Courtyard@453

Braved the rain to go to the newest place to hang out in San Juan.

Courtyard@453 is located at 453 P. Guevarra Street San Juan, hence the name with the 453.

And unlike other food parks in the metro, this courtyard has parking spaces and the actual dining area is air conditioned.

Inside, a bright and airy space will greet you. 5 restaurants that serve 5 different cuisines surround the place.

Right smack in the middle is the bar. They serve everything from juices to shakes to beers! They also have ice cream for dessert and coffee to cap off your meal.

Since our kids love Japanese, we went straight to the Japanese resto. Ebi 10 is famous for its tempuras and crazy rolls. They were just named by Spot.ph as having the best ebi tempura in Metro Manila.

My minnies got hold of the menu and ordered their own ebi tempura. For the adults, we tried the Crispy Torched Salmon Skin Maki.

We ordered Gyoza as we usually do when going Japanese. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

For sure, kids loved the tempura. Gone in 50 seconds!🍤🍤🍤🍤

As for me, I love the Crispy Torched Salmon Skin Maki that we ordered, very very tasty and really crunchy!

Moving on to the next resto, Tra Vinh Express is the newest baby of Tra Vinh Philippines, an Australian born Vietnamese restaurant serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine that has already carved its way into the hearts of Manila’s foodies.

Not Vietnamese without the Dry Noodles and the Fresh Shrimp Spring Rolls.

The dry noodles is good.

The fresh shrimp spring rolls could do better with a tastier peanut sauce.

Since it was a rainy and gloomy day, we decided to have some hot noodles. We ordered from The Silver Dragon which serves Chinese Cuisine.

The kids love the Wonton Dumplings that comes with the Noodle soup.

Kids also loved the Xiao Long Bao.

Hope they improve the Fresh Lumpia though.

There’s 2 more restaurants to try but we were so full already!

Pops ‘n Pebs serve Filipino dishes.

LIF, on the other hand, serves American Cuisine. If you are up for some burgers and fries, or maybe pasta and pizza, you should try this one out.

This slider looks good and this might be my order on my next visit!

To add, their restroom’s very very clean and smells good too!

They also have another washing area outside.

So there! Stop reading and see for yourself! DEFINITELY a must visit!

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Taiwandering – Pre-flight!

A spur of the moment trip for me and my hubby – couple time!😍😍😍

We only have the weekend so first thing on my list is to get the best available flight, earliest flight in and latest flight out. Searching through the many flights available, I learned that Cebu Pacific only has morning flights on Sundays, same goes with Air Asia and Philippine Airlines, only Eva Airways has evening flights. This made me decide to get one way tickets to be able to maximize the 3 days of Taiwandering.

FLIGHT ✈✈✈

Booked a red eye flight through Cebu Pacific, 10:55pm flight on a Thursday, arrival will be 1:20am the following day. This way, we will have the whole Friday to roam around and also the whole of Saturday. As for Sunday, I booked the latest flight out through Eva Airways at 8:30pm so we still have at least a few more hours to wander.

The Cebu Pacific one way flight from Manila to Taipei cost us Php 5,398.20 for 2 persons. This includes a 15 kg baggage allowance for each passenger. I booked this through Traveloka which gave me a Php 600.00 savings. If you book this through the Cebu Pacific website, it will cost more.

Our flight going home, Taipei to Manila, is booked through Hutchgo.com. Eva Airways is the only carrier that is offering an 8:30pm flight, cost me $191.07 (converted at 53.50) or about Php 10,168.75 for 2 persons. This includes a 30 kg baggage allowance for each passenger.

If you add our plane tickets, it sets back each passenger around Php 7,783.48. And since we still have to pay the travel tax of Php 1,620.00. Total ticket per passenger is Php 9,403.48.

I think we still got a good deal considering we have 60 kgs of baggage allowance (more shopping space for us) on our flight home and more or less half a day to enjoy Taiwan before heading back.

VISA

There is still no need to apply for a Taiwan Visa. Filipino passport holders are free to travel to Taiwan and stay for a maximum of 14 days. You have until July 31, 2019 to enjoy this privilege!

