Tag: nengkoy

Pinoy Elements in Villa Escudero

If I am to choose a place where to bring a foreigner-friend so as to fully immerse him to the culture of the Philippines, I would choose Villa Escudero in Tiaong Quezon. 

team langit in front of the museum

Villa Escudero seem to contain and characterize a wide assortment of a true Filipino culture.  Employees from engineering, to servers, to housekeeping and receptionists are all comfortably dressed in the traditional “patadyong” for the ladies and the colorful “camisa de chino” are worn by the guys.

The structures of Villa Escudero room accommodations are all native, characteristic of the traditional Filipino house known as “Bahay Kubo”.  Villa Escudero also boasts of a marvelous museum collection, majority of which are about the rich Filipino religion, clothings, history and even fauna.

After a glorious Filipino buffet lunch right in the middle of a river with a man-made waterfalls as a backdrop, guests will get to enjoy and watch a Filipino show inside a humongous pavilion.  The show features various uniquely Filipino dances, costumes and customs.  I particularly loved the energetic TInikling dance, the funny vignette about Sabong, the robust and brawny Maglalatik and of course the singing of the song Filipinas at the end of the show.  The show boasts about its authenticity for it was conceptualized and choreographed by the late Filipino National Artist for Dance, Mr. Ramon Obusan. 

Then later in the afternoon, guests would get to enjoy and listen to a “harana” (a serenade).  In the old days in the Philippines, a way for a suitor to woo a lady is by having a visit in the lady’s house.  But prior to being allowed inside the lady’s abode, the suitor needs to sing by the lady’s window otherwise known as the Harana

If the young lass showed up through her window, it means that the admirer will be welcomed inside the house after he finish his singing.  But if the lady refuse to show up and face the singing dude by her window, it signifies that she is not interested towards the guy singing outside. In Villa Escudero, their male employees get to sing old and traditional Filipino song in front of the houses where guests are billeted as if they are doing a “harana”.

But what I am most impressed about the authentic Filipino element present in Villa Escudero was its excellent food selection during breakfast.  Never have I seen a buffet breakfast as Filipino as that of the selection of dishes served in Villa Escudero! 

pinoy breakfast!

It seem that all remarkable Filipino breakfast dishes are featured in their buffet.  Aside from the usual fruits, yogurt, cereals, jams, milk and eggs, there were Filipino breakfast varieties like Champorado, Singangag, Lannganisa, Lugaw, Gatas Ng Calabao, Suman Sa Lihiya, Bibingka, Crispy Danggit, Crispy Dilis, Quesong Puti and of course Kapeng Barako.

Why do I know all these?  It is because Villa Escudero was again the chosen venue of Nengkoy for her to celebrate her 81st birthday.  Six years ago, this was the same venue for Nengkoy’s 75th birthday.  Villa Escudero no matter what year we visit still has the same authentic Filipino elements for everybody to enjoy.

nengkoy having buffet lunch by the water falls
i love it here…

Ay Lab Bilya Eskudero…

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Khaoniao Mamuang: Best Thai Dessert

I can no longer count the number of times that I have posted in this blog that my favorite course in an entire meal would be the dessert.  The confectionery course has always been my main course!

When I was in Bangkok with my mom and sisters, we of course got to try Thai dishes.  I have always revered how uniquely sensual and remarkably palatable Thai dishes are.  But still, it is a simple dessert among all the striking Thai dishes that really makes my modest and artless taste buds happy.

I love Khaoniao Mamuang.  Don’t be fooled by how the words were spelled and how should it be read.  The best Thai dessert for me is simply known as Mango Sticky Rice!

I adore this dessert for it is uncomplicated, simple and straightforward!  No lavish implements are needed for its presentation; no rare, pricey and uncommon ingredient is need; no knotty and confusing procedures are required for its preparation; and, no intricate and confusing way of eating and enjoying it.  Yet the taste is so heavenly! 

mango sticky rice in the past are simply sold by street vendors of bangkok, but now it is conveniently available in groceries and supermarkets…
a night in bangkok…

It was my fifth time in Bangkok about a week ago.  I may have failed to revisit some the beautiful and spectacular tourist spots of the city, but I never failed to eat, savor and enjoy the divine and blissful Khaoniao Mamuang!

