When rice prices are high, eat kamote…

My Sweetheart recently sent me an online delivery of kamote, in memory of that yummy kamote cue we tasted in Batanes. Come to think of it, the focus is now on considering other alternatives for our daily staple, rice, whose prices are rising by the day. If you do the marketing for your household, you will really feel the pinch since P34 is now the lowest price per kilo, whereas before that will buy you the high grade, premium variety already.

The benefits of eating kamote (sweet potato) cannot be underestimated. I do know of friends who go on a diet and just eat kamote. It is enough to fill them for the day. The root crop is a good source of dietary fiber, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and complex carbohydrates.

Kamote is good and tasty even when simply boiled.

Boiled kamote

More recently, I had it as an ingredient for my papaya lumpia which combines shredded papaya, sweet potato and tokwa or tofu. It’s a yummy alternative to the usual bean sprouts and lumpia vegetable we have.

Papaya lumpia

Otherwise, Filipinos are quite content to make desserts of their sweet potatoes. We find kamote in our halo-halo, and this easy candied yam recipe I once tried.

Candied Yams 2

Kamote with caramelized sugar = kamote cue. A classic Pinoy street food!

camote cue

Victoria Court: the stuff tourism brochures aren’t made of …

I ‘partially’ work in the hotel industry. More recently, a couple asked me for help in booking the biggest jacuzzi in Manila. I presume it couldn’t be in the formal hotels which have these conventional bathtubs. And so I looked elsewhere. Here is what greeted me in the Victoria Court website : the Oval Office theme room.

VC Oval Office

Right! All I can think about was Bill Clinton and Monica Lunoksky D

I wonder what Hillary has to say of VC’s version of the Oval Office bedroom.

VC Oval Office2

I’ve been browsing through the Victoria Court gallery and thought the designs aren’t really that bad:

The Austin Powers room looks happy P

Austin Powers room

Although I can settle for something as sedate as the Aman Room:

Aman Room

My search for the biggest jacuzzi is still on!

Victoria Court is of course now marketing itself as a place for parties and families, although it’s still stuck with the ‘motel moniker.’

I am kinda reminded of that giant shopping mall in Paranaque turned into the ultimate pleasure boudoir and KTV bar: Air Force One.

These are the stuff you don’t see being bandied about in the tourism brochures. All I can say is: Manila is really amazing! P

The Philippines’ best spots for surfing

Jericho Rosales & Mo Twister

… and I don’t mean the internet, silly.

Surfing, as well know, is that sport where you get to ride the waves using a surfboard or some other equipment.

You ask avid surfers like movie star Jericho Rosales, and he’ll probably name the following places as the Philippines’ best places for surfing:

Lanuza, Surigao del Sur - one of the best-kept secret surfing places. Went here in 2004, where I gave up on its ‘remoteness.’ It was still a good six hours or so by land from the Butuan airport! Here’s my archived article in the Manila Bulletin and here. However, there should be no harm going here if you’re seriously into the sport!

Siargao, Surigao del Norte - Undoubtedly the Philippines’ premier surfing destination. “The waves curl like a bowl, so you ride inside it.”

San Juan, La Union

Baler, Aurora Province

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Virac, Catanduanes

Thanks to Mr. Mooney Castro, EVP of Aloha Boardsports, for these inputs on the Philippines’ best surfing places. Aloha Boardsports in Rockwell is a one-stop shop of leading surf and skate brands like Volcom, Lost and Dakine. They also carry a comprehensive line-up of boardsports equipment and accessories from Webber Surfboards, NSP Surfboards, Anacapa, FCS Fins, Southpoint Surfboards and Sticky Bumps.

Photo of Jericho and Mo Twister is from the Aloha Boardsports opening.

