The Month of the Heart of Winter

the new leaf of January is my Month!

Monthly Archives: October 2013

sundate no.15 (an awful one for the record)

Readers and friends of this 5 year old blog (the first 2 years in blogspot) know by now how close Tagaytay is to my heart. ♥ It’s because Tagaytay has this cool and windy weather all year round we picked it as our wedding venue eight years ago. It’s because Tagaytay is the closest I could get by to unwind we frequent the city, pls free to back read how special occasions and even ordinary days were spent here –either we lounge at coffee shops, get our breakfast fix and the countless dinner dates with the famban and with my favorite maternal family to celebrate family events and milestones. It’s because Tagaytay had progressed to become the friendliest and pleasant city I expect nothing less everytime we visit. Other than last Sunday night was different, I was tested or should I say my patience was tested several times in a span of less than two hours so I’ll rant here, not a little this time because I felt this needed attention from the management team of this not so cheap restaurant at the ridge.


Pancake House is one of the pioneer restaurants at Maharlika Highway which sit next to Starbucks and now Chic-Boy (Junzi’s former location, Junzi is another of our favorite chill out place back in 2008). Because I was drooling for their salted caramel pancakes for weeks now I thought Sunday night was the perfect timing, it’s timely because I’m home in my parents’ house which is very nearby. We (my sister Che+her kids –SAM, P and Ysa+Arman+ Leoncio, who stepped in late) arrived at Pancake House around 8pm, there weren’t too many customers, and in fact almost 4 tables were only occupied, so we were able to pick a comfortable seat. We were handed the menu book right away and I was even fascinated how they’d come up with a menu designed for kids. The Diary of a Happy Kid is a stand out because kids will truly enjoy the little story in print.


Ate SAM and P were excited to browse it so they took turns.


While Che and I decided with our orders, not too heavy because we just need some light and sweets fix. We got an order of Freshly Brewed Coffee with 1 Refill, Kiwi Drink, Fresh Milk, Home-style Bangus, special Halloween Pancake set and my Salted Caramel & Walnut Pancakes. Finally, I would be able to try it and have my own say about it.




Che and SAM’s order came in fast, Kiwi Drink and Fresh Milk, which they both liked even at first sipped. See we’re not hard to please. 🙂


Next was my Freshly Brewed Coffee which I love because of its strong flavors, they made a good shot here.


The special Halloween Pancake set comes in shortly, it’s special because it’s themed for the Halloween season and we were told that the best Halloween design will take home a prize.


SAM and P were excited even more to do this. We let them decide on what design they’d like but we want them to win of course so we had to coach and comment some, a little adjustment here and there but all in all it’s all pure fun in the end. 😀


My most awaited Salted Caramel & Walnut Pancakes came in, by this time we made an additional order of 1 Freshly Brewed Coffee with 1 Refill and Golden Brown Waffle and I’ve asked the wait staff for my coffee refill.

And because we’re pretty enjoying the chitchat and the kids were busy with their activity we didn’t mind so much of the time and the slight delay was still tolerable.


SAM’s Home-style Bangus arrived few minutes even before the kids finished their masterpiece that night. I kept on telling SAM that her rice meal order will not disappoint because I’ve tried it once and it was good.


The kids finally completed their winning entry, I mean their contest entry and I’ve had my second follow up of my coffee refill and our additional order of coffee.

Guess it took really long for my coffee refill, after my third follow up two cups were served minus the usual sachet of sugar and skim milk. I validated our coffee order and refills and told them that we still have one more refill to go.


This time my sister’s waffle order was served too.

The wait staff asked if I wanted it served already, I immediately said yes even though I had questions running in my head –in most restaurants I’ve been the refill policy should be on the same cup so refills should only happen when the first cup is consumed. Anyway, there’s no big deal to it and since a simple refill is taking forever to be served I’d rather have it right away. But the next thing I remember –the tigress in me came out naturally, I felt my voice was over the top, I blew up in short, for the first time again in many years. A snippet of what took place,

Me: Follow up ko lang un coffee refill ko, this is my third follow up already.

