Thursday, December 26, 2013

Davao City Series: Shrine Hills

Shrine Hills (Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague) is a serene destination in Davao City. It is ideal for religious people and those seeking a little quiet time to meditate or contemplate.

Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague

The shrine is located at a hilly part of Davao City so visitors get a good view of the city. Lush trees and manicured grass add to the charm of the place and ensure a steady supply of fresh air.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Davao City Series: People's Park

People's Park is one of the most popular destinations in Davao City for tourists and visitors alike.

The entrance has a dome with spikes, inspired by Davao's famous fruit: durian.

People's  Park durian dome entrance
durian dome

Friday, December 20, 2013

Davao City Series: Walk n' Water Ball Park

Walk n' Water Ball Park, like Zorv Park, is located in the Crocodile Park compound in Davao City. Here, you are also inside a giant ball, but instead of rolling downhill, you play in a pond.

First, you are asked to remove your shoes then get inside a deflated translucent ball through a big zipper. Air is then pumped to inflate the ball.

giant ball being inflated at the Walk n' Water Ball Park in Davao City, Philippines

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Davao City Series: Tumbling Inside a Giant Ball at Davao Zorv Park

Crocodile Park is one of the popular tourist destinations in Davao City. However, we were a bit short on time and the place sounded similar to Zoobic Safari in Subic so we decided to just skip the zoo and head straight to two other attractions located in the Crocodile Park compound: Davao Zorv Park and Walk n' Water Ball Park.

Zorbing (also called sphereing, orbing or globe riding) involves being strapped inside a giant ball which is then rolled down a gentle slope.

Zorbing at Zorv Park in Davao City, Philippines

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Greenwich's Macaroni Salad is Terrible

My aunt arrived with a Greenwich takeout for me. Included was a small cup of macaroni salad as an add-on to the meals. I have not eaten at Greenwich for years but from what I remember, the food tasted decent though I found the serving sizes too small for me. I love macaroni salads so I assumed that I would like Greenwich's version as well. Unfortunately, bleh! It was terrible.

Greenwich macaroni salad

Monday, December 16, 2013

Davao City Series: Davao Baywalk and Park

Davao Baywalk and Park is known by several names: Baywalk, Seawalk, Seawall (or Sea Wall), David's Edge or Queensland Park. We went on a Saturday morning and were glad to see that only a handful of people were there.

In the park is an enclosure that houses several ostriches. There are also several interesting statues, the most prominent of which is the huge golden replica of the famous sculpture David by Michelangelo.

giant golden replica of Michelangelo's David in Davao City

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Davao City Series: Partoza Durian Farms

After zorbing and trying (and failing) to walk on water, we proceeded to the Partoza Durian Farms. Agro-tourism, yeah! The farm is a 45min drive from the Crocodile Park compound.

Malaya House at the Partoza Durian Farm

One important thing if you're planning to visit the Partoza Durian Farms: appointment is a must. Contact them at least two days before your visit. Because lunch and snacks were available, I initially thought that we could just waltz right in, just like in most restaurants and parks. Good thing we bothered to ask two days before if a reservation was required.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Davao City Series: D’ Bone Collector Museum is an Exotic and Educational Place

D'Bone Collector Museum is a relatively new educational wildlife museum in Davao City. In a way, it is like a zoo, since it showcases animals, but the twist is that the featured animals are all dead: bones, shells, teeth. There are some preserved animals and animal replicas as well.

The ground floor houses a few displays, some framed information about the museum, and a small souvenir shop. The bulk of the displays are on the upper floors.

There are skulls and skeletons of birds and land animals such as horses, dogs, and goats.

horse skeleton
buffalo skull

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Davao City Series: Lon Wa Buddhist Temple

Lon Wa Temple (aka Long Hua Temple) is a beautiful Buddhist temple in Davao City. It is one of the biggest Buddhist temples in the Philippines and is the biggest one in Mindanao. It is located along J.P. Cabaguio Avenue in Agdao District.
the gate of Lon Wa Buddhist Temple in Davao City, Philippines
smiling Buddha in front of Lon Wa Buddhist Temple in Davao City, Philippines

Monday, December 2, 2013

Playing with Kendama at go-en the Japanese Ramen Shoppe Plus

After finishing my chicken teriyaki and matcha pudding, we got to playing with kendama.

