Sneak Peek: Where were we?

Good morning Thursday! I have been meaning to write about our trip to this place up in the mountains since a month ago, but there’s just always something else that came up. Here are some pictures taken from that trip, but I’m sure you would be able to guess where this was once you saw them. It’s a no-brainer! :) Anyway, while I wait for the rest of the 100++ pictures to be uploaded, here are some teasers. Remember, you’ve not seen the last of them yet!

Colmar Tropicale

The picture that gave it away 😛

Colmar Tropicale

“Do you have food for me?”

Colmar Tropicale

Peek-a-boo!

Stay tuned for more pictures very soon! :)

Take Me Home, Country Road

A weekend getaway. A retreat. A private estate. A place I can call home. It was during the weekend that we took a one hour drive to the village of Janda Baik, through the winding and narrow country road, to be immersed in the beauty of nature that is Aman Rimba. To say that I was impressed would have been an understatement, for I was blown away to know that there is a 5-star class resort tucked in the middle of a laid-back kampung. Once we parked our car, someone came out from the reception area with a huge warm smile, welcoming us to this gorgeous estate. Following closely behind, another sweet lady was bearing a warm towel and a cold cucumber drink, for us. What did I tell you? I felt at home.

Aman Rimba

Towards Aman Rimba

Situated merely an hour’s drive away from the bustling metropolitan of Kuala Lumpur, Aman Rimba is nestled within the hills, the river and the natural tropical beauty to offer the essence of kampung life and serenity to those who seek it. The idea of starting a private estate came about from the wonderfully hospitable couple of Sabri and Wati. Both of them hailing from kampung, they wanted to preserve the rustic lifestyle and the safe haven that a kampung offers, to pass on to their children. Armed with an empty piece of 3-acre land, they built a suite after another, starting with the main wooden house with a room. They used this place as their weekend sanctuary, to relax, swim in the nearby river or even to have BBQ parties. Later, when the children grew up, they started bringing friends, and more people started to fall in love with this place. The rest, as they say, is history.

Aman Rimba

Aman Rimba Private Estate

The concept of Aman Rimba is selling privacy. The whole estate consists of 6 suites that can accommodate up to 20 persons.

“The entire 3-acre estate is your private home for the entire stay. We dedicate the entire place for you and your group and no strangers will be allowed in. All the 6 suites and all the facilities are only for you and your group to use.” – from the Aman Rimba website

If that is not privacy, I don’t know what is.

Aman Rimba

Reception area

The Suites

1. Sireh

Sireh is the first ever suite to be built in Aman Rimba. It is also the one that retains the most charm, from its structure on stilts, to the wooden walls and the antique decorative items within, it certainly defines kampung-living with style. It’s obvious that much thought has been given on every detail within the house. The four-poster bed is romantic and modern, while the living area is traditional and comfortable, with wooden furniture playing the main role. If you’re bored, get a book from the nearby shelf, or lie down on the comfortable couch just next to the window while listening to the birds chirp. It’s hard not to love this house.

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Sireh House

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Sireh – House on stilts

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The cosy living area

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A day bed for siesta

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Books around the house

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Four-poster bed

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Shower under the sky

2. Serai

Situated merely a few footsteps away from the cafe is Serai, a standalone house that is surrounded by nature and has an outdoor shower to boot. They said this is the ‘old man’s home’ because it’s just so near to everything, one can practically roll out to the dining area. :)

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Entrance to Serai House

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Four poster bed in Serai

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Comfortable couch

3. Halia & Kunyit

Our home for that night was at Halia, a quaint suite that can sleep up to 4 persons. There’s a four-poster double bed and another pair of twin beds, presumably for the children. What I love about this suite was how it’s surrounded by so many windows! They certainly helped to keep the room temperature low, and we did not even need to turn on the air-conditioner to sleep that night. Just next to Halia is another suite called Kunyit, which has a similar bed configuration. In all the suites, there’s a shower with an open ceiling. Certainly gives a new meaning to showering under the stars, don’t you think so?

