Manila Chronicles (Part 1 of 3): Meeting KTG


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.

We were welcomed by a live robot named Aedi! 
I love stars. I wish my bedroom had stars on the ceiling like this.
I got so dizzy going through this digitally revolving tunnel. I had to hold on to the rails to get out!
My first time to see a real dinosaur skeleton. Just like the movies! :D
Hair-raising static… bzzzt! My armpits itched a bit after that. :))

It was definitely an eye-opening, mind-broadening experience, reading and learning new things in the museum. It was very much suited to my learning style because I am a visual learner. It would’ve been better if my company were different though. My cousins were too young to bother reading around and so with mom.

We were supposed to head to Ocean Park afterwards but Mom decided we go to SM MOA instead for the seaside carnival. I wanted to go on the tall ferris wheel but my sister, Joanna, wanted to ride on what looked like a beat-up-third-rate version of the Segway. Being the older sister, I had no choice but to give in to the job of being a clown/chaperone/driver. Imagine how I’d look speeding around in this outfit. :/

            A few minutes after our ride, the sky couldn’t hold his pee any longer so we took shelter in the mall.

“I want Cinnabon, I want Cinnabon.” My older brother was repeating this like a broken record. Honestly, I didn’t get why he was so persistent about it in the beginning. I always get some from whoever just came from Manila, especially from Mom, and I really didn’t think it was a big deal anymore.

I got myself a minibon anyway and it knocked some sense into me. My first bite of that warm, freshly baked morsel of cinnamon goodness just zapped me from reality and everything seemed to be on slow mo until I finished my serving. I guess I’ll be having one whenever I find myself in Manila now.

Despite all the shops on holiday sale, I was more excited for the Christmas party of some of Manila’s food bloggers who call themselves the “Kain-Tulog Gang (KTG)” later that night. Richie of The Pickiest Eater had invited me when he knew I’d be around. And this, my friends, is the real beginning of my trip. :D

I was dropped off at SM Megamall where the ever accommodating and supportive Richie picked me up to take me to Astorias Plaza, Ortigas Center. Excitement was brewing in my tummy as I was nearing the reality of finally meeting most of Manila’s top food bloggers, thanks to Richie! And getting to meet Richie's family, Rina of Rina's Rainbow and the adorable Baby Rain, too! 

We got on an elevator and went up several floors that I didn’t bother counting how high up we went. We stepped out onto a garden pool setting where the aroma of something grilling affirmed the reality of this much-awaited moment. Faces were introduced one after another as I was scouring for familiar ones. Familiar, because you see, it wasn’t my first time to meet some of these respected bloggers - a bunch of them were brought to Cebu by Movenpick last November; that was when I first met Richie the Pickiest Eater in the flesh! And to represent the KTG gang along with him then were Spanky Enriquez of The Daily Spank, Jane Chua of Between Bites, Richard Co of Tales from the Tummy, Eugene Constantino of Hefty Foodie, and travel bloggers Matet Reyes and Melo Villareal.  

I was supposed to write about that first meeting but school really had a tight rein on me the entire semester. Anyway, just to give you a quick rundown of how I met them…

Richie kept in touch with me throughout their stay and made sure I’d get to meet them by sending me a personal chauffeur to take me wherever they were! Whatta VIP huh? Too nice of you, Richie! I still owe you a burger tour in Cebu! :)

I first met everyone at Ralfe Gourmet Chocolate House in Casals Village, Mabolo. I was so nervous; I couldn’t believe the moment finally came for me to meet The Pickiest Eater whom I just met through the blog. The jitters easily subsided as I discovered that this bunch was really down-to-earth and easy to get along with.

The Pickiest Eater and Babe for Food finally meet!
from left: Matet Reyes, Ms. Laurie Reyes of Movenpick Hotel, Melo Villareal, Jane Chua, Eugene Constantino, Spanky Enriquez, Richard Co, this writer, and Richie Zamora

I hung out with them at the Chocolate House and Issa Perez of issaplease.com also joined us during dinner at Larsian’s. And the next day, I swam with them at Movenpick Hotel and went along ‘til they had to go to the airport. It was too short a time to really go around the city together but they coaxed me to visit them in Manila so they could take me around. I was really doubtful I’d get to do that anytime soon though.

Richie's angels :))
from left: Issa Please, Babe for Food and Between Bites 
At the Movenpick lobby before heading to the airport. 

Little did I know, Mom had already included me in a trip to Manila at the end of December. So there I was, unexpectedly in that room filled with amazing people who all share one of my biggest passions with me – eating! And I tell you, there’s nothing like being with fellow piggies! What’s even better is, even if this wasn’t my hometown, I felt so at home with them. None of them made me feel out-of-place at all, as what I was honestly expecting. :)

So, back to the party, there was a plethora of food sponsored by supportive restaurants and companies. This made the sumptuous feast that was – D-I-Y burgers (unlimited burger patties from Kitayama Meatshop), TWO variants of lechon baboy – one by the Pepita’s kitchen and the other by Diplahan of Zamboanga, the famous cheesecakes of Indulgence by Irene, Paella Valenciana from Richie's aunt Peewee Morato (for orders, contact 0917-8478706), and many more!

my burger :D
Keso de Bola and Ube Cheesecakes by Indulgence by Irene
Diplahan lechon
Tales from the Tummy with Pepita's lechon
Steaming hot and stuffed with bagoong rice! 
irresistibly adorable candy from Made from Candy

Food was overflowing and all kinds of things would just pop up out of nowhere. The most interesting thing I tried that night though was a line of Japanese ice cream named Jojo. The flavors were Miso, Seaweed, Green Tea, Blue Cheese (Japanese blue cheese?), and… I forgot the other one. Haha. Miso was the most surprising. Believe it or not, it tasted like caramel! Blue Cheese was my second favorite.

But more than the glorious, overflowing food was the amazing company that night. Although I can’t exactly remember all the new faces, I was humbled and overwhelmed by this jovial company who warmly welcomed me and made me feel like I was part of the family. They are truly some of the most genuine people I've ever met. Inevitably, they managed to convince me to go back to Manila real soon for a food tour with them.

With the lovely ladies!
Jane of Between Bites, Franny of Frannywanny and Yedy of Yedylicious!
The Spanky Enriquez
With Chuckie Dreyfus of All Chucked Up!
(Baby Rain was even more adorable in person!)

And so this piglet went home with a happy tummy and happy heart from new friendships. I can’t wait for the next time I can be in Manila to be reunited with KTG!

The last two days of my Manila trip will be narrated in the next post. Stay tuned! It’s the most epic part of my trip that I want to share with you.

If you're wondering how I found myself in Manila and what my next post might be about, you can read Manila Chronicles.

oink oink,

Babe for Food

-  your BFF in Cebu dining! :)


  1. Looking forward to seeing you in May, Justinne!!

    It's going to be even more Legendary for sure!

  2. It's actually Dojo ice cream, not Jojo. Their black sesame ice cream is heavenly! :)

    Anyways, I'm so jealous you got to meet some great bloggers in MNL! Looks quite fun! :D

    1. Oops! Lol! Pardon my occasional poor eyesight. Thanks for the correction. :))

  3. Wow, you met so many bloggers! If only I was as outgoing as you!

    I want to try the dojo ice cream! Asa na mapalit?

    PS. My armpits itched a bit after that. :)) <---- HAHAHAHA

    1. You can be as outgoing as me! Hahaha. It's so easy to make friends with me. Password is FOOD. :))

      I dunno where to buy the dojo ice cream though. Maybe Manila lng? :(