Eats: Pinegrove Mountain Lodge

IMG_0803Baked Lasagna

Hunger was setting in pretty quick after the ziplining so we headed to Pinegrove Mountain Lodge for meal time. I was hesitant at first seeing as there were not much people and the place looked fancy for a lodge but the feel was quite comfortable. The food was pretty good too! Their portions were at a considerable size! I scarfed down each plate with gusto for the beast that I am.

Care for some apple crumble with vanilla ice cream on top?

Here’s a photo of their menu for your perusal: IMG_0791

Maui’s Salad has got mixed greens, sliced apple, carrot strips, sweet corn, toasted cashew nuts, croutons, topped with parmesan cheese and accompanied by a strawberry vinaigrette
IMG_0795Beef Salpicao

I do wish they had their cheese fries available though, I enjoyed it on my last visit. Also, they had the campfire kind of smores which you had to to prepare on their specially made round marble table!

It may not look it but their cheese fries was good for three people, unless you got a voracious appetite for potatoesCampfire smores by the fire!

IMG_0804Pinegrove is quite the ideal place if you’re in for a hearty meal with a homemade feel. It’s cosy and peaceful. The staff were very friendly and they even let us connect our choice of music to their Bluetooth jukebox!  Talk about being accommodating. The service was prompt ohm did I tell you that the food was good? Yes? The prices are mid-range but considering the taste and portion, it was absolutely worth it.

Check out my other Dahilayan related posts:

Eats: Dahilayan Forest Park

Can’t decide what to eat once you get to Dahilayan Forest Park? Fret not. I have listed this post as a sort of food diary and a list of things you can definitely munch on like Ian’s Nuts. They sell roasted chestnuts there at the Forest Cafe Park which you can purchase as an edible souvenir to friends and families.


Taste some of Ian’s Nuts

IMG_0062 IMG_0063Beef Salpicao and Bibimbap with a side of Kimchi. Their menu is affordable and the service was swift.


Tinolang Manok


It’s a hearty chicken soup for dinner that’s good for two with grilled cheese and mango float for dessert at the Forest Park Cafe before calling it a night.


The weather is frigid at 7AM there. Better bring a couple of sweaters if you’re staying for a couple of days. I recommend you get their hot chocolate because it’s my personal favorite there. It’s made from real cacao beans and the chocolate intensity is mouthwatering. I was already halfway done with my hot choco when I remembered that I had to take a photo of it. They also offer silog meals for breakfast. I added an additional order of waffles which had a side of pineapple. Their balcony view is awesome.IMG_0180 IMG_0183 IMG_0186 IMG_0410

Snacking on some garlic and cheese pizza before trying out their rides. This was pretty good. Then had bulalo for dinner. Soup is the go to during the evenings because it easily warms one up.IMG_0552 IMG_0573

Breakfast for Day 2. I had some dangsilog and added an additional fruit platter. It was a chilly and exclusive morning at the Forest Park Cafe because there was no one alse around the premises.IMG_0580 IMG_0593 IMG_0768Trying out their halo-halo before leaving! Halo-halo is always good any time of the day and at any weather.

If you’re looking for chips and other snackable things to take with you, they have a sari-sari store right beside the Forest Park Cafe which is very convenient. The cafe has a wide variety of food to choose from. I personally don’t see it as a cafe but rather some sort of summer camp mess hall. If neither of these on the list have tickled your fancy, try the food at Pinegrove Mountain Lodge which is just a couple of steps away. You can check it out here.

Check out my other Dahilayan related posts:

Chinatown in my Eyes

My ever so sprightly BFF Chris decided to take me to Binondo for a day to soak in the sights and sounds of all things found in Chinatown! First to greet me was the largest and brand spanking new Chinatown arch in the world! It’s now the largest in the world at 3.8-feet taller than the one found in Washington, DC. The foundations of the arch are 30 meters deep to prevent collapse in case of earthquakes. It was said that the creation of the said arch was funded by the city of Guangzhou. DSC_0358

The driver kinda looked at us funny and chuckled just as were about to get off the taxi. We told him prior that we were going to Estero and he wondered why of all places would we want to go there. Hmm that makes it all the more a curiosity for me.


