Thursday, September 29, 2011

UCC Vienna Cafe (Mall of Asia)

It was already past 11pm and we wanted to eat. We didn't have much appetite and we didn't want to feel bloated so we opted to order sandwiches and fruity drinks instead of rice/pasta and coffee.

Bf ordered the Vienna Cliffhanger Sandwich (P289) and the Hawaiian Sunrise (P179). I ordered the Wasabi Mayo Seafood Pizza Toast (P259) and the Frozen Honey Calamansi Iced Tea (P139). The Cliffhanger is a "triple-decker Japanese bread with bacon, egg, grilled chicken fillet, and mozzarella cheese, dipped in custard sauce, breaded and lightly fried" while the Wasabi Mayo Toast consists of "assorted seafood in wasabi mayo and mozzarella cheese on thick sliced Japanese bread, baked pizza style".

UCC Vienna Cafe Cliffhanger Sandwich and Hawaiian Sunrise
Vienna Cliffhanger Sandwich and Hawaiian Sunrise

Wasabi Mayo Seafood Pizza Toast and Frozen Honey Calamansi Iced Tea

It was my first time to try wasabi on a toast. The toast sounded interesting but since it was my first time to try it, I didn't know what to expect. Well what do you know? It was awesome! Loved loved loved it! The Cliffhanger was also good, but my vote goes to the Wasabi Mayo Toast's ability to tickle my taste buds. As for the drinks, they were both good and refreshing.

UCC's food is a bit on the expensive side. But we were happy with what we ordered and the sandwiches were a lot bigger and filling than we expected so we consider them worth the price. Bf had a hard time finishing his food and I had to take home half of my toast.

Because it was already late night, only a couple of customers were there. The cafe was quiet and relaxing. The couches were soft and comfy.



UCC Vienna Cafe
SM Mall of Asia
Pasay City, Metro Manila

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bookgasm in the 32nd Manila International Book Fair

Bf and I are both book hounds. One of our simple pleasures is raiding book sales. So when SMX held the 32nd Manila International Book Fair, of course we had to be there. I have a big box of still-unread books, but I can't stop buying books! T_T

Here are some pictures of the registration area and the lobby.

32nd Manila International Book Fair registration area

32nd Manila International Book Fair

32nd Manila International Book Fair

32nd Manila International Book Fair

32nd Manila International Book Fair

Bf was thrilled to see none other than his favorite author, Prof. Ambeth Ocampo. Ambeth (yeah we're close, first name basis baby...joke!) was chatting with some friends. It was already getting late and they were probably hungry. Bf and I were about to approach Ambeth to have a book signed when a girl arrived and handed them a box of donuts. I told bf that we should just come back after they've finished eating. Ambeth heard me as he was biting into a donut. He put the donut down and gestured for us to approach. That was really nice of him. Other authors would probably have been already (understandably) cranky by then.

I was supposed to take bf's picture with Ambeth but Ambeth's friend asked us if we had a camera and volunteered to take our picture, so I was included in the photo. What a sweet lady! But because we're camera shy, I've cropped the picture before posting it here. That thing above Ambeth's head (beside the denim jacket) is my neck. :)

Ambeth Ocampo at the 32nd Manila International Book Fair

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Icebergs (Mall of Asia) - Just a Quick One, Like Their Service

Just a quick, short review.

We were starving after that Mongkok MoA fiasco. Moody and famished, we ended up in Icebergs. This branch was smaller than other branches I've been in but was busy. We were lucky to get a table.

We ordered their Famous Sisig and Lechon Kawali.

Icebergs Famous Sisig

Icebergs Golden Lechon Kawali

(photos from Icebergs Facebook page)

The food arrived much quicker than we expected. And it wasn't because the food was half-cooked or anything. Thanks goodness, because we were starving!

For dessert, we shared a German U-Boat Split. Our mood quickly improved.

There's not a lot of things in our lives that hot meals and ice cream can't fix.

SM Mall of Asia
Pasay City, Metro Manila
Icebergs Facebook Page

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Three-Way Disappointing Service from Ensogo, Mongkok, and SM Mall of Asia

The glutton in me couldn't resist the delicious-looking dimsum at Ensogo's Mongkok deal offer so I bought a voucher.

The Mongkok promo is in 3 branches, all of which are out of the way for us, but I really wanted to try Mongkok dimsum so I planned on claiming the voucher last last weekend when we went to Ambeth Ocampo's Queridas ni Rizal lecture in Makati. Unfortunately, their Glorietta branch was already fully booked according to the girl who answered my phone call when I tried to place a reservation.

Mongkok Dimsum deal in Ensogo
(image from Ensogo's Web site)

I didn't want to risk dining at their Robinson's Galleria branch because of a negative post I read online. In that complaint, the customer was not faultless but the staff handled the situation poorly in what appeared to be a stand-off ("patigasan") with the customer, when the staff could have easily given way and prevented all that drama.

I tried placing a reservation again last weekend, this time in their Mall of Asia (MoA) branch since I would be going to MoA to attend a book fair the following weekend. I called their MoA branch again and again to place my reservation, but noone answered the phone even during closing time. I decided to just try a walk-in during off-peak hours.

