Say, Say, Say: VERY OLD TREES ALONG THE MAIN STREET OF STA. CRUZ, LAGUNA

Hey, dearest Seniors, did you recite the poem “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer when you were small like me in the 1960s? Let’s see if you remember the words: “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree; a tree whose hungry mouth is prest against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; a tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray; a tree that may in summer wear a nest of robins in her hair; upon whose bosom snow has lain, who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.”

Every time I pass by the main street of Sta, Cruz, Laguna, I appreciate the very old trees planted in front of the Laguna Capitol Compound all the way to Pedro Guevarra Memorial High School.

Recently, the sidewalk was improved and cemented. I am not a tree doctor nor an agriculturist, but when I look at each old tree, most of them seem to be sick or dying, or at least at high-risk from street “beautification” and people. Two of the old trees are hollow and one is even stuffed with garbage. So sad! I am sure that if Joyce Kilmer were still alive, he would certainly share my sadness when he sees these trees.

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I do not know how old the trees are but I was also able to take the pictures above to call the attention of the following authorities:

  1. the foresters of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Region IV-A;
  2. retired forest pathologist Dr. Ernesto Militante, from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños,who applied a solution to heal the girdled trees along the Manila North Road in Binalonan, Pangasinan1;
  3. retired forester and silviculturist2 Roger de Guzman, also from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños;
  4. Mutya Manalo, a professor at the College of Forestry and Natural Resources. University of the Philippines, Los Baños;
  5. the local government of the town of Sta. Cruz (in the province of Laguna) to take care of the old trees amidst “beautification” projects, upon consultation with tree experts; and,
  6. organizations like the Philippine Federation for Environmental Concerns (PFEC)3 and the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE)4.

Please come soon and visit these roadside trees and assess their status – healthy, diseased or defective. Do you have a diagnostic tool to determine the state of health of the trees? I pray you have a radar imaging system, or even more advanced diagnostic tools, to get a high resolution, non-invasive image of the internal structure of the trees and its root mass, in order to assess the health and structural integrity of the trees.

I hope the trees can still be brought to a healthier state, or heal, if they are sick, diseased, or need tree surgery. Perhaps proper pruning could be done at the start of this rainy season, so they will not pose any danger to pedestrians and motorists.

Seniors, do you remember our elementary science lessons about trees? They give us shade and fruits, absorb carbon dioxide, and release the oxygen which we breathe, and even stabilize the soil, among others. A good website post is www.treepeople.org’s 22 benefits of trees.

A busy town like Sta. Cruz, the capital of the province of Laguna, must treasure trees since they: improve the air quality; absorb the excess carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, remove and store the carbon and release oxygen back into the air; clean the air when they absorb odors and pollutant gases and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and barks; cool the streets by up to 10°F, thereby breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves; lower stress; boost happiness; reduce flood risks; shield children from UV-B exposure; cut air-conditioning needs of nearby buildings by 30%; heal (patients heal faster seeing trees from their windows; children with ADHD show fewer symptoms) and reduce mental fatigue; reduce violence and fear; provide urban homes for birds and bees; muffle the sound from the streets; are eye-soothing; and, absorb dust and wind, and reduce glare.5

By the way, this blog post is written in honor of World Environment Day (June 5) which aims to raise awareness of the importance of respecting and protecting the environment.

I am not a die-hard environmentalist (I do not even belong to any organization), I am not a poet (who can write poems for trees), I am not God (who is the only One who can make a tree). I am a Senior Citizen who is no fool and who wants to save very old trees through her blog! Healthy trees for a healthier town! Achieve!

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1www.pangasinan.gov.ph

2A silviculturist is a person who studied forestry and is involved in the cultivation of trees.

3The Philippine Federation for Environmental Concern (PFEC) is a network of concerned individuals, non-government organizations and people-organizations concerned with environmental issues, established in 1979. It promotes and develops environmental consciousness among Filipinos; unites and coordinates with local communities in their efforts for environmental protection and natural resources management; and, joins in national and worldwide environmental action. Visit the Facebook account: Philippine Federation for Environmental Concern.

4The Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), founded in 1992, is an organization which helps mitigate the destruction of the natural resources of the Philippines. It leads actions in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development towards healthy ecosystems and resilient communities. It is committed to build constituencies and capacities for the environment, promote responsive policies and actions for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Visit the website: www.fpe.ph

5www.treepeople.org

Capricious Indulgence: CASA ITALIA Gelato Café

Location: Shop 5, Burgos Park Building, Forbestown Center Fort Bonifacio, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines

Casa-1Facade, Casa Italia Forbestown

I was walking with three members of my family along Forbestown Road in BGC and was craving for a good place to have coffee and dessert, when we chanced upon CASA ITALIA GELATO CAFÉ and decided to try their gelato1 and coffee.

The original owners are Italian, but this is now a franchise of Gelateria Italia, Singapore’s successful gelato chain established in 2010. Recipes were developed by Chef Donato Mazzola.2

Casa Italia Forbestown opened on December 2015, and is a modern-casual, two-storey, gelateria- café, with a seating capacity good for about 100 people. Kristoffer Kevin Pantaleon is the Business Development Executive.

Casa-1JGround Floor Dining Area, Casa Italia Forbestown

It has a cozy, homey, Italian interior ambiance, great for quiet dining with family/friends or just being alone, enjoying free wi-fi with a gelato or an Italian treat.

Casa-1BIt also offers al fresco dining for about 22 people.

It is open from 9AM – 12AM (Sunday-Thursday) and 9AM – 1AM (Friday-Saturday). I was told that there is paid parking in the basement of the building.

It is also kid-friendly since the gelato is produced using only fresh milk and natural sugar from the ingredients, according to the Forbestown Branch Supervisor, Mhark Daren Gavis Mata. Kids can also enjoy babyccino, Casa Italia’s own version of steamed milk with a dark chocolate powder garnish.

Casa-2-gelati-display-okGelati Display, Casa Italia Forbestown

Upon entering the door, to your left are two big glass display cabinets packed with a wide selection of gelati. My eyes feasted on all the yummy flavors and I could not decide on what to order. It was good that the server was willing to give us free samples of different flavors, so we kept on pointing to a lot LOL! However, all tasted so good that in the end, I still could not decide!

Casa-1EGelati Selection, Top (l-r): Mama’s Cookies, Hazelnut, Brente Pistachio, Formaggi, Japanese Matcha; Bottom (l-r): Mama’s Cookies (almost gone), Salted Caramel, Cookies & Cream, Whiskey

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Gelati Selection, Top (l-r): Formaggi (yellow color), Japanese Matcha, Earl Grey Tea, Red Velvet, Apple Pie; Bottom (l-r): Whiskey, Baileys Irish Cream, Tiramisu, Strawberry Cheesecake, After 8 (Mint)

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Gelati Selection, Top (l-r): Nutella, Dark Truffle, Banana Split, Snickers, Oreo Choco Berry; Bottom (l-r): Guanaja Chocolate, Dark Truffle (almost gone), Crunchy Mocha, Cappuccino

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Gelati Selection, Top (l-r): Snickers, Oreo Choco Berry, Forest Berries Yogurt, Raspberry, Forest Berries Sherbet; Bottom (l-r): Coconut, Melon, Philippine Mango, Strawberry

Casa-1ZTheir premium, handcrafted gelato comes in 5 sizes: Piccolo (1 scoop, PHP130), Medio (2 scoops, PHP195), Grande (3 scoops, PHP260), ½ Vaschetta (200 grams, PHP600), and Vaschetta (400 grams, PHP1,150).

Casa-1IOne can also enjoy Liquorato – gelato with a kick, i.e., with one or two shot/s of liqueur/liquor (Bailey’s Irish Crème or Black Label Whiskey) for PHP 160/190.

Casa-1MNon-alcoholic Beverages, Casa Italia Forbestown

Casa-1LAlcoholic Beverages, Casa Italia Forbestown

Casa-1DThe Charming Barista, Casa Italia Forbestown

Beverages offered range from non-alcoholic: sodas, sparkling water, home-blend teas, juices, bottled water, teas, hot or iced specialty coffee/chocolate/babyccino in three sizes (piccolo, medio and grande); to alcoholic: local and imported beer (PHP90-130) and red and white wines, by the glass (PHP225-275) or by the bottle (PHP700-1500).

Casa-1CTempting cakes and pastries, best enjoyed with coffee or tea, are also on the menu.

Casa-1YWall Menu, Casa Italia Forbestown

And for bigger appetites, Casa Italia serves Italian cuisine: appetizers (PHP125-380), panino (Beef Steak Baguette, PHP335), pasta (PHP220-275), pizza (PHP250-355), and main dishes (PHP305-995).

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Casa-1VA weeknight (Monday-Friday, 6PM till closing time) promo is a local beer bucket (6 bottles) with a Nacho Italiano or Quattro Formaggi Pizza for only PHP580, to “wine and dine the night away”.

We already ate in a nearby restaurant, so we just wanted gelato and coffee during this visit. I was craving for something not so “sinful” and I finally opted to order just one scoop of Forest Berries Sherbet. It was so refreshing, not sweet at all, and berry-licious!

