3D2N in Sagada for only 3,000 Pesos All In

Tight budget after the holidays? Well, you don’t have to stay home and sulk, because for just 3,000 PHP, you can now explore Sagada and it’s best attractions, all in!聽 This includes the transportation, the lodging, the activities and even the food! To make your stay even more cost efficient, check out another article containing a list of tips and tricks that we have prepared to help ensure that your Sagada visit will be worth every cent and second. Do so by clicking聽here. Without further a due, here’s how our small group went to Sagada with a 3,000 all in budget:

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How to Get to Sagada from Manila

There are now busses that go straight to Sagada from Manila and vice versa, which is great, but we just want to warn you that it can be a pretty intense 12-hour bus ride. Nonetheless, if you won’t be using a private vehicle on your planned vacation, we think that this would be the best and most cost efficient mode of transport to the Mountain Province. All you have to do is check out Coda Lines, which is currently the only bus line that provides this straight back and forth ride. Here are the daily bus schedules and prices that you can book online:

CODA LINES

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Accommodation

Since so many tourists visit Sagada during the peak season (November-April), most of the locals who reside along the main road,聽 have made their living spaces into businesses. Almost all the houses are inns and lodges, but despite this, everything can still get fully booked. Make sure to contact possible hosts prior to your visit, just to be safe.

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Residential Lodge

We loved our lodge in Sagada. While most places offer a 350 PHP聽 per person a night room rate for big groups, we got a private room for just 250 PHP per person a night. We liked our room.

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The lodge is located near the tourism office, has a kitchen,聽bathrooms, balconies, television sets, and even free Arabica coffee. It had pretty much everything we needed to help make our stay wonderful. The main reason, however, as to why we loved it so much, was that the owners were so kind and accommodating. They gave us tons of tips from first hand experience and told us many stories about Sagada. Huge plus for great service.

Contact: Ms. Angel – +63 (02) 9196728744

Our Sagada Adventure

The more people you have聽 in your group, the cheaper your trip will be. We were 4 when we visited Sagada so we spent about 3,000 PHP on our short vacation. Imagine how much that can go down to if you are a group of 7-10. This has to be one of the most important saving tips. You’ll see how much being in a bigger group will lessen your expenses as you read through this article.

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The first thing we did when we arrived in Sagada, was head to the tourism office to pay for all of the activities that we wanted to try out, plus the environmental fee. You can also pay for transportation to different stops in this place. Make sure that after paying, you bring your receipts wherever you go because all the attractions will ask to see a proof of purchase.

Spelunking in the Lumiang and Sumaguing Cave Connection – 400 PHP per person

After fixing all of our plans, we dropped off our stuff in the Residential Lodge and got picked up by a van which then brought us to our first stop – the Lumiang and Sumaguing cave connection. At this point, we think it is very important that we tell you about the level of difficulty of this activity.

It is not easy.

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Lumiang cave entrance

However, if there is one thing you should never leave Sagada without trying, it is definitely spelunking. The highly visited caves there are the Sumaguing cave and the Lumiang cave. You have the option to go through Sumaguing only or do the cave connection which goes through both. The latter is much much much harder than the former as it requires you to do rock climbing, sliding through small holes, crossing areas near cliffs and passing through heaps of cold water. It took us almost 4 hours to get out of the caves but we came out of the dark place very fulfilled. We barely took photos inside out of fear that our gadgets would fall off the cliffs.

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One of the biggest cave connections in the Philippines

Now, if you just wanna do the Sumaguing tour, it is way easier because you’ll only have to go through one cave as opposed to two. A person can probably finish spelunking there in about an hour and a half. If you opt to do this one, it is alright as well. Afterall, the Sumaguing cave is more scenic, but the adventure is really in the Lumiang cave.

If we had to do it all again, we would still go for the cave connection.

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About to exit the Sumaguing cave

Just for fun, try swimming in the cave water. It is freaking cold but worth the try.

Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins Tour – 200 PHP total for a group of 1-10

Echo Valley

Sagada’s peaks have become a Filipino’s go to place to shout their pains and feelings out. From our lodge, it’s about a 15-20 minute to walk to the main entrance of Echo Valley.

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On the way there, we passed by one of Sagada’s first churches, which now serves as a symbol of their Christianity – the St. Mary’s Church.

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After walking ahead for a few more minutes, we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a graveyard! We toured around the people’s common cemetery. You can even pay tribute to war veterans and those who passed away during the SAF incident in those grounds. 聽Here, you’ll find out more about the Igorot’s rich culture and practices when it comes to the dead. Of which, we’ll tell you more about later.

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As we moved forward, we found ourselves nearing the Echo Valley. Upon arrival, we immediately started to shout our lungs out! You’ll be surprised by how clear the echo is. However, according to our guide, this practice of shouting in the mountains is usually done as a ritual by those who have lost loved ones – claiming they are speaking to the dead through the echoes. For this reason, be sure to ask your guide where you are allowed to scream. Otherwise, you will be disrespecting their culture.

