Location: G/F, Garden Side, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Centre, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

People’s Palace is a delightful modern Thai-Asian restaurant located in Greenbelt 3. It showcases a casual, spacious yet cozy dining experience, even for groups. Dishes are MSG free, and some vegetarian-friendly dishes are also offered. It is owned and operated by Riselaw Restaurant, Inc., the same company behind Sala Bistro and Sala Restaurant.


As a brief background, Scottish restaurateur Colin Mackay arrived in the Philippines from Hong Kong in 1996, and joined business partners Chico Angeles and Kerwin Go to open People’s Palace in Greenbelt 3 in 2005.*

Now, I know what is in the minds of my readers who are not familiar with Greenbelt and its parking. Well, worry no more because Greenbelt Mall offers extensive basement pay parking with entrances on Makati Avenue and Esperanza Drive. You can also avail of valet parking operated by the mall along Esperanza Drive fronting Greenbelt 2. There are 2 drop off points for clients with chauffeurs: one along Makati Avenue (between Greenbelt 3 and 4) and one along Esperanza Drive (fronting New World Makati Hotel).*

People’s Palace is open daily with hours of operation as follows: Monday to Friday (11AM – 2:30PM) for lunch; Monday to Thursday (6PM-11PM) and Friday (6PM -12 midnight) for dinner; and, all day on Saturday (11AM – 12 midnight) and Sunday (11AM– 11PM).

The simple, yet elegant and modern dining area has a high ceiling with just the right amount of lighting for a comfortable ambiance at night. It offers seating for 88 guests, with additional casual dining at the long white glass bar.*

The glass walls along the walkway of the Garden Side make this restaurant seem even more spacious than it is.

The al fresco garden dining area, fronting the restaurant, can accommodate 50 guests. The lounge area offers huge leatherette “day beds” where up to 50 guests can order cocktails or dine casually at low bench tables.*

Food orders may seem pricey, but the portions are good for sharing. (So dearest Seniors, keep this in mind when ordering.) Table booking is recommended because this restaurant gets packed during lunch and dinner.

And now for our dining experience.

(insert pic – PP-2)

We called ahead of time to reserve a table. We were warmly greeted when we entered the restaurant.10-reception-ok

After confirmation of our reservation, we were immediately shown to our table, with the server forewarning us of the higher level of our table location, so we would have safe footing. I appreciated that because I have the tendency to walk fast and presume that the level of the flooring is always even!

The server briefly left when we were all seated, but quickly returned with a tall stool for our bags. Again, a gesture I appreciated, instead of us asking for it.

Rectangular menu/beverage cards were handed to us. I noticed that the format was friendly to first-time guests since the former indicated “must try” dishes and spicy dishes (although you can request to lighten the spice level, if desired), while some special/unfamiliar beverages indicated tastes/major ingredients. Take note that quoted prices do not include the 10% service charge.

I also liked the idea of separate cards since I did not have to flip through different pages. There are separate cards for:

Hot Soups and Appetizers, Cool Salads (front of card) –4-soups-salads-ok

Curries, Stir Fries, Rice and Noodles (back of card) –5-curries-ok

Sweets and Hot Beverages –6-sweets-ok

Refreshing Juices, Smoothies and Shakes –7-juices-ok

Softies (soft drinks and mineral waters); Local and World Beers; and Spirits/After Dinner Liqueurs and Mixers –8-softies-ok

The members of my group, as usual, were very hungry after shopping/working-out so we went over the menu card and selected five items: Thom Yum Thalay; Prawn, Pomelo, Chicken and Coconut Salad; Prawn Spring Roll with Sweet Chili Sauce; Chicken Pandan; and, Crispy Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream. We did not order any beverage that day.

The Thom Yum Thalay (PHP460) is Hot and Sour Seafood Soup. It was served hot, with just the right amount of sourness. The assorted seafood was fresh, and cooked just right.

The savory and creamy Prawn, Pomelo, Chicken and Coconut Salad (PHP480) was so refreshing and delicious. The presentation was colorful and so appealing with the generous large chunks of sweet and juicy pomelo, succulent prawns, onions, cilantro, and crunchy nuts. The coconut cream and the chili-fish sauce accompaniments, when added to the salad with its vinaigrette dressing, complemented the combined textures and flavors of the ingredients. Guess what? We asked for another order!11-salad0ok

The Prawn Spring Roll with Sweet Chili Sauce (PHP390) was very tasty so we had to ask for another order too.3-lumpia-ok

The Chicken Pandan (PHP420) was a safe order for kids and kids at heart. The chicken was juicy and tasty. By the way, we requested the wrapping to be removed.12-chicken-ok

The Crispy Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream (PHP290) was a refreshing dessert, with just the right amount of sweetness.2-dessert-ok

The best feature I experienced in this restaurant was the fast and efficient service of the staff, something I seldom get from other restaurants. My group had dinner, and, even though the dining area was packed, the orders were speedily paced and served. Requests like extra dips/condiments were promptly brought, and reheating of the soup for a late diner was quickly done. Water glasses were replenished even without our asking, and several courtesy checks were made to ensure our dining experience would be satisfying. Yes, dearest Seniors, you will be very satisfied with the service in this restaurant!

Requesting the bill and waiting for the change as well as the return of our senior citizen cards were likewise swiftly executed.

So, kudos to the management for instilling the value of quality in food/beverages and service for a very satisfying dining experience. Hats off also to Scottish chef, Colin Mackay, for the very brief waiting time and well-paced serving of orders even with an almost full house.

A minor comment though: personally, I found the round table good for six persons a bit small for comfortable elbow room and for our five orders.

But, overall, we left this restaurant very satisfied and will definitely come back.

On my next visit, I will try their other popular offerings like: Crispy Catfish with Green Mango Salad, Crispy Lapu-Lapu,Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Mango Relish, Mussaman Curry of Lamb, Pad Thai, Stir-Fried Prawns, Thom Kha Gai, Thom Yum Goong, Tod Man Pla, Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Seed Ice Cream, Mango and Passionfruit Pavlova, Panna Cotta with Cardamom and Spice Apricots, and Thai Iced Tea. Definitely, so many reasons to return!

For reservations, call (02) 729-2888, to be sure you will have a table waiting for you during peak hours.

People’s Palace is also available for hire as an exclusive venue for private events (50 or more guests) any day of the week, along with a tailored package based on your specific requirements*:

  1. Private lunch events in the dining room can accommodate 90 guests for a sit-down lunch from 11AM to 3PM, and 200 guests for a cocktail party with passed canapés, for a minimum of PHP150K (Monday to Friday), PHP200K (Saturday), or PHP225K (Sunday);
  2. Private dinner events in the dining room can accommodate 90 guests for a sit-down dinner from 6PM to 12 midnight, and 200 guests for a cocktail party with passed canapés, for a minimum of PHP300K;
  3. Private garden events at the partially-covered garden area can accommodate 50 guests for a sit-down dinner or 100 guests for a cocktail party with passed canapés, from 6PM to 12 midnight, for a minimum of PHP120K; and,
  4. Private lounge events can be held in the lounge dining area, which can accommodate up to 50 guests for private cocktail events, with optional occasional seating on the ottomans and sofas, from 6:30PM to 12 midnight, for a minimum of PHP60K.

By the way, credit cards are also accepted so even if you are short of cash, you can still dine and unwind in this restaurant.

You may also contact the restaurant by Email at, or  by visiting its website at

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? Have you dined in this restaurant? Tell me about it! 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.




Location: 4th floor, Uptown Mall, 36th Street corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Fort Bonifacio Global, Taguig City, Philippines

Admit it, dearest Seniors, there are times when you crave for guilt-free dining. And, one way is to succumb to a Western treat when you are in BGC! So, off we trooped to BUFFALO WILD WINGS (BWW) at Uptown Mall1.1-bw

It is open from 11 am till 11 pm and offers wi-fi as well as outdoor seating.

We came early for lunch so we were one of the first diners for that day.

But first, here is a very brief background of the restaurant. Buffalo Wild Wings is an American casual dining restaurant and sports bar franchise in the USA, Canada, India, Mexico, Oman, Panama, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. Founded in Ohio in 1982 by Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery, it specializes in buffalo wings2 and sauces, and is also well known for chicken tenders3and legs. It was called “Buffalo Wild Wings &Weck” (BW3) till 1998, since it also served “Beef on Weck”4.

Entering through the main glass doorway, you will immediately step into a spacious and modern sports dining area that is well lit with adequate indoor lighting, plus natural light through the outer glass walls. Brown, yellow and off-white colors exude a relaxing ambiance. The outer glass walls and the inner brick walls are dotted with wide/flat-television screens showing various sporting events. Sports memorabilia/murals and framed pictures are also showcased on the walls. The mood is definitely casual yet cozy.2-bw

The pub-style bar is a just few steps away from the entrance and you will be greeted and escorted to a table, depending on the number of people in your group.3-bw

The staff’s uniform is a jersey-like t-shirt and pants. The number 82 is printed on the sleeves, signifying the year when the chain was established.5-bw

There is a place for kids to play video games. Now, this feature, dearest seniors, would be helpful if we, adults, have not had enough of our conversations, and the kids are restless and bored. It will definitely allow us more mileage to continue our stories and exchanges.

