Month: April 2016

Fall in love with Nature as Ayala Malls bring you Lov’Em Blooms

If it isn’t obvious with my monthly IG posts on flowers, or the time when I bought myself a bouquet of stargazers during Valentines, I love flowers. I really do. Some people say they don’t like getting flowers because you can’t eat them, and they wither easily. For me, that’s where their beauty lies, how they only last for a short period of time. Flowers in bloom make one appreciate the temporary beauty of our natural surroundings more.

Last February, you guys saw Ayala Malls bring in life size decorated hearts for Valentines’ and for everyone’s photo op pleasures. This time around, Ayala Malls, the country’s premier lifestyle shopping and dining destination, not only fulfills your shopping needs and wants, it also serves as a respite in the big city, providing a space that surrounds you with lush greenscapes and  beautiful gardens.

This April, a diverse display of Philippine orchids and ornamental plants in a vibrant palette of Summer will bring color to the spaces of Glorietta, Greenbelt, Alabang Town Center, TriNoma, Fairview Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu, Centrio Mall, Ayala Malls Solenad, and U.P Town Center.

Known already for its well-groomed gardens and open spaces (aren’t they always Instagrammable?), Ayala Malls now fills these corners with an array of blooms, inviting mall-goers to sit and revel at nature’s quiet beauty. But, the gardens serve more than just an aesthetic purpose, Ayala Malls launches the Lov’Em Blooms campaign in support of sustainable green living through its many events and activities. 


Mallgoers can sign up for the Green Walks, a guided learning experience where speakers and volunteers from the Philippine Native Plants Conversation Society, Inc., will share tidbits and trivia behind the most popular native trees and other flora that can be found at Ayala Malls.  A brochure of the different native trees, Philippine orchids and plants located at Ayala Malls will be made available for everyone.

In photo: The space for the Green Walk at Alabang Town Center

I like this activity because it not only helps educate everyone about the beautiful botanicals that we have, but it also places you in awe of the displays.

The schedule will be as follows: April 9 at Greenbelt; April 10 at TriNoma; April 16 at Fairview Terraces; April 23 at Ayala Malls Solenad and May 7 at Alabang Town Center.


In photo: Alabang Town Center open area for activities

Be moved by nature and let creativity flow with these exciting arts and crafts workshops to be held at your favorite malls. On May 7-8, head on over to Alabang Town Center for a Flower Watercolor Painting session, Van Gogh Paint by Number workshop and Still Life Flower Sketching at the Corte De Las Palmas and Town Plaza.  Also, get a chance to win prizes in the Ayala Alabang Camera Club photo contest. Visit Greenbelt on May 20-22, for various art activities such as a Flora and Fauna Water Color station & Nature Sketch art station. There will also be a mini selling activity of arts and craft materials, healthy eats and organic finds. TriNoma will have their own series of arts and craft workshops on May 22 at the Level 4 Garden Restaurants.


How does one make a garden grow? Ask the community green thumbs and gardeners of Ayala Malls, and get the tips first hand. On May 7, join Joey Quintana and the Ayala Alabang Garden Club for a short, informative talk on how to tend and nurture your growing gardens. Be a part of Greenbelt’s Afternoon Tea by the Garden, a unique Mother’s Day activity on May 8 wherein shoppers can enjoy tea from the herbs grown from Greenbelt’s edible garden, an exclusive tour of the edible garden, and a meet and greet with the gardeners. Delighting participants further, all will also be given the “first pick” of the fruits and vegetables of the season.


The color touches of nature will be brought inside the mall with a gathering of local producers/ growers, florists, designers, stylists and local botanical suppliers. They will showcase their best blooms and plants in a series of flower and garden exhibits at Ayala Malls.

Catch the delightful display on April 15-17 at Greenbelt; May 6-15 at Ayala Center Cebu; May 7-8 at Alabang Town Center ;May 6-8 at Abreeza Mall; May 21-22 at Trinoma; June 3-5 at Glorietta; June 22-26 at Fairview Terraces; and June 24-26 at Centrio Mall.


For this campaign, Ayala Malls also partners with The Mind Museum for the exciting “A Glass of the Sea” travelling exhibition, which sheds light on astounding discoveries made on life under the sea. The immersive and interactive exhibits, along with facilitated activities, give you a glimpse on the beauty of marine life and importance of conservation, specifically of the Verde Island Passage in Batangas.

The Verde Island Passage is part of the Coral Triangle that extends from the Philippines to Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. The Coral Triangle is also globally known as the center of marine diversity, and the Verde Island Passage is its epicentre.  

The exhibition was conceived and created by The Mind Museum, in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences & supported by USAID.

You can catch the tour on April 13-17 at Ayala Center Cebu; April 30-May 4 at Abreeza Mall, Davao; May 11-15 at Centrio Mall, CDO; June 1-5 at Alabang Town Center; June 8-12 at TriNoma; June 15-19 at Glorietta; June 22-26 at Fairview Terraces; and June 29-July 3 at Greenbelt.


Nature has always been an inexhaustible source of inspiration; find the seeds of creativity come to bloom with the Blooms Lego Outdoor Display at Greenbelt, TriNoma and Alabang Town Center, starting May 16. Gaze at the intricate, man-made pieces that capture various floras.

Discover #LovemBlooms, and be inspired by nature, only at Ayala Malls.

For more information, visit ( and Ayala Malls on Facebook Twitter and Instagram or contact (795-9595).