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Echo Valley
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Trail to the Echo Valley
Hanging Coffins

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More than just an interesting sight to see, there is actually a reason why people place the dead overhead instead of underground. Since the locals live so high up, they believe that by putting the dead higher, they are giving them a chance to see the world instead of hide in the dark under soil. A chance to watch over people and catch up with what is happening. Very interesting.

Kiltepan Sunrise – 500 PHP total for 1-10 people

Imagine waking up to see a “Sea of Clouds”. You’ll literally feel like you’re on top of the world. The tour guide fetched us at around 4:45AM to drive us to the foot of the peak. The drive was about 10 minutes long and we had to walk to the viewing area for about 5 minutes. You can walk all the way there from your lodge if you don’t wanna pay the 500 PHP, but it is uphill and tiring. Also, you’ll have to wake up much earlier.

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Waiting for the sun to come out

If you don’t want to wake up too early to prepare your breakfast before going to see the sunrise, worry not as there are vendors near the viewing area that sell coffee, Swiss Miss hot chocolate, lugaw and sopas.

After buying your food聽 (if you plan to purchase), we suggest that you head straight to the viewing area and position yourself in your location of your choice. This is to avoid having zero visibility of the sunrise when more people start to crowd. Do not be afraid to walk down a bit. The view is better from there and less people are in the way as well.

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At around 6AM, the sun started to rise and the view of the “Sea of Clouds” turned even more beautiful than it already was. We couldn’t stop looking at it. We stayed there even when almost everybody was gone. Be sure to visit during cooler months like December to February聽 though so that you have higher chances of seeing this spectacular sight. It doesn’t聽come out every single day. We were just lucky.

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Sea of Clouds in Kiltepan

Bomod – ok Falls – 500 PHP (harder route) to 650 PHP total (easier route) total for 1-10 people

Now, this waterfall is beautiful. Something that you wont want to miss. To get there, you have to hike through the rice terraces, and you’ll be amazed by how the locals are able to sustain their crops throughout the entire year. You’ll learn about how they farm, the methods that they use and even more about Sagada in general.聽 Make sure to go early in the morning, before tons of people come.

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We went for the more difficult route, just cause we wanted to spend less. Going was easy, but going back up was crazy tiring and hot. Since the route is cemented, the path is basically stairs. Easy to go down from the top, hard to get back up. Nonetheless, we found the experience to be worth it.

The falls are huge. If you try swimming in the water, it is also very very cold. Still worth trying though cause you might never get to dip in such a natural source of crazy cold water ever again.

Day 3 – Food Trip and Weekend Market

After that tiring but eventful two days, we decided to spend our last day doing a food crawl in Sagada! Here, we got to try out some of the most famous restaurants like the Yoghurt House, the Strawberry Cafe, Bana’s Coffee, Sagada Brew, Salt and Pepper, and the Sagada Lemon Pie House. We had the chance to munch on fresh breakfast yoghurts, strawberries, lemon pies, arabica coffee, and more! If you’re already drooling, find out about our dining experience in all of these places when we upload our next article.

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Aside from restaurant hopping, we got the chance to go around their weekend market located just beside the tourism office. Here, you will find cheap food choices like the聽binatog聽freshly fried buchi with cheese, wheat bread, sticky sugared rice, fruits and many more. Food in the weekend market ranges from PHP5 – PHP35. That’s why if you’re in Sagada on a weekend, you shouldn’t miss visiting thos.

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Another thing to look forward to in the market is your聽pasalubong聽choices. Here, they sell Arabica Coffee for PHP150 – PHP250 and their famous black and red rice for PHP70 – PHP90 a kilo. As compared to the usual stores and souvenir shops, their options are much cheaper.

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In Summary:

*Computation of individual expenses into 4 people*
Jan 3 (Wednesday) DEPARTURE TO SAGADA
5:00PM

200 PHP (50 PHP per person in a group of 4)

Meet in Farmer鈥檚 Market to buy food for Sagada Trip

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Food for: Jan 4 (Breakfast and Lunch), Jan 5 (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner), Jan 6 (Breakfast)

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Buy: oil, 6 assorted canned goods, snacks, tomato, garlic, 聽onion, rice

8:00PM

1,500 PHP total per person back and forth

Ride Coda Bus Line in HM Transport, Cubao, Quezon City

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 DON鈥橳 FORGET: printed copies of tickets

 

Jan 4 (Thursday) SUMAGUING CAVE, ECHO VALLEY & HANGING COFFINS
7:10AM

 

ETA in Sagada

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Validate bus voucher going back to Manila in bus station

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Get tours from Tourism Office (Cave Connection, Echo Valley & Hanging Coffins, Kiltepan View, Bomod-ok Falls)

