First Visit to Bookay-Ukay

I’d been wanting to go to Bookay-Ukay since college when I saw a photo about it on a social networking site, but never had the chance since it was far from home and I had no one interested enough to go with me. Then came last year and I thought I finally found that perfect Bookay-Ukay buddy, but sadly, our bridges burned a few weeks after we agreed on going there together. I couldn’t brave the big Quezon City on a search for it alone so I thought my desire for book-hunting at the store went to ashes along with my “incinerated” friendship.

But then at the start of the year, I went excited ’cause my friend and fellow blogger invited me to visit Bookay-Ukay. So without hesitation, a date was marked on the calendar.

Bookay-Ukay 01

To give a good picture of what the store is about and why I’ve been meaning to pay a visit to it, let me explain its name. Bookay-Ukay is a play of words certainly thought of by its lovers-of-words owners. “Book” and “ukay-ukay”, those are the two terms. “Book”, we have no problem about its description, but “ukay-ukay” is a  Filipino term for “thrift store“, so put them together, and we’ll know that the shop sells second-hand books that are still in good condition.

Since settling in Maginhawa St in 2008, it has been visited by cool and book-loving celebrities like Saab Magalona and Mercedes Cabral. Not that I want to look and be labeled cool, I’m actually proud to border on the nerd side, but Bookay-Ukay is a must-visit simply because it has books. And cheaper ones, I must say.

I didn’t know it was so easy to get there, but still, I wouldn’t know how to if not for my friend who frequented the area back in college (She studied at Miriam College and its near there.). We met at SM City North EDSA and took a jeepney ride to Quezon City Hall from its terminal for 8 pesos each person. After that, we walked to the side of National Housing Authority and told the driver of the first tricycle in line to drop us at the restaurant Tomato Kick for 17 pesos for two persons. As soon as we got off the tricycle, we were greeted by a two-storey old commercial building, and looking at the right side of its second floor is the sign of Bookay-Ukay. We finally arrived.

Contrary to what I imagined, the store is quite small, in fact, it’s only a room full of books. Perhaps I visualized it to be like those giant bookstores Fully Booked and National Book Store, which was so wrong of me. But at least its interiors speak of what it offers, unlike the formality and plainness of its rival book thrift store Booksale. The green wall on the left is filled with doodles and other stuff like a poster of local pop punk band Kamikazee, and the shelves just below contains other stuff sold in the store like magazines, CDs, and wall clocks which numbers are in counter clockwise. On the counter next to it are key chains from Pop Relief.

Bookay-Ukay 02

Bookay-Ukay 07

Bookay-Ukay 08

Then after those, everywhere else was filled with nothing but books, books, and yes, books on the shelves resting on the remaining walls and even on the floor. Just the perfect haven for book lovers like me and my friend.

Books on the wall

Books on the wall

Books on the floor

Books on the floor

For some time, my friend and I seemed strangers to each other as we both engaged in separate solitary quests for the books we like. From novels, both local and international, to medical books, Bookay-Ukay has second-hand books for everyone.

While I was busy on my hunt, a couple entered the shop and as the guy looked through the shelves, I heard him mutter to his girlfriend in Filipino something like, “I’ll be out of budget again because of books.” Hello there, fellow bookworm! Nice to meet ya! I wanted to tell him, but of course, that’d be crazy. hehe.

Bookay-Ukay 05Bookay-Ukay 04

At the end, I wasn’t able to buy myself a book (Booo! Shame on me!) as I remembered my pile of unread books at home and how I’ll just decrease the chances of finally reading them if I buy more. At least now I know where Bookay-Ukay is. Meanwhile, my friend was able to buy two books for only 350 pesos. She got James Clavell’s Shōgun and Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha, and she was very happy with her finds.

My friend and fellow blogger, Claa (http://watchamacallit-claa.blogspot.com/) with her two new books

My friend and fellow blogger, Claa (http://watchamacallit-claa.blogspot.com/), with her two new books (Photo grabbed from her)

Are you a fellow bookworm who loves to hoard and read books for less? Visit Bookay-Ukay today and satisfy your book addiction! 😀

 

 

Bookay-Ukay
55 Maginhawa St, UP Village
Diliman, Quezon City
Mobile #: 0905.428.3125
E-mail: bookayukay@gmail.com
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/bookayukay
Operating Hours: 1pm – 12pm, daily

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Fine Dine with Fam @ Nagomi

Group-buying sites are blessings to both businesses and their customers.

