A friend learned that I dined at Apartment 1B of The Henry Hotel and suspected that the food must have been no good that is why I did not write or post about it in this blog. But since now that I am writing about it, it only means that I indeed enjoyed the food that they served us.
The selfish in me actually wanted the restaurant of The Henry Hotel to be a secret, but since friends learned that I dined there with Nengkoy and family, might as well spill the sumptuous beans!
I have nothing bad to say about the warm service, the appealing food and the relaxing ambiance. The food at Henry Hotel actually was a big positive surprise! I never expected it to be so good. Their well-presented dishes were amazingly fine and delicious.
I have nothing but alluring and charming praises for the food served at Apartment 1B. I will surely be back!
I grew up in one of the most notorious and crime infested cities of the world, Pasay City. The gang-infested town of New York, the dynamic human trafficking in Belize and the exploits of crime at the favelas of Brazil seem all so tame and subdued if to be compared to the felonies and transgressions that occur in my home city.
That is why I was so surprised to find out that right in the middle of dangerous Pasay, runs a rare and unusual Honesty Shop. Honesty stores and shops (unmanned establishments in which the stores cash sales are relied upon the honesty of its patrons) thrives in some of the most nonviolent, remote and/or progressive spots in the world. In fairness, there are actually 2 stores that I know that runs an honesty shop here in the Philippines, one is at the remote and peaceful province of Batanes while the other one is at the high-end and affluent university here in the Philippines.
Enough with the topic diversion! The store in Pasay that I am talking about is Honest Henry, an honesty shop inside a compound where Henry Hotel is located. I found this place when I and my family was about to have a hearty lunch inside Henry Hotel.
The even rarer fact about this store is that it is not just selling cheap snacks and knickknacks. It is selling locally-made pricey-looking crafts and souvenirs. I was so surprised when I was checking all the merchandise! Those were not cheap, shoddy and substandard!
Honesty Shop at Henry Hotel was something so pleasing and refreshing for Pasay City. It gives me the positive feeling and perspective that there still exists some glimmer of hope to the city where I grew up.
I am 1 of the 640,000,000 inhabitants of Southeast Asia. And I am 1 of those who was just gone upset now that Uber is no longer operational in this part of the world. I am an Uber user since the time Uber started in the Philippines. It is my chosen ride-hailing firm as compared to Grab, a Singaporean-based and a more giant in my region.
Uber was my preferred ride every time I would travel back to Manila. It has prevented me from dealing with the swindler cum taxi drivers infesting the Manila airports. And though it’s no longer operational here in the Philippines, I intend to keep the Uber app in the phone.
I am an Uber user because I find it more efficient, a lot cheaper and the drivers seem more polite. I’m an Uber user that I even got to use Uber as a verb in my daily conversations with people. My admiration to Uber got more intense when I travelled solo in Istanbul. It was the ride I took when I need to spend the night in a hotel near the Istanbul airport. And when Nengkoy, my sister and I was in Bangkok, Uber was our preferred mode of transportation.
But the use of Uber would soon be so foreign to me both as an app and as a verb. Using an Uber now would only signify that I am out of my country for some travel, rest and recreation! Here’s one cute Uber Philippines commercial though…
Thanks for the short yet precious time Uber. Hoping to use you soon!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
“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.
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!
Some friends and colleagues still could not believe that I was able to accomplish the rigorous hiking that the mountains of Batad in Ifugao Province entails. Some were actually not surprised when they heard the hardships and learned that I was the crankiest, most ill-tempered and was the number one complainer among our group. As If my complaining was the highlight of our Batad adventure! Hahaha!
But people don’t realize that aside from the breathtaking sites, I was able to appreciate how lucky I am based on how my life has been going on compared to the simple folks living in Batad. That is why seeing locals especially the farmers who keeps the bizarre and phenomenal rice terraces by their bare hands humbles me. I may have been blessed more than these folks yet I have so much respect for these people. Batad folks may not own the possession that a modern human being enjoys now, yet they are the people who chose to live simple, enjoy simple and chose to maintain a beautiful earth wonder by their very own hands.
Kudos to the people of Batad! You definitely are one of a kind! Galing nyo grabe!
*thanks to Aiko and JB’s cameras for these photos…