Kulinarya Kitchen Food Review

We headed for the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, Makati after work last Friday, to watch the new Spider-man movie. The movie was not until 7:30pm and we arrived early, so we had enough time to go around and look for good restaurants. We tried Kulinarya Kitchen before but I was not able to take pictures of their food so we decided to go back there again and “document” it properly.

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Posted in Food, Makati, Power Plant Mall, Restaurant Cost Rating 3, Restaurant Location, Restaurants in Malls | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Is there Rice in Salt Shakers?

I used to think that the rice in salt shakers were clumps of salt. But at some point in my childhood I was able to open one of those shakers and examine the contents. So they weren’t clumps of salt but were rice instead. Since then, I’ve always checked the salt shakers of most restaurants, even some karinderyas have them. Continue reading

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Don Henrico’s Food Review

One of the few restaurants that made an impression on me when I visited Manila for the first time, that was way back when I was still in grade school. I remember it because the buffalo wings and the blue cheese dip was so good that I wanted to eat here again.

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Posted in Food, Greenhills Shopping Center, Pasay, Restaurant Cost Rating 3, Restaurant Location, Restaurants in Malls, San Juan, SM Mall of Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cafe Mediterranean Bad Service, Worse Food

We arrived a few minutes before lunchtime at SM MOA on June 17, Father’s day (a sunday). Bad idea, as the mall was packed with families also celebrating Father’s day. Almost all the restaurants had long queues and we had to walk around the mall to find a place to eat. Happily, we found The Cafe Mediterranean with barely any customers, so we went in and I was irked when I realized the waiter was ignoring us as he was busy chatting with the cashier. It took him a couple of minutes to lead us to our seats.

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Posted in Food, Pasay, Restaurant Cost Rating 2, Restaurant Location, Restaurants in Malls, SM Mall of Asia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bigoli Food Review

Formerly known as Fazoli’s, the branch in Eastwood City Mall was one of our favorite dating places when my wife and I were still studying in college. It was my favorite because the food was good but cheap, service was great and the drinks were bottomless. We dropped by Eastwood City last weekend to attend a friend’s baby shower and decided to have dinner in Bigoli.

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Posted in Eastwood, Food, Quezon, Restaurant Cost Rating 2, Restaurant Location, Restaurants in Malls, San Juan, Trinoma | Leave a comment

Grilla Restaurant Food Review

Grilla Bar & Grill is a restaurant that serves delicious Filipino food. We love their sisig but while inside the restaurant we realized that my wife, pregnant, isn’t allowed to eat food that might have questionable ingredients and preparation techniques. Not that we don’t trust the restaurant, it’s just that sisig in itself isn’t really a healthy choice for pregnant women. So we settled for the next best thing and that is, lechon baka ;)

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Posted in Food, General, Greenhills, Restaurant Cost Rating 3, Restaurant Location, Restaurants in Malls, San Juan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo Cafe Crêpes Food Review

Tokyo Cafe is one of the many restaurants in the Mall of Asia, but it is certainly one of the few that can catch your attention with a dazzling display of mouth-watering crêpes. The perfectly shaped ice cream covered with oozing caramel or chocolate syrup caught our attention as we made our way back from the department store. Like moths drawn to a flame, my wife and I entered the restaurant without a moment’s hesitation and ordered our merienda.

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Posted in Food, General, Makati, Mandaluyong, Ortigas, Restaurant Cost Rating 2, Restaurant Location, Restaurants in Malls, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pizza Hut Food Review

Pizza Hut is one of the older pizza based restaurants in the Philippines. We ate at the SM Megamall branch because my wife had two(2) receipts to claim for the BPI credit card promo. We were pleasantly surprised to see that it was not yet converted to the dreaded “Pizza Hut Bistro” version.

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Posted in Cagayan de Oro, Food, Greenbelt 4, Iloilo, Makati, Mandaluyong, Ortigas, Parañaque, Pasay, Quezon, Restaurant Cost Rating 2, Restaurant Location, Restaurants in Malls, San Juan, SM Megamall, Sta. Rosa, Taguig | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Felix Restaurant Food Review

One of the more expensive restaurants in Greenbelt 5, we only decided to try this out because I got a voucher from a group buying site. The restaurant’s ambiance is cozy, with warm lighting and dimmed surroundings giving you that feeling of privacy, it is also facing outside towards the Greenbelt Chapel.

