Sunday, March 27, 2016

6 Reasons Why You Should Get a Robinsons Malls VIP Card

Robinsons Malls has recently re-branded its now defunct Privilege Card, and calls it the VIP Card -- a name very apt for its very important customers. I've been a regular goer of Robinsons Malls to attend Victory church service and process my government-related transactions. Getting my own Robinsons Malls VIP Card just recently couldn't be any happier. Here are six reasons why. 

1. More discounts at shopping and dining establishments. I can't remember as much brands that participated in the old privilege card. Now, it's good to know that some of the brands I frequent like KFC, Max’s, Pizza Hut, Italiannis, Adidas, Converse, Lacoste, Nike Forum, etc. have joined in the program. Aside from that, the likes of Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Handyman and True Value are also participating in the program.

2. Free jumbo popcorn at Robinsons Movieworld. Who doesn't love eating popcorn when watching a movie? I'm glad that Robinsons Movieworld will be sponsoring my jumbo popcorn every time I buy two cinema tickets and present my VIP Card. That's a savings of Php150 or more! And, since I frequent Robinsons Galleria, I also get to use the Express Lane when purchasing my tickets. Yay!

3. Free use of Pay Toilet. Are you like me who's stingy, not wanting to shell out Php10 to use a pay CR lounge? Haha. This is such a blessing to us! Now, I can do my number one or two in clean, comfortable pay lounges for free, thanks to the Robinsons Malls VIP Card.


4. Free use of mobile phone charging stations. Mobile phone battery is now a necessity to live by while we're out in the mall. I'm sure you'll agree with me, especially when emergency strikes, or when, uhh, you're about to meet someone you've met on Tinder and your battery suddenly runs out. When this happens, simply go to the mall's customer service counter and charge your mobile phone for free!

5. Simple joys on your birthday. Robinsons Malls knows that delighting the customers, no matter how simple it may be, is key to keeping them loyal. With the VIP Card, we'd get a personalized birthday greeting via text, and redeem free giant sundae cone from Ministop.

6. Notifications for special deals and perks for sale events. By being a VIP cardholder, Robinsons Malls will alert us about special deals and sale events of participating brands and malls. What's more, we'd get reserved seats to mall concerts and activities as well.

Ready to get your very own Robinsons Malls VIP Card? Just visit any nearby Robinsons Malls and get your FREE card with a minimum accumulated purchase. To see the list of participating brands and their corresponding perks and privileges, click here.

Monday, February 29, 2016

This Can Be Your 6D/5N Seoul Itinerary!

So are you about to hop on the plane to Seoul, South Korea, but you still don't have an organized itinerary? Don't fret! I'm sharing my itinerary with you, hoping that you'd find it helpful. Depending on your preference, you can opt to follow it as it is or mix and match them.


Before I continue, please note that the schedule below took the following conditions into play:
  1. This isn't my first time to go to Seoul. I already had my taste of the Korean village and temples, so I'm skipping those this time around.
  2. I had to consider the Seollal holiday. It's Korea's biggest holiday, a la New Year, so several establishments were announced to be closed. Therefore, I planned my out-of-Seoul tours on those days.
  3. I want it to be chillax. Chill. Relax. I don't like very tight schedules, so I can relax and enjoy the beauty of Korea.
And so let's jump right to my itinerary...

February 04, 2016 (Thursday)

03:00 PM - Flight from Manila to Incheon International Airport via Cebu Pacific

09:00 PM - Arrival at Incheon Internationa Airport, South Korea

10:00 PM - Withdraw money from ATM (read this) and dinner at Bong Ju inside the airport. They are known for their congee and bibimbap. Note that most restaurants close at 10PM, but this one's until 11PM)

11:00 PM - Travel to Myeongdong via subway, bus or taxi

12:00 AM - Check-in at Metro Hotel Myeongdong

February 05, 2016 (Friday)

08:00 AM - Breakfast

09:00 AM - Trickeye Museum and Love Museum at Hongdae (Board at Euljiro 1-ga station, get off at Line #2 Hongik Univ. Station Exit 9, walk straight about 151m. Cross the first traffic light towards SPAO and walk towards Hongik University on the left. Make a right turn at Tony Moly corner and walk into the alley straight 105m until you reach the museum.)

12:00 PM - Lunch at Myeongdong Kyoja back in the Myeongdong area. They are famous for their Kalguksu (handmade noodles)

02:00 PM - Watch the NANTA Cooking Show at the NANTA Myeongdong Theater

04:00 PM - Free time to roam around Myeongdong

06:00 PM - Drop by Lotte Plaza and Lotte Young Plaza, which are walking distance from Myeongdong street

07:00 PM - Dinner

February 06, 2016 (Saturday)

09:00 AM - Breakfast

10:00 AM - Visit the Kyobo Bookstore Jongno, Korea's largest chain of bookstore to check out international books

12:00 PM - Walk towards Insadong from Kyobo Bookstore for lunch, then stroll around the alley to see traditional goods, paintings, and other art-related items.

