Saturday, September 19, 2015

Ma Mon Luk: My best alternative to a normal lunch.

I am a nocturnal creature as I thrive working at night than day time.   My brain functions well during night time, and with this I would normally sleep around 5-6am and wakes up at 1pm.  Waking up at 1pm comes with a dilemma.  My brain would tell me that it's way past lunch time but still too early for an afternoon snacks.  This leaves me with a baffled thought on what and where to eat.  Luckily, living in Quezon City gives you a wide array of choices depending on your budget.

Just a 10-12min drive from where I live will get you to Banawe---a place in the metro where autoparts are being peddled almost in every corner.  It is also in this area where Ma Mon Luk is located.

Ma Mon Luk ia a popular Chinese restaurant known for its special Mami and delicious siopao.  It is actually located outside the confines of Banawe (fronting Banawe, to be exact)  and is situated along Quezon Avenue.

As I gathered information under Wikipedia, the data states that Ma Mon Luk was born in Guangdong, China, he was a grade school teacher in Guangzhou when he decided to emigrate to the Philippines in 1918. According to legend, he migrated to the Philippines in order to earn his fortune and win the hand of a girl whose wealthy Cantonese family looked none too kindly on his poverty. Arriving penniless in Manila, Ma Mon Luk decided to peddle chicken noodle soup, utilizing egg noodles. He soon became a familiar sight on the streets of Manila, plodding down with a long bamboo pole slung on his shoulders with two metal containers on each end. One vat contained his especially concocted noodles and strips of chicken meat, while the other stored chicken broth heated by live coals underneath. With a pair of scissors, he would cut the noodles and meat to serve to his customers. Among his frequent customers were students from the various schools and universities in Manila, whom he would regale with tales about China. Ma Mon Luk himself called his concoction "gupit", after the Tagalog word for "cut with scissors".
Ma Mon Luk soon opened his first restaurant in Binondo, where he introduced his equally famous siopao, a steamed pork dumpling enhanced by a secret sauce. Ma Mon Luk nonetheless continued to peddle his wares on the streets, advertising his restaurant by giving away free samples. By the 1950s, Ma Mon Luk and his mami were nationally known, and Ma Mon Luk became the iconic Chinese restaurant, sprouting many imitators who failed to equal its success. At one point, in the mid 1990s, there were at least six Ma Mon Luk restaurants in Metro Manila. But, as of 2006, only the branches in Benavidez Street, Mla., Quezon Avenue, Q.C. and Quezon Boulevard in Quiapo, Mla. remain open.
Ma Mon Luk died on September 1, 1961 of throat cancer and is buried at the Chinese Cemetery in Manila. He is succeeded to date by four Ma Mon Luk generations.

And with that information dished out, let me dish out the food they are offering:

I ordered the small size mami because I'm on a diet.  Their small size mami is only P95.00 

I also ordered their special asado siopao (P65.00) with salted egg.  This siopao is literally world-famous because I have heard about this siopao even at that time when I was still living abroad.

Tip though:  Despite the number of service crew this particular branch has, I only saw 3 waiters manning the floor---3 out of more than a dozen service staff I saw when I dined there around 3pm++.  Probably the kitchen has several staff too.  It took me 27 minutes from the time I sat to the time my food was served.  And if you try to order extra for take out, it might take another 30 minutes, God forbid.  I even saw one man leaving the restaurant due to lack of attendants.  I suggest once you have finally talked to a waiter, order everything including a glass of water and pay your bill at the same time.  It will save you time, energy, and patience I'm telling you.

Based from the picture above, my table and the 3 tables infront of me (not to mention other tables on my left side) needed to be cleaned but the 3 waiters were too busy taking in orders.  If you are too hungry and crave for instant service, I do not suggest this place.  But if you really like their mami and siopao like I do, and you have patience of a monk, by all means dine here.  It's worth all the cuss words coming out from your mouth for not being serviced right away.

Don't forget to take out. :)

My Favorite Collection of Dolce and Gabbana

Part 1

I have always been a fan of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana---also known simply as Dolce and Gabbana. They make men's clothes fashionable yet masculine enough for guys not to fear about their image. D&G is a living art. Truly a cut above the rest. Not only this fashion show featured clothes that are relevant and can be worn even years from now, it also had Ms. Annie Lennox to lend her beautiful songs as male models made the runway.

Sadly though, Dolce and Gabbana's image was tarnished when they made a comment not too long ago saying babies that were conceived by alternative methods are "synthetic babies", to the dismay of singer Elton John---who had his child born in that method.