Once seated, we were given menu cards and so, we focused on the available options, eager to satisfy our hungry tummies. Going over the menu, I could picture family and friends enjoying and sharing buffalo wings, along with different US beef and pork dishes, or the younger generation getting together with friends after a hard day at work, to relax and unwind watching their favorite sports on television screens, and all of that while enjoying a glass of cold draught beer!


The restaurant offers a variety of tempting platters, all served with a platter of dirty rice (PHP1,495): Most Valuable Platter (traditional wings with your choice of sauce or dry rub5, honey barbecue ribs, and grilled pork belly); All Star Platter (traditional wings with your choice of sauce or dry rub, honey barbecue ribs, and teriyaki pork belly); and, Three Point Platter (traditional wings with your choice of sauce or dry rub, honey barbecue ribs, and fried pork chop).

You can also order: Crispy Pork Hock (slow-cooked and deep-fried crispy pig’s trotter, paired with balsamic vinegar dip, PHP795); The Big Ribs (oven roasted fall-off-the-bone honey barbecue half or full ribs, served with fries, PHP695, PHP1295); Double-Thick Herbed Chop (grilled herb chop served with brown pepper sauce and dirty rice, PHP495 for 400 grams); 3/5/9- piece Crispy Fried Chicken (PHP345, 560, 995); or, 3/5/9-piece Classic Roasted Chicken (PHP 465, 695, 1195).

Three burgers are available to choose from: Mozzarella Burger (topped with pepperoni slices, mozzarella sticks, marinara sauce, drizzled with parmesan garlic sauce and parmesan cheese flakes, PHP595); Smokehouse Burger (grilled juicy burger topped with a slice each of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, drizzled with honey barbecue and smoked aiolisauce, PHP545); and, Buffalo Bleu Burger (with dill pickle chips, bleu cheese dressing, and blue cheese crumbles, drizzled with the signature medium sauce, PHP545).

A wide selection of beverages is offered: soft drinks (PHP105), Red Bull Energy Drink (PHP130), lemonades (PHP145), limeades (PHP155), fresh fruit juices (PHP130), domestic, imported and draft beers (PHP105-395), coffee and tea (PHP95), and drinks of the season (PHP155-275).

We ordered only two food items: Baby Back Ribs, and a large order of Buffalo Wings with an extra order of Blue Cheese Dip, plus beer, and soft drinks. It is a bit pricey, I must say, so dearest Seniors, do not forget your Senior Citizen cards! Portions of orders are good for sharing though.

The Baby Back Ribs were delicious. The meat was very tender and flavorful. The accompanying fries and slaw were prepared and seasoned just rightand complemented the ribs well.

The large order of Buffalo Wings was crisp, tasty and juicy. An extra order of the Blue Cheese Dip was needed to complete our enjoyment of the Buffalo Wings.

The beverages were served cold.

Overall, the taste of the food was good.

Service was fast. The staff was good at offering menu suggestions and was also great when dealing with kids.

The rest room is clean and well-maintained.

Reservations are recommended. Contact information: (02) 801-5993; 09157946102

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant. If I come back, I will try their nachos, burgers, chicken salad, spinach artichoke dip, and mango shake.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your dining experience in this restaurant. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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1Uptown Mall, formerly Uptown Place Mall, is a shopping mall at the 36th Street of Uptown Bonifacio complex in the northern part of Bonifacio Global City, in Taguig City, Metro Manila. It is owned and managed by Megaworld Lifestyle Malls, a subsidiary of Megaworld Corporation, according to the Wikipedia page “Uptown Mall”.7

2A Buffalo wing is an unbreaded chicken wing drumette8 or flat9, generally deep-fried, then coated and/or dipped in a mild, medium hot, or hot sauce made of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper, hot sauce and melted butter/margarine prior to serving. It is a popular American dish generally served hot, along with celery stalks and/or carrot sticks, with blue cheese dressing for dipping. All information were from the Wikipedia page “Buffalo wing”.10

3Chicken tenders is a common American chicken snack made of deep-fried breaded chicken meat prepared from the pectoralis minor muscles11 of the said fowl. It is also called chicken fillets, chicken fingers, chicken goujons, chicken strips, or tendies. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Chicken fingers”.12

4Beef on Weck is a sandwich made with roast beef on a soft kummelweck roll13. It is found primarily in Western New York State in the USA, particularly in the city of Buffalo. The meat on the sandwich is traditionally served rare, thin cut, with the top bun getting a dip au jus and spread with horseradish. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Beef on weck”.14

5A dry rub is a mixture of dried spices and herbs, usually with salt and sugar, rubbed directly into raw meat prior to cooking. It does not have any wet ingredient. It creates a crust on the meat and enhances its flavor without adding moisture.15

6Aioli is a Mediterranean sauce basically made of garlic and olive oil.

7“Uptown Mall,”accessed September 7, 2018,

8A drumette is the top section of a chicken wing which is meatier than the two lower parts, called the wingette or flat9, and wing tip or flapper, respectively, according to the Wikipedia page “Poultry”.16

9A flat or wingette is the second or middle section of a chicken wing, according to the Wikipedia page “Poultry”.16

10“Buffalo wing,” accessed September 7, 2018,

11The pectoralis minor muscles of the chicken is a thin, triangular muscle, located on either side of the breastbone, under the breast meat. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Chicken fingers”.12

12“Chicken fingers,” accessed September 7, 2018,

13A kummelweck roll is a large, crusty, glazed roll made in Buffalo, New York, USA, made from white wheat flour. “Kummel” means “caraway” in German, and “weck” means “bread roll”.17

14“Beef on Weck,” accessed September 7, 2018,

16“Poultry,” accessed September 7, 2018,


Location: 2nd Level, Bonifacio Stopover Pavilion, 31st corner Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City, Philippines

My husband and I were craving ramen1 while walking in BGC when we chanced upon an interesting Japanese restaurant – Genki Sushi!


We were enticed by the promotional announcements on the glass wall: a must-try Shoyu Ramen2 with a very big picture; premium bentosets; and, take-away party sets (see below).

18-shoyu ramen-ok


We said: “What the heck, let’s try their ramen1 as a snack!” When I repeated the name of the restaurant in my mind, I recalled that I read about it as a Japanese casual fast-food dining concept featuring the conveyor-belt method of serving sushi4, using a miniature high-speed train system. So, we entered this restaurant and were immediately greeted by the wait staff.


But first, let me give a brief background. Established in 1990 in Japan, Genki Sushi is a chain of conveyor belt sushi4 restaurants.

This restaurant started with 24-year-old Japanese sushi6 chef, Fumio Saito, who dreamed of creating a modern sushi6 restaurant with an unusual feature known as “kaiten” (literally translated as “revolving”). In December 1968, he created the concept of “kaiten sushi” and pioneered the use of a revolving conveyor belt to serve sushi, combining serving traditional sushi with modern technology.7

This new concept caught on fast in Japan and appealed widely to the masses since it offered quality sushi at affordable prices, served using an innovative manner, delighting even children.7

In 1991, a year after it was established, Genki Sushi Co. Ltd listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. With its dedication to freshness, the company quickly gained public support and successfully expanded further throughout Japan.7

Genki Sushi went international in 1992. Expansion was rapid with Genki Sushi outlets opening in Hawaii, Singapore, and subsequently in Malaysia and Taiwan. In March 1995, the first Genki Sushi opened in Hong Kong. Today, Genki Sushi operates a total of 40 outlets in Hong Kong.7

The chain has expanded to currently include locations in Japan, Australia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and the USA (California, Hawaii and Washington), according to Wikipedia page “Genki Sushi”.5

In the Philippines, Genki Sushi is a brand under Mother Spice Food Corp., with other brands that include Mango Tree, Mango Tree Bistro, and Cocina Peruvia.8

Genki Sushi in BGC is open from: 11:00AM – 10:00PM, Sunday – Thursday, and from 11:00 AM – 11:00PM Friday and Saturday.

The dining area is well-lit from the glass walls and adequate indoor lighting. The other walls are painted off-white with the lower half in light brown. Its ambiance is almost fast-food style featuring off-white tables good for four people, and red-cushioned booths, for more comfortable, yet casual dining.