Found this at the base of another welcome arch. Are you a lion or a dog?

DSC_0368 Binondo is a district in Manila and is referred to as the city’s Chinatown and is the world’s oldest Chinatown. Its influence extends beyond to the places of Quiapo, Santa Cruz, San Nicolas. It is the oldest Chinatown in the world, established in the 1594 by the Spaniards as a settlement near Intramuros but across the Pasig River for Catholic Chinese, it was positioned so that colonial rulers could keep a close eye on their migrant subjects. It was already a hub of Chinese commerce even before the Spanish colonial period. Binondo is the center of commerce and trade of Manila, where all types of business run by Filipino-Chinese thrive.DSC_0367

What an excellent day to go out for a stroll…. make that brisk walking. It wasn’t that warm and the wind was alright.  Busy busy streets and this one was a holiday! Hello Ongpin Street. DSC_0369

Sugar cane like it’s nobody’s business by the street. I used to nibble on these when I was a kid while watching TV. The first of many nice things to see and hopefully try out?


This particular shop at Ongpin St. caught my attention so I definitely had to go in!


To which I did not ever regret! Check out this post for more photos and a whole lot of stuff to see and what exactly happened while we were in the premises. DSC_0414

We wandered around for a bit looking for the spot that served frog legs. Looks like we already passed by it since it was nestled by the side of the bridge. This place is popularly known as the “Estero Fastfood”DSC_0401

Situated right beside an “Estero” – a spanish word for Creek, which held an array of meats and seafood! The one to the far right piqued my interest.DSC_0405

Hi Chris! Looking pretty spiffy today dearie. I wonder what’s in store for us after this.


This was what they call Bamboo clams, some call them Razor clams. This one was cooked Adobo style and it was my first to try them out. The texture was that of the usual rubbery chewy soft clams you use for soup. It’s taste though was slightly stronger and had an almost fishy essence to it.


Frog legs! I haven’t tried them before but I daresay there’s always a first! It wasn’t so bad once you get over the image of what used to be a kicking live frog. There was a millisecond though where I thought of marshy areas and croaking. Tastes absolutely like fried chicken! The meat was less oily too. It was best paired with the soy sauce and calamansi combo!  Lunchtime.


We got to do some more strolling and Chris definitely knew I was up for a bit of fruit shopping!


This my friends is a Longan. A close relative of the Lychee and far chewier than it. They were so easy to peel and yes I had to buy some of these. DSC_0417

Lychees! It’s the real deal you taste from juices and jellies! They kind of looked like naked Rambutans. Very juicy.


*inserts Fruit Ninja related humor* Dragon fruit!


There were a lot of roads to choose from and we were headed to Lucky Chinatown mall, this here is Benavidez St. Too bad I didn’t get to check Wai Ying. As you can see the area had a lot of fruit and vegetable stands.

While waiting for Chris to finish his little chitchats I was silently observing this group of people in a table and I find out they were doing free portraits!

One of them obliged me to take a seat and yes I will show you what the finished piece looks like at the end of this post.


Chris was next. I can’t believe how they totally got his features!


Ending our visit with grilled oysters yum. It has been generously sprinkled with garlic and loads of butter. Delicious. They’re selling  these like hotcakes!


….and here is the art piece you’ve been waiting to see! TADA! This will serve as a reminder as to how I will look like after 50 years or so. But hey, it’s free!

Meet an MRE

What is an MRE?
The Meal Ready to Eat is a totally self-contained complete meal.It’s the main operational food ration for the United States Armed Forces. One MRE = one meal.The packaging of an MRE is designed to withstand rough conditions and exposure to the elements. Inside each MRE bag is an entree and a variety of other food and drink items. MREs come packaged in cases with 12 MREs per case. There are currently 24 different “menus” or varieties of MREs. Menus 1-12 are packaged in a case designated Case A and menus 13-24 are packaged in Case B.

