4/7/14

Manila Chronicles (Part 1 of 2): Meeting KTG

18:40

Touchdown Manila.


DAY 1 – Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013

Or rather, Night 1. The supposed main highlight of our trip was to watch the Cinderella play at Resorts World Manila which happened to be just close by. Mom had hired a van to take us around the entire trip. So, we immediately proceeded to Resorts World to take the chance of buying tickets for the show. Just in the knick of time, we scored tickets for 7:30 p.m. We only had half an hour to eat so we didn’t have any other choice but to grab a quick bite at McDonald’s which was already swarmed itself. You'd know that would've been one of the places I'd avoid in Manila if it were my choice. You get me. ;)

The theater was pretty huge and very comfy as well – plush, lazyboy-type seats, ample air conditioning, great sound system quality, and not to mention the bold, illuminated design of the walls on the sides. The production set was what impressed me most. It would magically transform from one set to another with just a quick swivel. Picture-taking is not allowed during the play though so I can’t show you how beautiful the set was.    
 

Resorts World was a luxurious place and definitely one too luxurious for me so I didn’t get to enjoy it much. I wasn’t even able to take much photos because we were rushing to go home right after the show.


Day 2 – Friday, Dec. 27, 2013

             Having arrived in the evening, I was also excited to see what Manila was like in broad daylight, how much has changed since I’ve last been there. 

The first itinerary of the day was to go to The Fort at BGC (Bonifacio Global City) in Taguig for The Mind MuseumI’ve read about the Mind Museum on mustachioventures.blogspot.com and it was definitely on my bucket list since then. It was exciting to experience a modern and interactive museum right in our own country. It was even cooler to find some of the things I read on Mustachio’s blog come to life, especially the resident scientists roaming on Segways and the Science Park.



3/4/14

Lubu Filipino & Seafood Restaurant

            Funny how Cebu is surrounded by bodies of water and yet decent seafood seems to be becoming a hit-and-miss in most restaurants. Understandably, seafood is quite a pricey commodity, even more than meat already. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse for restaurants to settle for common and, most often than not, low quality seafood.

            Even more ironically, we find the more decent seafood dishes in Chinese restaurants. I am one who cringes at finding Cream Dory, that mushy-fleshed fish with a murky aftertaste, in restaurant menus. Only a handful of restaurants know how to cook this fish well enough to mask its filthiness.

People these days don’t seem to mind a long drive for some good food and scenery. Some would even drive over two hours up north for mediocre Filipino fare that you can actually get in the city. Well, finally, here’s a place that offers solace for those craving for some quality saltwater critters. And it’s not too long of a drive at all.

Lubu Filipino and Seafood Cuisine is a new addition to the restaurants in Mactan that deserve your attention. This is the restaurant that took over what used to be The Fat Lobster since November 2013. Fat Lobster or not, they sure know how to cook their lobsters! Here’s a rundown of my experience at Lubu…
             

              Finding Lubu was not a difficult task thanks to Mustachio who did his homework of location checking and offered to take me, Luis (my favorite food buddy blogs now! check it out) and Baktin Corp. there. But besides that, it really isn't hard to find because it's just along the road and in between Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa and Movenpick Hotel. On the left side, you will find a small commercial complex called Seaport Village. 

              The green lights that illuminated it seemed to be a go signal that drew us in. The casual setting has a beachy outdoor feel that instantly relaxed me. Though the atmosphere was laid back, I was delighted to find that the service was not one bit complacent. Our waiter was quick to notice our needs and had the initiative to recommend items from the menu.

                So, why Lubu? I had to wonder because it was quite an odd name for a restaurant. And for a Filipino resto, the name didn't sound like a Filipino term I was familiar with. Stephan, the young owner who graciously sat with us throughout the dinner, explained that it is a compound of  his surname, Luthi, and being in Cebu. Hence, Luthi in Cebu = Lubu. 

                As a custom of mine, I always ask for the bestsellers. Stephan recommended the Kinilaw na Tanguige, Pancit Canton, Lechon Kawali, and Spicy Prawns with Rum. We had everything except the Pancit Canton. And of course, a platter of rice with it.

                 Honestly, when I was looking at the menu, everything seemed to be simple fare and I kinda doubted if it was any good. However, as each dish took its turn to be presented at our tables, I was gradually convinced that this restaurant knew how to serve simplicity at its best.

Spicy Prawns with Rum  P340

                 The first dish easily impressed me. I've been particularly fond of prawns since my childhood. The jumbo/king prawns were cooked to perfection - the flesh easily pulled apart from the shell and retained its juiciness - and the sauce complemented it well. The rum in the sauce was not apparent enough but it was awesome with rice! My heart broke a little when the waiter took it away after all the prawns were gone. This dish instantly gave me hope for what was more to come. 