A kendama is a traditional Japanese wooden toy. It has two parts: the ken (the hammer-looking part with a pointed end) connected by a long string to the tama (the ball). The ken has several concave surfaces (called cups) where the player is supposed to catch the ball. The spike can be used to spear through the hole of the ball. In a way, a kendama is similar to a yoyo since they both have long strings and the player can do several tricks with them. Here's a guy explaining the basic tricks with a kendama:

When I first heard that go-en would import and begin selling kendama, my reaction was 'meh'. I was not interested in a wooden toy. Even after I saw some exhibition videos, my reaction was best explained by this meme:

I can do that. Hold my beer.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chicken Teriyaki and Matcha Pudding at go-en the Japanese Ramen Shoppe Plus

We were at go-en Ramen two weeks ago. It had been more or less a year since our last visit. I was glad to see two new things at the restaurant: a shelf full of manga that customers can browse while eating or waiting for their food and some kendama pieces that customers can play with while at the resto (more about kendama in my next post).

I ordered the teriyaki chicken.

Unlike other Japanese restaurants, where chicken teriyaki is served as a rice bowl topping, go-en's Chikinteri does not come with rice so if you want to pair the chicken with rice, you will have to order the rice separately. It does come with a serving of fresh vegetable salad. I rarely order veggie salad when dining out because I dislike the miniscule amount of dressing I get, but go-en's salad is a pleasant surprise. The dressing is more than enough and tastes really good.

chicken teriyaki with fresh vegetable salad at go-en Ramen

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Davao City Series: Mamma Maria's Pizzeria

Mamma Maria's Pizzeria is one of the restaurants on the ground floor of the Courtview Inn building, along Quimpo Blvd. in Davao City.

Mamma Maria's Pizzeria in Quimpo Blvd., Davao City, Philippines

This pizza place serves pasta and more than 20 kinds of pizza. The pizzas come in five sizes: single (8"), regular (11", good for 2-3 people), family (15", good for 4-6 people), XL family (21", good for 8-10 people), and XXL party (30", good for 12-14 people). So no matter what your preferred toppings are or how big (or small) your group is, there is something here for you.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Davao City Series: Courtview Inn

Courtview Inn is a relatively new (built in July 2012) two-star hotel in Davao City.

thin Santa Claus at the lobby of Courtview Inn

First Impressions

I found out about Court View Inn through Agoda. It got into my shortlist because it fitted our budget and because its retrofuturistic-looking lobby appealed to me (yeah, priorities).

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Original Trailer for "The Exorcist" is Way Freaky!

Hello ghouls and ghoulettes!

I was randomly surfing online when I stumbled upon the original theatrical trailer for the movie The Exorcist. According to online info, this trailer was banned by several theaters for being too scary.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Your Blogger Image Looks Weird? Google+ Auto-Enhance Might be the Culprit

When I was uploading an image for my last post, I realized that the resulting picture looked different than the one I uploaded. The resulting image looked sharper and with higher contrast.

rebonded hair
original version
rebonded hair picture with Google+ auto enhance
auto-enhanced version

Upon researching online, I found out that other people had had similar issues and some folks had seen more drastic differences. The culprit? Google+ Auto Enhance.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Milk Rebond, Detox Treatment, Shine Wax, and Hair Color at Orange Blush Salon

Last July, I redeemed my voucher for a hair rebond at Orange Blush Salon in Mother Ignacia St., Quezon City. The salon is located within Mother Ignacia Place, right across the ELJ Building of ABS-CBN.

Orange Blush Salon Mother Ignacia branch
Mother Ignacia Place across the ELJ Building of ABS-CBN in Quezon City

When I texted Orange Blush to set an appointment, the staff replied courteously and within two minutes. I was pleased with the instant response and expected good service on my visit the following day.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Highly Disappointing Ramen at Tokyo Ramen King

We were at Lucky Chinatown Mall last night, checking out the weekend street food market. Bf the ramen lover was tempted to try the piping hot ramen being sold by Tokyo Ramen King. After placing his order, we had to wait a long while. I urged bf to go back to the stall just to check if Tokyo Ramen King forgot about our order. They didn't. I'm not really sure why it took so long, because the staff did not look busy preparing other orders. The waiting time was even longer than in restaurants, but we were eating food from other stalls so we did not feel impatient.