For more updates regarding this season’s activities, follow Ayala Malls on social media: FB AyalaMalls360 IG @iloveayalamalls Twitter @ayalamallstweets, also check out the hashtags #LovemBlooms #ILoveAyalaMalls

Review: Big D’s Smokehouse Eastwood

Tucked away in Eastwood Citywalk 2′s labyrinth is Big D’s Smokehouse, every meat lover on-a-budget’s dream. Offering mostly Southern American fare, with a bit of Tex Mex in the mix, Big D’s Smokehouse has now turned into one of my must visit restaurants whenever I find myself lost in Libis.

Their specialties are ribs and pulled pork, and later on in this post, you’ll find out why. Everything on the menu was created by Chef Dino Peralta, co-owner of the place. The Eastwood branch is actually their second already, the first one being in Tomas Morato. Students from Katipunan might remember their vintage car themed one, which closed down not so long ago because the building was sold. Moving forward, with a steady clientele, interesting concept, and really good food, they’re expanding to a third branch in BGC.


The Eastwood branch looks like a cowboy’s saloon, with all the wooden accents and furnishings. The signage reminds everyone of Woody from Toy Story, and trinkets here and there also reminds you of it.

The bar is small, but has wooden bar stools, with a bartender wearing a cowboy hat and matching plaid polo. The other waitstaff also have the same uniform.

The restaurant is separated into two sections, one main non-smoking dining area with 2 floors, and a small outdoor smoking area.

Big D’s Smokehouse Food

As mentioned earlier, Big D’s serves mostly Southern American cuisine, with a few Tex Mex dishes like burritos and tacos. Serving size is good for one unless otherwise stated, but as you can see from the following photos, most of the dishes have serving sizes big enough for two or more. They also have promos like group meals to make th already affordable dishes, even more accessible. 


Start Up Nachos Platter Php 250 (Beef)

  • light and crispy chips topped with beef or pulled pork, salsa, and cheese sauce
  • I really liked the chips, they were light, not oily, and very crispy. Chef Dino told us that all the wraps, buns, chips, and even taco shells are all home made

Hush puppies Php 175

  • combination of cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan cheese with roasted pimientos for that smokin’ kick, deep fried and served with garlic ranch dip
  • This is a must order! Everyone loved it, each bite was a happy cheese party inside my mouth. haha. Best eaten when warm, because once cold, the cheese isn’t as great tasting.


Monster Taco (Pulled Pork) Php 220

  • a full 9 inch taco with shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa, and more cheese, choose between pulled pork or beef for the protein
  • remember the 2nd photo of this post? The taco could cover my face! That’s how big it was!
  • I’d recommend it to share for about 2-3 people

Pulled Pork Burrito Php 220

  • Medley of pulled pork, Tex Mex rice, cheese sauce, ranch and cheese, all wrapped in flour tortilla serve with chips
  • For the review, we tried the pulled pork in three dishes, in the taco, this burrito, and the sandwich/burger
  • The pulled pork was really good, flavorful and juicy, with just the right spices

Pulled Pork Sandwich Php 220

  • Southern style slow cooked pulled pork in tangy chilly-seasoned BBQ sauce. Served with coleslaw and onions and freshly baked bun
  • this thing was huge! I love the combo of the pulled pork and the coleslaw, and how the onion rings added more texture

Home-style Meatloaf Php 240

  • mixture of 3 kinds of meat, seasoned and baked, topped with mushroom sauce and served with Big D’s Dirty Rice
  • I’m usually not fond of meatloaf, but this one was surprisingly well made. Usually meat loaf easily dries out, but this one was soft, tender and juicy all at the same time

Stage 2 Smoked Soft Bone Ribs / Ribs Duo Php390 

  • ½ Slab of ribs served with garlic rice and choice of sides
  • you can opt to get the spicy version if you want more kick from your ribs
  • this one is good for 2-3  people, with two sides, and a big piece of meat
  • The soft bone ribs (brisket) are smoked for about 12 hours in their own signature dry rub
  • I was very very very surprised with how good this was. For the price, you get so much more. The meat is very tender, juicy and flavorful. The BBQ sauce is just perfect, tangy, sweet, and a little spicy
  • I also love that it includes the litid or tendon.


Big D’s Smokehouse also has an extensive drink menu, covering both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Overall, I had a great time at Big D’s Smokehouse. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for yummy meat dishes while on a budget. I mean come on, a big pulled pork sandwich for just 220 pesos? That’s super sulit!

Big D’s Smokehouse (2 Branches + 1 opening soon)
Second Floor, Eastwood Citywalk 2, Libis, Quezon City

Opening Hours: 11:30 am to 1am Mon Tues, 11:30 am to 12mn Wed Thurs Sun, 11:30am to 2am Friday to Sunday
For Reservations, contact (02)6504742

Tomas Morato:
Second Floor, POS Building, Scout Mandrinan Corner Tomas Morato Avenue, South Triangle, Tomas Morato, Quezon City

Opening Hours: 12noon to 11pm Sunday to Wednesday,

12noon to 1am Friday and Saturday
For Reservations, contact

(02) 3766139

Opening SOON: BGC  

For updates and promos, follow them on Facebook, and Twitter (@BigDsmokehouse), and use the hashtags #BigDsmokehouse #RibsThatRock for Instagram

photo of me taken by Jovi Ong

Big D's Smokehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

#BetterForIt: How to be Healthy Fit and Fab this 2016!

These days, it’s always crowded at the gym. After all, we are still at the first half of the year, where most people are fulfilling their new year’s resolutions of losing those holiday pounds, those Balik Alindog posts, and other fitness related goals. This is a good thing, but a lot of the trainers I’ve spoken to always tell me that the numbers dwindle come summer.