06:00 PM - Go to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza to see the cutting-edge modern multicultural facilities. The DDP is like a huge donut-shaped architecture with different sections. Visit the Design Lab for artsy-fartsy items for sale.

07:00 PM - Dinner (option to eat street foods from Myeongdong)

08:00 PM - Stroll around Myeongdong for skin care products, food, and apparels

February 07, 2016 (Sunday)

07:00 AM - Breakfast

08:00 AM - Pick-up from hotel en route to Yongpyong Ski Resort, around 3 hours away from Seoul. Tour was booked from Klook.com (read more)

10:30 AM - Arrival at the ski rental place to get footwear, clothes, and head gears

11:00 AM - Arrival at the Yongpyong Ski Resort, the resort with the highest slope. Once settled, learn basic ski lessons from tour guide, included in the package. Ski on your own.

12:00 PM - Lunch

01:00 PM - Take the Ski Lift to go to the top of the mountain, which is more than 1,250m above sea level. Get tons of photos and enjoy the snow. One way takes about 30-minutes each.

03:00 PM - Depart Yongpyong Ski Resort to go back to the city.

06:00 PM - Dinner, then rest

February 08, 2016 (Monday)

07:00 AM - Breakfast

08:00 AM - Pick-up from hotel en route to Nami Island, which is about 2 hours away from Seoul. Tour was booked from Klook.com (read more)

10:00 AM - Arrival at the Nami Island port to ride a 5-minutes long ferry to the other side. Take a lot of photos. Find the right locations and angles to avoid noise in your background

12:00 PM - Lunch

01:00 PM - Travel to Petit France, a French-inspired tourist spot with lots of photo opp areas and interesting locations where Koreanovelas were shot

02:30 PM - Depart Petit France to go back to the city.

04:30 PM - Drop by the Ginseng Center or Duty Free or COEX Mall, the largest mall in Seoul for tea tasting or shopping

07:00 PM - Dinner, then rest

February 09, 2016 (Tuesday)

11:00 AM - Wake up late and check out from the the hotel, then leave your luggage in the hotel lobby.

12:00 PM - Lunch

01:30 PM - Visit the N Seoul Tower (Board at Euljiro 1-ga station, transfer to Line#1 at City Hall station, get off at Seoul Station exit 9, then ride the Namsan Sunhwan Shuttle Bus No. 3)

04:00 PM - Ride back to Metro Hotel Myeongdong to get the luggage

05:00 PM - Walk a meters away to look for Ibis Hotel to ride the Airport Limousine Bus 015 worth KRW10,000 (~Php390) going to Incheon International Airport

07:00 PM - Claim tax refund and have dinner inside the airport

10:00 PM - Depart from South Korea to Manila, Philippines via Cebu Pacific 

There you have it - a very chillax itinerary for non-first timers. For the free days, you can also opt to try the strawberry picking tour or visit the popular theme parks, such as Lotte World and Everland. They do have cheaper entrance fees starting 4PM onwards.

Enjoy your trip!



10 Tips For An Enjoyable Trip To Seoul, South Korea

Traveling to Seoul, South Korea anytime soon? I just recently came from there and had a great time experiencing new stuff! If you're like me who's OC during the prep time prior to your trip, here are some of my tips and recommendations for you.

1. Book your flights early for cheaper airfares.

They say the early bird catches the good worms. More often than not, Cebu Pacific puts up the cheapest prices when they first open slots for certain destinations. I was able to book my trip to Seoul for less than P5,500 last year when they had a sale. Some people won't agree with this, since they get to find good deals as the travel dates get nearer, but for me, this always works -- most of my trips are booked a year before.

2. Similarly, book your hotel accommodation early, online, and preferably around the Myeongdong area.

Several online hotel booking aggregate websites (i.e., Agoda, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Asiatravel, etc.) offer early bird discounts of 20%-40% when you book early. What I do is to look for hotels via TripAdvisor.com, then navigate to the site with the cheapest price from there. Mostly though, I get good deals from either Agoda or Booking.com. For this trip, I got to book our 6D/5N stay at Metro Hotel Myeongdong for Php26,550 (Php2,600/pax/night), which I will tackle in another post. 

3. Print discount vouchers online to save a little.

There are some sites that offer discounts to tourist spots and cosmetics or apparels. Simply look for them online and print them before your trip. Some sites that I recommend are Visit Korea and Visit Korea Committee. With myriads of cosmetics stores scattered around South Korea, be sure to know the exact store location on where to use the voucher. 