For the businesses, these sites are the perfect spots for the promotion and exposure of their establishments, products, and services; while for the customers like me, we get to discover something new and avail them at lower prices.

In fact, it was because of Ensogo, one of the most popular group-buying sites in the country, that I discovered Nagomi Japanese Restaurant, which became the perfect venue for a dinner date with my family. And the best part is, I got the meal for four at a very affordable price.

Photo taken by my brother.  I don't know why he took it tilted. :P

Photo taken by my brother. I don’t know why he took it tilted. 😛

Nagomi 01

My brother, Carlo, Mom, my sister, Charisse, and me

My brother, Carlo, Mom, my sister, Charisse, and me

The restaurant is located at El Pueblo Real de Manila in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, a commercial area that used to be unknown to me though I always pass by it on my way to SM Megamall. It only got to have a name when I saw Nagomi’s address and I used Google Maps to know where it is.

Anyway, the thing most worthy to take note of when buying vouchers from these sites, especially those of restaurants, is that you have to call the establishment and make reservations of usually three days prior your planned visit. So when my family and I were already standing outside, hiding and wondering if we were in front of the right place, a Nagomi crew came to us asking if we were the guests under Ms Reyes’ reservation (Hey! That’s me! I thought.). I said yes and as we all followed her to our table, I remembered what I learned about a Japanese employer’s reminder to his workers that goes, “Okyaku-sama wa kami-sama desu”, or “Customer is god” in English, because the staff’s gesture showed just that: Superb customer service.

The interiors of Nagomi is dandy and very Japanese like those ones that can be seen on movies. It’s like once you enter the place, you’re instantly transported to the Land of the Rising Sun. Even the utensils and everything else on the table have a touch of authentic Japan which got me really excited since I love anything Japanese.

Nagomi Interiors

Nagomi - on the table

Nagomi - condiments

Then the food. I bought the voucher for 599 pesos and for such a price, my family and I were able to enjoy and share with each other Kani Salad, Ramen, Salmon Teppan Yaki, and Sushi with cold tea. The whole bunch is valued at 1,500 pesos and is good for 4-5 persons.

The Kani Salad is made up of crab meat sticks (“Kani” is the Japanese word for ‘crab’), crab eggs, lettuce, ripened mango, cucumber, and mayonnaise. The veggies were definitely fresh and Mom loved it mainly because of its healthy ingredients, while for me, it was okay except that I disliked the ripened mango (Even on maki!) because it seemed like it was disturbing everything with its sweetness. But anyway, that’s the Japanese style, I guess. Kani Salad’s real price is 170 pesos.

Kani Salad

Kani Salad

Then the Ramen showcases how healthy the Japanese are with how the dish is tossed with noodles, slices of meat, and various vegetables, making it one healthy meal. It was delicious and it brought warmth to my tummy because of its hot soup. I don’t know what kind of ramen was served to us, but according to Nagomi’s menu, its prices range from 260 to 340 pesos.

Nagomi - Ramen

Ramen

The Salmon Teppan Yaki was my sister’s and brother’s favorite for the night. The dish is salmon, either grilled, broiled, or pan-fried, and bean sprouts mixed with carrots, onions, and green bell peppers, then poured with a sauce for added taste. Because they loved it, my siblings couldn’t stop themselves from requesting me to buy them rice so I bought three for us. It’s 340 pesos.

Nagomi - Teppan Yaki (Salmon)

Salmon Teppan Yaki

Then finally, the Sushi Platter. It was my favorite because I love raw fish and good thing my family isn’t into it so I was able to masticate the two all by myself. The fish was really great and fresh. Nagomi doesn’t really sell the sushi in platters but an order of it costs 60 to 120 pesos.

Sushi Platter

Sushi Platter

Nagomi - Sushi!

 

If it wasn’t for Ensogo, I wouldn’t know that such a wonderful Japanese restaurant exists, and even if I knew, I wouldn’t be able to bring my family there and treat them because if you open the menu, you’ll see how expensive their offerings are. The three orders of Japanese rice even costed me already 214 pesos. But then maybe, that’s really the price of an authentic Japanese experience.