9:00AM

1,000 PHP total 2 nights (250 PHP per person in a group of 4)

Check-in at Residential Lodge

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Cook breakfast and lunch baon

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Prepare things for Cave Connection and Echo Valley/Hanging Coffins

10:00AM

400 PHP per person

Cave Connection
1:00PM Lunch

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Bring baon

2:00PM

200 PHP + 10 PHP entrance fee per head (60 PHP per person in a group of 4)

Echo Valley & Hanging Coffins Tour
6:30PM Dinner

 

Jan 5 (Friday) KILTEPAN SUNRISE & BOMOD-OK FALLS
3:00AM

 

Wake up for Kiltepan Sunrise and cook food for breakfast and lunch
4:30AM

 

Prepare for Kiltepan Sunrise

路聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 Bring breakfast and lunch baon

5:15AM

500 PHP total (125 PHP per person in a group of 4)

Watch Sunrise at Kiltepan View
6:30AM Breakfast
7:30AM

500 PHP total (125 PHP per person in a group of 4)

Prepare to go to Bomod-ok Falls

 

12:00 Lunch
12:00 onwards Rest and chill

 

Jan 6 (Saturday) CHILL DAY (Town Tour)
9:00AM 鈥 11:00AM

400 PHP per person in a group of 4

Chill and shop for souvenirs | Eat around Sagada
1:00PM Prepare things and get ready for check-out
4:00PM Take bus going back to MNL

 

Jan 7 (Sunday) ARRIVAL IN MANILA
4:00AM ETA in Cubao

If you need an escape from your busy city life, wanna feel the cold breeze on your skin and be one with nature, then Sagada is the place for you! Go on your Sagada adventure for 3,000 and below. To check out how it can be much better than ours, click here

 

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Tips and Tricks for Your Next Sagada Adventure – Things We Wish We Knew

If you’re excited to visit the Sagada, Mountain Province , then you 聽really shouldn’t forget to prepare for the trip as well as you can. Click here for our budget itinerary and scroll down for exclusive tips and tricks that we listed just for you. Basically, a bunch of things 聽that we wish we knew before we went too.

1. Do not do the Echo Tour or the Adventure Trail

When choosing your tour for the Echo Valley and Hanging coffins, only request for the Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins tour and not the whole Echo Tour or trail. The latter sounds appealing as it is cheap considering that it seems like you’re going to lots of places – Bokong falls, underground river, St. Marry’s聽 Church, Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins – but it could disappoint you very much.

The Bokong Falls is really tiny, almost like water gushing out of low rocks. The underground river barely has water, so you might not find it to be so nice.聽 St. Mary’s Church is part of any tour because you need to walk passed it on your way to the Echo Valley.聽 Basically, it is not worth it. The only nice parts are the Echo Valley and Hanging Coffins.

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The Hanging Coffins

2. You cannot shout in all the areas of the Echo Valley

Contrary to popular hearsay, you cannot just start screaming everywhere in the Echo Valley. It is an Ifugao belief that the echos are actually ways to communicate to those who have already passed. While most Filipinos scream there to get things off their chest or enjoy hearing the sound of their voices, apparently it has deeper meaning for the locals. Screaming in restricted in certain areas and can result to being asked to pay fines or worse, offending locals.

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3. Spend for the Easy Trail from the Bomod – ok Falls

There are 2 hiking routes that you can take from the Bomod-ok falls back to the road. One, which is considered harder, costs 500 PHP, while the easier one costs 650 PHP total. This is split depending on how many you are in a group. We went for the cheaper option, but wow. It was tiring. The heat didn’t help either. The 650 is a much better trail according to all the locals that we talked to.

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4. Bring an Umbrella and Sun Block

You’d think that because Sagada is so high up, you wouldn’t need sunblock at all. You’d think it must be freezing over there. Well we thought so too and we regret not reading more about it. When we went down to see the waterfalls in Sagada it was nice and cold. But suddenly as we were going back up, it shifted from cool breeze to extreme heat. An umbrella and sunbock would have made the hike so much more enjoyable since there are also barely any trees to give you shade when you are hiking to the Bomod-ok falls.

Also, we were in Sagada for 3 afternoons. We have to say that in all three days, around lunch time, it gets crazy hot up there.

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5. Recommended Accommodation

When it comes to the cheapest place to stay in, we would recommend the Residential Lodge which is聽 located in the main road, slightly across the Yoghurt House. They have private rooms for PHP250 per person a night,聽 inclusive of a common bathroom, a shared balcony, free Sagada Arabica coffee for the duration of your stay, use of their kitchen (Additional PHP100 for big groups) and it is very near the tourism office and the famous restaurants. Aside from that, they have very nice hosts that provided us with great service.