Genki Sushi offers the following:



GUNKAN(PHP70-180) –


MAKI MONO10 (PHP70-160) –

7-maki mono

NIGIRI11 (PHP70-150) –


RICE & NOODLES (PHP230-400) –


SASHIMI12 (PHP250/350) –


TEMAKI13 or HAND ROLLS (PHP90-120) –




TRIOS (PHP199) –



14-side order-ok

DESSERTS (PHP80-220) –


PREMIUM BENTO3 SETS – Chicken Black Pepper Bento (PHP480), Chicken Katsudon Bento (PHP480), and Shrimp Tempura Supreme Bento Set (PHP650)

23-bento sets-ok

TAKE-AWAY PARTY SETS – Small Salmon Set (PHP500); Roll Set (PHP800); Big Salmon Set (PHP1,000); Genki Cooked Set (PHP1,400); and, Genki Supreme Sushi Set (PHP2,300)


BEVERAGES – Coke in Can (PHP80), Coke Light in Can (PHP80), Sprite in Can (PHP80), House Blend Iced Tea (PHP100), Asahi in Can (PHP120), and Honey Citron (PHP130)


I remember hearing about this unique Japanese restaurant and its high-tech way of ordering and serving non-soup orders. Allow me to tell you about our dining experience.

Once seated, my husband and I curiously studied the wall-panel menu which was pretty extensive (see above).

22-wall menu

The wall partition on one side of each table-booth has colored pictures of the various items you can order (see below), with English and Japanese names and corresponding prices, excluding service charge. At the bottom, there is a legend for the icons used for the items: Genki recommended, spicy, and vegetarian. It also has a note: “pictures are only for reference; some dishes may contain fish bones”.


We finally decided to get two orders of Shoyu Ramen2 and one order of Salmon Sashimi12. We did not order any beverage since choices were limited and we are staying away from softdrinks. Anyway, they serve complimentary green tea.

The use of a touch screen (fixed on the side of the conveyor belt) to place one’s order is very interesting. The top of the screen offers seven categories (from left to right): Sushi4, Sashimi12, Washoku14, Dessert, Beverage, Promotion, and Take-Away. You just have to press the category of your desired orders, click the dishes you want, then press “Go!” on the train-like figure at the bottom left corner.

There are three notes at the bottom: “photographs are for identification purposes only”; “service charge will be added upon bill settlement”; and, “order confirmed cannot be cancelled”.

We pressed the appropriate orders on the screen, initially with the help of a server, and waited for our orders. Remember, all orders are final so always ask the help of a wait staff before you place your order. I was personally excited to witness how the orders will be served by the express tray.

We further observed the set-up in our booth. There was a sign which read: “Please keep arms and elbows clear” so we obediently did not extend any of our upper limbs.

A small ledge with a special track was positioned along the wall partition with the menu on one side of our booth to “deliver” our orders. A sign states: “Children below 7 years old are not allowed to sit on the inner area of the booth.” A caution sign reads: “Take your dishes only after the express tray stops. Never put your hands into the express tray area, except when taking off dishes.”

Each booth has a faucet for dispensing hot water, with appropriate notice of safety: “Caution: hot water”. There was a green tea container, a table napkin dispenser, and a chopstick container.

In the meantime, a server gave us black tea cups. We then helped ourselves to the complimentary green tea powder container on our table and carefully turned the lever of the faucet to pour hot water in our cups. The green tea was good and hot, and we enjoyed it while waiting for our orders.

Then, lo and behold, after about 15 minutes, my husband’s order of Salmon Sashimi12 “arrived” from the kitchen. The high-speed express train-tray which can accommodate 4 dishes per trip, swiftly sped along the track, and “parked” at the center of our table’s wall.


My husband got his sashimi12 order from the train-tray. A waiter then brought the soy sauce and wasabi15. I asked for two glasses of water.

The Salmon Sashimi12 (PHP250) consisted of 4 fresh slices, and, according to my husband, it was fresh and tasted good.


A server then brought our Shoyu Ramen2 (PHP250) and water. The ramen1 was served hot. However, I personally prefer the broth to be richer and more flavorful, instead of being light and almost clear, like Filipino mami16. The pork could stand more curing to be tastier.


It then came time for us to settle our bill so we pressed “view your bill”. The screen showed the items we ordered with the corresponding prices, the service charge and the total amount to be paid. I was looking for a Senior Citizen discount button but there was none, so we just waited for our server.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  21-tab-ok

Personally, I find this restaurant a bit pricey based on the serving portion and quality of the dishes that we ordered. However, its unique high-tech/automated feature could account for its novelty and relatively high price.

A server then approached us, and we gave our Senior Citizen cards for our total bill to be discounted. Credit cards are also accepted by Genki Sushi.

Overall, service was fast and the staff was courteous.

Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to use the rest room so I cannot comment on it.

Contact information: (02) 624-2867; Facebook: Genki Sushi Philippines; email:

So, dearest Seniors, if you plan to eat out with your grandchildren, why not try this restaurant, even just for its high-tech service which they could definitely relate to and enjoy? If BGC is not accessible to you, you can also visit the other outlets of Genki Sushi in: Ayala Mall the 30th (Meralco Avenue, Pasig City), UP Town Center (Diliman, Quezon City), SM Aura (BGC, Taguig), SM Megamall Mega Atrium (Mandaluyong City), and SM North EDSA (Quezon City).

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my visit in this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you re your dining experience in this restaurant. Simply scroll and click “Leave a comment”. Do share this post with your Facebook friends, follow me by clicking on the bottom right corner of your device, and do not forget to like this post.  Thank you!

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The following terms are defined for the benefit of interested readers, especially non-Filipinos, those with “Senior-Moments”, or those too busy or lazy to Google such terms:

1Ramen is a Japanese dish consisting of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat/fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso17, served hot, with toppings such as chashu (simmered/braised pork), menma (marinated bamboo shoots), negi (green onions), and nori (dry seaweed), according to the Wikipedia page, Ramen.18

2Shoyu Ramen is the oldest kind of ramen1 which has a clear broth, based on a chicken and vegetable (or sometimes, fish or beef) stock with plenty of soy sauce added resulting in a soup that is tangy, salty, and savory, yet still fairly light on the palate. It is often adorned with menma (marinated bamboo shoots), negi (green onions), ninjin (carrot), kamaboko (fish cakes), nori (dry seaweed), boiled eggs, bean sprouts or black pepper. It occasionally contains chili oil or Chinese spices. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ramen”.18

3Bento is a single portion Japanese meal, usually served in a square compartmentalized lacquerware, called a bento box, in Japanese restaurants. It generally consists of rice, fish or meat, picked or cooked vegetables.

4Conveyor belt sushi, literally “rotation sushi”, is a form of sushi6 restaurant common in Japan. In Australasia, it is also known as a sushi train. Kaiten-zushi is a sushi restaurant where the plates with the sushi are placed on a rotating conveyor belt, or moat, that winds through the restaurant and moves past every table, counter and seat. Customers may place special orders. The final bill is based on the number and type of plates of the consumed sushi. Some restaurants use a fancier presentation such as miniature wooden “sushi boats” traveling small canals or miniature locomotive cars. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Conveyor belt sushi”.19

5“Genki Sushi,” accessed February 3, 2019,

6Sushi is a Japanese dish made of specially prepared vinegared medium grain white rice or brown rice combined with a variety of ingredients (e.g., raw/cooked seafood, vegetables, tropical fruits). Sushi can be served as an appetizer or as a main dish. Fillings, toppings, condiments (shoyu or soy sauce, wasabi20, Japanese-style mayonnaise) and preparation vary widely. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20



9Gunkan is a typical Japanese way of serving ingredients which would be difficult to serve on top of a nigiri11. It is usually made by wrapping a piece of nori (dry seaweed) around a ball of rice with plenty of space left on top to be filled with a variety of ingredients (e.g., potato salad, salmon roe, sea urchin, squid). Nori can be replaced with very thin strips of daikon, cucumber, and zucchini.21, 22,23

10Maki, short for makizushi, is rolled, or wrapped, sushi6 formed into a cylindrical piece, using a bamboo mat called a makisu. It is also called maki mono or norimaki. It is generally wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) then cut into 6 or 8 pieces, for a single roll order. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

11Nigiri is a hand-pressed sushi6 which consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that a chef presses between the palms of the hands to form an oval-shaped ball, and a topping (the neta, typically fish, such as salmon or tuna), draped over the ball. It is usually served with a bit of wasabi20. Certain toppings are typically bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori (dried seaweed), most commonly octopus (tako), freshwater eel (unagi), sea eel (anago), squid (ika), and sweet egg (tamago). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

12Sashimi is a Japanese dish consisting of thinly sliced, fresh, raw fish or meat, often served as the first course in a formal Japanese meal but may also be served as the main course. It is garnished with long thin strands of daikon (white radish) or single leaves of the shiso herb (perilla). It is served with soy sauce as a dipping sauce, along with condiments (wasabi15, grated fresh ginger, ponzu24). The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sashimi”.25

13Temaki, literally hand roll”, is a large cone-shaped piece of nori (dried seaweed) on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A typical temaki is about 10 centimetres (4 in) long, and is eaten with one’s fingers because it is too awkward to pick it up with chopsticks. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Sushi”.20

14Washoku, literally “food of Japan”, is the Japanese collective term for traditional, well-presented, Japanese food. It is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, known worldwide as being delicious and healthy, with ingredients which blend together in a harmonious fashion and satisfies all the senses.26 It is made of 4 elements: a bowl of plain steamed rice; a small plate of konomono (pickled seasonal vegetables) or tsukemono (Japanese pickles); a bowl of ju (soup) which contains vegetables or tofu and uses the broth of kombu kelp or shavings of dried bonito, with salt and miso added for flavor; and, three sai (one main/two side dishes) which are cooked fish, tofu, vegetables with dressing, etc.27

15Wasabi is the green, highly pungent, paste served as a Japanese condiment for sushi6 and sashimi12, made from the wasabi plant.

