Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sunday Treats No. 60

Dinakdakan - Php180.00


Gerarda's Family Restaurant
30 J. S. Torralba St., Tagbilaran City
Bohol, Philippines
Tel.: (6338) 412-3044

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

S Maison Food Guide: Olivia & Co.

Whoever Olivia is, I would love to be in her company.

Friendly service, affordable menu and delicious comfort food - no wonder we've dined here twice already since CS' birthday week. We got even luckier as it coincided with Olivia & Co's soft opening promo when they offered 40% off on all their dishes including drinks and desserts! Dishes are inspired by the world's biggest cities so dining here can either be a trip down memory lane of our past travels or can serve as an inspiration/idea for future trips.

What we ordered

Bangkok Wings (7pcs.) - Php275.00

Sweet with just the right kick of spice, Bangkok Wings was the first dish I tried and fell in love with. Serving is meant for sharing so you won't get full right away.

Olivia Sliders Board - Php435.00

Olivia Sliders Board, a trio of Pulled Pork Burger, Hangover Burger (signature beef patty and my favorite of the 3) and Soft Shell Crab Burger, is your best bet if you can't decide which one to get.

Meatball Pasta - Php205.00

Amazing pasta dishes that's also meant for sharing! Ranking our orders according to my most favorite down to the least:

  1. Shrooms Pasta - The cheapest pasta on the menu, Olivia's take on this dish is simply ingenious. With generous slices of mushrooms and loads of garlic and parmesan cheese, its the perfect dish to order when you're on a budget but still looking for a fresh and delectable meal in the upscale S Maison Mall.
  2. Florentine Carbonara - Now if you want to impress your date or just want to reward yourself, Olivia's exceptional carbonara is a mix of smoky pancetta ham, cheese shavings, egg yolk and truffle oil. CS and I were impressed how the chef carefully incorporated the truffle oil to emphasize the flavors (as it should be) without overpowering the entire dish.
  3. Meatball Pasta - If there's meatballs on the menu, there's no way I'm going to let it pass! Unfortunately, this version was ordinary and forgettable. 
  4. Laksa Pasta - I regret ordering this Laksa Pasta and having to pay Php405 (its the 2nd most expensive in the menu) for a plateful of really bland dish - save for the 3 jumbo prawns, it was a total waste of money and calories.

Florentine Carbonara - Php345.00

Shrooms Pasta - Php175.00

Laksa Pasta - Php405.00

Olivia's Signature Carrot Cake - Php155.00/slice

The main reason why I kept coming back to Olivia & Co - their signature carrot cake is the best I've tried in Manila in all its moist, sweet and sour cream glory! No scrimping on ingredients to deliver this amazing piece of heaven on every bite. So trust me when I say that its one cake you should try, even non-carrot cake eaters will definitely love this!


Olivia & Co
2/F S Maison (below Conrad Manila)
Seaside Blvd. corner Coral Way
Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 845-1714

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Hotel Review: Zuzuni Boutique Hotel

Boracay will always be my paradise.

While most people I know skip booking a flight to the island during airline promo fares, Caticlan is still on my top 3 destinations for a local trip (and apparently along with a record breaking tourist arrivals of 1.7M in 2016). In fact, the last time I traveled to this island paradise was just October 2017 and I will be leaving again for Boracay in a couple of weeks as of this writing.

I was convincing DB and myself on splurging a bit and book a room at the newly-opened Henann Prime Resort but before I got the chance to book that non-refundable room, I got a glimpse of Agoda's great deal for Zuzuni Boutique Hotel that's so hard to resist! Zuzuni is a beachfront Mediterranean-inspired hotel with 14 cozy rooms located along Station 1. We took PAL's first flight out Manila that arrived in Caticlan at 0630H so by 0800H, we were already in Boracay. Good thing Zuzuni's generous staff allowed us for early check-in. What a great way to start our vacation!

I could have saved a few thousands booking a standard room but a room with balcony is the splurge I compromised when I booked Zuzuni. Besides, its nice to wake up to Boracay's beautiful beachfront in my pajamas and without leaving the comforts of our own space.

The modern contemporary air-conditioned room features a queen size bed with senso-memory mattress, a 39" cable LED television, safety deposit box, mini-ref and complimentary WiFi access.

Apart from its excellent location, Zuzuni is known for its comfortable and effective space utilization. The room may be limited in terms of floor size but it still managed to look spacious without having to sacrifice design and practicality as most furnishings were scaled to fit the space.

Only design flaw was the clear glass wall in the bathroom; felt weird having someone (doesn't matter if he/she is your partner) who can see you while you're having your alone time. Window blinds or curtains can surely give the person inside some privacy.

There's also very limited toiletries available so better bring your own. Not much space for my kikay kit so I have to bring it with me every time. Bath towels are also in dire need of replacement.

