Friday, November 30, 2012

What's in a (Business) Name? Doce

SM sells secondhand stuff too.
Spotted at Brgy. Paracale, Camarines Norte

For more amusing business names, please visit Go Random.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tastin' Cupcaken

With our Groupon vouchers at the ready, we pretend to be cupcake tasters at Cupcaken.

Pupils dilated. Giddy. I was a kid in a candy cupcake shop.

Would have wanted to try every cupcake flavor available but our vouchers and stomachs could only allow so much. Two vouchers, two visits, nine cupcakes, and this one blogpost.

Left to right: Very Berry, Mango Float, Choco Marshmallow, and Black Forest

 Left to right: Lemon Tea, Lemon Meringue, Red Velvet, Chocolate Hazelnut, Chocolate Mint

Their cupcakes go for Php 55 each. Here's how I rank their cupcakes (based on my biased taste buds), with the least liked one down to my favorite:
  • Very Berry - I think this is blueberry cheesecake and I am not a fan of cheesecake so this naturally becomes my least favorite.
  • Lemon Tea - was disappointed with the icing. It was boring. I guess I was expecting it to be green tea-ish.
  • Mango Float - tastes like dried mangoes to me!
  • Chocolate Mint - first thing that came to mind when my tongue touched the icing? Toothpaste!
  • Lemon Meringue - the icing, the lemon cupcake with the lemon cream center went well together.
  • Black Forest - chocolate cupcake plus icing with cherry on top. Who doesn't like chocolate cupcakes anyway?
  • Red Velvet - though not a big fan of red velvet, I thought this was pretty good. Not too sweet.
  • Choco Marshmallow - I was expecting the top to be marshmallow but it was sugar icing, which I liked.
  • Chocolate Hazelnut - the winner because 1) it had Nutella in the center and 2) I am a hazelnut fiend!

Cafe Mocha

Cupcakes are best paired with a cup of coffee. This cup of Cafe Mocha costs Php 95. Expensive, yeah?

The place is cozy but with limited parking space. The cupcakes look lovely but the price is too heavy on the pocket. Maybe I'll give Cupcaken a visit when I see extra pesos lying around in my pocket and, it should go together, when the cupcake craving is killing me.

R Duterte St., Banawa, Cebu City
(032) 479 9466
Mon - Sat 2PM - 12MN

How tasting Cupcaken left Mustachio's wallet gaping:
Thanks to Groupon, I paid just Php 282 for two vouchers worth Php 300 each. Plus about Php 65 to cover for the excess. I wouldn't have given this place a visit if not for the vouchers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yum Yum Baboy

Having read about Yum Yum Baboy in FTW! Food, Travel and Whatevs twice, I knew I just had to try this place. When the craving for kimchi struck, off to Yum Yum Baboy I go!

Yum Yum Baboy is located in SSY Biz Center along Salinas Drive in Lahug. It's on the corner, just before the road leading to Camp Lapulapu. Bad with creating mental pictures? Here's a map taken from their facebook page:

Yum Yum Baboy's specialty, according to the big old sign out front, is their pork belly or samgyeopsal. I love samgyeopsal, I order one even before I had taken a seat. The restaurant is quite small, with just four tables of four. Not sure if there are more tables on the second floor, my pig out buddy says it's just the kitchen and the washroom.

This is as wide as my camera would go

 Handy dandy menu

As good old Korean restaurants go, there's always the unlimited banchan (side dish) to start off your meal. And one of the banchan is always kimchi. My buddy and I liked all of their side dishes, but most especially the pancake and the kimchi (we had three servings of pancake and two of kimchi, chompy chomp chomp!).

 Unlimited banchan

With the one order of samgyeopsal (hey, this is too little for two hungry people!), we also had bibimbap. The bibimbap is served with sunny side up egg that you can throw into your bowl of bibimbap and mix it along with everything, and a bowl of hot egg soup. The egg soup was good and the bibimbap was okay. By okay I mean Topokki Man's bibimbap is yummier.

Bibimbap with sunny side up egg and a bowl of egg soup

You can grill your own samgyeopsal or have one of their staff grill it for you. Because we were feeling lazy (and hungry), we gladly accepted the staff's offer to do the grilling. While she grilled the pork, we concentrated on stuffing our cheeks with the banchan.