Crew: As you can see there are too many people waiting to be served (in his sarcastic tone)

Even before I can say a thing he left me at point-blank and returned with this already lukewarm cup of coffee.

Me: Now, you’re serving me this and this cup had been out from your kitchen for almost 10 mins now.

Crew: Hindi po, this is freshly-brewed.

Me: Alam mo your kitchen counter is just a stone’s throw away from here and I’ve seen that cup out for the longest time.

Even before I finished my speeches he cut in and said.

Crew: Ok, kung gusto nyo pa papalitan ko, kung gusto nyo po. (repeating it twice to my face)

Me: Gaano na naman katagal yan? Paghihintayin na naman nyo ako. (I can hear my voice rising up by this time)

Crew: Kaya nga po kung gusto lang nyo.

Me: Cge pero pakibilisan ha

I saw him approached the counter tho I didn’t have a clear view of what was happening, another cup went out and he served it at once.

Me: You see I don’t really like the reason you gave awhile ago

Crew: Sorry po (not in apologetic tone yan ha)

This time my eyes caught his name plate with Manager on Duty on it instead of his name or nickname, I continued my moment and told him straight.

Me: It’s very unlikely for someone like you to response like that Manager ka pa naman. And besides it’s not my problem if you have a full house here, you should be able to handle it besides I don’t think this is the first time it happened. It’s so disappointing!

Crew na Manager on Duty pala: Kaya nga po sorry (did you sense a bit of sincerity here??)

He left our table and we were left discussing, my party was offended but we didn’t throw a fight okay. And I thought this is worst than what I’ve experienced from a 5-star hotel back in 2011. Pancake House has been in the food business for more than 4 decades by now and there may be lapses more terrible than ours but I’m guessing those incidents involved wait staffs and kitchen crews the most, other than this time the least you’d expect to disappoint –the MANAGER ON DUTY! 😦

Like Pancake House, I worked in a company where service is always measured so I’m having a hard time to move on and absolve the incident just like that. Something should be done, management of Pancake House should get involved and see to it that two of your many core values are well cascaded to your service team, Integrity is truly important but these two shall be considered next at all times, SERVICE-ORIENTED and PROACTIVE. I would especially highlight these “TO DELIGHT THE CUSTOMER”, “MOVE WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY” for you to think about.


I got our bill and requested for the manual OR next, like in many restaurants I’ve been it’s so easy to forget the manual OR request, it’s permissible I guess but because I’m irate by now, I walked my way to the counter and told the cashier of my request. The Manager on Duty was there pretending to be on his busiest, I’m not expecting him to give a free dessert or any of its kind to appease us, you know MR. EDS FERANIL I shouldn’t be writing here this thing, this worst experience with Pancake House Tagaytay, IF for the last time you approached me and my party and gave us your honest apology –for what had happened and for whatever that displeases our dining experience. You being the Manager on Duty, that’s the least you could do to save face and to save the image of your employer. And may I remind you also that first and foremost, being the Manager on Duty you should excel at customer service so you’ll be able to train your staff to have that superb customer service. Now tell me how can someone like you make sure that a customer leaves the restaurant happy now?


Funny, I should have been reviewing the pancakes here instead of ranting but maybe it wasn’t really my day, the timing was not perfect, buti na lang the weather outside the restaurant was way cooler enough to calm me down.

Oh and by the way MR. EDS FERANIL I hope you enjoyed your lesson on “How To Make A Waffle?” from the table next to us. And I hope you didn’t put his guest comment sheet in trash. Boo!



