Monday, April 30, 2007


We are now moving towards the tail end of summer. Pretty soon the rains of La Niña would be upon us. A lot of bloggers are, I am sure, already collecting memory cardsful of photos, most especially that of the recently concluded ALIWAN Fiesta at the CCP Complex. I didn't because I couldn't. Yeah, one of those days I wish I had two bodies (or more!).

For my next series, I will be posting some photos from my Bacolod-Iloilo trip next time (enough na muna of Cagayan de Oro! He he!). These are not new photos, but I will be moving them here from my personal blog for your enjoyment. By the way, I was feeling generous lately so I gave away my phone to Evil Cab Drivers Anonymous. If you wish to have my number, please let me know so I can rebuild my phonebook (Email me at Thanks so much!

For now, where to go next? What else am I missing? Any suggestions?


There is no way you would miss it. TOWN. stands out from among the row of restaurants in Lim Ket Kai Mall in this charming city by the bay. As I am never the type to miss out on something new (and the place looked so clean and inviting from afar!) so we decided to check this place out last April. During my 3rd and last visit to the city this year, we decided to visit again. Here's another resto report. Enjoy!

The 2-storey TOWN restaurant. Note tarpaulin sign. It just opened last month.

I love anything capiz or capiz-like and this is one heck of a unique chandelier. The modern treatment of this classic Asian decor makes for an awesome piece of art. This is the first thing you'd notice as you enter the 2/F foyer.

Nice tall backrest for this area of the restaurant. Provides a calming, relaxing attitude.

From the first time I visited TOWN. until this second visit, I knew immediately that the weakness of this restaurant is their salad selection. Somebody got too creative and the results were shockingly blah. The orange / mango sauce for this particular salad was too artifical. A zesty light vinaigrette would do fine, really. Relax, guys, nothing wrong with just making available the classic ones.

Chicken in green curry. Safe choice for first timers but a winner just the same. Sorry. I had too much light. No flash fired.

Lunch is served. It's beef in very tasty brown sauce. One of TOWN's bestsellers for its mind-blowing meeting of flavors and the tenderness of the meat. Can't recall the name as I lost all information when I lost my phone last week. Next time. Anyway, the prices are really affordable.
A view of the foyer and bar. The staff are busy watching the Pacquiao-Solis fight to even mind me. It's a slow Sunday after all. TOWN had a soft opening in late March or early April and I had a chance to dine there with a lady friend. The food took forever to arrive so the management decided that it was on the house, and said sorry for the trouble (there was only 1 chef serving a place full of curious diners! Tsk, tsk). Anyway, we promised to come back and this visit is that promise fulfilled. The lady staffers recognized us immediately and were very prompt in their service.
This new fad among architects has been around for a long time and has recently become a craze in many Philippine projects. Why, even Mcdonald's has it! This is to help control the entry of light into buildings. Instead of just plain glass, horizontal elements are also provided to cut sunshine into smaller rays thus providing adequate lighting but not making establishments take in too much heat. Saves on light fixtures during the day, definitely but not overworking the airconditioning units.

A mask representing one of the tribes in Bukidnon. It's a toss between the Manobos or the Talaandigs. I will tend to lean towards the former, although both tribes do sport this headdress. There's a dance among Manobos where an older woman protects the younger ladies from men (who represent hawks) which eventually got killed by the hunters (in my Xavier University Dance Troupe days, I was one of those hunters, he he!). The women wear this headdress because they are supposed to represent chickens being attacked by hawks. You all must see it performed. Fantastic and moving.

Artist Enrico Lluch provided these conversation pieces - terra cotta masks representing the many tribal communities of Mindanao. If I am not mistaken, the 2nd and 3rd masks are representations of Himologan natives. Lluch is a well-known artist in these parts. He has exhibited at the Philippine Center in New York. He also writes plays / satires for the ORO SABADO GROUP, a local theatre company.

The restaurant is located at the Rosario Arcade of the Lim Ket Kai Mall in Lapasan. So many things have changed since I left 7 years ago!

TOWN has got lots of wood elements which is good because this adds contrast to what can be plain white walls and foyer flooring. Wood also adds warmth and volume.

I think these should do well if they get water often or else...

Lluch's masks line the length of the dining area. Very nice touch, don't you think?
Partners in crime. Thanks so much to my former classmates-now friends in CDO, Drs. Grace and Cherryl! See you again in April 2008, ladies!

Friday, April 20, 2007


I spent a part of the Semana Santa in Cagayan de Oro. Here, the blessing of the palms was held outside the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in Xavier University, my Alma Mater. The latin inscription means, "You are most beautiful, Mary." It was great to be here.


How many more months before we finally say goodbye to what was then Southeast Asia's most modern airport?


Had the chance to finally visit the Palace for the very first time without having to join a walking tour. This was courtesy of the Presidential Commission on Values Formation which was having an activity here at the Malacañan Museum grounds. Next time, I wish to join Ivan Mandy's Palace Tour so i can get in. I doubt it if they allow photos to be taken when inside (you know how paranoid people can be these days) but suffice to say that I was awestruck to be here, even if I was only able to stay for an hour or so.

Until the next visit then! I hope to capture something more substantial. For now, these will suffice.

Is that the same balcony from which the Marcoses made their final appearance? Just asking. Nice detailing here. An American eagle over the escudo of Spanish Manila. Were it not for the capiz windows, the building wouldn't even look like it belonged to an Asian country.