Casa-1TForest Berries Sherbet, Casa Italia Forbestown

Casa-1UPartially consumed Philippine Mango Gelato, Casa Italia Forbestown

My companions ordered a scoop each of Philippine Mango, and Dark Truffle, and one ordered a brewed decaf coffee. I was able to taste all orders. The Philippine Mango gelato was so yummy and the Dark Truffle one was like eating genuine, rich chocolate in cold form. All gelati ordered were just right in terms of sweetness. The brewed decaf coffee was also delightful.

Service was prompt. The staff were so accommodating and cheerful.

Casa-1XCasa Italia Forbestown’s Branch Supervisor, Mhark Daren Gavis Mata

Truth be told, I returned alone the next day for the same order!

I paid for all orders and all comments are personal.

Next time, we will try other gelato flavors (like Pistachio, Salted Caramel, Crunchy Mocha, Coconut, and Mango-After 8 combination) as well as their Italian treats.

Contact details: telephone number: (02) 753-6263, 813-8138; website: http://www.casaitalia.com.ph/; Facebook: CasaItalia PH; Instagram: @casaitaliaph

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1Gelato is a dense, rich, Italian-style ice cream made from milk, cream, sugar, and flavored with fruit and nut purees and other flavorings. It is generally lower in fat than other ice creams, and typically contains less air and more flavoring than other frozen desserts.

2www.news.abs-cbn.com

Say Say Say: IMPORTANT DATES DEDICATED TO SENIORS FOR MORE FAMILY BONDING TIME

“After a lifetime of working, raising families, and contributing to the success of this nation in countless other ways, senior citizens deserve to retire with dignity.” – Charlie Gonzalez

Medical technology has advanced and we, the seniors of today, are given a longer chance of staying on this planet to reach a ripe old age. Just imagine us living in the Late Middle Ages, life expectancy then was only 30 years old! Oh my, I got married at that age and was enjoying my teaching career! In the 1950s, the average expectancy was 48 years old worldwide, and in 2014, it extended to 71.5 years, more than double than that of our medieval counterparts!1

I believe that Senior Citizens must be “showered” (not only given) all the love and care by the younger generations. In turn, Seniors will share their wisdom, stories, and experience. One can never honor the elderly enough!

So, younger generations, listen up! Here are several important days of the year, depending on your country, that celebrate the lives of your beloved Seniors. I arranged it chronologically by month. Log them in your calendars and plan how you can show the elders in your family that you care. Show your appreciation for them while you still can. You never know when God will need them back. Sad but true.

You can plan a short vacation or at least an overnight stay somewhere new to them or somewhere special to them, eat out with the whole family in their favorite restaurants, take them shopping, find time to spend the day with them and make them feel important and loved, or if you are so far away and cannot join them, call them, video chat, text them, email them, or be old school and send them a card by snail mail. Always remember, tomorrow is not promised and today is short. Here are special senior days worldwide, and I bet that you do not know all of them:

1. OLDER AMERICANS MONTH (OAM) – This is celebrated every month of May in the USA to honor (65-yo) adults and their contributions, especially those who defended the country. This was declared by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The 2018 theme is: Engage at Every Age to emphasize that one is never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being, as well as celebrate the many ways in which older adults make a difference in their communities. Visit the website of the Administration for Community Living (ACL): oam.acl.gov.

2. MOTHER’S DAY – This annual celebration honors the mother/s of the family, observed worldwide, most commonly on the months of March and May. Most countries celebrate it every second Sunday of May, so it will be held on: May 13, 2018, May 12, 2019, and May 10, 2020. It was founded by Anna Jarvis of West Virginia, as a memorial for her mother, and first celebrated in 1908.

Actually, dearest Filipinos, Mother’s Day was officially proclaimed to be held every first Monday of December, together with Father’s Day, as proclaimed by President Joseph Estrada in 1998, but this date is not considered a public holiday. However, due to our strong American influence, we celebrate it as stated above. Regardless of the date of observance worldwide, it is said to be too commercialized, but what the heck, children, at least pamper your mothers once a year!

Before I leave this special occasion, I know what some inquisitive-but-still-active Senior-minds are asking: “Tita S, really? Why was it proclaimed to be held on the first Monday of December?” Well, dearest Seniors, Governor-General Charles Yeater made the original declaration in 1921, as per clamor of the Ilocos Norte Federation of Women’s Clubs for Mother’s Day to be held on the first Monday of December. President Manuel Quezon then renamed it as Parent’s Day to honor fathers as well, and President Estrada returned the dates during his term, after President Corazon Aquino separated Mother’s and Father’s Day and changed the dates to those observed by the Americans. All the information is according to the Wikipedia page, “Mother’s Day”.2

Question: Why do our presidents keep on changing the dates and the titles of these special occasions? Gosh, dear Seniors, in our lifetime, these occasions were changed three times, so how do they expect us to remember which is when? Hay!

3. NATIONAL SENIOR HEALTH & FITNESS DAY – This is celebrated every last Wednesday of May so that the elderly can participate in various health and fitness activities, usually held in US hospitals, senior centers, parks and recreational sites. Organized as a private-public partnership by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national information clearinghouse for the older adult market, it will be held on May 30, 2018, marking its special 25th anniversary celebration.3

4. JUNE 1 –GLOBAL DAY OF PARENTS/PARENTS’ DAY – This annual celebration was declared by the United Nations “to appreciate all parents in all parts of the world for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship”.

It is held the same day as International Children’s Day so why not celebrate this day as a family – parents, children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren!

It was officially proclaimed to be observed every first Monday of December in the Philippines. (Please refer to item #2 – Mothers Day).  It is held every fourth Sunday of July in the USA (per Congressional Resolution signed into law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton) and will be held on July 22, 2018. It has a fixed date, on May 8, in South Korea. All the information is according to the Wikipedia page, “Parents’ Day”.4

5. FATHER’S DAY – This annual celebration honoring fathers and fatherhood is observed worldwide, but dates vary per country. It started, and was celebrated, in Catholic Europe during the Middle Ages during the feast of Saint Joseph, on March 19. In the USA, it was first held on July 5, 1908, by the Central United Methodist Church in West Virginia. Most countries, like the Philippines, celebrate it every third Sunday of June, so it will be celebrated on: June 17, 2018, June 16, 2019, and June 21, 2020. All the information is according to the Wikipedia page, “Father’s Day”.5

Take note, Filipinos, Father’s Day is officially recognized every first Monday of December, together with Mother’s Day, but due to our strong American influence, we celebrate it as stated above.

6. JULY 23 – NATIONAL GORGEOUS GRANDMA DAY – Now, Senior Grannies, this is amusing indeed! This is the upgraded version of Grandparents’ Day. Younger generations, tell and remind your Grandma, Nana, Granny, Lola, Mamita, or whatever term of endearment you call her, that she is precious, special, and beautiful in your eyes! Do it daily and see how her eyes light up right after you tell her so. People use the hashtag #GorgeousGrandma on this day, along with pictures dining out, or in a special destination, together with their gorgeous grandmas.6

7. JULY 30 – FATHER-IN-LAW DAY6 – Well, if there is a Mother-in-law Day, we certainly must have this special day! Celebrate this day based on his passion, hobbies, favorite restaurant, etc. Ladies, if you are happily married, this is a way to show your gratitude that he raised a good son like your husband. If not, proceed to #8! LOL

8. AUGUST 21 – SENIOR CITIZENS DAY – This was declared by US President Ronald Reagan through Proclamation 5847 in 1988, to raise awareness of, and honor the contributions of, American Senior Citizens (SCs). It is not a public holiday but it is observed throughout the USA through social gatherings and activities, recognizing the achievements of SCs.6

So, American Keepers of Wisdom, why don’t you plan a trip to the Philippines while you are still in better health? You do not need a visa if you will stay for a maximum of 30 days. Read a related post: (I will place here the link for – Foreign Seniors Ask: re Philippine Visa)

9. NATIONAL GRANDPARENTS DAY – This is an international, annual, secular holiday celebrated in various countries. It was first celebrated in the USA in 1978, founded by Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, West Virginia, to encourage families to visit their elders. It then spread to other countries but is celebrated on various dates (Google dates per country). In the USA, it is celebrated the first Sunday after Labor Day, in September, so, it will be celebrated on: September 9, 2018; September 8, 2019, and September 13, 2020. All these are according to the Wikipedia page, “National Grandparents Day”.7

10. RESPECT FOR THE AGED DAY– This is a national Japanese public holiday, held every third Monday of September, to honor elderly citizens, so it will be celebrated on: September 17, 2018, September 16, 2019, and September 21, 2020. Tracing its origins to 1947, it was first held on September 15, 1966, when Nomadani-mura of the Hyogo Prefecture proclaimed September 15 as Old Folks’ Day (Toshiyori no Hi). Nowadays, media highlights the oldest people in the country, according to the Wikipedia page, “Respect for the Aged Day”.8

 11. OCTOBER 1 – INTERNATIONAL DAY OF OLDER PERSONS – This occasion was first observed on October 1, 1991 by all United Nations member states to raise awareness about issues affecting the elderly as well as to appreciate the contributions that older people make to society, according to the Wikipedia page, “International Day of Older Persons”.9

So, mark October 1 yearly in your calendars. Seniors can also plan to bond among themselves on this day to be thankful for, and to honor, old age, for this is not a gift given to everyone. Shouldn’t old age be considered an asset and not a liability?