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Halia House

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Double bed in Halia

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Twin beds for the kids

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Shower with an open ceiling

4. Kantan 1 & 2

Last but not least, a huge bungalow that’s situated in the deepest part of the estate is where Kantan 1 and Kantan 2 are. These two suites can be combined into one big unit or they can be separated via a partition in the middle, creating two standalone suites that can sleep up to 4 persons each. This majestic suite has a patio where one can sit back and chill out next to the pond, a huge living area with an LCD TV, a bedroom with a gorgeous 4-poster bed, a washroom with 2 wash basins and a bathroom with jacuzzi! What more can one ask for?

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Kantan 2 entrance

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Patio facing the pond

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Living room

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Day bed

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Double bed in Kantan

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Bedroom in Kantan

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Who says we can’t brush our teeth together?

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Jacuzzi

The Food

During our 2day-1night stay, we were spoiled with delicious food by the resident chef imported from Kelantan Delights restaurant. Staying in a kampung environment, what better way to feast other than with kampung food? We stuffed ourselves silly with Ayam Masak Hitam (black sauce chicken), Pucuk Paku (wild ferns), Sup Tulang and Sambal Machang, among others. The most memorable dish has to be the Sambal Machang, made from freshly plucked machang fruit from the orchard no less. This fruit bears resemblance to mango and has a pungent, tarty flavour that is perfect to be made into sambal together with spicy chillies. This sambal was delicious even with just white rice.

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The coffee house – our dining area

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Free flow of beverages and mineral water all day long

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Lunch on Day 1

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Delicious ayam masak hitam

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Sweet golden kiwi – my new love!

During dinner, we had the Korean BBQ and Steamboat, in the company of Michael Buble’s concert playing in the big projector screen. Yes, the dining environment was rather sensational, not to mention the really cool temperature at night, circa 22 degrees C.

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Korean BBQ & Steamboat for dinner

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Michael Buble entertaining us on the big screen

The next morning, we were treated with a breakfast feast consisting of nasi lemak, the local favourite, breads, pastries as well as cereals. Oh, don’t forget the egg station on standby too, ready to prepare whatever eggs you want them to.

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Breakfast

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Breads, pastries and cereal to your heart’s content

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Omelette station

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Freshly fried omelette

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Lunch on Day 2

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The legendary Sambal Machang

While we were all lazing away, chatting and catching up, Saucer went to try his luck at fishing. The poor boy was standing under the sun for quite some time, complaining about the heavy fishing rod made from a long tree branch. But he persevered, oh yes he did. And it paid off!

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Happily fishing away

He ended up with a catch of catfish in the end, just in time for lunch. :)

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Hard work paid off!

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Freshly caught catfish

Activities

Enough about the rooms and food in Aman Rimba, what about the facilities? Tucked in the middle of nowhere, what is there to do really? Well, if lazing around so close to nature is not enough, there are plenty of activities offered in Aman Rimba itself. For starters, take a dip in the swimming pool in the centre of all the suites, or take a nap in the cute hammock.

Aman Rimba

Dip in the pool or snooze in the hammock

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Take a guess, what’s this room?

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Back to nature

Otherwise, spend a couple of hours in the game room, completely walled with glass so it feels like you’re playing in the middle of a jungle. There’s a pool table, a foosball table, Nintendo Wii video game and board games at your disposal. Saucer and I spent quite a lot of time during the evening, playing with the Wii. We had a friendly match in bowling, tennis and even golf! It was quite fun. At night when everyone was already asleep, we also had a hand at the pool table.

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The game room

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Pool table

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Foosball

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Bowling with Nintendo Wii

The next morning after breakfast, we took a stroll down the estate and out to the surrounding area, to smell the flowers, literally. You’d be amazed at how gorgeous nature is, if you only take some time and pay attention to the wonders of it all. The colourful flowers, the buzzing bees, the rushing water – ah, it’s a completely different world from the city.

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A walk to the garden

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Hibiscus

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What’s this yellow flower?