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6. The Cheapest Magnets in the Main Road

The cheapest nice magnets in the main road can be found in the Yellow House. Most places sell it for 80 or 85, but the Yellow House sells it for 75. Heres the catch. The owner is usually not there. But you can go to the crepe store beside the souvenir shop and find him, serving guests. He runs both stores on his own so do visit him instead of calling him to come to the shop. We are sure that it will lessen the burden. Other okay magnets are sold at 50 in most places.

During the weekends more souvenir shops open. If you are in Sagada on a weekend, wait until then to buy your souvenirs.

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7. Cheapest Coffee and Sagada Rice

If you’re scouting for the cheapest Arabica coffee in the Main Road, we would recommend two places. If you’re buying on weekdays you should get it from the Residential Lodge.500 grams for just 150 PHP. In other places, it costs 175 PHP – 180 PHP.

On weekends, you can also buy the coffee in the weekend market. They have the same price as the one in the Residential Lodge. You might even be able to pull down the prices down a bit more by haggling.

For the cheapest rice grains, the weekend market is definitely the place to check out. As compared to souvenir shops and other establishments in Sagada which sell black and red rice for 100 PHP or more, the ones found in the market only sell theirs for 70 PHP – 90 PHP a kilo.聽 Again, try to haggle down the price.

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8. Slippers/Sandals over Rubber Shoes

If you think that you have to bring rubber shoes because you’ll need to go hiking, well think again. Trails are not muddy as they are actually cemented. It is harder to be in rubber shoes as you have to go through water. The best thing to wear in Sagada adventures would definitely be sturdy slippers or sandals.

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9. Do Grocery, Bring tumblers and Reusable Tupperwares

Sometimes, it is very practical to pack food on trips, especially since sometimes in Sagada, van pick ups can take a while. It would suck to get extremely hungry and tired. Take this tip and cook your own meals in the Mountain Province. We cooked pretty much all our meals and we never got hungry during our stay. You can bring a butane gas stove like we did or find a lodge that has a kitchen.

10. Go in Big Groups or Join groups on tours as it makes everything cheaper

If you’re doing a solo trip, or are planning to go in a small group, we’d recommend joining other groups in tours. Most of the tour prices in Sagada are fixed meaning no matter how many you are doing the same tour, you’ll only have to pay the same amount. More people = less money to spend! You can ask the people from the Tourism Office to look for other groups with the same schedule as yours so you can join in. Besides, the more, the merrier! Be open to meeting new people during your visit. It’s fun!

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District Komiks’ Moving Kitchen is Ready to Bring Great Mediterranean & Filipino Food Straight to You!

Don鈥檛 you just hate it when you鈥檙e hungry and craving for good food, but you have to drive, go through traffic, wait in line and get frustrated before getting the chance to聽 eat your scrumptious meal? Well, we feel you – and we want to help you out! A new Archie comics inspired restaurant in Antipolo City just launched their newest service, a moving kitchen in a form of a food minivan which goes around town to serve you the best sandwiches and snacks in the area! That’s right. It doesn’t stay in one place, it actually聽 drives through聽 the different parts of Antipolo, in the hopes of feeding more people! Get ready to taste affordable Mediterranean and Filipino food from District Komiks, conveniently and delectably!

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The restaurant owners invited us to the launch of their new food initiative last Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at District Komiks. We were told that the minivan was to pass through the many churches in Antipolo City to provide food for people who might be doing their “Simbang Gabi” this Christmas season or are simply hungry.聽 What was once just a prop used for their catering gigs, is now an actual service van. What a great advance.

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The one thing that the owners really want to highlight in this moving kitchen is Antipolo City鈥檚 most known delicacy – the cashew nut. After brainstorming about the best way to elevate the product,聽 Ms. Carolyn and her son, decided to create their own version of the Fried Suman which they now serve in both the restaurant and the minivan. Something that tastes good, and that they are extremely proud of.

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This super delicious dessert is made of thick deep fried logs of sticky rice rolled on to mounds of crushed cashew. Yum! It comes in three flavors – mango, sugar glazed, and chocolate – all of which we all enjoyed!

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Mango Flavor
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Sugar Glazed Flavor
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Chocolate Flavor

This is not all, as they also serve sandwiches and drinks in their moving kitchen.

So if you happen to live in Antipolo, look out for the District Komiks Minivan and enjoy a nice snack conveniently.聽

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Ms. Carol & son – The owners

Open Kitchen Food Park Serves a Variety of Food You’ll Want to Feast On

Food parks have been popping out here and there, and we know; it is a bit of a cliche to talk about another one. However, we don鈥檛 want you to miss out on getting to know this newly-built family-run food space that takes pride in two things: Having tons of parking and offering a wide variety of food and drink items – Open Kitchen Food Park!

