Thursday, March 24, 2011

Soaring into the sky on an ultralight plane

Yesterday would have been an ordinary day to most of us ...but not for me.... yesterday, I rode an ultralight airplane and flew close to Mount Arayat, Rio Chico, the Bamban River where the lahar deposits from Mount Pinatubo passed and the Cong Dadong Dam in Arayat. How did that happen?? Iggy had a pre-nup photo shoot in Pampanga and the couple wanted something different... Iggy suggested having a prenup shoot aboard the ultralight plane... When Iggy asked me to go with them... I immediately asked if I COULD RIDE one of the planes... when he said YES.... I immediately packed my gear ( camera and lens ) and off we went to Pampanga. On our way to Pampanga -- I was hoping that it would stay sunny till the mid afternoon.

that's my pilot, Boy Guevarra..

When we arrived at the Angeles City Flying Club, I immediately went to the front office where I had to register and sign a waiver. After inquiring about the prices, I met Max ( Boy ) Guevarra, who was the head flight instructor. I got more excited when I found out that he was going to be my pilot!!! Great!!! I asked him about the terrain --- I explained to him that I was there as a photographer and I was after landscapes, etc. I asked Boy where he was going to take me... Feeling satisfied with all his explanations on our flight plan, he took me around to  be able to take some photos of the other planes they had. I told him I was not new at this sport since I had flown on a microlight plane last December in Chiang Mai, Thailand. More or less, I knew what to expect. The only thing I requested was an ultralight that had no protective covering ( like the windshield ) in front of me and if I could ride on a ultralight that had seats that had seats side by side...

As I walked around with Boy--- he started giving a brief background about the Angeles Flying Club.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fine dining with my family at the Tivoli

First of all, TIVOLI  at the Mandarin Oriental Manila is and has been one of my favorite places to go in Manila for fine dining.....ever since the hotel opened way back then, I would frequent Tivoli or Prince Albert ( at the Intercontinental Hotel ) for intimate dinners or celebrating an occasion with my family. I loved the elegant interiors complete with shining mirrors,  trellises and moulded ceiling which adds an extra vibrancy and warmth to the place.

Last friday, Tom, my eldest son called me, Iggy and Cris and asked us to join him and his wife, Maite for dinner. He said it was HIS TREAT and he wanted to have a " FINE DINING " dinner..  Iggy suggested we have dinner at TIVOLI. It had been ages since we had dinner there. I immediately agreed to the suggestion and Maite, my daughter-in-law made reservations. Our dinner was set for saturday night at 8:00pm. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Singaporean cuisine at TOAST BOX

Ever since I tried the Hainanese chicken rice at the Marina Mandarin in Singapore with my friend, Edith, I have been looking for good, authentic Hainanese chicken rice here in Manila.. I can still remember the sauces that came with it ---the hot chili sauce, the thick soy sauce and the garlic/ginger sauce that went with the dish--- it was worth every pound I gained dining that night.

Yesterday, Iggy, my son told me that I should try out TOAST BOX at the Greenbelt 5... TOAST BOX is a franchise from Singapore and they had on their menu Hainanese chicken rice. According to Iggy, Toast Box is a sister chain of another favorite bakery of mine, Bread Talk. Toast Box is located on the third floor Greenbelt 5. We decided to meet before noon since the place gets easily filled up. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pampanga's Native Kakanins at Susie's and Nathaniels

Just like any typical tourist who would want information on recommended places or restaurants when they visit a specific town, I would always rely in getting these valuable information on where to go and eat from my Kapampangan friends. I am sure you ( like me ) would want to have an idea on which food store to visit for pasalubongs.

One of the famous kakanin stores I would hear from my friends was SUSIE'S CUISINE. Lulu, my friend, would enumerate all her favorite kakanins at Susie's, I wanted to try out the kakanins myself and choose which ones I liked best. Since I was in Pampanga for a culinary  food tour and Susie's was one of our stops--- I could not wait to get there. I wanted to check out Susie's Cuisine ( known to be the best in Pampango kakanins ) to get of my own picks of some of the favorite kakanins of the Kapampangans cooked the Susie's Cuisine way.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Culinary Tour to Prado Farm

Pampanga has always enjoyed the title " The Culinary Center of the Philippines". Pampanga cooking always manages to concoct up its own version of the latest food craze, and often they end up being better because of its use of native ingredients.  Pampanga is widely acknowledged to possess exceptional cooks and Kapampangan cuisine... some of the well-known chefs are Claude Tayag and Abe Cruz. Pampanga cuisine is highly regarded as one of the most delicious cuisine in the Philippines. Their dishes are highly flavorful and true to themselves. Their secret??? it's the slow cooking method they use when they prepare their dishes. They do not make shortcuts when they cook.

I have joined 2 culinary tours to Pampanga and in those tours --- the food served to us was always superb. Some of their cuisine which I really enjoyed were SISIG - which were made out of pork cheeks, grilled to a crunchy perfection, chopped into tiny bits mixed with chicken liver, onions, calamansi and small red peppers which we call labuyo, PINDANG DAMULAG - which is sweet cured pork or carabeef,  BURONG TALANGKA - which comes from the fat of salt-preserved little crabs, BALO-BALO - which is fermented rice with small shrimps, and BETUTE - stuffed frogs. If you decide to go on one of these culinary tours...I would adviseyou to skip your breakfast and save it for the sumptuous meals you will be tasting on the culinary tours.