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Spot the bee

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The calm pond

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Lonely white goose

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“Apa khabar?” – How are you? is his favourite phrase

Located directly in front of the estate is a river with freezing cold water, flowing gently down a slope – perfect for a dip under the hot afternoon sun.

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3 guys in blue

Otherwise, you can do what Kenny does best – read.

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Read a book or two

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Talk and laugh away with Ciki

When you have done everything you can think of doing here, just follow Motormouth’s lead and do nothing.

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Signing the guest book

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Sungai Benus

Needless to say, it was a much-needed weekend that rejuvenated and revitalized our body, mind and soul. To think that such a retreat exists merely an hour away from the city is almost too good to be true. Waking up to the sounds of birds chirping, sleeping with the doors unlocked, swimming in the river without a care in the world – it was all so very kampung, so very comforting.

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Spot the arrow!

To get here, you can follow the GPS coordinates below, or use Klinik Desa Janda Baik as your landmark then follow the signboards from there. Be careful with the signs though, there was one with a red arrow that was quite hard to spot!

Aman Rimba

Take me home, country road

With such amazing service, quality and environment, it’s no wonder that Aman Rimba is now fully booked on all weekends until the middle of next year! For a weekend of celebration, a weekend privacy or even a weekend of solitude, this is the place for you.

Aman Rimba

Aman Rimba entrance

Estate rental starts from RM5,500 per night for up to 20 persons. Thanks to Chris for arranging such a rewarding weekend experience and to Wati and Sabri for their hospitality.

Aman Rimba Private Estate
Kampung Janda Baik
Contact No.: +6012-232 3071 / +6017-244 9646
Email: wati@amanrimba.com
Website: www.amanrimba.com
GPS Coordinates: 3° 19’41.47″N 101° 51’46.12″E

The Charm of Juanita

Juanita – this name has always fascinated me. Apart from the fact that it reminds me of Desperate Housewives :), it is also, to me, a name that represents a strong woman, someone who is determined in achieving her goals, yet does so in an elegant and gracious manner. How will that translate when Juanita is named for a cafe then? I will never know, but my dinner at Cafe Juanita Pasig, in Manila, is one hell of an experience that I will remember for a long time to come.

Cafe Juanita

The Manila traffic jam during a rainy day

Situated at the end of a row of shop houses, customers may have difficulty finding the entrance, as it is located to the side of the restaurant, through a small door. But once we’re in, lo and behold, we were swept away by the elaborate decoration in the charming restaurant. Plenty of chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling, soft dim lights and colourful lamps and lamp stands all around the restaurant. It almost seemed mystical not to mention eclectic.

Cafe Juanita

Filipino-Spanish inspired decor of Cafe Juanita

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 Plenty of chandeliers

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Some of the hanging lamps

We were there for our final dinner in Manila before returning to Malaysia the next morning. Our gracious friend wouldn’t let us leave before trying out authentic Filipino dishes, how could we?

Cafe Juanita

Table setting at Cafe Juanita

I was recommended to order the Atis Juice, apparently a nice and sweet tropical fruit in Philippines. Truth be told, I had no idea what Atis was, and our friend’s description didn’t ring any bell. I thought I was taking a risk by ordering it, but when it came and I took a sip, I instantly knew what it was – Sugar Apple! Wait, perhaps I should have added more exclamation marks to that sentence, because I absolutely adore sugar apple! It’s a fruit that my grandma used to by for me when I was little, and I loved to suck on the sweet and creamy flesh before spitting out the black seed. Now, I don’t have to worry about the seeds since all the flesh was extracted out into a glass of juice – what’s not to love? Extremely delicious and refreshing too especially when it’s served cold.

Cafe Juanita

Atis Juice / Sugar-Apple – very good!