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The park鈥檚 main concept comes from the founders鈥 fascination of 聽鈥渓utong bahay鈥, or home cooked food. Thus its name, the Open Kitchen. Unlike most food parks, they don鈥檛 just sell big bowls of juice, they also freely sell booze of many kinds. They have a no cuisine repetition policy to ensure that people can can try out food from different parts of the world and not just 1 or 2. Their open under the sky typed atmosphere, live bands, variety of dishes and drinks, really makes them a pretty good place to hangout. If we lived closer to this food park, we鈥檇 probably be there more often too! Here鈥檚 a peek at some of the dishes that they gave us the chance to try.

Food Cooked from An Open Kitchen
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Oji-San Yakitori Bar

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Spicy Tuna Roll

3 stars

This dish from the Oji-San Yakitori Bar was actually pretty good. What we like about their roll was that it had a lot of flavors and the rice they used was sticky enough to hold everything together. Our only negative comment though, is that it we don’t think that it was spicy enough to be called a Spicy Tuna Roll. Upon suggesting that the spice level be adjusted, we discussed how maybe they could explore the option of providing spice preference options in the future.

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Las Vegas Roll

4.5 stars

One of the best things that we got to try out at the Open Kitchen! We love how the dish had cream cheese and perfect fried imitation crab sticks. The texture was also good as it felt crunchy and smooth at the same time. One of the things we would definitely order again.

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Feast from the Sea

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Buttered Prawns

1 star

Although we love the idea of seafood in a food park, the dish itself was not very appetizing. Unfortunately, it was no longer fresh when it was served to us so it tasted completely raw and even gave one of us a stomach ache. The serving size was not so good either. There were 聽2-3 pieces of prawns with rice. Usually when there is only a small amount of prawns served in restaurants, they are peeled. This wasn鈥檛. The rice was old and hard. Nothing in the dish seemed to be okay. If we could give this a rating below one, we probably would. However, on the plus side, upon speaking to their management about this, they immediately took action to compensate the bad food. This says a lot about the food parks good customer service.

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NYNF (Not Your Ordinary Nachos & Fries)

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Nachos

4 stars

We enjoyed their nachos! We鈥檙e giving this four stars because of how perfectly crunchy the texture of their chips were. Also, it doesn鈥檛 turn soggy even after being soaked in cheese for a pretty long time. We liked the generous 聽amount of toppings they gave!

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Fries

4 stars

We are not easily impressed by fries, but we think we鈥檝e spotted a pretty good one! NYNF鈥檚 version of this potato fave is indeed something we鈥檇 come back for. It has a similar taste to McDonald鈥檚 seasonal Twister Fries! If you suddenly crave for this and it isnt in season yet, just drop by the Open Kitchen to get a similar satisfying taste.It was not oily and it had a light crunch with a mild salty taste which we loved.

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Wings Section

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Salted Egg Wings

4.5 stars

Salted Egg has been widely popular this year, which is why seeing it made into any kind of food makes us excited! Our verdict for salted egg + chicken? An almost perfect score! We enjoyed how the chicken was fried to perfection. Aside from that, the salted egg powder they used did not overpower the natural chicken taste, nor did it fall off like powder. It stuck well. More reasons to enjoy salted egg on different kinds of food.

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Wagyu

3 stars

When eating Wagyu, we鈥檙e always after that 鈥渕elts in your mouth鈥 feeling. The Wagyu sold in Open Kitchen had a very delicious taste, but we鈥檙e giving it only three stars because it doesn鈥檛 really melt in the mouth and we found the cubes to be pretty small.

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The Juice Joint

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Blue Lemonade

5 stars

One word – refreshing! What we liked about their version of blue lemonade is how the sour and sweet taste was mixed too perfection. Neither of the 2 overpowered the other. Aside from that, they serve their juices in huge cups with a buy one take one promo! So worth it.

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Cucumber Juice

4 stars

This drink is another thing that we鈥檒l probably come back for in Open Kitchen! The cucumber taste was strong but because of the hints of sweetness in every sip, it was great! We enjoyed how refreshing it tasted.

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Jompy鈥檚 House of Pasta

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Scampi

4.5 stars

A classy pasta dish in a food park? You won鈥檛 believe it, but Open Kitchen has it! What we love about their Scampi is the fresh shrimps they鈥檝e mixed into the dish. Despite its simplicity, you鈥檒l be craving for it鈥檚 seafood flavor because to us, it was cooked to perfection.

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Takopop Authentic Takoyaki

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Takoyaki

5 stars

One of the booming food crazes nowadays are Takoyaki balls. 聽Takopop did not disappoint! What we loved about their Takoyaki was how they used real octopus inside each ball. It came with 聽a generous amount of japanese mayonnaise and bonito flakes! Yum! They also serve it hot and fresh, which made us enjoy every bite! Their service was great too! Very friendly and accommodating. Our number 1 dish for the night when we visited Open Kitchen.