16Mami is a Chinese egg noodle soup, served as a popular snack item in the Philippines. It has several variants: asado28, beef, chicken, wanton29, or combinations thereof. It is said to have been invented by Ma Wen-Lu, the founder of the Chinese restaurant, Ma Mon Luk.

17Miso is a Japanese seasoning which is a thick paste made from fermented soybeans with salt and koji (the fungus Aspergillus oryzae) and even barley, rice malt, seaweed or other ingredients. It is typically salty, but can also be earthy, sweet, fruity or savory. It is used for sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, and mixed with dashi soup stock to serve as miso soup. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ramen”.18

18“Ramen,” accessed February 3, 2019,

19“Conveyor belt sushi,” accessed February 3, 2019,

20“Sushi,” accessed February 3, 2019,




 24Ponzu is a Japanese dipping sauce made from fish flake broth — simmered from a mixture of katsuobushi (dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna) flakes, mirin (rice wine), rice vinegar, and kombu (seaweed), then cooled and strained — plus citrus juice (e.g., daidai, kabosu, lemon, lime, sudachi, zuyu) and soy sauce. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Ponzu”.30

25“Sashimi,” accessed February 3, 2019,



28Asado is a variation of siopao31 or mami16 which is made of savory/sweetened stewed pork bits/chunks.

29Wanton, in Chinese cuisine, is a small dumpling with a savory filling of minced pork, usually eaten boiled in soup, or with mami16 noodles.

30“Ponzu,” accessed February 3, 2019,

31Siopao is the Filipino version of the Cantonese steamed bun called cha siu bao, served hot as a popular snack item in the Philippines. The filling/variant is either asado28 or bola-bola (ground pork, chicken, beef, shrimp or salted duck egg). NOTE: Siopao literally means “hot bun”. The information was obtained from the Wikipedia page “Siopao”.32

32“Siopao,” accessed February 3, 2019,

ARABELA: Awesome Coffee Shop at the Foot of Mount Banahaw

Location: 503 Rizal Street (the street parallel to Gat Tayaw Street with all the footwear shops), Liliw, Laguna, Philippines

I have been a frequent diner of this coffeeshop-restaurant for about a decade. I remember sneaking out with my graduate school buddies in between classes when I was taking my Doctorate degree in Education in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, just to savor its various treats and then to return, obviously late, for our afternoon classes.

BeFunky Collage-1                                 Arabela, 503 Rizal Street, Liliw, Laguna, Philippines

Arabela (Camello’s Bakehaus & Coffee Shop) is a cozy, casual restaurant located in the small highland town of Liliw1, at the foot of Mount Banahaw2. Liliw is known as the Flip-flops Capital of the Philippines, with one long main street full of footwear shops.

Arabela offers delightful dishes, sweets and drinks, all of which make me feel like I am dining in Metro Manila, even if I am about 100 kilometers away. The food selection is good for kids too. Happy tummies for all!

It is located at the lower portion of a renovated 20th century house. It has a low-ceiling since it was originally intended as a storeroom. So, tall persons need to stoop a bit while walking to a designated table – a small inconvenience for an enjoyable dining experience. The long cue of wannabe-diners patiently waiting, or opting to just dine on tables set up on the side street outside the restaurant, attests to its popularity.

It opened on 2002, with two tables used to sell cakes and pastries within the neighborhood. It is owned by Bobby and Antonette “Tonet” Camello who named the restaurant after their two daughters – Ara and Bela. They started with cakes and brownies, and then re-launched on October 23, 2003 as a coffeeshop-restaurant with five tables. Eventually, they maximized their seating capacity to 50, and offered an Italian menu that included appetizers through desserts, along with hot and cold beverages, and now, even wines.

First time diners will definitely feel good knowing that after hours of walking along the main street of the town buying different footwear and pasalubongs, they have a place to finally rest from shopping and to satisfy their palates with the food and drinks offered by Arabela.


The interior is a mixture of cool and refreshing yellow painted walls filled with paintings and photos. The air-conditioning provides a comfortable dining temperature even during sizzling summer days, and the staff skillfully escorts you to an available and appropriate table. Tables are cramped, yet diners do not mind this layout at all because of the quality of the menu selection.


Once you enter, you will immediately realize the low ceiling. Up ahead from the entrance is a tempting, refrigerated display of different cheesecakes and pastries to make you crave for a sweet ending to your meal.




Various wines are also displayed on a small table to the right, suggesting the appropriate libation companion for your orders, before you turn left for more tables.



Straight ahead, thereafter,are the hand-washing area and restrooms — with an even lower ceiling — but these are well-maintained, and are much appreciated features in such a simple town.

The finishing touches of the dishes/desserts as well as the beverage preparation are seen by diners since the pantry area is open, along with the cashier’s section, the latter surrounded by inviting “pasalubongs3” of different chocolate, assorted nuts, and local goodies.




Seniors, get your fill from the following:

StartersFresh Salads (Caesar, House, Insalata Mare, Pecan Crusted Chicken, Sicilian Chicken, and Walnut – PHP 300-320), Salads (Macaroni, and Potato – PHP 100/120), Appetizers (Chicken Fingers, French Fries, Mojos, and Onion Rings – PHP 70-110), Soups (Asparagus, Chicken, Mushroom, and Squash – PHP 100-120), and Bread (Garlic, and Stuffed Pizza – PHP 10/40)




Pizzas – Bacon-Chicken-Mushroom Melt, BBQ Chicken, De Luxe, Garden Veggie, Four Cheese, Hawaiian, Kesong Puti3, Margherita, Meat Supreme, Mediterranean, Pepperoni, Prosciutto – Large (PHP320), XL (PHP360) and Thick (PHP420-430)


PastaBaked (Baked Macaroni, Baked Ziti4, and Beef Lasagna – PHP120-130); Pasta in White Sauce (Alfredo, Carbonara, and Fettuccine – PHP 120-130); Pasta in Red Sauce (Eggplant, Italian Style, Marinara, Pinoy Style, Pomodoro, and Puttanesca – PHP120-140); House SpecialtiesOlive Oil (Fish in White Wine; Fortulana; Fusili; Pancetta Magreta; Spaghettini with Aglio de Olio; Spaghettini with Anchovies, Black Olives and Tomato; Spaghettini with Italian Sausage, and Vongole – PHP 270-300); Pesto (Plain, Grilled Chicken Pesto, Penne in Creamy Pesto Sauce, Salmon in Creamy Pesto, Seafood in Creamy Pesto Sauce, Seafood Pesto, and Shrimp Pesto – PHP280-320); Tomato-Based (Chicken Parmigiano, Eggplant Parmigiano, Grilled Chicken in Marinara Sauce, Mediterranean Grilled Fish, Penne Arrabiata, Pescatora, Ratatouille, Seafood in Marinara Sauce, Seafood Puttanesca, Shrimp Pomodoro – PHP 270-320); Creamy Tomato (Baked Penne Florentine, Penne Al Telepono, Pink Salmon Pasta – PHP280-300); and Cream-Based (Grilled Chicken in Alfredo Sauce, Fettucine in Alfredo Sauce with Prosciutto, Seafood in Alfredo Sauce, Sirloin Fettucine, Veneziana – PHP290-300)







Seafood – Blue Marlin, Boneless Bangus4 Belly, Cartoccio, Grilled Fish in Caponata Sauce, Mixed Seafoods, Pan Grilled John Dory, Parmesan Crusted Fish, Pink Salmon, Sinaing na Bangus4, Tanigue5, and Tortilla Wrapped Fish – PHP240-320, mostly with vegetables/salad and rice/mashed potato




Pork – Grilled (Country Style Pork, Korean Pork BBQ, Pork BBQ on Stick, Pork Chop – PHP 160-240) and Baby Back Ribs (Baby Back Beef -2 pieces, ¼ slab, PHP250/300); Baby Back Pork ¼ slab – PHP250


BeFunky Collage-2

Desserts – Bread Pudding, Brownies (Plain, Fudge Walnut Brownie, Ghirardelli6 – PHP17-60) and Cheesecakes (Affogato7, Black Velvet, Blueberry, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Chips, Choco Lava, Choco Mousse, Dulce de Leche, Oreo, Red Velvet, Strawberry & Mango, Tiramisu – PHP120-145)