It all started after the designers gave an interview to Italy's Panorama magazine. When asked about family and children, Dolce responded: "We certainly didn’t invent the family. The Sacred Family made it an icon, but irrelevant of religion or social status: you are born and have a father and a mother. Or at least that is how it should be, that is why what I call children of chemistry, synthetic babies, do not convince me. Surrogate mothers (literal translation: rented uteruses), seeds chosen from a catalog. And then go and explain to these children who their mothers are. Would you accept to be a child of chemistry? Procreation must be an act of love, nowadays even the psychiatrists are not ready to face the effects of these experiments."

Dolce's statements created a stir and a lot of criticism, most notably from John. The singer said "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic,'" John wrote on his Instagram, alongside a photo of the designers. "And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF - a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again".

Several celebrities---even Madonna, D&G's favorite celebrity client and friend, made a mouthful of comments regarding what the designers have said. Since then people from all walks of life have demanded an apology from the duo and even had this campaign to boycott the clothes of Dolce and Gabbana.

However, this video, though done in 2011 but is still trendy to be worn even at this time, makes me doubt to believe D&G haters that their clothes are horrendous. I may disagree with what they commented regarding that brouhaha but for me, their style, talent and dedication to their craft are still unquestionable. Please watch the 2 videos.

Part 2

Friday, September 18, 2015

Chef Lau's Pugon Roasters

Yesterday afternoon I happened to pass by Sun Residences--a condo building built by SM--along the Welcome Rotunda in Quezon City.  The building is so huge that it has its own supermarket (SM Hypermarket) and a wide array of stores and restaurants.  One of its newly opened fastfood restaurants is Chef's Laudico's Pugon Roasters located at the ground floor.


I immediately asked the staff about their specialty and I was told that their Pugon Roast Chicken is the most salable (P114.00) It even has an elaborate food plating / preparation, the kind you see in a formal dining restaurant.

The chicken is so tender and infused with several herbs and spices, one of which is a small amount of curry.  Honestly, I am not a fan of curry but the amount of curry added to this dish is just perfect that you wont even mind that it's there. It doesn't dominate the entire taste of the chicken.


Chef Lau's Pugon Roasters also has several desserts to choose from.  They even have a dedicated shelf for cakes.  I, however, ordered their Carabao's Milk Ice Cream with Ube-Macapuno (P59.00) 

This one though is quite too sweet for me, but is perfect for people who crave for real desserts without to consider calories and other guilt factors.  For other food items, kindly see their price list below.


For now, I cannot discuss yet the other menu since it was my first time to go there.  This is one fastfood restaurant to go back to because the prices are obviously fastfood but the taste and presentation / plating is at par with any reputable restaurants.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

McDo's Chicken Fillet Ala King

The Aldub craze paved the way for the creation of this McDo TV ad featuring two of the hottest celebrities in the Philippines right now---Alden Richards and Maine "Yaya Dub" Mendoza.  Their ad, McDonald's Chicken Ala King became an instant hit.  And after a week the ad came out, I was able to try it myself.

For P59.00, it comes with a regular softdrink.  Verdict:  with that price---it's SULIT!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Amber: Pichi-Pichi And Everything Nice

I live along Roosevelt area in Quezon City and last night, when I went to Project 2, I saw an Amber branch in Tomas Morato.  I do not know if this is a newly opened branch but what I know is that Amber is known for its cheesiest pichi pichi.


I got my order---10pcs pichi pichi---for P66.00 only.

They also sell spaghetti for P65.00 only.  I love their spaghetti because it's sticky and very cheesy.  I am never a fan of "wet" spaghetti---the one with too much sauce, most especially if the kitchen staff is too lazy to drain the excess water from the pasta.  But with Amber's spaghetti it is very flavorful. The only thing with Amber is that even if you are a dine-in customer, they do not serve their food items on a plate.  They served my orders in a to-go cartons.  I do not know if they do this for everyone.

Some of the prices of Amber's food items are posted below.


For Metro Manila, you may call them at 884-8888.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Aguinid Falls: Its Challenge And Beauty

Every successful blogger do start from scratch. In my case, I already have had several blogs under Blogger that I created way back in 2008-2009. Those articles were all about my business--Manong's Lechon Cebu. Sadly, time did not permit me to linger on my laptop to make new blogs on a weekly basis.  So after 6 years, after an invitation from a friend for me to continue writing my blogs, I have finally created new sites that will cover all the things that I find interesting:   is all about food, travel, fashion and lifestyle   is all about my business

It's my 2nd day of doing my blogs, as of this writing.  I would consider September 10, 2015 as the start of my journey---of blogging whatever catches my attention.  I cannot promise to be very diligent but I hope to write at least twice a week.  Funny is, this was the same line I told myself way back in 2009 when I had my first blog.

For a start, I would like to feature Aguinid Falls.  This is a newly opened falls in Samboan Cebu which is around 4 hour drive from the city.

