PERHAPS.

OLD MANILA: A Beautiful Mess

Earlier today, I went to Hidalgo street in Quiapo to get my old Canon AE-1 fixed. There aren’t a lot of camera shops in Makati so going here was the only option if I wanted ol’ Alex working again. Yes, my camera has a name. Judge me.

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Anyway, if you’ve ever been to this part of Manila before, you’d know just how much of a hassle the trip is. There’s absolutely ZERO parking space so bringing a car isn’t really an option unless you wanna drive through the cramped streets to find a spot. A cab ride, on the other hand, will set you back roughly 200-300 pesos and possibly more if it’s rush hour, and c’mon, it’s Taft, it’s ALWAYS rush hour. So basically, jeepneys and LRT rides are the only viable options. Can I get an UGH?

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After an excruciating long and smelly LRT trip, I finally arrived in Quiapo and as I got off the train, I was automatically hit with a wave of nostalgia and confusion.

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You know how I’m obsessed with signage and old buildings? Yeah, now imagine me in a place that’s literally 50% signs 50% bad odor. I WAS SO CONFLICTED! I mean, minus the robbers, street rats, and kids who like to grab onto people’s legs, this place would’ve been beautiful! Well, in an ugly-pretty old-world-vibe kinda way.

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It’s such a shame that this place is now one of Manila’s hot-spots for criminal activity. Ironic too, as it holds arguably the Philippines’ most iconic church. I mean, if you google pictures of old manila circa 1950s, you’d see just how amazing it was. I still found beauty and grandeur in this place despite the social corrosion though, and standing in the middle of Plaza Miranda and looking around at what happened and what might have been made me realize how much we should value and care for our nation’s historical legacy.

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Old Manila is filled with places that will absolutely blow you away if you look past the cracks. I went here thinking it’ll be such a drag but I came back with a new-found sense of wonder and respect. You think there’s nothing to do here but go to malls and shop? Wrong. Go out. Discover Manila.

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THE GIRL + THE BULL

I’ve been dying to try this restaurant for months now but I just couldn’t find the time because it’s so far away *crying emoji* BUT a couple of days ago, we finally decided to just, well, go lol. One painfully long (and expensive!) cab ride later, I found myself standing in front of this gorgeous building

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With the coolest welcome sign ever!!

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THE GIRL AND THE BULL! YASSSS! The first time I saw pictures of this place, I was instantly blown away by how cool it looked! And lemme tell ya, it’s 2781717282 times more drool-worthy in person. THERE ARE FREAKING FLOWERS IN WINE BOTTLES AND PHOTOS HUNG BY STRINGS ON THE WALL!! Yes, this place is worth the all-caps intensity.

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Side note: I saw Thea De Rivera a.k.a. “The Girl” of The Girl + The Bull and I FREAKED OUT 2.0. I was too shy to ask for a picture tho so yeah lol.


Obviously, I was equally excited for the food as I was for the place itself. I’ve heard so many great things about this hidden gem of a restaurant! We ordered the Buttermilk Fried Chicken (updated version, as per TG+TB’s instagram page) and the Grass-fed Beef Tenderloin. For dessert, we got the famous Faux Twix.

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I really really liked the Buttermilk Fried Chicken. It had an interesting flavor thanks to the butternut pumpkin. Also, the plating was gorgeous!


I had mixed feelings about the tenderloin though. I’m not sure why or how but there were some parts of it that tasted amazing and there were other parts that had this weird texture to them that was a bit, um, distracting? The use of squid ink and blue cheese was brilliant though!

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I have no words for the faux twix. Just promise me you guys will get this if ever you decide to drop by. We can be speechless together.


If only this place was nearer, I’d eat here every week! Why don’t I live in the southhhh. Oh but hey, I heard they’re opening up a new restaurant in Guijo soon. It wont be another TG+TB though but lets face it, I’d eat anything these guys make lol.

BLACKBIRD at The Nielson Tower

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This new restaurant has been causing quite a buzz on the interwebz. I’ve seen it ALL over Instagram and Twitter (I’m looking at you, Filipino celebs) so naturally, we just had to check it out.

Blackbird is located in Ayala Triangle, right across the Manila Peninsula. Apparently, this place (The Nielson Tower) was once used as the control tower for an airport looong ago. Now look at. LOOK. AT. IT. It’s GORGEOUS *violently shakes*

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I literally freaked out over their interiors, right down to the black and silver pattern on the walls of their restroom. TOO PERFECT. Don’t judge me.

So anyway, we ordered our food as I tried to compose myself. We wanted to try something different so we ended up getting the Blackbird Fish Pie and the Flat Iron Steak.

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The fish pie was amazing!! Quite deceiving too lol at first, it didn’t seem like it was anything extraordinary but when the salmon and sweet shrimps kicked in, wow. Dart sa heart

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I only got a taste of the flat iron steak but it was great too! Had a little of that melt-in-your-mouth quality in it.

For dessert, we ordered the Baked Alaska.

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This was so good!! I loved the contrast between the meringue and the passion fruit. This one’s definitely a show-stopper.

We had a great time at Blackbird and we’ll definitely back. 80% ‘cause of the great food, 20% ‘cause of the great interiors lol

SPIRAL MANILA 2014

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After months and months of decision-making, we finally decided to eat at the famous Spiral buffet at Sofitel Manila. It’s been a loooong time since I’ve been to Sofitel so you can just imagine how I excited I was. Alright, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: yes, it was a bit pricey but it was definitely worth it. I can not stress that enough lol.

Spiral has, what they call, 21 Ateliers that cover everything you can possibly think of/crave for. They even have a Cheese room!! Basically, they have a ton of top-notch food for your top-notch appetite lol. Although, the buffet doesn’t cover drinks so if you want something other than water, you have to order that separately.

