Best Treats and Dining-ins for Love Ones, that visited the Philippines for limited days

Cousins and Aunt went back to the Philippines for a not so happy reason. My Uncle died and they wanted the rest of the family and his friends to visit or pay respect to his remains for the last time, so without strict planning they went home, and stayed only for 18 days.

After the 2 days funeral, and after attending to paper works in relation to my uncle's death, The family made time to entertain our guests.

I was not with them all the time, but I for a few days with them, I didn't realize that I went out dining too often.. LOL...

Dinner at Vikings

One Cousin got married and the chosen venue for small reception is Vikings at Megamall. Yes this is the newest branch of Vikings, and it was my first time to see the Vikings Megamall. Well yes I've been to other branches of Vikings, like Vikings at the Block of SM North Edsa, and dined-in twice at Vikings SM Marikina. I am not going to write much about Vikings because I have a hub about it already.. but if you would ask about Vikings Megamall, it was good too..Just like in other branches you also need to roam around to get your food or to try the new ones...

But hey I really like all the Twinnings cold drinks.... Hurray to Vikings for that... I am not sure if I just did not notice, but in my Review of Viking Marikina, the Twinnings cold drink was not included yet.

If you want to have a glimpse of Vikings I am sharing a link below

Bag of Beans, Tagaytay

Tagaytay became my favorite place when I went there with dear cousins. We went there on independence day morning, and they decided to take their breakfast at Bag of Beans. Everyone who loves Tagaytay will never miss this place. I wonder why I always missed the pancake? and only realized it when I am already full.

I always go for the traditional filipino breakfast like fried rice, tapa and fried egg. One auntie also tried the Lugaw or arrozcaldo. Again I did not take much pictures of the food because I know I already have a hub about Bag of Beans which I will share the links below..

Waiting for us at Bag of Beans were another group of cousins with Aunt and Uncle. We went to Calaruega Church, which was so much fun. We followed the lead of cousin Ernie and it was like an adventure crossing a hanging bridge, that was my first hanging bridge adventure. We took photos left and right, until we reached the chapel on top... Aunt was complaining she was wearing high heel shoes. The running and walking were enough to melt what we have eaten at bag of beans, that when they decided to leave for lunch, every one was really very hungry already.


The Adventure at Calaruega Church

Again we followed Ernie's lead since he was the one treating us.

He brought us to Mer and Ben, and we chose this large cottage that can accommodate the 12 persons.

The open air ambiance is good, it was raining then so the air is cold, triggering our stomach to crave for something yummy..

Lunch at Mer and Ben Tapsilogan

What we had at Mer and Ben

Crispy Kangkong
Crispy Kangkong
Chop suey
Chop suey
Bulalo
Bulalo
Mixed Grilled Seafoods
Mixed Grilled Seafoods
Kare kare
Kare kare

Cousin ordered typical filipino food that my cousin and aunt probably craved. We had Bulalo, if you are in Tagaytay you should not miss the Bulalo, in my case I really indulged..We had 1 order of chop suey, grilled liempo, kare kare, mixed grilled seafoods, and as a starter we had Crispy kang kong and we all had Buko Juice fresh from the coconut husk..

I like all, especially the Bulalo. My Balikbayan cousin obviously missed the Kare-kare, while Aunt indulged herself with the sea food.

We are so full we decided to proceed to Starbucks, where we enjoyed not only the coffee but also the views and the cool air, which made coffee drinking a real pleasure... hahaha sounds like a commercial.

From Manaoag Church, Pangasinan to Isdaan, Tarlac

From Tagaytay on Independence day, which was June 12, 2014, on Saturday evening that week we went to Manaoag Church in Pangasinan because it was my cousin's wish to visit the place.

We arrived at the Manaoag Church, almost at the break of dawn. Almost 5am. We went upstairs to visit the image of our Lady of Manaog and silently prayed. Not long enough the mass started right away. After the mass we bought candles, lighted it and prayed again. I prayed for my present situation, and thank also the Lord almighty for the strength He is granting me. We went to the church's souvenir shops and my cousin bought the image of Our Lady of Manaog which she will bring in her US residence.

After all our activities at the church, we left for this popular restaurant at the north called Isdaan.

Brunch at Isdaan

This what you will see when you are going North
This what you will see when you are going North
The entrance and the bridge going to the cottage where we chose to eat
The entrance and the bridge going to the cottage where we chose to eat
Looks like a typical fish ponds, and you will feel like you are floating while eating
Looks like a typical fish ponds, and you will feel like you are floating while eating

Isdaan Floating Restaurant is a typical view if you are going North. I am familiar with the place but never tried to dine in before. The place is impressive. Lavishly adorned as if there was an occasion going on. Aside from that, you will feel like walking on the bridges because literally, you will be eating above water or fish ponds.

There are so many things visitor can do inside the restaurant. First, the fish feeding, while waiting for the food, visitors can feed the school of fish and watch them as they feast on the food that they threw at the water. The waiters or staff of the restaurant will provide you the fish feeds; Second, visitors can freely roam the place, have their photos taken with the images of President Erap Estrada, President Obama and Wife Michelle, and gigantic images of Dinasaur, a Bhudda and other animals. My aunts had their photos taken with President Estrada, I had photos with the image too plus one more picture with the guard; Third, enjoy the food while being serenaded.