When the ramen finally arrived, bf stood up to buy from another vendor. I sipped the ramen's broth while he was gone. I thought the soup tasted horrible but I did not want to influence bf's satisfaction so I did not say anything. When he was halfway through the ramen, I asked him what he thought of it. He told me that he did not like it -- he was just eating it because it was hot and because he paid P150 for it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Spartacus (TV series) spoiler-free review

The Spartacus TV series is about the life and slave rebellion led by the gladiator Spartacus in Rome more than two thousand years ago. The Spartacus Saga: Uncut (all seasons, with extended episodes) is coming to STARZ, beginning on October 26th at 10pm ET.

Spartacus War of the Damned TV series poster

The Legatus Gaius Claudius Glaber sentences a Thracian soldier to be publicly executed while the man's wife is condemned to slavery. The man escapes execution to become a gladiator in the House of Batiatus and is given the name Spartacus. There, he meets other gladiators, including the doctore Oenomaus, Agron and his brother, the shrewd Ashur, and the champion Crixus who is in love with Naevia, the trusted slave of Batiatus' wife. After losing two people closest to him, Spartacus decides to rally the other gladiators and slaves to rebel against their masters and help free the other slaves in Rome. On the way, their paths cross with the former champion of the arena, Gannicus.

Main Cast:
Andy Whitfield - Spartacus
Liam McIntyre - Spartacus
Manu Bennett - Crixus
Dustin Clare - Gannicus
Daniel Feuerriegel - Agron
Pana Hema Taylor - Nasir
Peter Mensah - Doctore/Oenomaus
Lucy Lawless - Lucretia
Nick Tarabay - Ashur
Viva Bianca - Ilithyia
Cynthia Addai-Robinson - Naevia
John Hannah - Batiatus
Craig Parker - Glaber
Lesley-Ann Brandt - Naevia
Simon Merrells - Crassus
Jai Courtney - Varro
Todd Lasance - Caesar
Christian Antidormi - Tiberius


Monday, September 23, 2013

Not All ATMs are Created Equal: Two Things About BPI ATMs that I Find Annoying

I've had a BPI ATM account since 2009. I'm satisfied with the service of BPI overall. The only things that annoy me are both related to their automated teller machines.

  1. BPI ATMs are not as ubiquitous as BDO ATMs. Whenever I need to get money from an ATM, I usually end up using a machine from another bank. I then get charged withdrawal fees.
  2. BPI machines are very sensitive/not sensitive enough. I could not get BPI ATMs to recognize my Globe G-Cash card. BDO ATMs have no problem with the card, though. Worse, the BPI machines accessible to me these days reject my BPI ATM card, stating that the data stripe is invalid. Pfft! The same card works on various BDO and Security Bank ATMs (and even on rare BPI machines, such as the one inside ABS-CBN). This pisses me off because even though there is a BPI ATM available, BPI still finds a way to poke me in the ass with withdrawal fees. By this time, I guess I have no choice but to have my card replaced (also with a fee) or continue paying ATM fees every time I withdraw cash.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Weekend Asian Street Food Market at Lucky Chinatown Mall

We were at Lucky Chinatown Mall last Saturday as well as three weeks before that. The mall had a Weekend Asian Street Food Market in the Lucky Chinatown Walk during the weekends of August and this fun little event has been extended until the end of September.

Last Saturday, we noticed that the layout of the food stalls was changed. In our first visit, the middle part was clear and the stalls were in the perimeter of the area and they had their individual tents. In our second visit, the stalls were situated in the center of Lucky Chinatown Walk and the whole area was covered by huge tents. The first setup had a more open air feel but the second one was more convenient and made the food stalls more prominent. The big tents also provided security in case of sudden rain.

