Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Visita Iglesia in Pampanga

Maundy Thursday Mom and I together with our helper Ate Dor and our baby boy Yankee set off to Pampanga for Visita Iglesia. It's a Filipino tradition every Maundy Thursday to visit 7 churches to either do the Stations of the Cross or just pray inside the churches. It's so cool to go to Pampanga for a religious thing, the last time I was in Pampanga was in Angeles for the Hot Air Balloon Festival on Valentine's Day.

It's our first time to do this for Holy Week, so we were all quite excited. The day before, Mom and I panic bought food we could bring for the trip. The downside to this was, I didn't prepare for it. We spent most of the time asking the locals for the nearest church. Funny cos most of them don't even know the names of their churches and where they are exactly in their town.

Here are the 7 churches in Pampanga we visited. For next year's Lenten Season you guys might want to put these churches on your list. A lot of the churches we went to where beautiful! And a note to foreign readers, you guys might be thinking why the altar and the statues are all covered in either white or purple cloth. It's also a Filipino tradition to cover it up during Holy Week as a sign of mourning for the Lord's death. I know, this is what makes the Philippines a culturally rich and religious country, and we're proud of it! :)

This is a small parish in the town of Lubao. We were sort of disappointed with this Church because we were distracted by the kids playing inside. Plus they were cleaning up for the upcoming activities, so it was abuzz with people cleaning.

The first old Church we visited. Constructed by Agustinian priest, Fr. Antonio Herrera in 1614, it was completed in 1630. Used as a hospital by Americans in 1899, it was completely destroyed by the Japanese in 1942. From 1949-1952, Fr. Melencio Garcia oversaw the re-construction.

We saw the Church's dome from afar, that's how big it was. I really loved this Church, but the sad thing was, as we were on our way out, we saw a family of Aetas (a tribal group found in many parts of the Philippines) and the sad thing was they let this girl defecate right there. I know, gross! It was so disrespectful! Maybe the local authorities of GuaGua should do something about this!

Right beside GuaGua is the town of Sasmuan, formerly Sexmoan. The Church is found in a really lazy, sleepy barangay and only quite a few people came to visit this Church. This was by far, our favorite Church. Just look at the interior, it was so pretty! I also loved the dome in the center, it looked like the one in GuaGua, but since the ceiling was lower, it really illuminated the entire Church. It was peaceful, too, so we were able to pray without any distractions.

You could also see the dome from the National Highway, so you really won't have a hard time finding it. Also built by Agustinian friars, this Church has got more historical drama compared to the other Churches we visited. In 1995, 4 years after Mt. Pinatubo's massive and destructive eruption, the Church was almost completely buried by lahar flow. Kudos to those who dedicated a lot of time and effort to salvage the Church, it was beautiful and it would've been a completely loss if it weren't dug out of the lahar.

The biggest Church we visited, San Fernando Cathedral was also packed with people. We weren't able to pray the rosary here anymore as the Washing of the Feet was about to start. It's also a Filipino custom to re-enact Jesus washing the feet of his disciples every Maundy Thursday. And outside, we saw a penitent genuflect at the Cathedral's door. A group of foreigners were also there to document our tradition during the Holy Week. I think it amazes them how firm our beliefs are.

The last Church on our journey, this is most modern looking Church we visited. Also packed with people for the Washing of the Feet, we didn't stay long. Plus the Mass was in Capampangan so we just left.

We were pooped after our road trip. Too bad we weren't able to have a Capampangan food trip, most of the restaurants, save some fast food, were closed. We would definitely do this again next year! And maybe, we'll do it somewhere in Laguna. Visita Iglesia is a fun thing to do with the family. They have a saying here, "The family that prays together, stays together". And doing the Visita Iglesia would totally make any family bond. Plus you also get closer to God! :)

I also feel bad we weren't able to visit other Churches in Pampanga. It was a bit hard to navigate, and the asking around for directions took up a lot of time. Next year, I promise I'll be more prepared than this!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Don JuanHito's Grill: The Newest Bar To Hit Town

It was payday Friday 2 weeks ago, I got a text from friend Ninya inviting me to go to this newly opened grill/bar in Granada St. in Quezon City. I was still unsure if I could go since I had a despedida party to go to that same night. But when I found out that my two other officemates, Chuchie and Jenny were going to be there too, I decided it was time for a reunion of sorts! I MISSED THEM ALREADY!