Ala-carte breakfast is served from 6am until 11am at their in-house restaurant downstairs called Cozina. Menu is a simple collection of Filipino, Spanish and Continental favorites but since I liked their Pork Tocino so much, I just ordered the same thing for 3 straight days.

Calamansi Juice

Hot Green Tea


Waffles and Fresh Fruits

Pros: Prime beachfront property along Station 1, delicious breakfast, friendly service, complimentary early check-in and tidy room with a beautiful sea view from the balcony.

Cons: No swimming pool, no elevator, narrow staircase, zero soundproofing, worn out bath towels and glass mirror bathroom wall.


Zuzuni Boutique Hotel
Station 1, Boracay Island
Malay, Aklan, Philippines
Tel.: (6336) 288-4477

Monday, January 8, 2018

Boracay Favorites: Dos Mestizos 2

Breakfast starts at 10am, lunch at 3pm then dinner around 9pm -- that's how it usually is when CS and I go on vacation. The past few years have been mostly relaxed and no itinerary trips especially when we're traveling to familiar destinations like Boracay. The only time we go online and do research is when we're looking for new restaurants to try like that particular afternoon which brought us to Dos Mestizos 2, a restaurant in Boracay known for its Spanish-Filipino cuisine.

The restaurant is open from 11am to 11pm daily, no breaks in between. Service was quite slow but totally understandable as we dined during off peak hours.

On the table

Complimentary bread and dips

Hot bread with tomato and olive oil vinaigrette kept us company while we wait for the main course.

Paella Negra - Php820.00 (small)

Dos Mestizos' Paella Negra comes in 4 sizes - small (good for 2 to 3), medium and large (good for 3 to 5), and extra large (good for 5 to 8). Made with squid ink to provide its black color and flavor, our carbolicious order is served in a frying pan topped with squid rings, egg and lemon.

Tip: Forget your diet for a bit and head to Dos Mestizos from 11am to 3pm to try their unlimited Seafood Paella for an all inclusive price of Php275 only!


Dos Mestizos 2
Remedios Street, Sitio Manggayad
Boracay Island, Malay
Aklan, Philippines
Tel.: (6336) 288-5786

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Walk Thru History at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

A proud member of the Historic Hotels Worldwide, Conde Nast Johansens Luxury Global Collection and Peninsula Hotel’s Pencities Luxe Guide, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is the brainchild of New San Jose Builders, Inc. spearheaded by Mr. Jose Acuzar. His collection of 22 restored Spanish-Filipino mansions from various places such as Old Manila, Tuguegarao and Bulacan showcases our country's rich history and culture and is located in his vast property in Bagac, Bataan.

Las Casas offers a Walking Heritage Tour of the property for Php1,500 per person or you can upgrade it to an All-Day Tour (Php2,000 for weekdays and Php2,500 for weekends) for additional perks such as the river cruise, kalesa ride, family-style lunch and access to the majestic Hotel de Oriente. Since Bagac is located about 4 and a half hours away from home, staying the night at Las Casas seemed to be the convenient and more practical idea.

Heritage Tours are offered every hour daily from 0930H to 1630H. Since we checked in late, we decided to book the tour next day and just explore the property on our own. Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and don't forget to bring your camera because the entire place is absolutely stunning!

Our air-conditioned deluxe room, located at Estero de Binondo, is a comfortable 36sqm beachfront accommodation with a queen size bed, full granite bathroom with separate toilet, shower and tub, cable television and complimentary coffee and tea. Deluxe rooms can accommodate a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 persons with surcharge for the 2 excess persons.

While we loved our leisurely walks in Las Casas, it can get really hot especially at noon time that we had to ride the free shuttle that goes around the property every so often. Golf carts are also available for rent if you get tired of walking and wants to explore the vast property on your own pace. An hour rental fee is Php650 with Php1,500 deposit that's refundable upon returning the cart.

Other resort activities you may want to consider when in Las Casas:
  • River cruise - Php500 per person (minimum of 4)
  • Kalesa ride - Php75 per person
  • Bike rental - Php150 per hour

Our overnight stayed came with buffet breakfast with a simple yet delightful spread of Filipino cuisine such as pandesal, arroz caldo, sotanghon soup, fried rice, omelette, menudo, kapak, chicken adobo and local desserts like puto, kutsinta and matamis na saging.

We got too overwhelmed with all the interesting information and chismis that we heard during the Heritage Tour that we totally failed to take videos or even a single photo! I highly recommend doing the trip and experiencing the tour on your own to learn more about our rich history and the colorful lives of the people who lived in those heritage houses. Such a unique learning experience!


Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Brgy. Ibaba, Bagac
Bataan, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 332-5286
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