What’s in an MRE?
You can find a listing of the exact components of each MRE on the MRE Menus page . The military makes a few changes to the menus every year so you will find a different menu listing for each year. In general, though, each MRE contains the following:

Entree – the main course, such as Spaghetti or Beef Stew
Side dish – rice, corn, fruit, or mashed potatoes, etc.
Cracker or Bread
Spread – peanut butter, jelly, or cheese spread
Dessert – cookies or pound cakes
Candy – M&Ms, Skittles, or Tootsie Rolls
Beverages – Gatorade-like drink mixes, cocoa, dairy shakes, coffee, tea
Hot sauce or seasoning – in some MREs
Flameless Ration Heater – to heat up the entree
Accessories – spoon, matches, creamer, sugar, salt, chewing gum, toilet paper, etc.

Each MRE provides an average of 1,250 calories (13% protein, 36% fat, and 51% carbohydrates) and 1/3 of the Military Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals. A full day’s worth of meals would consist of three MREs. Watch the actual unboxing below:

I’ve been wanting to try them so badly for some time now after randomly coming across several vids from youtube! I wasn’t even expecting on getting one by surprise. Thanks to the cousin Eka who fotunately had the luck to visit a military surplus store before leaving.

She brought with her two kinds of MRE(Meal Ready-to-eat). It was Menu 12 which i’ll be taste-testing and Menu 5 to which will be part 2. Now take note that I opened mine a tad too early considering that I got too overexcited before grabbing the camera. I’ve also listed what this menu contains below:

MENU 12 (Vegetarian)
Penne with Vegetable Sausage Crumbles
Toaster Pastry (Chocolate Chip)
Instant Pudding (Chocolate)
Filled Pretzels
Wheat Snack Bread
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Beverage Powder, Carbohydrate Electrolyte (Grape)
Hot Sauce (Pepper Sauce)
Accessory Packet A
Flameless Ration Heater
Hot Beverage Bag

If you want to know more about MRE’s then I suggest you go check out this site:

Japengo: The Return

Stela and I decided to go for a Japanese themed dinner. I decided on trying out Japengo once again since the last time was about four years ago. Another factor that led to it was that we were at Cybergate that time (haha). It was slightly late so there were not a lot of people. We were comfortably seated and the service was fast enough.

DSC_0010Cute sumo logo there. Okay, so we ordered a bento box which already included miso soup, ramen and a sushi platter. I must not let my appetite get the best of me and proceed to order more. The waiting time was around 15-20 minutes which was fair enough and we had an ample amount of time for some chit -chat.

DSC_0020Here it is. The presentation wasn’t so bad. There was a huge amount of Uni (sea urchin) served on a bowl which was a good thing! Stela was a bit hesitant though since she had not tasted sea urchin yet, plus it looked slimy and unappealing. Upon tasting though, she was surprised it tasted nice.

DSC_0026The bento box. Not much different with the others when it came to the taste and textures but still decent sized to fill a single tummy. The bean sprout appetizer has always been my fave. The gari or the ginger slices found in the middle was very useful in between the sushi platter.


Now this ramen isn’t something I’d recommend. The soup was good but the noodle and the meat surely surprised me and not in a good way. The noodle was too firm, more like partially uncooked and they were still bound together despite in i being immerse in the soup for some time. The meat was too overcooked? It instantly broke down when I started chewing but there was a slight nauseating aftertaste. The meat was a bit….aged? We didn’t finish this one. Let’s hope this one was just a slip since it was slightly late already.



Overall, Japengo wasn’t that bad. I may try to come back here (after a couple of years or so) just to try out the new stuff. The place was welcoming enough. Just be careful with your food selection. The price range is somewhere in between affordable and a big pricey. You can check out their official Facebook page here!

Pop Snack for Snacks

While walking along the busy streets I managed to come across this newly opened snack room? You wouldn’t even know that one had to go up the stairs if it wasn’t for the sign. I was told it was owned by young entrepreneurs who were still in college. Quite a feat if I say so myself.DSC_0032
The place was had a cute rustic feel with its wooden tables and chairs which I kinda liked. The area had a seating of about 30 people or so.
Their menu consisted of well….snacks! They definitely covered a student’s basic food preference on this one. As you can see their prices were very affordable and budget friendly.


I ordered the pan de pizza, pancakes, hawaiian footlong and a pitcher of iced tea all at the price of  158php. The wait was tolerable but it seemed odd that some of the tables weren’t bussed. There were still plates and glasses left from the previous customer which took them some time to clean and was very noticeable since there were only several tables  set. I’m guessing they might have been short staffed.

