japanese Restaurant

It took me an hour and a half to get from Paranaque to Powerplant Mall that dreaded Friday afternoon. I was actually thinking of going back halfway thru the traffic but my date was already waiting for me so I had no choice but to proceed. Good thing I made it to the start of Hercules or we would have to wait for the next available showing.

After the movie, we went back to the ground level to check out our dinner options. I was leaning towards 8 Cuts Burger Blends until we saw Zaifu Japanese Restaurant. Interior was simple and casual and the staff were very patient with me constantly changing my orders.

What we finally decided to order

Spicy Tuna Salad - Php180.00

Inari - Php99.00

Salmon Kani Roll - Php185.00

Futo Maki - Php195.00

The food were good but not exceptional. I could get a better quality meal with the prices we paid for somewhere else. But since this is Rockwell, paying less than a thousand pesos for a filling dinner for two is quite an achievement and considered value for money.


Zaifu Japanese Restaurant
G/F Power Plant Mall
Estrella St. corner Rockwell Drive
Makati City, Metro Manila,  Philippines
Tel.: (632) 898-1331

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Tour Around the World: Toscana Village

Famous for its excellent wines and fabulous Tuscan food, cypress trees and olive groves, and perfectly preserved Renaissance treasures, Toscana Village in Balesin Island is a masterful model of Italy's Tuscany region. The Mediterranean climate calls for outside living areas so enclosed gardens and patios for dining and recreation are a common sight.

The architecture boasts traditional Tuscan rustic yet sophisticated techniques with curved archways, high and vaulted ceilings, exposed wooden beams, terracotta bricks and textured neutral walls with warm rich earth tone accents of yellow, red and green.

We went back to this Italian themed-village that afternoon to swim and savor the most-raved about ultra-thin pizza you can only find at Trattoria Toscana. Made with only the finest ingredients, it was the best 4-Cheese and Prosciutto Pizza I've ever had the luxury of tasting!

I fell in love with the rustic feel and exceptional Italian food in Toscana, making this my second favorite village in the island paradise of Balesin. So the next time I will travel here, it would probably be a tough choice on where to stay between Mykonos and Toscana!


Balesin Island Club
Lamon Bay, Polillo
Quezon Province, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 998-9521

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Universal Studios Osaka, Japan

Whenever I go travel, I always make it a point to visit local amusement parks for the thrill, fun and nostalgia that brings immeasurable happiness to my inner child. You'll seldom see someone frown (except for the long lines I guess) but only big smiles and excitement on everyone's faces as they check out the new rides and attractions in the park. So when I was planning for our Japan trip, I made it a point to allot an entire day just for Universal Studios alone!

Before entering the park, you will walk by Universal Citywalk where you can find hotels, restaurants and shops selling Universal Studios and popular Japanese anime merchandise and souvenirs. First order of business was a quick brunch at McDonald's since there's no breakfast in the hotel. I had the Ebi Fillet Burger Meal (about Php450) which was so tasty and really delicious.

A one-day studio pass at USJ costs Y6,980 (Php3,490) for adults and Y4,880 (Php2,440) for children ages 4 to 11 that includes the entrance and use of all attractions in the park. But if you have the extra budget and visiting on a weekend, I suggest getting the Universal Express Pass for an additional fee of Y5,600 (Php2,800) to shorten your waiting time for the 7 popular attractions.

With the recent opening of the "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" last July 15, 2014, Universal Studios Osaka now has nine sections: Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Jurassic Park, Lagoon, Waterworld, Amity Village, Universal Wonderland and Harry Potter.

For non-Japanese visitors like us, watching shows like Universal Monsters Live Rock and Roll and Shrek 4D and riding the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman and Space Fantasy was frustrating because they don't have English subtitles! I know that the park was predominantly for the local market but it would make a world of difference (especially if they're inviting more tourists) if the attractions can also cater to foreign visitors.

Now this is one ride you should never miss -- “The New Amazing Adventures of Spiderman: The Ride 4K3D" offers picture quality four times better than high-definition standards! Even if the narration was in Japanese, we totally enjoyed every twist and turn as Spiderman swing from one building to another to protect the town from the villains.

It started raining by 4pm so we decided to call it a day. As we were walking to the exit, we realized that we haven't seen Hello Kitty yet! We then made our way to Wonderland where the kids and the young at heart swoon with delight with all the colourful and pretty things you can see like the Hello Kitty Cupcake Dream, Flying Snoopy and Elmo's Bubble Bubble.

You can also visit Hello Kitty's Ribbon Collection for a meet and greet as the world's famous kitty opens her boutique and her private room to prestigious guests to showcase the latest fashion items she designed. The entire place was cuteness overload!

Now that the Harry Potter theme section is officially open, I will have to postpone my plans of going to Tokyo next because Harry, Hermoine and Ron are waiting for me -- Evanesco!


Universal Studios Osaka
554-0031 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka
Konohana Ward, Sakurajima, Japan
Tel.: (81) 570-200-606
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