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Posted in Food, General, Greenbelt 5, Makati, Restaurant Cost Rating 4, Restaurant Location, Restaurants in Malls | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Singing Contests and Artist Judges

The last time I followed American Idol was the season I rooted for Carrie Underwood. I’m watching the latest season of AI regularly again and I’m just so disappointed with the judges. The problem with having artists as judges is that hold back criticisms, seemingly because they worry about their own reputation or displeasing fans once they fire criticisms. It’s not just the Idol judges. The Voice’s judges are worse! They practically never say any negative criticism even when warranted. Ever. I’m not saying they should bash the contestants, but rather give more constructive criticism that can help them grow, instead of praising oversinging/karaoke-singing/mediocre-singing/screeching. This is why shows like these need judges like Simon Cowell or Jimmy Iowine – they keep it real. Or maybe even Kara DioGuardi – I’d take her as a judge over J.Lo or Christina Aguilera anytime. In fairness to Christina, she appears to be a great mentor to her team on The Voice, but a great judge she is not.

Some writers think so too of the judge’s tendency to just praise and praise and nothing else. 

On Jimmy Iovine’s comments:

“All those comments were awesome. And all of which would have been much more meaningful had we heard them Wednesday while voting was open. Come on, “Idol.” If you’re going to st-r-r-e-t-t-ch the performance shows to the full two hours, give him the spotlight for a few minutes. At least it would interrupt the judges’ cheerleading.
And come on, Phillip Phillips. Did you not read our “Idol” etiquette column? Ignore Iovine’s advice if you want, but don’t be a jerk about it.
Ignoring him may not be wise anyway, since based on this week, he’s more in tune with what the audience at home is hearing than the judges are. J.Lo can sit there with her arms folded and a sour look on her face all she wants. If the viewers aren’t buying what she’s selling, there’s not much she can do.”

http://theclicker.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/05/11044508-american-idol-judges-refuse-to-save-deandre-brackensick?chromedomain=entertainment&lite

“Being on “Idol” means rarely having to hear a discouraging word.”
http://theclicker.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/04/11026203-american-idol-judges-think-everyone-rocks-except-elise-and-hollie

http://tvrecaps.ew.com/recap/american-idol-season-11-80s-night-gwen-stefani/

The previous season also saw criticism on the judges’ ability to judge:

“After the first nine singers had performed to near-unanimously positive feedback on “American Idol’s” Motown night on Wednesday, host Ryan Seacrest asked the gushing question, “If you’re at home, how do you vote?”
It’s hard, and not because people don’t know how to call, text or go online to support their favorites. It’s that the judges critiqued the singers as if they were scoring a high-school talent contest: Everyone was great, and the only criticism took the angle of how the singers could be even greater!
That’s where the show still misses Simon Cowell, or at least his crankiness.”
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/42242417/ns/today-entertainment/t/its-lovefest-idol-judges-motown-night/#.T36ALfAjG-o

Lastly, I believe this writer captured it all:

“…the judges on Fox’s American Idol and NBC’s The Voice hear nothing but an unbroken parade of “magical,” “amazing,” “beautiful,” “perfect,” “best-ever” singers
If every singer involved is a great “artist”, then we should all be able to name every finalist from every Idol and Voice season — a tough task, seeing as many people probably can’t name The Voice winner from last year.
if none of them can benefit from criticism and competition, then the shows really are just popularity contests
Honesty ends, however, when we get to the actual performances, which routinely consist of overwrought look-at-me screaming, with little relation to melody, lyrics, musical build or the prior coaching. Not that you’d know it from the judges, who were so eager for an encouraging word Shelton even praised a woman for “diction.”
Still, that’s better than the Idol trio of Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson, who, picking up where they left off last season, have decided that judging means limiting their criticism to song choices and that inevitable “pitchy.”
Compare that to American Idol’s post-performance criticism segment from Jimmy Iovine, who felt free to call people screechy, kitschy and just plain not good enough. But then he was watching on a television monitor. Like us.
I can think of seven judges who should watch with him.”

http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/reviews/story/2012-03-06/American-Idol-vs-The-Voice/53390468/1

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Lasik – 8 months later

I posted about my LASIK experience last year. I’d like to share how it’s going eight (8) months after I had LASIK surgery.

