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Restaurant Review Worth the Weight

An Afternoon at Ice Giants

Ice Giants Review

One sunny afternoon last summer (way before my dad had his blood tested for various illnesses), we were all craving for ice cream. Since we wanted to try something new, we decided to go to the nearest Ice Giants to eat what else but a giant sundae!

Before that, we ordered some “real food” because we haven’t had lunch yet. Since we’re going to be eating a giant sundae, we stayed away from rice meals. But the dishes we ordered were still calorie-laden so I don’t understand my point. Here they are:

Ice Giants Review

I forgot the exact price, but it should range from P250 to P300

Ice Giants Review

This was just a small serving of lasagna – P120

Who knew Ice Giants served savoury dishes? I didn’t! While we were eating, we ordered our giant sundae to be served later. We wanted either the mango or the halo-halo flavoured ones, but the young’uns really wanted chocolate so chocolate it is. Lo and behold, the chocolate giant sundae.

Ice Giants Review

Why does my 3-year old look so binata here?

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Restaurant Review Worth the Weight

Lunch with Friends at Perch Modern Kitchen + Bar

Perch Modern Kitchen + Bar Davao

I had a great time last Sunday! Well, I always have a great time whenever I find myself spending the day with my friends since college. Last Sunday was another of the days (although one of our friends, Christine, was sorely missed because she’s now living in Japan!).

We wanted to try the new Picobello at first, but on Saturday, we decided to try Perch Modern Kitchen + Bar instead. We’ve heard a lot of great reviews about it, and upon checking out their menu, we couldn’t wait to try their Filipino dishes with a twist.

But first – OOTD! I didn’t want one taken because I was feeling fat that day (yet I ate to my heart’s delight), but Hazel insisted, so here it is 😀

Midi dress – bought online | Denim bolero – Mags, given by George | Sandals – Gibi | Bag – Aldo, gift
On Yuri: Shirt – Garanimals | Shorts – Mothercare | Shoes – Nike | Bag – Disney

I had a crisis that morning because none of my clothes fit me. I hope I’m only kidding but I’m not. I’m so sad. How do you lose weight? Huhu.

Okay, back to Perch. I only have phone pictures here; I can’t believe I forgot to bring my camera! It was just lying beside my bag, but I grabbed my bag without putting the camera in. Blame it on my weight crisis (or is it the anaesthesia?).

Perch Modern Kitchen + Bar

Freaky picture – the upper side looks cropped diagonally but it’s not

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Technology

A Girl’s Review of Windows 10

Windows 10 review

Have you tried the all-new Windows 10?

I upgraded my laptop to Windows 10 last Saturday — and I’m loving it. It’s the best

I reserved my upgrade about 2 months ago, and I seriously couldn’t wait for July 29 to come. When the day finally came, I thought everyone who had reserved would automatically get notified and receive the upgrade. Apparently, that was not the case as Microsoft was rolling out upgrades gradually. This explained why it was already the 31st and I still didn’t get any notification.

Then impatient-me discovered that there was another way to upgrade — through Microsoft itself. You only need to download their Media Creation Tool, run it, follow the instructions, wait, and say hello to Windows 10. I ran the installer last Saturday, and I had to wait for 6 hours to complete the entire installation process. Some of my friends only waited for an hour, while some 5 hours or more. Since my laptop is fairly new (Intel i3), I guess the internet connection factor also plays into the wait.

Windows 10 upgrade

But the wait was totally worth it. At least for me. I’ve been through several Windows OS — and when I say several, I mean Windows 95, Windows 98, even Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 — and this is, so far, my absolute favourite OS. These are the reasons:

1. The interface is beautiful.

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Food Restaurant Review Worth the Weight

Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit La Boutique Davao

Disclaimer: I apologise for the quality of the pictures – my Samsung WB150F doesn’t do very well in low-light settings. Perhaps it’s time to invest in another camera? Haha.

Hi, everyone!