Pancake House
One Destination, Aguinaldo Highway
Tagaytay City
T. +63 46 4131534

fastfood friday

Finally this week come to its end, I couldn’t be of the happiest after days of pressure, torture and failure. Work had taken too much of me, I metaphorically drowned with too much of this and that. I thought I’ve mastered enough not to blow up whenever things don’t fall my way. I thought I can sit back and laugh at it at the end of each day. My wrong oh my, because work can still be taxing and toxic and it could hit me right without warning.

Good thing that the long weekend is happening and I’m down to something worthy and absolute. I’m seeing B and the rest of the household, tho a little skeptic about something I still look forward to good times and happy thoughts. I don’t want any room for bitterness this time, please.


And because it’s Friday I’m allowed to con a little, it’s another of those hey days! Oh and by the way, Christmas is fast approaching and I don’t have anything to say yet about the merriest time of the year, I’m half-excited this time to welcome the season. But I’m no Grinch, ok! 🙂


sundate no.14

After a hearty Sunday breakfast at home, husband and I lazed around the house until past lunch time, we don’t have anything in mind only that I need to get something in Rustan’s and we need to stopover at the supermarket for this week’s supply.

We made it at Ayala Center at around 3pm and first thing first –to find a filling mid-afternoon snack. We were torn between Army Navy and Ling Nam, the latter won because I’m still not over yet with my congee fixation, I’m still looking out for some good Chinese congee to satisfy this continuing craving. Hay!


Halo-Halo Congee at Ling Nam was a far cry of my favorite at Luk Yuen. I don’t know but I was not impressed with the appearance and the mixture, and its taste. I’m not a fan of fish sauce but I have to put a spoonful of it, I added some chili and pepper too to get the taste of it. And later on regret that we should have stretch a bit and walk our way to Glorietta 5 and dined to Luk Yuen instead.


And like the usual Sundays we pass time at the favorite coffee shop of them all. I love it at the 6750 branch especially on days when people are less because I could pick the favorite seat. 🙂 It’s important for me that I get the seat of my choice so I can do my stuff and mull over the latest news update. I still love reading news exclusively through a newspaper, that’s me, old-fashioned despite all the allure of the digital age. Hehehe.

I love Sundays this way, I’m not forced to do anything, I love it when the city retreats a bit and traffic slows down. Sundays has its own unique array of activities to be uncovered and for as long as we can, for as long as we both shall live we’ll spend our Sundays our way –linger over breakfast or brunch, (window) shop at the favorite outlet shops, relax & recharge (a little pampering at the nail salon will do), hunker down over a good movie (preferably comedy or light drama), browse the supermarket stocks and hoard, hit the weekend markets (and pig-out), try a museum or anything-anyplace historical, work out? (a stroll around the mall is what I’m saying here, 😀 ideally in Ayala Malls & our neighborhood Power Plant Mall, sosyal eh hehehe) and flee the metro for some fresh air, unsullied trees or open sky. ♥


A well-spent Sunday means absolutely doing nothing, whenever you feel like doing it. Live life at your fullest folks!


ala-Martha Stewart

It’s not everyday that I could whipped a filling breakfast at home, only some days, some weekend when I feel like eating home-cooked goodness, hearty meal I call. Last Sunday was one occasion the husband should rejoice because I was up early to make a good breakfast for two. Actually, I miss cooking and eating breakfast at home, I was totally drawn with Tina’s breakfast blog for weeks, so, our sundates but became an avenue for the breakfast thing. I don’t have regrets, not a single thing only that I noticed how easy it is for me to be a lazy pug (literally lazy). So, I think getting busy at my own kitchen once or twice a week for breakfast wouldn’t eat too much of my internet time. Hehehe.

Growing up I remember how it is a requirement for me to eat eggs, mandatory should I say because it’s the only staple I could eat minus the onions & tomatoes, which for me were like killer drug before. Like any normal kid (I guess I grew up normally) I don’t eat a single vegetable even on its smallest portion. But I’m glad I’ve discovered the wonders of greens and leafy before it’s too late. And thank God I don’t have cholesterol issue because I’m insanely addicted to eggs any style anytime of the day.

