This is the second time I’ve seen Manila Bay sunset while at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel. But this is the first time that I did as a staying guest and with Niklas. I actually almost missed it, as I had to breastfeed Tara and pump some milk out so they have some ‘baon’ (take home) in case Mom and Yaya Annie got stuck in traffic heading home (first night away from Tara, #sepanx). But luckily, as it’s summertime already, the sun takes longer to set and we had enough time to watch its beauty together — while talking about our little family’s future. 🙂
(Staycation was such a great idea, let’s do it again! And though Sofitel creates a deep hole in the pocket (good thing it was his birthday gift to me. hehehe), it’s worth it!).
My weekends these days are spent sleeping, in an attempt to recover from the toil of long weekdays and quite recently, Friday night parties. This weekend however was a welcomed change to spending time with family–living and the dead.
It was my maternal grandfather’s birthday. Had he been alive, he would have turned 83 years old. Therefore, in true Filipino fashion, we trooped to the Manila Memorial Cemetery armed with food, drinks, candles, umbrellas, and of course, tablets and phones for photos! (That no one has uploaded yet!)
After celebrating Lolo Camilo’s day, we headed to SM Aura to check out what the hype (or bashing) was all about. After getting lost twice, we finally made it! Apart from getting two new pairs of jeans (they’re on sale!!!) at Forever 21 and some lip gloss (realizing the need to look presentable these days!), we headed over to Ikkuryu Fukuoka Ramen and indulge in some Japanese noodle goodness!
Suffice it to say, ramen is the house specialty–the centerpiece of Ikkuryu Fukuoka Ramen’s sleek long black menu. If my memory remained intact after having food here, there were about 15 types of ramen and noodle dishes you can choose from.
We had Kimchi Tonkotsu ramen (the one with reddish soup) that is quite spicy for Filipino palate (twas fine with me after my Indian curry exposure) and this other ramen with the egg which is an-egg-added version of the original Tonkotsu ramen. Both moms (ours and our cousins’) agreed that the flavor was really rich and that it’s very tasty!
We also ordered a fresh tofu salad which was a mix of cold fresh and smooth tofu on top of green lettuce. I can’t identify what sauce was used but it’s yummy, and complemented by the small tomatoes and crisp tofu flakes (I think).
We also had the original yakimeshi fried rice which was so tasty that it really had our moms thinking whether it was cooked in lechon oil or in the karaage fried chicken that we also had. With bits of pork, carrots and greens, I couldn’t agree more.
We also had something that is similar to Yyakisoba but this one is cooked in Tonkotsu soup (imagine chopsuey) and was also very savory. You should try putting it in your ramen soup too, just to savor the last few drops of the soup. This was actually for the rice as advised by the really cute paper table mat graphic but it works with the soup too!
I would say that while the price is quite steep at P380 per ramen order, on the average, the amount of serving and the taste makes up for it. And while the classic tempura and California maki favorites are unavailable, their menu offers you alternative choices that are really great partners for ramen. All in all, for the flavor and the experience, I would say that Ikkuryu Fukuoka Ramen’s value for money makes it worth a visit!
People who really know me won’t dub me as a party girl–not in a go-clubbing-all-night-every-night definition at least. But, they would tell you that whenever I do party, I make sure I party hard. And that night at Republiq was no exception.
I wasn’t really planing on going out with couchsurfers that night as I made plans with college friends. Turns out, everybody just got busy and rather than sulking about it, I accepted an invite from couchsurfing friends for what will eventually be known/called Payback Friday, the history of which I would know only later.
So, from Japanese food at Nihonbashi Tei and sake (rice wine) to enjoy it with, then to beer-induced dance-while-sitting moments and make do for the failed beer pong attempt due to the long queue of yuppies and not-so-old buddies at Cable Car, to the one helluva rocking night of dancing and drinking an amazingly-not-that-expensive beer and free pass through a Guest List (thanks Mariane!)at Republiq in Resorts World Manila, I would say that it was a Friday party night that best capped a really long week!
And yes, I danced like no one was watching. Partied like it’s the end of the world. Smiled to myself even, as I remembered a beloved dance partner and what it felt to be alive. It truly was liberating, to just feel the music and move to the rhythm–without care, without doubt, without limits.
One fine December day in 2010, we went to Star City and channeled our inner kid personas. Do you believe that there’s a kid in everyone, no matter how old we get? Well, I do! And apparently, my friends and family too!
I think that before this, the last time I went to Star City was with Jed and Lalai in May of 2010. Before this, my last Star City day was probably way back in grade school. You see, school field trips in the Philippines usually have a big chunk of the day reserved for amusement parks. For the fun of the young ones and maybe the same for their teachers who secretly want to take that roller coaster ride!
And, even in Philippine festivals, there will almost always be a “carnival” aka “perya” area set-up a month or weeks before the actual fiesta.
It’s like a small version of amusement parks or theme parks like Star City or Enchanted Kingdom in Laguna. The “perya” comes and goes once a year unlike the more permanent Star City and EK.
Of course, the rides are smaller and lesser and the shows and aesthetics are not as great in the “perya” but hey, Filipinos are known for being able to make the best out of any situation!
Apart from the thrilling rides, there are also games and sports that people can play while in Star City. You can go for basketball, gun shooting games, throw-a-hoop games, and all other sorts of games for fun and enjoyment. There’s also the lazer blaster (I loved this one!) live action shooting game to keep your blood pumping!
The amusement park tries it’s best not just to cater to the kids but to all age groups. If you can’t take the adventure rides, you can always go for the “interactive” attractions at Star City like the Pirate boat ride adventure. Maybe you’ll find Jack Sparrow or Captain Hook somewhere. Or they might find you!
If you want to relive the time of dinosaurs, you can check out the Dino Island and Museum. There’s also an attraction for the horror house (not my favorite as I get scared easily!) if you are feeling Ghost Buster-ish.
And for those who are looking forward to adrenalin rush, there’s always the Surf Dance (a major, major attraction at Star City) and the outdoor roller coaster ride (for baby steps, go for the smaller indoor version first!) which also commands a long lie of passengers!
If you’re into “driving”, you can try the famous (aka long line) bump car ride. And yes, I know you want to bump ‘em cars!
If you are looking for a more subtle choice, you can go for the water bump car. Don’t worry, the water is not that deep!
So yeah. Star City does offer each and every visitor a chance to be like Peter Pan for a day. Or, ok, to not be gender bias, Alice in Wonderland? I am not sure if comparisons are correct but what I’m trying to say is, if you are in Manila and you don’t have the time to go to Enchanted Kingdom or the money to go for Universal Studios in Singapore, why not visit Star City instead?! Let Star City give you a chance to channel the inner kid in you!