Manam

If you are looking for traditional Filipino food livened up with a twist, then Manam is for you. The restaurant is an ideal place for families or a group of friends sharing a hot meal, or even couples of bffs chilling out or plain relaxing. Each of their dishes come in three sizes: small, medium or large, so you can order according to the size of your party or your heart’s desire. You need not worry about ordering too much or too little.

You can start off with drinks concocted with ingredients that you would not think are possible together:

Banana melon sago

Camias with lemongrass

Papaya with black pepper

For the main dishes, there were so many to choose from. If I had my way, I would have gotten their bestseller sisig and the sinigang na corned beef sa watermelon. But as I was with hypertensive and people watching out for their sugar levels, we opted for the safer though still yummy dishes.

Batil patung (famous in Cagayan where the husband is from)

Braised then fried pork and chicken adobo (a hit with Mischa)

Gising-gising

Binukadkad na plapla with buro

Sinigang na ulo ng salmon sa guyabano (a hit with Maxine)

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Sundrops

Having our tired feet and legs pampered is slowly becoming a bonding activity for us girls. Especially now that Mischa is becoming a tweener, we often bring her with us to salons and spas. Recently, we got to try Sundrops, a day spa inside a mall we frequent during weekends. As we (Mischa and I) are suckers for anything girly, its feminine decor and vibe beckoned us in. Thumbs up for their clean interior, nice couches and warm lighting. I’ll tell you that I’ve been getting quite particular with couches since there is one day spa I used to go to regularly, but haven’t been to lately because I got turned off by the ever darkening couches. It seems that while their service is great (their pedicurists are good with in-grown nails and dry skin in the deep recesses of my toe nails), they haven’t been paying attention to the stains and grime accumulating in their sofas. So I’ve been on the market for a better place.

Sundrops offer a wide range of nail, hand, foot, arm and leg care, including nail art, however, we just opted for their Mint Mademoiselle package, which includes footspa with massage, pedicure and basic polish. And since we were early, we had fresh hands who took care of our feet and nails. I like that they have “light” hands, and were careful with the nails and cuticles. In general though, the service was just okay. Not a place I would go back to in the near future.

Agos

We tried this ship-inspired restaurant in Mall of Asia for dinner with the whole family. When we looked initially at their menu, we saw that their specialties are Filipino dishes as influenced by the Spaniards. I really don’t know the story behind the restaurant, but it looked to me that the food looked like heirloom pieces, maybe passed on from grand- and great-grandparents.

And as we are just coming off medical check-ups for the kids and the seniors, and the seniors have high blood pressure, our fare consisted of relatively healthy dishes so as not to further add to the high levels of cholesterol. The food was good enough in general, but I was like, 60% happy with it, owing to the lack of meaty goodness that my tummy was craving for. And it was a bit more expensive for the quality and taste. Service was great though.

Agos salad

Cheesy tortang talong

Paella Fiesta Filipina

Mahi mahi in spicy coconut cream

Monggo

As I said the whole thing looked like a ship. The little girl had fun going up and down the mini stairs.

House of Lasagna

After the kids’ check up and flu vaccines last Saturday, we passed by the mall (as usual) primarily to buy some last minute stuff for school. But…lunch first.

We chanced upon the House of Lasagna, which was fairly new in the MOA Eats section. And can you guess what we had? Harhar. Lasagna of course! But kids still chose their Southern Fried Chicken. Being fried chicken experts, this was a letdown, especially for Ate Mischa. She was asking if the restaurant even used salt for the dish. True enough, it was bland, even with the gravy. Maxine was happy with the unlimited bread.

I had the chicken lasagna, while the hubby had pesto. They looked kinda the same, right? I was actually gunning for the 3-cheese dish, but they didn’t have it, so I made do with this one. Both were good, considering lasagna is their bread and butter. I would have expected nothing else. Service was on the slow side, good thing we weren’t that hungry. Or maybe it’s because of all the bread they kept refilling on our table. Lol.

We went home with full, warm tummies. Lasagna just does that to you. Comfort food at its best.

Acacia Hotel

This is our last hurrah for this summer vacation courtesy of good ol’ Mama. Thank you Mama! Our requirements this time were simple: Mischa and Maxine have to swim, and the place mustn’t be too far because we didn’t want to drive all the way. So I chose from among nearby hotels (from our place), and we ended up at Acacia Hotel.

