Friday, December 27, 2013

The Pryce Plaza Hotel

Let me take you a quick tour at Pryce Plaza Hotel in Cagayan de Oro City.

The hotel appreciates nature and it's evident as trees and greens welcome you.

The main entrance.

The security guards were as friendly as their receptionists.

The main lobby; warm and cozy.

The hallway to the room; quite scary actually.

The room and my friends. Thank you to my friend who let me stay in her room.

The poolside where you can see a nice view of the city. Pool opens at 9AM

The bar. I love those leather couch/sofa/chair? hahaha

The room came with free breakfast.

We got the room for Php 2000.  This was a promo rate. Its an old hotel and you can tell from some of the facilities as they were not updated. Was it worth the price? the breakfast tasted good, it was neat. the people were friendly, so I think these give justice to the price.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Visit at The Chocolate Chamber

I remember growing up my mom used to make tablea. After she roasted the cacao beans, she would call us to help her peel them.  You'd see my tears rolling as I get some thumb blisters while doing it. They were off-from-the-roasting-pan hot.  Maybe that's the reason why I wasn't into chocolates before.

When I got my sweet tooth some years later, I thought tablea would be a great business. Just put them in a nice package and send them off to the market.

While everyone was so busy getting their errands done before Christmas, I had the opportunity to relax from my own list. Also, to avoid traffic.  Hiding in corners of Panagda-it. A walking distance from Sarrosa Hotel, the road perpendicular to F. Cabahug St, I found comfort in The Chocolate Chamber.

They newly opened.  It was their 12th day when I got there.  In the afternoon, they open at 2pm. (yup they have lunch breaks at 11AM)

It felt like visiting my grandparents with their embroidered table napkins.

While waiting for my friend to arrive who got stuck in the traffic already, I was their first customer, I had the chance to talk with the owner who was very friendly.  I realized his business partner experienced the same thing with the cacao beans growing up and pursued the business.

I had no idea what I was getting. I checked the menu and it was all chocolate.  Imagine a dungeon filled with chocolate or the witch candy house in Hansel and Gretel.

As starter, I got the hot drink.  The owner suggested the hibiscus flavor. I thought it would smell weird, flower and chocolate. It would be great for a tea, but chocolate? Nah, I got the strawberry instead.  Perfect choice I thought.  When it was served, the aroma filled the room. Imagine playing with strawberry dipped in dark melted chocolate.  Ok, my mind wandered somewhere kinky.

Isn't this lovely?

old fashion chocolate cake
I like the bitter-sweet taste of the chocolate filling.  The cake, I like it more if it was moist.

blueberry with cream cheese
I don't think the blueberry compliments well with chocolate. It was too creamy it hurts my throat.

But the chocolate truffles (given as a complimentary) they were for the gods! To think these were home-grown beans and yes! they make their own chocolates.

And I took this home, choco-vanilla cookie butter which is highly recommended.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Ice Cream Story

"There’s no doubt about it—breakups suck. But in the first few hours or days or weeks that follow, there’s one important truth you need to recognize: Some things can’t and shouldn’t be fixed, especially that loser who dumped you or forced you to dump him.

It’s called a breakup because it’s broken, and starting right here, right now, it’s time to dry your tears, put down that pint of ice cream, log out of his e-mail, and open this book to Chapter One–and start turning your breakup into a breakover." Greg Behrendt

picture courtesy of google

Author of equally famous book, He's Just Not That Into You, Greg Behrendt slaps you with hilarious facts about things we stupidly do after breakup that includes digging a pint of ice cream. He said that the answer to the emotional turmoil cannot be found at the bottom of the container. But there's something about ice cream that can lighten your mood so that didn't stop me! haha Even the calorie count didn't scare me.

picture courtesy of google
So it started with Magum. The craze was all over facebook which includes posting of empty wrappers.  It even went PG when a friend posted a picture with only a white towel wrapped around his waist and holding a chocolate truffle magnum inviting all readers to lick it like a disco stick. In every convenient store they always run out of supply.

I wasn't so crazy about it because I was in love with Caramael Macchiato from Starbucks. My friends and I never fail to grab one after our visit from S&R.  In a car on our way home, with the radio on to set the mood, singing on top of our lungs, laughing trip, bullying each other and digging the ice cream (sorry of the lack of phase, somehow it doesn't sound right). Actually, I miss doing it seems like everyone is busy.

One hot Sunday afternoon, I went to a convenient store for something, I checked the fridge and there's one magnum left.  Curious, I thought, maybe it's meant for me. So I bought it and that's when I joined the bandwagon.

Ben and Jerry was a different story.  It was the same situation Greg described in his book.  I found out I was the third person, they broke up, we eventually broke up, I dated someone, we broke up too because I wasn't over with the first one. Two break ups in a short period of time. A pint of ice cream wasn't enough.

There's a new ice cream in town, Blue Bell. It's a new craze for some limited few because its a bit pricey and its only available at Rustans. 