4. No Korean Won? Use your ATM card to withdraw money. 

Check with your bank if your ATM card will be accepted in international automated teller machines. If yes, you can conveniently withdraw money from there when you arrive at the Incheon International Airport -- ATM's are easy to follow and usually has English options. As for me, I made use of my BPI ATM. I compared Google's exchange rate vs the ATM rate after I withdrew, and found out they're almost the same. When withdrawing, you will get the money straight as Korean Won, so compute your expected amount prior to your transaction.

5. Buy a T-money Card for convenience and discounted fares.

This card is similar to Hong Kong's Octopus card, which is widely accepted in convenience stores, transportation systems like subways and buses, as well as some restaurants across Seoul. T-money card comes in different cute designs, and can be bought from convenience stores like 7-Eleven, GS 25, etc. for KRW2,500 (~Php96), which is non-refundable. Reloading the card can also be done in convenience stores or via kiosks placed inside the subway station. As an added bonus to convenience, having a T-money Card gives you KRW100 (~Php4) discount on train and bus fares (not all), and free/discounted transfers. 

6. Book your tours and mobile wi-fi device ahead of time, online.

I recently discovered Klook.com, a site that offers discounted tours for several countries across Asia. We got to book our Yongpyong ski tour package for KRW110,000 (~Php4,300), Nami Island + Petit France tour package for KRW103,040 (~Php3,960), and 6-day unlimited mobile pocket wi-fi rental for KRW45,474 (~Php,800) from there. Don't be hesitant to book your tours early, since you can still cancel it without a penalty fee up to a day or two prior to the tour date.

7. Satisfy your hunger with street foods at Myeongdong.

Stroll around the Myeongdong Street during late afternoon to evening and get to try several street foods (e.g., meatballs, chicken barbecue, corn on the cob, strawberry with red beans, beef stew japchae, sweet crepes, etc.). Apart from those, you can also see clothes, socks, fruits, drinks, cosmetics, and more around the area.

8. Download offline apps for subway, buses, and maps.

Since South Korea has a ton of subway lines, it'll be very helpful to download apps that can show the list of stations, number of and where to transfer, schedule, price, and distance. I downloaded the app called Subway Korea, which is just free. For an offline map and list of buses, I used the Korea Tour app, which is also free.

9. Get the free facial masks or any freebies from cosmetic stores.

Don't be surprised if you see several beauty shops lined up almost beside each other in every block. Some of them will offer you facial masks as you pass by their store. Get it. It's free. Just exchange it with the courtesy of going into their store to look around and inquire politely. You don't have to buy anything at all. In one night, I was able to get at least three facial masks.

10. Try out something different.

Most tourists go for the usual temples and shopping. If it's your first time, spare some time to research and also try out skiing (if visiting between December to March), strawberry picking, checking out books/arts stuff, watching shows, visiting attractions outside the city, and more. If you don't have much time to read up, I'll try to help you by posting our itinerary in another entry.

Apart from these ten tips, I'd like to suggest that you prepare your mind and body to experience and learn something new from traveling. Have fun and enjoy in the process, whether you get lost or don't get to do all the items in your itinerary. Try to find time resting at night as well, so you'd feel refreshed and ready for what's to come the next day.

Lastly, please bring appropriate clothes for the weather, depending on the time of your visit. When I was there in early February, the temperature would range from 3 to -11 degrees Celsius. I would always check the weather forecast and dress up accordingly before going out. It helped that I had several pairs of leggings, jackets, scarves, and of course earmuffs to battle the very cold weather. Enjoy your trip!

Got other tips? Feel free to share it to others by commenting below.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

7 Valuable Lessons About Leadership

Leadership is a journey of continuous improvement. In fact, it's a lifelong process filled with lots of learning on a daily basis. Therefore, I believe there's really no one-best-person who can embody the perfect meaning of what a leader is. However, we can all strive to be the best that we can be, day by day.  

In my three years of being a leader in my organization, handling a total of ten awesome individuals, I've learned several lessons that I'd like to share with you. Whether you're just starting to lead your own team, or you dream to lead a team in the future, I hope these seven points will serve as thought-starters for you.

1. A Leader is more than just a Manager

Spelling aside, a "leader" and a "manager" are two management terms often mixed up by many. While a Manager is meant to plan, organize, and coordinate the tasks of his team members, a Leader inspires and motivates them. As such, a Leader therefore shouldn't be making his team members work for him, but follow him in the path to success. 

In my first few years of being the Head of the team, I delegated tasks and ensured that all deliverables were completed on time. While each member was able to deliver their respective outputs, I realized they needed to understand the bigger picture and deeper sense as to why those tasks were assigned to them, and what those are for. By knowing how their role and outputs impact the business, it made more sense for them to accomplish their tasks with quality, rather than just simply finishing them for the sake of doing so.