Savings of about Php 2,644.00 for each passenger! Yes! Taiwan Visa is more expensive than Japan Visa!

HOTEL 🏢🏢🏢

I booked our hotel through Traveloka, but this time, I used my husband’s account. This is to be able to apply another discount.😀

Since we will be out most of the day, I just chose the simplest room available. The location also plays a big factor in our decision. This hotel is located in Ximending. One of the most popular street / night markets in Taiwan.

Tomorrow Hotel is a comfortable 3 star hotel located near a railway station. It comprises of the basics a tourist will be needing in a hotel.

Tomorrow Hotel Review

I got this Standard Double Room for only Php 4,961.48! For a 3 days & 2 nights stay and with breakfast, this is surely a steal, even without windows! 😋

WIFI

In this day and age, people are connected in every possible way. For me and my husband, this is important so that we could get in touch with our family anytime of the day even if we are out in another country.

Good thing we found rental of portable wifi on Kkday. For only Php 138.00 a day, both of us can connect on this portable wifi rented out by Unite Traveler. We could have access to unlimited 4G connection throughout our stay.

Portable WIFI Rental by Kkday

Best part is, the booth is 24 hours. Even if we arrive in the wee hours, we could still get our device and start connecting. It is also convenient to return the device, just go to their booth near departure and drop it off.

So far, so good. Ready to conquer and wander Taiwan!

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Experiencing Canada Day

What a timing! Last July 1, 2018, we were able to experience Canada Day. One of the celebrations were at Canada Place at the Port of Vancouver. So many people in Canada shirts, hats, flags, headbands and what nots joined in the celebration.

There’s a lot going on and everyone was feeling happy and proud that day.

What is Canada Day though? According to Wikipedia, it is the National Day of Canada. This is the day Canadians celebrate the day of their full independence. It is the birthday of Canada. It is celebrated annually on July 1st.

Celebrations were all over the country! Parades, live bands, fireworks and other activities mark Canada Day!

Here are some of our pictures during the festivities at Canada Place.

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12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub

A night out with my co-mommies from my kids’ school! Well, you could say that the Titas are out tonight!

Decided to book a reservation with 12 Monkeys Music Hall and Pub at El Pueblo! Reminiscing about those days when I used to party here in El Pueblo!

Turned out we made the right decision to come here!

Side A Band will be playing. Though no Joey G anymore. I think there’s only 2 old members left.

To save our very precious time, dinner is also at 12 Monkeys. Arrived 8pm and there’s no one yet. We got the whole place to ourselves.

And even though I had a reservation, I was surprised that it is only in a regular high table and chair kind of table. We asked how much would we have to spend to be able to sit on the comfy couch and we were told it’s 6k. We figured it would just be enough since we will be spending for dinner, pica pica and drinks. So we got the comfy couch and we were given the front row couch! 😄

Food price is ok. Leaning on the expensive side at about 350 to 380 per plated meal.

Check out the menu. ↓↓↓

Salad – √

Spam Fries – x should have been called breading breading breading fries!

Bagnet – √

Hickory Pork Belly – √ for the taste and for the rice

(though very rich in fats)

Vigan Porkchop – √ but could have made it in a bigger slice

After dinner, just before the show started. We ordered a bottle of wine, Martini Rose. One of the best Martinis I tasted. Again, brings back great memories from high school.

Nachos tasted better without the sauce. Just the chips.

After emptying the bottle of wine, I am now having my staple drink from way back, Frozen Strawberry Margarita! My friends had Classic Margaritas and a Classic Martini!

And of course, what we came here for, live band music from Side A!

Really fun night. Chika during dinner. Music while band is playing. More chika in the car on our way home after Side A’s final set. 😂😄😍

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What to do in Seoul: Daiso Shopping!

8 floors of Daiso! Can you just imagine???

Well, you will find this gem of a treasure hunt at Myeongdong in Seoul.

Running out of time, we decided to just spend half an hour in this massive building. Of course, there was a little bit of overtime! 😂

Just a go through though, here’s a floor by floor rundown of the 8 floors! And as a tip, you always start at the top floor. Take the elevator up then take the stairs going down. Makes sense?

And of course, since I was hurrying up to pay for my purchases, I forgot to take picture of the ground floor! Forgive me since I’m on overtime already!