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Cantonese Dimsum House

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Sizzling Spareribs

1 star

Spareribs sizzling on a plate is definitely eye candy! However, we didn鈥檛 enjoy the dish so much as after a few minutes, tons of oil started coming out of the pork. It was, for the lack of a better term, a little disgusting. We also didn鈥檛 fancy the corn and meat combo. If they wanna serve a sizzling dish with a side, maybe they can place the side in a different container. Also, they have to do something about the oil problem.

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Waffee Waffle and Ice Cream Bar

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Bubble Waffles

3 stars

If you鈥檙e looking for a good dessert after your heavy meal, Waffee鈥檚 Bubble Waffles would be a perfect pick! The waffles were great. We enjoyed every isingle bite. Our only negative comment though is that the ice cream on top melted so fast 聽due to the heat from the waffle. Maybe they could change their ice cream into something with better consistency and stand for heat.

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Holic Bar

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Matcha Milk Drink

4 stars

What we love about this drink is its authentically bitter matcha taste. Its mixture with the sweet milky concoction really made the flavor stand out. We love how it was served to us in a wine glass because it made the drink look classy, expensive and appetizing. Yum!

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Ginger Concoction

3 stars

A very interesting take on the Filipino salabat! We鈥檙e not huge fans of ginger-based drinks, but for you salabat lovers; you might just enjoy this. What makes it unique is that it is served cold. The ginger really gave off a strong taste and a bit of minty flavor as well. Some might find it 聽refreshing too.

Beary Brew

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Hazelnut Frappe

4.5 stars

We鈥檙e not huge fans of chocolate-based drinks, but this Hazelnut Frappe definitely got us – we couldn鈥檛 stop sipping! We loved the mixture of the chocolate and mocha taste in the drink. The thickness of the drink was just right. A nice order to cool down after a good meal.

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Guevara

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Cuban Sandwich

4.5 stars

Guevara’s version of the Cuban Sandwich is definitely a winner! Aside from the generous serving which comes with banana chip sides, what we enjoyed is its flavor. The chicken blended well with the vegetables and the bread has a very full texture when you take a bite.

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Future Business Plans

With their growing customers and unique food stalls, Open Kitchen is set to put up more of their branches. Their next stop? Sheridan Street in Mandaluyong! And guess what? It鈥檚 the first Open Kitchen to be put up inside a building! Ortigas people, rejoice!

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So the next time you feel like chilling with lots of food, drinks, friends, and music – just head on over to any of Open Kitchen鈥檚 branches to satisfy your cravings. Enjoy a great night with great food! As for us, we鈥檙e still craving for those Takoyaki balls and Fries! We will definitely come back soon!

Open Kitchen Food Park

Contact: 0917 834 2446

Business Hours: 4:00PM – 12:00MN

Email: foodandbevconcepts.mgt@gmail.com

Branches:

  • 34-36 P. TUAZON Boulevard, Brgy. Kaunlaran, Cubao, Quezon City
  • 61 Congressional Ave. Extension, Quezon City

 

Our Binondo Food Crawl Adventure

Over the weekend,聽 Tralulu, a digital booking platform that allows visitors from all over the world to experience traveling and eating at places like the locals do,聽took us on one heck of an amazing Binondo food crawl adventure. We went through hidden holes in the walls, that surprisingly served some of the best food in the city, saw beautiful sights and even learned a little more about the culture and history of Binondo. We really enjoyed this wonderful treat.

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This tour was co-organized by iDiscover, a non-profit group, advocating for culture and heritage preservation through making maps. They partner with locals in different communities to create routes for people to take when they visit, featuring the best of what each place has to offer. Activities, sites, learning experiences and even food, they really get their way around even the most hidden but valuable spots. For our tour, we got to try out their new Binondo map and celebrated its launch through this food adventure! The experience was definitely one for the books.

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We met up in Binondo Church, which, by the way, is the only church in the country that conducts mass in four different languages. We had no idea who we were going with, but later on found out that we were traveling with a group of bloggers and vloggers. From there, we walked to our first stop.

Home of the best lumpia in Binondo is the extremely hidden New Po-Heng Lumpia House! You literally will not find it if you are not looking for it specifically. They have been open for twenty years now, successfully selling their food to a bunch of regulars. Their lumpia has fourteen ingredients and is made right in front of the customers. This is their original branch, but they have also opened a restaurant in Ongpin street. If you can鈥檛 find the place, don鈥檛 worry! They deliver too! And it’s free if you are from the Binondo area.

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Second stop – Ying Ying! What鈥檚 interesting about this restaurant is that it actually was a house for forty years before it was converted into a tea house in the early 2000鈥檚. They specialize in serving dimsum.聽

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On our way to our third stop, we passed by Capitol, a historical cinema that has been abandoned for years now. It is being converted into a condominium, but the facade鈥檚 design is to be kept the same. Do you think that this is an issue of historical preservation like we do, or do you support the transformation of this old historical landmark?