I didn’t get to take a picture of the lobby but it looks a lot of awesome to me. With its veeeerrry high ceilings and wide expanse, it shouts of elegance and class. We got connecting rooms, and from check in to check out, everything was a breeze. We loved their attentive and accommodating staff. And we absolutely loved our room! It has a great view of the Alabang business district.

Included in the room package are welcome drinks, in which case you have a choice of sparkling wine or pandan juice. We also had vouchers for tablea ensaymada and unlimited coffee, which we sadly weren’t able to avail of.

Then it was down to swimming business for that afternoon and the next morning.

It was so cold and windy, but nothing will stop the kids haha! Not even Maxine’s lips which keep on turning blue after a few minutes in the water that we had to get her off and warm her up for a bit before getting her back in the water.

We mostly ate inside the hotel. We were supposed to go out for dinner Saturday night but it rained so we stayed in. Their buffet selection was also quite good-enough choices so that you don’t get too umay. It was not too pricey which was the best thing hehe. Morning called for room service because we were too lazy. The best was getting upgraded from buffet breakfast (supposedly included in the package) to buffet lunch. Wheeee, we didn’t have to hurry and wake up early so we can catch up on breakfast.

We had one of the best vacations here. I like that everything was unhurried, we were taken cared of very very well by Southern hospitality, and we were home in about 10 minutes!

Basil

Rainy nights call for Thai food! The spice and flavor which made this cuisine famous would surely heat up and cheer up gloomy nights. This new restaurant in MOA did just that after we finished our dinner here. It was a weekday, and as I said, a rainy one at that, and the place was practically empty. I liked its modern vibe, with a smattering of Thai elements, but still has some Filipino aura to it. Maybe it’s the wood, or the plain and obvious hospitality and warmth of the staff. Whatever it was, it was a great dining experience.

Their servings were huge (hence price was not cheap) so we couldn’t order a lot. We settled for our favorites, his green curry chicken, and my pad thai. We washed it down with basil lemon shake and Thai iced tea.

Green Chicken Curry

Pad Thai

Lime Basil Shake and Thai Iced Tea

Paragon Hotel and Suites

It’s been a month, I know, since our family holiday in Baguio City. And as I said in my last post, I have some sort of mental blockage that’s preventing me from writing about a devastating thing that happened last June. But ever so slowly, I am getting back in the thick of things because I truly aim to document most of our family life for the kids to read later on. Before I write about the details of our trip, I want to get this review of our hotel done with.

I booked the Paragon Hotel and Suites through booking.com. Since we were going on a long weekend, by the time we have decided to go, most of the better hotels were already fully booked. I chanced upon Paragon because it has good reviews, most especially on the location as it was a stone’s throw away from Burnham Park. Also, I was hooked on the promise of a good family room as there are 6 of us.

When we got there past noon, they were kind enough to let us check in early as it was not yet 2:00 p.m. True to its claim, it was about 300 meters away from Burnham Park. The site itself, however, was not very conducive, and kind of stressful, as it was fronting a market and a transportation terminal (jeepney, taxi and van). And during the two nights we stayed there, loud sounds coming from a videoke could be heard resonating from the area to the rooms. You could also hear all the goings-on from down there, of vehicles coming to and fro. On the whole, the rooms and the whole hotel were not sound proof.

The reception was located at the third floor of the hotel as the first and second floors were dedicated to restaurants and function rooms. Despite the seemingly unruliness on the outside, the inside was very charming and cozy. All the staff were also very pleasant and cheerful, and one could feel the homey vibe of the modern hotel.

I was also very impressed with the vastness of the Grand Suite, which we got. It has its own living room, a kitchen with ref, microwave and kettle, a dining area, the bedroom and a bathroom with a tub. We didn’t use the kitchen for much, just for washing the baby bottles, but it was good that they were there for guests who would opt to cook their own food. But roomy as it may be, the beds were narrow, so we cannot all share the room. Ma and Dad had to stay in the couch, which was comfortable enough. However, we were still charged for extra persons despite us not requesting for extra beds. We gathered that this covered breakfast, and extra pillows and blankets. It would have been really awesome if they didn’t charge this because we really liked the hotel. They even had separate TVs for the bedroom and the living room.

Breakfast was a good enough affair. I wished they had buffet but we made do with plated meals. It was just okay tasting though. The dining room’s decor, like the rest of the hotel, was artfully and tastefully done. Five stars for all decor!

All in all, we loved our stay here. I would even recommend it for families like us. However, I’ll probably be looking for another hotel the next time we go up here. Didn’t really like the vicinity at all.