A Travellerspoint blog

A Parisian Valentine's Day in Cebu

La Maison Rose + World Pizza + La Vie Parisienne

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Four years ago, my then-girlfriend-now-wife decided to go out on Valentine's Day. The lines at the movies were traumatic. Any place that served dinner whether it be a fastfood joint or a fancy bistro was jam-packed. The 14th of February became one of our least favorite dates to go on a date.

Since then, we spend Valentine's day at home over home-cooked dinner OR we go out before or after the 14th. This year, pre-valentines dinner date won over home-cooked, so we decided to go out and try La Maison Rose/La Vie Parisienne in Cebu City. We have driven by this restaurant several times since it opened around a year ago. You could easily tell that they are packed most of the time since there are cars (double) parked outside everytime we pass by - they have parking spaces inside too, FYI. We finally jumped in the bandwagon to find out what the hype is all about.

I can only imagine how hard parking would be tomorrow because parking was not very easy yesterday, considering that it was a Wednesday night. We almost had a bad experience until the owner (if I heard the security guard right) humbly moved his Porsche 911 and lent his parking slot to my almost beat-up hatchback subcompact.

They did not stop making good first impressions there. We were welcomed with smiling and knowledgeable staff and an iPad which had their menu. As we scrolled through the touchscreen menu, we noticed that there were other establishments inside. The main restaurant was La Maison, serving French, La Vie Parisienne is their bakery/deli, an Ice cream stand (that we decided to ignore and re-visit next time), and World Pizza serving, well, pizza. The waitress gladly told us that we can order from the other stalls, and gave us the World Pizza menu as we requested.

As we waited for the food, we were served complimentary bites. A bite of homemade pasta with pesto (which we initially thought was caviar), a piece of toast topped with tomato and cheese, and a tiny cheese tart. Nothing very notable except that they were free, and that's a good thing.

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We ordered Sicilian Pizza, which was topped with anchovy and capers - our favorite. By the way, the pizza menu was extensive since they brag about going "around the world in 80 pizzas". It's named World Pizza, go figure. We liked the crunchy/chewy crust and the generous amount of anchovy put in.

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Then came the appetizers. We had their Poached Egg Surprise which was served with Serrano ham and greens. The surprise there was black caviar inside the poached egg. We also had Pumpkin Soup with Truffle Oil topped with walnuts and a piece of toast, and their Cheese Platter, which we paired with croissants and sourdough rolls that we bought from the bakery.

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We paired these with a good bottle of white sparkling wine, which I dare not call Champagne, even if it was in their 'Champagne Menu'.

Needless to say, we enjoyed the night. It was easy to overlook the small flaws here and there most especially if you spend the time with someone you love. It's the love month after all, so allow me to be cheesy. The wife went home happy. And you know what they say about happy wives and happy lives.

I am closing this with one assignment though. We passed by the bakery/deli one more time before we left, to find out that the same exact bottle of wine we had was sold there for almost half the price. They have seats at the bakery but they don't serve full dinners, just sandwiches and freshly baked breads.

* Would you go for cheaper priced wine weirdly paired with a sandwich...
...or the same wine for a higher price with better choices for pairing?

  • Or can you have dinner at La Maison and order wine at Le Vie?

These questions plus the ice cream stand calls for another visit.

Posted by jdsulit 06:03 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Don't Mess With a Father

...with a father who loves his children. No you shouldn't.

I will swallow my pride, even if I am proud.
I will drive slowly, even if I had childhood fantasies of becoming a racecar driver.
I will take all the stress of a job I do not like doing, because being a rockstar won't put food on the table.
I will sell my soul to the devil just for you to have proper education.
I will kill and rob a bank if that's what it takes to make sure there is a roof above your head.
I will be ambitious. I will strive. I will go on and on.
Just to make sure that you can still smile at the end of the day.
That smile that keeps me sane. And makes me continue fighting.

You can never beat the mother for the kind of devotion they put in loving and caring for their children. But just this once, let's applaud the fathers.

Dad, mas naiintindihan ko na po kayo ngayon. Maraming salamat.

Posted by jdsulit 10:46 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Flashbacks of Boracay 2010

Ten Things to Do and (mostly) Eat in the Island

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This one's a pretty late post. I am attempting to catch up on writing about our trips. I feel like I'm racing against the next trip that we have ahead. It's not so easy, but I know it can be done.