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I really REALLY liked the Hot Japanese (Teppanyaki) and French Stove sections. There’s nothing better than unlimited foie gras! The dessert section could use some work though. Yes, it’s extensive but some just weren’t that good. The white chocolate in particular, had a less-than-favorable aftertaste. Maybe that’s just me, idk. Alright, I’m not gonna bore you with words anymore and let the pictures do the talking

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Budget’s around 3k/person for dinner and around 2.5k for lunch. Again, the price point’s a bit up there but trust me, you won’t regret it *thumbs up emoji*

MISS EARTH

Watercolor painting (trial). July 2014

THE CURATOR

Good lawdddd, talk about a whirlwind of a weekend. It’s been crazy af tbh. I’ll spare you the details but lets just say it was emotionally stressful lol and as usual, I dealt with it in the stupidest way possible: retail therapy and painting hahahaha.


Yes, shut up, that’s how I deal with stress *judges self*. Sooo, yeah I bought myself a watercolor set. The artist grade, not the one you used back when you were 10 years old lol. My original plan was to go to Legazpi Park to paint stuff there but stupid me forgot that you cant use watercolor without water so yey (o di ba senti na, tanga pa. jk) So somehow I ended up trying to find one of the most evasive coffee shops this side of town: The Curator.


It’s literally inside Cyrano Wine Bar in Legaspi Village (Gamboa side, near the BDO branch there). There’s really nothing outside that tells you about the hidden gem within its walls except for that relatively small chalkboard placed against their window. You walk in past the bar and into the small room in the back, and viola!

Welcome to The Curator! The entire place looks like it was flown in from NYC lol. Long tables, dark concrete walls, wonderful hand-made typography, coffee-related ornaments and light jazz. WHAT COULD BE BETTER HUHU. I’ve found my happy place.


The waiters (or baristas I guess?) were really, really friendly and not at all intimidating. They asked me if it was my first time there, to which I awkwardly answered yes, and walked me through their menu. They even asked for my name and wrote a thank you note on my bill. Great service is always a strong bonus. I ordered Espresso with Milk (P140). I forgot the name of the blend that they used though, but I remember getting the “nutty” one with “dark chocolate notes” as opposed to the other blend which the waitress/barista described as “fruity”.


I have to pat myself on the back for this one ‘cause this was really good coffee! I mean, I’m not really a fan of espressos but this one went down really smoothly. No weird, acidic aftertaste and the milk really brought out the chocolate notes the waitress/barista told me about so it isn’t too bitter. I enjoyed this one a LOT. It also got me flying through this project I’m working on so I guess it’s safe to recommend this to all the college crammers and professional procrastinators out there hahaha.


Thank God I found this place! I’ll definitely be back for more. Also, to The Curator’s management, I’m sorry for getting pencil shavings all over your table. It wont happen again lol

WILDFLOUR Café + Bakery in SALCEDO

WILDFLOUR IS FINALLY IN MAKATI! YASSSSSSSS.

Sorry, I know that I’m a bit late with the news but I just had to let that out lol. I’ve been waiting for Wildflour to open here so that I don’t have to go all the way to BGC but now that it has, it’s ALWAYS full. Not even kidding. So when my officemates and I decided to go out for lunch the other day, we took the opportunity and booked us a table in advance *fireworks*

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I’m the type of person who judges a restaurant first by appearance, then by presentation, then by taste. I know it’s a little superficial but that’s just how I go about it, sue me. Interior-wise, Wildflour Salcedo is spot on. Just like its BGC counterpart, a good percentage of its interior is made up of wood and metal which gives it a very warm, rustic appeal (side note: I’m in love with this kind of look). The floor-to-ceiling windows enable natural light to flow freely into the restaurant which looks great on photos, again a huge plus for me. The white brick wall is also a nice touch and the patterned tiles are just, well, they’re just rad. Look at that.

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Basically, Wildflour Salcedo is drop-dead gorgeous to look at. There a few things that drag it down a few notches though. The open kitchen is nice and all but the sound of people screaming can get pretty irksome, especially in an already crowded space. Yes, they yell out your orders and they freak out when something’s not up to par (not complaining about the latter) but still, it doesn’t really fit the laid-back feel of the place. I could barely hear what my friend was saying because of the perpetual commotion going on, and she was literally right beside me.

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As for the food, it’s all very standard breakfast slash comfort food with some surprises here and there. The presentation was very, um normal? Nothing fancy-schmancy here. Thats not necessarily a bad thing though because Wildflour isn’t really going for a 5-Star hotel vibe.

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I got the Kimchi Fried Rice (P465) and my friend ordered their Croque Madame (P420). We also ordered German Pancakes (P320), Barbeque Pulled Pork Sliders (P410) and around three California Burgers (P450 each). Needless to say, we were a big group lol. Oh, and they served us complimentary bread beforehand.

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The Kimchi Fried Rice was great!! At first. Sadly, it got a little bland after the first few spoonfuls. It was still okay though, but nothing really mind-blowing.

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I really, really like their Croque Madame. The Gruyere cheese basically got me hooked. I should’ve ordered this instead lol. My friend said it was a bit heavy though but that’s not gonna stop me from getting it next time.

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As for the other dishes, well, I couldn’t really go up to every single one of my officemates and ask them what they thought about the food right? Based from their reactions though, I heard the Pulled Pork Sliders were good but again, a bit on the heavy side. The California Burger received mixed reactions. 2 of them liked it but one said that he got dizzy after a few bites because there was so much oil. Yikes.

At around 700 per head, it was a bit pricey. I guess it’ll be better to go with a smaller group and order stuff for sharing instead. Nonetheless, I enjoyed our lunch at Wildflour and I will definitely be back for more, especially now that it’s only a stone’s throw away.