Whew, what a busy week. I’ve done a couple of overtime work this week – good thing I actually enjoy doing my job – and there were a handful of power interruptions. The longest one happened last Thursday, where we had a 3-hour brownout. Coincidentally, that was also the evening when a Payoneer event I was invited to attend was scheduled.

Payoneer in Bon Appetit La Boutique Davao

It wasn’t technically a blogger event, but this was the first event I attended ever since I started blogging here in A Joyful Mess. Also, I think I was the only one there who wasn’t technically a freelancer and didn’t have a Payoneer account yet… Hehe. The guys from Payoneer hosted the dinner as a way to give thanks and/or introduce themselves to the online workers and freelancers (more on freelancers) in Davao City. As it wasn’t really a blogger event, let me just tell you about the restaurant where we had dinner: Bon Appétit La Boutique.

A quick research about this restaurant reveals that it’s Davao City’s number 1 restaurant, according to Trip Advisor. I was super thrilled to go to that dinner and discover why it’s #1.

Owned by a French man and his wife, Bon Appetit La Boutique is a really tiny, tiny place tucked into the inner corner of a restaurant compound in the heart of Davao City. When they said it’s a hidden gem, they really weren’t kidding. It actually reminds me of Belito’s Vineyard, another secret gem tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Anyway, back to Bon Appetit.  It looks unassuming when you see it from the outside, but wait until you get a taste of their dishes.

Here are the dishes served in our dinner:

Complimentary Side Dish

Bon Appetit La Boutique Davao

Freshly-baked bread with Black Olive spread

This picture was taken when the power was still out. This explains the candle hehe. It was my first time to eat black olive spread, and I liked it!

Appetizer

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Food Review Worth the Weight

Lunch at Grand Emerald Seafood Garden

Emerald Seafood Garden Review

We are a Filipino food kinda family. It doesn’t mean we enjoy only Pinoy food or eat only that — it’s just that it’s our default food when eating out.

But one Sunday, for some reason, I was craving for Chinese. I don’t know why; maybe my MSG levels were depleted. Kidding, kidding. Peace! Seriously, though, we don’t use MSG (or vetsin) at home, so sometimes I look for MSG-laden foods when I’m out. #confession101

So we decided to eat at Ahfat Seafood Plaza, a well-known Chinese restaurant here at Davao. However, when we got there, the place was full to the brim. The guard directed us to their other restaurant, Ahfat 2, but it miserably looked like a school cafeteria for some reason.

Perhaps they already so confident in their cooking that they didn’t bother anymore with aesthetics. Anyway, since we’re big on restaurant interiors, we abandoned Ahfat, crossed the carpark, and went inside a relatively less packed Grand Emerald Seafood Garden.

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Resort Review Summer Destinations

Pacific Heights Private Resort in Samal Island

Pacific Heights Resort Samal

You have been redirected from my review of Pacific Heights Private Resort on DavaoMommy.com.

Last Monday, I told you about our R&R slash supposed team-building with other village officers and youth. Which was promptly ruined when a group of gatecrashers, well, crashed the event. It was a good thing, though, that the resort we went to is a lovely one so our day wasn’t completely ruined. (It was also a good thing that they arrived at lunch and we were still able to have fun in the morning.)

Pacific Heights Private Resort

I’ve actually never heard of this resort before, which is understandable as it is quite new. As the name also implies, it is a village and the resort is supposed to be exclusive for them, However, for some reason, they recently decided to open the beach resort to the public. Yay!

I wasn’t able to take a lot of pictures because, for the first time ever, we went to the beach yaya-less, So I was constantly running after a little 3-year old whom we shall not name, and I was also constantly wet with seawater. But here are some photos that we managed to take:

On the way – actually, on the barge
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
Can you guess what they were playing? I told them that next time, we shouldn’t have medics in the fun run; we should have the medic in the teambuilding!
Pacific Heights Resort Samal
I just realized I don’t have a photo of the pavilion that we rented, so I borrowed this photo:

Via samalguide.com

It was a very clean resort and the sand was, like most Samal beaches, also fine and white. However, unlike Costa Marina, which we used to frequent, there were no big coral formations under the sea. Thus, you can swim barefoot without the risk of injury. In Pacific Heights Private Resort, there are also multiple water activities that you can do such as riding the banana boat and going “skin diving.”