12. OCTOBER 1-7: ELDERLY FILIPINO WEEK (LINGGO NG NAKATATANDANG FILIPINO) – A week-long celebration in the Philippines, as per Presidential Proclamation No. 470, to emphasize the important role of older people in nation building, as well as to raise awareness, and to address issues concerning this sector. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), PhilHealth, local government units (LGUs), senior citizen associations and other government agencies organize activities for the elderly.10

13. MOTHER-IN-LAW DAY – There are countless jokes about mothers-in-law but come to think of it, it is not easy to be one. Regardless of your relationship with your mother-in-law, would it not be awesome to remember her at least once a year for her role in your life? Think about it, she raised the man you married (and I hope you are still happily married to him)! Anyway, it was first celebrated on March 5, 1934 in Amarillo, Texas, USA, by the editor of the local Amarillo newspaper. Oh, well, based on my personal experience, this day is not as popular as Mother’s Day because I am sure a lot of the female readers of this post do not even know or celebrate this day, right? Well, it is never too late, surprise your mother-in-law on October 28, 2018, and every fourth Sunday of October thereafter! Do not forget to take a group picture and post with the hashtag #MotherinLawDay!6

I also featured a post in this blog about the long weekend holidays in the Philippines: March – December 2018 Long Weekends … “Byahe Na”! (Travel Now!)

Calling the younger generations in the Philippines: please include the elders in your plans for such holidays too! I am not that religious but let us recall James 4:14 – “You know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.”

As I always tell the younger generation, “Tatanda rin kayo!” (You will also get old!) It’s your turn to show the elders of this generation your love and concern; time will come when it will be your turn to be the next older-generation.  Do your best now, ok?

In the blink of an eye, everything can change, so love with all your heart. You may not have that chance again. Show your elders how much you love them, preferably everyday would be nice.

Did you find this post informative? Please scroll below and click the “Like” tab and “Facebook” to share this post. I would like to hear from you too. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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1 http://www.daysof theyear.com

2“Mother’s Day,” accessed March 25, 2018, https://en.wikipedia/Mother’s_Day.

3www.fitnessday.com –ok na

4”Parents’ Day,” accessed March 25, 2018, https://en.wikipedia/Parents’_Day.

5“Father’s Day,” accessed March 25, 2018, https://en.wikipedia/Father’s_Day.

6www.daysoftheyear.com

7“National Grandparents Day,” accessed March 25, 2018, https://en.wikipedia/National_Grandparents_Day.

8“Respect for the Aged Day,” accessed March 25, 2018, https://en.wikipedia/Respect_for_the-Aged-Day.

9”International Day of Older Persons,” accessed March 25, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_of_Older_Persons.

10 www.ptvnews.ph

GERRY’S RESTAURANT & BAR: Gratifying Grilled Gustation

Location: Ground Floor, Butterfly Garden, Resort Drive, Newport City, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

When we crave for “inihaw1”, one place that definitely comes to mind is Gerry’s Grill!

Its first restaurant opened on February 14, 1997 at Tomas Morato in Quezon City. After 21 years, it currently has 95 branches nationwide: 2 in Cagayan Valley, 12 in CALABARZON2, 15 in Central Luzon, 5 in Central Visayas, 3 in Eastern Visayas, 11 in Mindanao, 37 in NCR, 5 in North Luzon, 2 in South Luzon, and 3 in Western Visayas. It also has 6 branches overseas (3 in the USA, 2 in Singapore and 1 in Qatar).3

2-Gerry

This family-casual dining restaurant offers a wide array of Filipino dishes: appetizers, soups, char-grilled items, sizzling selections, seafood, chicken, pork, beef, rice, vegetables, kinilaw4, merienda5 treats, desserts, shakes, juices, soft drinks, hot drinks, cold drinks, and alcoholic drinks.

It has been decades since we last ate at the original Tomas Morato branch but we were recently in the Newport area and opted to have lunch there.

This Newport City branch is open daily, from 10AM till 12 midnight. It offers airconditioned dining as well as outdoor seating. The latter would be ideal for unwinding after work with cocktails or other alcoholic drinks, accompanied by appetizers or char-grilled orders.

We arrived half past noon. It was very hot outdoors, so the place was packed; but we found a table at one corner indoors. Parking was a problem, though.

I liked the large menu card which really entices customers to order since the colored pictures are so good to look at! Here are the pictures:

3-GerrySoups and Kilaw, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

4-GerryAppetizers, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

5-GerryOther Appetizers, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

6-Gerry.jpgVegetables, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

7-GerryPork and Beef Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

8-Gerry.jpgChicken Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

9-Gerry.jpgOther Chicken Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

10-Gerry.jpgChar-Grilled Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

11-Gerry.jpgSizzling Treats, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

12-Gerry.jpgSizzling Selections, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

13-Gerry.jpgOther Sizzling Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

14-Gerry.jpgSeafood and Rice, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

15-Gerry.jpgSeafood and Rice Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

16-Gerry.jpgMerienda Selection, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

17-Gerry.jpgDesserts, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

18-Gerry.jpgNon-Alcoholic Drinks, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

19-Gerry.jpgAlcoholic Drinks, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

20-Gerry.jpgFresh Fruit Drinks, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

21-Gerry.jpgSummer Treats 2018, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

 

After a weekend stay in a resort with buffet meals, we decided to stay away from pork dishes. We finally agreed and ordered the following:

24-Gerry.jpgThe Sinigang na Boneless Bangus6 was served hot but was not sour enough. However, this was good for the kid with us.

The Sizzling Kangkong7 a la Pobre was served on a sizzling plate but was not sizzling at all. We were disappointed because it was watery, lacked the expected garlic taste, and was mostly stalks, instead of leaves.

26-Gerry.jpgThe Inihaw na Pusit8 was the winner for this visit! It was grilled just right and one order could be shared.

27-Gerry.jpgThe Inihaw na Manok is a half-chicken order that is char-grilled and could be shared as well. However, it was too dry and lacked the anticipated marinated taste.

25-Gerry.jpgThe Special Binagoongang Rice9 was good and perfect with the grilled items we ordered.

 

22-Gerry.jpgThe watermelon shake was refreshing and not too sweet.

23-Gerry.jpgThe fresh buko10 juice was served chilled, with a straw, and still in the buko shell. (Note to balikbayans who miss this drink: one could not get it any fresher!) We requested the bukos to be opened after sipping the juice. The buko meat was thin and easily scooped with a spoon.

Waiting time for orders was about 20-25 minutes. Service was slow, the waitstaff was not attentive, and getting the bill and change took some time too. My observation: It was almost 2PM but the restaurant was still full. Business is good! Unfortunately, service suffers.

Contact details: (02) 332-1111. Visit its official website –www.gerrysgrill.com, Facebook account – gerrysgrill.com.ph, and Instagram – @gerrysrestaurant

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I hope these footnotes will be appreciated by foreign viewers of this blog who are not familiar with local terms:

1Inihaw is the Filipino term for grilled, roasted, barbecued, or broiled.

2CALABARZON, or Region IV-A, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon, with Calamba as its regional center. CALABARZON is an acronym for this region’s five provinces: CAvite, LAguna, BAtangas, Rizal, QueZON.

3www.gerrysgrill.com

4Kinilaw is the Filipino term for a raw native Filipino dish, similar to ceviche. It literally means “eaten raw”. The fresh cubed fish/seafood, or lightly grilled and chopped meat, is mixed primarily with vinegar, plus a souring agent (usually calamansi or dayap), and flavored with salt and black pepper, ginger, onions, and chilis.

5Merienda is the Filipino term for morning or afternoon snack.

6Bangus, or milkfish, is the national fish of the Philippines. Filipinos usually prefer it prepared “boneless” because its numerous pin bones would otherwise make eating it a bit difficult.

7Kangkong is a semiaquatic, tropical vegetable-plant, grown for its leaves and tender shoots, according to the Wikipedia page, “Ipomoea aquatica”.10 It is also known as swamp cabbage, Chinese convolvulus/spinach/watercress, water morning glory, and river/water spinach. It is a popular vegetable in Filipino cuisine, used in a variety of dishes like sinigang and adobo.

8Pusit is the Filipino term for squid, usually cooked as adobo or grilled.

9Binagoongang Rice is a Filipino version of fried rice made with sautéed shrimp paste (called bagoong) and thin slices of raw-ripe mangoes.

10Buko is the Filipino term for young coconut harvested for its sweet and refreshing juice/water and thin, easy to scoop, meat.

10Ipomoeaaquatica,” accessed April 20, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipomoea_aquatica

 

THAI BBQ ORIGINAL RESTAURANT: Tasty Thai Treats

Location: Ground Floor (beside Glorietta 4 mall entrance), Glorietta 4, Ayala Malls, Ayala Center, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

2-ThaiSawatdeeKah! Hello from THAI BBQ ORIGINAL RESTAURANT, Glorietta 4!

This casual dining, family-style, Thai restaurant, originally from Los Angeles, USA, was established by Pat and Tammy Ngamari in 1978. In the website www.thaibbqla.com, they claim that their family has been perfecting recipes and styles of Thai cooking for three generations, spanning over 50 years. This restaurant was awarded Thai Select* for authentic Thai Cuisine by the Ministry of Commerce, Thailand.

3-ThaiGround Floor Entrance and stairs to 2nd Floor, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

However, I was not in LA last April, dearest Seniors, I was in Makati City! Thanks to No Limits Food Inc. – a food and beverage company based in 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City – which obtained the franchise, we can all enjoy another Thai restaurant in the metro! Yes, it is the same local company behind KPub BBQ, Modern China, Modern Sichuan, Ogawa Traditional Japanese Restaurant, Oppa Chicken, and Tony Roma’s. Visit its Facebook account – No Limits Food Inc.

