Month: March 2017

Stregato Gelateria: A Gem in Balanga Bataan

It is starting to become a habit that every time I and my colleagues got to spend an overnight weekend adventure out-of-town, we would first have to dine in a well-liked or budding restaurant or coffee shop. Part of the adventure is to scout and google the nicest food joint that our destination can brag about.  And when we have chosen one, we would agree that before proceeding to our final destination to check-in we would have a detour by having either a breakfast, a brunch or a lunch in our chosen eatery.

On our way to Las Casas De Filipinas De Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan for an overnight weekend, I and my colleagues stopped over the agricultural city of Balanga in Bataan.  We had lunch at Stregato Geleteria, a cute and charming Italian-inspired diner right in the middle of the city (right beside The Plaza Hotel and at the ground floor of Galeria Victoria Mall).

cute!

Stregato Gelateria was one surprising restaurant.  First timers like us easily fell in love with the interiors and ambiance of the place.  And surprisingly, the service was pretty quick and the food were superb!

I particularly ordered the Slow-Cooked Roasted Pork Belly.  And that was indeed a winner!

slow-cooked roast pork! yum!

All of us agree that another impressive thing about the food is that the serving-size were just perfect.  The portion was not too much neither too little for its reasonable price.  Their prices were actually not reasonable because it’s unreasonably low!  With an endearing ambiance and flavorful food, Stregato Gelateria is definitely comparable and in the level of pricey diners and coffee shops here in Manila.

And since our tummy were not too full nor felt shortchanged we decided to order two slices of cakes – the mindboggling Ferrero cake and the marvelous Mango Crème Brulee cake.  One Tagalog word for their desserts… sarap!

sarap!
cakes cakes cakes!
a reason to come back
mga batang bagac!

All of us further agreed that Stregato Gelateria is a gem of a restaurant in Balanga, Bataan.  If given the chance to be back in this beautiful old province, I will definitely not miss eating at Sregator Gelateria.

Sarap sa Ingles… dilisyus (parang ako)!  

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Bonggang Bonggambilya

I have always appreciated and been amazed by the blooming of flowers.  This is especially true if I happen to be touring abroad on a spring time.  I never had the appreciation of blooming flowers in the Philippines.  Maybe because we don’t have a spring season (we only have dry and wet seasons) and because flowers seem to bloom here at any time of the year.

But with my recent trip to Bagac Bataan at Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar, I was so amazed by the texture and richness of Boungainvillea (bonggambilya in Filipino), I could not resist myself from not having a photo with it!

bonggambilya ba kamo?
happy… pati tummy!

Bongga…

Wicked (the musical) In Manila: A Wickedly High-End Run

This will most probably be one of the last write-ups of Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz musical as it ends its latest run here in Manila.  Me, my sisters and Nengkoy (of course) had the awesome opportunity to catch and watch the last performance night here in Manila.

We were of course bedazzled and captivated by the sheer magnificence if the costumes, the colors and the music of Wicked.  But I will not write anything about the musical for there has been millions of it in the web.  Instead, let me deliberate on the venue and the people on the night we watched the show here in Manila.

Unlike my sisters and Nengkoy, it was my first time seeing a musical show in Solaire Theatre.  I have seen a couple of shows in Broadway, New York but never was I been so stunned and dumbfounded by the high-endedness (is that a word?) of Solaire.  The theater was so modish and dashing there were moments when I doubted being in poverty-stricken Manila.  While waiting for the ushers to allow us inside the actual theater, the well-lighted foyer area was played with chic jazz music.  I never noticed or heard stylish jazz or muzak being played at the measly lobby and waiting areas of New York theaters. In some New York shows, we the audience actually have to queue at the cold and dusty side street.

nengkoy & my wicked sister with her high-end bag! bag lang nya ang high-end sa amin nung gabing yon. hahaha!
pictures muna
me & my sister… defying gravity…

And what further dumbfounded me were the rest of the audience.  Everyone was well-dressed for the night.  Well-dressed, I mean well-dressed.  Gentlemen were in their crisp long sleeve shirts with matching coat and necktie while the ladies were dressed to the nines.  Some ladies were even donning in elegant gown and seem to have been to some pricey beauty saloon prior to the show just to watch Wicked, The Musical.