I liked the pan de pizza most since it reminded me of the long gone childhood afternoon naps and snacks upon waking up and this one was always done by my grandfather.

The pancakes had cute portions that I could just pinch them! I found them slightly dry though but alright considering that it was only 35php, that’s good enough.

The hawaiian footlong had a slight burn to the bun which you can see but I assure you it did not affect the taste. What I like about this one was that their hotdogs were the ones with cheesy goodness to the core.

I wonder how this will look once the leaves are full. I hope they try the orange post-its for an autumn feel.

Overall, I found Pop Snack to be a nice place and a good business venture for the owners. It’s a place to go to as an after school treat for teenagers, young adults who want to hangout and those on a budget! You can check out their facebook page for more info and details on the location!



A Strange Nom Nom List

I consider myself quite the explorer when it comes to food and I mean anything that has been put on the table as long as its edible. I may not be along the lines of Andrew Zimmern or Anthony Bourdain but it would certainly be awesome if I were given a chance to do that with a Pinoy palate. I wasn’t the fussy eater when I was a kid and sure am far from it now. Here’s a list of mine in alphabetical order. The ones with a teeny icon on them means i’ve checked that one out of the list. I’d seriously do a video or blog review the next time I cross another out of the list.

  1. Globe Holidays


    Ackee (Jamaica). Jamaica’s national fruit. Once open, the only edible portion is the yellow arilli. If improperly eaten though can cause what has been dubbed the Jamaican Vomiting Sickness. I hear it goes well with codfish.

  2. attention Balut (Philippines).
  3. Bird’s Nest Soup (Southeast Asia). These nests are made out of bird saliva, which has dried and hardened. Not only a delicacy but also believed to aid digestion, strengthen the immune system and perhaps increase libido?
  4. attention Century Egg (China). Preserved chicken or duck eggs in a mixture of salt, lime and ash, then wrapping in rice husks for several weeks. The yolk turns a dark green and has a creamy consistency, while the white turns amber and is gelatinous.
  5. WiseGeek

    Crocodile Meat

    Crocodile Meat (Australia, Southeast Asia and Africa). The name says it but I hear it’s quite lean and is usually farmed.

  6. attention Curacha (Philippines). A large crab with a red color, which stays the same in color even when cooked. The crab is usually steamed or boiled. Unlike most crabs, the meat is found in its body. Read more here!
  7. Escamol (Mexico). The edible larvae and pupae of ants harvested from the roots of the Agave tequilana (tequila) or Agave americana (mezcal) plants in Mexico. They taste buttery and nutty, with a cottage cheese texture.
  8. WiseGeek


    Escargot (France). Cooked land snails that are typically purged, removed from their shells, and cooked (usually with garlic butter, chicken stock or wine), and then placed back into the shells with the butter and sauce for serving.

  9. Fugu (Japan). The Japanese word for pufferfish and the dish prepared from it.  Fugu has become one of the most celebrated and notorious dishes in Japanese cuisine. Served as sashimi and chirinabe.
  10. Geoduck (North America)A species of very large, edible, saltwater clam. The large, meaty siphon is prized for its savory flavor and crunchy texture. Geoduck is regarded by some as an aphrodisiac because of its phallic shape.
  11. glutenfreestudentcookbook


    Haggis (Scotland). A savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs); onion, oatmeal, spices, salt, and stock, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach. Has an excellent nutty texture and savoury flavour.

  12. Hákarl (Iceland). A national dish of Iceland consisting of a Greenland shark which has been cured with a particular fermentation process and hung to dry for four to five months. It has a very ammonia-rich smell.
  13. Kangaroo Meat (Australia). The name simply says it.
  14. Khash (Middle East, East Europe and Turkey). A dish of boiled cow’s head (and sometimes the feet) now considered a delicacy, and is enjoyed as a festive winter meal.
  15. aperitif


    Lutefisk (Norway). Made from aged stockfish (air-dried whitefish) or dried/salted whitefish (klippfisk) and lye (lut). It is gelatinous in texture. Its name literally means “lye fish”.