4-ThaiSecond Floor Dining Area, right next to the stairs

This is the fourth branch (see the three others below) in Metro Manila. It had a soft opening on December 17, 2017 and is operated by Roasted Meat Concepts Corporation. It is open daily, from 11AM – 10PM.

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14-ThaiMenu Card, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

The menu is extensive: appetizers (PHP280-420); soup entrees (PHP320-380); salads (PHP280-380); beef entrees (PHP380-640); chicken entrees (PHP340-640); pork entrees (PHP380-640); seafood entrees (PHP420-900); noodles (PHP320-420); rice (PHP70-420); vegetables (PHP280-380); desserts (PHP180-420); and, beverages – iced teas, beers, shakes, mineral water (PHP90-140).

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S2JT01525352956Beverage Menu, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

It also offers the following House Specials served with Shrimp Fried Rice, and – except for those items marked with an * — with Cucumber Salad and Peanut Sauce: BBQ Spare Ribs Dinner* (PHP680), Beef/Chicken/Pork Sate Dinner (PHP580-740), Sate Combination (PHP580-720), Gaiyang (BBQ ½ Chicken) Dinner* (PHP620). Just in case you want to order Cucumber Salad along with the marked specials*, add PHP120.

5-ThaiSecond Floor Dining Room, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

My group of five arrived early for lunch. We opted to dine at the second floor and were warmly greeted by a waitstaff in Thai attire. The tables are good for four or more, and the chairs are comfortable to sit on. Menu/Drink cards were immediately given to us.

Orders were served promptly and efficiently by the attentive waitstaff. The house specials have generous portions that seem to be intended for sharing. So, dear Seniors, it would be best to bring your family or friends along.

10-ThaiSpring Rolls, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

The SPRING ROLLS (PHP280) were served hot. They were crisp, flavorful, and best enjoyed with the accompanying vinegar dip.

8-ThaiThe COMBINATION SOUP (PHP320) was served hot and was tasty.

9-ThaiPomelo Salad and Lemon Grass Iced Tea, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

The POMELO SALAD (PHP380), with its dressing, offered a combination of texture, and sweet-sour taste, as well as a bit of aromatic kick from the cilantro. I had to ask for additional cilantro! Personally, this was the ideal dish to eat before the House Specials were served.

11-ThaiGaiyang, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

The GAIYANG (PHP620) is a Thai mild-spiced, tender, barbecued chicken, that was well complemented by the honey sauce. It was served with a generous portion of Shrimp Fried Rice.

12-ThaiSate Combination, Thai BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4

The SATE COMBINATION (PHP720) is an excellent choice for sate lovers since this savory order offers three kinds of tender and flavorful sates – beef, chicken and pork. The accompanying Shrimp Fried Rice, peanut sauce and cucumber salad were good counterpoints for this dish. The marinated and grilled meats were cooked just right and were flavorful and mildly spicy – perfect for seniors and kids.

I enjoyed sipping the refreshing LEMON GRASS ICED TEA (PHP120) in between courses. It had a good balance of sweetness and lemon grass taste.

Overall, I would recommend this restaurant to satisfy your Thai food cravings. The food is good, and the prices are reasonable since servings are generous enough for sharing.

Prices quoted were as of April 2018, VAT inclusive and subject to 10% service charge. I paid personally for our meal and all comments are personal.

Cash and credit cards are accepted. Table booking is recommended. Contact details: (02) 751-9008/2903/2371; 09171112121; Facebook – THAI BBQ Original Restaurant Glorietta 4; IG – #thaibbq.manila

There are three other branches in Metro Manila: (1) Ground Floor, The Fort Entertainment Complex, 5th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City – M-Su: 11 am-3pm; 5:30-11pm – (02) 846-0000, 09178950000; (2) 2/F, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Triangle Exchange, North Avenue, Quezon City – M-Su: 11am-10pm – (02) 364-0068; (3) Level 5, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Main Wing, Shaw Boulevard corner EDSA, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City – M-Th: 11am-9pm; F: 11am-10pm; Sa: 10am-10pm; Su: 10am-9pm – (02) 246-9069 ext. 886.

I will return to taste their Fried Calamari, Yum PlaDook Foo (Catfish Salad), Pad Thai (Fried Noodles), Tom Yum Goong (Thai sour shrimp/prawn soup), Crispy/Honey Duck Dinner, BBQ Spare Ribs Dinner, Panang Beef Curry, Pineapple and Bagoong Fried Rice, and Thai Milk Iced Tea. So many reasons to return, definitely another cheat meal for sure!

Did you find this post informative? I have not been to the original LA outlet of Thai BBQ Original Restaurant. Why don’t you tell me if the quality and taste are the same as in Metro Manila? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the top right part of this post and click “Leave a comment.” Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

You might also like to read about a Greenbelt Thai restaurant which I posted – SIMPLY THAI: Simply Delightful!

KhobKhunKah (Thank you)!

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*Thai Select is a program of the Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, the Royal Thai Government, that certifies and promotes authentic Thai cuisine worldwide, as well as the appropriate hospitality and ambiance. Good for three years and renewable, it is a seal of approval granted to Thai restaurants outside of Thailand that serve authentic Thai food, and to companies that produce Thai food products. It aims to increase the recognition of quality Thai restaurants and processed Thai food products, as well as to encourage Thai restaurateurs and food producers to raise their quality and authenticity. www.thaiselect.com

THROWBACK – A THRILL OF A LIFETIME: SWIMMING WITH THE GENTLE GIANT – THE BUTANDING

Location: Barangay Dancalan, Town of Donsol, Province of Sorsogon, Region V – Bicol Region, Philippines

 At this stage in our lives, my husband and I look forward to ticking off our bucket list. I’m sure you do too, dear Seniors! A unique local excitement in our list is to see the butanding in Donsol, and we finally got our chance when a family member invited us to Sorsogon for Holy Week 2017.

Now, you might ask, how do I get to Donsol? Good question!

You can ride a Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines’ plane, just an hour’s flight from Manila to Legazpi City, in the province of Albay. Private vans can be hired from the airport to Donsol, costing PHP2,500-3,000.

You can also use a public tricycle, at PHP50, from the airport to the Legazpi Central Terminal, a centralized public transport terminal for all buses, jeepneys and vans to/from Legazpi and other Bicol areas located in the parking area at the back of Savemore Supermarket in the city proper. Tell the driver to bring you to the Donsol section.

You can then opt to take a PUV (van, 12-16 pax) from the Legazpi Central Terminal to Donsol for PHP98 (per person), but the van has to be filled up before departure.

You can also take a 12-hour airconditioned bus ride from Manila to Legaspi (costing PHP850) or a 13-hour bus ride from Manila to Donsol (PHP650 – non-airconditioned bus; PHP900 – airconditioned bus). For the former, refer to the previous paragraph how to get to Donsol from the Legazpi Central Terminal. Just surf the bus companies that can bring you to these destinations.

Of course, you can use a private vehicle and enjoy the road trip with your companions. You can use the Waze app to guide you all the way to Sorsogon. That is what we did: a relative of ours was kind enough to use his vehicle to drive/join us from Manila to Sorsogon. It was a great time to bond, and, boy, did we have endless conversations and lots of laughs for 11 hours! We also made several stops along the way to refresh ourselves, and to eat.

If you do not have relatives or friends in Sorsogon where you can stay, do not fear. There are resorts, inns, pension houses, and homestays, just surf or inquire from the Donsol Municipal Tourism office (cell phone number 0927-4023814). I suggest that if you will go with a big group, reserve accommodations ahead of time especially during the peak season (April and May). It is also advisable to arrive the day before your butanding adventure, to ensure an early morning boat ride – the best time for this activity.

Now, for foreigners, what is a butanding? It is the local term for whale shark.

Philippines, Luzon, Sorsogon Province, Donsol, whale shark (Rhincodon typus)BUTANDING: The Gentle Giant (Photo by WWF)

For more than a century, these gentle giants have been visiting Donsol’s waters between November and June, peaking between February and May. The residents initially feared these enormous creatures. It took a group of scuba divers in December 1997 to prove that the fish was docile, and their videos were spread till Donsol became an exciting destination. Thus, on March 1998, whale shark watching became an official attraction of Donsol, regulated both by the local DOT office and the observance of WWFguidelines.(see Wikipedia page, “Donsol”.2)

For the readers who have a biology background, bear with me but I need to describe it somehow. As explained in the Wikipedia page, “Whale shark”.The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is 4 to 12 meters long, grey fish (with unique pale yellow spots and stripes), a white belly, 3 prominent ridges along its sides and 5 large pairs of gills. It can weigh up to 21 tons, has a wide and flat head with two small eyes at the front, has a very large (1.5 m or almost 5 feet wide) mouth (with 300-350 rows of tiny teeth and 10 filter pads which it uses to filter feed). Amazingly, this gentle giant only filter-feeds on the nutrient-rich plankton that flow into the sea from the Donsol River, among others, during the months I mentioned above.