I love vanilla ice cream. It's soft and creamy and the cookie is chewy, yum! And yes it came with a heart break story too!

Maybe I should stick with Magnum, I kind of like the serendipity story.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The O'nell's Babybackribs At Portos

I'm in an industry where I can be replaced by just anyone.  That's a hard fact I learned this year for I almost lost my job. I struggled back in 2012. It was just a crazy year. It was tough that I almost gave up.

The month of June 2013 was a wake up call.  We needed to cut some people.  Just like any other business, it was necessary for the business to keep going.  That feeling is haunting me.  I thought, "so, how will I keep my job?"

I work harder since everyday the bar is being raised.  I learn new skills or you will be left behind, Today's standard maybe tomorrow's failing mark. That's how dynamic this world is.

As a leader, the challenge is on how to bring your team to that one direction. Some people buys the idea easily, some needed a little persuasion, some just don't.

Sometimes, I get misunderstood when I become aggressive.  Far do they know my only intention was to bring them to a better position, a safer place. Just like the story of a Shepard looking for a lost lamb.

But sometimes, the best way to handle a rotten tomato is to throw them away for it rots the whole basket.

This was one of my random musing while driving on my way to Capitol area for a good brunch after a long and tiring shift. I thought, yeah I deserve a good meal.

There's a food strip, a walking distance from the Capitol Palace, Escario Central Mall. There were interesting diners to choose from, Politics, Michael Angelo, Brioche, Cafe Sarree. We decided to dine at:

They are open at 11 AM.

 I got the ribs.  A way to tell that it is a good one is, if it's tender, fall-off-the-bone and the smokey-barbecue flavor. This pass my taste buds.  They have what we look for in a diner, good food, friendly staff and a clean place.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Food Trip in Cagayan de Oro

“To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.”
-Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

And I had my fair share of broken heart.  "No passion, no spark, no faith, no heat, no nothing! I think I have really gotten past the point where I can be calling this a ‘bad moment’… This is worse than death to me, the idea that this is the person I’m going to be from now on… There’s like nothing – I have no pulse!" I felt exactly the same as what Liz said in this movie.

I was introduced to Yoga. After several months of partying, drinking, eating, shopping, I made it to the second stage; Pray. For nine months I abstained myself from eating any four-legged beast. My nutrients were from fruits and vegetable juice. Less clubbing scene and no to impulsive buying. I acquired discipline and focus through meditation. Inner peace gave me happiness.

I knew myself better, or so I thought.  I thought I was ready for stage three; Love.  At least I hav moved on from the last relationship.  No bitterness.  Well, stage three is not something acquired, it will just come. So for the meantime I went back eating.

So I went to Cagayan de Oro to attend a wedding.  My friends and I missed to plan what-to-do and where- to-go.  So instead I went Food Trip. I thought I came prepared but there were just to many good food to choose from, my food basket complained and I obliged.  So here are some:

Their new airport is an hour and half away from the city with non-stop driving.  I arrived 11:30AM and hungry. (I must be prepared so I came with an empty stomach)

So this is what I had for lunch. The barbecue surprisingly tasted good for the price.  The sisig was also good but I've tasted better. But the place is recommended, its quite popular in Cagayan.

On our way to Butcher's, this got my attention. Not because of their caption (customize-d) but the logo. Yes, I thought, i know where to go next after lunch, dessert.

Looks cute but their cakes were dry. Toppings, nothing special for 50 pesos.  Sorry I have high standards for cupcakes. ;) Cebu has better cupcakes at the same price or was I not in the right place?

Am not really a fan but this one tastes good it made me changed my mind about shawarma.  The spices were infused to the meat and it does not smell or at least my friends did not complain.  Maybe secret in eating this is to eat it outdoor. I really thought the pink sauce that came with it was thousand island dressing, it was chili sauce. I'm not a spicy person. haha

My outfit for the wedding got stained so later that day, we went to Limketkai to look for clothes.  Who would miss Missy Bonbon? I love their ice cream.  Actually this is my third time in Cagayan and the third wedding I attended.

I took a stroll in Divisoria and found another dessert shop.

It was disappointing.  I was surprised they warmed the caramel cupcake. It made the cake dry. The yema was too sweet.  The carrot cake was ok but not the topping.

I woke up late and I skipped breakfast.  Too excited for my Thailand trip in January. The next day, we had lunch here.  This place is recommended.  I did not come prepared or I just ordered too many. The service was excellent!

Too full, I only had take out pizza for dinner then went clubbing. Went home at 1AM. You see, it was my first time to attend a wedding at 5:30 AM. After the breakfast, we went back to our room to get more sleep.

Then we had lunch at Steve's.  Yup the chicken tastes good.

We went to Centrio to get our Starbucks and JCO and I did get some clothes too.  :) Its been a while since we last met so we just chatted the entire afternoon until its dinner time.  It was only 10 pm and most diners were already closed. What's going on Cagayan? So we ended in Gerry's.