Uulit ulitin talaga…

Jamie’s Italian Bangkok

One epicurean highlight of me, my sisters’ and my mother’s adventure in Bangkok was the opportunity to dine at Jamie’s Italian.  It is a popular worldwide chain of Italian restaurants conceived and run by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.  Thanks to cable TV my family knows who Jamie Oliver is.

This chain of restaurants has recently been in the news in which about a dozen of its branches scattered around the world are reportedly beleaguered and will soon be closing.  It is so ironic that it has yet to open a branch in Manila, yet branches in other spots on the planet are already closing.

So before Jamie’s Italian would completely dissolve and utterly disappear from the face of earth, me, Nengkoy and my sisters took the chance to savor some of its dishes.  My family love watching cable TV cooking shows (including that of Jamie Oliver’s) and now that there is an opportunity, we will no longer forever wonder how a popular celebrity chef’s creation actually taste like.

These are what we ordered…

Soup of the Day… pumpkin soup! This surprisingly passed the palate of Nengkoy whom I consider to be an authority when it comes to pumpkin soups.
Meatball Pappadelle (free-range pork & fennel meatballs in ‘nduja tomato sauce with olives, herby breadcrumbs, rocket and parmesan) this is sooo good…
Spaghetti Alla Norma (a classic sicilian pasta dish or aubergine, chilli & basil in rich tomato sauce) it’s vegetarian yet my personal favorite! 
Truffle Shuffle (white sauce, truffled salami, fontal, balsamic onions, free-range egg & black truffle) super savory!
Epic Chocolate Brownie (with proper chocolate sauce, salted caramel ice cream and caramelised popcorn) super yummy!

And after enjoying all these savory dishes, I wonder why a significant number of Jamie’s Italian branches around the planet are in the brink of closure.  Maybe it’s because taste buds of people around the world has mutated, regressed and had a relapse that it can no longer fathom, appreciate and recognize what good food is.

Good to know that the Bangkok branch stays strong and dynamic.  This is considering the fact that Thai people seem to be one of the most discriminating in terms of flavor, taste and palatal experience.  With the luscious taste and flavors we experienced at Jamie’s Italian Bangkok located at Siam Discovery, I hope that this chain remain for a long period of time for others with discerning taste to enjoy. 

me and nengkoy… enjoyed the food so much!

Parang ako ang kasarapan!

Nengkoy’s First Bangkok Adventure

“I will because Nengkoy still”. This would be my response if I am to be asked if I would still travel abroad and around the country even if I reached eighty.
Nengkoy who will be turning 81 years old this week has actually just gone to Bangkok, Thailand. I and my dear sisters accompanied her.

nengkoy with my dear sisters

It was Nengkoy’s first time in Bangkok while it was my fifth. Bangkok still never ceases to amaze me. The people and their culture is so beautiful. Nengkoy was at awe when she saw for herself the weird reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, the elegance and style of Wat Phra Keaw and the majesty of the Grand Palace.
And I was super glad that Nengkoy was able to stand the super heat and humidity of Bangkok climate. Since Bangkok has yet to install lifts or escalators in every stairs facilities leading up and down the metro train, I was also super glad that Nengkoy at her age could still go up some high flight of stairs.


Travelling with an old lady have some unique challenges. The medicines to bring, the amount and type of food to order in a restaurant, the challenging long walks and difficult climbing, the spots and places to visit and go to, the modes of transportation to take, etc. But all these challenges were handled with ease. Thank goodness Nengkoy does not possess the grumpy, irritable and ill-tempered persona that I often possess during my travels. Hahaha!
Anyway, Nengkoy’s Bangkok adventure was simply happy, easy and noteworthy. I am the proudest that Nengkoy got to see and experience the beauty of Bangkok!