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Our third stop was more of food for the eyes. Our official guide, Andrew from Tralulu took us to the Rooftop View Deck located in one of the condominiums in Binondo, the highest point in the area; where we got the chance to see the entire Metro Manila from its four sides (Quiapo, Binondo, Manila Bay, and Intramuros)! Pretty cool, huh? Aside from the jaw-dropping view, we got to enjoy the windy and chill vibe up there. Indeed, it is a great place to relax, but to get access to this, you must either be a unit owner or part of the people going on a tour with Tralulu.

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Before we talk about our fourth stop, we would like to tell you about this very controversial arc situated in the bridge connecting Binondo and Intramuros. The design is beautiful, but is found very disrespectful by the locals. Why? Because the Chinese symbols at the middle, can literally be translated to 鈥淎 town of China鈥, almost as if there is a claim of ownership. Something we found interesting to learn about during the food crawl.

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Our fourth stop was in a humble open kitchen called the Shanghai Fried Siopao. Considering how we got used to different varieties of siopao, we found their version very interesting. Upon taking our first bite, we found that it had a bit of soup inside which is very much like the siopao you can find in China! Don鈥檛 let the name deceive you, though. It is still steamed siopao, but the bottom part is fried to a nice brown. The pork, which looked like a meatball, was cooked really well and everything about it was just so enjoyable. Enough for us to crave for more.

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Our fifth stop was in Lan Zhou La Mien, a noodle house that is famously visited by migrants. Authentically Chinese too! It has been in business for 11 years now and upon trying their best selling beef lamien noodles, we immediately saw why people kept on coming. The beef was really tender and the noodles were hand pulled which you can see through their glass windowed kitchen. The soup they use is boiled for 24 hours which is why it was very flavorful. Aside from this, they have really huge serving sizes which is a plus factor for hungry people like us! We would definitely come back here.

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The sixth and last stop is in Cafe Mezzanine/Eng Bee Tin where we got to try out Binondo鈥檚 best desserts like the Ube Hopia, Custard Hopia, Salted Egg Yolk Siopao, Buchi, and more. What makes them the best? Well, everybody absolutely loves them which is why now they are present in over 24 branches.. and counting! Desserts we loved the most? We鈥檒l definitely go for the Hopia variants and the Salted Egg Yolk Siopao. Yum! Lastly, what amazed us with this cafe鈥檚 story is how the Chua family places all its revenue in their advocacy to support firemen. This came from their father鈥檚 means of giving back to the community he was once a part of.

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Overall, the experience was really great. We were happy to have been able to travel like locals around Binondo by checking out the iDiscover App (You can download this for FREE by searching 鈥渋Discover Manila鈥 via Play Store or App Store) and map聽and being toured by the best Tralulu guides!聽We will never see Manila the same way again!

 

 

Book your next Tralulu experience here:聽https://tralulu.com/instant_booking

Check out the idiscover app for Binondo here:聽https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/idiscover-manila/id1263471614?mt=8

Check out the idiscover maps for Hong Kong here:聽聽https://i-discoverasia.com/product/hong-kong-travel-guide/.

Cafe Dominique – Where Food Meets Happiness

If you can鈥檛 wake up early enough to try out the 199 PHP breakfast buffet at Cafe Dominique, well don鈥檛 worry cause they do still serve good food, which you can order, from day to night! Here鈥檚 a look at our dining experience, as well as the family centered background of the cafe.

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A Passion for Family and Food

Two architects that love both food and each other, used to constantly search for a nice place where they could get their big families together, without having to spend so much. Since no venue seemed to be a perfect fit for what they wanted, they stopped hopelessly looking, and decided to just build one for themselves. They created and built a beautiful cafe, and named it after their daughter, Dominique. With age-old family recipes, passed down from their mothers, they crafted multiple dishes, while making sure not to compromise the quality. They continuously take into consideration the comments from critics and customers, and according to their marketing head, Nikole, what they add and remove from their menu, depends on the how the customers react to the dishes. Everything about the cafe has the owner’s family and friends written all over it. Now, they can celebrate special occasions in the place they built themselves.

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Cafe Dominique鈥檚 Soon-To-Be Bestsellers

Some of the cafe鈥檚 best sellers include Filipino favorites with a twist like Kare-Kareng Bagnet, Pesto-Crusted Bangus, Crispy Sisig, and Salpicao. Now, we tried out dishes that don鈥檛 fall under this list, and here鈥檚 what we thought about each.

Creamy Four Cheese Pizza

Rating:聽4 stars

Price: 320 PHP

This was perfectly crisp and cheesy. Nothing about the pizza was too much or too little. We liked that it had garlic and that it didn’t feel like we were getting tired of eating it. The arugula on top was great, not just for the presentation, but also for the flavor, as it made the pizza taste somewhat refreshing. From 2 pizza lovers, we can honestly say that we enjoyed eating this very much.

