a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Food Quest : The Sandwich Guy


The Sandwich Guy, McKinley Hill, Taguig 
If you're traveling to the Philippines or someone who's just overwhelmed with all the dishes offered that are always paired with rice, you may want to check out the kiosks of The Sandwich Guy. 

Started in 2008, The Sandwich Guy (TSG) is a quick-service restaurant that offers healthy and easily-prepared sandwiches using whole wheat bread, pastas and baked potatoes.With locations positioned in malls and business districts, its products are aptly priced, with sandwiches ranging from 55-130 Pesos, pastas at 70 Pesos depending on the type while baked potatoes are at 75 Pesos. Not bad at all for everyday consumption. :)

For this particular visit, I ordered Mushy bacon sandwich, mushy potato, chicken pesto and a bottle of Tropicana orange juice. Not that I needed to explain, but I was loading up for a basketball game in the afternoon. Hihi. Although there were numerous seats around this branch, I opted for a take-out as I was in a hurry. 

Here goes my spread.

Mushy Bacon sandwich comes with bacon bits, beef, mushroom with loads of melted cheese. The bacon is steamed, not fried. The loaves of its sandwiches come in the shape of a hexagon. The lines made by the toaster makes it nice to look at. 

Mushy Bacon (95 Pesos)
The Mushy Potato are baby potatoes with mushroom and melted cheese. If you like the taste of Cheez Whiz, you'll definitely roll over with delight on this one. What I love about this dish is that the potatoes are not soggy. 


Mushy Potato (75 Pesos)
TSG is where I go when I am craving for quick serving of pesto. It can be ordered with just the basil leaves and cheese or if you're loading on protein order it with grilled chicken or tuna & crabstick. 

Chicken Pesto (95 Pesos)
As someone who is loyal to rice meals, I've always looked at sandwiches as something that gets me by until the next big meal but TSG made me change my mind. 

Find out the TSG branch near you by visiting its website or by subscribing to its Facebook page, The Sandwich Guy


Are you a foodie?  Join Manila Foodies on Facebook! We welcome kindred spirits who love food. You don't have to be a blogger or photographer to join. If you love food and enjoy talking about it,  then you are very much welcome to share your latest edible find.  Click here to direct you to Manila Foodies.

Friday, October 26, 2012

On Assignment : Columbia Eco Trail Pinatubo 2012 + Race Results & Winners

Photo Courtesy of Columbia Sportswear
For the past couple of weeks, I've been actively pursuing another passion of mine - food! With the relentless quest for my selfish indulgence, my body started clamoring for physical activity that will not put a strain on my taste buds and that overstretched tummy. 

One evening, while gravitating towards a delicious spread of seafoods near the beach , I received news that Columbia Sportswear is organizing a trail run in Mt. Pinatubo. After a considerable absence from intense physical activities, I was excited to get back on the dirt and sweat it off. 

Apart from participating as a blogger, I was also tasked by Dispatch Media to interview some runners, along with a friend, Dominic or better known through his blog as Dong Ho. (Please watch their travel-docu, PHL360!) Our team who barely slept the night before, arrived at Nayong Pilipino in Pampanga with less than an hour before the gun start for the 12K Category which Dom and I joined. With everything happening in fast-paced motion, we started with some work and interviewed some participants including Wanderlass and several other bloggers. 

Gearing up - our adorable video crew Justin Joyas & Franz Lopez
Almost all runners for our division had already gone ahead when we started running. The first kilometer was through a paved even road and we did just fine. I couldn't believe I was able to run for more than 5 minutes straight, hahaha! :P 

As we entered the trail before the Sacobia bridge, I started slowing down to relish the view. I just couldn't stop marveling at the silhouette of mountains which stretched on almost the entire route. The 12KM trail was even and sandy, like running on a beach with powdery sand. Compared to other trail runs I've joined where we had to cling on vines and wallow through mud, this was a very kind route, very ideal for people who enjoy running all the way and for strollers like me who's just after a good sweat and nice views. 


As this was dubbed as an eco trail event, only hydration on big containers were available. We all had to bring our own water bottles. 


Everyone had to pass through these wet portions which felt close to mud on contact. 


I enjoyed the views so much, it felt like I was in a relaxing out of town trip with friends  since I also kept bumping into runner friends along the trail. :) 

Left to Right from the Top : Franco (former colleague,), Jojo & Dan (Team USB), Journeying James & friend, Dominic, Lilliane & Vangie, Fellow bloggers :) 
According to the race results, I finished the 12K route in 2:23:11 hours. I don't really know how well I faired but my main goal was just to cross the finish line with an enormous smile on my face. 