The butanding has a lifespan of 70-100 years and only reaches sexual maturity at 30 years2 (oh, my dearest butanding, so sorry you have to wait that long!?). It is the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate, the largest known extant fish species, the largest non-cetacean animal in the world, the sole member of the genus Rhincodon, and the only extant member of the family Rhincodontodae. It has a pair of dorsal fins and pectoral fins and its spiracles are just behind its eyes. Juveniles’ tails have a larger upper fin than lower fin while the adult tail becomes semilunate.2 A juvenile butanding can eat more than 20 kg of plankton a day and they migrate to feed. Donsol is so blessed for it is strategically located in waters teeming with natural planktons that seem like a smorgasbord for these creatures. And we, Filipinos, are so lucky to have this phenomenon in Donsol!

Wait, my dear Seniors, at this point I know what is going on in your senior-minds … Are you scared of the water and these huge butandings? Don’t be! They are huge, yes! But they are so gentle and would not even bite nor hurt you! Remember, we are the ones visiting them in their feeding grounds in Donsol, or wherever you go to see them. Just imagine being about 3-4 meters away from a giant creature which is peacefully swimming along and happily eating unlimited plankton!

In addition, you can request your guide to be right beside you when you jump in the water in time to marvel at the sight of this wonderful creature, just like slightly scared but so excited “me”. Your snorkel or diving mask will enable you can stay as long as possible under water, or at least put your head in the water, just to witness the butanding peacefully feeding and swimming quietly before your eyes. Your safety vest will automatically make you float. You will not regret doing this adventure of a lifetime! Promise!

Anyway, if your group is less than six, either pay the whole amount for a “banca” (boat) or be prepared to share the banca with other tourists. If you want to just walk in, come early, around 7:30 am, at the Butanding Visitors Center.

We arrived in Sorsogon on April 11. Let me say that the roads in Sorsogon are so well paved, clean and well-maintained. I enjoyed my early jogging and bonding with my husband and appreciated the well-paved sidewalk, constructed for safety and convenience for all who need to walk around the province.

1-Butanding Visitors Center                                                            The Butanding Visitors Center                                                          (Photo courtesy of Desiree Abitria, Donsol Municipal Tourism Office)

The day for our great Butanding Adventure started with a full breakfast. We, Seniors, did all our morning “rituals”, joined the rest of the group, rode a van, and got to the Butanding Visitors Center early, around 8am, so eager to participate in this magical experience!

Now, Seniors, you might ask, what do we bring, Tita S? For the ladies, bring a sturdy and waterproof beach bag where you can keep the following: towel, cellphone, power bank, waterproof GoPro to video your butanding encounter (or you can rent an underwater camera on site), snacks, bottled water, medicine/s, sunblock, aloe vera gel (just in case you get sunburned), etc. If you have your own diving mask/snorkel set and fins, bring them too! If not, no worries, these can be rented on site as well. For the gentlemen, a waterproof bag (my husband uses a 20-kg Ocean Pack) with more or less the same contents and whatever personal things you need for almost half a day.

We paid the required fees and filled up the appropriate forms. Please check if the following rates still apply: (1) the boat rental package for about 3 hours, including the services of a Butanding Interaction Officer (BIO)/spotter/boatmen is 3,500 pesos per boat, strictly for a maximum of 6 persons (adult/child); (2) an environmental/registration fee of 100 pesos per Filipino visitor and 300 pesos per foreign visitor (This is indeed a good indication that the local government is overseeing and regulating this tourist activity so as not to exploit the gentle butanding!); and, (3) the rental for a diving mask/snorkel set and fins, if you did not bring any, is 300 pesos per set. As an option, you can rent an underwater camera to take pictures of this wonderful experience.

We were then ushered to a viewing room for the must-see instructional video presentation-orientation for whale watching. The safety regulations were (as far as my senior memory can recall): a maximum of 6 swimmers per whale shark; to stay 3 meters away from the head/body and 4 meters away from the tail; not to get in direct contact with the shark (touch or ride it) or restrict its movement; a maximum of 10 minute-swim per whale shark; and, flash photography is not allowed.

We were then given our snorkel with diving mask set, flippers, and life vest, after paying the rental fee. We did not forget to apply sunblock at least 15 minutes before we boarded the banca.

CjEkR1525191893Bancas waiting for your Butanding Adventure

Tips, dearest Seniors: 1. Be sure the rented swimming gears fit you so you will be comfortable in the water which is a bit dark and not so clear because of the rich plankton, the yummy food sought by the butanding; and, 2. If you have not used a snorkel for some time, try practicing how to place the diving mask tightly so the water will not enter when you plunge in the water. Place the snorkel in your mouth while in the boat and practice breathing with your mouth so you can stay longer to marvel at the butanding.

Philippines, Luzon, Sorsogon Province, Donsol, Butanding Interaction Officer (BIO) giving a briefing before whale shark interactionThe Butanding Interaction Officer’s briefing (Photo by WWF)

We were assigned to, and briefed by, a Butanding Interaction Officer (BIO) who was responsible for the safety of the persons in the boat. He also signaled us, with great accuracy/timing, to jump into the water to swim/snorkel alongside the butanding. We were also assigned a banca with a competent whale spotter (the man who stands on the boat beam to locate the majestic butanding) and two boatmen. Once in the banca, we all secured our life vests and were all excited.

9d1lo1525192073Our spotter and two boatmen

Note that the number of sightings depends on the season and since it was April– what can I say – it’s Butanding’s Peak Season. So I said: “Dearest Gentle Giants, don’t be shy, here we come!”

When a butanding is spotted, the boat would sail in its direction. We were excited, as we sat at the side of the banca with our snorkels and fins on. The BIO then signaled us to jump into the water and oh, what an awesome sight to see it peacefully feeding/swimming alongside while you marvel at its size and beauty!

NCegalerba-JSzwemberg_Donsol__91I7264Photo by WWF

For seniors, if you are “sigurista” (prudent) like me, I suggest you jump with the BOI, or with your trusted partner (husband, friend) so you will experience it together! You get to see the butanding for a short while as it swims alongside your spot, but I tell you, it’s like time stood still every time I snorkeled to see it. Then off you go, back to the banca, eagerly awaiting the next jump.

I must confess that I easily get scared and excited but since this is one major activity in my bucket list, I went for it! I tell you, the first time you see the butanding, you would be overwhelmed, thrilled, and amazed at just how big it is, and be awed by its majestic beauty. It’s like being in another planet! I was able to see its monstrous mouth open, with its huge gills moving, and just gently gliding and passing by in front of me! Such a fantastic feeling of exhilaration every time I saw it! I saw two butandings and I will always talk about this experience for years to come.

Philippines, Luzon, Sorsogon Province, Donsol, boats waiting for whale sharkSnorkeling to see the Gentle Giant @ Donsol (Photo by WWF)

I even mentally apologized for disturbing their eating time: “Walang personalan. Ang layo ng pinanggalingan ko. Silip lang ako while you eat, ok?” (“Nothing personal. I came from far away. Allow me to only watch you eat, ok?”) “I will just watch you as near as I am allowed.”

I assure you, dear Seniors, after the first encounter with this creature, you will be more comfortable using the diving mask and snorkel and can stay longer in the water, so you can appreciate it even better. You will keep on asking the BOI/spotter to be more vigilant in locating this fish so you can again and again plunge into the water and enjoy the whole morning!

We sailed for about 3 hours, sighted about 5 butandings, and finally returned to the Center in time for lunch. A kind boatman used a hose to remove the sand from our feet before we entered the cemented area of the Center.

Seniors, better be sure that all swimming gears rented are returned, and acknowledged as complete. I recommend that you give a tip to the boat crew: the BIO, spotters, and boatmen; they all work so hard for a living and this is just a sign of your gratitude for such an incredible and fantastic experience!

Then, we took a bath and off we went to a sumptuous seafood buffet lunch! Life is good, thank you, Lord! One big check off my bucket list!

Dear Seniors, if I can do it, you can do it too! Add this unforgettable, awesome and ultimate underwater experience in your bucket list and go to Donsol this May! To make it more memorable, make it a family experience; we did and so can you! Achieve!

Next time, and God willing, I will try Donsol’s two night tours: the firefly tour and the shrimp-catching tour, as well as other tourist attractions in Donsol, Sorsogon City, and other parts of Sorsogon. These would all be exciting too! Just call beforehand to confirm if such tours are offered when you plan to visit Donsol.

Please note that there is no guarantee of seeing a butanding and no refund is given if this happens. So be sure to go in the morning and during peak season (April and May).

We were told that Oslob, Cebu, also offers butanding watching. Its waters are shallower and clearer so one can get clearer pictures of this beautiful creature. However, the boatmen feed the butanding. The choice is up to you! A lot of tourists go to both Donsol and Oslob.

Special thanks to the Escudero family for their warm hospitality. Thanks to MS. DESIREE AVITRIA of the Donsol Municipal Tourism Office for the WWF pictures and directions how to get to Donsol. Dearest Seniors, if you have any inquiries, you can call the said office: 09274023814.

Did you find this post informative? Have you experienced whale shark watching in Donsol, Oslob, other parts of the country, or abroad? I would love to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Thank you. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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 1WWF stands for World Wide Fund for Nature, the world’s largest conservation organization. It is an international non-governmental organization for wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment, according to the Wikipedia page, “World Wildlife Fund for Nature”. It was formerly called the World Wildlife Fund but the term is still used in North America.

2”Donsol,” accessed November 14, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donsol.

3”Whale shark,” accessed November 14, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_shark.

4“World Wide Fund for Nature,” accessed November 14, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Wide_Fund_for_Nature.