Waffles – Plain, Blueberry, Cheese, Chocolate, Mango, Nutella and Strawberry – with cream (PHP70-90) or ala mode (PHP85-110)


Coffee– Café Americano, Café Latte, Café Mocha, Cappuccino, Crème Brulee Latte, Espresso, Hazelnut Cream, Irish Cream, Long Coffee, Macchiato, Mocha Chocomint, Peppermint Mocha, Turtle Latte, White Choco Peppermint Mocha, White Mint Cappuccino (PHP80-130)


Specialty DrinksHot (Café Mocha, Cinnamon Mocha, Hot Chocolate Float, Real Hot Chocolate, White Heat – PHP120), Ice Coffee (Cappuccino, Dark Arabica, Latte Arabica, Mocha Arabica – PHP100), and Other Cold Drinks (Chocolate & Almond Float, Cold Chocolate Drink, Frappuccino, Green Tea Matcha, Irish Mocha, Milky Way, Mocha Cream, Mocha Float, Strawberry Frappe, White Rabbit – PHP 130-140)

Other DrinksItalian Soda (Blue Mojito, Green Apple, Green Apple Mint, Green Soda, Green Soda Mint, Kiwi, Kiwi Mint – PHP120), Juices (Apple Nectar, Grape Nectar, Lemon, Mango, Orange Nectar, Peach Nectar, Pineapple – PHP85), Fresh Fruits Shakes (Avocado, Celery, Green Mango, Lemon, Mango-Grape-Strawberry, Ripe Mango, Strawberry, Watermelon, and Watermelon-Mango-Grape – PHP130-140), Sodas (Coke, Coke Light, Coke Zero, Mountain Dew, Mug, Sprite, 7Up), and Lemon Iced Tea (PHP70)



So, when you get tired walking from one footwear stall to another in Liliw, Laguna, do visit Arabela. Be aware that it has a limited capacity (for 50 people only) and easily gets packed, but is totally worth the eventual wait.


This restaurant opens daily at 11:15 AM, after the team prays together, and closes at 7 PM. Yes, you read it right, 7 PM, so come early for dinner since last orders are taken at 6:45 PM!

I have witnessed and honestly appreciate improvements in this restaurant through the years yet somehow yearn for the early days when portions and ingredients were quite generous. Nonetheless, current presentations and portions are just fine with me.

Here are my favorites, over the years: Walnut Salad, Seafood Puttanesca, Seafood in Alfredo Sauce, Baby Back Ribs, assorted cheesecakes, and Watermelon Shake.

Arabela-food-3                                                            Walnut Salad, yum!


Arabela-food-12                                     Assorted cheesecakes for my sweet tooth!

Some consider the prices of menu items as high but I consider the food/drinks worth it and still go to this restaurant to-date, entertaining visiting family and friends.

The staff are efficient, attentive and friendly. Service is relatively fast, even during peak hours.

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for all my visits in this restaurant.

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Do leave a comment, either on the upper right corner of this post by clicking “Leave a comment”, or type/enter your comment on the “Leave a Reply” box. Please scroll below and click the “Like” tab, and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

Contact information: Telephone: (049) 5632495; Mobile Numbers: 0917-2041447 and 0927-3860639; Facebook: Arabela

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1Liliw is a small highland town in Laguna, located at District 4. It is bounded on the northwest by the town of Sta. Cruz, west by Nagcarlan, northeast by Magdalena, east by Majayjay, and on the south by Dolores, Quezon. The One Town One Product (OTOP8) of this fourth class municipality9 is footwear which is like Marikina City10, in Metro Manila. It is also known for its cold-water spring resorts, native homemade sweets, and its Baroque11-style parish church, all to be featured in future posts. Information derived from Wikipedia page “Liliw”.12

2Mount Banahaw is an active, three-peaked volcano located between the provinces of Laguna and Quezon, in the island of Luzon, in the Philippines. It is the tallest mountain in the CALABARZON13 region, with an elevation of 2,170 meters, so it is a favorite among mountain climbers. It is also considered a “sacred mountain” and pilgrims visit its sacred springs, caves, streams and boulders. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Mount Banahaw”.14

3Kesong Puti, literally “white cheese” in Tagalog, is a soft, unaged, white cheese made from unskimmed carabao’s milk, rennet15 (or vinegar) and salt. It is similar to cottage cheese, with its soft texture and slightly salty taste. It is a popular breakfast item, eaten with pan de sal16 in the Philippines. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Kesong puti”.17

4Bangus, or milkfish, is the local term for the (unofficial yet commonly considered) national fish of the Philippines. This elongated fish is the sole living species in the family of Chanidae, with the binomial name of ChanosChanos. It usually measures no more than 1 meter (39 inches) in length, but can grow to 1.80 meters (5 ft. 11 inches) in length. It has an almost compressed body, with a generally symmetrical and streamlined appearance, one dorsal fin, falcate pectoral fins and a sizeable forked caudal fin. Its body is colored olive green, with silvery flanks and dark bordered fins. Its mouth is small and toothless. It feeds on algae, cyanobacteria and small invertebrates. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Milkfish”.18

5Tanigue, or tangigue, refers to the following fishes in the Philippines: Indo-Pacific king mackerel (Scomberomorusguttatus), narrow-barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomoruscommerson), striped bonito (Sardaorientalis), Wahoo (Acanthocybiumsolandri), Scomberaustraliscus, Scomber japonicus, Scomberomorusqueensladicus, and Scomberomorus semifasciatus.19 It is commonly cut crosswise into thick “steaks” and then fried or grilled, dipped in soy sauce with calamansi, and served with steamed rice in the Philippines.

6Ghirardelli refers to the chocolate product line of Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, the United States division of Swiss confectioner Lindt &Sprüngli. It was founded by, and named after, Italian chocolatier Domenico Ghirardelli who settled in California, according to Wikipedia page “Ghirardelli Chocolate Company”.20

7Affogato is an Italian coffee-based dessert, usually consisting of a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream, topped with a shot of hot espresso. Amaretto, Bicerin, or other liqueurs may be used instead of espresso, according to Wikipidea page “Affogato”.21

8OTOP stands for One Town, One Product, a promotional program of the Philippine government that aims to promote the best goods and products of Filipino towns, cities, and regions, and provides funding for micro, small and medium-scale businesses. Said program is administered by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and was launched in 2004. It covers tangible products and skills-based services: agri-based products, arts and crafts (e.g., bamboo, coco coir, paper artistry, weaves, and wood), home and fashion/creative artisanal (e.g., décor, fabrics, furniture, garments, houseware, gifts, souvenir items, textiles and toys), processed food, and skills-based services (e.g., hilot, sculpting, personal care and wellness products).22

9A fourth-class municipality is the fourth income classification (out of six) of a municipality or town in the Philippines, and has an annual income of PHP25,000,000-34,999.999 during the previous four calendar years. NOTE: The highest level is a first-class municipality with at least PHP55 million, followed by, in descending order, a second-class municipality with PHP45 million-54,999,999, a third-class municipality with PHP35 million-44,999,999, a fifth-class municipality with15 million-24,999,999, and the lowest level is a sixth-class municipality with at most PHP15 million. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Municipalities of the Philippines”.23

10Marikina City is a highly urbanized city in Metro Manila known as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines, producing almost 70% of the shoes manufactured in the country, according to Wikipedia page “Marikina”.24

11Baroque is a highly ornate and often extravagant style of architecture, art and music that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the late 18th century, following the Renaissance style, and preceding the Neoclassical style. Baroque churches were designed with a large central space where the churchgoers could be close to the altar with a dome or cupola overhead, allowing light to illuminate the church below. A Baroque-style church also features, among others, the quadrature with lavish paintings of saints and angels on the ceiling, connected by architectural details with the balustrades and consoles, giving an impression of real figures as if one looks up to heaven, according to Wikipedia page “Baroque”.25

12Liliw”, accessed June 1, 2018,

13The CALABARZON region, Southern Tagalog Mainland, or Region IV-A, is an administrative region in the Philippines, named after the acronym of its five provinces: Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

14“Mount Banahaw”, accessed June 1, 2018,

15Rennet is a complex of enzymes produced in the stomachs of ruminant mammals such as cattle, antelope, deer, goats, kangaroo, sheep and yaks26, which acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions.27

16Pan de sal is the popular and common bread served for breakfast in the Philippines made of flour, eggs, salt, sugar, and yeast. It literally means “salt bread” in Spanish.

17“Kesong puti”, accessed June 1, 2018,

18“Milkfish”, accessed June 1, 2018,

20“Ghirradelli Chocolate Company”, accessed June 1, 2018,

21”Affogato”,accessed June 1, 2018,

23“Municipalities of the Philippines”, accessed June 1, 2018,

24“Marikina”, accessed June 1, 2018,

25“Baroque”, accessed June 1, 2018,

26“Rennet”, accessed June 1, 2018,

27“Ruminant”, accessed June 1, 2018,


Location: National Highway, Barangay Sampalocan, Pagsanjan, Laguna, Philippines

Konnichiwa (“Hello”) from Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant, or simply HANA, my family’s third place1! You have to try this restaurant when you go to, or pass by, the town of Pagsanjan!