I think a lot of us want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and as with other things, we have a lot of excuses when we don’t fulfill these things. But fear not, I’m writing to share my know how, after years of struggling, on how to be fit and fab the whole year, and the years after that. This is also what I follow, to keep my fitness goals in check.


The first thing I always tell anyone is, just start. Pick a workout or activity you’re comfortable with, and you can build a routine from there. Most start out by jogging around the neighborhood, playing a sport with friends, or joining a community dance class.

By experience, I find working out to be more fun when you’re with more people, so I always recommend joining classes. It doesn’t have to be at the expensive gym, there are lots of free classes around the metro. Ask around in your office, they might have a fitness program you can join for free, or go to a nearby park, and you might chance upon a regular group doing zumba, tai chi, or aerobics in the mornings.

2. Set Realistic Goals and Track Your Progress

Now that you’ve gotten over that first hurdle, you can start setting goals depending on your own pace. You can start by setting a main goal, say, you have to lose 30 pounds by the end of the year. Then break it down, because honestly, if you focus too much on the main goal, you might get disappointed with missteps here and there. Instead, your smaller goals could be to lose 5 pounds in every quarter of the year. Or you can also set your main goal as, to be able to do a half marathon at the end of the year, then your smaller goals can be to do a 5k on the first 2 months, 10k on the next three, and so on and so forth.

I always emphasize that goals should be realistic, and personalized. Your friend might be used to losing 10 pounds a month, but your performance depends on your body, and how well it responds to your activities. What may work for someone else, may not work for you, so you can tweak your small goals as you go.

Think of your fitness journey as a full marathon, you can only get to the finish line, with proper training, patience, determination, and effort, no shortcuts. You pace may be slow, but sooner than you expect, you’ve already crossed the finish line.

3. Find your Inspiration and Prioritize Fitness

Recently, I caught an episode of Margot vs Lily as an ad when I was watching the NBA Slamdunk Contest with my brother (Aaron Gordon’s dunk was amazing btw). Anyhoo, Margot vs Lily is a #BetterForIt mini series created by Nike, to encourage everyone to be active, and #BeBetterForIt.

I’ve watched all the episodes online, you can watch them at the Nike website  or over at Youtube. The total is actually 8 episodes, but they’re revealing just one each week. The last two episodes just came out this April!!! The sisters are funny, and whole premise of the miniseries is simple and relatable. Basically the sisters make a bet, and the series revolves around the two of them struggling to win over each other.

Now back to my tip. This time around, I’m going to have Margot and Lily as my fitspirations. Margot is the one just starting on her journey, while Lily is the overachiever in that department. I just find them so adorbs! haha.

You can always pick your favorite celebrity, or even your family members and friends as inspiration. Whatever works. Then after that, always prioritize fitness. Set a schedule, so you don’t have any excuses to bail. This way it’ll be easier to reach your goals.

(Clockwise from top left: Yoga, Anti-Gravity Yoga, Crossfit Mad Minute, Dancing, Crossfit, HIIT at F45)

4. Mix It Up

One of the reasons why people aren’t able to keep their fitness resolutions is, they get tired of doing the same routine. Mixing up your routine will be key to finishing what you started,

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE):
Research has shown that adding variety to an exercise program can improve adherence. Exercise scientists at the University of Florida observed that individuals who modified their workouts every two weeks over an eight-week period appeared to enjoy their workouts more and were more inclined to stick with their exercise programs when compared to individuals who followed the same workout regimens week after week.

Shaking things up also helps overcome those dreaded plateaus. With a different activity, a different muscle group is activated, somore fat is burned while more muscle is utilized.

What I do is, I set boxing as my regular thing, doing it twice to thrice a week, then alternating it with either running, or yoga. When I want more of a challenge, I do HIIT (high intensity interval training) or crossfit, and sometimes do a bit of running as well.

Now if you’re more of a DIY kind of girl, and don’t want to spend on gym memberships, you can always try fitness apps. One of my favorits is NTC or Nike Training Club, which I used to abuse back in college.

As you can see, I haven’t used the app in a while, and was soo surprised with the changes. You can still browse by workout, but this time around, they can suggest a whole month’s program, editable of course, depending on your goal.

5. Eat Healthy and Drink Plenty of Water.

I don’t believe in dieting, but I do believe in portioning and eating a well balanced diet.

Say if you used to eat 2 cups of rice for every meal, you could cut it to one cup, or replace it with a healthier option like brown rice. Stock up on whole grains and nuts, for snacks, as well as lots of fruit. Just avoid those that have very high sugar content.

For fluids, never ever forget to drink plenty of water. Your body won’t function well without proper hydration, so if you wan’t your body to work well, hydrate!

You can also check out different combinations of pre- and post workout snacks and see what works best for you. There are a looooot of infographics online with helpful suggestions.

6. Have Fun, Rest and Reward Yourself

The reason why I like boxing so much is because the trainers are always so funny, or I’m just lucky with the ones that coach me. I also bring my friends to box with me, so we can laugh it off when we see each other struggling. Haha.

Also, remember that doing anything in excess is bad, so learn to take a breather once in a while. Your body needs rest to recuperate and build more muscle.

Lastly, don’t forget to reward yourself, be it in the form of a cheat meal, a new dress you’re eyeing, etc. Just remember, don’t overindulge. HAHAHA

For me though, I just buy cute new workout gear!

I dunno, I just get more excited to work out when I have new workout clothes, even better if they’re in fun colors!


So what do you think about my tips? Do you guys have any more to add? Let me know at the comments section below!!

To help you guys jumpstart your fitness journey, come join the Nike + Run Club Women’s Half Marathon Manila on May 15, 2016. Check out the registration details here.  The Nike + Run Club Marathon is fun to join because they have lots of activities lined up to get you guys ready for the run!