So, the Sunday breakfast was this colorful. 😀


Fluffy omelet with diced pimientos, green onions & cheese and hotdogs.


Pork & Chicken Adobo. When the big B was still living with us I have to cook adobo at least once a week because it’s her all-time favorite ulam.


Pork & Chicken Adobo, Fried Rice and Breakfast Platter. Don’t you think it’s lovely?


I’m not a domestic diva (who the hell cares?) but well at least for my significant other I’m the Martha Stewart of our tiny abode. ♥


memoirs of lugaw and bbq

I lived more than seven years in the area of Makati because work calls for it, so to say I’m very used to every corner of the city. Back in 1999, my official address was somewhere in Malolos Street, an old house which the owner improved into a studio space. I was living with someone else and later on survived the lonesomeness with a friend. I had most of my twenties and ripeness from this place –summer nights that brought about the unconventional side of me, rainy months that cried and mourned with me and cold days that made me tough, tougher to say, until I moved and pick up the pieces of me. See, I don’t started life as wonderful as I have now, my definition of wonderful here doesn’t mean I’m well-off and doing very well right now, it can be I’m happier or at my happiest now. ♥ But probably I need to thank that someone who caused me pain and heartbreak, thank you for leaving me right because it was an eye opener for me, tho the hard way I made it to my top.


Anyhow, I’m having some of this recollection because I was back shortly at the area days ago, that was right after our daytrip at Manila Chinatown. Since we took the Makati route our way to Mandaluyong I suggested us to have dinner before completely coming home, I don’t have enough energy and vibe to cook so eating out was permissible. And because I was craving for congee days ago, I thought the congee place at Pasong Tamo would be the perfect spot besides I can’t remember the last time I’ve been there, I was sort of avoiding the place for the longest time for fear that the miseries of yesterday would all come back and haunt me. I’m just taking the precautions because I don’t want anything of today’s gets compromised. 🙂


Lugawan sa Pasong Tamo was a favorite eatery back then, it’s a few steps away from our apartment and because it’s operating 24/7 we would normally hop there whenever we prefer some light dinner, some hot fix and to solve some late, late night cravings. It’s our even place to go whenever we’re bushed of eating fastfood food around. Just don’t mind that you’re eating side by side with jeepney drivers and in most days with punters from the horse racing event (when PRC was still operational back then).


Lugaw (rice porridge) is the main chow being offered here, you can have it plain or with laman (beef innards). I always have mine plain with boiled egg and lots of pepper on top while the husband had his with laman. We added an order of tokwa’t baboy (tofu and pork) and bottled soda. I don’t remember exactly the price of each but we paid P85 all in for our orders, dirt cheap! 😀 While our hunger was satisfied with lugaw only you can have rice meals here and take outs. We didn’t stay too long to give way to other diners waiting in queue. Just across was another of my favorite, tho I wonder if this is the same old BBQ stand at the corner of Pasong Tamo and J.P. Rizal which I frequent in the past.


The BBQ stand has a better location now, it’s no longer a cart alone this time other than the choices and flavors remained very the same. The smell of grilled and barbequed, I loved them and I never stopped, I only slowed down but once in a while I know it wouldn’t hurt if I’ll give it a go. We bought some sticks of pork bbq, pig ears and isaw (pork intestines) to go. It was hilariously delicious even after days of being kept in the fridge and warmed. I do recommend you to check Raulelni BBQ Haus if ever you’ll pass the area soon.

I caught myself amused by how years passed by, how certain things changed or remained as is. I was caught by my thoughts of what ifs. What if it didn’t happen? What is life with the one that got away? Even before anger filled me I shook my head and smile, there was my better half standing in his awesomeness and hotness (hehehe), I don’t need a monotonous someone in my life because I’m worthy for someone who can make me smile and laugh even at his corniest jokes.