Our experience was terrible. We ended up walking all over MoA trying to find Mongkok! We thought we were just misreading the mall directory because we couldn't find the resto. After giving up on the map, we asked a mall guard. He consulted his booklet which showed a different location for Mongkok. We went there and again walked all over the area but still couldn't find Mongkok. We asked another guard who pointed towards another location. Mongkok wasn't there either. We were already going mad due to extreme exhaustion and hunger so we asked another guard. Of the three guards, he was the only one who sounded like he actually knew what he was talking about. He explained to us that Mongkok MoA was under renovation and would reopen in December. So we just wasted two hours! Such a hassle!

MoA: Really, such a big-ass mall can't even spare the time or the dime to update its mall directory and the booklets they give out to their security personnel, let alone to inform and train their security personnel regarding the location of all the establishments? What if, God forbid, a crime happens in one of the shops? The security guards would be like headless chickens running around in different directions instead of being able to respond to the crisis efficiently. Another example of SM's billions resources not being put to good use.

Mongkok and Ensogo: The deal's terms specified that the promo was in three branches then Mongkok suddenly shut down the MoA branch. They broke the agreement. Furthermore, noone informed the voucher holders even though Ensogo and/or Mongkok had our names and contact information. Mongkok's Facebook page made no mention about the MoA branch's renovation and I don't recall Ensogo issuing a similar update. 

I have lost interest in availing this deal. I'll be getting a refund. I paid via Paypal (and won't mind getting my refund as Ensogo credits) so refund should be a breeze. I'll post an update after I get my refund.

Mongkok Dimsum and Noodles
SM Mall of Asia
Pasay City, Metro Manila

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ambeth Ocampo's "Queridas ni Rizal" Lecture at the Ayala Musem

Bf, ever the fanboy, wanted to attend Ambeth Ocampo's new lecture. I was impressed with the famed historian's previous lecture so I readily agreed.

Ayala Museum was already bursting with people when we arrived. We had no choice but to stand at the back.

All of us Pinoys know who Jose Rizal is. We've been taught stuff about him since we were tiny snotty brats. Still, Ambeth had to clarify:

No, Rizal was NOT Hitler's dad.

(But he might have or might not have been Jack the Ripper.)

Rizal has always been put on a pedestal by most teachers and historians. He was the perfect son, the perfect student, yadda yadda. He was virtually untouchable. Anyone who disagreed would be struck down and taken to a private field trip, never to be heard from again. Sure, Jose got involved with several girls but those girls were more of admirers who our hero found impolite to turn down. Jose was always serious and pure. He wouldn't have become as great as he was if he wasted time with vices or clowning around.

Ambeth Ocampo's Queridas ni Rizal lecture at the Ayala Museum

In Ambeth's lecture, he took Rizal off his pedestal and put him in the same room as us. We realized that Rizal was not perfect. He was not a demigod, but a human being just like us. He joked around, ribbed his friends, engaged in activities his parents would not have approved of. He didn't walk majestically, living and breathing heroism every freaking day. He also had his share of doubts and regrets, as well as cowardice when it came to romantic matters, which led to a string of broken-hearted women.

In short, he was normal.

The audience appreciated this approach in tackling Rizal's private life. It was refreshing and inspirational to know that we flawed mortals could be awesome too. After all, Rizal is a hero, not a god. What good is a hero if his greatness can't be emulated, right?


Aside from the lecture, we also got Ambeth's new book Chulalongkorn's Elephants.

Ambeth Ocampo's book Chulalongkorn's Elephants

Ambeth Ocampo's "Queridas ni Rizal" Lecture
Ayala Musem
Makati City, Metro Manila
September 10, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Popular Bookstore

We first heard about Popular Bookstore from one of Ambeth Ocampo's status messages in his Facebook page. The actual store was familiar, we passed by it a couple of times before while running errands, the name just didn't register and we never got around to checking it out. Ambeth's status reminded us of the shop, and being book hounds, bf and I trotted off to check their wares.

Contrary to what you might think when seeing the store from the outside, Popular Bookstore is not a big, flashy bookstore. It exuded a mom-and-pop store vibe.

We arrived around 30mins before closing time. The first thing I noticed was how quiet the place was. No mechanical sounds, no chatting salesladies, even the patrons were very quiet. In the upper floor, it was even more quiet. That time, bf and I were the only ones browsing in the upper floor. I was surprised to see a youngster (the owner's child perhaps?) just sitting there, probably to watch customers and prevent shoplifters.

Popular Bookstore exterior
Popular Bookstore (from their Web site)

Before coming to Popular, we were expecting the place to be a haven full of unique and dirt-cheap books. We love places like that. However, upon checking out some of the books that caught my attention, I was disappointed to see that the books were very expensive. Many of the books there looked a little old, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of them were already out of print hence the high price.

I bought a local personal finance book for P395. Bf had better luck finding inexpensive books that appealed to him and got the following: Looking Back Part 3 (P95), an Andres Bonifacio book (for a whoa price of P11), and How To Read a Book (P120).

I went outside while bf took his sweet time perusing the books (good thing the store owners were nice enough not to kick him out for making them stay beyond their closing time). I spent those minutes staring and admiring the painting outside the store. Man, I loved that painting. Very colorful and vibrant, but not too loud. Too bad I didn't have a camera that time. There were several other paintings in different sizes, some of them matching. Don't forget to check them out when you visit Popular.

Popular Bookstore
#305 Tomas Morato Avenue
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Popular Bookstore Web site

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