Inspired by Chelsea Market in New York, Chelsea Grand Cafe in Serendra is a haven for people who love to wine and dine in a homey-feel environment. It has been there for eight (8) years now and has been recently renovated and changed its name from Chelsea Market & Cafe.
Ms. Anabel Wisniewski, president of the Raintree Restaurants, and her family base the concepts of all their restaurants on what they see, feel and taste when they tour around the world. The famous Museum Cafe, Stella, Rocket Room, Mr. Jones, Momo Cafe, Saboten, Terraz and Kabila are all under the umbrella of Raintree Restaurants.
Of course one important key in choosing a restaurant for a great dining experience would be the ambience. Right outside the Chelsea Grand Market, I instantly got the casual vibe of the place. It’s perfect for friends that want to catch up or business meetings for the yuppies.
And of course I had to get down to business. I was starving by the time I got to Serendra, I came from Marikina City and battled with the traffic so I couldn’t wait any longer for the food to be served.
And then the salad: Warm Double Smoked Bacon & Quinoa. You see, I am not a big fan of vegetables so on a normal day, I’d just ignore this one if offered to me. But it looked oh-so-good I just had to give it a try. The vegetables were fresh, the bacon was cooked perfectly, my original plan to just have a taste ended up with me finishing the plate. It was that good!
For the next one, Prawn Gambas (Chorizo-Parsely Butter, Roasted Garlic Confit). Now this one was just irresistible. I am a big shrimp eater, I love prawns and all sorts of seafood so I dug in as soon as it was served. Oh gosh, that was one appetizing dish! The roasted garlic made it extra special. And what even made it perfect was that it wasn’t spicy at all, thank goodness!
Cacio e Pepe e Uova. To be honest, it was my first time to have this pasta. It looked plain but when I got to finally try it, it was very delicious! I absolutely love cheese and that’s the very reason why I liked this dish.
And of course for dessert, Oven Baked Warm Brownie “Smores” and The Chelsea “Peach Melba.” I have a sweet tooth so I really liked both. But since I was already full by the time these were served, I enjoyed The Chelsea “Peach Melba” more. It was definitely a treat for me!Just to make things clear, all the dishes above are my top picks from all that were served. Maybe I have a pet worm inside my tummy but I didn’t just take a bite, I ate a lot of these! Haha! Every single dish in this post pleased my tastebuds. Personally, a food being served is either good or bad for me, there’s nothing in between. It’s a clear yey or ney! I am no cook so I do not really know the ingredients when I eat something, but I definitely know what satisfies my picky tastebuds!
Aug 24-27, 2014 — Thina, my volleyball teammate in college, is getting married in December and it is just the perfect excuse for the ladies to pack our stuff and have a quick getaway in Hongkong for her “last fling before the ring!”
Aside from the bridal shower, the trip is also a way for us to take a breather from work. It is high time to walk slowly, appreciate our surroundings, shop a little, savor the taste of our food, laugh a bit louder, have girl talks before going to bed, and dance the night away!
Our arrival in Hongkong was just in time for dinner. We left our luggages at the Royal Plaza Hotel in Mongkok and then headed off the streets to look for a perfect place to eat.
Let me introduce the beautiful ladies I was with during my trip. These are (from left to right) Lady Riva, Dianne Pagtalunan, my college teammates Thina Abando (the bride-to-be) and Sugar Mesina, me, and Angelia Ong.
We didn’t take photos of our dinner but we had A LOT! One order is already for sharing and we didn’t know that so we ended up trying our very best to finish what we ordered. The food was delicious!
We reached the borderline of Hongkong and China. But we got the saddest news when we applied for our visa. Filipinos and Americans weren’t allowed to enter their country. Our passports were collected and we were held at the immigration. We waited for about an hour. We attempted to ask why we were held but thanks to the language barrier, they couldn’t explain.
When finally they returned our passports, we walked back to Hongkong (woah, I never thought I’d ever say I walked to Hongkong, haha!) and again, we were asked to wait for half an hour. And then this photo happened. I was the only one frowning, haha!
So anyway, we had to change our itinerary because of the unfortunate thing that happened and so our feet took us to Times Square. And that’s exactly what great company does! Despite the sad thing that occurred, we still managed to have fun!
All day, we were on our feet. We walked, climbed the stairs, rode the trains, and back to walking again. When we got to the hotel, we were all so exhausted. The jacuzzi was perfect for our sore back and legs. It was such a perfect way to end the night, it was very relaxing.
[Thanks so much, TRIANGL SWIMWEAR for my pair of Winnie Miami Mint swimwear!]