Spinach and Cheese Fondue

Rating:聽3.5 star rating

Price: 210 PHP

Even if not too many people like the spinach and cheese combination, as it can never give someone a huge burst of wowing flavors, we found this to be pretty good. Their dip was creamy and somewhat milky. We also found the bread to be flavorful. Unfortunately, it was not fresh out of the oven, so it was a little chewy as opposed to being more crisp.

Chicken and Fries

Rating:3.5 star rating

Price: 170 PHP

Sounds simple right? But what made their chicken and fries standout was not the meat and potatoes per se. It was actually their variety of sauces, of which our favorite was the maple syrup. Who would have thought that maple syrup would go so well with chicken? Negative comments? Just that they should change the name of the dish to Chicken and Wedges as opposed to Chicken and Fries as the potatoes were too big to be fries.

Seafood Marinara

Rating:聽5 stars

Price: 360 PHP

What we enjoyed about this pasta dish was it鈥檚 balance. The right amount of that simple tomato-based taste and seafood. The clams and scallops were so fresh. The bread was crunchy enough and went well with the soft pasta noodles.

Roast Beef with X.O. Sauce

Rating:聽3.5 star rating

Price: 295 PHP

We just wanna start by talking about the mashed potatoes on this dish. It was surprisingly smokey. Something different. We liked how it wasn’t completely mushed, and yet, it was enjoyable. We wish there was more of it though.

As for the roast beef itself, the meat was very soft and tender. Nothing out of the ordinary, but nonetheless, yummy.

Philly Cheese Steak

Rating:聽聽4 stars

Price: 260 PHP

The bread was crunchy and soft at the same time. The filling was also overflowing with nicely-colored vegetables which made the dish look a whole lot more appetizing. It was very flavorful, but we鈥檙e giving it a 4 because of how challenging it was to eat the sandwich. Everything kept falling apart every time we lifted it.

Cafe Dominique is perfect for family meals and chilling with friends. The simple but beautiful interior that goes with good food and service is sure to make you, and all the people you鈥檙e with, happy. Cafe Dominique. Where food meets happiness.

Cafe Dominique

Opens 11AM and Closes 10PM

Contact: +63 9064056188

Facebook and Instagram: @CafeDominique

Address: 42 Examiner St., West Triangle, Quezon City

This 199 PHP Breakfast Buffet at Cafe Dominique has a Waffle Station and Unlimited Drinks

199 PHP for 5 hours worth of eating unlimited food? You must be thinking, 鈥淚mpossible!鈥 Well guess what? It鈥檚 not, as Cafe Dominique, just launched their weekend breakfast buffet for this crazy affordable price! But hurry up, as this promo will only be running from the months of November to December 2017, so you should definitely pay them a visit as soon as possible!

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If you鈥檙e questioning the quality of their dishes due to the price, we can say, from first hand experience, that you will definitely get more than what you paid for. Not just in terms of quantity, but even in terms of quality. Although we can’t give you a review of all the items on their buffet menu as they change every week, we can talk about their 3 constants – the waffle station, the bread table and their drinks area.聽

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What sets Cafe Dominique apart from all the other breakfast buffets that we鈥檝e tried out is that from 7am-10am, you can enjoy unlimited waffles made right in front of you! UNLIMITED. The batter tastes so good and just works so well with the toppings. Between the strawberry, maple and chocolate flavored waffles, we liked the latter the most. We probably had over 4 plates of waffles during our visit! We really enjoyed it.

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As if that isn’t enough, your 199 PHP also comes with unlimited drinks! Coffee, milk, juice or lemon water? Take your pick and get as much as you want.

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The bread station of the breakfast buffet has pandesal and spreads like butter,聽 jam and peanut butter. They also have a microwave there, where you can heat up your food.

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As for the buffet itself, during our visit, there were 9 food offererings. There was champorado, beef pares, longganisa, meatballs, tawilis, pancit, scrambled eggs, vegetable soup and fried rice. We really enjoyed most of the dishes considering their price.

Apart from the really affordable breakfast, we also loved their laid-back ambiance. We found Cafe Dominique to be bright and spacious. Perfect for starting the day.

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Visit Cafe Dominique on any weekend this November and December! You might want to make a reservation though, as from what we saw, the place just never seemed to run out of people. For聽 only 199 PHP, you’ll surely get more than what you’ll pay for.

Thank you Cafe Dominique for inviting us over. We will be back soon!

Cafe Dominique

Weekend Breakfast Buffet

Open from 7:00am-10:00am

ADRESSS:聽Site 42, Examiner St., West Triangle, Quezon City, Metro Manila

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/CafeDominique/

INSTAGRAM:聽https://www.instagram.com/cafedominique/