Koriya naman daw ang susunod! Kaloka!

Obtained Charms For The Year Of The Dog

It’s Chinese New Year this coming Friday.  To somehow get ready for the upcoming Chinese New Year, I and the 80-year old Nengkoy went to the world’s oldest Chinatown!  Yeah, established in 1594, the Chinese-filled, Chinese-looking and Chinese-smelling Chinatown in Manila is the oldest.

And guess what?  I have been on numerous times to Hong Kong, Taiwan and some portions of mainland China, but this is my first time to visit and traverse the street of Ongpin, the heart and center of Manila’s Chinatown.

my sister say that i look like the owner of the store in this photo. BILI NA! hahaha!
nengkoy while we traverse the old Ongpin Street
will i get rich if i buy and wear all these?

Me, Nengkoy and my sisters proceeded to Chinatown not to greet the folks Kung Hei Fat Choi nor get there to immerse ourselves on some exotic Chinese food.  We went there to optimize the potentials of our good fortune in the coming Year of the Dog.  Believe it or not, we bought ourselves some oriental good luck charms and amulets.

It was such a fun experience when we reached and entered a store that sells various charms and amulets.  A variety of glossy gleaming rocks and a cornucopia of gemstones, trinkets and ornaments that believed to dispel bad luck and will attract fortune, good health, peace of mind and even auspicious love life are all seem present in that store.

I got myself these…

i’m ready to get rich!

The ritual of cleansing the purchased charms and putting a spell on it (as if switching on the potency of the trinkets) before it was handed over to us seem to enhance some authenticity to the powers of our chosen charms.  It also adds up fun and amazement to the rare adventure we had at Ongpin Street.

Some would say that we may have made a fool of ourselves and we let ourselves be duped, tricked or conned by the sellers of these Chinese ornaments.  But I have always believed that there must be something in these knickknacks that seem to influence human fate and providence.  Nothing will be lost anyway if I am to practice or believe in these age-old Chinese tradition.  Yet, what if it works?  Hahaha!

But seriously, ,may it be effective or not, I know deep within my sensibilities that hard work, perseverance, Intelligence of the mind and the brightness of the heart are still the keys to good life and sought after fortune.

Kung Hey Pat Tsoy!

Food for Thoughts at China Blue

Every time a member of my family finishes his or her studies – may it be elementary, high school or college – the graduation dinner treat for him or her is always held at the old, not so expensive and not so savory Filipino restaurant in Malate, Manila (which I refuse to name).  It has always been the tradition that Nengkoy got to insist that the celebration be held in that restaurant may you graduated with summa cum laude honors or you finished at the bottom of your class’ ranking.

But for the Master’s Degree graduation of my nephew Luis, I got to choose the restaurant!  Nengkoy allowed that it be held someplace else maybe it is because the graduation is not just an ordinary bachelor’s degree but something higher, more advanced and more difficult to obtain.

I chose China Blue.  Having previously enjoyed the savory food I this authentic Cantonese Restaurant located inside Conrad Hotel, Manila, I knew that Nengkoy and the members of my family in that dinner would truly enjoy some sumptuous treat!

Nengkoy with Team Langit. Congratulations Luis!
the mandatory photo-taking of me and nengkoy…
super nice private room where we had dinner… the waiter i guess felt that me and my family are so noisy we were billeted in this private room

And since I arrive early in the restaurant, took the liberty of ordering the dishes for our group.  And when everyone arrived and each dish was being brought in into our room, I asked my family not to touch the dish until I tell them to because I want to take pictures of it.