Shout out to Clozette and Nike for encouraging me to reach my fitness goals and be #BetterForIt this 2016!!! You guys can also check out for more articles like mine!!

Read, Sip, and Dine at the New Book and Borders Cafe Tuscany Mckinley Hill

These days, cafes are opening up here and there, and the Manila crowd is truly spoiled with options. One of the newest cafes to open in the Mckinley block, Book & Borders, offers bookworms and individuals with the affinity for quieter spaces complete with great food, cozy interiors, and good company.

This is already Book & Borders’ second branch, the first one being in Tomas Morato. This cafe sets itself a cut above the others, as 

Book & Borders

distinguishes itself as a haven for people who want to enjoy a more relaxed afternoon, sipping their favorite brew and immersed in their favorite books. 

I was very excited to go to this branch’s launch because I absolutely love books! I love the smell of printed material, even if it makes me sneeze because of the dust that settles. Another thing I was looking forward to was the food and interiors, which I hear are both Insta-worthy.


In photo: Julz Savard, who was the host at the opening launch, tours around the lounge, beside the entrance of the restaurant

Cafe owner

Kristine Simisim

shares, “Here, you can relish the quiet, tucked in your little corner where you can enjoy your coffee or tea, and indulge in your favorite pastime – reading,” She adds, “Bring a friend or your new book and discover how time flies.”

True to its name, Book and Borders has an extensive selection of books, from the classics to contemporary bestsellers, and you are free to enjoy them at your leisure. The library is free and open for all, and for a better reading experience, customers are invited to use the book stands available at the café. They also frequently update their titles, even posting new books on their social media websites.

“I’m so ecstatic that there’s finally a place for people like us. It’s cozy and inviting, and you won’t get too distracted like in crowded cafes. ‘Books + coffee’ spells the perfect afternoon,” shares Kapuso artist and budding poet Benjamin Alves, who was also a guest during the opening.

Popular actress, host, singer, entrepreneur, and wife Karylle gushes, “What I love about Book & Borders is that there’s always something new to discover because they constantly update their library. So even if you just want to browse, all the recent best sellers are on the shelves.” 

Karylle was super fun to be with at the event, she was engaging everyone, and was so game with all the activities. I never knew she was so competitive!

Book and Borders Cafe – Food

Of course, a cafe wouldn’t be complete without great grub. The bestsellers are not only limited to the books on the shelves, you can find them on the menu as well. For those with a sweet tooth, they have lots of cakes and squares, with the Queso de Bola Cake being the most in demand one! For more filling options, the menu includes pastas like Truffle Mushroom Pasta and Tuyo Pasta, as well as sandwiches like the Beef Pastrami Panini. If you want an even heavier meal, they also have hearty rice dishes. To wrap up the menu, Book and Borders has great tasting brewed coffee, and even some cold coffee confections. As for non-coffee drinkers, they have tea, refreshing juices, smoothies and hot chocolate.

Some of the things we got to sample were:


Shrimp Salad in Ciabatta Sandwich

Tuna Apple Melt  in Ciabatta


Chicken Parmigiana Au Gratin with Creamy Pesto

Seafood Aligue Carbonara

Rice Dishes

Barbecue Liempo

Tamarind Lemongrass Chicken


Ginger Raspberry Tea, Ginger Turmeric Iced Tea, Ginger Lychee Tea

It’s also great to note that they use a lot of high quality cutlery, dishes, and other equipment, most of which are from the Italian brand, Alessi.

At the grand opening of Book & Borders Tuscany, L-R: Benjamin Alves, Michael Lao, Karylle Tatlonghari-Yuzon, Kristine Joyce
Simisim and Chef Dennis Apostol

L-R: Michael Harris Conlin of Henry & Sons, Eric Lim
of Conlins Coffee World, Mary Simisim, Kristine Simisim and Nancy Go of
Book & Borders.

Book & Borders Cafe (2 Branches + 1 opening soon)
Tomas Morato
: 281 Tomas Morato, Quezon City
Opening Hours: 8am to 12mn Monday to Thursday, 7am to 2am Friday to Sunday

For Reservations, contact
+639328717856, (02)3751213


RC-RCM and RD-RDM Building 5, Tuscany Estates, Mckinley Hill, Bonifacio Global City 
Opening Hours: 9am to 12mn Sunday to Thursday, 9am to 2am Friday and Saturday
For Reservations, contact (02)8355451

Opening SOON:
Libis: Ground Floor, Olympic Heights Condominium, Libis, Quezon City    

For more news and updates, follow Book & Borders on Facebook, Instagram (@bookandborderscafe) and Twitter (@bookandborders). 

Book & Borders Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Give The Gift of Light with CBTL this Earth Day!

To celebrate Earth Day, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, through its Caring Cup program, is supporting the United Nations’ 7th goal for sustainable development: AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY. Recognizing that a great number of communities in the Philippines still continue to live without electricity in their homes, one of the most basic necessities for decent living conditions, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® is hoping to do its part to respond to the need by giving the gift of light through its partnership with My Shelter Foundation for its Liter of Light project. 

Causes like this are very important to me, so I make it a point to share the news with everyone. Without light, it would be difficult to do a lot of basic activities for living. Especially for the children who go to school, once the sun goes down, they cannot study anymore, leading to less productivity.

The Liter of Light (or Isang Litrong Liwanag) project is an initiative that brings solar lamps to communities that lack electricity. Recent developments have enabled My Shelter Foundation to convert common kerosene lamps into a medium that gives people access to sustainable light. Kerosene lamps are one of the cheapest light devices in energy poor areas, yet the downside is that they let out toxic smoke harmful to the health of individuals. Through the Liter of Light project, the kerosene lamps are made clean, becoming a source of light that does not give off harmful fumes through a combination of a simple circuit, LED, solar panel, and battery. 