I was told by Eileen Christina Nishino, the wife of the current owner, that “shin” means “first” and “hana” means “flower”.

Hana, the favorite Japanese restaurant in Pagsanjan of my family, was established in 2004 by Masami Nishino. It had an original total seating capacity of 35. When he passed away, his son, Masami Nishino, Jr., took over and, in 2014, had it renovated to its current state.

You cannot miss this restaurant which is located along the national highway in Pagsanjan. Coming from Sta. Cruz, Laguna and driving towards Pagsanjan’s famous arch, it is easy to spot Hana to the right of the Iglesia ni Cristo church.



It has parking good for only 5 vehicles so come early, or double park, but you may be requested to move your vehicle when needed.

It has a casual, but cozy, dining area, and business hours are daily from 11 am till 10 pm.1-Hana-interior-left


The sushi bar and pantry are open so you can see how orders are made. During busy hours, the owner himself prepares orders like maki2, sashimi3 and sushi4.

Hana offers different kinds of: maki2, sashimi3, sushi4, soups, salads, agemono5, onigiri6, donburi7, bento8, teppanyaki9, yakkimono10, nabemono11, ramen12, soba13, udon14,angus beef15 selections, desserts and drinks.

You are warmly greeted by a female waitstaff once you pass through the sliding entrance door.  She escorts you to an available, and appropriate, table for your party/group. Menu cards are distributed and orders are taken.

Complimentary tazukuri16 is served while orders are prepared. Disposable wooden chopsticks are provided. You may request for their complimentary house rice tea, and fork/spoon, if you so desire.

1-Food-Rice tea        a welcome treat: complimentary house rice tea, Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant

Dearest Seniors, do not hesitate to inquire about their bestsellers and what the Japanese terms are, if you are not familiar with certain Japanese dishes. The cheerful and efficient waitresses are very helpful and will patiently explain menu items to customers. I hope my footnotes in this post will somehow help you too.

Hana offers the following maki2: California Maki, Crab Maki, Futomaki, Kappa Maki, Oshinko Maki, Salmon Maki, Tamago Maki, Teka Maki, and Unagi Maki.1-Hana-Menu-maki

1-Food-Maki collage    Marvelous Maki (l-r): CALIFORNIA MAKI, FUTO MAKI, KEPPA MAKI and TEKA MAKI                    (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

There are seven kinds of sashimi3: crab, salmon, sashimimoriwase, shimesaba, squid, tamagoyaki, and tuna.1-Hana-Menu-sashimi

1-Food-Sashimi Moriawase-fr Hana                                                           SASHIMI MORIAWASE                                                                                (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

Eight variations of sushi4 are available: crab, ebiko, salmon, shimesaba, squid, tamago, tuna, and unagi.1-Hana-Menu-sushi

1-Food-Sushi collage                        Sushi delights – KANI SUSHI and MAGURO SUSHI (limited period)                                  (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

Two soups (Miso Soup and Tamago Soup) and four salads (California Salad, Crab Salad, Grilled Chicken Salad, and Potato Salad) are offered as well.1-Hana-Menu-soup-salad

Different kinds of agemono5 are available: Agedashi Tofu, Atsuage Tofu, Chicken Karaage, Chicken Katsu, Ebi Fry, Kisu Fry, Korokke, Crab/Fish/Shrimp/Vegetable/Mixed Tempura, and Tonkatsu.1-Hana-Menu-agemono

1-Food-Agemono collage                  Savoring shrimps at Hana – EBI TEMPURA and SHRIMP TEMPURA                                     (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

1-Food-Chicken Karaage-fr Hana                                                            CHICKEN KARAAGE                                                                              (photo taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

Hana also offers the following variations of onigiri6: Gohan, Hiya Yako, Kimchee, Ochazuke, Okaka, Oshinko, Plum, Salmon, Wakame Kyurisunomono, and Yaki Meshi.1-Hana-Menu-onigiri

There are nine kinds of donburi7: Chicken/Pork Katsudon, Chicken Teriyakidon, Gyudon, Kakiagedon, Kimchidon, Oyakodon, Tendon, Unadon, and Yakiniku Don.1-Hana-Menu-donburi

1-Food-Donburi collage              Yummy Donburi: CHICKEN TERIYAKIDON, GYUDON and KATSUDON                                (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

Different versions of bento8 are on the menu: Chicken Teriyaki, Hana, Korroke, Salmon Teriyaki, Tempura, Tonkatsu, Torikatsu, and Beef/Pork Yakiniku.1-Hana-Menu-bento

1-Food-Beef Yakiniku Bento              BEEF YAKINIKU BENTO, served with Miso Soup, Sashimi, Potato Salad                              Plain Rice and Dessert, at Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant, Pagsanjan, Laguna

1-Food-Chicken Teriyaki Bento-ok          CHICKEN TERIYAKI BENTO, served with Miso Soup, Sashimi, Potato Salad,                         Plain Rice and Dessert, at Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant, Pagsanjan, Laguna

1-Food-Hana Bento               HANA BENTO, served with Miso Soup, Sashimi, Shrimp Tempura,                                                          Beef Yakiniku, Potato Salad, Plain Rice and Dessert,                                                                   at Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant, Pagsanjan, Laguna

Hana offers the following teppanyaki9 dishes: Chicken, Gyoza, Salmon/Tofu Steak, and Yasaiitame.1-Hana-Menu-Tepanyaki

1-Food-Tepanyaki collage                           Tempting Tepanyaki: BEEF TEPANYAKI and SALMON STEAK                                         (photos taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

There are eleven different kinds of yakkimono10: Beef/Chicken/Salmon Teriyaki, Saba/Salmon/SanmaSioyaki,Shougayaki, Unagi Kabayaki, Beef/Pork Yakiniku, Yakitori.1-Hana-Menu-yakimono

1-Food-Beef Yakiniku-fr Hana                                                                   BEEF YAKINIKU                                                                                        (photo taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

1-Food-Chicken Teriyaki and Plain Rice-OK                                  CHICKEN TERIYAKI, served with Potato Salad,                                                                           Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant, Pagsanjan, Laguna

Hana also serves: two nabemono11– Shabu-Shabu and Sukiyaki; four ramen12– hiyashi, miso, shoyu, and yakiniku; seven soba13– kitsune, niku, tanuki, tori, ten zaru, yaki, and zaru; and five udon14– kitsune, niku, tanuki, tori, and yaki.1-Hana-Menu-nabemono




1-Food-Curry-Udon-Hana                                                    CURRY UDON (limited period;                                                                          photo taken from the Facebook account: Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant)

Angus beef15 selections are offered: Beef Teriyaki/Usuyaki/Yakiniku; Gyudon; Hana Bento; Kimchi Don; Niku/Soba/Udon; Shabu-shabu; Sukiyaki; Yakiniku Bento8/Don7/Ramen121-Hana-Menu-angus-beef

Hana also offes desserts and assorted drinks.1-Hana-Menu-desserts-drinks

1-Food-Shira Tama-OK                                       SHIRA TAMA, Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant

We recommend our favorites: Miso Soup, Salmon Sashimi3, Grilled Chicken Salad, Sukiyaki, Japanese Fried Rice, Shrimp Tempura, Chicken Teriyakidon and Tempura Ice Cream. I consider the price mid-range, although some people find it high.

1-Food-Miso soupTHE MISO SOUP is served hot and I enjoy this as a low-calorie/fat appetizer. It is not salty and the portion is just right.

1-Food-Grilled Chicken Salad           The GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD is perfect for the diet-conscious guest                                                            or the guest  who wants to eat light. Try it!

1-Food-Sukuyaki SUKIYAKI (with egg) is served hot and good for sharing, dear Seniors! Just ask for smaller bowls. The broth is savory. The combination of all the ingredients results in the richness of this satisfying dish.

Food-Ebi-Tempura-fr Hana-okWhen I crave for fried food, I order SHRIMP TEMPURA. This delicious dish is served hot with a crispy coating of reasonably-sized shrimps. The dip is fine but I request for more grated horseradish.

1-Food-Tempura Ice CreamI order the TEMPURA ICE CREAM beforehand, and request that it be served when I have finished my main dish since it takes time to prepare and I want to enjoy it just right after preparation. Delightfully cold vanilla ice cream is covered with  a crispy tempura batter with the right amount of chocolate syrup, drizzled on top, prior to serving. It is the best way to finish a full meal at Hana! Seniors without diabetes, this is also for sharing.

Cash and credit card payments are accepted. Seniors, do not forget to present your Senior Citizen card for a discount.

The common rest room is decent, clean, and well-supplied. The sink for washing one’s hands is located immediately outside the rest room. Liquid soap, folded paper napkins are available and easily thrown in a garbage can.1-Hana-interior-3

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for all my visits in this restaurant.