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Atis / Sugar Apple fruit (source)

Our first dish was Crispy Lapu-Lapu, also known as red grouper fish. It’s the first time we had grouper fish fried this way, with all the parts chopped up into pieces, including the fish head. I am very particular when it comes to deep-fried food, because I’d worry if the batter is too thick. Thankfully, they didn’t not overdose on the batter here. Each piece was lightly coated with flour and fried to perfection, while maintaining the moist fish fillet within. Best of all, it was also not overly oily – a bonus point for being somewhat health conscious. :)

Cafe Juanita

Crispy Lapu-Lapu / Red Grouper Fish

The next dish was my favourite of the night, hands down. What appeared to me as Pork Knuckle was known as Crispy Pata over there, which essentially meant the same thing. Regardless of what it’s called, this dish had the most amazing crispy skin that I’d ever tasted before. Each bite was accompanied with a loud crunch first, then followed by juicy and tender meat within. I really wonder how they do it – the meat inside was so tender until it fell off the bone effortlessly, yet the skin was so crispy. I don’t know about you but most of the time when I encountered crispy skin, it would also mean that the meat within had a tendency to be dry and rough due to the excessive frying. But this, this proved me wrong. Very well done!

Cafe Juanita

Crispy Pata / Pork Knuckle

Kare-Kare was the only dish with vegetables that we ordered, apparently also a specialty of Filipino cuisine. It was actually Oxtail and Vegetables in Peanut Sauce and it turned out to be pretty delicious. The sauce resembled very much to our own Satay peanut sauce, except that it was more milky. The oxtail was extremely tender, while the generous amount of vegetables within made this a rather wholesome dish. Very good with white rice too!

Cafe Juanita

Kare Kare ni Juanita / Oxtail and Vegetables in Peanut Sauce

Last but not least, our friend recommended for us to try the Special Cassava Cake, a local dessert in Philippines. Since it came with the tag of ‘Special’, how could we resist? The cassava cake was served with cheese on top and drizzled with caramelized sugar on the side. The texture of the cake was very similar to the Tapioca kuih bingka that we have in Malaysia, except that it’s a little softer and a lot more sweeter due to the addition of caramel on the side. This portion was good enough to be shared by 3 persons since it was quite rich and could be rather cloying if we had too much.

Cafe Juanita

Special Cassava Cake

Cafe Juanita

Staircase to the Mezzanine floor

Needless to say, our final dinner in Philippines was far from disappointing. It was, in fact, very memorable in a good way, plus we could not stop ourselves from being in awe with all the chandeliers decorating the place. The ambience was simply romantic and peaceful, it makes one want to stay on for a nice long chat over a good cup of coffee after dinner. If we ever return to Manila, we’ll definitely be back!

Cafe Juanita

Cafe Juanita

Cafe Juanita in Pasig
#19 West Capitol Drive,
Barrio Kapitolyo,
Pasig City, Metro Manila,
Philippines

Tel. No.: +632-632 0357

Antonio’s Garden Restaurant – Top 5 Restaurant in Asia

Whenever I mentioned to friends that I went to Manila, one of the most asked questions was “Did you try balut?” and my answer was a disappointing “No”. It’s not because I did not dare to do it, mind you, but our schedule was really packed that I only had the final day to look for balut, to no avail. :( On the bright side though, I managed to dine in the Top 5 Best restaurant in Asia (according to the Miele Guide) at Antonio’s Garden Restaurant, Tagaytay.

Antonio's

Entrance to Antonio’s

It was right after we witnessed the amazing Taal Volcano from Tagaytay that we were told that we would have French cuisine for dinner. The route to Antonio’s passed through a long and narrow road lined with houses upon houses, so much so that we kept slowing down and wondering if we had missed a turning along the way. It didn’t help that it was dark at night, with the rain just subsided earlier on. We continued driving anyway and looked for the occasional signboard that showed us the direction to Antonio’s. And then we saw it. Hidden in the midst of houses and what appeared to be a mini jungle, was a huge bungalow with a tall iron gate, closed. It was only after we mentioned that we had a reservation that the gate was opened to let us drive in. Yes, apparently they do not let you in unless you’ve made prior reservation.