We did not explore much because cousins were already hungry, so we did miss the Tacsiyapo Wall, Tacsiyapo means swear words or bad words for someone. Well instead of cursing the person you hate inside you heart and mind, it's better to express the fury at that wall. What a way to release one's anger.. but I realized we just came from Manaog church and the grace of almighty and our Mother Mary were instilled in us, so there was no need for us to release our anger at the poor wall LOL



What we had at Isdaan

The Bamboo where the Chicken tinola was cooked
The Bamboo where the Chicken tinola was cooked
Pouring the Tinola at the bowl
Pouring the Tinola at the bowl

Funny, we dined in at a floating restaurant but most of what we ordered were meat or pork, and chicken tinola. We had crabs, and grilled hito or catfish, we ordered for pork adobo, and ribs which I can't see the difference, lechon kawali, Kare kare and tinolang manok.

The food presentation was great... all placed in a very filipino style dining in with the presence of palayok and bamboo. The tinolang manok was cooked in a large bamboo and I found it really very impressive.

I am sorry about the ribs and pork adobo, it didn't pass my taste, and I can't see the difference between the pork ribs adobo (because they didn't have salt and pepper pork ribs at that time) and the plain pork adobo.

The lechon kawali was great, the tinolang manok was impressive but still a no match to my auntie's version. We should have ordered more seafoods, since Isdaan is a floating restaurant, I guess they are better in preparing seafood dishes.

In spite of imperfection I will still recommend this place to friends....

Photos at Max's Restaurant

Credit photos to Max's Chicken tumbler.com
Credit photos to Max's Chicken tumbler.com

Max's Fried Chicken Restaurant was so popular in the Philippines that I know I don't really need to write much about it anymore. We attended a mass for my Uncle's 40th day, and after the mass we had family dinner at Max's Restaurant near Malacanang Palace. It's impossible to miss the fried chicken when dining in to this restaurant.

Yum cha meal at Gloria Maris

My Favorite Seafood Congee
My Favorite Seafood Congee
I am not sure what it is.. Asado?
I am not sure what it is.. Asado?
This is the famous Xiao Long pao, my cousin was too eager to teach as how to eat it properly.
This is the famous Xiao Long pao, my cousin was too eager to teach as how to eat it properly.
One of the assorted Mamis that we ordered.
One of the assorted Mamis that we ordered.
They called this oen Ho fan... soft and delicious, it has shrimp inside...
They called this oen Ho fan... soft and delicious, it has shrimp inside...
Wanton Mami
Wanton Mami
Fried Taro Puffs
Fried Taro Puffs
Beef Mami I guess??
Beef Mami I guess??
oh we had one small order of yang chow, Ralph can't live without rice
oh we had one small order of yang chow, Ralph can't live without rice

The day before they left for US, we had lunch at Gloria Maris, Greenhills, and my cousin called it Yum cha meal. I've been to Gloria Maris at Gateway several times. I love the shabu shabu and some dimsum like siomai... But this time I had a different experience, cousin Bong called our meal Yum Cha, instead of regular rice and full course menu, we ordered for noodles or congee and assorted dimsum.

I always love Congee, probably reminds me of my youth and my father when he took me to this famous old restaurant at Ongpin. I can still remember its yummy taste, but sad to say when I went back to reminisce I was disappointed with their congee, it's no longer as tasty as the previous ... I guess the old chef that my father called "taba" died already. But anyway Congee at Gloria Maris is another story... I really love it and I swear to return anytime...

Most of them ordered for mami, I guess they also have the best mamis, but I always prefer a congee so I was rare at that moment. Aside from Congee and mamis, we had Xiao Long Pao, it looks like siomai but it has sauce inside. Cousin Bong said, the proper way to eat it, is first, put it in the spoon add the special sauce served with it , then eat it whole, and let it break inside your mouth so you can savor the sauce. Interesting and yummy... We also ordered Ho fan, shrimp and asado, and Fried Taro puffs.

I really enjoyed that meal, a pleasant experience after eating at Vikings, at Filipino Restaurants etc... If you love Dimsum, go to Gloria Maris...It's all worth it


BANZAI Japanese Buffet

After that Yum cha lunch at Gloria Maris, we prepared for dinner with another cousin. First plan was, to have dinner at the paluto restaurant at San Mig Bay... Paluto is the type that you will choose and shop for the main course like prawn, fresh fish or crab etc. and they will cook it for you. But we were surprised that all paluto restaurants at MOA San Mig Bay left the place and transferred at the Macapagal area. Anyway the place was now a buffet restaurant area, Buffet 101 and Vikings started it so now we found Banzai and sorry I forgot the one next to it. Cousin Liza let our guest choose which buffet restaurant she prefers and Cousin Tina chose Banzai.

There was a presentation inside when we arrived.... it's like a history bringing back into life.

I will not write much about Banzai because I want to make a separate hub about it. But yes I will recommend it because my cousins and I agreed that the food is different.and delicious. One of the owner is the actor Marvin Agustin and I think he made a right decision on this one.

Still Nothing Beats Eating Out with Family

This was Saturday, a day before that lunch at Gloria Maris and dinner at Banzai. This is the family celebration of one year death anniversary of our uncle that died last year. Still it's different when celebration was done at a residence own by family members. We can enjoy without time limit, we can sing and dance and most of all we can talk about the good old days when my mother and uncles were still alive.

My cousin just hired a favorite caterer, another cousin prepared her best baked macaroni, they also ordered lechon from Elar's and Mango cake by Dulcelene.

At the end this hub is not just about dining-out, good food and experience. It's all about love for my family and how I treasure my moments with them..


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Comments 2 comments

Penny Johnson profile image

Penny Johnson 2 years ago from Chicago,Illinois

very Good pic and story like it lot interesting


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

Wow! I have just eaten my dinner but I am already hungry again looking at those delicious food. Take care. I might go in those places one day. Thanks for sharing Maria Cecilia..

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