Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mother's day 2006(as originally posted on yahoo group)

after months of unbearable heat (up to 38degrees) a typhoon came swooping down on us and had us all scurrying for cover under our flannel sheets. A neighbor's tree fell down and so did the sign in front of our subdivision. On Sunday, we went to Antipolo for our annual pilgrimage to the church of our lady of peace and good voyage.The place was packed! We then bought some cashews and suman. We were supposed to go to a resort there and i had already researched some nice places but the typhoon wrecked all my plans. Instead, we went to Grilla, a restaurant that had a fantastic view of the city.
The food was outstanding. We picked the mother's day package and got grilled fish, pork, chicken,etc. and we also had a rib eye steak which made me feel pity for vegetarians.Then we went home and snoozed for a bit. For dinner, we went toPosadas, near Sucat which had all sorts of food outlets and a magnificent view of Laguna Lake. There was a duo on the flute and cello playing some soothing pop music.The place was lovely.On anyother day it would have been cool. That day, the winds were strong and chilly. We had japanese food but since it was mother's day, there were lots of people and service was slow. But they did give my mom a bunch of roses. Then, Twinx who seemingly couldn't spend her money fast enough(galit sa pera), decided we should have coffee afterwards on the deck. Again, great ambience if you don't mind the storm in your face. Ma did get another rose and said we made her so happy that day, though she did hint that a complete line of make up would have been nice, too.hehehe!I do regret not bringing my camera, as the place is a great alternative to SM.

old spaghetti house--meager servings

Last Sunday, my sister Twinkle decided to treat the family because she had a big bonus or something. I didn't inquire much anymore after I heard the magic words:My treat. So, off we went to Festival mall as ma said there was a sale there. I spotted Old Spaghetti House and was reminded of a trip to Grilla next to Old Spaghetti in Antipolo that was a pleasantly surprising food trip. The place was a mix of an upscale Shakey's with their colorful glass lamps that hung overhead, and a touch of Italianni's.
The photos are small as I was caught without my camera so we had to make do with Twink's(ehem, Yasmin's) phone camera, which turned out rather apropriate.

The servings were quite small. All similarities to Italianni's stopped here. The food was ok but Ma commented that the dressing was quite meager. A customer at another table asked for some more dressing and was told she'd be charged extra for roughly 2 tablespoons of dressing. Twinx had the sun-dried tomato because she loves Italian food.
Papa got the Smoked Ribs. Please do not adjust your screens. That is indeed the serving size.
This was Jon's cordon bleu.Very good but also very miniscule. I think he downed this in one gulp.I've been longing for more rib-eye steak and ordered this. Grilla's was still better as this was small and not as tender.(maybe overcooked)

We decided to order lasagna as we were still a bit hungry. Twinx said this was more of a date place, that's why the servings were so small.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Estancia hotel, Tagaytay

The following was a review i contributed to yahoo travel last year

Estancia:worth the trip
Last Visit:June 2005 Twinx and Jon by the pool

Me and my family have been to Tagaytay lots of times but this is the first time we spent the night in the city. I had read a review about Estancia Hotel and about how it's a great place for a weekend stay because it had a great view of Taal Volcano a jacuzzi, and 2 swimming pools to swim in if you wanted an escape from the summer heat. Here's a tip: if you're a couple and you don't mind a fan room( it gets real cool in the evenings anyway), get the nipa hut. It looks so cute with all the bamboo walls and floors that really give you a local feel.
Our room was quite spacious

If you're going with your family of 5, and you're looking to save, don't let them make you book 2 executive rooms( made of boring cement walls). Ask to be in just one room. The queen sized beds are good enough for 2 adults each and they have a pull-out sofa bed for the 5th person. The executive rooms do come with a TV, phone, ref and bathtub. Also thought they say check in is at 2PM, they will allow you to come in as early as 8AM to use the facilities and even check-in if there's a room available.

What I liked:

1)Swimming pool and jacuzzi while enjoying the view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake;

Twinx in jacuzzi with her 'Camay' smile

2) all the cute nipa huts set apart from each other --perfect for honeymooners;

The entrance to our cottage. Note the faux wood railing

3)location--it's so near all the great restaurants and other places of interest. There's a Catholic chapel,a Japanese peace garden, a butterfly park, a popular restaurant called Leslie's which has sumptious bulalo and lots of ambiance.

What I didn't like:

1) It's rather pricey(for me) and no breakfast was included. Their bar/restaurant offers Php220(roughly $4) breakfasts which they should try lowering because more reasonably priced places are nearby. Food and drinks are not allowed. A small bottle of water from the ref is $1. We went out of the hotel because it's only 25c at the local store.

2) The pools aren't heated so there is no night swimming--which would've been perfect.

Inside we're shivering! The water was cold!

3)The place is showing signs of age. It's more than 10 years old and some of the facilities are rather run down.

4) Something beyond their control: the cicadas were just so noisy in the afternoon! Fortunately the executive room is airconditioned so we could shutthe windows. And at night the cicadas quieted down.

The place is huge and practically deserted.

But all in all, a truly relaxing stay well worth the trip!


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