Thank you for doing the grilling

Tofu miso soup that comes with an order of samgyeopsal

Aside from the fact that their samgyeopsal is cheaper than Pearl Meat Shop's (okay, just by Php 10), another plus is that their pork belly is bone-free (Pearl Meat Shop's belly strips had bits of it). Plus points also for their variety of banchan and that their bibimbap is available always (Pearl Meat Shop only has bibimbap available during lunch).

Yum Yum Baboy also offers rice meals, soups, noodles, and for your companions who aren't into Korean food, they have chopsuey, linat-ang baboy, sinigang, sisig, pork menudo, and pork adobo. Oh, a cup of rice is only Php 28 (vs Php 50 per cup at Pearl. Sorry Pearl, Yum Yum Baboy wins).

Click to study their menu

On top of all those good things I have for Yum Yum Baboy, let me add that their staff is very helpful and that they have ample parking space. There goes all my praises.

Yum Yum Baboy
SSY Biz Center, Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu City
(032) 266 8390
Mon - Sat 11AM - 3PM / 5PM - 12AM

How this yum yum experience made Mustachio a baboy:
Samgyeopsal Php 150
Bibimbap Php 150

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sweetness at Barili

Heading home, but we need to stuff ourselves with something. After river crossing Canlaob's fresh water, weren't we craving for something sweet? Well good thing a place in Barili offers the right amount of sweetness.

It took us almost two hours on the bus to arrive at Dakit, Barili. We just told the bus conductor to drop us at the "Milk Station". Most bus drivers know where it is. If you're coming from Cebu City, it's situated on the right side of the road, past the KM 53 marker. There's also a big "Milk Station" by-the-road sign you can easily spot.

The bus slowed down by the curved road and I can see a big sign with a mini cow on top of it. We heard the conductor say the sweet news: we are now at the Molave Milk Station.

You can easily spot this sign.
Menu (click to enlarge)

You've probably heard of this place since this has been operating for quite some time now. We've been here a few times and always for one reason - frozen yogurt.

We ordered two cups of frozen yogurt but it was sold out. We ended up ordering their fresh milk, vanilla ice cream, and Molave Pizza with kiseo (carabao cheese).

At last! Something sweet.

Tell you a little secret, I am lactose intolerant but I really love to drink milk. I even prefer full cream. The milk was just perfect for me - fresh and bland (in a good way). The vanilla ice cream was also good, the only sweet thing we actually tasted. For the pizza, it had the right amount of sauce spread with meat, greens, and chunks of kiseo on a thin crust. It was served warm but that didn't stop us from munching on it right away. What made it special was definitely the kiseo.

Carabao cheese anyone?

We were now stuffed and ready for another bus ride. This time heading back to the city. This weekend trip had no fixed destination, no estimated budget, and no clear plan on where to go next but it turned out to be an absolutely fun adventure. It's hitting three birds with one stone: Lambug Beach, Canlaob River, then Molave Milk Station.

We will definitely be coming back for that elusive frozen yogurt. But that's for another day. This time we're craving for something even more sweeter - Home. :-)

How Molave Milk Station made a sweet run in Mustachio's budget:
Bus from Singi (Alegria) to Molave Milk Station (Barili) Php 65
Fresh milk Php 25
Cup of vanilla ice cream Php 25
Molave Pizza Php 99
Bus from Molave Milk Station to Cebu Php 60

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fresh Water at Canlaob

After dipping in seawater, we were now itching to refresh ourselves with cold fresh water. And good thing again, it's just 10 minutes away. Our next destination is Matutinao, where Kawasan falls is located.

Bye bye Banhigan!

You see a motorcycle that can drive you to Matutinao for Php 200 - Whoops! Don't get too excited to hop on. Buses only charge Php 9 from Banhigan to Matutinao. The best part, they're available every 30 minutes or so. Do yourself a favor and choose the 4-wheeled giant.

As we alighted at Matutinao, motorcycle drivers flocked us. The bad news came from them - that Kawasan was temporarily closed (this was in August of this year; it's probably open by now). BUT they can transport us using another route, albeit a little expensive. Of course it's a clever deal considering the situation. I don't blame them, they need to find a way to profit also. In the end, we humbly said no to the offer.

Welcome to Ka... Shoo! We are closed.

We just went to the lady, in charge of guarding the way to Kawasan falls, sitting near the big sign that says "Kawasan Falls Nature Park Temporarily Closed" and talked her on giving an exemption to two poor travelers who are just curious to see what Kawasan Falls looked like (we've been to the falls many times though).

