Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2013 Jan: Philippines: Albay: Food Strip

Albay is one of famous destinations in Philippines not only for its natural beauty but also for food satisfaction.  Below are the restaurants we tried during our stay.

La Mia Tazza Coffee
We had our first break at this café since it is located at Embarcadero. They have tables at the veranda so you can have your sip of coffee while watching the clouds as it cover the volcano tip.  We tried Pili Cappuccino (small, 98php) and Raspberry Mocha (small, 98php).

Small Talk Cafe

Located just near the Albay Cathedral, you can easily spot this restaurant.

It is a homey designed restaurant with antique pieces, piano, old photos of famous artists who dined in, old wooden tables and chairs.  The café is famous for its unique flavors of pasta and pizza.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2013 Jan: Philippines: Albay: Ellis Ecotel

After several cancelled flights of Naga and Legazpi due to experienced cold front and rain showers in the early weeks of January, glad that we were able to depart from Manila in a sunny Sunday morning this week.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013 Jan: Brewing in Manila

I’m not a coffee lover or should I say coffee is not healthy for my heart.  But with a lot of shops brewing here in the city, should I still not give it a shot?  Coming from three-peat short trips in South Korea in just 10 months, I started to yearn for coffee.  Initially because cafes there are everywhere. 

In 2006, I had a drink with my colleagues in Max Brenner, Greenbelt.  That was the most expensive coffee I ever had, 500php for a cup of white chocolate.  This week (2013) I noticed that it also started brewing in Mall of Asia, but this time with more affordable price.  This is also brewing in other countries such as USA, Australia, Singapore and Israel.

Philosophy: Chocolate, more than any other food is integrated in to many aspects of our lives. It is a symbol of contradicting emotions and sensations. On one hand, it is the most romantic gift; on the other hand it is a commodity which is traded on the stock exchange. It is sold like a prestigious piece of jewelry carefully selected from a glass case but also as an addictive snack available at every corner store. It is tasted like a fine wine and licked off of fingers dipped straight in to the bowl. It is sexy, nostalgic, and forever an object of fantasy for children and grownup children. These diverse chocolate associations are the inspiration behind Max Brenner's new chocolate culture. (

Across Max Brenner’s location in MOA, is espressamente illy (which is also present in NAIA Terminal 3).  I got familiar with this shop when I saw it from Hong Kong International Airport and Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan. 
Origin: Francesco Illy founded illycaffè in 1933.  His 1935 invention of the illetta, considered the blueprint for modern espresso machines, revolutionized coffee preparation.  His innovative method of packaging, based on pressurization, enabled illy’s initial exports to Sweden and Holland during the 1940s.  Francesco Illy’s method remains the standard for preserving and enhancing coffee’s freshness during transport and storage.  (

Last year (2012), after attending an expo in SMX I got surprised when I saw a tarpaulin saying future site of “Caffe Bene”.
Their Story: It all began in April 2008 at Eastern Seoul where Caffe Bene's first-ever store was opened. Founded by Mr. Kim Sun-Kwon, who has been notable for his other successful franchise endeavors. Since then, Caffé Bene has grown to more than 800 stores making it the Largest and Fastest Growing coffee shop chain in Korea.  In fact since it started, almost every other day a Caffé Bene shop is opened – continually even today.  Conquering the Philippines, Filipinos can now rave about the difference of Caffe Bene and get acquainted with so much reasons why the Bene brand has grown this far.

Their Brand: Bene means "good or well". European feels accentuated by Korean touches. Friendly, warm and cozy ambiance. Various menus and great coffee! (

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013: What's in store for Philippines this year?

Travel+Leisure adds Philippines as one of 2013's hottest destination. 

Conde Nast Traveller includes Philippines as a destination to watch for this year 2013.  Specifically this includes: Bicol, Siargao, Palawan, Amanpulo and Manila.

White Beach in Boracay is on top 24 slot in the World and top 1 in Asia on the Top 25 Beaches:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012: My Travels by the Numbers

Inspired by an article from StarStudio mag,

Travelling is not just about seeing the sights; it’s about a whole lot of numbers, too!

Ended the year with a challenging work life, there is much to be thankful for this 2012.  Meeting new friends, life tests, success or sometimes failure, the most important thing is to learn from it.

Highlights of my travel journey this year are: I experienced Busan’s spring season and Osaka and Kyoto’s autumn leaves and being able to promote this blog in Smile magazine for 7 months.  I spent one solo trip to Langkawi and had two sister-bonding trips. 

Wishing all of us to be successful in this year’s soul searching on ever step that we take everyday of our lives.

Read my 2011 version.