On April 23, 2016, The Coffee Bean and & Tea Leaf® will be giving you the chance to experience being a Solar Lamp Volunteer for a day at its 26th St. Bistro store in Bonifacio Global City from 3PM – 5PM. For only P950, you will be taught how to build a solar lamp. Parents are encouraged to bring their kids to participate in an activity that is not only educational, but also meaningful as the children are empowered at a young age to help those who are in need.  

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® is raising 100 eco-friendly solar lamps, all of which will be donated to the underprivileged public school students from the Dumagat Tribe. The Dumagats are a community situated in Gabaldon, one of the most isolated villages in the Nueva Ecija Province. Nomadic in nature, the tribe has continued to live their simple day-to-day lives without electricity. Even with roughly 60 families living around the village center and others scattered around the mountain range, the Dumagats live far apart from each other, making it difficult to provide a centralized supply of electricity. That is why a workable solution to this problem is to provide each family with a solar lamp that can provide light to each household in order to assist with their sustainable livelihood of luya (ginger) and gabi (taro) plantations. 

I personally won’t be able to go as I already have previous engagements, but please, if you’re free, pledge and help out a fellow Filipino. 

Be an advocate of sustainable development and celebrate Earth Day with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®! Enjoy a sense of fulfillment that can only come from being a light to others. BE THE LIGHT BY GIVING THE GIFT OF LIGHT! To make a pledge and to know more details on the initiative, e-mail 

About The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® was born during the honeymoon of its founders, Herbert and Mona Hyman. Inspired by the many extraordinary coffee shops they visited in Europe, they opened their first outlet in Brentwood, California in 1963. The cafe was the first of its kind to sell fresh roasted gourmet coffees and teas, including the invention of the first-ever ice blended® coffee drink.

Now, the company has grown into one of the largest privately-owned, family-run coffee and tea brands in the world. The cafe’s menu includes a top-grade selection of coffees, teas, and ice blended drinks, as well as delicious pastries prepared by their very own commissaries.

First brought to the Philippines in 2003, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® now has 82 stores all over the Philippines and continues to be the leading cafe for specialty coffee and tea. 

For more information, visit, LIKE The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf® (Philippines) on Facebook and FOLLOW @CBTLPH on Instagram.

26th St. Bistro by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House Resorts World Manila

Aloha! I’m back with a new blogpost, this time with a food review of Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House. With its vibrant menu, and tropical flavors, it’s one gastronomic destination perfect for the sunny summer season.

I’m not very familiar with Hawaiian cuisine, the only thing I know about this cuisine, is their extensive use of the pineapple fruit. After all, a lot of different fast food chain call a certain dish Hawaiian just with the addition of a slice of pineapple.

After my visit to Johnny Kahuku’s though, I realized Hawaiian cuisine was way more than that. Hawaiian cuisine is a healthy blend and evolution of ethnic Hawaiian, European, American, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and even Filipino food, because of the high number of migrants there.


Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House gives off the vibe of an upscale Hawaiian Surf Shack. The mood is very festive, and you can even borrow colorful flower garlands from the wait staff for your photos. That’s what we did! haha.

The inside is a mix of shabby surf shack and casual dining scene, with comfy booths and wooden furnishings. 

The industrial lighting and unfinished surfaces give off a very homey and unrefined appeal. 

The walls are adorned with colorful Hawaiian tribal prints, as well as surfing trinkets, and a makeshift menu chalkboard.

The whole restaurant is spacious, catering to family gatherings, barkada catch ups, and even dates. While we were there, I noticed a lot of families celebrating different milestones here, like birthdays and reunions.

Johnny Kahuku Food

As I’ve mentioned before, the food here at Johnny Kahuku’s is a mix of different cultures. You’ll see a very Chinese dish,but with a Hawaiian twist, and other Asian, European and American dishes turned distinctly Hawaiian.


Asian Crispy Squid Php 290 

  • Fried Baby Squid, Caramel Tamarind Glaze, Crunchy Dilis, Peanut Adobo
  • my absolute favorite out of everything we tried there, it was soooo addicting. I couldn’t stop getting more of it. Each piece was just crispy, salty, and sweet, all at the same time.

Tropical Tuna Salad Php 395 

  • Seared Ahi Tuna, Mixed Mirco Greens, Watermelon, Edamame, Fruits in Season, Sesame Miso Dressing
  • The tuna was seared perfectly, and sliced in just the right thickness. The watermelon added a refreshing taste to it, and worked well with the sesame dressing

Poke Sampler Php 699 Tuna Ahi Poke, Salmon Poke, Island Kilawin

  • Tuna Ahi Poke (Chilled Ahi Tuna, Fresh Seaweed, Toasted Cashew, Ginger Shoyu Dressing)
  • Salmon Poke Salmon Sashimi, Fresh Seaweed, Roasted Pineapple, Ginger Shoyu Dressing
  • Island Kilawin Cured Tanigue, Coconut Lime dressing, Roasted Corn, Peppers, Cucumber, Jicama, Cilantro
  • My favorite was the salmon poke, and the kilawin came second. The Kilawin was very Filipino, with the gata or coconut milk giving the dish more depth of flavor.

Molokai Sweet Sizzling Corn Php 285 

  • Roasted Japanese Corn, Sweet Mayo Butter, Bonito Flakes, Togarashi Dust
  • it reminded me a lot of the popular umami corn these days. I’d say it would be a perfect accompaniment to the shrimp and meat dishes from the mains.


