Jamaica for You!

Imagine that as you take a bite of that Jerk Chicken, you hear the lovely voice of a flight attendant over the microphone saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, we have just landed the Norman Manley International Aiport. Welcome to Jamaica!”

That was what I felt with every sample I took from Racks’ newest food offering, the Jamaican Jerk Chicken. The food was so good that it was like I was being transported to that island off the Caribbean Sea the whole time I was eating.

My family and I seldom eat at expensive restaurants, but as we were all craving to have a taste something new to our palates, one of these few days luckily fell on my birthday, while we were at a mall, already hungry with all the walking we were doing. It was then when we passed by Racks with its tarpaulin advertising its new Jamaican Jerk Chicken which is sold for 275 pesos. “Not bad for this special occasion,” we all agreed.

Departure to Jamaica

Racks

We entered the restaurant, got greeted by one of the friendly crews, and was escorted to our table. My family ordered whatever that sounded good to their ears on the menu while I decided to go for the Jamaican Jerk Chicken, thinking, “Hey, a new food for a new year in my life. I hope this one’s good.”

And that day proved to be a great one not only for myself but also for my taste buds and tummy. I wasn’t wrong in choosing Racks’ new addition to its menu.

Made up of grilled boneless chicken thigh and seasoned with the best Jamaican Jerk ingredients: Scotch bonnet, allspice berry or the Jamaican pepper, and thyme, the Jerk Chicken had that perfect smoky taste and was rich in flavor due to it being marinated. I really felt like its Jamaica brought right on to my plate!

It was also served with java rice which had a different twist to it, I think, vegetable salad, corn on the cob, fried plantains, and any side dish of your choice, which all made me sated and full when my plate was finally empty.

Considering the price and the amount of satisfaction it gave me, I can say that every penny spent on that food was surely worth it!

*Article originally published here.

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Foodtografia de Camilla Pt 2

SM Mall of Asia. The first time I heard the name on television, I thought it was some humongous, extravagant, official shopping center of the world’s largest continent—Asia. Well, it is almost, actually.

According to its website, the 407,000-square-meter SM Mall of Asia, or simply MoA, is the Philippines’ largest and the world’s third biggest mall. But Wikipedia says that it is the second in the country, third in Asia, and fourth in the world. It’s confusing which one is true, yet surely, I don’t want to scare people like me who have phobia with numbers, so I won’t bombard this post with digits. But with its vastness, MoA has a lot of space to be more than just a mall, for it is also a tourist spot, and a leisure and entertainment go-to place.

 

Photo grabbed from Wikipedia

 

It was after a few months since its opening in 2006 when I first experienced its hugeness. My family and I just went there for Christmas to check out what everybody and the media were all talking about. When we arrived, we were somewhat dismayed by its size that at the end, we were only able to walk up to one-fourth of the whole mall, then we all decided to go back home. For us, it was just like any other malls, only farther from our place, bigger, and more tiring to roam into.

That was in 2006. I never thought of ever going back in there ’cause, hey, SM Megamall‘s nearer to my home, and though it’s not as gigantic, it is still big enough to house all the shops that have my needs.

But like they say, things change and people can have a change of heart. Since the first quarter of this year, MoA has become my rendezvous with a friend or two. Then I went to its SMX Convention Center just recently for the 33rd Manila International Book Fair (which made me reminisce walking at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre), and I even celebrated my birthday there with my mom and younger brother.

Maybe it’s because I grew mature and I have come to widen my horizon, or maybe I got tired of the malls around my place, or better yet, maybe I finally find it more refreshing and liberating–if that’s the right term–to be in a place where I can choose whether to stroll in open air or in an air-conditioned area than just the fully air-conditioned one. Whatever it is, I have seen MoA in a whole different light.