I was actually so shocked, wearing just a polo shirt and my old dungarees, I could not control my utterances about the theater and the people.  I told my sisters that I have seen a couple of Broadway shows in New York but the atmosphere was never this chic, high-end and elegant.

Buti na lang di ako nag-tsinelas.  Taray… Walang ganyan sa Nyu York!

Gaston of Beauty And The Beast

 

Pure enjoyment.  That is how I would describe my general view and opinion after watching the rebooted and newest version of Disney’s Beauty And The Beast.  It is a film that is loaded with thoughts, scenes and features that will warm your heart.  Viewers will definitely fall in love with the lead characters and will delightfully be mesmerized with the characters who were cursed to become inanimate objects.  The Be My Guest scene was spectacular!

I’m pretty sure a lot has been written about the various characters of the movie.  Even LeFou the sidekick of Gaston (the main nemesis) had loads of write ups about him because of his being a member of the LGBT.  And since I am more of a fanatic of the antagonists that those of the usually boring bida, heroes, heroines or protagonists, let me write about Gaston.

Personally, Gaston (superbly played by Luke Evans in the movie) was a potential favorite at the beginning of the story but I eventually dropped him when he turned unreasonably evil.  Gaston was funny and a likeable idiot at first half of the movie.  With the good looks of Luke Evans, I’m pretty sure some of the viewers would rather drop the Beast and instead root for Gaston.

In the movie, Gaston started as a conceited narcissistic dude with a dash of charming-ness but his funny-at-first demeanor suddenly turned unappealing when he starts to get too irrationally sore and unreasonably obsessed with Belle.  I don’t like the Gaston characterization at the end part because it does not have a background on why Gaston turned out to be the Gaston in the movie.  Gaston is unlike other movie nemesis in which a backgrounder is presented on why they turned evil.  I actually just assumed and have to settle on a thought that Gaston who wears a military uniform must be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after being in a terrifying war or traumatic battle that is why he is so unstable.

Though with unexplained past and unexplored personal history in the movie, I guess, Gaston’s character and wickedness is one vital need in the movie so as to enhance and further emphasize the pureness of the hearts of both Belle and the Beast.  Without Gaston, there won’t be a tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, (all together now!) Beauty and the Beast.

Gaston did a pretty good job.  He is actually the true and spot-on beast in the movie.  If he survived the high fall at the end part of the story, he now has adequate reason to rile and aggravate the future lives of the Beauty and the Beast!

Dahil kontrabida ang peg, Team Gaston ako!

Baler 2017

Summer 2017 is on here in the Philippines!  Here’s my first summer adventure this year!  Fun spending an early summer season with MJ, Willie and JB…

It’s my third time in Baler and this bucolic province never ceases to amaze me.  Love this place!

I lab Baler!

Kissed a Relic

national shrine of padre pio

One of the highlights of Nengkoy’s birthday celebration last week was my whole family’s visit to the National Shrine of Padre Pio located in Sto. Tomas Batangas (80 km south of Manila).  Except for my younger sister Joie, it was everybody’s first time in the church.

Before proceeding to the main church area all of us took time to roam and check out the grounds of the holy national shrine.  We even lighted a number of votive candles to give thanks and pray for some groovy and awesome intercession.

votive candles…. got myslef a green for health, nengkoy took a brown for birthday while nephew miggy got himself a yellow for money! hahaha!
smiling nengkoy with smiling padre pio
come holy spirit…
few of my monster nephews… denden, luis, kambal, neil and miggy
got to kiss this…
a super blessed day… (nephew alexis: a photo bomber hahaha!)

We failed to attend and listen to a Holy Mass but we were nevertheless lucky and were at the perfect time to have attended an awesome Healing Liturgy.  And part of the blessed ceremony is that people got to kiss a sacred relic of St. Padre Pio followed by an anointment of a fragrant oil on both palms and the forehead.

Though it initially freaked me out, because I thought my lips are gonna burn (hahaha!) when it touches the relic, the experience was something serene, calm and divine.  I definitely felt God’s blessings and Padre Pio’s embrace.

Visiting Padre Pio church in Batangas was one beautiful experience.  It was one blessed experience!

Mwah! Mwah!