Johnny Kahuku serves platters for sharing, each platter already having a variety dishes. They also serve dishes ala carte, so if you just want the seafood, you can even order them in buckets.

Huli Huli Shrimp Php 585 (9pcs shrimp)

  • Garlic and Ginger Butter Shrimps, Mongolian BBQ Sauce, Vegetable Stir Fry, Chinese Sausage Fried Rice
  • The shrimp was soo good, buttery with a subtle ginger flavor. the vegetable stir fry was your usual chopsuey made better.
  • The Chinese Fried rice was very reminiscent of the Yang Chow fried rice we eat at the usual Chinese restaurants.

Classic Kahuku Php 599 (9pcs shrimp) 

  • Garlic Butter Shrimps, Hawaiian rice, Macaroni Salad, Tuna Ahi Poke
  • You can never go wrong with shrimps in butter. Each one was so juicy. The Hawaiian rice was sweet and savory, with small pineapple bits mixed in.

Combination BBQ Platter 2 Php 989 

  • Beef Short Ribs, Shrimp Kahuku, Mochiko Chicken, Hawaiian Rice, Macaroni Salad 
  • This is my favorite out of the mains. The short ribs were well marinated, juicy and tender.

Kung Pao Shrimp Linguine Php 395 

  • Garlic Shrimps, Sweet and Spicy Kung Pao Sauce, Roasted Peanuts, Linguine Pasta, Fried Bao
  • A little too saucy for me, but the flavors were good. Try eating the noodles with a bite of the fried bao, such a perfect combo.

Pete’s Triple Combination Php 599 

  • White Shrimps, Black Mussels, Grilled Pork Belly, Sweet Garlic Sambal Butter, Potatoes, Corn 
  • This one had a spicy kick. The seafood were fresh, and the potatoes hidden under the bountiful seafood


Turon Turon Php 265 

  • Chocolate Banana Turon, Toasted Coconut, Sweetened Jackfruit, Sorbetes Ice Cream 
  • Your favorite turon made better with ice cream and frilly presentation 🙂

Kahuku Dirty Chocolate Brownie Php 340 

  • Macadamia Nut Brownie, Warm caramel, Vanilla and Macaroon Ice Cream 
  • This one was very dense, sweet and good to share


We got the Spiced Pineapple Rum as well as the alcohol free Pina Colada. These were refreshing, and having them served in a pineapple is an added bonus.  

Another super filling dinner with my #FoodieCrewPH group! Spot

Jovi (snapsnstories),Cate (cateyperryalwayshungry), Jaimee (hungrypants), and
Mel (foodiedayout). Many thanks to Ms. Bea and Ms. Jane, for taking the time to explain the dishes and accomodating us!!

Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House (2 branches)
Newport City: Second Floor, Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila, Newport Boulevard, Newport City, Pasay City 
Opening Hours 12 noon to 12 midnight Monday to Sunday
For Reservations, Contact
Libis: Ground Floor, Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City

Opening Hours 

11am to 9pm Monday to Thursday, 10am to 10pm Friday to to Sunday

For Reservations, Contact


photo of me and group photos by Jovi Ong

Johnny Kahuku's Hawaiian Shrimp House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bring Your Skin to Light with Kojie San

A lot of you guys have prolly seen the video clip below in various social media sites, and even as a TVC, in between your favorite shows. The clip shows beautiful girls flaunting fair skin, each one, very confident, and look lit from within.

It’s also a teaser of what’s to come, aren’t you curious to know who the next Kojie San It Girl is? Read on to find out. 🙂

Kojie San’s first claim to fame is because of the widely popular ingredient, kojic acid, found in its Kojie San Lightening Soap. Kojie San Lightening Soap first entered the market in 2007 as a flagship product from Beauty Elements Ventures, Inc. (BEVI). At the time, kojic acid soaps were widely popular, especially for the Filipina market, as whitening products are always all the rage. With all the competition from other kojic acid soap manufacturers, Kojie San’s Kojic Acid formulation proved to be superior, even to multinational ones. Today, Kojie San is the #1 kojic acid soap in the country.

Don’t believe it? Do a Google search for Kojie San and you’ll see a lot of rave reviews, be it from blogs or vlogs, raving about the product. With the soaps success, Kojie San decided to come out with a full range of products for complete lightening—each one meticulously developed for undeniably alluring and visibly lighter skin, and suited for the Filipina skin.

Kojic Acid is actually a natural antioxidant obtained from koji malt (Aspergillus oryzae).
It is the by-product formed during the production of miso, soya sauce and sake in Japan for a
long time (Budavari, 2000; Jarchem Industries, 2000). 

To put it to a more chemical level, the skin-whitening effect of kojic acid involves the formation of an enzyme
complex that inhibits tyrosine hydroxylase and blocks the synthesis of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine

(Nakagawa et al., 1995). Simply put, kojic acid helps in inhibiting pigment formation (melanin), which subsequently leads to whitening.