After almost 2 hours on the road, I reached Gilmore St., but had a slight confusion with directions. Turns out GRANADA STREET IS NOW GILMORE STREET! Good God! But it turned out okay since we found it.

Owned by sports enthusiast, Dexter Araquel, Don JuanHito's Grill is this hole-in-the-wall type bar right smack in the middle of Gilmore. What's so cool about the place is that up until around 10PM it's lit by this giant billboard of Anne Curtis, don't laugh it was actually cool to be drinking under a billboard! :) And also for us Filipinos, we couldn't go wrong with INIHAW or GRILLED food! :))

You could watch television while you're there, on the other side Ian and his friends were watching football, and on our side we watched PBA. Then later on we switched channels. It's that carefree to be there!

If you guys are wondering why it's called Don JuanHito's their specialty is HITO (for the foreign readers, it's catfish). Since it was Friday, and I was still observing the Lenten season, I couldn't eat meat. So I ordered their JUNIOR INIHAW NA HITO (Php120)

It was really good, and since they have an aquarium filled with catfishes, you are 100% sure of its freshness! Although there was a slight incident with me getting a fish bone stuck on my throat, I had fun eating this! The stuffing of tomatoes and onions made it all the more tasty.

Ninya and Jenny ordered their Pork Sisig (Php150). Too bad I wasn't able to taste this, it was meat! :( But they said it was really good! Perfect with the beers we were already chugging down!

Chuchie was the one who recommended we ordered this, and it was an instant hit! Sizzling Garlic Mushroom (Php120)

This was really GOOD! It was filled to the brim with garlic, and we had fun picking at it. This is really good with beer actually, but you could also order rice and eat it with it! :)

Lastly, we had the Seafood Sisig (at my request) (Php160).

We all liked this because it was spicy! It had squid and fish in it, and both had very generous serving.

For those who are really into hanging out with friends, have a beer or two, and watch basketball or football, while eating really good, cheap food, Don JuanHito's Grill is a nice place to go. They also have this drink-all-you-can promo for Php300 but only for Coors Light Beer. You can have a bucket of San Miguel Light for Ph225.

This has to be said though, you have to be a bit patient while waiting for the food. Since it's cooked on the spot, you'd have to wait for several minutes before the food gets served. But at least, you're assured of the quality and the freshness especially with the seafood.

Here are some picture we took that night. Chuchie, Jenny and Nya I missed you guys! We should do this more often!

Here's me with owner, Dexter Araquel. Thank you for accommodating us Sir! We really loved the food! I am now officially a fan.

Don JuanHito's Grill
96 Granda St., Quezon City
Tel. No. 585-3175
Mobile No. 0917-8741101

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Mishap That Was Forever 21

Last April 12, a Tuesday, I went to pick up Mom at Makati. After dinner I told her I wanted to go check out the newly opened, and much-raved about FOREVER 21 store at SM Makati. Since it was late, I knew there wasn't going to be a lot of people.

So off we went and looked around. It was huge, and it is a playground for fashionistas (UNLIKE ME hahaha). I've read blogs of fellow Kulasa Anagon, my fashion idol Tin Iglesias, favorite pastimes reads Tricia Gosingtian, another fellow Kulasa Joanna Ladrido, and Patricia Prieto PRAISE Forever 21 to high heavens. So I wanted to have a look at it for myself.

The funny thing was after spending several minutes, make that close to an hour, of looking around unique-looking dresses, Mom was the one who ended up buying something. No it wasn't a dress or anything, it was a BELT worth P495. Please see picture of purchase below.

When Mom went to the counter to pay for it, the girl at the cashier gave her usual spiel which lead to this blog entry. She tells my Mother, "Ma'am we have a no return, no exchange policy for the belt". We knew she was just doing her job, but you use, the Department of Trade and Industry has this rule that SHOULD AND MUST APPLY TO ALL STORES that an item purchased can be returned, if not exchanged, 7 days AFTER THE DATE OF PURCHASE.