One of my first thoughts as I completed the fun route was Drew Arellano, a celebrity crush since his Sunsilk Commercial, which was very popular in 2004. Unfortunately, our editor, the very bubbly, talented and proactive Upper Viceo had already interviewed him while I was still on the trail and was already out of sight by the time I finished. Oh well, some other time. :P 

We also interviewed Kiko Rustia, former host of Born to be Wild and reality-tv show cast of the Philippine Edition of Survivor in GMA7. I've seen him before in Romi Garduce's talk  in R.O.X. (Post here.) and didn't take any interest in his rock-solid muscles but his down to earth and easy-going personality sparked some admiration as we spoke to him about his experience on the trail. Character truly makes a person attractive! 

Two food stops and two rounds of movie after, we headed back to Manila feeling as though we just came from a week-long escapade. I am inspired to get back into shape! :) 

For an account of other bloggers' experiences at the Columbia Eco Trail, please visit : 
12K Division : Wanderlass 
25K Division : Running Pinoy and Jazz Runner 

Race results are available at http://strider.ph. Photos during the race have also been uploaded at the Columbiasportswear Ph Facebook Page

Thanks to Dispatch Team  for an amazing time, thank you and congratulations to Laira Legaspi & Ian of Primer Group, Tifanny Batungbacal (brand manager for Columbia Sportswear), race director Thumbie Remigio and to the rest of the organizing team! To all the participants and winners, congratulations! :) 

List of Winners :
5K 
Men's Category : 
1st Place -  Robin Angeles (00:23:23)
2nd Place - Ronald Marquez (00:25:08) 
3rd Place -  Richard Barroga (00:25:25)

Women's Category : 
1st Place - Mary Flor Rabina (00:30:18)
2nd Place - Brechje Marechal (00:31:53)
3rd Place - Maria Kristine Cosio (00:32:35)  

12K 
Men's Category : 
1st Place - Andy Mendoza (00:49:40)
2nd Place - Aris Suaverdez (00:50:13) 
3rd Place - Al Felias (00:58:00)  

Women's Category : 
1st Place - Michelle Anne Tibayacay (1:00:03)
2nd Place - Merichiel Morales (1:00:34)
3rd Place - Sandi Abahan (1:07:19).

25K 
Men's Category : 
1st Place - Lee Mcmeekin (1:43:50)
2nd Place - David Munro (1:46:12) 
3rd Place - Franklin Penalosa (1:48:14)

Women's Category : 
1st Place -  Gretchen Felipe (2:13:33)
2nd Place - Feliz Nepomuceno (2:26:27) 
3rd Place - Daisy Merca  (2:38:00) 



Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Experience On Air : Radio Interview for Byahe@Gimik

*All photos appearing on this post are courtesy of Claire Hecita, the program producer. Thank you! :) 
A few weeks ago, I accepted  an invitation to guest in a local radio show called Byahe@Gimik. The segment which is aired thrice a week via AM frequency DZAR 1026 aims to promote traveling. Every Friday, they bring in travel bloggers to talk about their experiences, share their tips and encourage others to experience the joy of wandering around. 

Despite being a fidgety speaker who has a lot to improve on public speaking, I agreed to go because I know some bloggers who have previously guested on the show and they all said that they had so much fun. Naturally, I want in on the fun. :P 

I was actually feeling bouncy and excited until a few hours before the show when the nerves finally hit me. My palms started sweating, my heart rate has escalated its thumping and I felt fear creeping into my head. What if I choke on air? What if no words came out? What if I can't remember a thing?! 

But the saner, ballsy side of me prevailed. During the interview, I heard myself laughing a lot and having a great time. The host, Mr. Tony Cuevas is a very professional and amazing interviewer. He's very perceptive, able to structure questions that are easy to answer, made me feel relax, at ease and  made me want to talk a LOT! 

Claire Hecita, the program producer who invited is also very warm and friendly, like an old friend. :) She went through my blog and already knew what sort of questions to ask so everything went smoothly during the show. The rest of the staff, including the guard at the ground floor also made me feel very welcome. 

During the interview
After the show, with Mr. Tony Cuevas (his co-host,  Jamie Fournier, was on leave that day)
and Ms. Claire Hecita (Program Producer)
As the interview came to a close, sir Tony gave me an opportunity to promote my blog and greet people. Out of nervousness, I almost forgot to greet my family. Wah! Good thing I was able to squeeze it in. 

