I'm just a small fish in a small corner of this big Laguna, and this is how I've been swimming it

19 July, 2011

Forgot about Sugarhouse!

     I totally forgot about Sugarhouse when I blogged about cakes the last time.  Just goes to show how Paseo 4 can easily be overlooked when people are in Paseo 1 and vise versa. Paseo 4 also houses The Old Spaghetti House, Grilla, and seems to be practically "owned" by the Stores Specialists group what with Debenhams, M&S, Payless, and their other shops. Oh except for Ryuma, the "different" Japanese store and restaurant on the second floor. 

EK--Enchanted Kingdom!

     So after two years in Santa Rosa, I finally revisit the Enchanted Kingdom. The last time I went was ten years ago, and before that, when it was newly-opened.  EK is now 15 years old, and I honestly didn't think it would still, well, enchant.  The decision to go was impromptu--the folks were thinking of heading out to Nuvali.  But Saturday afternoon was the perfect day to avoid Solenad--a payday weekend, a very hot sunny day, and in July, balikbayan visitors season.  Also, I needed some stimulation.  Luckily, the family members agreed to go, just like that.

   I think what helped seal the deal was my having quickly checked the EK website, and finding that there is such a thing as a "Carousel Special" admission ticket. With this Php 150.00 rate, guests are free to go on unlimited rides on the Grand Carousel, the Bumbling Boulders, and the Boulderville Express.  The last two rides are mainly for young children. Since we had one young child who doesn't really qualify for many of the rides and the rest of us not too excited to ride anything really, this was the best choice. Also, it being a sudden decision made at 3:30 pm, this was the most prudent.

   The Boulderville Express

   EK has a lot of promos going on at the same time. From now until August, there is a Rainy Day Guarantee, so that when you visit and rains don't allow you to enjoy the rides, you can come back another time. Members of the AFP and their dependents are targets of another promo too. For more info, check out the website. It is also a neat, nice website. Surfing it is as pleasant as a stroll through EK. 

   This is my 4th time to visit the park, and the past three times were just as unplanned, and just as enjoyable.  On my second trip, a friend and I boarded the EK bus from the junction at the Glorietta in Makati. It was a nice and easy trip and I'm certain taking their bus still would be nice.
    We ran into neighbors there with their friends, and that's when I realized, EK is where our children will hang out with their friends as teens!

     The people running EK are consistently pleasant. I mean, they're just right, not overly courteous or anything...just light and happy. Well, of course the ride operators were more serious, but really, everyone, down to the custodians sweeping the grounds was nice.  Hats off to them and their trainors.

     At the EK, you can go Up, Up and Away

16 July, 2011

Red Ribbon in Paseo

    So I craved some cake. Like Shakey's was the "top-of-mind" choice for pizza, Red Ribbon was, for cake.  Well, really the Mango Cream pie.  The other choices in the Paseo de Santa Rosa area are the small Goldilocks (actually, out of Paseo, across the street, next to South Supermarket), which usually runs out of cake in the evenings; Poquito Mas, which houses the former Babycakes' cakes. Babycakes are not like the commercially produced Red Ribbon and Goldilocks ones.  They're closer to homemade. Wait, I believe they are homemade. They have good cakes and not so good ones...but their cheesecakes are really good.  It's a pity they closed the quaint little coffee shop in Paseo 3 (can't blame them, that area down there is so hidden).  But I say it's still a pity, knowing they did have regulars. Two years ago we enjoyed its cuteness, the availability of coffee, smoothies and snacks, and of course cakes. 