  16. Marmite/Vegemite (UK, New Zealand & Australia). A dark brown food paste made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. Tastes salty, slightly bitter and malty, and rich in umami.
  17. Muktuk (Alaska).The traditional Inuit/Eskimo and Chukchi meal of frozen whale skin and blubber. When chewed raw, the blubber becomes oily, with a nutty taste. Muktuk has been found to be a good source of vitamin C.
  18. weirdfood13

    Sago Worms

    Sago Grub Delight (Southeast Asia). Considered a delicacy and have been described as creamy tasting when raw, and like bacon or meat when cooked. No this isn’t the jelly-like dessert.

  19. Sannakji  (Korea). Asmall octopus that has been cut into small pieces and served squirming, usually lightly seasoned with sesame and sesame oil. It can also be served whole.
  20. Shiokara (Japan). Made from various marine animals that consists of small pieces of meat in a brown viscous paste of the animal’s heavily salted, fermented viscera. They could be made from oyster, tuna, sea cucumber, squid, etc.
  21. jackisnotdull


    Shirako (Japan). Means “white children,” is a Japanese made from the sperm sacs of pufferfish or cod. This creamy, soft cluster is consumed mostly during the winter.

  22. Starfish Barbeque (China). Quite chewy?
  23. Surstromming (Sweden). Fermented Baltic sea herring that has been a staple of traditional northern Swedish cuisine. When opened, it releases a strong and sometimes overwhelming odour therefore eaten outdoors.
  24. attention Turtle Eggs (Philippines). I avoided thinking of baby turtles during this one. It was one of those cultural food and surely will not be trying it again anytime soon.  Read more of that here.
  25. sociorocketnewsen

    Wasp Crackers?

    Wasp crackers (Japan). They’re crackers with digger wasps in them and according to certain sources contain the highest percentage of protein of any edible insect – 81% to be exact! For comparison, an average steak has 20%.

  26. Rocky Mountain Oysters (North America). A deep-fried dish made of bull, pig or sheep testicles. This delicacy is most often served as an appetizer with a cocktail sauce dip.
  27. Dried Shredded Squid (Japan). A dried, seasoned, seafood product, made from squid or cuttlefish. The snack is also referred to as dried shredded cuttlefish.
  28. Space Food (Russian/American). A variety of food products, specially created and processed for consumption by astronauts in outer space. Most of it is freeze dried.
  29. weirdfood16

    Meal Ready-to-eat

    Meal Ready-to-Eat MRE. These are self-contained, individual field ration in lightweight packaging military food for its service members for use in combat or other field conditions where organized food facilities are not available. There are various versions of this worldwide and I would really love to get my hands on this one!


Midnight Buffet at Somethin’ Fishy

I could never be the most happiest food lover at 12AM a couple of days ago when my friends and I decided to wait for Somethin’ Fishy’s Midnight to Morning Buffet from 12 midnight to 10am. At the price of 199php for an Eat-All-You-Can affair now it is definitely a steal!


We arrived there at around 11:30 and there were people already seated inside the premises. The area was spacious and the ceilings were high but the rows of long tables wasn’t too hard to miss. There were some that have already been reserved. I recommend you do that if you don’t want to have a challenging time looking for seating. The ambience was nice with theirSome hearty conversations and several minutes pass by and they ring on the buffet bells and a crowd of hungry eaters arise.

All the kerfuffle made us hungry like ravaging lions from a month long starvation period! Everybody wanted a piece of this and a scoop of that. Empty trays were bussed and refilled. We were caught up in the rampage. A good tip to keep in mind is to always look behind before taking a step. You might never know there would be someone or something you could bump into while in a frenzied state.


I took a little bit of this and that and proceeded to what I thought I would be dining peacefully with a glass of margarita at the side. Nevertheless, hunger overpowered us and we devoured what was on our plate and took off for another round of food.


There was a lot to choose from since they served over 40 types to choose from. The table started with different breads and spreads which moved on to the meats ranging from beaf, chicken and ham!

The salad table was abundant with….greens of course! and dressings. They also had the pancakes, waffles and french toast which I drizzled with chocolate syrup and sprinkled some chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. A heavenly treat.


There was something about the margarita mountain that made it a game to drink. Everytime I sipped, it fills itself to the rim. You really had to drink it at a fast pace or it might flood your table silently! It costs 50php only.