On our third and last day, I spent the afternoon by myself. It’s very therapeutic to just appreciate the beauty of the things around you, and that was what my afternoon was all about. Seeing unfamiliar surroundings and being surrounded by total strangers have a calming effect on me. Getting lost and finding my own way quenches my thirst for adventure, even for just as simple as this one.
After my alone time, I decided to walk to Lan Kwai Fong where me and my friends were going to meet for our much-awaited girls’ night out. I asked a passer-by where I could find it, he accompanied me and showed how to get there. Eventually he asked what I was going to do there that early, it was only 5pm. I said I was just going to have dinner while I wait for my friends. He then recommended I go to Soho and again gave me the directions.
To get to SoHo (South of Hollywood), I had to get to the Central – Midlevels escalator, the longest escalator in the world. (The complete system of several escalators runs for 800m and climbs a total of 135 meters, some of the ascents can be very steep. Source: http://gohongkong.about.com/od/whattoseeinhk/a/midlevelsescala.htm) Thanks to Mr. Stranger for directing me to one of Hongkong’s best wining and dining areas.
Finally, I chose La Piazzetta, an Italian restaurant. The owner of the resto approached me and asked where I am from. We chatted a bit, talked about the their best dishes then I eventually decided I’ll have my dinner there. Chef Paolo, the owner, told me that his resto has been there for nineteen (19) years and is the second resto that opened in the district.
With his recommendation, I ordered their best-selling Seafood Marinara and I got a white wine as a compliment. My photo didn’t give justice to the palatability of the dish though but it’s very delicious! It’s actually good for sharing but I finished everything, it was that good!
What a coincidence! Chef Paulo’s step-daughter, Rein, was with my friends at the Sugar Bar in East Hotel.
That night we had wine, some shots at Sugar Bar then after that, we headed to some clubs and danced the night away!
The next day, we flew back to Manila. And the question now is: WHERE IS MY NEXT ADVENTURE GOING TO BE? Hmmmm, I can’t wait either! :)
Aug 23, 2014 — This was my second time to visit Iloilo. Once again, just like in almost all of my trips, I had an ‘amazing race’ during my brief stay in this city. A few hours before my flight back to Manila, I made sure I get to see the beauty of the city, taste the delicious delicacies, and buy some pasalubong.
Of course having a photo taken at the Iloilo River Esplanade is a must! It just makes the trip official with the “I am Iloilo” as my background. It’s such a feast for the eyes, both the river as well as the riverbank are clean! I sniff the air, half expecting the river stinks. Fortunately, the air is fresh, with no smell at all. And look at this photo, not a single trash can be seen:
It’s such an inspiring story. My friends from Iloilo say this was totally different before as there were riverbank settlers back then. But with the cooperation of the Iloilo residents to the government’s plan to rehabilitate the river, it has become this beautiful. All the efforts that the Iloilo government did from the planning until the execution should be shared to all the leaders that are responsible for developing all the other rivers in the country.
Even if I am not a resident of Iloilo, I can’t help myself from being proud of what it has become. This is my second time in Iloilo and even if I was already amazed by what I saw then, I am even more impressed this time. The roads are bigger now, there are a lot of businesses that will soon open.
The Ilonggos are proud of their city government and the programs that they are doing. I have a slight pang of jealousy because I want to feel the same kind of pride I have with the entire country. The good news is, this just goes to show that it is possible to have a country like Iloilo. And the biggest part of this success is the residents’ support their city government, they have confidence and trust with their leaders and that’s actually how it’s supposed to be. It’s a team effort after all.
Next stop: The Lizares Mansion
The Lizares Mansion (see photo above) was built in 1937 by the sugar barons at that time. During the World War II, the Lizares-Gamboa family left for Pototan, Iloilo. During that time, the Japanese army turned the mansion into their headquarters. People believe that the basement was where the tortured Filipinos were dumped. After the war, the family returned. In 1950, Don Emiliano Lizares died so the mansion was leased to a businessman who turned it into a casino. The city mayor had it closed down. In 1962, it was sold to the Dominicans and in 1978, it became the Angelicum School Iloilo.
Since I compressed all my activities in one day, I was so hungry when the photo above was taken (I am grumpy when I’m hungry!). Iloilo is known for their La Paz Batchoy. My friends told me that the authentic La Paz Batchoy can be found in the market so off I went to the La Paz Market and chose Netong’s Original Special La Paz Batchoy.
Look at that Batchoy! It has egg, crushed chicharon, chunks of chicken breast, loins of beef, innards of pork, vegetables, and of course the noodles and soup. I had to ask for an extra soup after I finished my bowl, it was that delicious!