Antonio's

Huge dining area of Antonio’s

Parking was complimentary, just at the compound of the bungalow. We walked to the majestic colonial building with high ceilings and were shown to a table just by the garden. Best of all, being located at a higher altitude, the place was cool and breezy, naturally. The temperature was perfect even without a fan or air-conditioner. We enjoyed the complimentary bread and butter first, served warm with hard crust and soft bread.

Antonio's

Complimentary bread and butter

Antonio's

Lemon-infused water

The menu was only one page, and we were told that only set menu was available that night. The set came with a House Salad, Soup of the Day, a choice of Entree, Dessert and Coffee/Tea. The price of the set was determined by the choice of entree. What made Antonio’s unique was that they try to use fresh produce as much as possible. The House Salad, for example, used vegetables grown in their own farm in the garden. We could taste the crispy freshness of the green leaves, the sweetness of cranberries and the sprinkling of glazed walnuts, giving this such a wholesome combination. I never thought salad could be this good.

Antonio's

House Salad – farm fresh mesclun

The Soup of the Day was carrot soup with a nice foamy top, sprinkled with chunky croutons. It was exceptionally smooth and sweet, with a nice velvety touch due to the addition of foam on top. The chunky and crispy croutons were just that – chunky and crispy, even after being soaked in the soup for a while. Lovely.

Antonio's

Soup of the day

Antonio's

Creamy and smooth

Antonio's

What are these for?

Of course, the main star of the night was our entree, Grilled Certified Angus Prime Rib eye Steak rubbed with Cardamom and served Antonio’s Steak Sauce. Just look at the 700g piece of gorgeous meat! It was definitely more than enough for 2 persons, not to mention we got to choose 2 side dishes as well. The piece of glorious meat was done medium, with the insides still pink and juicy but not entirely bloody. What was even more lovely was the charred exterior of the steak that gave out an irresistible aroma – literally salivating! When you cut inside, the contrast of the bright pink meat was such a welcoming sight that one could not resist biting into it right away.

Antonio's

Grilled Certified Angus Prime Rib eye Steak rubbed with Cardamom

Antonio's

Side dish: Antonio’s Black and Green Olive Rice

The outer layer of the rib eye was lined with a thin layer of fat that melted in my mouth, blending together with the tender meat to give it a sort of juicy bite. I’d never had steak this tender nor juicy before, and the taste of cardamom was distinctive but not overpowering, bringing the steak to soar new heights. Both Saucer and I agreed, it was the best steak we’d tasted in our lives! And both of us polished the 700g slab of meat clean, wishing there was room for more. :)

Antonio's

Medium cut rib eye steak

The huge piece of steak had both of us filled to the brim, but as they say, there’s always room for dessert! While waiting for desserts, we all had our choices of coffee or tea. I chose tea since I’m the type of person who can’t sleep after coffee at night.

Antonio's

Hot tea

Our dessert started with the Dark Chocolate Souffle with Cardamom Creme Anglaise. Served hot and sprinkled with icing sugar on top, the aroma of this dessert was the strongest of all, making us hungry all over again. The souffle was light, chocolatey and not overly sweet. Coupled with the rich and smooth creme anglaise, the combination was just heavenly. Fluffy, moist and simply decadent – we agreed that this was our favourite dessert that night.

Antonio's

Dark Chocolate Souffle

Antonio's

Creme Anglaise on chocolate souffle

My choice of dessert fell short comparatively, I ordered the Chocolate Mint Parfait, which was served cold and decorated with a mint leaves on the side. Only the outer layer was mint-flavoured, with the interior was filled with rich chocolate parfait, with a very smooth and dense texture. Too dense and rich, in my opinion, that we had problem finishing this.

Antonio's

Chocolate Mint Parfait

Our dining partner Aubrey, chose Felchin Maracaibo Chocolate Terrine with Double cream and Roasted Pistachio, and it looked like a piece of foie gras pate to me, don’t you think? :) I thought the chocolate terrine tasted pretty similar to the chocolate parfait, except that this had probably a harder and denser texture, something in between the texture of chocolate bar and parfait. Truthfully, at this point we’d had too much chocolate to stomach for the night.