They’ve been monitoring my eyes on a monthly basis since then. At first I was told there were dry spots in my right eye, but it didn’t bother me so I didn’t mind. I can’t remember when I learned that there was something under the flap of the my right eye – at that time I didn’t know the official term - epithelial ingrowth. As long as it didn’t affect my vision (i.e., I could still read 20/20) they didn’t touch it. Right after surgery, I noted in my post that my right eye was a bit clearer, though probably the difference wasn’t significant, and I think it fluctuated from time to time, like my right eye would be clearer, then my left, then my right. I probably attributed it to dryness because when I was wearing contacts that would happen as well, and tearing up, or washing my face, or putting lubricant drops occasionally would clear them. I can’t remember exactly when I started noticing that my right eye was constantly not as clear as my left eye, though I heard from a friend and my dad that usually their one eye is also clearer than the other so I thought it was normal and didn’t think much of it despite my OC-ness.  I thought since my right eye was my dominant eye, I used it more often, thus it was a bit blurrier than my left.

During my February post-op check-up at American Eye, which would mark my 7th month, they didn’t run me through the usual routine tests (manifest refraction via computer, check eye pressure, take picture, vision test for manual refraction) and led me straight to the slit-lamp eye exam to check on the ingrowth. So I didn’t get to verify if my vision had worsened already at that time.  Come March check-up, I could no longer clearly read the 20/20 line with my right eye, probably even the 25/25 line also. Under the slit-lamp, the doctors also noticed that the ingrowth had grown since the last time. This also validated the blurriness I had been experiencing with my right eye, it wasn’t my imagination after all. What’s weird is that I was charged a Php800 fee for this routine check-up – I thought all the post-op check-ups were supposed to be free.

Later on internet research would tell me that patients who’d undergone enhancement surgery (where the flap is re-opened) were in higher risk of developing epithelial ingrowth, and one of its effects would be to induce astigmatism – that’s exactly what happened to me. I had enhancement surgery the day after my original LASIK surgery because the laser hung right in the middle of doing my right eye that it didn’t get to correct my grade completely. Thus I had to go back the next day for them to re-open the flap and continue the laser correction. Yes it was a hassle, but I didn’t blame them for the technical problem because it was beyond their control. Little did I know it would lead to another complication during healing. I was a statistic then, when the laser hung during my operation. I continue to be a statistic now, with the epithelial ingrowth inducing astigmatism.

Since the ingrowth had already affected my vision, they decided to have it removed. They told me it was a simple procedure to open the flap and wash away the growing epithelial cells. My operation was scheduled the following Friday.

I came back March 30. I went through the routine check-ups and vision test. Only when I asked what was with my right eye did I learn that I had an astigmatism of 100 on my right eye. Obviously this was new, because I only had myopia (nearsightedness) before my LASIK surgery – I never had astigmatism. I now had an explanation for my degraded right eye vision. Though my procedure was supposedly quick, I had to wait a long time since there were a lot of patients in line for LASIK.

While on the O.R. waiting area, two interns who were observing wanted to see my eye, since I was obviously a rare case for them. I didn’t mind – whatever I could do to aid their learning. They only had one question which I had the perfect answer for – did it affect my vision? When I was finally brought to the operating room and lay down on the bed, I was asked if a picture was already taken since they wanted to submit it somewhere since I was an isolated special case for them. Since we were not sure a recent pic was taken, I said I was ok if they wanted to take a pic first, so they put me out of the surgical attire and I waited to have a pic of my right eye taken. Since they operated on someone else while I was out, I had to wait another 20 minutes before it was my turn again.

Back on the operating table, I was prepared for the pain/pressure that I remember associated with the speculum prying and keeping my eye open. I was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t hurt as much this time. I saw the vision changes when the opened the flap, wash away the cells, and close the flap. There was only slight pain when an assistant was asked to press down on the lower right side of my right eye during the wash. After the procedure my right eye became blurry, which was normal post-op. After the doctor checked my eye under slit lamp, I was cleared to go.

The assistant wanted to give me a transparent cover for my right eye for protection; I asked for the transparent goggles instead so I could wear them as soon as I walked out of the O.R. and through the mall without looking too weird. She agreed and kept the transparent eye cover in a pouch (for use that night), together with the prescription for eye drops, and handed over to me. My eye wasn’t also as sensitive to light as it used to be after the original LASIK procedure. Also didn’t feel any pain afterwards, just like after my LASIK. We bought the prescribed eye drops which turned out to be two-in-one antibacterial and anti-inflammatory drops called Vigadexa. I remember being given two separate eye drops for antibacterial and anti-inflammatory after LASIK for free.