Contact details: Cell phone Number – 09178752165; Facebook – Shin Hana Japanese Restaurant; Email:

Did you find this post informative? I would like to hear from you. Do leave a comment, either by clicking “Leave a comment” on the upper right corner of this post, or type/enter your comment on the “Leave a Reply” box. Please scroll below and click the “Like” tab, and “Facebook” to share this post. Do not forget to follow me by clicking “Follow” on the lower right corner of your device.

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For those not familiar with Japanese or certain terms used in this post, I hope these footnotes will be helpful:

1A third place is a social venue for socializing. It could be a neighborhood restaurant, café, bar/pub, church, clubhouse, park, etc., as long as it accessible, welcoming/comfortable, free/inexpensive, involves regular/habitual congregation, and facilitates/fosters interaction among people. NOTE: The first place is one’s home; the second place is one’s workplace (for those working) or school (for those studying). Information is according to Wikipedia page “Third place”.17

2Maki, short for makizushi, is rolled sushi4 formed into a cylindrical piece using a bamboo mat called a makisu. It is generally wrapped in nori (dried seaweed) then cut into 6 or 8 pieces, for a single roll order. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Sushi”.18

3Sashimi is a Japanese dish consisting of thinly sliced, fresh, raw fish or meat, often served as the first course in a formal Japanese meal but may also be served as the main course. It is garnished with long thin strands of daikon (white radish) or single leaves of the shiso herb (perilla). It is served with soy sauce as a dipping sauce, along with condiments – wasabi paste (the hot Japanese green paste made from the wasabi rhizome), grated fresh ginger, and ponzu (Japanese dipping sauce made from fish flake broth — simmered from a mixture of fish flakes, mirin, rice vinegar and kombu, then cooled and strained — plus lime juice and soy sauce). Information is according to Wikipedia page “Sashimi”.19

4Sushi is a Japanese dish made of specially prepared vinegared medium grain white rice or brown rice combined with a variety of ingredients (e.g., raw/cooked seafood, vegetables, tropical fruits). Sushi can be served as an appetizer or as a main dish. Fillings, toppings, condiments (shoyu or soy sauce, wasabi, Japanese-style mayonnaise) and preparation vary widely. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Sushi”.18

5Agemono is the Japanese term for deep-fried dishes.

6Onigiri are Japanese rice balls made from white rice formed into balls, squares, cylinders, triangles or any novelty shape, filled and/or topped with desired ingredients. Onigiri are often wrapped in nori.

7Donburi is a Japanese rice bowl dish consisting of fish, meat, vegetables, and other ingredients simmered together and served over rice. It is sometimes shortened to “don”. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Donburi”.20

8Bento is a single portion Japanese meal, usually served in a square compartmentalized lacquerware, called a bento box, in Japanese restaurants. It generally consists of rice, fish/shrimp or meat, and pickled or cooked vegetables. It can be a home-packed meal or a take-out meal. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Bento”.21 In Hana, bento orders also come with miso soup and dessert.

9Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food.

10Yakkimono is a Japanese dish, often served as an appetizer, made of pieces of marinated, skewered and grilled meat.

11Nabemono refers to Japanese hot pot dishes.

12Ramen is the Japanese term for a noodle soup consisting of Chinese-style wheat noodles, a meat/fish-based broth (often flavored with soy sauce or miso) with various toppings (e.g., chashu or sliced pork, menma or lactate-fermented bamboo shoots, negi or green onions, and nori or dried seaweed). Information is according to Wikipedia page “Ramen”.22

13Soba is the Japanese term for buckwheat. It usually refers to thin noodles made from buckwheat flour, or a combination of buckwheat and wheat flours. They contrast to thick wheat noodles, called udon14. Information is according to Wikipedia page “Soba”.23

14Udon is a type of Japanese thick wheat flour noodles, often served hot as a noodle soup, according to Wikipedia page “Udon”.24

15Angus beef is meat that comes from the Aberdeen Angus, originally a Scottish breed of small beef cattle, according to Wikipedia page “Angus cattle”.25 The meat is well marbled, more tender and flavorful than regular beef.

16Tazukuri refers to the crispy, candied anchovies or baby sardines, combined with sesame seeds and coated in a sweet honey soy sauce-sake glaze, usually served as a complimentary appetizer in Japanese restaurants, while waiting for one’s orders.

17“Third place”, accessed July 5, 2018,

18“Sushi”, accessed July 5, 2018,

19“Sashimi”, accessed July 5, 2018,

20“Donburi”, accessed July 5, 2018,

21“Bento”, accessed July 5, 2018,

22“Ramen”, accessed July 5, 2018,

23“Soba”, accessed July 5, 2018,

24“Udon”, accessed July 5, 2018,

25“Angus cattle”, accessed July 5, 2018,

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


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)


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


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).







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:; 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.


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, 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.


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).


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.

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.


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: 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:

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,

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”.

SIMPLY THAI: Simply Delightful!

Location: Level 1, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Mall Center, Legaspi Street, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

B-1-facadeI was back in Makati to do some errands, accompanied by a niece last Friday. It was lunchtime and she suggested we eat at Simply Thai in Greenbelt 5. It was chosen as one of Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurants in 2016 and 2017. So off we went!

B-2-ceilingWhen seated, I looked up and appreciated their orange hanging lamps.

B3-dining rmThe simple, yet cozy, dining ambiance, along with the cheerful wait staff was a welcome treat for me.

This casual Thai restaurant basically offers classic Thai dishes. Menu cards and beverage lists were given to us. Simply Thai has an extensive menu (offering soups, appetizers, salads, main dishes – house specialties, curries, stir fries, vegetables, vegetarian dishes, rice and noodles, desserts) and drink list (branded water, canned sodas, juices, shakes and cocktails).

v9Nmq1521103434Soup and Appetizer Selection, Simply Thai

2-appetizer-saladAppetizer (continuation) and Salad Selection, Simply Thai

3-salads-house-specialtiesSalad (continuation) and House Specialty Selection, Simply Thai

4-house specialties-curries-stir-friesHouse Specialty, Thai Curry and Stir-Fry Selection, Simply Thai

5-stir-friesStir-Fry Selection (continuation), Simply Thai

6-stir-fried-vegs-rice-noodlesStir-Fried Vegetable and Rice-Noodle Selection, Simply Thai

7- rice-noodle-vegetarianRice-Noodle and Vegetarian Selection, Simply Thai

This restaurant is also VEGETARIAN-friendly since it offers a selection of vegetarian dishes: Tom Yum Tofu Soup and Tom Khaa Tofu Soup (P180 each), Pomelo Salad (P295), Green Mango Apple Salad (P270), Grilled Aubergine with Tofu Salad (P275), Green Papaya Salad (P280), Golden Tofu with Tamarind Sauce (P230), Mixed Vegetables in Yellow, Green or Red Curry Sauce (P275), Stir-Fried Bokchoi and Mushrooms (P275), Vegetable Medley in Garlic and Lemongrass Sauce (P275), Vegetarian Phad Thai (P310), Pineapple Fried Rice (P310), and Vegetable Fried Rice (P310).

8-dessertsDessert Selection, Simply Thai

B-4-barYes, Seniors and non-Seniors, Simply Thai has a bar for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages! However, we did not order any beverage since we wanted to concentrate on food orders. Anyway, for Seniors who want to indulge in an occasional Happy Hour once in a while, Simply Thai offers Bottomless Cocktails daily from 4:00-7:00 pm for only P299! Just drink in moderation, ok dearest reader?

Here are our orders, opting mostly bestsellers:

7LBfw1521103134TOM YUM KUNG, the hot and sour prawn soup (P185, good for 2 Seniors) – This soup was served hot. We, Seniors, requested it to be slightly spicy but we still found it too spicy for our taste so the waiter gave us coconut milk to temper the spiciness and we were satisfied.

A-3-chickenPANDANUS CHICKEN, coconut-marinated chicken fillets wrapped in pandan leaves (P385 for 5 pieces, good for 2-3 Seniors) – This chicken dish was tender and tasty.

A-2-porkCINNAMON PORK RIBS, barbecued honey-coated cinnamon ribs (P300, good for 2-3 Seniors) – This house specialty was very tasty and so tender that that meat falls off the bone. This is a flavorful dish and the consistency and amount of sweet-smokey sauce was just right for the very tender ribs.

A-6-vegetablePAT BUNG WITH CRISPY PORK, morning glory (swamp cabbage) with garlic and shrimp paste and crispy pork (P310, good for 2-3 Seniors). This dish was simply stir-fried kangkong with bagoong (what we Filipinos call morning glory and shrimp paste) and the thinly-sliced pork was delightfully a bit crispy.