It is especially nice to walk and hang out at its esplanade during the night when the sun won’t have the luxury of burning one alive anymore and only the cold air can touch a person’s skin (Err… Not really, it is also a place where couples hold hands and cuddle. Please believe me when I say that I don’t do any of that anywhere. I swear! hehehe. Little Miss Defensive in the house, yo!)

Anyway, with a size like that, it is undoubtedly abundant in restaurants of all kinds in every corner. But the things is, irony comes when I tell you that there’s a scarcity in my little photo collection of the food I ate there so far. hehe. Still the same problem with my blog post Foodtografia de Camilla Pt 1. *sigh I’m trying my best to be more vigilant now, though. 🙂

So without further ado, let me present to you six images of the food I happily masticated from four restaurants located in MoA. They may be few, but they are some of the best. 🙂

 

Ranch Style Beef Strips
Holy Cow!

 

New York Cheesecake
Holy Cow!

 

Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Racks

 

(Some Ribs. I forgot what it’s called)
Racks

 

Tempura Japanese Grill

 

Tanabe Japanese Restaurant

Love in the Time of the 33rd MIBF

I once declared to the world wide web: “If I am to drown, I want to drown in a sea of books.” (Whoa… Did I just quote myself there? Haha.)

Books everywhere! *drools

Of course, I didn’t sink literally. But just imagine how elated I was when my friend and I were finally surrounded by books at the 33rd Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) held from the 12th to 16th of September 2012 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

Lookie! I was looking for this book almost everywhere and it was only at the fair that I finally found abundant copies of it. Wooo~

With more than a hundred exhibitors that gathered from bookstores like Fully Booked and National Book Store, Inc., to publishing companies like PSICOM Publishing Inc. and Anvil Publishing, Inc., the whole exhibit area served as a paradise for book lovers like yours truly.

Paradise just got more blissful with these! I LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY!

But what might be the most thrilling about the MIBF was the hundreds of items, from novels to educational books, that were mostly on sale. Even Fully Booked, that which may be considered as every bookworm’s favorite bookstore, had an exciting 20% discount on their books, plus, for every 1,000-peso worth of purchase, customers got to have a free Fuel Your Mind notepad, which I am more than proud and delighted to own.

SALE, SALE, SALE, and yes, SALE! ^_^

My free Fuel Your Mind notepad from Fully Booked with the books I bought: Life in Pictures: Michael Jackson (for my Mom), Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, and John Green’s The Fault in our Stars.

I learned about this fair just last month but it is actually one of the longest-running book fairs in Asia. Last year, on its 32nd, it garnered more than eighty thousand visitors, and although as of writing this there isn’t a definite figure yet, this year’s event must’ve gotten more attendees. MIBF was prominently promoted online and on newspapers especially by its ambassadors, online celebrity Ramon Bautista, stand-up comedian/cartoonist Stanley Chi, famous tour guide Carlos Celdran, and actor/DJ Tado Jimenez. Chi and Jimenez also had their respective book launches at the fair.

33rd MIBF Ambassadors online celebrity Ramon Bautista, stand-up comedian/cartoonist Stanley Chi, famous tour guide Carlos Celdran, and actor/DJ Tado Jimenez (Photo by Clarissa Catalina Repollo)

Tado Jimenez’s book signing at the 33rd Manila International Book Fair

 

Look at who was at the Best of Anime 2012… Conan Edogawa! Such a cute little kid. :3

 

Coinciding the book fair was the Best of Anime 2012, a two-day weekend event (September 15 – 16, 2012) that was already on its third year. Thousands of cosplayers, anime and manga enthusiasts, and animators/illustrators, among others, took part in the success of this fun-filled convention.

As an extra color to the event, the Japanese band Uchuu Sentai NOIZ rocked the visitors with their music for two days.

My friend and I were supposed to go there, too, but upon seeing that there was an admission fee of 190 pesos for a day and 350 pesos for two days, we decided not to anymore. It seemed totally organized from the outside, though, so the price might be just right for the event.

 

‘Til the next Manila International Book Fair and Best of Anime event! 😉