Here’s the actual photos of some of our orders.  And since I lack the ability on how to properly describe each dish, let me then attach a Chinese proverb for every one of it…

when you drink the water, remember the spring.
(paper thin crispy beef in sweet and spicy sauce)
a bird does not sing because it has an answer. it sings because it has a song.
(sweet vinegar marinated cherry tomatoes with sour plum)
when the winds of change blow, some people build walls while other build windmills.
(barbeque honey-glazed matsusaka pork neck)
what you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.
(steamed truffle mushroom buns)
he who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left
(crispy fried shrimp salad with wasabi dressing)
pearls don’t lie on the seashore. if you want one you must dive for it (hahaha! can’t remember what this yummy dish is called)
true knowledge is when one knows the limitations of one’s knowledge
(pork belly wok fried)
if you always give, you will always have
(crispy pumpkin coated with salted duck eggs)
if you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow
(fried spinach bean curd with spicy sichuan eggplant with minced chicken sauce)

I failed to take a photo of the Buchi or glutinous rice dumpling with red bean filling coated with sesame seeds (our desert) which according to our waiter Angel was a very good choice because it was the award-winning dessert of China Blue Manila.  My family are all sweet toothed, it would not come as a surprise that everyone would just rapidly dig into the delicately sweet Buchi and would not care if I have already taken a photo or not.

I really can’t figure out what specific dish was the highlight of that dinner.  It is because every dish was beautiful, every dish was delicious and every dish deserves a big round of applause!

And when Luis would decide to further pursue his studies, doctorate degree that is.  I’m pretty sure Nengkoy would again agree that Luis’ PhD graduation dinner be held again in China Blue Manila.

Kongrats Luis!

Saw It Twice: The Greatest Showman

It has always been my personal stance that it will take an exceptionally brilliant movie for me to watch it again for the second time in a movie house.  The two movies that I can recall watching twice during its regular run in the theaters were David Cameron’s Titanic and Pixar’s Inside Out.

Well, Titanic and Inside Out now has been equaled by the outstanding and admirable musical drama movie by Michael Gracey, The Greatest Showman.  I first saw The Greatest Showman with friends and officemates last Friday.  And as soon as the credits rolled at the end of the movie, I just knew that I have to see and enjoy it again in the big screen. 

saw it first with colleagues and officemates

Well tonight, I saw it again.  This time I am with Nengkoy, my sisters and nephew Luis.  Here’s the five reasons why I decided to see it again tonight (Sunday, February 4, 2018):

One: The Music

I think I have fallen in love with the music of the movie.  Each song in the movie are so superb.  The melody in the whole selection are so brilliantly easy to the ear.  The songs in this musical are so infectious and addicting you just want to listen to it again and again and again. And the lyrics especially in five of my favorite numbers (A Million Dreams, Never Enough, This Is Me, Rewrite The Stars and Tightrope) are so powerful it cuts through deep into my being.  It would be hard to listen to the songs and not get emotional.

Two: The Story

It’s one movie that is so light yet magically entertaining.  You need not have a big brain to bring inside the movie house to comprehend and understand the undemanding plot of the movie.  And since the storyline is clear-cut, easy and light audience ends up loving every character in the film.  And most importantly the story is positive. 

Punctuated with memorable songs, The Greatest Showman is a feel-good movie, I ended up flashing a relaxed smile and with a happy heart (in both occasions) as I walked walk out of the theater.

Three: The Message

An unabashed piece of pure entertainment movie would often end up without a substance.  But The Greatest Showman is something rare and different.  It is one of those highly enjoyable film that exudes the message of courage and acceptance. 

The message of being yourself, issues on body image and embracing what makes you unique are well within the highlights of this brilliant movie.

Another rare feat for this movie is that (though it is not a cartoon or digital animated movie) there was no sex nor swearing in the whole length of the film!  That itself is something extraordinary in this time and age of movies.

Four: Nengkoy

After seeing and enjoying it the first time.  I promised myself that I will have to bring Nengkoy to the movie house for her see, hear and experience the joy, the dazzle and the spectacle that The Greatest Showman bestows.

Fifth: It’s a Celebration of Humanity

And lastly, as stated by one of the theatre critics in the movie, The Greatest Showman is one good representation of a “Celebration of Humanity”

second time with nengkoy and family
nengkoy posing with anne wheeler, phillip carlyle and p.t. barnum (talents at the cinema). i was a little disappointed because i was looking for the bearded lady talent but there was none.

Ang galing!