So this trip happened on February 2010. We wanted to create a sort of a top ten thing for Boracay. Others might argue that there are better things to do in the island. But the following are based on what we actually tried and enjoyed - our own experiences, and are laid out in no particular order.

One last thing, pardon me in advance if I have outdated info. After all, this trip is 3 years old. Here goes...

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1. Le Soleil de Boracay

Unless you're following a very strict and tight budget, book a room at the beachfront. There are several places to stay at in Boracay near the road which would offer a much lower price. But the experience of waking up ten steps away from the beach, and sipping warm coffee while listening to the morning waves is well worth the extra bucks you will spend if you go beachfront. Our choice was the Le Soleil at Station 2. Good breakfast that varies everyday, welcome drinks and necklaces, and perfect kingsize beds. There's also a dipping pool too in case the beach is getting old. Although I doubt that it would.

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2. Talipapa

This place goes by the name of Sutukil in Cebu and Dampa in Manila. If you have been to those places, then this would be familiar. The concept is simple. Buy your preferred fresh seafood from the mini-market, then have them cooked at the restaurant across. They will take care of all the other ingredients. The market and the restaurant can might as well combine their businesses and just let the customer pick from a menu like all typical restaurants. But the whole point of the hassle for the customer is the experience. Just think of it as one of those cooking class tourist traps. You pay to cook your own food. Sounds slightly ridiculous, but people like it.

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3. Watch the Nightlife...

...instead of joining it. Okay, before you put in that violent comment, let me explain. This is not just for people who dislike nightlife, but also for those nocturnals who have grown slightly tired of it. Now I'm not saying that I have. But on this particular trip we chose to skip the nightlife. Instead, we got ourselves a sweet spot on the beach, sat there and observed the bright lights and loud house music from afar. I wouldn't regret doing this because something funny happened on the beach that night, and it is now an inside joke between the wife and I.

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4. Eat Foreign Food, Part 1 - Olé Restaurant

There are a lot of tourists in Boracay from all over the world. It is also home to many expats. Given that, several food establishments in the island offer cuisine from all over the world. The perfect cure for the homesick tourist, and the perfect lure for the hungry foodie. Olé serves Spanish, Mexican, and Cuban food as advertised in their logo. The Philippines was once a Spanish colony, making Pinoys capable of cooking fairly decent Spanish dishes. Top that with the abundance of seafood in the island, and you got yourself an almost authentic paella experience.

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5. Hit the (Hidden) Beach

Okay, I have to admit it. There is one thing about Boracay that I don't like. It gets too congested. Yes, it has the finest sand and vast shores, but the amount of tourists who stay there leaves you with almost no space in the beach to lie down and have some me-time. Thankfully, there's Puka beach. Ask a local tricycle driver to take you there instead of falling for those expensive island hopping tours. Puka beach is in the same island and, with good negotiating techniques, you would only need around a hundred Pesos (~2.50 USD) per way to book a tricycle going there. The sand is not as fine as what you can get at the famous white beach, but the solace that this beach offers is incomparable.

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6. See the Island From Another Perspective

Now this may cost you but trust me, it will be worth it. Go para-sailing in Boracay and see the island from an entirely different perspective. 3,000PHP (~70USD) for a fifteen-minute ride for two might sound a little expensive, but seeing the island from the skies is breath-taking! Tip: find someone who can book it for you on a package to save some money. Ours came with a buggy ride (self-driven) and a tour of the island.

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7. See the Island From Another Perspective, One More Time

That buggy ride gave us a chance to see other places within the island. One thing that I particularly liked is being able to reach the highest point of Boracay, which is Mt. Luho. After the drive and the short hike, the view from the top is relaxing. Although, since we did this activity in the middle of the day, it sure made us hungry. Good thing lunch time is just around the corner.

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8. Eat Foreign Food Part 2 - True Food

I'm no Indian food expert (yet). And, unlike Spanish food, Pinoys do not have enough good background on Indian cuisine. But I have to say, the food pictured above is delicious. The lamb stew served with couscous is succulent, and without the strong aftertaste of lamb. And, that deep red chicken right there is not a Pinoy barbecue smothered in ketchup. It's actually tandoori chicken, and it's pretty good as well. To top it off, the beachfront setting makes the whole experience exceptional.

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9. Jonah's Fruitshake and Chorizo Sandwiches

This is the perfect snack after a long day at the beach. Jonah's offers not just typical fruit shakes, but also special blends and alcoholic shakes. After a sweaty day under the sun, it is perfect for quenching your thirst. Order it take out and you will not get it in the usual styro tumbler, but instead in a recycled water bottle. Talk about environment-friendly! Whatever shake you pick, make sure to order a chorizo sandwich at the stall just outside Jonah's.