My friend Rio and my adopted son Mark went to Cebu City last August 13-17, 2015.  I made a promise to Mark that we would visit the municipality of Oslob where we could see whale sharks (please see separate post)

After doing Oslob at around 10am, our first plan was to go to a nearby water falls.  Our Cebu-based friend, Sally, told us not to change clothes anymore since the drive is just around 5-10mins from the whale-watching site.  She said it was there where we could wash up and eat lunch.

Sadly or fortunately, we got lost and somehow reached the entrance of Aguinid Falls.

Beside the signboard is a parking area that could accommodate around 10 cars.  A lady approached us inviting us to have our lunch inside the resort.  She said the falls is barely a year old and they are selling sumptuous and affordable grilled food items.

I really had no idea how the falls looked like but I asked the foreigner, whose cab was parked beside our car, if the hike was worth it.  The man said that hiking is not a problem because the 1st falls is just an 8 minute walk from the parking lot.  Now that was something to consider.  Though hiking or trekking is not really a problem for me but I was bringing my 6 year old son.  I was just worried that the boy might request to be carried once boredom kicks in.

So from the parking lot we already ordered our food for lunch.  We walked on a clear and semi uphill road while the lady briefed us that there are 5 falls to climb.  Entrance fee is only P20 per head for locals and P40 per head for foreigners. While walking, there were several small convenience stores nearby selling souvenir items.  I rented a life vest for Mark.  I was suppose to rent vests for all of us but the store attendant told me that the water in all 5 levels is just chest-deep. We were also informed that each group is required to have two guides.  We questioned it at first why it must be 2 guides when in fact we all know how to swim and that the water is only chest deep, but they were firm that it is their policy.  This, I will find out soon, to be very practical and needed.

True enough, we reached the restaurant in less than 10 mins.  We prepared our camera, put on our sun block lotion and we decided to swim first while waiting for the food.  The first falls is practically beside the restaurant.  It was there where our 2 male guides told us that the rocks (limestones) are very forgiving to fearful visitors.  Most rocks there are not slippery and the guide told us to listen as to where to step to avoid accidents. Wearing slippers is an option.

At that moment, all I was thinking was the safety of my son.  It was his first visit to a falls.  Our 2 guides (sadly their names slipped my memory) pacified my worries and told us that part of their training is to give first aid, even CPR.  All guides function not only as a guide but also as a nurse and a photographer.


                 (Me wearing black sleeveless shirt, my son Mark, and my friend Rio taken at level 1)

We were told that each level has its own beauty and reaching all the way to level 5 takes only 40 minutes. Before reaching level 3, I was horrified to know that the only way to reach it is by assaulting the falls itself by foot.


(The guy in the bottom picture is my best friend Arniel Go, our other companion)

The climb going to level 3, as to my estimate, is around 40 feet high, but  locals intentionally made steeping/gripping holes to make it easier for visitors to climb.


(Me doing the assault)


(Mark being carried by one of our guides in reaching falls 3)


(I do not know what level this picture was taken but the view is awesome) 


(A stop over before reaching level 5) 



(Mark being carried by one of our guides)

(Aguinid Falls level 5)



(Before going back to the restaurant, my friend Rio decided to jump from this small cliff, the only one available in the entire Aguinid Resort) 


Now going back from level 3 to level 2 was a challenge.  It was a good thing that the rocks were not slippery at all.

It took us almost 2 hours to enjoy Aguinid's 5 different levels.  When we reached the restaurant, we had a quick wash up and took our lunch way past 1pm.

I can say, with all the effort our guides exerted to secure our safety, not to mention they took turns in taking our pictures, having 2 guides per group is really a must.  Our group have decided that each of us should give P200 as tip for the 2 guides. So with 4 of us, not including Mark, each of our guide got P400 for that 2 hour fun. Plus we also treated them for lunch.  Food inside the resort ranges from P150 - P300 depending on your choice.  They also sell cold drinks, junk food, and even ice.  Sadly, when we went there I didn't have any inkling that I would start doing my blog.  That is why detailed information is not available yet.  I will make it up to you in the next future blogs, promise. 

Aguinid falls is really intended for the whole family.  It is also perfect for group of friends who crave for calculated risks.  Tip though:  Don't scrimp on your guides. Give them the right amount of tip.  Your safety is always their priority so repay that accordingly.  And lastly, it is better to go there during weekdays.  If you are scared of heights, it will be difficult for you to do falls level 3 challenge if there are a lot of people queuing.  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Cebu Lechon: The King of The Party

Filipino party will never be complete without Cebu lechon on your table. Call Manong's Lechon Cebu Tel. 7032133 or 09328805600 (Sun) or 09277839920 (Globe)  We deliver within Metro Manila