All in all, our dine at Nagomi Japanese Restaurant was memorable not just because of the sumptuous dinner that was friendly on my budget, and with wonderful ambiance and customer service, but also because my family and I got to spend quality time together laughing and chatting.

DONE. :)

DONE. 🙂

 

 

Nagomi Japanese Restaurant
El Pueblo Real de Manila
Julia Vargas cor. ADB Ave., Ortigas Center
Pasig City
Tel.#: 635.4546 / 632.1736

Heaven on My Palate, Whore’s Style

Along Maginhawa St, Teacher’s Village in Quezon City is a restaurant with the best puttanesca I’ve ever tasted.

But wait, what is puttanesca? In the Philippines, I find some people who bleep its first two syllables because it sounds like the first two syllables of probably the worst Filipino swear term. I find this act weird and irksome, but I just discovered that they were somewhat right in doing so since they really mean the same thing.

Puttanesca, or spaghetti alla puttanesca, is the name of an Italian pasta which literally means “whore’s style spaghetti” (Yes, it’s the “whore” part that people censor). There’s no definite reason as to why it is called such, but one of the hearsay has it that it smells like the cheap meal prostitutes serve their customers back in the day. Anyway, this pasta is made up of black olives, garlic, tomatoes, onions, anchovies, and olive oil.

I’d been hearing and reading the said dish on restaurant menus, but I used not to care what it was until my friend suggested we eat at Friuli Trattoria, a small restaurant that serves affordable yet definitely yummy Italian dishes, when we were in Maginhawa St, Teacher’s Village in Quezon City. With the words “Angel” and “Hair” just before the magic word, the name finally caught my fancy so it was what I ordered. And oh boy, I didn’t regret my choice!

The restaurant’s version of puttanesca has the usual tomatoes, capers, anchovies, and olives, but instead of using spaghetti, its pasta is capellini, a variety of Italian pasta similar to spaghetti, only thinner, and I believe better, thus, the term “angel hair”.

I’m not a fan of pasta ’cause I’m more of a rice person, but this one became my instant favorite. Its sauce is poured generously enough making me savor every mouthful of its rich flavor, in fact, I could distinctly taste the deliciousness of anchovies (I love seafood!). I also think choosing angel hair as its pasta has to do with its supreme taste, you know, the thin strands give way to experiencing more of its sauce than the pasta itself, which is truly celestial. Just a theory, though.

Anyway, I fell in love with puttanesca because of this that I promised myself that I’ll cook the same one of these days, and it led me to ordering the same dish in Bigoli and Pizza Hut. So far, Friuli Trattoria’s is still the best! I recommend everybody to have a taste of it! ❤

It’s affordable, too. For only 130 pesos, an order, served with a slice of garlic bread, is already good for two persons.

Friuli Trattoria's Angel Hair Putanesca

Friuli Trattoria’s Angel Hair Putanesca

Our other two orders were Spaghetti Carbonara, served with a slice of garlic bread, too, at the price of 130 pesos for my friend, and an eight-slice Mushroom Pizza, which comprises of four different kinds of mushrooms (My favorite!) for only 185 pesos for both of us.

Spaghetti Carbonara of Friuli Trattoria

Spaghetti Carbonara of Friuli Trattoria

Mushroom Pizza. YUM!

Mushroom Pizza. YUM!

If the street isn’t far from my place, I would dine at Friuli Trattoria over and over again so I can endlessly satisfy my taste buds! Visit the restaurant, too, and discover heaven on your palate and its other offerings! ❤

 

 

Friuli 1

 

 

 

 
 

Friuli Trattoria
79A Maginhawa St, UP Village, Quezon City
Tel. #: 434 .1416
Operating Hours: 10am – 2am, daily

 

 

 
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REFERENCES:
POPSUGAR
Wikipedia
I Love QC

Back to the Past: A Trip to the Museum of the Filipino People

“Free” is such an inviting word.

That’s why my friends and I didn’t miss the chance to explore the National Museum of the Philippines last October, as the said museum opened its doors for free the whole month for its celebration of the National Museum Week.