2. A Leader is self-less

Humans are naturally selfish. That's why becoming a Leader challenges one to be a man for others. Being a self-less Leader means spending the most precious thing in the world -- our time -- to hear others, to mentor them, and to disciple them.

I'm not afraid to admit that I'm also selfish. There were times I wanted to hide in a room to concentrate on my own tasks, and be able to go home earlier. However, my conscience often slaps me in the face and tells me that I must ensure my team members get to approach me when they need anything from me.

I remember one time when my team members wanted to spend time with their families during the Yuletide season. As I was thinking about my situation, I knew that I didn't have any planned family events. I then decided to take their place and work in behalf of them during the holidays -- that is of course after aligning expectations moving forward and telling them about the evolving business needs.

Image from Purpose Driven Life

3. A Leader must have a purpose 

Knowing your purpose in life is key. Ask yourself: what is that one thing that I want to keep doing in my lifetime? What and why do I have to do it? What's the first step in doing it? How do I want others to remember me? As you step back and answer these questions, you'll get to your very core, your foundation.

As a young leader, I have so many aspirations for and expectations about myself. It sometimes leads me to become frustrated at myself and others. Thankfully, having known and believed my real purpose in life always brings me back to what I should be doing, and how I should do it. Once I am reminded about that life purpose, it helps renew my perspective about things.   

4. A Leader needs to be self-aware

Self-awareness drives change. It's important that we take a step-back and ponder on the situations we've experienced, the reactions we've gotten from others, and the state of emotion we've influenced others to feel. From those, we are able to realize what behaviors and traits we need to stop, continue or start, so that we can become a more inspiring leader.

It wasn't easy for me when I realized I was just acting as a Manager, and not a Leader. At first, there was in denial, which made me think it was others who should adjust and not me. But when I learned to accept the fact that I needed to be adaptive to others, situations changed and reactions became more positive - slowly, but surely. 

5. A Leader isn't afraid of feedback

People always say that feedback is a gift. It is, indeed. When we learn how to accept good or negative feedback from others, we grow and become better. When we are always hungry to get honest feedback from others, we learn how to be more understanding of how others feel about us.

I'm very fortunate that I was born to be very open to constructive criticisms, and that I act on it quickly. I always believe that I am not any better than others if I only rely on how I feel about myself. Feedback for me is my source of learning and growth. More than just the things I learn about the business, what's more important to me are the soft skills (i.e., behaviors and character) that I can nurture and bring even as I go out of my current company. 

Image from Huffington Post

6. A Leader facilitates open communication

If your team members are fearful of you as their leader, you better be alarmed. Having fear in you is far different than just respecting you. Many team members who fear their leaders would often hide things from them, or shy away from them the moment they see their boss' shadow. However, this is easily resolved by having an open communication.

As much as I can, I make time for bi-weekly 1on1s with each of my direct reports. In this session, we don't exactly talk about the statuses of their tasks, but instead use this time to open up to each other through exchanges of thoughts and stories. These sessions help both me and my team member to learn and understand our motivations to work, our external issues that may affect work behavior, our life/career expectations and aspirations, or simply remind us of our wins as a team. It is also a good avenue for both parties to reveal each other's vulnerabilities, so we both realize that we're just humans after all. 

7. A Leader is God-centered

The makings of a great Leader is hinged on a higher being, who is God. As humans, we cannot solely rely on ourselves. There will always be people who won't like us; there will always be challenges that will come our way. But the Bible says in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

There have been many times in the past three years that I've wanted to give up due to several reasons -- too much workload, unaligned expectations, bad behaviors, rejection and persecution, etc., but when I'm reminded that there is a God looking after me, I know I can ask God for discernment; I believe that God will not allow anything to happen to me without His permission. The Scripture teaches, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

To date, I'm still working on many aspects of my leadership skills. As I continue to strive to be better every day, I'm confident that I can be the best that God wants me to be, in His time. It's not easy, but I'm definitely up for the roller coaster ride!

What lessons have you learned as a Leader? Feel free to share in the comments section below.

Monday, November 3, 2014

8Cuts Burger Blends Never Fails to Satisfy

It was a year ago when I first tried 8Cuts Burger Blends in their first branch at UP Town Center with my friends Annie and Lizelle. We immediately became fans of this restaurant as its food items are superb. Fast forward to 2014, they have now opened 5 branches, and the newest one is located at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig - it just proves their growing supporters in different parts of the metro.

One weeknight, I tagged along my best bud and chef friend Migz to check out the newly opened branch. We both decided to try menu items that we still haven't ordered in the past visits we've had at 8Cuts Burger Blends.

