The Month of the Heart of Winter

the new leaf of January is my Month!

Tag Archives: weekend activity

new toho food center

I’m thinking that maybe during our past life we have a little Chinese blood or maybe we actually live right at the heart of Chinatown and was once a business folk who ran hopia factory or dimsum house. Hahaha. Imagine if it was true, I’d probably make my “stalker” a million times envious of my flawless porcelain skin, slim body structure and luscious locks. So be thankful that my ancestors decided to make a living in the highlands and do farming instead of trading.

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But you see there’s really something about the Chinese culture that we both love –its cuisine, one of the richest and most diverse culinary heritages in the world. And for that reason alone, we’d always save patience for the worst bottleneck going to busy Binondo.

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One Saturday afternoon we felt the urged to go once more, we’ve missed all the cheap frills that’s why. We left the house at almost noon time, took the public transport like we used to do when going to this side of the city, think about of traffic and parking problems and well, you’ll just love the calesa or kuliglig ride or just walk your way which we’d always do to save time. Because traffic was real heavy that time, the jeepney took a different route which led us to Sta. Cruz and to its neighboring Escolta, Yuchengco, Dasmarinas and Tomas Pinpin streets. Just right, because we’re visiting a restaurant at Tomas Pinpin to prove its oldness and its worthiness, no joke, I suddenly felt so behind after seeing a facebook post that there stood the oldest restaurant in Manila or some says in the country. Imagine it existed during Jose Rizal’s time and it witnessed too many events to account, say hello to 1888. Much as I love the vibe of new restaurant these days my love affair with the old remained to be on top, it’s always a win over experience and I can’t tell why. There’s this something in me that just love the rustic feel and all.

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In 1984 Tojo Antigua Panciteria was burned down after a neighboring restaurant caught fire, it was rebuilt and named as the New Toho Food Center. If you’ve been to Binondo restaurants, New Toho doesn’t differ at all, it’s typically Chinese with cold cuts display, tiled flooring that’s too old I guess, spacious and minimal, no-frill at all and smells Chinese-y even from outside.

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Since it was already way past lunch when we arrived at the restaurant, only few diners were there and eventually we have the restaurant by ourselves. I scanned the menu, it’s nothing out of the ordinary if I may say but I heard camaron is a must, so we had it included in our set.

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We also had Beef in Oyster Sauce, Seafood Chopsuey, Chinese Kikiam and Yang Chow fried rice. All in small serving, so we thought, small is good for two but the food we order can actually fed four. Call us gluttons but if it’s as affordable as this who wouldn’t like to go beyond the limit. Besides we can always take out the left over and reheat at home, nothing goes to waste for us because I can always reprocess it at home.

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Aside from the Camaron Rebosado this Chinese Kikiam was one of the best I had so far! ♥

Our super late lunch was super worth the trip and I’d like to go back sometime to sample their pancit and asado next.

binondo church

And because we’re just so near Divi market, we grabbed that chance to walk around, started off from Binondo Church to give thanks for the safe flight to downtown, for the food we just ate and for our daily blessing of simply waking up in good shape everyday. We skipped Eng Bee Tin this time just because we can always bought some at the supermarket now, when we passed by Ramada Hotel I told the husband that we should check-in next year in time for the Chinese New Year, so to witness dragon dancing and fireworks. We stopped at the Lucky Chinatown Mall, our first time to visit; I was wowed at how Divi has become upscale over the years especially the clean restrooms and fancy restaurants. We explored a bit and found some cheap px goodies at the annex building, they sell chocolates and chips, a tub of Pringles for as low as P75. I hoarded a bit of this and that. From Lucky Chinatown, we walked through the nearby 168 Mall but left immediately for fear that I might end up buying stuffs I’d later not use because of its poor quality. We bought plethora of fruits and vegetables because it’s inexpensive and to sustain our no-rice challenge again following that weekend. Now you know I’m kind of in a diet thing again. We almost had all sorts –apples, grapes, ponkan, atis, pomelo. We also got some French beans, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, corn and the famous fried siopao. Oh and by the way, the next time we visit Binondo, we’re trying Ying-Ying Tea House.

I wish all weekends can be like this –laid-back, no rush, I can be in my comfiest crocs and shorts and the husband is in good mood to give in to all my demands. 🙂

But while we’re having some good time that weekend somebody close to our hearts passed away 😦 , our semi-adopted aspin “Pong” already crossed the rainbow bridge. It was unexpected and I felt mournful for this lost, Pong was only four and better days are still coming his way but he gives out. I can only pray for his happiness after life, the life with no more pain, no more abuse, no more hunger. Pong deserves a better life in heaven.