How to go to Pacific Heights Private Resort

Go to Sasa Port, ride a ferry/barge (you can ride it directly or take your car with you). I was surprised with the speed of travel. A few years ago, crossing from Davao to Samal via barge took approximately 15 minutes. Now, it doesn’t even take 5 minutes! Upon arriving at the Samal pier, go right and just follow the road until you pass by Monfort Bat Cave. Pacific Heights Private Resort should be right ahead.

Pacific Heights Private Resort Rates

Entrance
  • Adult(Day Tour)- Php 100.00
  • Adult (Overnight)- Php 150.00
  • Kids (Day Tour) – Php 30.00
  • Kids(Overnight)- Php 60.00
Rooms with Aircon
  • Close Cottage(Small) Day Time – Php 1,500.00
  • Close Cottage(Small) Overnight  with 2 pax Break Fast- Php 2,000.00
  • Close Cottage (Medium) – Php 3,000.00
  • Close Cottage (Medium)- Overnight with 6 pax Break Fast – Php 4,000.00
  • Close Cottage (Large) Day Time – Php 4,000.00
  • Close Cottage (Large) Overnight with  10 pac Break Fast – Php 6,000.00
  • Open Cottages Day Time – Php 250.00
    Open Cottages Overnight  – Php 350.00
  • Green house (Dorm type without aircon) Php 350/head
Rates from SamalGuide.com: http://www.samalguide.com/resort/pacific-heights-resort

The rates above don’t include the pavilion, so let me add that the pavilion, for day use, is P2,500.

Credit Card Money Matters Product Review

BPI More Fun Prepaid Card

BPI More Fun Prepaid Card review

You’ve been redirected from my post on BPI More Fun Prepaid Card on DavaoMommy.com.

So I just got myself a credit card.

My first one, in fact, as I had always just borrowed mother’s CC for unavoidable transactions. I was wary of getting one because I don’t want to be into debt; thus, I almost always pay for stuff in cash. If I use a credit card, I like to pay it as soon as I can.

So why have I gotten myself a credit card?

Well, because it’s prepaid.

Remember what I said in my last blog? When I told you how we waited for almost 3 hours in BPI? Ito yun. I was lining up to claim by BPI More Fun Prepaid Credit Card.

Why did I choose this over other credit cards? 

Again, it’s prepaid, which means if I use it, I’m not using the money I don’t have. On the contrary, I will be spending my own cash (in card form). Think of it as the child of the credit card and the debit card.

What is the difference between a prepaid credit card and a debit card?

The difference between this and a debit card (which I also have) is that it comes with the features of a credit card: card number, security number, and is a Visa. The works. This means you can use it in whatever transaction requires a credit card.

BPI My ePrepaid vs. BPI More Fun

There are actually 2 prepaid credit cards offered by BPI: this and My ePrepaid. I first considered the latter but ultimately decided to get a More Fun card because of two reasons:

  1. It has a lower opening fee: P250 vs. P600.
  2. You can upload your own picture to serve as background for the card.

Oh yes, I’m not kidding. More than the lower opening fee, I gravitated toward More Fun because I can choose the picture I can use. Woot!

I decided to use a picture of Yuri when we were in Costa Marina.

The photo was ultra-crisp on the website but in person, it looked a bit blurred. Maybe this was intentionally done to highlight the card number or other features. Anyway, it does not matter because the actual card is cute enough.

As of now, I haven’t used the card yet. I submitted my account number for the enrollment of the credit card in my BPI online, and I didn’t check whether it has been enrolled already. I will do an update, though, once I finally get to use it!

I applied for this card online and it took around 3 weeks before I finally received an email saying that my card was ready to claim. I’m not sure, though, whether this wait has been made longer because I applied for the card in the middle of Christmas season. To show you what I did to apply and eventually claim the card, I will write a separate post later this week.