And the lousy excuse she gave Mom as to why we cannot exchange or return the item was it was deemed UNHYGIENIC to return a belt. Mom really gave that girl a piece of her mind. Underwear being returned or exchanged IS UNHYGIENIC but a belt? Whut!?

Oh, and another thing about SM, I don't know if you guys have noticed this but in all SM receipts, it only states THIS SERVES AS YOUR SALES INVOICE. All purchases must have an OFFICIAL RECEIPT. Landmark, Jollibee, Petron, Chowking...all of them issue OFFICIAL RECEIPTS. Why doesn't SM? Mr. Henry Sy, I think you have a lot of explaining to do at BIR.

And to Kim Henares, since you are very much into running after tax fugitives, you may want to get ALL SM stores at the top of your list. I think they've been getting away with paying taxes, it's your job to find out now.

To all fashionistas and all consumers, I think you should all be mindful of your purchases. Don't just say yes when cashier girls tell you that you can't exchange or return your items because of hygienic purposes even if it was a belt. As consumers we must all be aware of our rights. Be vigilant about that people!

P.S. If you read the comment below, an Anonymous person just commented. I have talked to a certified public accountant who has worked previously for the Supreme Court and now at the Department of Tourism, and she has told me that IT IS A BIR REQUIREMENT THAT EVERY PURCHASE MUST BE ISSUED AN OFFICIAL RECEIPT. However, she has also added that BIR also give authority that the machine tapes that some outlets or department stores issue serve as the OFFICIAL RECEIPT. But you have to double-check with the store. In the case of Forever 21 or SM, we weren't able to do this because we had no idea about this set-up. Since this has been published, I advice you do ask the girls at the counter if SM's machine tapes SERVE AS OFFICIAL RECEIPTS.

Please do not believe that merchandise purchased are EXEMPTED from being issued OFFICIAL RECEIPTS. Whatever school this anonymous person has gone to, and whatever accounting subject that is, is teaching them the WRONG STUFF! I think it is common knowledge that EVERYBODY SHOULD PAY THEIR TAXES and it is through OFFICIAL RECEIPTS that the government could keep track of this. There are way too many tax evaders in our country, so let us not add to this!

Friday, April 15, 2011

AND THE WINNERS ARE! Randomness Is Bliss: Giveaway #2: One for the Mommies and the Kids at Heart

Randomness Is Bliss: Giveaway #2: One for the Mommies and the Kids at Heart

Since it's Friday already, it's time to announce the 2 winners for the MAMS Kiddie Funland coupons worth Php500! I am very pleased to announce the winners (done via lottery, I asked my 2 friends to pick) of my 2nd blog giveaway:


I will e-mail you guys the coupon and some instructions, so please just wait for it! :)

Thank you guys for joining my 2nd blog giveaway! For those who weren't able to win, please stay tuned, I'm going to Cebu this May and will be bringing home goodies that you guys may win! :)) I promise they're gonna be really YUMMY! :D

Again, thank you so much guys!! :D

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ayala Triangle Gardens Edition 3: KANIN CLUB

It's another Ayala Triangle Gardens edition! And this time, we hit up the old place for my kabarkada's 25th birthday! Although belated, he still pushed through with his lunch treat, which he promised he'd some time AFTER his birthday.

So Elaine (blockmate in La Salle turned friend in the office) and I trooped over to Kanin Club. I was excited because it was my first time to eat here! I've heard how cool and unique Kanin Club's food concepts are, so I was thrilled to have some for myself.

When we got there RJ had already ordered stuff. We ordered their crispy liempo which served us our appetizer as we sat waiting for the rest of the orders to arrive.

It was really good, and they kept true to their word: it was really crispy! And what's good about this was that it wasn't oily. It was so cool hearing the crunching sounds it would make as we gnawed at it.

Up next, we had their pinaputok na pla-pla. Very similar to what we ate in Abe and Lorenzo's Way.