My trip won’t be complete without trying out the coffee from Madge Cafe. Since 1941, it has been Iloilo’s iconic coffee shop. It only costs P25! I am no coffee drinker but if I were an Iloilo resident, I’d be a frequent customer and would definitely choose Madge Cafe over the famous coffee shops that we have now. It is affordable and I love the ambience of the place. I like how laid-back it is, very relaxing.
And then after all the wandering, the inevitable had to happen. I had to pack my stuff and head back to Manila. See you again, Iloilo!
Have a look at my post during my first time in Iloilo: http://farahramos.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/april-28-30-2010-iloilo-city/
The DoubleDragon Boat Race 2014 that was organized by Sen. Pres. Franklin Drilon, Double Dragon Properties and the Iloilo City Government (with Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog and Cong. Jerry Trenas) was held at the Iloilo River last August 23, 2014 . It was formerly known as Sen. Frank Drilon Boat Race and started in 2012.
The race is an effort to raise public awareness and concern towards the Iloilo River. The story itself on how it became as clean as it is now is truly inspirational.
I am lucky to be the Media Coordinator of the event. We all checked in at the Injap Tower, the tallest building in the city. Here is my photo with half of the press people on our way to the venue of the race:
I am proud to say that my good friend, Councilor Jay Trenas, is one of the people behind the cleaning of the Iloilo River. It’s such an honor to be friends with someone who is responsible for the development of this beautiful city.
Here’s just the tricky part. I got so involved in the race that I couldn’t forget what happened. During the finals of the men’s division, I was so amazed by the Boracay All-Stars. They were trailing behind the Boracay Sea Dragons. A few meters away from the finish line, that was when they paddled harder. If you were there, I swear, you’d think the Boracay All-Stars won. It was a close fight… like seriously a close fight.
When we were on the way back to the hotel, I found out that it wasn’t the Boracay All-Stars that won, it was the Boracay Sea Dragons. But of course I didn’t believe immediately. I had to ask the organizers for confirmation and then I saw this photo that was posted on the Internet:
Imagine, the Boracay All-Stars were defeated by 52 milliseconds!
But anyway, congratulations to Boracay SeaDragons for winning! :) Such an amazing first for me to witness a boat race and it was a really really nice race, tight competition!
For more info about this event, you may check out these articles:
Ian Ulpindo of DragonBoat.ph: https://www.facebook.com/DragonBoatPH
Frank Calapre of The Manila Times: http://www.manilatimes.net/breaking_news/boracay-sea-dragons-rule-iloilo-doubledragon-boat-race/
An amazing first. It was my first time to walk down the runway for Style Origin. What even made it more awesome is that I was with these amazing celebrities and riders:
What I wore on the runway. Vans from head to toe. Whoops! No cap in this photo, darn it.
Talent – Manager (Angelia Ong and I) team-up! Both ready to walk for Vans!
Mad about caps! I also love this one:
The long hours made us do this! As a model, we are used to waiting for a long period of time. We wait for the rehearsal to start, we wait for the fitting to start, and of course we wait til the show starts. I am not complaining because it is part of our job, we’re used to it. :) Me and my friends think of creative ways on how not to just sit and complain non-stop in one corner. We do different things, we either entertain ourselves or we do something productive like reading a good book or whatever. And this time around, we took some snaps.
We were so in love with the GUESS collection. The perfect pair of jeans has the perfect fit and style and that’s exactly what I wore at the fashion show in SM Pampanga last Saturday. Check out the snaps we took:
And here is a bonus, haha!
Special thanks to Jem Austria for taking these photos on my iPhone! :)
A couple of months passed (5 months to be exact) since the last time I updated my blog. I missed posting and typing away that’s why I visited it once again and here I am trying my very best to revive this untouched site.
Why have I been on blog hiatus? Simple. Instagram happened.
I am not saying Instagram was born just recently but it has become quite addictive that it became my sort of mini-blog for a while. And I feel as though I’ve cheated on this site. I used to love posting stuff and just documenting whatever interesting thing I did or experienced.
In the next days, I will be updating this with events I’ve been to in between my last post and this. There are a lot of things that I’ve been to that I think are still worthy to be shared even if it’s already late. Haha!
It’s so nice to be back! :)
It’s challenging to plan a trip for a big group so we decided to go wakeboarding in Republ1c Wake Park last Tues, January 7. It was a half day of trying to get-up the board, balancing and trying our very best to ride around the lake without falling. Most of us were first-timers and we’re so proud to say that all of us were able to stand up! Yey!
Take a glimpse of our “moments” at the lake (click on the link to view the video):
It was the long weekend, the last weekend of October 2013 and lucky me, I was invited to go to the La Union Soul Surf Festival 2013. I love the beach, I like surfing, and it’s a music festival so there is absolutely no reason for me to pass up this opportunity to travel and have fun with friends.