     Back to Red Ribbon.  I so craved something from there.  But the craving was gone when I remember the terrible customer service.  I'm not alone. A "tita" complained about the loooooong wait, just to learn that there was no delivery of mango cream pie. This despite having called up previously for availability.  I have had two experiences within the shop, of serious delays.  The first experience was when I picked up two or three mamons, and took them to the counter to pay.  There were 3 women there. All with nothing to do.  And it took FOREVER for me the transaction to be completed.  I still cannot understand why.  All I remember is they were all staring at the POS machine, and just to bag the stuff took an hour.
The last time was really ridiculous. First, there are very few tables in the shop and we were practically the only customers there.  Then, there were around 4-5 staff all standing next to each other, constantly fussing over the POS machine (the cash register).  So there was absolutely no excuse for the slow, dead-looking service.  All I asked for was a glass of water...it never came, even if the request was clear.  Finally, I asked again, at the counter---actually, I reached for the pitcher, which was not on a self-service counter at all...while asking.  Someone nodded, but still, no water. They were all still fussing at the machine.

     We haven't bothered asking Red Ribbon about this. What's up?
Considering it is a Jollibee company, and is next to Jollibee...it is surprising. 
Or is this the POS Machine training room for the crew for next door? Just asking.

food delivery in the area...or not

    It's a Friday, pizza day, in my book.  I haven't ordered a pizza for delivery ever since I moved here.  Well, I have, around twice, and both times from the Yellow Cab in Paseo de Santa Rosa.  Both times, the pizza came fast, earlier than the time I was informed it would take.

     So why do I keep forgetting this and keep calling Shakey's first, only to get turned off by the 24 hour waiting time.  I do exaggerate, the truth is they always ask me if I can wait for 5 hours. Seriously. Delivery is not a priority in Shakey's Paseo. I would be as confident as they were in maintaining this status quo, as this branch is one of the more nostalgic-Shakey's-of-my-childhood branches. It even has a "video game arcade".
   Shakey's has this thin crust, is greasier, and cheaper than a Yellow Cab pizza.  It's really just the top-of-mind.  Then I remember there is Yellow Cab.   Now Yellow Cab's main service is delivery, I guess.  I remember often ordering for delivery from the Makati Avenue branch, and occasionally dining in there.  I haven't actually entered the Yellow Cab in Paseo nor in Nuvali. The one in Paseo has interesting interiors that look like they're actually an exterior setting---with plants, stones, and pathways.

    There is Big 30, which, correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't exist in Metro Manila.  But it is expensive and honestly, I tried a take-out pizza once, and it isn't that great.  I also got turned off when I saw a pet "sugar glider" in a cage, sitting on one of the tables.  Staff washed the cage in the outside sink, and then set it back onto the table. Ew. First, I have issues with the animal's cage being rinsed and then placed on the table. Second, what is an exotic animal doing in a cage in a restaurant?  It is cute, but a bad idea...

    Greenwich is another "Filipino-style" pizza favorite, but they don't take credit cards.  Yellow Cab does, even for delivery.


11 July, 2011


    Kingbee is the Chinese restaurant along the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay highway, just after Paseo de Santa Rosa. Toward Tagaytay, it is just after Rose and Grace Bulalo.  This place is most packed on Sundays. Last year they added a big function room also in a separate building. It's comfortable Chinese food, delicious.  As is my custom I forgot to take photos of food...but then, I do not even want to venture into food blogging. I'll leave that to the pros.  A pity, as I was in the late Prof. Doreen Fernandez's freshman English classes (believe it or don't).  For those who don't now, she was the most prolific food writer.

On a clear day, you see Mt. Makiling across these fields. My fervent wish is that nothing is ever built on this land, to forever preserve the view.

 I include this shot with a bittersweet thought that this area along the highway will quickly be lined by more architecturally uninteresting buildings.  The lights are of the Phoenix gasoline station. Right before it is a newly-constructed commercial building. Right after it is the KGB call center.  Right after that, begins heavy traffic to Nuvali...

     Twilight turned me to mush, I suppose, as I stared outside, worrying about the disappearance of cogon fields and the increasingly heavy traffic on Saturdays.  On the foreground of this last photo are palm trees marking the entrance to two villages over a decade old--the Santarosa Estates 1 and 2.