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10. Eat Pizza at the "Outskirts" of White Beach

The 4-kilometer White Beach of Boracay is known for its three stations. Station 3 for the budget travelers, Station 1 for the high-end vacationers, and Station 2 for the mid-range. Walk down beyond Station 3, and you will start seeing less hotels and bars, and more local residents. My wife and I call the area the unofficial Station 4. Don't think that there is nothing to see at this point and decide to walk back. Tucked in this secluded place is Floremar. The restaurant is owned by an Italian expat married to a Filipina. They serve delicious Italian dishes at a lower price compared to the restaurants on the 3 stations. We had Anchovy Pizza, Gnocchi, Risotto, and Veal. We only salvaged one good picture, because it was a candle-lit dinner. But I'm not complaining because it was the perfect romantic close to our trip.

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Hay, Boracay. We miss you badly. It's been three years and I don't think we will see each other soon. There are more destinations in our bucket list. But I'm happy that the first (hopefully not last) time we stayed there was very memorable. Some things might have already changed by now. Some of those places might have already foreclosed. But whatever happens, I'm sure you will be just as enjoyable. 'Til we meet again

Posted by jdsulit 21:49 Archived in Philippines Tagged beaches food photography boracay Comments (0)

Jared Ryan meets Ryan John

Posted on June 9 2012 in Facebook

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Dear Jared Ryan,

I can't wait for the day when you ask me, "Mom, how did I get my name?" It'll be the day when you'll get to know your uncle. As for your first name, you'll have to ask Dad, that's a totally different story. It's actually very interesting. It won't bore you, I promise! ;-)

It's unfortunate that you won't ever get to meet your uncle in person. He's on a life-long trip with Jesus. You see son, your uncle was an adventurer by heart. He loved to try new things & explore new places. Did I mention he was a nature lover too? I think that's how I became a hippie by heart. :-) Don't google hippie. The definitions provided online are so overrated. I'll explain it to you some other time. ;-)

When you're old enough to ride a bike, you're uncle would prolly show off his daredevil tricks to you. In which I'd prolly have a heart attack if you ever attempt to imitate it. Don't even think about it buddy! If you don't want to be grounded for the rest of your puberty. But, if you can imitate how your uncle saved most of his allowance & assembled his bike all by himself, then by all means please do, son. :-)

When you get home from your first day of school & you'll have all sorts of stories, he'll tell you his own story on his first day in first grade. He got home with a black eye & his school uniform, dirty & torn up. He was adamant that he only stood up for himself against injustice & infliction. Son, I am all for freedom & individualism but absolutely not violence. I definitely don't want to be called in by your school principal. They are the scariest people in the planet. Next to the boogeyman. ;-p Not cool! It isn't at all hippie-like. Again, please do not google the word. :-)

When you'd wanna learn a sport, and you're choice of sport is baseball, he'd prolly show you his tiny scar on his lower lip where he had to be rushed to the emergency room for some stitches. He played baseball on his 5th grade. He & a teammate bumped into each other while trying to catch the same ball. Don't laugh. It was very scary. But surprisingly, when your uncle went home from the hospital, he was all smiles. Showing off his stitches, yet again. OK. Maybe it's a little funny. :-)

And if you'll develop an interest for nature & camping, he'll tell you that sustenance is of utmost significance. Even if it means drinking & cooking rice with water that's full of bat droppings, from a cave where they had to spend the night since it was already getting too dark. This is yet one of his "survival" methods. Please be smart enough to know the difference between survival and sanitary. ;-)

So you see Jared, when people ask you of your second name, say it with pride & with the biggest smile. Did I mention your uncle had a killer smile? Forgive me if mom cries by this time, know that it is only because she misses your uncle so much. And regrets that you & ate Sam won't hear wonderful stories from him. But still, learn a lot from him, be inspired by his vigor, free-spirit & enthusiasm to live life to the fullest. And most importantly, take comfort that he will always look after the both of you. Always. :-)

Love,
Mom

Ryan John J. Legaspi
October 14, 1982 - June 9, 2007

Posted by jdsulit 21:06 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

My Other Bride

BJ was never the only one.

There was always another one.

I still remember the first day we met. I saw a mixture of apprehension and curiosity in her eyes. She looked as if I was a wild animal in the zoo, wondering if it was safe to come close and if she can touch me.