The following day I came back for a post-op check-up (I would have complained this time if I was asked to pay a fee again, luckily I wasn’t). During the computer tests I asked how my right eye was and was informed that the structure was ok but my vision was still to be checked. Under the slit-lamp eye check they asked how my vision was and I honestly replied it was still a bit blurry. I was told it was normal to still be hazy since my eye was still swelling a bit from the procedure. I remember not being able to read the smaller letters, but when asked to read through a small hole I was able to read the letters, I just don’t know if it was up to the 20/20 line. They usually don’t share the results unless you ask. I would also learn later that my records would reflect I already had 20/20 vision, but my actual experience was actually not that clear of a vision on my right eye so I don’t know how they came up with the diagnosis of 20/20.

So they following week I came back for what was supposed to be 1-week post-op but since it was holy week that weekend I was asked to come earlier on Tuesday instead so just a few days after my first post-op check-up. I went through the usual computer checks and asked if I still had the astigmatism and was told not anymore. They said the induced astigmatism was gone, because it was artificially caused by the epithelial ingrowth. I remember making a mistake with one letter on the 20/20 with my good left eye (I mentioned C instead of S). And on my right eye it was still blurry though I still made an effort to read – I think I had to squint. I probably got two or three letters with much effort, obviously that wouldn’t be the case for a normal 20/20 vision. I experienced that for a period of time after my LASIK surgery so I should know – my vision was much better then. The optometrist tried to put a grade of -0.25 on both eyes (including my supposedly good left eye because I made a mistake while reading with the left) and the letters became clear and crisp, significantly so for my right eye that used to have induced astigatism. When the opthalmologist checked up on my eye under slit-lamp, I asked if it was expected for my 20/20 vision to be restored on my right eye and was told that it already was 20/20. But I knew deep inside that my vision was still blurry on my right eye. Plus during the vision test a -0.25 grade was tested and only then was my vision clear. So next time I go for a check-up I will not try to exert much effort in reading the small letters anymore if they were unclear, because a 20/20 vision shouldn’t have difficulties reading the letters and shouldn’t have the blurry vision. Hopefully this time they won’t insist my vision was perfect when it wasn’t. I would accept it if they told me it was still going to get better in time, I just wanted to know the real case with my eyes and not be told it was 20/20 when my actual experience says otherwise. I’m coming back for another routine post-op check-up in a few weeks. Will keep you updated how the succeeding check-ups go.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m thankful that American Eye took care of checking up on my eyes regularly after my LASIK surgery and addressed the epithelial ingrowth complication that followed. It’s reassuring to have these regular post-op check-ups so they could detect if anything was wrong early on and I’m glad regular post-op check-ups are part of the package. I’m thankful that they closely monitored the ingrowth complication during these check-ups. I’m still happy that I don’t have to use eyeglasses or contacts anymore. I just want sort of a full disclosure on the state of my eyes. And it’s not just me, a friend also experienced the same thing when after LASIK his left eye was blurry even with the bigger letters even after trying to put (+) or (-) grade and only after being asked to read through a small hole did it became clearer. He was told everything still looked good. Eventually after probing he was told he had a bit of farsightedness. He used to be nearsighted before LASIK. I hope mine and my friend’s eyes get better in time. Good luck to us!

Anyway, for a full account of my previous LASIK operation please check out http://www.watimbox.com/2011/lasik-experience-at-the-american-eye-center/

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Added: May 23, 2012

I went back for a check-up last April 28, around a month since the ingrowth was washed away. This time the follow-up consultation was not free anymore, it cost me Php250 for the routine vision checks by American Eye staff, and Php550 for the specialist’s professional fee. I still had to exert effort to read with my right eye, but I was able to read the 20/20 line this time with effort, and they concluded my vision was OK. The specialist then took a quick look at my eyes under the light, took her less than a minute to conclude it was OK. Again, that less-than-a-minute check cost me Php550 but I’m just relieved it was fine, didn’t get worse. I’m due to another check-up in two months, that will be around July, and I’m expecting to pay another Php800. But hey, if it’s for my eyes, good eyesight is priceless.

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Philippines Freedom of Information Act Killed by Congress… Again

Although the Philippines’ Bill of Rights recognizes the people’s right to information on matters of public concern. There is no legislation that sets the procedures for access and disclosure of information and provides penalties for officials who fail to release the requested information, without justifiable reasons. Continue reading

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Women’s Sex Strike Brings Peace in the Philippines

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), women in 2 Mindanao villages ended the armed conflict by refusing to have sex with their husbands unless they stopped laid down their weapons. Continue reading

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