I wasn’t able to take photos since the crowd of people didn’t even up until we left the place! It was pretty tricky holding a camera steady with people pushing at each other and grabbing food off the trays.


We ended going home at about 2AM since we were checking out of our hotel early. Here’s a master list of the things that can stuff your tumtum…

Starters: Pandesal, Loaf Bread, White Bread, Waffles, Pancakes,French Toast, Lumpiang Shanghai
Eggs: Spanish Omelette, Scrambled Egg, Egg Sunny Side Up,
Beef: Beef Tapa
Chicken: Chicken Pringles, Chicken Adobo,
Pork: Tokwa’t Baboy, Baked Ham, Bologna,  Pork Adobo, Pork Tocino, Sweet and Sour Pork, Pork Siomai,Cheesedog,Longganisa
Fish: Sardines in Oil, Daing na Bangus, Sardines in Tomato Sauce
Noodles: Beef Mami, Chicken Mami, Pancit Palabok, Pancit Canton
Porridge: Arroz Caldo, Champorado

Dessert: Puto Bumbong, Bibingka, Biko, Palitaw, Maja Blanca, Gelatin, Banana Fritters
Rice: Garlic Rice, Steamed Rice, Chinese Fried Rice

somethingfishy0Somethin’ Fishy

Location: Eastwood information center, Citywalk 1, Lungsod Quezon, Kalakhang Maynila, Philippines Contact no. +63 2 421 6412

They Sell: Eat-all-you-can midnight to morning buffets from 12AM-10AM and lunch and dinner buffets and even Birthday Buffets. I hope to try the Seafood Dinner Buffet at 569php when I come back.

Price Range: 199 for the Midnight Morning Buffet and a 50php margarita.


(All food photos courtesy of the Somethin’ Fishy facebook page)

Kumbira Moments 2013

Hello! I’m happy you stumbled upon this old post. That means you read through my photography list and clicked on #10! First of all Kumbira an annual culinary festival , is the flagship project of the Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association-COHARA. Kumbira aims to showcase the best culinary creations of the Region while incorporating latest culinary trends. It also aims to promote healthy competition and camaraderie among the different hotels and restaurants, schools, as well as, elevate the standards of the culinary industry in the Region.

and the story goes like this…

It was another prerequisite for a subject one had to pass and this one neede a two hour bus ride to get there. Kumbira Moments was what they called their photo contest and I did not tell a soul I was participating. You had to purchase a day pass just to get in and a registration fee prior to joining. Once you got that paper ID, you had to enter backstage just like the other participants joining the various contests held. Mind you it was 3-day event and Day 1 was for taking photos while Day 2 was the submission date and lastly Day 3 was the awarding. I didn’t go to the last day event because the reason I signed up for it wasn’t to win but rather some sort of skill self-assessment with what I can do and if it would go up to par with others standards. The thought of even taking a place seemed farfetched considering that it was an open competition.


This meant that some of them were at pro level already. The chances of winning were quite slim but nonetheless I was happy just seeing my shots printed out. I was scrambling to submit my work because it was almost the deadline and it required a softcopy as well. So before I actually post my entires, here are some of the actual photos I took.

Here are some of my takes on the food there. kumbira3


Now that’s glazed and cured meaty goodness! Next would be the bread section…kumbira4 kumbira5 kumbira6

I really wanted to poke at the durian spines on the first photo because it looked like something a kid would touch. the second photo represented a festivity piece. Lastly, this teensy sugar bread  scene reminded me of an old couple out on a winter date. Next in line would be thr traditional delicacies like this biko?

kumbira8 kumbira9

Bite sized aren’t they? and wonderfully arranged. Here are other nice things as well…

kumbira10 kumbira11

Take note that you had to take photos of these babies publicly which means there were other comptetitors as well and you had limited space. I used my 50mm for these shots so mostof them had that depth of field look and bokeh. I was quite intimidated by their equipment that time. So here I present to you my 3 entries…


Here’s the winning piece! I had no idea I won 3rd place and was only made known by my friends via Facebook. I didn’t go on the awarding day because I wasn’t expecting on winning but I’m glad.


(Fact: The photo with me in it and two other people was taken on the second day and those two were the winners for 1st and second! haha)