For drinks, I ordered the house blended brewed iced tea (₱95, bottomless), while Migz had the Arnold Palmer (₱95, bottomless) - a surprising twist of green tea with a tang of lemon, which adds a different dimension to a classic favorite. Both drinks had the right sweetness and were refreshingly good.

Our first appetizer was Nachos with a warm dip of Artichoke and Spinach (₱285). This is actually perfect since I love spinach, while Migz likes artichoke. The dip was very tasteful as it had different kinds of cheeses cooked in it. The chips seemed like they were served out of the box, but nevertheless were crunchy.

The food trip continues with the Chinatown Shrimp Poppers (₱260) as the second appetizer. Pieces of shrimp were covered and fried with batter, glazed with kung pao sauce, then topped with crushed nuts. It came with a dip of kung pao-mayo mix as well, which gave a hint of spiciness enough to add kick to the dish.

While waiting for our burgers, I couldn't resist ordering one of my 8Cuts favorites, the onion rings (₱65). I just love how crunchy and huge the rings are, and the flavor used to give it a different taste.

For my main dish, I opted to select one from the list of classic burgers rather than creating my own - it's called Q-Daddy (₱295), a quarter-pounder ox blend patty of flank, oxtail and rib eye with yellow cheddar, onion tanglers, crisp bacon strips, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno ranch and sweetly spiced barbecue sauce.

A video posted by Glenn Ong (@theglennong) on
This tri-cut, juicy burger is so palatable, but can be messy to eat. What I did was to try flattening the burger, before cutting it into pieces using the knife. Each bite was an explosive taste of flavors rumbling in my mouth. Its meat was tender, never a tiring piece to chew and finish.

Migz, on the other hand, got the Piggy (₱245), a quarter-pounder beef bomb blend patty of the chuck and short rib with mozzarella, fried bacon strips, house-made bacon jam, tomatoes, and garlic aioli. As with the one I ate, this burger is also very juicy. He can really taste the beef in every bite, with full flavors in it. The bacon strips added a nice touch of slight sweetness while the mozzarella cheese neutralized each bite.

Of course, we didn't end the degustacion without having dessert! We chose the Molten Chocolate Bottoms (₱135), which tasted like heaven! Compared to before where there's obviously a separation of moist cake and chocolate, this around both are combined and just melts in the mount. Add to it the vanilla ice cream, it surely is a great way to seal the deal!

8Cuts Burger Blends is part of the Moment Group, alongside Phat Pho, Cue Modern Barbecue, Manam Express, Q-Daddy, Namnam, Burger Bar, and Mecha Uma. Having tasted most of these restaurants, I can really attest to how this group has never failed to satisfy the tummy each time.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sofrito Puerto Rican Restaurant... Cooking with Heart

Have you ever eaten at a restaurant and found yourself lost in another world, or even time in your life? Food can be nostalgic, like my dining experience at Sofrito, a homey Puerto Rican restaurant in Salcedo Village, Makati.


Dining at Sofrito one Sunday lunch felt like I was in 1997 at the home of Carla, my Puerto Rican friend from college. As soon as I walked into the restaurant, the bright colored walls, terra cotta-like floors, the Spanish music, and the smell of savory home cooking with cumin, garlic, plantains all added to the feeling like I was in their home in Miami.

Carla and I met when we were in culinary school. It was when a few friends and I visited her in the summer of 1997 that we all truly learned the art of her family's and most Puerto Rican cuisine – the sofrito. The "sofrito" is a blend of herbs and spices that is used in their cuisine. Historically, sofrito was brought over to Caribbean by the Spaniards who settled there in the 1400's. Sofritos can range in color, and flavor due to the ingredients used. Many consider this to be the base or the heart of all their recipes. A key ingredient to their sofrito are the aji - chili like pepper and culantro similar to cilantro, only it has a richer and more potent flavor. You'll know the aroma of a sofrito once you've smelled it; it awakens the senses and heightens the flavor you are about to experience.

It’s been a long time since I’ve visited Carla, let alone spoke to her. But I remembered her family throughout my entire lunch at Sofrito. The Chef and Co-Owner of Sofrito, Millie is 100% Puerto Rican and from Miami. Her husband and business partner is Jay. Both retired from the US to Manila to spend time with family. 

When I asked them what made them want to open this restaurant, they said that it was because their nieces enjoyed her baking and cooking. Seeing their happiness in every bite coupled with missing Puerto Rican food led to the opening of Sofrito. No wonder it is one of the best yet simplest dining experiences I've had in Manila. It was built from the heart!


Softito's menu is as colorful as the food they serve, as with its friendly and attentive staff. When placed in front of us, it took me quite some time to decide on what to order. Luckily, I had my best friend with me so we were able to try a bunch of things to truly sample some of what the menu has to offer.