It was a big NO. Smooth talks just couldn't get through her. Next to her was a funny looking old man (we called him Lolo). Lolo suggested we try Canyoning falls. What he really meant was Canlaob falls - recently known for its canyoning activities. I've heard of Canlaob before, but never got the chance to visit the place. So Lolo said he's willing to be our tour guide - but again, the price just wasn't right. I was smelling bad entourpreneurship. This was a trip with no itinerary in mind so we had to be keen on spending. With good intentions, we declined the offer. However, we already knew where our next destination is.

Oh boo! Next destination please.

Before jumping into another bus, we asked around for more information about Canlaob falls. Where and how to get there, how much to pay. Those are very essential. A little research goes a long way, so never be afraid to ask the locals.

Info from locals: Canlaob falls is located at Barangay Sangi, the first barangay in Alegria. The bus will drop you off near the market where you can ride a motorcycle that will take you to Canlaob.

Déjà vu. You see a motorcycle that can drive you to Sangi for Php 200 - Whoops! Don't get too excited to hop on. Buses only charge Php 10 from Matutinao to Sangi. And you'll arrive in as fast as 3 minutes.

We arrived swiftly at Sangi and stopped near a bakeshop. We asked a lady how much a motorcycle charges for locals and she said it's only Php 20 per head. It took us a lot of time, and a lot of frowning faces, before we found an honest driver. Here's a tip: go straight to the point - tell the driver that you're paying the usual fare. The good drivers will always agree.

The motorcycle ride takes 15 minutes. On our way, I talked to the driver (let's call him Dodong) and asked him what's the deal with some drivers overcharging. He said that they usually do that when they know you're not a local. When Canlaob became popular, many tourists came and most of them didn't mind the price.

Well, not all people are "tourists".

We arrived at our destination. There are no other modes of transportation from here, so we asked Dodong to wait for us since we're not going to take long. Maybe 30 minutes, max.

Fresh water!

This is just the first part of a long stretch of river. Many entourpreneurs, mostly young boys, greeted us and asked if we needed a guide. They could assist us to the lagoon. We smiled and said no, explaining we aren't keen on exploring too much of the river.

Kids jumping into the pool.

But we kept on walking...

This was flora before but they shaved it to have a bigger space for cottages.
The cottage might as well be bad news. They're putting a resort.

And walking...

Washing bodies and clothes.
You need to cross the other side.
And walking.

Wanted to jump in here already.
Fifteen minutes of walking and the landscape keeps getting better and the water clearer.


At last we reached the lagoon. This is the farthest we could reach without needing to climb bigger rocks, or using ropes and helmets.

Oh fresh water! Aside from some boys playing Tarzan-swing, we actually had the lagoon to ourselves. I hurriedly jumped in, rubbing off all the dirt I gathered from my journey from Banhigan up to here (sorry to everyone using the water downstream). I swam to the mini falls, did the Tarzan-swing, and laughed with the kids. We enjoyed every bit of the lagoon that we forgot the time. It was past the thirty minutes we had agreed upon, so we hurriedly went back. Good thing Dodong was napping and didn't notice the time.

I'll be back to Tarzan-swing again.

This may sound a bit exaggerated but it was the most refreshing feeling I had for a long time. Like eating ice cream after staying too long under the sun.

Hey, speaking of ice cream, after the salty water at Lambug and the fresh water at Canlaob, for the next destination, why not have something sweet? :-)

How Canlaob's fresh water flowed nicely thru Mustachio's pocket:
Bus Banhigan to Matutinao Php 9
Bus Matutinao (Badian) to Singi (Alegria) Php 10
Motorcycle to Canlaob river (roundtrip) Php 50

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Saltwater at Lambug

Here goes the itchy feet again. Good thing the remedy is just four hours away.

We headed down south to the municipality of Badian to where Lambug Beach is. I didn't research much on this. Only two things I knew: stop at the Badian public market and take a motorcycle ride to Lambug Beach. No tents, no cooksets with burners, and no expectations. That's it.

We headed to the South Bus Terminal to ride a bus (preferably Ceres) that will drop us in Badian. Stopped at the Badian public market at noon. We had two choices for lunch: the barbecue stands lining up on the side of the market or the carenderias inside the market. We ended up choosing the latter.

Choose from about 10 carenderias
Local eat: rice, monggos, uyap, bolabola, chicharon, Sparkle

After lunch we asked around for a habalhabal (motorcycle for hire) to take us to the beach. It is best practice to ask other locals for the exact fare. Some drivers give an unfair price especially when they feel that you're a tourist. Also, don't go with the first offer, ask another driver and try to respectfully haggle.