Although the fish was a bit skinny, there wasn't that much meat in there, whatever we scraped out of that fish was totally awesome! They were also able to make the fish skin crispy. The chef must be congratulated! :)

First time to eat this, and both Elaine and RJ ordered this: CRISPY DINUGUAN.

Coming from an Ilocano family dinuguan has been a staple in our meals every since I was a kid. To foreign readers, dinuguan literally means from BLOOD, pig's blood specifically. It was a favorite of mine up until my taste buds started protesting and declaring it malansa. I was a bit hesitant to try this because of that, but I was glad I got the courage to get a spoonful of it in my mouth. IT WAS SOOOO GOOD! It had a vinegar-y taste to it, so you wouldn't know it was dinuguan, no malansa taste for this bloody dish. Plus the crispiness was a new factor so we really enjoyed this dish!

But the star of the show was of course the kanin, or rice. Their rice concepts were so cool. Elaine and RJ ordered the sinigang rice.

I was amazed by how it looked. I was thinking they had sinigang broth with the rice swimming around it. It was dry, but let me tell you, when you pop that thing in your mouth and start chewing, you'd actually taste the sinigang broth. So cool! You also get the vegetables and meat you'd see in a typical pork sinigang meal.

Kudos to the people behind Kanin Club! Totally unique concept especially with the rice! The rice can be a meal itself! And you guys sure know how to tug at a typical Filipino's stomach. We're such a huge bunch of rice eaters and these concepts give such a fresh breathe to the usual white or brown rice. TWO-THUMBS UP! :D

Kanin Club
Ayala Triangle Gardens, Ayala Avenue, Makati City
Tel. No. 621-6109
Operating Hours: 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM, Mon-Sun
Website: Kanin Club - Ayala Triangle Gardens

Other Ayala Triangle Gardens food blogs:
Momo Cafe

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ayala Triangle Gardens Edition 2: MOMO CAFE

I couldn't remember what drove us to actually hit up Ayala Triangle Gardens to eat at yet another restaurant. But this time Kim and I was with Milds, remember these 2 gals were the ones I was with during our Ilocos trip last January, so you guys can get an idea on how good it is to be with them on a FOOD TRIP! I think it was just some "let's go eat out" for a change moment here at our office.

Anyway we hit up Momo Cafe, still on soft opening during that time. We had to go early since the restaurants at the Ayala Triangle Gardens get filled up pretty quick! I've eaten here once before with my Mom at their Eastwood Mall branch so I gave the 2 some suggestions on what to order.

We got to order a lot of stuff, but it was cool that they gave us an appetizer of sorts for FREE!! :)

Carbs for an appetizer can surely perk up your appetite! It was good and we had one bread each!

Then our drinks arrived next. Milds and Kim both got their flavored iced teas. I got my ever favorite Peach-Lychee shake. Since it was a hot day, these drinks were the perfect way to cool down.

When the food arrived, we had to move certain things out of our table.

Order number one was their Carbonara.

I love pasta, especially creamy ones. And this was something I truly enjoyed. They ad generous servings of bacon, too. It's good enough for 2 people, so if you're the sharing type of person this would be a good deal.

Up next, was their Spaghetti with Meatballs.

This was a bit so-so. I'm a bit biased though because I'm not particularly fond of sour pasta, their sauce was purely tomato-based. Every time my Mom would make spaghetti she would put cream to cover up the sourness of the tomato paste. But hey, the meatballs were good and we all had a good time picking on them.

And finally, we also ordered the Country Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Corn.

This was also a hit just like the 2 pasta dishes we ordered! It was just as good as the first time I ate this. And with any restaurant consistency is definitely key to success!

It was a good lunch out with Kim and Milds. Being with voracious eaters like these 2 can really perk up the foodie in you. :)

Momo Cafe
Ayala Triangle Gardens, Ayala Avenue, Makati City
Tel Nos. 621-6161 or 621-6162
E-mail: reservations@eatmomo.com
Website: http://www.raintreerestaurants.com/momo/index.html

Open from 7 a.m.- 11 p.m. daily

You may also check out another Ayala Triangle Gardens food trip at BANAPPLE.

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