So many cute stuff to buy! But my hands were tied as my luggage can’t handle it anymore! Blame it to Korean Air which only allows 23 kgs of check in baggage! 🙄

Daiso also offers Tax Refund but you have to do it at the airport. You have to ask for a receipt and your purchase must be KRW 30,000.00!

More of my Korean Trip soon!

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Namsanmai – Our Korea Airbnb Story

There are a lot of places for rent when you check Airbnb. It’s almost a matter of luck if you will get a good host and if the place you are booking will be just what the host says.

As for our Korea Trip this year, we had the best of both worlds as our host is very accommodating and helpful. He always answers my query. His place is just what he posted and everything worked out fine the whole time we were there.

Our group consisted of 12 people and the house fits us perfectly.

The house is located in Namsan and super close to Namsan Cable Car Station, more or less a 5 minute walk uphill.

On the other hand, to go to Myeongdong Shopping Area, you walk downhill for a few minutes and you will reach 2 of the exits of Myeongdong Station. When you go underground, there is an underground shopping area and when you cross it and go up the exit, you are already at Myeongdong Street. This is where the happening is at! More on Myeongdong in my next blog.

Back to the house, this is what I saw that caught my attention. This is the house’s floor plan.

So you see, there are 3 rooms. Room number 1 has 3 single beds that can sleep 3 people. Room number 2 has a double deck with pull out bed. So another 3 people could sleep. Room number 3 has 2 double queen beds which could sleep 4 people.

The house also has 3 toilet and baths. And heated water which definitely helped as the weather is so cold in the morning.

To give you a glimpse of the house, take a look.

The gate looked like it was taken straight from a Korean film.

Houses and condos in Korea have digital locks. You won’t be needing a key, the owner of the house (in this case our host) just gave us the password and that is what we used for the whole duration of the trip.

The kitchen / laundry area / dining area.

The living room has a comfortable couch. A big flat screen TV and WIFI!

Room number 1

Room number 2

Room number 3

The host also gave us supply of water and some chips. So nice right?

He also booked us our airport transfers to and fro the airport.

I loved our stay in his house and that I am recommending it to all my friends.

Oh, one important thing! The house is a tough walk uphill especially when you have shopped for a lot of things! So ready your legs! I do have a bright idea though, you could take the bus and alight at the bus station in Namsan Cable Car, which is on top. Then just walk downhill to your house.

Some more pictures of the house. ⬇⬇⬇

Pictures from Namsanmai’s Facebook Account

Also, the host was so nice to let us check in directly from the airport. We arrived in his house around 7am. Check in was supposedly 2pm.

The house has all the things you will need – from the toiletries to the towels to the glasses, cups and cooking pans – it is all there!

We were all really happy with our stay! 🙌👌👍👏

Go and check out Namsanmai at Airbnb!

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Blackbird at the Nielson Tower

Celebrated a dear friend’s birthday at the Blackbird. I would say it’s a bit expensive but it’s definitely worth a visit. The interior is very classy but a warm atmosphere can be felt.

It has a very distinguished history as it was an old airport before. In between 1937 to 1947, people used to fly through this airport. The Ayalas maintained the original structure of the building and it now houses Filipinas Heritage Library which serves as a resource center and the Blackbird for diners who want a different scene and feel.

The ladies are out tonight. Me and my good friends had fun that night.

The hallway going to the main dining area.

The bar by the door.

Lounge area.

Beautiful flowers greet you as you enter the dining area.

The Menu.

For our soup, we had Seafood Bisque, Fennel and Prawns.

As appetizer, we had Prawn Scotch Egg, Betel Leaves and Coconut Chili Sambal. Should be eaten as a whole to fully taste its true flavor.

Our Main Dish.

Grilled Tiger Prawns, Nori and Wasabi Butter, and Spring Onion Roti

Lamb Cutlets, Rosemary and Pepper Dry Rub, Potato Gratin, Fine Beans and Chorizo Piperade

Dry Rub Wagyu Hanger Steak, Mustard Butter and Twice Cooked Chips

That night was a very beautiful night. Good place, great company and fantastic food is always the best combination!

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