To that someone who got away, you just don’t know how many times I waited for you at that corner of a drug store, I’m almost tempted to buy a killer drug to end me but it didn’t happen right because I’m not pathetic the way you see me. I may have forgotten but not totally forgiven if you must know. 😀




Once in a while going out of my comfort zone is not bad at all, it’s essential I think, besides I can’t deny the fact that my body longs for it and my brain needs a fill in every now and then. When Tuesday was declared a holiday in observance of Eid’l Adha, another Muslim event, Leoncio and I decided to visit the old downtown for a change. We commuted all the way and prepared to battle the long walk, we’re dressed at our comfiest to haggle and squeeze ourselves in the multitude. It helps that the weather was fine and perfect for wandering amidst the crowded streets. I must say we got summer skies in October. 🙂


I love days when I don’t have to worry a thing except for a filling meal that would delight my tummy. It’s expected to have a Chinese meal when visiting this side of the city and I don’t mind going back at an old favorite along Benavidez St. other than I missed the setting of eating outdoors, not the finest, not the comfiest but I affirm it’s the coolest place to delight your hungry pangs.


Estero Fastfood is your typical carinderia, a little upscale because they have a menu per se, an extensive selection of everything from chicken to pork to beef to seafood to veggie and to exotic ones –frog legs to be exact! 😀 And the food is cooked right there and there in their semi-opened kitchen soon as you have your pick. And service is fast, so saan ka pa?


I’m officially tagging weekend and holidays now for late lunches and so on. We ordered the smallest size of each but we got more than enough and we couldn’t be of the happiest everytime the bill is handed to us. For less than P400 we savor these goodness. 😛


Beef Litid P90. Tender beef ligaments cooked with oyster sauce. It’s flavored just right.


Mixed Seafood P90. This is my ultimate favorite and everytime we dine here we don’t skip getting this. They don’t scrimp on seafood –scallops, shrimps, shells, squid, fish, this is love! ♥


Calamares P90. I love that they don’t overcooked it and batter is light. I can finish this serving all by myself. Hehehe.

Shanghai Fried Rice P70 (no better photo). It can surpass the one served in mall restaurants because it’s tasty on its own complete with Chinese chorizo which I like as it creates a memorable taste, rundown of what I normally dish at home.


Excuse us now but the spread was an attraction of its own, it’s simple and yet appetizing and I don’t mind eating the same set over and over again.


Estero Fastfood is all about Chinese-Filipino comfort food just don’t mind the setting, and think only but the authentic, delicious and affordable dining experience you’ll definitely won’t regret and forget.


Tubo (sugarcane), Leoncio always buy from this cart whenever we’re in Binondo, he loves to chew this because of its sweet taste (dessert nya to 😀 ) and health benefits which I still need to research about. 

Our trip at old Binondo wouldn’t be complete without exploring the streets and side streets all the way to Divisoria. It’s a normal thing that after a hefty meal we’re down to burning all the fats and carbo we delightfully consumed, feeling health buff lang. Hahaha. But we really love the stroll from Ongpin to Juan Luan up to 168 Mall. Everything comes in cheap so how can you turn your back and let go of the chance. That’s exactly the reason why many people wouldn’t mind the difficulty of transport, the grueling encounter or even the risk of being rob. So be mindful of your wallet and valuables and don’t flaunt anything that will attract the bandits around.


Formosa Bakery sells sweet breads and cakes. I took a couple of soft breads for take home.

We were actually planned to visit the National Museum that day before heading down to Binondo but we overslept, it’s quite getting cooler in the morning now and I’m more than having a hard time getting up, save for the morning vibes I’m definitely getting down in the early hours one of these Sundays once again. 🙂


P.S. Our loot from Divisoria –a couple of seedless oranges, ponkan, apples, peas, French beans, carrots, chayote and cauliflower.



Estero Fastfood
847-G Ongpin Gandara St., Sta. Cruz, Manila, Philippines
T. +632 734-3279