Antonio's

Felchin Maracaibo Chocolate Terrine with Double Cream and Roasted Pistachio

At the end of the dinner, we were all more than satiated with the amazing food from Antonio’s, coupled with the cool ambience and of course, how could I miss out the wonderful company of our friends from Manila. It was thanks to them that we were introduced to perhaps the best restaurant in Philippines if I might say so.

Antonio's

Us with our friends from Manila

Antonio's

Picture taken at the garden

Dining in such a fine restaurant would usually burn a big hole in the pocket, but our set of rib eye steak (for 2 persons) came to 4,900 pesos (~RM350), which included salads, soups, desserts and tea for two, so I thought it was quite a good deal compared to many other restaurants which charge much higher but were less impressive. It is no wonder this restaurant is listed as the 5th Best Restaurant in Asia in 2010/11, we certainly hope  it will go up next year! Better still, if dining in this restaurant can be included in all inclusive holidays packages, it will be icing on the cake. :)

Antonio's

Room filled with pictures

Antonio's

Antonio’s Garden Restaurant, Tagaytay

Antonio’s Garden Restaurant
Purok 138, Barangay Neogan,
Tagaytay City, Cavite,
4100, Philippines
Contact No: +63 46 413 0975 / +63 917 899 2866
Email: antoniosfarm@yahoo.com
Opening Hours: 11am – 2pm & 5.30 – 8.30pm daily except Mondays
Website: www.antoniosrestaurant.ph

 

Taal Volcano – A Volcano within a Volcano

One thing that makes the biggest difference when we are traveling overseas is to have someone local to show us around. This time, we are indeed lucky to have two exceptionally kind and generous souls, Anson and Aubrey, who brought us to several amazing places while we’re in Manila. After touching down, they picked us up from the hotel and told us that we would be heading towards a volcano – an active one, to be precise. We were, in fact, going to Tagaytay, a place with a slightly higher altitude that would provide a gorgeous view of the Taal Volcano within Lake Taal.

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Gorgeous place for a cuppa

From the city to Tagaytay, the drive took about 1.5 hours without traffic jam. Once we reached Tagaytay, I could immediately feel the temperature getting cooler. There were many places in Tagaytay that provided a gorgeous view of the lake but we ended up at Taal Vista Hotel instead. Located behind the hotel was a stretch of al-fresco dining area set amidst one of the most breath-taking views around. The greens, the blues and the cool breeze just made the environment perfect for an afternoon coffee.

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Coffee by the garden

It just stopped raining when we reached, so the air was still humid, windy and cooling. The temperature must have hovered around 24 degrees Celsius, which was absolutely soothing. The view from our table was pretty amazing, we could see the Lake Taal from afar, not to mention being surrounded by lush plants and greenery.

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Lush greenery

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Popular spot for photography

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One side of the view

Without much ado, I took the chance to snap some pictures of the Taal Volcano before the sky got darker. Taal Volcano is an active complex volcano located in the island of Luzon, Philippines. Within the Taal Volcano is a crater, which is also the world’s the largest lake within an island (Volcano island) within a lake (Lake Taal) within an island (Luzon island). Are you confused?

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Spot Taal Volcano in the middle!

Surrounding the Taal Volcano is Taal Lake, which was formed by eruptions between 500,000 to 100,000 years ago. This lake is now home to some of the freshwater fish species, which explains the numerous fishing activities and traps found on the shores of the lake. The Taal Lake, on the other hand, is situated on a larger island called Luzon in the Philippines. Therefore, the crater in the Taal Volcano becomes a lake within an island on a lake within an island. :)

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Taal Lake

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Fishing activities around the banks of Taal Lake

We were there at about 5+pm and realized that the sun actually started to set at 5.45pm, much earlier than the Malaysian sun set time.

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A closer look at Taal Volcano

Sitting on the edge of the hotel, looking towards the Volcano and the lake on a calm and cool evening while sipping my hot Mocha was more than I could ask for on my first day in Manila. If only the sky was less hazy/foggy that evening, the view would have been more spectacular. Still, I was contented just to be there witnessing the amazing work of nature.