Everything we ordered was a true winner. For starters, we had Beef Empanada, Rellenos de Papas and the Asopao de Pollo.


The Beef Empanada (Php100 for 3 pieces) had that perfect blend of flakiness, crispness at the initial bite, with softness just before you get to the filling of seasoned ground sirloin. Paired with spicy banana ketchup, each bite was one step closer to Miami.


The Rellonos de Papa (Php150 for 2 pieces) is a bit heartier. Picture a round ball made of savory mashed potatoes with a ground meat filling in the center and fried golden crisp. 


Their Asopao de Pollo (Php150 for small order or Php300 for big order) was for me most amazing culinary blend of genius! It is a chicken based soup, with real chicken chunks (not bites), rice, and includes a Mofungo ball. A Mofungo ball is ground up plantain and chicharon – when combined it created the texture, depth and a flavor that explodes in your mouth. From crisp to soft it's truly a mélange of flavors dancing in your mouth. When you couple this with the music in the background, it won't be far off to be dancing to the beat in your mouth.


My friend ordered the Arroz con Frijoles - Platanos Manduros y Pernil (Php400) as his entree, which he liked. It was a full meal of lechon asado (pernil) with rice (arroz) and beans (frijoles), as well as sweet bananas (platano manduros). The Pernil had all the flavors and textures of authenticity; garlic, spices, tenderness and crispness. Paired with the rice and beans that had the right amount of cumin, this is a dish that could withstand any culinary competition and come out a champion. Millie told me she lets the meat sit in the marinade for 2 days – and it shows.


Because of my love of food and having just watched the movie Chef, I had the Cuban sandwich (Php250). Man! It was just what the movie Chef portrayed so well… crisp golden grilled bread, roast pork asado, ham, Swiss cheese, pickle and mustard. Cuban sandwiches became popular in places like Miami; areas where Cubans migrated to during the Communist Revolution in Cuba. They were considered the lunch food for many Cuban workers. Eating this sandwich was by far the bite that triggered my memory and reminded me most of my Miami trip, for it was on that trip that I learned about the Cuban sandwich as part of many late night/early morning eating after a few nights out on the town. I could almost feel myself dancing the Salsa – reminiscing the first time I had this sandwich where I was literally dancing to no music on the sidewalk with my friends.


The dining experience was so filling; I didn't have time for my own dessert. My friend and I shared the Tres Leches Cake (Php200) - and true to its name it is – soaked in milk and moist and creamy.

Since then, I've been back twice and each time with friends who've now been converted into Sofrito lovers! And each time I come back not only do I enjoy the food, but more so the time I spend talking with Jay and Millie. The similarities of both living in the United States for most of our lives and coming back to Manila have definitely helped build rapport, but it's the love of food that keeps us connected. We do things because we enjoy it, we share our passion and our hearts. Or in Millie's case it's Sofrito - the heart behind her cuisine.

Sofrito Authentic Puerto Rican Restaurant is located at the Ground Floor, LPL Mansion, 122 San Agustin St., Makati. It is open Mondays to Saturdays from 11:00AM to 10:00PM, and on Sundays from 12:00PM to 8:00PM. They accept reservations via mobile at +639178009570 or email at sofritocafe@gmail.com. For more info, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sofritocafe.


Editor's Note: This article was written by Migz David, a special writer and contributor of Glich's Life. Migz is a food enthusiast who grew up in his mom's kitchen. He is a great cook and an awesome food critic on top of his high-ranking position in the corporate world. Revisions to this article were done by yours truly prior to posting. - Glenn / Glich

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My Awesome Sale Finds at Robinsons Galleria

Ask around on what people think of Chinese folks and you'd probably hear a lot of them saying the words "kuripot" or "matipid". I'd say the second adjective applies to me. This goes especially when I shop for clothes and shoes - I usually buy things when on sale (unless I know the brand doesn't go on sale at all).

Lucky that I am, Robinsons Malls actually started their annual Red Hot Sale last August 1, running until the end of the month. What that means is great finds of up to 70% off on selected items! Yay! I did my rounds of the shops at Robinsons Galleria and was able to get awesome items for myself. Check out my sale finds below.

My first stop was Collezione C2 offering sale items from 20% to 50% off. I first knew about this brand during the national elections, and since then started supporting their products for its quality and designs.

Looking through the racks of sale items, I discovered that the original prices range from Php700 to Php1,120, and when discounted could go as low as Php500 or less. I was actually able to buy myself a new navy blue polo shirt with red and white patches on the side for that price.

The second shop I visited was Sanuk, which had half a wall of sale items. What got me into the store is their banner that had big words "smile", "destress", "sale", and "invest".