If you want more information about this card, you can visit BPI’s website. This is, in any way, a sponsored post. I applied for the card on my own accord and reviewed it because I think it’s cool.

This post was originally written in January 2015. 

As of now, I have already used my BPI More Fun Prepaid Card several times, including a couple of times with GoDaddy and one time with Photobook Philippines. I’ve also connected it to my PayPal account and used it to re-verify my account. It’s fail-proof and the best part is that I don’t have to think of debts to pay!

For instructions on how to apply for a BPI More Fun Prepaid Card, read this!

Food Restaurant Review Worth the Weight

Lunch at Zabs Buffet

Zabs Buffet review

You’ve been re-directed from my review of Zabs Buffet on DavaoMommy.com.

The original plan was to celebrate my birthday at Vikings. However, we had already tried it, and while we had a pleasant experience, I didn’t get to enjoy it fully because I was busy running after Yuri. Vikings is big, and my toddler was all over the place!

So I decided to look for another restaurant that is a lot smaller. I am willing to sacrifice the amount of food to save my sanity. Hahaha!

Another thing: being the big eaters that we are, it needs to be a buffet.

We have already tried most known buffet restaurants and hotels in the city. We haven’t tried Yakimix yet, but it’s out of the question, since the folks are not fans of Japanese food. However, during my preggy and newborn-mom days, a buffet restaurant opened and was popular among students and yuppies. I didn’t get to try it then, so we decided to try it now.

The place is not easy to miss. It’s just along Roxas Avenue and very near Aldevinco in front of Ateneo. The signage is also big, in-your-face-ish.

Zabs Buffet is a small restaurant; thus, do not expect to see a large variety of food. You will see the usual: salads, rice cooked differently, savory dishes, soup, lechon kawali (my and dad’s favorite haha), raw meat and fish that you can request to be cooked, and lots of dessert. In the center, near where we were seated, was the counter where food was cooked. There was a pizza station, crepe station, and takoyaki station (that’s what I remember).

My first plate (noodles, salad, and veggies). I didn’t post the photos of my other plates because they were too badly taken. I changed my camera settings and didn’t realize the resulting photos were poor. (And that is not my hand. That’s a toddler’s hand.)
Some of the desserts
Poor photo of the crepe station – thowee!
 

To “review” the restaurant, let’s begin with the cons because I think naman the pros can make up for them. Here we go:

CONS

Size

Like what I mentioned, the place is small. Therefore, do not expect couch seating. The seats, while comfortable, are plain and made for eating, not lounging.

Food Selection
Again, there is no “huge” selection of food. Given its price, it is acceptable. However, I also noticed there is little variety of dishes. For example, there were almost no fish-based dishes. Also no pasta. I was almost sad.

Air-conditioning
During the time we were there, we felt just a little of the air-conditioning. Okay, that’s putting it mildly. We weren’t sweating naman; it only felt as if we were just at home. Or maybe it’s because we were so near the cooking area.

PROS

Food Taste and Quality
While the food selection is not huge, I’m proud to report that there was not a morsel that I didn’t like. I really loved the lechon kawali (sorry to those who don’t eat pork), the pizza (even though I’m not fond of thin crust), and the spring rolls (lumpia). Every meat dish was soft and tender. Yuri and I loved the pomelo salad!

My final while-they’re-talking plate

Location
Again, it’s not hard to locate the place. It would be really stupid to get lost trying to find it.

My vet cousin

Ambiance
The place, even though it’s small and the tables are full, don’t fill crowded. Maybe it’s because of how the entire place is bright and well-lit.

What happens to tweens when they get overly full
 

Price
Next, it’s also very affordable. At only P329 per head (exclusive of drinks), it’s hard to complain!

Service!
And last but definitely not the least, service is impeccable. Waiters and servers welcome you with a smile. The chef and the cooks are also friendly and pleasant. Most of all, you don’t have to call anyone to serve you. The main waiter (or is it supervisor?) always looks at each table and knows what you need even before you make a pip. Waiters in other restaurants, in comparison, need to be called (twice and thrice) and still dawdle! None of this happened when we were there; everyone was just so pleasant and friendly. Now that’s what I call service!