Detail. The logo of the Republic.

Museum staff.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


You'd know quirky when you see this place. There's just something so surreal about the concept of CHAIKOFI, one of the first restaurants to open here at SM Mall of Asia. An Filipino original concept with a European twist, CHAIKOFI owes its character from having Filipino and Dutch owners.

Look Ma, flying kettles! The unsual shape of the couches add to the flair.
Nice foodshots on the menu. Very inviting.
A nice touch by every table. Sadly, it's plastic.

Threesome coolsome. Don't know what soup to order? Try this order of Soup Sampler (Php 85). There are 3 demitasse cups of mushroom, pumpkin and tomato soups.
The usual salad. Nothing mind blowing.
This sandwich (Php 95) is filled with kani strips with wasabi mayo with oregano and rosemary.

My chicken was fried with green tea (Php 175) although honestly I don't taste the difference.

Overall, the service was ho-hum (the crew made sure they were nowhere in sight) and the food was nothing extraordinary. Was it the place that made for sensory overload? Or was it the '90s song Bring It Back that made for a groovey time here? Maybe. Too bad the restaurant is now closed, hah! I wouldn't want to venture a guess as to why this happened. Oh well, until our next TIKIM adventure!!!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Looks like Baguio from where you are sitting? No way (Me? Go to Baguio? I thank you! *bow*). Not when everyone else is up there these days. Or not. Anyway, this was my 2nd time to come home to Cagayan de Oro within a month's time. Yeah, you can say na ginawa ko lang Quiapo ang CDO, but I had so many things to attend to - pay real estate taxes, clean out the house there for the next couple who are renting (see similar entry at Radioactive Adobo) and meet up with Mom's friends to say thank you.

On my second visit, I brought along my cousin (who just graduated from High School) and my Aunt (my Mom's sis). This will be their first time in this Bay City. Another cousin, Ken from Cebu, joined us.

Naturally, when in Mindanao, the best places to go to would be ecotourism attractions (do you know that hardly anybody goes to the SM Mall here? Buti nga sa kanila!). One of them older destinations would be this place - the Gardens of Malasag Ecotourism Village in Cugman.

I chose to go here because first, it's just 30 minutes away from the house. My house's front door opens to the same Cugman hills this place is on so you can imagine how near it is. Second, I want to see if it continues to be worth visiting because there's a tendency for the Philippine Tourism Authority, which manages this village, to leave things to survive on their own.

And I wasn't wrong.

At the main entrance with Mac and A. Loi. Me fat! (but i'm sure you've already noticed that).

To your right is the ecotrail but this ends in a dead, uh, end. To the left leads you to the Hiligaynon Restocafe (formerly the Village's Museum) and other attractions (or whatever is left of them anyway). The saddest part in coming here is this: it's almost a dead place. Hardly any visitors, especially now that it's summer. It's very windy here and it could be a great place for picnics, rolling on the grass, etc. Also, the tribal community is gone. They probably couldn't endure the boredom and went home. Before, in its heydey, you can visit tribal homes and there are indigenous people who will welcome you and perform dances, weave, etc. Then again, that already sounds like exploitation-in-the-name-of-tourism, right? *sigh*

What's sad about this place are the state of the animals. Maybe they should just let them go.

The Village's version of the hanging bridge. It was fun as it lasted. My first time! There's a better hanging bridge at the Makahambus Cave complex. For those who love heights, you can visit Bukidnon for the canopy walk at the Mount Kitanglad National Park.

Misery loves company. 2 deers & chickens. Weird, huh?

Yeah, I know you have noticed them. Grrr....

Beautiful, 'no? I see this all the time in Dangwa in Sampaloc, Manila but this is the first time I saw it in its actual plant setting.

A towering Eucalyptus deglupta. Lovely tree.

A Phaelenopsis. My favorite orchid.

A staghorn! Isn't it fantastic?!
My cousins at the Maranaw house.
Tourists can rent cottages here for overnight stays. It costs around a thousand bucks per cottage. It is fully airconditioned and has a mind-blowing view of the Macajalar Bay.
Pinoy tradition. The age-old tradition of removing the slippers or shoes when entering a home came from our indigineous peoples. This is a sign of respect for the residents of the house, especially if they have a high standing in society (i.e. village chief, etc.).

That's Macajalar Bay. On a clear day, you can see the island of Camiguin. From these photos, you can also see the cannery of Del Monte Corporation (quick, check that pineapple juice can and see where it was canned!), formerly known in these parts as Philippine Packing Corporation. Older residents still refer to Del Monte as "Packing".
At the Hiligaynon Restocafe, they maintain plots planted to vegetables. They get their supplies from here. At least you know it's fresh and crisp.
Formerly the Museum, it is now the Hiligaynon Restocafe. What happened to the exhibits?!

The voyager palm is also the village's logo.
No idea what they call these umbrellas, but they reflect the colors of the rainbow which is called balangaw in Hiligaynon (spoken in Antique and parts of Iloilo).
To go up and back from the Village, you have to ride one of these - the habal habal! This is very common in many places in Mindanao (and in Visayas too) because not many have their own vehicles and motorcycles are the best way to access faraway villages. In some areas, one motorcyle can seat 5 people - 4 passengers and the driver (who is standing up, no kidding!). For this trip, we paid Php 15 / person / trip. You can text the driver if you wish to be fetched.

Going back to the city on the habal habal. Wheee!

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