KOREAN VILLAGE YAKINIKU RESTAURANT: Still a Knockout!

Location: 566 J. Nakpil Street, Malate, City of Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Hey, Baby Boomers who frequented the Malate area in the ‘70s-90s, do you remember this restaurant? This Korean-Asian restaurant started in 1977 and was originally located in Adriatico Street. It moved to its current address in 2007. One can tell that this is a favorite dining place because it fills up fast, and, based on the rapport among the waitstaff and guests, that it has a sizeable number of “repeat” customers.

2-Koreanfacade, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

I had a delightful workout with blissful stretching and my companions had an enjoyable tennis match in a nearby country club one Sunday afternoon in April 2018. We were so hungry and thought of going to this restaurant for an early dinner, even though it was only 5:30PM. It was a wise decision since the limited parking space for 4 vehicles was soon full.

3-Koreanground floor dining area, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

This restaurant is closed on Mondays but is open the rest of the week from 11:30AM-2:30PM and again from 5:30PM-10:30PM. It has two floors, for about 60 persons per floor, ideal for families and groups.

5-KoreanEach table has its own grill since this is a yakiniku1 restaurant.

This 41-year old restaurant offers: appetizers, Korean barbecue, fried and grilled dishes, hot pots, noodles, rice, soup, stews, and desserts. Beverages include: hot and cold drinks, beer and wine.

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14-Koreanmenu, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

Immediately after being seated, menu cards were handed over to us. Favorites were ordered and complimentary banchansoon followed – kimchi3, kongnamul4 (bean sprouts in sesame oil), myulchibokkeum5 (stir-fried anchovies), seasoned tofu, marble potatoes, and seasoned spring onions-leeks. Now that’s fast service, perhaps because we came early LOL!

4-Koreancomplimentary banchan, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

The miso soup was disappointing but was served hot so that much was appreciated.

The steamed rice was served hot in individual metal bowls with covers. The quality of the rice was good.

6-KoreanBeef Bulgogi, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

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15-KoreanWrap pa more at Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant!

The meat orders were cooked in a smokeless tabletop grill. The Beef Bulgogiwas very flavorful. We enjoyed the lettuce wrap using whatever we had on the table – the different pastes, banchan, rice, etc. Definitely, we had to request for extra lettuce.

16-KoreanTeresa cooking Chicken Fillet, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

17-KoreanTeresa preparing Beef Short Ribs, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

The Chicken Fillet and Beef Short Ribs were cooked one after the other. Our favorite is the delicious Chicken Fillet, with the accompanying dips. My taste buds were very happy! I also enjoyed the tasty and tender Beef Short Ribs.

9-KoreanThe Shrimp Tempura was good but I personally prefer a crispier batter.

18-Koreanpineapple slices and Melona ice bar, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

Free, fresh, sweet, and pre-sliced pineapple was served along with our order of Melona, the melon-flavored ice bar as dessert! Happy tummies indeed! Burp!

This restaurant is old but has a simple, homey, and cozy ambiance. I commend the fast, courteous and cheerful service of the waitstaff. For the ultimate dining experience, look for Teresa, the very efficient and friendly server. Yes, dear Seniors, she has been there for 36 years! All the waitstaff were very attentive to our needs. Orders arrived quickly, and empty dishes were bussed promptly. Food and drinks were served at the right temperature. A pitcher of cold water was also given for our table. I consider the price reasonable too.

So, the next time you are in the Malate area, have a craving for Korean food, and are not particular about fancy ambiance, why not drive early to this restaurant (since parking is a problem), order your old Korean-Japanese favorite dishes and I am sure memories will rush to your minds while waiting for your orders. However, you have to be quick in reminiscing because the service is really fast! LOL

The night was still young and we could have gone to nearby bars but we were so tired after a good workout/game so we decided to just go home early. That visit to Malate bars will be a future post.

I will definitely come back and will try other items like Beef Spareribs, Beef Stew, Bibimbap Stoneware, Fried Rice Special, Spicy Cold Noodles, Shrimp Korean Barbecue, and different popsicle flavors. Another cheat meal to plan LOL!

Table booking is recommended if you cannot come early. Plan where to park or find a driver to drop you off and pick you up. Cash and cards are accepted. Contact details: Telephone (02) 524-4958

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For those who are not that familiar with Korean cuisine, I hope these footnotes will be helpful:

1Yakiniku is the Japanese term for “grilled meat”. It is simply Japanese barbecue.

2Banchan refers to a group of Korean side dishes. It is served as a selection of appetizers or accompaniments to grilled dishes in this restaurant.

3Kimchi is Korean fermented vegetable, usually made of Napa cabbage.

4Kongnamul is a banchan2 which is made of lightly seasoned bean sprouts with sesame oil.

5Myeolchi-bokkeum is a banchan2 made of stir-fried dried anchovies.

6Beef Bulgogi is a Korean beef dish where thin slices of beef are marinated and traditionally grilled.

NOKIA: THE LEGEND GOES ON!

A cell phone nowadays is indispensible, even for us, Seniors! Admit it, for some of us, it is the first device opened when we wake up and the last one closed before bedtime.

As a blogger, my cell phone is very important. I need it to go online, compute conversion rates, take clear pictures and videos, communicate using Facetime/Viber, check the weather, use Waze and other apps, be notified of important reminders, dates, schedules, list my to do/buy things, etc.

Now, Seniors, for sure when I say NOKIA, you will smile and recall your cell phones in the 1990s with that oh-so-familiar ringtone!

Well, what if I told you that NOKIA is back in the Philippines, with a new generation of Android1 smartphones?

HMD Global Oy is the home of Nokia phones, the exclusive licensee of the Nokia brand of phones and tablets, with headquarters in Espoo, Finland. Visit www.hmdglobal.com

AT6Kr1524233987

Yes, Seniors, Nokia was media-launched last Friday, April 13, 2018, at the Axon Event Center, Green Sun Hotel, Makati City.

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I attended this special event and was happy to know that there are four models to choose from: the flagship Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 1 (both available on April 2018), Nokia 6 and Original NOKIA 8110 4G (available on May 2018).

91CTu1524233576Each new generation Nokia smartphone has regular software updates to keep one’s phone up-to-date, safe and secure, without UI (user interface) changes or hidden processes eating up battery life or slowing the device down. These phones also have fewer pre-installed and much lighter apps on Android Oreo2 so one can get twice (or more) available storage and battery-maximization for up to two days.

Here are the four new generation Nokia Android smartphones and their features which I like for my travels, food trips and personal use:

NOKIA 7 PLUS (black/copper and white/copper, single or dual SIM):

  1. Its Dual-Sight technology allows the user to take a BOTHIE, the ability for the front and back cameras to simultaneously take pictures. It has a 16 MP front-facing and 12 MP rear camera, with ZEISS3 optics and high-quality lowlight capability. It adapts to low light conditions by increasing light sensitivity which I like because it guarantees picture-perfect moments for my travels and food trips.
  2. It offers a New Pro Camera mode which gives manual control over camera settings and shows the impact of adjustments in real time.
  3. It has a high fidelity sound with Nokia spatial audio capture and playback technology – a great feature for my videos!
  4. It has the latest Android features like:
  5. Picture-in-Picture (PiP, where one program takes full screen with one or more programs displayed in inset windows) for multitasking;
  6. Android Instant apps, so one can discover and run apps with minimal friction; and,
  7. 60 new emojis, just right for Viber messages and PMs.
  8. It allows unlimited photo and video uploads to Google Photos. Now this is definitely appealing to me since I take a lot of videos and pictures, both for my blog and personal use.
  9. It has a large 3800 mAh non-removable battery and has the latest generation and powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon4 660 Mobile Platform and 4 GB RAM. This simply means that this phone has optimized power consumption and a 2-day battery life, definitely a delightful feature for my trips.
  10. It features a vivid 6-inch 18:9 full-HD+ display, a wonderful way to fully enjoy my browsing, games and entertainment moments.
  11. It has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.
  12. It is reasonably-priced at PHP21,990. Pre-selling opened April 13, 2018 through Abenson.com, argomall, Lazada and MemoXpress. It is also available at 0% interest over 9-months installment terms through Home Credit, when applied online through argomall.com.

NOKIA 1 (dark blue or warm red, single or dual SIM):

  1. It is a 4G smartphone with the latest Android Oreo2 (Go edition), a version of Android optimized for devices with 1GB RAM or less, which enables the phone to run faster while consuming less data;
  2. It allows access to a new range of apps from Google like full access to the Google Play Store, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Go, Whatsapp, Google Go web search app, Google Maps Go, and Google Assistant for Android (Go edition) to quickly send messages, make calls, set alarms, etc., by simply using one’s voice;
  3. It has a familiar but refreshing design and features exchangeable Nokia Xpress-on covers (sold separately) with vibrant colors to suit one’s mood and color preference for the day.
  4. It is so reasonably priced at PHP4,290, definitely for every Juan!

The NOKIA 6 will be available in the country come May 2018, in silver or matte black/copper, blue/gold, white/iron, single or dual SIM, 32 or 64 GB.

Do you remember the movie “The Matrix” with Keanu Reeves as Neo in 1999? He used a Nokia banana phone. Well, what if I told you that this phone is back? Yes, dearest seniors, come May 2018, the Original NOKIA 8110 4G, in black or banana yellow, dual SIM, will be available in the country. It has a 2.4-inch curved screen with a curved protective cover to slide open to pick up calls and slide back to end them.