Do you know the way to Bauan’s Sampaguita Beach Resort?

bauan shoreline

There have been a lot of searches on this site about this ‘virgin’ white sand beach in Bauan, Batangas called Sampaguita Beach Resort. I stop short at calling it a resort since the facilities are quite crude, and it was just a quiet cluster of huts the last time I went there. Still, this beach remains largely unadvertised and undiscovered. Although I don’t know what happens after you people read this blog D

It’s been almost two years since my family went to Sampaguita Beach, as evidenced by this post. Luckily, a young lady, Alleli-Ann Castillo, who claims to be the grandchild of the owner emailed me to point directions in going there:

” When you reach the diversion road in Batangas City, you just go ahead until you reach the Municipality of Bauan, then you enter Bgy. Manghinao. You will then see the Bauan Doctors Hospital and adjacent to it is a wide bridge. You turn left on the way to Anilao. You just go straight, when you reach Bgy. San Pedro, you will see a store, turn right here. Remember that the store is before a school. Then you just go straight, going to a mountainous area. The sea is on the foot of the mountain.”

Thank you Alleli-Ann. This blogger really can’t provide directions the way she did. We Went to Sampaguita Beach through a pumpboat. Still, if the directions fail you (remember, we don’t have a sketch here), call the resort caretaker Carina at 09163749536.

What other secluded, uncrowded beaches do you recommend for the summer??

Beer from around the world … at Red Box

Filipinos undoubtedly like their beer. San Miguel, the most popular brand, is to beer what Jollibee is to burgers and jeepneys are to the ordinary Pinoys’ means of transport. According to stats, “Filipinos consume 1.25 billion liters or 3.9 billion bottles of beer per year,” most of which I believe are shared over good company and sizzling plates of sisig or some other pulutan.

I honestly haven’t tasted as many varieties of beer in my lifetime as when I attended the Beer Appreciation Night at Red Box, the “uber-ly wholesome” karaoke bar in Greenbelt 3 (with another branch in Trinoma). Apparently, Red Box is where you can find one of the most extensive beer selections in the metro.

Why beer? Because it seems Pinoys believe there is a correlation between singing and alcohol content - the more you drink, the more you’ll likely to have the guts to belt out those tunes in front of other people, as opposed to just singing in the shower. And beer is just out there as one of the most accessible, convenient drinks around.

Chef Philip Golding on beer

Pinoys drink their beer according to their own style (with ice, straight from the bottle, and such..) , but according to Chef Philip Golding of the Yats Wine Club, there is a proper way to drink beer. Says he: do serve your beer ice-cold at a temperature of 3 to 6 degrees Celcius, but don’t put ice on the beer itself; don’t drink it straight from the bottle; and do pay attention to the foam, color and aroma of the beer, among other things.

Certain kinds of beer pair well with specific types of food, and here is what we tasted:

Germany’s Heineken, my personal favorite - a light pilsner with full flavor and soft, pleasant aftertaste. Goes well with smoked sausage.

Germany’s Beck’s - golden pale in color with smoky, wheaty flavor and a touch of bitterness that finishes cleanly. Pairs well with crispy pata, believe it or not.

Stella Artois - a bottom-fermented pilsner lager that is considered “table beer” in Belgium. Yes, you can drink this with Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato (BLT) sandwich!

Japan’s Kirin - made of the finest barley malt, this is distinctive for its smooth finish and no bitter aftertaste. Goes well with fish and chips made from Japanese breadcrumbs (and some tartar sauce to go with that).

Belgium’s Hoegaarden - a unique coriander-flavored beer. I must say this is an acquired taste, but you won’t mind it if you much cheese-topped baked mussels on the side.

America’s Budweiser Beer is “brewed with a combination of barley malt to achieve a very specific flavor balance.” And this should go well with baked buffalo chicken wings.

Other beer choices in the house: Ireland’s Leffe Blonde, Guinness Stout, Netherland’s Grolsch Pilsner, the Philippines’ Cerveza Negra and rare bottles of triple-fermented La Fin Du Monde which costs from P700 to P1200 each.

My verdict after taking sips of six different kinds of beer: nahilo ako! (I got dizzy!)


Red Box was gracious enough to give more beer schwag afterwards. My friends are having this, if only they care to come to the house D