The first two rows were being sold at 30% off - from Php2,790 down to Php1953 and from Php3,490 down to Php2,443. On the other hand, the last two rows were at 50% discount - from Php2,490 down to Php1,200 and from Php3,490 down to Php1,745. 

Onto my third stop to look at bags at Bratpack, I was thrilled to see that they also have some items on sale, ranging from 10% to 30% off the original price.

Pictured above is one of my favorite bag brands, High Sierra. At 30% off, I was able to get it for only Php1,883 instead of its original price tag of Php2,690! Apart from High Sierra, other on sale items are Timbuktu, Jansport, North Face, and Hegren bags, as well as DC caps.

My ultimate love, G2000 has never failed to make me happy whether in Hong Kong or here in Manila. Practically almost everything in their store is on sale for 50% to 70% off!!! Most of the items also has an additional 10% off after the initial price slash. It's indeed a red hot sale! 

These short sleeved polos were originally priced at Php1,680, but was being sold at only Php449.10. Moving on to the colored chinos, the original price tags were Php2,380, but because of the sale, it's now down to Php899.10! Wow!

There were tons of long-sleeved polos also being sold at 50% off + 10% more discount after initial computation. And oh, the formal coats were also on sale! It blew my mind when I saw that the price has gone down from Php10,180 to only Php4,581. Wow! And you know what, I wasn't able to help myself so I actually bought a blazer for only Php2,339.10 (from Php7,880)! I'm sooooo happy! 

By the end of almost two hours of roaming around the mall and trying out clothes and shoes, my feet gave up and decided to just go back another time. Though the sale is until the end of the month, I think it's best to go early on so as to still get good stocks.

What are you waiting for? Go to the nearest Robinsons mall and experience their Red Hot Sale while supplies last. Before I forget, the sale is not just limited to Robinsons branches in Manila, but in provinces (e.g. Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Batangas, Palawan, Laguna, Gensan, Cabanatuan, etc).

I highly encourage you also to participate in their Instagram contest via @robinsonsmallsofficial where you can win Php1,000 Robinsons GCs just by reposting the sale poster and tagging five friends with the hashtag #RobinsonsRedHotSale.

For more information, like Robinsons Malls on Facebook and follow @RobinsonsMalls on Twitter.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cadbury Sweet Endings

July was a roller coaster of emotions for me, but I'm glad it had a sweet ending. For a time, I felt very pressured and stressed to complete the things needed to be done, but then because of two surprising moments that happened to me, the month ended feeling exceedingly joyful and grateful.

I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say that we always look forward to sweet endings. It can be a promotion at work after working so hard, desserts for post-lunch or post-dinner meal, or maybe a great chitchat night-cap session with friends after a long day. Whatever that may be, sweet endings are moments or things we look forward to, so we can enjoy and savor the greatness of the things around us.

For me, one of my sweet endings for July is to be able to watch Guardians of the Galaxy on its first day with Eldridge and Jerome while enjoying the creamy goodness of Cadbury Dairy Milk. This chocolate bar's taste alone is a sweet ending on its own. Eating it can actually be more enjoyable by following some few steps:
  1. RIP the elegant Cadbury packaging and see the perfectly shaped mounds of chocolate.
  2. BITE into the chocolate bar slowly and hear that satisfying snap.
  3. MMM-Melt the creamy chocolate in your mouth without even chewing or swallowing it immediately.
  4. ENJOY by repeating the ritual: Bite and MMM-Melt, Bite and MMM-Melt. Until the world MMM-Melts around you and you remember that all good things in life must really be savored.

So remember: when life throws you lemons, make lemonade and enjoy it with a Cadbury Dairy Milk to keep you optimistic amidst adversity or misfortune.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Manam Express and Q-Daddy Food On-the-Go

When I look for barbecue, steak or good Filipino food, I usually end up in restaurants with above average prices. Being the matipid me, I thought of doing something different this time around - that is, satisfy my cravings in the food court as a cheaper alternative. I tagged along my friend MD and went to Glorietta's Food Choices to sample what Manam Express and Q-Daddy have to offer.

I found out that these two food on-the-go concepts actually came from the same owners of 'Cue Modern Barbecue, 8Cuts Burger Blends, and more, which aims to also serve the appetites of those on a budget and those looking for quick-to-order food items during short office breaks.

Manam Express offers Filipino comfort food that are truly malinamnam for just Php149/meal. You can mix and match your orders by choosing from four different groups to form one set of your yummy meal.

As a first step, you will have to choose what flavor of rice you want. There's white/plain rice, garlic rice, tinapa rice or bagoong rice. Second step is to select your viand from the choices of beef, chicken, pork and fish. Next comes the selection of veggies from six options, then finally choose from four sawsawan of either garlic suka, spicy suka, toyo barako (soy sauce with coffee) or sweet chili patis.