More details about any of these phones can be obtained from www.nokia.com for very techie and interested seniors/viewers.

Which Nokia phone did you have? I had several and gave them away but my husband kept one particular phone, the Nokia 8850. Look at it beside the new generation Nokia 7 Plus …

aoKWC1524235849

How about you? What Nokia phone did you have in the 1990s. dear seniors?

I am now considering the purchase a Nokia 7 Plus to bring along with me in my future travels and food trips. And how about a banana yellow Nokia 8110 4G as a second phone?

It is so convenient to order online from Lazada, the Official Store for Nokia mobile, or avail of the 0% interest-9-month installment term through Home Credit, through argomall.com.

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1Android, Android One, Goggle and Google Photos are trademarks of Google LLC. Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Visit www.android.com

2Android Oreo is a version of Android1 operating system developed by Google. Visit www.android.com

3ZEISS and the Zeiss logo are registered trademarks of Carl Zeiss AG, used under license of Carl Zeiss Vision GmbH. It provides optics for HMD Global. Visit www.zeiss.de

4Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. Snapdragon is a suite of system on a chip (SoC) semiconductor products for mobile devices designed and marketed by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Visit www.qualcomm.com/snapdragon/devices/all

Mary Grace: Homemade Goodness

Location: Upper Ground Level Corte de Las Palmas, Alabang Town Center, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila, Philippines

My husband and I had some errands in Metro Manila and a nephew had an early morning appointment at Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City, so we decided to accompany our niece for breakfast at Café Mary Grace, a homey café, while waiting for our nephew.

This branch in Alabang Town Center is open 8am-10 pm (Monday-Thursday) and 8am-11pm (Friday-Sunday). You can contact (02) 828-8476 or cell no. (0917)515-7524.

Historically, this café started with its first kiosk in 2002 which offered Mary Grace’s freshly baked ensaymadas1 and cheese rolls daily. I have tasted its cheese roll, and will taste its ensaymada, and other baked products, and make a post about it too.

Z-MG-3Ensaymada-Cheese Roll-Hot Chocolate selection, Café Mary Grace

You might be asking, dearest Seniors, who is MARY GRACE? Well, here is a brief biography. Mary Grace Dimacali, the founder and president of MARY GRACE FOODS, Inc., is a wife and mother of five children. She took AB Psychology, and graduated Cum Laude, from St. Scholastica’s College Manila in 1978. She loved baking and pursued a 12-month baking and bakeshop management course in the USA in 1991. She also finished Masters in Entrepreneurship from the Asian Institute of Management in 2001.

Z-MG-5

Ensaymadas and cheese rolls were her signature products and offered them in her first bazaar in 1994. She opened her first Mary Grace kiosk in Glorietta 4 in 2002. The first Café Mary Grace was established in Serendra in 2006. Her immediate family is involved in the business. Go to the bottom of this post for the list of outlets, other than this branch.

Visit Café Mary Grace’s website: www.marygracecafe.com. For its menu, simply click “menu” or “download menu”. All food items are made in a commissary. For a complete list of outlets, locations, operating hours and contact numbers, click “shops”.

The café exudes a homey and cozy atmosphere. It is a comfortable place to have meals with family/friends, and to talk endlessly while savoring food and beverage orders. Books were displayed, and I noticed that these were covered with plastic (the way I used to cover my school books)and were not new. I am sure they were read and treasured. There were also thank you notes from previous customers. I think this restaurant is a relaxing place to dine alone, with a companion, or with one’s family.

Z-MG-2breakfast menu, Café Mary Grace 

The restroom is clean and has all the necessary supplies, a feature that I appreciate a lot when dining out.

We chose three kinds of homemade breakfast orders(which they claim to be marinated fresh daily and without preservatives): Fried Boneless Bangus2, Sirloin Beef Tapa3 and Vigan Longganisa4.

Z-MG-8Fried Boneless Bangus, Café Mary Grace

The customers are given a choice for the eggs included in the order: either scrambled eggs or sunny side-up (for a total price of 320 pesos, 398 pesos and 380 pesos, respectively), or omelette: smoked ham and cheese, or mushroom and cheese (for a total price of 387 pesos, 460 pesos and 458 pesos, respectively). Prices are inclusive of VAT5 and exclusive of service charge.

 

Z-MG-7                                              Sirloin Beef Tapa, Café Mary Grace                                                  (notice the guest’s note inserted under the glass)

The orders are served with either the Signature Rosemary Fried Rice or Garlic Fried Rice, along with coffee and 3 accompaniments(a dip of seasoned vinegar, and 2 kinds of relishes:tomato-wansuy6 salsa7 and homemade pickled mangoes).

Z-MG-9                                                Vigan Longganisa, Café Mary Grace                                                   (notice the guest’s note and stampitas inserted under the glass)

We all ordered sunny side-up eggs, Signature Rosemary Fried Rice and coffee. Next time, we will try the three other kinds of breakfast items: Brioche8 French Toast with grilled peaches, cashews and cream (305 pesos); Chicken Inasal9 (305/398 pesos), and Pork Tocino10 (305/398 pesos).

I studied the menu while waiting for our orders. It is quite an extensive menu. This café also offers:

  • Perfect Plates (a combination of pasta, salad and the dessert for the day; i.e., Chorizo Plate, Dory & Saffron Cream Plate, and Fresh Tomato and Herb Plate, with prices ranging from 420-440 pesos); they can be paired with an additional soup(Summer Squash or Wild Mushroom) (80 pesos);
  • Savory Starters (168-262 pesos) and Hearty Soups (170-190 pesos);
  • Fresh Salads with homemade dressings (205-390 pesos);
  • Sandwiches served with homemade potato chips and dip (248-305 pesos); they can be paired with an additional side salad or soup (70-80 pesos);
  • Flavorful (Cream-based, Oil-based, or Tomato-based) Pastas made with 100% extra virgin oil, real stock, and served with garlic bread and Edam cheese garnish (310-420 pesos);
  • Pizzas with fresh dough made daily, premium mozzarella and homemade tomato sauce (498-540 pesos); and,
  • Beverages: Homemade Iced Teas (using Mary Grace’s original recipe made from scratch using premium tea leaves and fresh fruit juices, sold by the glass for 95 pesos or by the pitcher for 285 pesos; Premium Coffee and Teas (95-185 pesos).

All orders were served at the right temperature. Service was reasonably fast, and the servers were courteous and even inquired if we enjoyed our orders or wanted additional items.

The enjoyment of our breakfast orders was enhanced by the dip and relishes. I personally savored my order because of the two relishes: the tomato-wansuysalsa7 and the homemade pickled mangoes. The eggs were cooked just right. Portions were generous for Seniors, but I think they would be just right for an average customer.

Z-MG-4Order Confirmation Slip given before payment to check accuracy of orders

 

Z-MG-6Official Receipt presentation after payment, Café Mary Grace

I paid for our orders and all the comments are based on my dining experience. I will definitely go back to try the baked products!

While some might consider this place a bit pricey, I personally feel that I got my money’s worth in terms of quality of food and service.

Café Mary Grace has many branches (cafés* or kiosks**), other than the branch I went to: SM Southmall* in Las Piñas, Makati (Cash and Carry**, Century City Mall*, Enterprise**, Enterprise Center*, Glorietta 4**, Greenbelt 2*, Makati Medical Center**, Power Plant Mall**, RCBC Plaza** and Steps Dance Studio*), Mandaluyong (Robinsons Galleria**, Shangri-La Plaza* and SM Megamall**), Manila (Robinsons Place Manila*, Lucky Chinatown Mall*, SM Manila* and SM San Lazaro*), Muntinlupa (Festival Supermall*), NAIA Terminal 3 (Level 4*), Parañaque (Okada** and SM BF Parañaque*), Pasay (MAAX Bldg Mall of Asia* and SM Mall of Asia North Wing**), Pasig (Estancia Mall*, Rockwell Business Center* and SM Hypermart**), Quezon City (Ayala Fairview Terraces*, Eastwood Mall*, Gateway Mall – Ground Level** and Upper Ground Level*), SM North EDSA*, SM Fairview* and Trinoma*), San Juan (Unimart*), and Taguig (Serendra*, SM Aura*, St. Luke’s Medical Center*, Uptown Mall* and Venetian Mall*). Wow! Definitely a lot to choose from wherever you are in the Metro!

Please note that the information in this article was around January 2018 and may differ from the latest information. Visit its website: www.marygracecafe.com.

Did you find this post informative? Did you dine in any of the outlets of Mary Grace? Would you like to share your dining experience? I would like to hear from you. Simple scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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For foreign readers, I hope these footnotes will help you understand the terms used:

1Ensaymada is a soft, fluffy pastry made with butter, topped with granulated sugar and upgraded with a generous topping of finely grated cheese (using even queso de bola11 during Christmas season), butter cream, and sugar. It is a popular Filipino snack, introduced by the Spaniards (associated with the Spanish town of Majorca).

2Bangus is the Filipino term for milkfish, the national fish of the Philippines. Dagupan City is known for producing quality bangus. It can be fried, smoked, fermented and further processed (bottled, canned or frozen). The boneless version is popular to save the trouble of removing (especially the small, finer) bones while eating.