Layout in August 10:

Weekend Asian Street Food Market at Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo, Manila
Weekend Asian Street Food Market at Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo, Manila

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

go-en's Ramen Burger and Zark's Burger featured in Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho

At the end of 2012, the owners of go-en The Japanese Ramen Shoppe asked us to drop by and sample their new offering: ramen burger. When I first heard about it, the idea seemed, well, weird, but after a Google search, I learned that ramen burger was becoming popular in Japan, so off to go-en we went to try this exotic burger.
Nowadays, ramen burger seems to be the newest craze in New York City and other parts of the USA. From what I can tell, though, NYC's ramen burger seems to be a fusion of American and Japanese styles: a beef patty sandwiched between noodle buns. go-en's version, on the other hand, is similar to the ones I saw (online) being sold in the streets of Japan: no beef patty; the meat slices and other solid ingredients are the ones in the middle of the buns.

Eating ramen burger was a novel experience. I expected the noodle part to be hard and crunchy but the buns were soft and only lightly toasted. The fillings and the sauce gave the burger an interesting taste.

Last Sunday, go-en's ramen burger was featured in the "Pa-Burger Ka Naman" segment of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho. Zark's Burgers, another restaurant that we have reviewed before, was also highlighted in the show. Please fast forward to 23:25 if you want to go straight to go-en's and Zark's parts (I'm encountering a glitch when embedding with a time stamp).

Video credit: GMA-7 Kapuso Telebabad | Youtube

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nescafe Cappuccino

Last year, I tried and enjoyed Kopiko Kopiccino Instant Cappuccino. When it comes to instant coffee, though, our family has been slugging Nescafe for decades, so it is great that Nescafe now also has an instant cappuccino mix.

Video credit: NescafePH | Youtube

A set of 10 sachets costs P70 at Puregold. Each sachet contains 25g and a small pack of chocolate sprinkles is attached at the back.

Preparation is simple: just put the contents of the sachet in a cup, add hot water, and stir. Then sprinkle the chocolate powder on top.

It tastes good and comforting especially during rainy days.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cool Taste Apple-Flavored Jelly Drink

I got to try Cool Taste Apple-Flavored Jelly Drink just now. I thought it would be similar to jelly drinks sold in plastic bottles but I got disappointed.

Cool Taste Apple Flavored Jelly Drink
ingredients of Cool Taste Apple Flavored Jelly Drink
nutrition info of Cool Taste Apple Flavored Jelly Drink

The taste is okay. The juice itself is sweet, like a typical tetrapack juice. The green jelly is only slightly sweet, not bad.

There is very little juice though, not enough to quench your thirst. Another problem is that the packaging is a poor idea for this kind of product. The jelly is not cut into small pieces and since the straw offers only a small opening, getting the jelly out is difficult. You will have to suck and suck while mashing the container, then you will give up, get a scissor, and just cut the upper half of the pack to get the remaining mass of jelly inside.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dunkin' Donuts Lucky Chinatown Mall

There are now many donut shops here in the Philippines, but as a child of the 80s, when donuts are concerned, Dunkin' Donuts has a special place in my heart. When I imagine donuts (and yes, I daydream about food -- a lot), it's the distinct flavor and aroma of classic Dunkin' Donuts flavors that come to mind.

Nowadays, I notice that many DD branches and outlets look outdated compared to their newer competitors. A shame, really, so I was glad to know that the branch in Lucky Chinatown Mall looks modern and hip. The place is well lit and has a relaxing, positive vibe typical in modern coffee shops.

Dunkin Donuts at Lucky Chinatown Mall
Dunkin Donuts counter
Dunkin Donuts stools
Dunkin Donuts wall decors
Dunkin Donuts

We ordered the Blueberry Cheese donut (P35), Choco Mint muffin (P45), yummy loaf (P40), and hot chocolate (P40). We actually wanted coffee but DD ran out of coffee that afternoon. That was a surprise since according to some things I had read online, DD is increasing their efforts lately to make their coffee drinks more popular.

Lucky Chinatown baked goods and hot chocolate
Dunkin Donuts blueberry cheese premium donut

Anyway, the yummy loaf was good but I can't really say more about it because it was not mine and I only got a teeny tiny bite of it. The blueberry cheese donut is a premium donut but it did not appeal to me much because I found it too sweet. It might have been better paired with brewed coffee; with hot choco, the sweetness was a little overwhelming for me. I prefer the classic donuts.