I could not blame her. She had very few men in her life before, and letting a new one in may be a challenge. But I reached out and eventually we were closer.

She kisses me and gives me a hug when I go to her place. And sometimes she would try to run away as if she was asking me to come after her. She likes it when I hug her, but not too tight, as she wants to keep her freedom. She squeezes herself into me when we sleep so she can feel some human warmth. And, she wakes me up with an innocent smile on her face.

I don't give as much back, since I spend most of my time with BJ. But one thing that I know for sure is I love her as much as I love her Mommy. And I can't wait to marry both of them this May.

This is her by the way:

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Posted by jdsulit 18:56 Archived in Philippines Comments (2)

A Secret Obsession

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So we're in the middle of our preparations. Ocular visits to venues, vendor and supplier meetings, researching wedding websites, including... going to the gym! So there I was at the men's section, doing my daily 6 reps with the belly cruncher, dragging myself to complete all the reps, bored to death, and then, I suddenly realized... American Idol Season 10 was so on! I immediately asked JD to change the channel. And he instantly protested! Oh please! I don't care if you're as buff as Arnold Schwarzenegger when he won Mr Universe in 1967. Every guy and every single human being has their own guilty pleasure and secret taboo. So with much persuasion, he did. And right when this scrawny, awkward looking contestant dressed in a civil war uniform started singing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" from the Lion King in a high-pitched voice, everyone started to swarm around the television! I’m talking huge, bulky guys carrying 50 pounder dumb bells! Or maybe they were just gawking at Jennifer Lopez. Whateverrr!!!

Posted by bjlegaspi 11:03 Comments (0)

The Sign

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December 25, 2008, around noon - I received a call from officemates. Cebu Pacific had a Piso fare promo. Back then, in my 22 years of existence, believe it or not, I had never experienced riding an airplane. The fare was 56 Pesos for a round-trip ticket to Cebu on February. Friends were coming along. There was no saying no.

February came, and I had hesitations of pushing through with the trip mainly because I was out of funds. But I was convinced to go by one sad fact: I decided to leave my job (again). It was the last hoorah with my office friends. The plan was simple – go to Cebu for a couple of days, then resign the minute I set foot back in Manila.

We arrived in Cebu and went straight to PeopleSupport’s office. After months of merely just knowing her name, swapping schedules, and a few friendly, harmless emails, I finally laid eyes on her. I was filled with happy thoughts. Perhaps it was her smile. I know one thing’s for sure. Her smile and the happiness it brings were infectious.

So after 3 days of Cebu… Ngohiong and lechon with puso at SM grocery, siomai sa tisa, fresh & inexpensive seafood and surprisingly great pizza in Bantayan, I had found myself wanting to see her again. So I begged a common friend of ours, to invite her to come with us for a night out. It was our last night in Cebu. And what better way to celebrate than with drinks, while singing our hearts out to Eraserhead's Magazine or River Maya's Adik Sayo. Fate must be on our side, for she said yes.

I will hold the details of what transpired on the night of the twenty-seventh of February for the ones who were there. But I will share one thing – BJ sang the first night we went out (no coffee, though). And it stuck to my mind because it was the only song she sang. Eternal’s Angel of Mine. Cheesy. She was obviously extremely attracted to me.

When I came back to Manila, guess what was the first song I heard from the car radio while driving to work? It was the same fateful song on that fateful night. It was a sign. Two months later, I left PeopleSupport Manila, but not to resign. I moved to PeopleSupport Cebu. And no, it was definitely not just a career move.

Posted by jdsulit 05:05 Comments (1)

Coffee with BJ?!

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Our date's set. It's a no brainer.
We didn't wanna pick any random, insignificant date.
Nor a so-called lucky date. (10-10-10, et. al)
And we didn't wanna confuse ourselves with all the dates.
Wait! What are we talking about again?
Oh yes! Wedding date! (told you it was confusing)
Not to mention cutting down the cost for gifts, trips,
and dinners on monthly & yearly celebrations. (cheap couple)
So we picked our anniversary.

Starting a guest list is not as easy as it sounds.
Deciding who's important and who's not.
Who will understand and who will not.
And of course there's always the dreaded B word. Budget!