9wMqu1521102801KHAO KLUK KAPI (Thai Bagoong Rice), fried rice in Thai shrimp paste, with sweet pork, shreds of scrambled egg, thin slices of fresh green mango, chillies and cucumbers (P365, good for 2-3 Seniors) – The fried rice was served separate from the other major ingredients and the waitress cheerfully mixed it for us but we requested her not to include the chillies (and just place them on one corner of the serving plate).

A-4-riceTHAI SALTED FISH FRIED RICE (P280, good for 3-4 Seniors) – This fried rice order was pleasantly appealing and seasoned just right.

A-7-dessertHOMEMADE DURIAN ICE CREAM (P185, good for 2 Seniors) – My husband loves Durian Ice Cream from Davao so I ordered this dessert and asked to share it with him. We personally feel that this dessert can be improved. The durian was pureed and so pure and does not have to be so dominant or strong but, instead, can be developed into a creamier ice cream with just the right amount of durian flavor to delight both durian lovers as well as newbies to the durian taste.

The manager and servers were cheerful, very efficient and rendered commendable service, with a keen eye on the needs of diners, like refilling glasses of water and bussing out empty dishes.

Simply Thai offers both indoor airconditioned dining as well as an outdoor dining area. The comfort room is communal yet decent and clean.

Food servings are ample and for Seniors, orders can easily be shared among 2-3 persons. For Seniors who are not fond of too spicy dishes, simply request the order taker to tell the chef to adjust the amount of spiciness.

Prices quoted were as of March 2018, VAT inclusive and subject to 10% service charge. I paid personally for my meal and all comments are personal. I find the prices reasonable since serving portions can be shared, especially among Seniors.

This restaurant opens 11 am (except Monday at 3pm) and closes (9:30 pm Monday, 11 pm – Tuesday till Thursday, 12 am – Friday till Saturday, and 10 pm Sunday).

Here are the contact details for Simply Thai Greenbelt 5: landline: (02) 7296860; telefax: (02) 7290860; mobile number: 09178380487. For now, their Facebook account is down but you can email: or call the manager, Mr. Armani Zamonte II at 09560747696.

Of course, nothing beats authentic Thai cuisine in Thailand but overall, if you crave for Thai food in the Greenbelt area, you can try Simply Thai.

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Location: Ground Floor, Uptown Mall, 36th Street corner 9th Avenue, Uptown Bonifacio Complex, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

I was shopping with my husband and 3 relatives early evening in Uptown Mall at the Uptown Bonifacio complex in the northern part of Bonifacio Global City (BGC) when we all decided to eat dim sum in Tim Ho Wan.

Tim Ho Wan is a Chinese dim sum restaurant chain, established on March 2009 by Mak Kwai-Pui, located in Mongkok, Hong Kong. It is the first and only Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant in the world and has been in the Philippine since 2014!

Z-2-facadeTim Ho Wan Uptown Mall facade

It currently has 45 locations in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the USA and Vietnam. It is called “the world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant” since it earned one-star in the 2010 Hong Kong and Macau Michelin Guide, then 3 other locations also received one Michelin star in 2015.


Z-3-outdoor-adsTim Ho Wan Uptown Mall outdoor advertising

This Uptown Mall branch was almost full but we found a table. The dining area had a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. The glass wall overlooking the exterior showed a beautiful water-and-light-show and we enjoyed it while waiting for our orders. A young juggler/mime was also within the area showing his various tricks which enthralled the kids passing by and those inside this restaurant.

Tim Ho Wan has a typical Cantonese dim sum menu to satisfy your palate, dear Senior Citizens (SCs). It claims to have the same menu as its original Hong Kong outlet. It offers small, individual portions, just right for one person or for sharing (for us, Seniors).

Z-4-order checklistTim Ho Wan order checklist

The table has an order checklist and ballpen, so we indicated the items and quantities we wanted, and handed them over to a waitress who clarified our orders just to be sure that what we wanted would be served. I asked for the waiting time and it was met.

Z-5-placematTim Ho Wan placemat

For the budget-conscious SCs, just don’t be carried away with your orders. The price range per dim sum order is 120-200 pesos and drinks are 50-60 pesos each. For a quick look at the dim sum selection, first time SC-customers, look at the paper placemat menu which is complete with colored pictures of each item and corresponding prices.

For Seniors like us, I recommend sharing an order with another person so you can try different items in one visit. It is very easy to re-order once you want more of a particular item. For noodles, ask for an extra bowl. If you have difficulty using chopsticks, ask for a fork and spoon. Remember, orders are all served hot and best enjoyed hot, so dig in once they are served. Just blow at little before you put a biteful in your mouth to be sure LOL!

Tim-Ho-Wan-Baked-Bun-BBQ-Pork             Baked Bun with BBQ Pork                           The poor bun after I compress & bite it

Of course, on top of our list of dim sum orders is the Michelin-recognized BAKED BUN WITH BBQ PORK (3 pcs. for 145 pesos). It was delicious indeed! The bun was crusty and the pork barbecue filling was delightfully savory. For seniors who prefer it spicy, I suggest you bite into the bun then add some chili sauce to the filling inside, or add a little sauce for each bite you take.

Z-8-wasabi-dumplingWasabi Salad Prawn Dumpling

The WASABI SALAD PRAWN DUMPLING (3 pcs. for 140 pesos) is a very good choice for those who like the taste of wasabi. It’s like enjoying a deep-fried prawn dumpling with just the right amount of kick from the wasabi-Japanese mayo topping.

Tim-Ho-Wan-Vermicelli-Pork-Rib-Spare-RibsVermicelli Roll with Shrimp   Pork Rib with Black Bean Sauce     Spare Ribs Rice

We also enjoyed the flavorful VERMICELLI ROLL WITH SHRIMP (3 pcs. for 190 pesos), PORK RIB WITH BLACK BEAN SAUCE (120 pesos) and SPARE RIBS RICE (170 pesos).

Z-9-pork dumplingsPork Dumpling with Shrimp

PRAWN DUMPLING (4 pcs. for 160 pesos) and PORK DUMPLING WITH SHRIMP (4 pcs. for 150 pesos) were served hot, steamed in a bamboo basket, and were tasty with the dips.

Tim-Ho-Wan-Beef-Brisket-Beef-Tendon-Noodles                  Beef Brisket Noodles                                              Beef Tendon Noodles

We also ordered two kinds of noodles: BEEF BRISKET NOODLES and BEEF TENDON NOODLES (190 pesos each). The flavorful broth for each order was served hot in a bowl, separate from the plate with the noodles, vegetable and beef item/s with a generous amount of viscous sauce, decorated with spring onions. Both noodle dishes were good. The beef brisket and even the tendons were tender. However, my husband wanted more tendons LOL!

Tim Ho Wan does not offer alcoholic beverages but you can order: iced tea, hot or cold barley water, sodas in cans, or jasmine and oolong teas. I recommend you to order tea (60 pesos per pot), sipped in between bites of the various dim sum you will order.

Service was a bit slow due to the volume of customers but we were told about the waiting time and when the dishes were finally served, they were really hot so it was worth the wait while we gazed outside at the water-and-light-show and talked endlessly.

Call 02-7764549 for table booking to be sure you will be seated due to the popularity of this restaurant. Bring cash for payment. Prices quoted were as of December 2017, VAT inclusive and subject to 10% service charge. So, budget-conscious SCs, better check prices before visiting or ordering for your 2018 (and beyond) visit/s, just in case they will be changed.

This outlet is open from 11 am till 3 am daily. Yes, my dear SCs, you read it right! This Tim Ho Wan branch is open till early morning. So, when you get hungry and crave for a quick Chinese meal, you can walk to this outlet after your last featured movie in Uptown Mall, or if you are at home, cannot sleep and it is midnight/early morning, you can drive to the said mall to pamper yourself to a dim sum noodle treat.

Aside from Uptown Mall, Tim Ho Wan has 5 other outlets in Metro Manila: Makati (Glorietta 3), Mandaluyong (SM Megamall), Manila (Robinsons Place Manila – Ermita), Pasay (SM Mall of Asia), and Quezon City (SM City North EDSA). Type Tim Ho Wan, Metro Manila in, choose the outlet, check out their operating hours, and click on the menu to view the selection with corresponding prices.

Tim Ho Wan is definitely the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurant in the Metro! No wonder it is very popular! Oh, SCs, do not forget to give your SC cards when you ask for the bill, ok?

Our tummies were finally “happy”. Looking back, we only tried one of their “Big 4 Heavenly Kings”: the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork. So, for our next visit, we will try the 3 other “heavenly” items (Beancurd Skin Roll with Pork & Shrimp, Pan Fried Radish Cake, and Steamed Egg Cake) as well as their congee, dessert, vegetable, and other rice, soup, stir-fried, steamed, and vermicelli dishes. Definitely, these are reserved for another cheat day! LOL

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced dining in Tim Ho Wan Uptown Mall or in any of its other branches? How do they compare with their Hong Kong counterparts, especially the one-star Michelin rated Baked Bun with BBQ Pork? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Also click “Follow” at the bottom-right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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