Dunkin Donuts choco mint muffin

I don't eat a lot of muffins since some of them are dry and too crumbly and I end up with crumbs all over, but the choco mint muffin was seductively calling my name while I was browsing the neighboring donuts. I was happy that I got the muffin. It was moist and its sweetness was just right. There was also a good balance of the chocolatey taste and the mintiness.

Dunkin' Donuts

Unit FS 504 Lucky Chinatown Mall
Reina Regente St. cor. Dela Reina St.
Binondo, Manila
Metro Manila, Philippines
Web site
Facebook page

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Got Instagram? Follow Unsugarcoated Reviews!

Follow Unsugarcoated Reviews on Instagram!

Some of the pictures I post are used in the blog entries, some are just random shots of interesting things I encounter.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Movie Review: The Wolverine (2013)


Logan (Hugh Jackman) is living a solitary life in the woods, riddled with guilt after the death of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). Yukio (Rila Fukushima) shows up and informs him that Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), a Japanese soldier he befriended during the bombing of Nagasaki, is dying and wants to see him to say goodbye. Logan travels to Japan to see his old friend, who is now incredibly wealthy. Yashida informs him that he has found a way to cure Logan's immortality and offers him a normal life -- one where he can grow old and die. After Yashida dies, Mariko's life is suddenly in danger. Logan steps in to protect her but finds that his power is weakening.

The Wolverine (2013) movie poster

Main Cast:

Hugh Jackman - Logan
Tao Okamoto - Mariko
Rila Fukushima - Yukio
Svetlana Khodchenkova - Viper
Hal Yamanouchi - Yashida
Will Yun Lee - Harada


Friday, July 26, 2013

Movie Review: Django Unchained (2012 Western film by Quentin Tarantino)

Django Unchained is a 2012 Western film directed by Quentin Tarantino. It is about the adventures of a former slave and the man who freed him. Although there are some similarities, the movie is not a remake or a sequel of the 1966 film called Django.

Django Unchained movie poster

The German ex-dentist and now bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) frees Django (Jamie Foxx) from slave traders to help him identify his targets. He trains Django in bounty hunting and treats him as an equal, much to the chagrin of white Americans they encounter along the way. Schultz learns about Django's wife Broomhilda and decides to help him find her. Upon locating her in a plantation owned by Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), they set an elaborate plan in motion in order to save her.

Main Cast:
Jamie Foxx - Django
Christoph Waltz - Dr. King Schultz
Leonardo DiCaprio - Calvin Candie
Kerry Washington - Broomhilda von Shaft (aka Hildi)
Samuel L. Jackson - Stephen

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Ricoa Flat Tops Milk Chocolate

I have been gorging on Ricoa Flat Tops milk chocolate for several weeks now. It's hard to stop. This chocolate has become a permanent fixture in our grocery list. What I like about Flat Tops is the distinct Ricoa chocolate taste and the just-right sweetness.

Ricoa Flat Tops milk chocolate pack
Ricoa Flat Tops milk chocolate pieces

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Parodontax Daily Fluoride Toothpaste for Bleeding Gums

When I had oral prophylaxis at Sambitan Dental Clinic a few months ago, Dr. Sambitan recommended Parodontax toothpaste to me since my gums bled easily. I tended to spit blood every time I brushed my teeth.

I was able to buy Parodontax at South Star Drug in SM North for P110. I used it twice a day and the 90g tube lasted around 4-5 weeks.

box of Parodontax Daily Fluoride Toothpaste
Parodontax Daily Fluoride Toothpaste for Bleeding Gums

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dunkin Donuts Bunwich: Ham and Cheese; Bacon, Coleslaw, and Tomato

For some unknown reason, I have not tried any non-donut baked goods from Dunkin Donuts before. To correct that shortcoming, I decided to try DD's bunwiches.

I would have ordered the tuna salad or chicken salad bunwich but the only varieties available when I dropped by our neighborhood DD were the ham and cheese bunwich and the bacon, coleslaw, and tomato bunwich. They cost P50 each and the Dunkin Donuts personnel reheated the bunwiches before handing them to us.

The Bacon, Coleslaw, and Tomato bunwich was not as cute as advertised, but that seems to be the norm for fast food in general so...oh well!

Bacon, Coleslaw, and Tomato Bunwich: Expectation
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