After doing some research, I also found out kojic acid is a safe ingredient of cosmetics, as found by the National Institutes of Health, complete with a report I read at US National Library of Medicine or

Here’s Kojie San’s Classic skin care line for whitening:

1. Whiten with Kojie San Skin Lightening Soap (Php 68/135g)

• high-grade Kojic Acid prevents melanin production for lighter, clearer skin (as explained earlier)
• effectively diminishes dark spots, freckles, acne, plus stretch marks and unevenness (also a product of the inhibition of melanin production)

2. Rejuvenate with Kojie San Cleanser + Toner (Php 75/100mL)

• equipped with Ginseng Extract and Rosehip Oil to revive tired skin • rids skin of excessive oil while repairing damage

3. Brighten with Kojie San Face Lightening Cream (Php 120)

• combination of natural extracts plus high-grade Kojic Acid lightens as it nourishes the skin
• restores skin suppleness for a healthy, rosy look, also doubles as moisturizer

4. Lighten with Kojie San Body Lightening Lotion (Php 262/200mL)

• advanced formula of Kojic Acid plus Rosehip Oil whitens skin as it heals
• made for faster absorption to lighten skin in less time
• Collagen + Vitamin E increases youthfulness and skin health

• Lotion comes in another version with SPF 25 

Initial Thoughts:

I recently started using this set as my basic skincare routine. I think I’ve only been using it for a week, and the results have been surprising. I actually had low expectations of these products because aside from being locally manufactured, they were also really affordable. 

The soap stings a bit, especially when left on the skin for a long time, so if you experience any sensitivity, just wash it off. After using it for a few days though, it didn’t sting as much as the first time so I went on using it. The toner has a mild cooling effect, which is perfect against the hot weather we have now. The facial lightening cream helps a lot because the soap does tend to try out the skin. I love how the cream glides on smoothly, and leaves a subtle glow on my skin, all the while moisturizing my face. The lotion absorbs very quickly, and like the cream, leaves a subtle instant glow. 

I do suggest putting on sunscreen after all the steps because of the sensitivity. I believe Kojie San also has sunblock products, with variants for daily use, for sports, and for kids. Also, don’t expect to see results as fast as I did because different people react to different products in varied ways.

Overall, I’m loving the Kojie San Classic Skin Lightening Line, and I’ll keep you guys updated on my progress, and post a more thorough review next!

And now, the big reveal:

Who is the next Kojie San It Girl?

The answer? YOU!!!

Yes, you. No divas, no celebrities, no other endorsers here. Kojie San is all about the product and what it can do for YOUR skin. Fair skin? A blemish free back? Smooth legs? You can see these real results for yourself, when you try the Kojie San line.

With Kojie San, YOU are the it girl. YOU can see the difference. Bring your skin to Light with Kojie San.

Kojie San products are available at all leading supermarkets, drug stores, and sari sari stores nationwide. 

For more updates on Kojie San products, events and campaigns, visit their website, follow them on Facebook, and Instagram (@kojiesanph). Also check out the hashtags #BringYourSkintoLight #KojieSan, don’t forget to use them when posting!

Kojie San is the flagship brand from Beauty Elements Ventures, Inc (BEVI). BEVI is a 100% Filipino owned local manufacturer of cosmetics established since 2007,

committed to answer beauty and skin care needs of men and women.   

Wingstop Eyes On The Sides Promo + Giveaway!

If it isn’t evident, I love food. When it comes to food, chicken seems to be high up on everyone’s list of favorite meat dish. I for one, love really good chicken wings. Wings are my favorite part of the chicken, and always always always eat that part whenever we have a whole chicken for dinner.

Which brings me to today’s post, Wingstop!! Wingstop is one of the more popular chicken wing joints in the metro, boasting of 14 unique flavors (all covering the sweet, savory, and spicy spectrum) of their fresh cooked-to-order wings. If you enjoy a mouth-melting heat, crave for that extra zing, or hunger for all that’s rich and smoky, Wingstop has a flavor to suit your taste, and an equally flavorful side dish to go along with it. 


A chicken wing dish isn’t complete without an equally good side dish. Wingstop recognizes that, with a variety of sides to choose from. Their Onion Rings are light, crispy, and packed with flavor, just how we like them. Their Nachos & Cheese oozes with cheddar on top of lightly fried crunchy nachos. Their Fries take sides to the next level with flavors such as the addictive dry rub spice of Louisiana Rub, the blend of heat and tang of the Cajun, and the classic kick of the Texas-Style. And let’s not forget their mouth-watering Sweet Potato Chips.


With their Eyes on the Sides promo, for a minimum single receipt purchase worth P 500, you get a free side of the day from March 18 to May 1, 2016. The free sides schedule goes like thisL Sunday means free Onion Rings, Monday will bring you Louisiana Rub Fries, Tuesday has Nachos & Cheese up its sleeve, Wednesday wants the Cajun Fries, Thursday offers Onion Rings, Friday feels for the Sweet Potato Chips, and Saturday celebrates with Texas-Style Fries.


As a treat to you guys, I’m hosting another giveaway, this time in partnership with Wingstop!

For the mechanics, you can check out my Instagram post:

Giveaway alert! Get a chance to win GCs from @WingstopPH by simply following these mechanics: 1. Like Wingstop Philippines on Facebook and follow @wingstopph and @_phyliciamarie on Instagram. 2. Snap a photo of your meal + the free side of the day. (You can check out my recent blog post for the free sides!) 3. In the caption, tell us which of the sides is your favorite and why. 4. Use the hashtags #EyesOnTheSides #WingstopPH #WingstopPHxPhya 5. Two winners will get P1,500 worth of Wingstop GCs each! I’ll pick two winners on May 1, which gives you guys plenty of time to join my giveaway! Good luck! #clozette #food #Giveaway #phyagiveaways #Wingstop #wings #BuffaloWings #GiveawayPH #chickenwings #chicken

A photo posted by Phylicia Marie Pineda (@_phyliciamarie) on Apr 13, 2016 at 2:30am PDT


  1. Like Wingstop Philippines on Facebook and follow @wingstopph, @_phyliciamarie on Instagram.
  2. Snap a photo of your meal + the free side of the day.
  3. In the caption, tell us which of the sides is your favorite and why.
  4. Use the hashtags #EyesOnTheSides #WingstopPH #WingstopPHxPhya
  5. Two winners will get P1,500 worth of Wingstop GCs each! 