Thank you to everyone who watched the live stream via Sonshine Radyo TV and  to those who listened on-air via DZAR 1026. :) Thanks also to my friend Drew for referring me to the show and to everyone who gave me tips on guesting, especially to Pinoy Adventurista (who suggested I bring a USB so I can get a copy of the interview right after the show) and JourneyingJames. Lastly, thanks Byahe@Gimik team for inviting me. I had a great time! :) 

If you are a fellow blogger reading this and have received the invite to guest on the show, I encourage you to accept. You get to share about your passion, meet people who are dedicated to their profession, promote your blog, greet loved ones on air and conquer your apprehensions. :) 

Did you miss my interview? You can listen to it below. I have a copy of the video where you can actually see me talking but I  decided to upload it as an audio file instead because I fidgeted and moved animatedly from my seat -A LOT, so it's very distracting. Haha! :P 


You can also view other bloggers' interviews by clicking on the links below:

Byahe@Gimik
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
1:00 PM -2:00 PM 
Hosts :  Mr. Tony Cuevas and Ms. Jamie Fournier
To those located in the Philippines, you can tune in to AM radio at DZAR 1026. If you are overseas, you can listen to the show by following these steps :  Frequency.
Live Stream also Available at : www.sonshinetvradyo.com








Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Assignment : Baguio Tourist Spots

The gang : Diplomat Hotel (photo by Erick Dantoc) 
As a city-based wanderer, I am always excited to get away and enjoy nature. I especially love the rush of cold air and though I love hiking, I don't always crave for roughing it up in the mountains. A place where one can enjoy both nature and the comforts of modern facilities is Baguio, a top destination for both local and foreign tourists and an amazing jump-off to exploring the rest of the Cordillera region. 

The path leading to The Mansion, the official summer residence of the Philippines' current president
Over the weekend, I had the delightful chance to go back here, along with six other blogger friends for a photography assignment. I enjoyed the trip so much, it did not feel like work, well for most parts anyway. I vow to dedicate a separate post about it, not out of gratitude for the all-expense paid trip, but out of wanting to share a happy experience, so hope you watch out for it. I am also hoping that the blessings will stretch some more so I can travel around the globe  for free ;).  Haha! Don't most of us have that whim? :) Nevertheless, whether I get to trot the world or not, I am very much thankful for this experience. 

Our task was to take photos of Baguio tourist spots that can be enjoyed by families and/or groups of friends. For three days, we shuffled around the city, nearby places in Benguet and capped off the hectic weekend with an unplanned side trip to the picturesque Ambuklao Dam. 

Among the places we visited, the one I enjoyed most is the hike up Mt. Sto. Tomas which we did on the second day. It's actually located in Tuba, Benguet but the major jump-off is Green Valley in Baguio. The trail is very reminiscent of the rocky terrain in Kabayan, Benguet (Kabayan Post here) and the foggy atmosphere on our way down reminded me of one of my favorite mountains - Mt. Tapulao. 

Sunny way up Mt. Sto. Tomas. Photo taken at 9:09 AM

Foggy Trail down. Photo taken at 10:22 AM
Other notable places we visited were the Bell Church , BenCab Museum, Camp John Hay and Ambuklao Dam, located outside Baguio City. These are places where nature and modern infrastructure unite.  As for the food, I enjoyed our dining experience at the Breakfast buffet of Azalea as well as our lunch at the Ketchup Community, a cluster of restaurants across Wright Park with nice interiors. 

Rocel in action. Photo shoot at the Bell Church
Ambuklao Da. Photo by : Emil of Asiong32.blogspot.com
Despite the crammed itinerary, I still missed a lot of spots. I haven't eaten at Bam Bennys, peruse the interesting menu of PNKY Cafe, go on a vegetarian dining spree at Bliss Cafe, try desserts at Choco-Late' de Batirol, go strawberry picking at the Strawberry Farm, check out an underground tunnel and hike to several waterfalls located near the city. Baguio is just so packed with places to visit and restaurants to dine. I cannot wait to go back! Like, next week? Hihi! 

I'd like to acknowledge my awesome travel buddies for the great time : Fellow mountain addict Ivan (Batang Lakwatsero), the gorgeous and eloquent Lauren (EpicPotato), ruggedly handsome Dong Ho (Escape Islands & travel show PHL360), master photographer Erick (RoadWorthyMan), cool & composed Rocel (siopaotonic) & itinerary guru Mervin (PinoyAdventurista). 

I am also hoping to bond some more and travel with new found friends, Baguio-based bloggers  - Emil and Chico.

Thanks to Darwin Cayetano, of Tracking Treasure who was the one who referred me to the management of Azalea Residences and of course to the wonderful staff of Azalea Residences - Star and Anjela who made sure we were happy all the time. You are amazing! :)

Want to travel to Baguio? Check out this itinerary I prepared. 
Part 1 Baguio Itinerary
Part 2 Here

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