Run like the wind now Pong! 


jt’s, angel’s + rustan’s

I still got a dozen of unwritten post up until now, I don’t know probably it’s the mood swings and the unpredictable weather that’s causing my idleness, lost of interest or whatsoever you’d like to call my delays. But believe me I’m trying to get a good recall of the photos I have so I can start a good, readable piece. Hehehe.

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Mar 1. It’s supposed to be a bright day because it’s the first day of the month plus it’s a Saturday but I don’t know what made me busy that day. 😦 All I can remember now was the simple dinner we had at JT’s Manukan in Malugay. It’s been ages since I last dined at JT’s, the one in Gilmore which I think is the first branch to open amongst the many stores now around Metro Manila and Tagaytay. It used to be our even place to-go after a badminton routine at Valencia Badminton Center, see I’m not at all a sleeping giant all my life I have a healthier schedule back then when life was still easier, back when I’m still pretty enjoying my early 30’s.

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Anyhow, JT’s Manukan specializes in chicken inasal, I remember how its owner Joel Torre (yes, the actor) keeps a close eye of the operation in Gilmore, he himself supervised the grilling part the most and everytime we’ll dine there we’ll bumped to him casually. The branch in Malugay was a permanent sight everytime we’ll pass by the area but it’s only that Saturday eve that we got the chance to dine and come back for its famed “inasal”.

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There were a number of items on their menu but most were not available that night including an order or pork sisig, and pecho, tho a little disappointed we happily settled for an order of paa, stuffed squids and dinuguan. I wasn’t so happy with the chicken inasal but the stuffed squid was the winner of them all! ♥ Two baby squids for P65 was such as steal so I got two more orders which I willingly shared with the husband. I’ll be honest here, JT’s Manukan didn’t left an impressive impact on me other than the food is cheap and service is fast. 🙂

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Mar 15. Another Saturday to lurve! ♥ Sometimes I don’t dare to ask the husband his preference because it tends to be a repeat of a repeat, hahaha, but on days I don’t really have any specific in mind he wins the restaurant of his choice.  On this day we revisited one of our favorite pizza parlors in Makati Avenue –Angel’s Pizza! Tho I wanted more to eat rice that time I can’t complain anymore because already picked the place and ordered our staples in a breeze.

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The secret to a happy marriage order the pizza of your choice! *Excuse his not-so-happy-look here, deep within him he’s rejoicin’ 😀

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We had two family size pizza, he got his favorite Fancy Aloha with bacon, ham, pineapple, mushroom, green pepper, mozzarella cheese with gravy sauce. I don’t really like the gravy sauce so he requested the half without it so I can savor a slice without having to dab the gravy sauce. Thank you ‘ney!

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I had my favorite Garlic Shrimp pizza topped with culinary sauce (?), shrimp and garlic of course, cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese. See how my preference can be so uncomplicated. I’m not so hard to please and feed.

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Just so you know we didn’t finished our pizza, we took home more than half of what we ordered because it’s stuffing and I don’t want to feel blown up especially at dinner time. I’ve learned my lessons now to enjoy a sound sleep at night. Hehehe.

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Right after we drove to Rustan’s Supermarket in Ayala Center. I remember Rustan’s Supermarket was having that Summer 3-day sale where it’s mostly Christmas chocolates and wines and sauces and pasta. There were items for kids as well including princess costumes and Halloween costumes for as low as P160+ only. I could have brought one only that the sizes wouldn’t fit Ysa or Kuya P, its way too big for them.

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So, what else would make me happy and my other half would be the bounties of chocolates, we got a good stock of Fort Knox Dark and Milk Chocolates, some Peanut Butter Bar and Gum Balls. Biscoff was discounted too at P303 only.

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And the ultimate buy was this Heart of Wisconsin Assorted Cheese Set. Imagine the price dropped from P1500+ to P395. I bugged the husband to buy me one and I got a really good one –the Cheese Wheel of Good Fortune! ♥

So there’s no sarcasm to it if I say that I soooo love weekends, who doesn’t anyway? Now, it’s time to shake off your week, take a deep breath and think positive, tomorrow is the start of a new weekend and I’m heading south to lead another batch meeting and on Sunday I’m seeing my maternal family. I’m overly excited! 🙂