After much deciding, I came up with my own meal of Inasal-style grilled chicken, bagoong rice, kare-kareng gulay, and toyo barako. They also threw in a complementary lemongrass sinigang soup.

For its price, I can say that it's a filling meal, not to mention that it tastes great! The chicken was grilled to perfection with the meat tender, juicy, and flavorful. The bagoong rice that came with it had the right mix of bagoong, without being overly salty. Unlike the usual kare-kare that's color orange-ish, this one was brown-ish since they already mixed the bagoong in it. And oh, who would ever think that coffee and soy sauce would actually mix well? It did!

For my dessert and drink, Manam Express' Kape't Sago Gulaman (Php40) has piqued my curiosity. It was surprisingly good, since the coffee actually balanced the taste of the drink and made it not too sweet. Refreshing!


Q-Daddy, on the other hand, offers delicious barbecue plates with choices of pork and beef belly, chopped chicken, steak slab, and ribs. The meat is topped off with one of five signature home-made sauces – maple pepper BBQ, Q-Daddy House BBQ, rootbeer & whiskey BBQ, chili BBQ, and mushroom gravy. To make the meal complete, you can select from choices of special rice, potato or pasta.

MD got the Grilled Steak Slab with mushroom gravy (Php245) and corn, carrots on the side. Instead of its default partner, Chori-Q rice, we chose to replace it with the Bacon-Q rice.

When I sampled the dish, the steak tasted with full of robust flavor. Its unique spices came alive in my mouth, none overpowering the other, which is good. Coupled with the grilled taste, the steak was fantastic on its own even without the gravy. We were also delighted by the serving size of the meat given its price.

As for the Bacon-Q rice that had lots of bacon bits and flavor, I thought it may have been better if I have just stuck with the Chori-Q rice for better combination.

MD also added a side dish of Mac and Cheese (Php45) to complete the meal. Overall it was tasty. It was a bit dry on top, but great underneath since the sauce already fell to the bottom of the bowl. I could taste the cheese flavor, unlike other macaroni and cheeses where there's a lot of sauce but no taste.

Having tasted Manam Express and Q-Daddy, my praises for the owners went over and beyond expectations once again. The two food brands are true testaments that taste and quality of food need not suffer even at a budget price.

Manam Express and Q-Daddy have been standing strong since November 2013. Apart from Glorietta's Food Choices, the two budget-friendly brands can also be found in the TriNoma Food Court. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Need a strong case? Go Ballistic!

For the first time, I attended a media event in a venue that took its product's unique selling proposition into action - no fancy decorations or venue props, just simply straight to the point. That night was the launch of Ballistic Cases in the Philippines courtesy of Digits Trading, the distributor of popular gadget brands in the country.

Ballistic Case - Urbanite for Samsung Galaxy S4

Ballistic Case Co. is the pioneer of the HexTec technology which provides protective solution for smartphones and tablets. They have a whole range of protective cases from the very simple back cases called Ballistic Jewel Series to the more sophisticated water-resistant cases called the Ballistic Hydra Series. 


During the event, we were wow-ed by the strength and quality of Ballistic Cases as we saw a smartphone get tossed up and down - even from above ground of 12 feet in distance. The result? Perfectly protected smartphone! This is thanks to the HexTec Six-Sided Drop Protection technology that safeguards a smartphone from all sides and corners.


What I really like about this case is its feature of "Ballistic Corners" that can be seen from its raised lips and corners. This feature is tried and tested to protect the corners of the smartphones that in turn protect the screen from cracking.


Apart from that, Ballistic cases have perforated holes inside called "beads" that allow the battery to breathe, preventing the phone from heating up quickly. What's more, it has an anti-scratch coating that helps the case stay nice-looking all the time. 


Ballistic cases come in seven product series - Jewel, Urbanite, Tough Jacket, Tough Jacket Maxx, Every1, Hard Core, and Hydra - and in different colors to match your style and needs. These cases are made with polycarbonate hard shell, which is the same material as bike helmets. Prices range from as cheap as Php990 to Php3,650. Cases are available for most of the latest Samsung and Apple smartphones, as well as Apple tablets.

Ballistic Case - Hydra for iPhone 5s

In the Philippines, Ballistic cases are available at the following stores: Digital Hub, Beyond the Box, Quick Sound, Celplus, Datalink Technologies, District 32, Ecentral Cellphone Electronics, iGig, iStore, iCenter, iStudio, Switch, iBook, JMB Albay, Lenin Computer System, Mobile 1, Seatec, Wellworth, Sync, Technopop, Urbanize, and Vertex.