Kinilaw na Tanguige  P240

              Known as ceviche in Italian cuisine, their take on this Filipino version was light on the palate. The fish was cooked just right by the vinegar, slightly firm and chewy. You can also tell the fish was fresh. 

Lechon Kawali  P280

            Me ordering lechon kawali is a rare instance; I do not fancy many fried dishes. I only do so for courtesy of my company. I was glad to find that this one wasn't too greasy.  

Fried Lobster (main serving)  P950

              And now for the highlight of the meal! I'd say lobsters are the specialty of Lubu. These are offered in two ways - grilled or fried - and in two serving sizes - entree (250 g) or main (500 g).  Stephan recommended we try the fried one. It was my first time to encounter fried lobsters. I usually have them grilled with a zing of lemon butter sauce. These were served on a bed of fried alugbati, an interesting alternative for the usual fried morning glory (kangkong). 

                Let me just say, these lobsters would be the main reason you'd find yourself coming back to this restaurant. Again, these were cooked perfectly and are quite affordable for the serving size. 

Sizzling Calamari w/ Bacon in Garlic Oil   P280

            The ever inquisitive Luis was looking for something unique in the menu. He asked Stephan but Stephan couldn't seem to think of anything until Luis spotted this sizzling calamari with BACON in garlic oil. Go figure. BACON is the password to Luis' favor. 

         It was indeed an interesting one. I was expecting it to be breaded but I'm glad it wasn't. The bacon bits melded with the calamari like they were meant to be together. It definitely amped up the dish. 

          So, yes, this place is definitely a must visit especially for tourists who find themselves accommodated in Mactan hotels or for the city folks who just feel like getting away from the busy life. A drive can be therapeutic and when you get to Lubu, you are met with soothing food and excellent service.  

           As for me, that night was a night of discovery, of finally finding my wolf pig pack and finally meeting Brennan of Baktin Corporation! It was indeed a night of good food and good company. Thanks for coming with me Mustachio, Luis and Brennan! To more meals together! And thank you, Stephan, for being a gracious and generous host. :)

          GOOD NEWS for readers of this blog, too! You can get 20% discount when you dine at Lubu. Just inform the waiter or manager that you read about Lubu on Babe for Food. What are you waiting for? Get those heels kicking for some fine seafood!


Lubu Filipino and Seafood Cuisine
Seaport Plaza, Punta Engano Road, Mactan, Cebu, Philippines

Contact: 0917 610 1866 / (032) 492 7824
Store hours: Monday - Sunday    11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Price range:   P300 - P1,000/dish


"To know Cebu, eat Cebu!"

oink oink,

Babe for Food
-your BFF in Cebu dining! :)

2/16/14

Valentines Resto Destinations 2014

It’s love month once again and I’ve already had several people ask me for Valentine’s resto recommendations as early as mid-January. Of course, I love helping you out with your foodie dilemmas so I’m making this one of my yearly routine posts now.

      Unfortunately, this post came out too late because of unending schoolwork and business matters that constantly interrupted my schedule for this post. I am terribly sorry for the delay, dear readers. Believe me, this was set to be published by the first day of the month. Anyway, in this case, let's just bring to mind that Valentine's should not merely be a one-day celebration but instead, one that is year-round with the likes of Christmas. :) 

I know celebrating an occasion on the actual day is one of the ways to make it special as it is. But honestly, I don’t get why almost everyone would want to go out all at once on the same day just to have a “romantic” date. I mean, why go through all the trouble of getting stuck in traffic and spending on ridiculously expensive bouquets of flowers, chocolates or whatnots just to end up eating in a resto packed with other couples? I personally wouldn’t mind having that romantic date on another day when it’s calmer, way less crowded, and you can truly enjoy the ambiance and each other’s company. But yeah, I guess most girls would go on b*tch fits for not getting to go out on Valentine’s day itself. Haha. Condolence to you and your wallets, gentlemen. :))

I broke down the list into 4 categories hoping it’s more helpful this way:

Love on Top
        If you can’t buy her diamonds, you can buy her a great view of the city lights that sparkle in the romantic twilight instead. Whether you’re that guy proposing to his girl who is afraid of heights to compel her to say yes (or vice versa), or you both just wanna feel like Aladdin and Jasmin on a static magic carpet ride, these spots are perfect for those who want to take their relationship to the next level. ;)


Anzani & Bellini
Panorama Heights, Nivel Hills, Lahug, Cebu City
      
Tel: (032) 2327375    
          
            You can either have a full course menu in this Mediterranean restaurant or enjoy the view at Bellini with champagne or some wine and tasty antipasti.
           
photo by: thestylecebu.com


Blue Elephant Sky Lounge
19/F Apple One Tower, Biliran Road, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City   
   
Tel. no: (032) 511 7600     

            If you’ve seen photos of a great view of the Ayala Terraces and its new expansion, then you know what I mean. This new resto that just opened late last year sparked an intriguing trend in Facebook and Instagram from photos of its amazing view.