3Tapa refers to the thinly sliced, tangy, sweet-salty, Filipino dried beef, which is cured using salt and spices. Chicken, fish, horse meat, mutton, pork, or venison may also be used. It is usually fried but can also be grilled, then served with garlic fried rice and fried eggs for breakfast.

4Vigan longganisa is a (2-inch) small, plump, spicy, tangy, Ilocano pork sausage delicacy made with lots of garlic and spices. It is not sweet and is typically made using sukang Iloko (a native Ilocano vinegar). It is then fried before serving and is best enjoyed with fried rice and fried egg for breakfast or with sliced salted eggs and tomatoes.

5VAT stands for value added tax, a type of sales tax which is levied on the sale of goods, services or properties. In the Philippines, twelve percent (12%) is added to the selling price of a local/imported product/service or sale/lease of properties.

6Wansuy is the Tagalog term for the herb called coriander, Chinese parsley or cilantro.

7Salsa is a spicy/piquant sauce made of chopped, usually uncooked, vegetables/fruits (e.g., chili peppers, onions, tomatoes), commonly served with Mexican food as a condiment.

8Brioche is light-textured, soft, slightly sweet, French yeast bread, typically formed into a small, round bun/roll, and made of butter, cream, eggs, flour, milk, water and yeast.

9Chicken Inasal is a Filipino variant of roast chicken marinated in a mixture of annatto, lime, pepper and vinegar, then grilled over hot coals while being basted with the marinade. It is enjoyed when served with rice, (sinamak12 or white) vinegar and soy sauce. It is a specialty of Bacolod, a highly urbanized city and the capital of the province of Negros Occidental in the Western Visayas Region (Region VI) of the Philippines. “Chicken Inasal,” accessed March 12, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_Inasal.

10Tocino is a Filipino-style cured meat, often sweet, and is usually made of pork, but chicken and beef can also be used. It is fried and served for breakfast along with fried rice, and even with fried egg. It is traditionally colored red using saltpeter.

11Quezo de bola is a popular, pale yellow cheese with a red rind/coating made of red paraffin wax, served during the Christmas season in the Philippines (perhaps due to its red rind) and is a traditional treat for Noche Buena (the traditional midnight feast with one’s family at home during Christmas Eve), similar to the Netherlands’ Edam cheese. It is usually served with cured ham and hot pan de sal (a traditional yeast-raised bread, rolled in fine bread crumbs, served during breakfast in the country).

12Sinamak is a kind of vinegar infused with lots of garlic, chili peppers and langkawas (a kind of ginger), according to the Wikipedia page “Chicken Inasal”.

Foreign Seniors Ask: DO I NEED A VISA TO VISIT THE PHILIPPINES? HOW LONG CAN I EXTEND MY STAY AS A TOURIST?

I hope this blog catches the attention of foreign seniors/travelers who might be interested to visit my beloved country – the Philippines – and are wondering if they need a visa. Or, dearest Filipino Seniors, you might have new friends who are planning to visit you here in our country. Do they need a visa?

Well, ask no more! A foreign tourist1 (from the 154 countries, enumerated below) with a regular passport can visit the Philippines WITHOUT A VISA IF S/HE WILL STAY FOR 30 DAYS OR LESS, provided s/he has a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of stay in the Philippines, and a return ticket or a ticket to another destination outside the Philippines. These countries are:

  1. Andorra
  2. Angola
  3. Antigua and Barbuda
  4. Argentina
  5. Australia
  6. Austria
  7. Bahamas
  8. Bahrain
  9. Barbados
  10. Belgium
  11. Belize
  12. Benin
  13. Bhutan
  14. Bolivia
  15. Botswana
  16. Brunei
  17. Bulgaria
  18. Burkina Faso
  19. Burundi
  20. Cambodia
  21. Cameroon
  22. Canada
  23. Cape Verde
  24. Central African Republic
  25. Chad
  26. Chile
  27. Colombia
  28. Comoros
  29. Congo, Democratic Republic of
  30. Congo, Republic of the
  31. Costa Rica
  32. Cote d’Ivoire
  33. Croatia
  34. Cyprus
  35. Czech Republic
  36. Denmark
  37. Djibouti
  38. Dominica
  39. Dominican Republic
  40. Ecuador
  41. El Salvador
  42. Equatorial Guinea
  43. Eritrea
  44. Estonia
  45. Ethiopia
  46. Fiji
  47. Finland
  48. France
  49. Gabon
  50. Gambia
  51. Germany
  52. Ghana
  53. Greece
  54. Grenada
  55. Guatemala
  56. Guinea
  57. Guinea-Bissau
  58. Guyana
  59. Haiti
  60. Honduras
  61. Hungary
  62. Iceland
  63. Indonesia
  64. Ireland
  65. Italy
  66. Jamaica
  67. Japan
  68. Kazakhstan
  69. Kenya
  70. Kiribati
  71. Kuwait
  72. Kyrgyzstan
  73. Laos
  74. Latvia
  75. Lesotho
  76. Liberia
  77. Liechtenstein
  78. Lithuania
  79. Luxembourg
  80. Madagascar
  81. Malawi
  82. Malaysia
  83. Maldives
  84. Mali
  85. Malta
  86. Marshall Islands
  87. Mauritania
  88. Mauritius
  89. Mexico
  90. Micronesia
  91. Monaco
  92. Mongolia
  93. Morocco
  94. Mozambique
  95. Myanmar
  96. Namibia
  97. Nepal
  98. Netherlands
  99. New Zealand
  100. Nicaragua
  101. Niger
  102. Norway
  103. Oman
  104. Palau
  105. Panama
  106. Papua New Guinea
  107. Paraguay
  108. Peru
  109. Poland
  110. Qatar
  111. Romania
  112. Russia
  113. Rwanda
  114. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  115. Saint Lucia
  116. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  117. Samoa
  118. San Marino
  119. Sao Tome and Principe
  120. Saudi Arabia
  121. Senegal
  122. Seychelles
  123. Singapore
  124. Slovak Republic
  125. Slovenia
  126. Solomon Islands
  127. South Africa
  128. South Korea (Republic of Korea)
  129. Spain
  130. Suriname
  131. Swaziland
  132. Sweden
  133. Switzerland
  134. Tajikistan
  135. Tanzania
  136. Thailand
  137. Togo
  138. Trinidad and Tobago
  139. Tunisia
  140. Turkey
  141. Turkmenistan
  142. Tuvalu
  143. Uganda
  144. United Arab Emirates
  145. United Kingdom
  146. United States
  147. Uruguay
  148. Uzbekistan
  149. Vanuatu
  150. Vatican City
  151. Venezuela
  152. Vietnam
  153. Zambia
  154. Zimbabwe

Citizens of Taiwan may apply for an entry permit through the Electronic System for Travel Authorizationat the website of the Philippine Representative Office in Taiwan, the Manila Economic and Cultural Office: www.meco.org.tw.

Foreigners from Brazil and Israel are given 59 days to stay visa-free in the Philippines, and those from Hong Kong, Macau and Portugal (with passports issued to permanent residents of Macau only) are given 14 days.

Nationals of China traveling as tourists and holding a valid visa issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, United States or a Schengen Area3 state may enter and stay without a visa for up to 7 days.

Nationals of India holding a valid business, resident, or tourist visa issued by Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, United States, or a Schengen Area3 state may enter and stay without a visa for up to 14 days.

Upon arrival, you will receive a free Visa Waiver, given at the immigration desk in airports and ports.

Visit www.immigration.gov.ph for more details.

THE EXTENSION OF THE PHILIPPINE VISA

Assuming that foreign tourists from the countries enumerated above enjoyed their stay in the Philippines and decided to extend their stay beyond 30 days, can they? The answer is YES!

If you want to stay longer than 30 days in the Philippines, you can obtain a Visa Extension from the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in your country, even before your trip. If you are already in the Philippines, you can obtain it from the Bureau of Immigration; just be sure to have it extended more than a week before the expiry date.

The extension of the Visa Waiver for another 29 days costs 3,130 pesos. This can then be extended every two months thereafter for up to 16 months in total. Consult the said website’s “Visa Extension” section.

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration is very strict, so visa violations and overstays often result in penalties, imprisonment, and deportation.

Please note that the information in this post is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information. Visit www.immigration.gov.ph and go to “Procedures for foreigners”.

For holders of diplomatic, official, or service passports, as well as an APEC Business Travel Card, you can stay longer (ranging from 59 days to 3 months). Visit the official website of the Bureau of Immigration: www.immigration.gov.ph

Did you find this post informative? Do you have other travel trivia/information that you would like me to feature? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” box on the lower right corner of your device. Thank you!

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1A tourist holds an ordinary/regular passport; s/he is not a holder of a diplomatic, official or service passport or even an APEC Business Travel Card. NOTE: Holders of diplomatic, official or service passports as well as an APEC Business Travel Card can stay longer (ranging from 59 days to 3 months); please visit the official website of the Bureau of Immigration: www.immigration.gov.ph

2The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel.

3The Schengen Area refers to an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and all other type of border control at their mutual borders: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This area acts as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. Do you want to know where the term Schengen came from? The Schengen Agreement was signed on June 14, 1985 near the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, by 5 countries (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and West Germany), effective March 26, 1995. The agreement proposed the gradual abolition of border checks at the signatories’ common borders and common visa policies. A Schengen Convention followed in 1990. All these are according to the Wikipedia page “Schengen Area”.4

4Schengen Area,” accessed December 15, 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area.