After some haggling, we found a habalhabal driver who gave us a fair price. After 15 minutes on the road, we reached Lambug. Welcome to the beach, baby!

Nice shoreline huh?

Since we had no reservations and no exact budget, it was inevitable for us to look for a place that gave us the best offer. It's always better to choose first before you give the big "OK". Let me give you a timeline of what happened before we settled at last for the better one:

1:00 PM Asked a few local oldies drinking and singing inside a hut if they knew of an affordable room to stay. They were glad to help and pointed us to a red Lolo Ponso (sorry forgot his name, but it sounded like Ponso). Lolo offered his hut. Two rooms, one was occupied by him. No washroom, had holes, and was separated only by a thin plywood from the other room. Price? Php 2000! Gulp. Alcohol is just bad for business.

Sari-sari stores in Lambug Beach have two essentials: Alcohol and Karaoke.

1:30 PM Walked a few meters to Stockli [0935 925 1828]. Price? AC Room - Php 2500. Fan room - Php 1000. The rooms are big and well furnished. We haggled and slashed the fan room to 900. You can also tent out for Php 200 only. It's quite safe.

2:00 PM The landlady suggested we take a look at her mini hut in case we wanted a cheaper deal. Price? Php 500. Not bad if you aren't claustrophobic.

Anything mini is worth taking a picture.

2:15 PM Beside Stockli is Grandeur [0926 278 9880]. Suitable for families and large groups. Price range: Php 1000 - Php 3000.

3:00 PM Next to Grandeur was a left-out resort. Next to that was Escarpe. It was not operating when we passed by.

Looks nice.
Logo with the numbers.

Lambug is a long stretch of beach but with all the walking, we ended up at the last sari-sari store, which is just beside Escarpe. There were people who had placed their tents here. We would have easily camped in a tent if we had brought one. We ended up going back to Grandeur and finally settled on this one (but with a lot of haggling, of course).

The two-storey hut at the back.
Inside the hut. Spic and span! Php 1000 for this room.
Bad thing is the toilet outside. It's ok if you want to share.
Php 1500 for this room. Notice the stairs. That's going to..
Another floor that can accommodate 5 beds. Nice.
This freezer is free to use.

The bigger rooms were out of our budget so we asked if we could just occupy the first floor of the front house and cut the price. The owner, Mr. Guiller, was kind enough to agree but the cheapest he could give is Php 1000. We couldn't agree more. Deal.

We occupied the first floor.
It was even good for more than two.
In front of us is the sea. Cool breeze.
Rested at last.

There are no carenderias or food places in Lambug. The best we did was ask the resort's helper to cook for us. Lucky for us, her husband was off to the market to buy something so we just hitched our orders of water, rice, chicken for dinner, and eggs for breakfast. It was still early to sleep so we explored the beach more.

In front of Escarpe.

Beyond the resorts.
Getting farther.
It's getting dark. Better go back now.
Sun is setting.
Good thing in Grandeur is the availability of utensils. Dinner is served...
Best chicken adobo I've tasted. Or was I just hungry?
Care of Mr. Guiller. They shared some of their spaghetti dinner.
Good morning!

The corned beef was bought at the nearest sari-sari store.

More photos of the beach and sea:

We packed up before lunch, thanked Mr. Guiller for his hospitality, and went our way to our next destination. We rode the habalhabal again to the nearest market in Banhigan. In case you want a cheaper habalhabal ride, instead of stopping at the Badian market, you can stop here. If we only knew of Banhigan market, we could have saved half of the fare in the first place. At the far end of Banhigan market, near the basketball court, is the only carenderia.

Banhigan Market
Local eat: mais (corn), pansit, tinolang manok, squid (or was it octopus?)
Looks delicious but the taste is fear factor worthy.

It's time to hop on the bus again but home isn't the destination. After all that saltwater, how about a dose of fresh water? It's just twenty minutes away.

How Lambug's saltwater created a hole in Mustachio's pocket:
Bus Cebu to Badian Php 117
Chicharon (somewhere in Carcar) Php 35
Water (stopover at Shamrock Barili) Php 20
Lunch (Badian market) Php 57
Habalhabal (motorcycle) to Lambug Beach Php 40
Room at Grandeur Php 1000
Food for dinner and breakfast Php 145
Tip for cooking Php 50
Toilet paper Php 15
Habalhabal (motorcycle) from Lambug beach to Banhigan market Php 20
Lunch Php 65
Snacks Php 38