My first time to surf was in Baler, Aurora… so I was so curious as to how crazy the waves were in La Union. They say Baler is a haven for first-time surfers and they go to La Union once they’ve improved their surfing skills. That was exactly my impression. But since it was dubbed as “The Surfing Capital of the Nothern Philippines,” San Juan, La Union has perfect spots for beginners, intermediate, and advanced surfers. So no need to worry guys!
One good thing about festivals is that sponsors put up booths in the event area. Some have photographers so that you could take home some photos that show the memories you’ve had in the event. And what’s even better? They give out free booze, prizes, and there are interactive games and activities!
Here’s just an inevitable shot by the beach. The sound of the waves calms me and basically the reason why I’d love to visit all the other beautiful beaches here in our country.
I just wanna share this guys… I downloaded this new App called Paktor since my friends asked me to. I downloaded it a month ago but it was not until my trip to La Union that I decided to use it. I was surprised when I saw a lot of my friends and even my crush in it! So what does this app do? It connects you to people you’re interested in —- awesome! And it’s all anonymous until that someone you like, likes you back. Even more awesome! :) So if you’re gonna ask me what I do when I’ve nothing to do, I open this app and swipe. Haha! Trying to check out the hotties nearby.
Always, always one of the boys! I was with these two gentlemen (Jal Emata and Kelvin Mangilit) the entire time!
Look who I bumped into! It’s Justin Quirino of 95.5 RT! Good seeing you again, after a long time! :)
Notice that I kept bumping into familiar faces during my stay in La Union. And guess who I saw on our 2nd day? My girls (Grace, Thina, and Royce) were there too!
We joined the beer pong contest at the Rayban booth. It was me and Royce against Thina and Grace. Royce and I made a great team-up: I did the shooting while she did the drinking. It was just a great strategy since I shoot better and she could handle alcohol way better than me. Oh did I mention that WE WON??? :)
And I kept bumping into more friends that I haven’t seen in a loooooong time! Here’s a photo with Phawie Reyes (we were both interns at Saga Events) and Miah Gomez.
Listened to the beats of DJ Kulkid, R.A.C., and Panic City! The entire music scene at night was amazing that we danced all night!
My new partner-in-crime, Kelvin! Yes, he’s one of the guys I was with in Malaysia and Singapore. :)
The booze and the girls! :) (Kelvin, Royce, me and Monique)
And that ends our La Union trip. On the 3rd day, we decided to move from the beach to the mountains. We went to Baguio for lunch!
I havent introduced the entire amazing group yet so here: Krissy, Jal, Monique, Chris Star, me, and Kelvin
St. Bernard’s are pretty popular in Baguio, they were all over Mines View Park. They are HUGE and wear shades like that! COOL!
And again, the group:
And even in Baguio I get to see familiar faces! My beb, Chantal, was there with her oh so cute and adorable son, Andoni!
The fun didn’t stop there. We decided to have dinner at the Isdaan Floating Restaurant in Tarlac. I didn’t take a lot of photos there because they transformed it into a horror house. We were welcomed by a scary shokoy at the entrance. I had goosebumps upon seeing that thing. You see, I don’t even enter horror houses nor watch horror films so I asked the waitress if there were any more scary creatures in the restaurant and asked her to tell them not to scare us. Good thing she obliged.
And after that “challenge,” we roamed around while waiting for our table. It was a long weekend so there were a lot of customers.
I will always be a “bata-batuta” in my mother’s eyes:
And again, the group:
This was a memorable trip… we all laughed at the corniest jokes, ate like pigs, danced all night, and laughed again at the corniest jokes! I am looking forward to another adventure with this group in December. I really hope it pushes through! :)
It is best to have quality time over quantity time. I heard this in my favorite telenovela and I immensely agree with it as I am a very busy woman. I am always on the go… I am always at work or on the road stuck in traffic for hours. It is not possible for me to always go with my family to trips just like when I was still a child. And so I realized the importance of having quality time — to make those times extra special.
Today, I made it a point to block off my day to rest (since I’ve been working way too much these couple of weeks) and take my mom to dinner at Cafe Lidia in Calumpang, Marikina. Since she saw it on TV, she’s been asking me to take her there.
Cafe Lidia is a famous restaurant in my city (Marikina) so it’s really a must to pay a visit. I am so happy that we weren’t disappointed when we finally tried their delicious food!
Look how excited my mom was:
Spotted this on the way to the restroom:
It’s definitely not going to be my last time to dine at this place. There are still a lot in their menu that I want to try. I’ll even bring the rest of my family next time! :)