It needed a lotta brainstorming in a condusive place
where people pretending to be busy hammering away
on their PDA's, lappies and what not.
So off we went to a coffee shop. Armed with a cheap give-away
pen i stole from a hotel, and the receipt from the drinks we ordered
to serve as our paper.
(we're extremely conventional = fancy word for "cheap" again)

As I was sipping on my vanilla almond praline and JD on his lemon spritzer,
we were carefully going through all of our family and friends.
And we couldn't help but smile at the sight of us having coffee together.
(well, only I was. since JD's not a fan of caffeine. might stunt his growth).
It definitely took us back to the first few emails he sent me...

JD : Thanks for the swap!
BJ : Sure. I owed u one. Call it even.
JD : Not quite yet. Me & my friends booked a trip to Cebu for February next year.
Could you recommend a few budget-friendly places where we could stay?
BJ : I'll send u a list. It has phone numbers as well. There's a few. I hope it helps.
JD : Thanks again! Now I really owe u coffee.
BJ : Really?! I'll hold you to that!
(i wasn't being cute. i mean, who would say no to a free drink?)

Couple of weeks later, a few of his friends found out about the email.
And lewd as they are, a friendly rendezvous turned into a double-meaninged,
trashy hook-up...COFFEE with what?!?!?!
It's WHO you curious prying school boy! You can wake up from your fantasies now.

Posted by bjlegaspi 21:04 Comments (1)

Church: Check!

We never really went church hunting. One of our officemates will be getting married in a few months and told us about this quaint little church in Cebu City. It was at the Chapel at the Archbishop's Residence. BJ had always wanted to get married without inviting half of Cebu. The chapel only seats up to ninety people, so it's just perfect to achieve that solemn ceremony.

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Pros:
- Small space. (easy to decorate and fill up with guests)
- Airconditioned. (for the sweaty groom)
- It is recognized by the parish, so our marriage licenses will be recognized by the dioscese.
- It is affordable. Very affordable.

Cons:
- We can't invite P-Noy and Martha Stewart.

Posted by jdsulit 03:28 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

The Countdown Begins

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Not so long ago I was preparing for what I thought was a very big day. I got the ring. I prepared my script. I booked a table for two and thought about the clothes I will wear. I was preparing for my proposal.

Two days before the big day we had a big argument. And we were pushed at the brink of our relationship. And that’s when I realized – I really love her. And it cannot wait a minute more. I took the ring out of my pocket – on an insignificant date; wearing nothing but dirty house clothes and sweat; no fancy dinner at the table – and blurted out the classic line.

And I thought that was the biggest day ever.

I was wrong.

Posted by jdsulit 22:24 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

Swapping Vows : The Origins

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My soon-to-be hubby insist I do the first entry. Just like anything else that needs to be done for this wedding. (kidding)
Surprisingly, he has been involved in the planning more than I expect some other grooms to be. (thank you babe) In fact, THIS was his brain child. He was so ecstatic!

We were driving home. In the car, the conversation went...
JD : "Wouldn't that be brilliant? Our guests could RSVP on our blog, we could post pre-nup and wedding photos..."
BJ : I guess.
JD : "Did I just contribute something cool for the wedding?"
"Did I just think of the most awesome idea?"
BJ : Maybe. (bitter for not coming up with the idea first)
JD : "Baaabe, aren't you glad I'm contributing something?
I thought you'd be happy?"

Thinking I was being a bit of a sour grape,
I quickly resurfaced...
BJ : Ok ok, so what're we gonna call it?

We kept throwing in names. Funny names, corny names,
even green ones.
JD : Got it!

He was as happy as a kid riding a bike without training wheels for the first time.

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We used to kid around that if we ever get bored with our lives, (i hope it wouldn't happen. God forbid) we'll send our love story to "Maalaala Mo Kaya". And we'll prolly name it "swap form". Which is in every way fitting for our "love story". (ew!)

To non-PS employees: this form simply allows one to swap rest days with another employee. For example, If one has a weekend off and would need to attend a wedding on a weekday, (our wedding falls on a monday by the way) then he/she simply asks to trade day offs with a teammate/officemate who has a weekday off. (trust me. it's easier than it sounds)

It was October of 2008 when my girlfriends & I planned a trip to Camiguin. I needed his day off. So I, being my usual self, emailed him for a request. Of course he agreed. But before he eagerly said yes, he was already secretly searching for my mug shot. (i dont blame him. i'm quite adorable & irresistable) And in times when he needed my day off, I would politely return the favor as well. And the rest is swap form history!

--- BJ (soon to be Sulit) Legaspi

Posted by bjlegaspi 02:36 Archived in Philippines Comments (0)

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