………………………

And the biggest pro of all, Yuri enjoyed the experience, too, and didn’t run all over the place. For the first time in forever, I really got to eat!

Yuri’s OOTD
Doomagic Tuxedo Rompers used as top
Red jeans from H&M
Rubber shoes from Oshkosh

So, in summary, if you want a full gustatory experience, do not go to Zabs. But if you simply want to relax, hang out with friends, eat, and do all these without spending too much, by all means, try Zabs!

Zabs Buffet is at Paseo de Roxas Bldg., Roxas Avenue, Davao City
Store opens from Tuesday to Sunday (11:00 am – 2:00 pm and 6:00pm to 9:00 pm)
For reservations, call 221-4643 or 0939-9191672

I am not, in any way, compensated for this review.

Food Restaurant Review Worth the Weight

Lunch at Bistro Selera

Bistro Selera review

You’ve been redirected from my Bistro Selera review on DavaoMommy.com.

Bistro Selera review
My sister celebrated her birthday last Sunday and we made a reservation for lunch at Yakimix. We didn’t go to Abreeza right away, though, because we had a couple of errands to do at SM Lanang.

However, after staying in SM for a while, we decided na nakakatamad na to have to go to Abreeza to eat (then back again to SM for groceries). So we cancelled our reservation at Yakimix and decided to just eat at Vikings.

However ulit, when we went to Vikings (it was just around 10), there were already several people in line. We asked the staff if there’s an available table, and he said wala na. Everyone without a reservation is waitlisted and for a table pa talaga outside.

No thanks!

So we went to look for another restaurant since my sister and I were already hungry (#boa). Long story short, we decided to try Bistro Selera.

Since we were there early, they were actually still closed when we got there. The waiter immediately flipped the Closed sign upon noticing us though!

I was surprised at the smallness of the area but the interior design was cozy so everything worked. I also liked the touch of art on the walls.
Bistro Selera review Bistro Selera reviewBistro Selera review Bistro Selera reviewBistro Selera reviewBistro Selera

Since we were the first customers, it didn’t take long before our food was served. (Later, I would eat the best karekare I have ever eaten so far!) Here are what we ordered:

Bistro Selera Kinilaw

I haven’t eaten the kinilaw because I’m not a big fan of fish, but they said it tasted really great daw. The fish used is Malasugui (swordfish) if I’m not mistaken. I think this was Papa’s favorite dish among everything we ordered!

Bistro Selera Crispy Pata
This is Bistro Selera’s bestseller, which is Crispy Pata. I loved that the skin was crunchy and the meat was very tender. I just didn’t like the huge chops because they can be difficult to eat! #poiseproblems
Bistro Selera Karekare
In the photo, the dish looks bland but only because I took the photo before the stew was mixed.

This was the winner, in my opinion. I seem to always order karekare when it’s on the menu because it’s interesting how restaurants cook it differently.

But this karekare is hands-down the best one I’ve ever tried yet. The sauce was thick and very tasty. I like that it wasn’t sweet because dishes in other restaurants just taste like peanut butter. This was different because it was really savory.

I also loved the very tender meat (although I didn’t eat the other parts like the tripe). Also, unlike other dishes where the vegetables are mushy, the vegetables in this dish are crisp!

VERDICT:

FOOD: Yummy!!! I can’t wait to try their other dishes next time!

SERVICE: I can’t say anything bad about the service. Waitstaff was really attentive and observant of our needs. Friendly, too!

PRICE: Price is surprisingly affordable! We paid only around P1200 for the meal because the waiter recommended a Fiesta combo meal (Crispy Pata + Karekare + Iced Tea + Rice) for just P900.

I was really pleased with my dining experience at Bistro Selera and would surely go back to eat it again!

(Just writing about that karekare made me hungry. Grr!)

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. 🙂

Bistro Selera Menu
Bistro Selera Menu
Bistro Selera Menu