Savor Asian fusion cuisine with a bottle of red wine and marvel at the beautiful landscaping of The Terraces or just enjoy the cool night breeze.  


1/11/14

Manila Chronicles



            It’s been half a decade (do the math) since I’ve last been to Manila. And yes, it feels as long as it sounds. If my memory of Manila were a gadget, it would most likely be obsolete by now. True enough, I did feel like a caveman (okay, maybe that’s too much) when I unexpectedly found myself there by the last weekend of 2013!

            You see, my mom has a thing for giving me short notice on things. For this trip, I was only informed a day before we had to leave. We were going there to visit her mom, siblings and my cousins.

            Since I started this blog, I’ve been following several Manila food blogs to get myself updated with the capital’s food trends and compare it with my beloved Cebu. As much as I’ve been learning a lot from these food blogs, I’ve been developing a mild stroke of envy for Manila as well because they get dibs on most of the cool food. Unfair, right?! Hehe.

            But really, I’ve been wishing to visit the capital again for some good grub and most especially to meet the food bloggers and chefs I’ve made friends with. So, you can imagine my panic attack when I found out. Guess what the most urgent thing I thought I needed to do was – tell my blogger and chef friends I would be there the next day! Fb status and private messages, Instagram comments, tweets; you name it, I did it! And to my relief, it worked well even with my mom’s all planned out itinerary for the trip.

            I have to confess that I wasn’t too excited when I found out because like I said, knowing my mom, she would already have an itinerary all planned out and this does not include restaurants to try. I told her my plans though because as soon as my friends knew, I was immediately invited to their Christmas Party and other affairs that I dare not miss. Fortunately, she gave me leeway to catch up with them. And boy, was I a happy little piglet!

Our trip’s schedule was set for December 26-30, departing for Manila on the 26th and returning to Cebu on the 30th. Here’s the itinerary my mom planned out:

*The ones in red font are my own itinerary.

            Day 1 (Dec. 26, Thursday)
     -   Resorts World to watch the Cinderella play

Day 2 (Dec. 27, Friday)
    -    The Fort, BGC for the Mind Museum
    -    Ocean Park
    -    KTG Christmas Party

Day 3 (Dec. 28, Saturday)
    -    Enchanted Kingdom

Day 4 (Dec. 29, Sunday)
   -    Malling
   -    Café Ysabel/CACS

You’ll find in my following posts that this itinerary will have some changes. Although I wasn’t too excited for this trip in the beginning, the excitement swelled up as I was sitting in the plane and when I saw the Manila city lights, as we were about to touch down.

Anyway, I’ll save the story for later. I’m really excited to share my Manila experience! It’s the best I’ve had so far. Thanks to my mom! :D

Hope you’ll stick around for the following posts!


oink oink,

Babe for Food
               - your BFF in Cebu dining! :)

1/1/14

Count Your Blessings 2013

          No matter what trials and battles we all face and overcome each year, fact is, there is always more reason to be thankful for in this life than to hate it. It’s always interesting looking back at what has transpired throughout the year since our last New Year, to see if we did take to heart and accomplish our resolutions.

2013 has particularly been interesting and life-changing with a couple of extraordinary events that have happened, not to mention, the simultaneous calamities that swept through the Philippines. I believe this year has made a lot of people truly reassess life in all its essence and a lot of lessons – on faith, hope and love - are learned and reinforced.

            What matters most for me at the end of the year is personal growth in all aspects – mental, emotional and spiritual (let’s just skip physical because I don’t wanna grow, well, sideways. Hehe.). I seek most of all to learn and experience new things that can make me a wiser and stronger person; a woman of substance.

         Here’s a rundown of the greatest blessings I’ve received this year from my loving Father, just as I’ve been doing since 2011:

JANUARY

            I have a confession to make: I am not very good in front of cameras especially when it’s for “professional purposes” such as a TV show or photo shoots. I don’t turn down opportunities like these though because one can never overcome fear if one does not face it. So, I just do regardless of my awkwardness. Haha.

Well, I was asked to be a model/ambassador for a friend’s Sinulog shirt business called The Sinulog Shirt Project and here’s a photo to prove what an awkward subject I can be. :p


Photography by: Ean Dacay
MUA: Jennifer Elaine Sarmiento
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