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Cafe Mocha (~90peso)

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San Mig Light (100peso or 188 peso for all-you-can-drink during happy hours!)

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with the lovely couple from Manila :)

I could not get enough of the crisp and clean air that I wished I could stay on longer, but it was time for dinner! And Anson brought us to the this exquisite and charming French restaurant nearby that I could not stop raving about until now. But that is certainly another story for another time! 😉

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Saucer and with with the Taal Volcano

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The magnificent Taal Volcano on Lake Taal

The only drawback about this place is the transportation getting there. There is apparently no public transport going to Tagaytay so it would seem that the only way getting there is by a taxi? Correct me if I’m wrong though. :)

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Entrance to Taal Vista Hotel

For more information about the hotel: www.taalvistahotel.com

Touch Down in Manila!

First of all, Selamat Hari Merdeka or Happy Independence Day to Malaysia! This year marks a special double celebration for those of us in Malaysia since our Independence day coincides with the Hari Raya celebration, which meant a longer stretch of holiday, not to mention the multitude of lemang and rendang as well. As for me, to enjoy my week-long break, I am now in Manila! We just arrived yesterday and boy, was it a long day! Flight was at 7.55am, which meant we had to wake up by 5am to go to the airport. Since we took the Air Asia flight which landed in Clark, we had to endure a 2-hour ride to Manila. *yawn* Along the way, look what I saw – Mexico! Little did I know that there was a Mexico in Philippines as well. :)

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Mexico in 1km?

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Exit to Mexico

On the way to Manila, we stopped by for lunch since I was famished. We only saw fast food outlets in the nearby shopping mall, so we settled for Kenny Rogers which was supposed to be a healthier option. I was surprised to find out that they serve Pork Ribs here, along with their Rotisserie chicken.

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Crowded Kenny Rogers

The serving of pork ribs was pretty generous, and the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender. Saucer thought it was a tad too dry though, but nothing some gravy can’t fix! :)

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Chicken and pork ribs combo

Another hour or so drive towards Manila and we’ve reached our hotel! We are staying at the Edsa Shangrila, located just next to the Shangrila Plaza and across the street from Megamall (both of which I intend to visit soon!).

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Our room

Our room was relatively spacious, with a large King-sized bed with 4 plush pillows and comfortable sheets.

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King-sized bed

I was surprised to find that they are still using CRT TV in the room instead of LCD or Plasma. Not a major complaint since I won’t be spending much time watching TV in the room. :) What I love though, is their complimentary Broadband access! At times the connection could be fabulous, with speed of about 100kps, but sometimes there could be intermittent disconnection. Again, not a major complaint.

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Spacious double room

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Lazy chair by the window

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Study desk

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Coffee/tea making facilities

Coffee and tea are provided, together with 2 small bottles of water daily. The snack bar is well-equipped together with a section with mini liquors, but everything comes with a price of course!

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Complimentary water

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Snack bar

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Mini bar price list (Current conversion rate: 100peso = RM7.02)

As with other Shangrila hotels, bathrobes are provided together with comfortable bedroom slippers. Shoe-shining service is complimentary as well!

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Bath robes

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Bedroom slippers and complimentary shoe-shining service

The bathroom is spacious with a full-sized bathtub within, complete with hot and cold shower. My only gripe is that they don’t have a proper toilet stall for the WC.

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Shower and bath tub

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Wash basin and WC

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Toiletries provided

Our room faces the city, which meant seeing cars and buildings every day when we wake up. Perhaps a better choice would be the garden view or the pool view, don’t you think so? I wouldn’t want to get stressed by looking at the Manila traffic jam every morning 😛

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View from the room

We went out right after checking in yesterday, and came back only around 10pm to find our bed nicely turned down for the night, together with warm lights switched on. Such a thoughtful gesture by the housekeeping staff. Now if you’ll excuse me, I should get myself ready to explore the shopping malls nearby! Update soon!

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Time for bed!

*P/S: Let’s hope I have the courage to eat a balut while I’m out! 😉