I’ll be picking winners by May 1, 2016, giving everyone enough time to eat, post, and enjoy!


For a flavor experience that hits a special spot in the soul, keep your eyes on the sides at the Wingstop restaurant nearest to you. 

For more information, LIKE Wingstop Philippines on Facebook and FOLLOW @wingstopph on Instagram and Twitter.

Wingstop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Unleash your creativity with Fujifilm PH’s Instax and Crafts!

I’m a frustrated artist. If you guys follow me on social media, you’d notice that I love anything crafty. In events when there’s a DIY activity, I’d be one of the most enthusiastic people, even doing my best to win contests while at it.

Scrapbooking is one artsy activity I really enjoy, because it combines three things I love, arts, photos and memories. I love how it’s fun, creative, and always makes me go nostalgic, and walk down memory lane. When done with a group, aside from preserving memories, scrapbooking is also a great way to make friends, expand your network, and create bonds.

With that in mind, FUJIFILM Philippines Inc. launched “Instax and Crafts” at SMX Aura last February. It was a fun afternoon of crafting with acclaimed TV-movie actress Jasmine Curtis Smith and Craft Manila who shared tips on how to make the most of your Instax memories.

Instax and Crafts ushers in Instax’s 2016 Campaign where a series of DIY sessions are going to be held nationwide. The roadshow will begin in Manila on April 9 to be followed by Cebu on April 16, and Davao on May 7.

The first leg, tomorrow, April 9, will be at the Ayala Malls Market! Market! Activity Center, featuring workshops by I Try DIY and Craft MNL. There will also be indie music, and lots of freebies and raffle prizes, aside from the already fun crafty activities. To join, sign up here.

There are a lot of creative ways to design and display your Instax photos including DIY calendars, photo books, accordions, etc. Cute and compact, Instax cameras come in two types – the Instax mini series that are ideal for daily use and Instax WIDE series which are perfect for shooting group pictures. I love how Instax cameras still have the novelty of getting prints instantly, and in sizes that are easy to keep and give away.

The Instax cameras come in a variety of colors and styles and even the film you use comes in different eye-catching designs.

Instax cameras are really cute, very Instagrammable, and packed with basic photography functions that are easy enough to manipulate. Jasmine Curtis Smith, having a cheerful personality, was the best celebrity to grace the launch as she represented the fun image of the Instax camera. She was there to cheer on everyone while also making her own Instax DIY crafts. Jasmine is bubbly, lovely, and fun, the embodiment of youth, talent, beauty and energy at its most beguiling. She was super game at randomly interviewing people while everyone was busy with the workshop. She was also the first one to ask everybody in attendance to pose for a selfie with the Instax Mini 70.

For the launch, we were taught to make two crafts, the Instax Accordion, and the Instax Calendar.

As mentioned before, the workshop was guided by the lovely people from Craft MNL, and we were provided with washi tapes, stamps, Sharpies, and even printed cards.

Another Instax product I’m also a fan of, is the Instax Share. It’s essentially an Instax printer that enables you to print out shots from your smartphones. Just download the app and you’re good to go.

For the workshop, we got to print out a few photos that we could use for the accordion and calendar.

I chose to print my photos of my recent travels, from Korea and Singapore.

I also asked the talented Ella Lama, to do lettering on some of my Instax prints. I love how she did different lettering on styles depending on the mood of each photo.

My Instax Accordion

For the accordion, I did one about my Singapore trip with my best buddies from high school. I used a lot of washi tapes, stamps, aaaaand imagination.

Don’t you just love the lettering on my photo captions? Thank you so much Ella Lama!!!

Instax and Crafts Calendar

For the calendar, I used popsicle sticks as tabs or bookmarks for each month. Again, I used a lot of washi tape, and stamps, but I doodled a whole lot more. 

I went the extra mile and even cut out shapes using washi tape, like the pumpkin in this October page.

Tadaaaa! My output. I also won a new Instax Mini 8 in Yellow because of my calendar! Mine won most creative! Yipeeeee. The timing couldn’t be more perfect because my Instax Mini 7s got broken during my Korea trip.

At the Instax and Crafts events, Fujifilm will also launch the Special Summer Packages for Instax mini 7s (Php 3,699), mini 8  (Php 4,999), Hello Kitty (Php 5,999), mini 70 (Php7,499), WIDE 300 (Php 7,499), and Instax share printer (Php 9,990).

The Special Summer Package will be available in stores starting March 18. Films, camera bags, and other accessories perfect for your road trips and adventures are in each set, depending on the Instax camera model. With the Instax Summer Package, you can make lasting memories under the scorching sun with family and friends.

Another exclusive at the Instax and Crafts event, is the unveiling of the new Instax Mini 8 Hello Kitty Red! I was there when they launched the pink one, and this red one looks even cuter!

Trivia: Did you know the Instax films are water resistant? I saw these water bowls filled with Instax films at the event, and was so surprised that the images were still clear.

Spot Fujifilm Philippines’ Filipina Ambassador, Bea Alonzo, in this Instax wall! 

With FUJIFILM’s 80-year history and expertise in photographic film manufacturing, celebrating great memories become more fun and dynamic by embellishing and putting them together beautifully to enjoy the many wonders of Instax cameras and the rewards and joys of crafting and scrapbooking.

For more updates on Instax and Crafts, or Fujifilm Instax in gerneral, you can follow them on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram @teaminstaxph. Also, check out the hashtag #InstaxandCrafts #InstaxMemory when posting about them or even just to follow the conversation.