Museum of the Filipino People located along Finance Road in Manila

My friends and I were lucky that despite our busy schedules, we were able to visit on the last Sunday of the month. And though not everyone in our little circle was present, it was nevertheless a fun-filled educational day for us as we got to bond, laugh, and learn more about our country all at the same time.

My friends and I smiled at the camera as the elevator transported us to the higher floors of the museum.

The museum actually has two buildings, one is the National Art Gallery in P. Burgos St, Manila that houses sculptures and paintings from the famous artists of the country, and the other is the Museum of the Filipino People along Finance Road, Manila, which is a trip to the Philippine history since it is the archaeology and anthropology branch of the museum. We didn’t get to see the former since it was already near closing time when we finished our tour to the latter, and besides… The real reason is that I didn’t know there are two buildings until I started writing this entry (Hohoho! My ever-so honest self strikes again! 😀 ).

On regular days, the museum charges 30 pesos for students, 100 pesos for adults, and 80 pesos for senior citizens. The fee is very affordable, so if you missed going to this museum in October, it’s still worth it if you’ll pay on your visit to it. In fact, I think it’s a lot better to go to it on a regular day.

There were many off-limits rooms with “Temporarily Closed” signs on their doors. Maybe those rooms were being renovated, like with the National Art Gallery in August and September, or maybe that’s all people can get for free. Through the elevator, the fifth floor would even greet visitors with darkness and the same signage. I didn’t read the details, but whatever the reason, I think it’s good that the museum left something people can be curious about and make them come back some other time.

Anyway, I will only post the photos of my favorites in the exhibits. Just like the museum, I’m also merely giving you a glimpse of what’s inside it. It’s really much better if you’ll see it for yourself.

The Ifugao House

One of the things that people may immediately see on the first floor of the Museum of the Filipino People and even while in one of the elevators is the real Ifugao house, which is amid the green grasses and trees in the courtyard.

Since people can freely move inside and out the hut, it is almost never vacant. That’s why we decided to take a tour around the building first before re-visiting it for some photos. Good thing we got it all to ourselves the second time we came near it.

The miniature model of the Ifugao House inside the museum.

An Ifugao House located at the courtyard of the museum where visitors can experience how the hut looks and feels like inside and out.

This is how the hut looks like inside. 🙂

Welcome! Welcome! The house itself is elevated and people can enter through climbing a ladder.

Fascination with Crabs

Crabs are one of my favorite sea creatures because they’re just so delicious, especially their eggs. And though the ones in the museum aren’t edible at all–they may even be deadly–they were still apples in my eyes which led me into taking snapshots of some of them, no matter how scary they look.

Spiny Spooner

Rock Crab

Giant Spider Crab

Sleepy Sponge Crab

Red Frog Crab

Long-Armed Crab

How and Where They Found It

Isn’t it interesting how archaeologists were able to gather those treasures we appreciate in museums? The National Museum has miniature re-enactments of how these hardworking people retrieved artifacts that helped us Filipinos know our beginnings.

Old, big, and scary jars which reminded us of the 1986 film Halimaw sa Banga.

This is how some of the old jars were recovered by archaeologists.

Second burial artifacts

Discovery of ancient burial jars in caves. The shape is an indicator if the remains inside a jar belonged to a male or a female–a woman’s has breasts on it.

Other Interesting Creatures and Relics

Visiting museums are worth it. We get to see replicas, miniature re-enactments and models, preserved bodies of animals, and more, which give us more insights about the things in the past and those we co-exist with. Below are still some of the photos that caught my attention.

Replica of a cave with stalactites

Borak

Woods that look more like stones

Winged Fruits which reminded me of the Golden Snitch

Eagle

Grasshoppers

Butterflies

Photo opportunity with butterflies 🙂

Sea Plants

Coral

It was a big and scary starfish

 

Manila Day Out

Manila is quite far from us, people from other parts of the metro. With that, we didn’t go straight home after our little educational tour. Instead, we went to other parts of Manila to make the most of the day.

My friends posed for the camera while buying some dirty ice cream in Rizal Park.

Eating didn’t stop for me with dirty ice cream. I craved for green mangoes when I saw them and bought one for 15 pesos. “Look at the camera, Manong!” 🙂

Dinner at The Sicillian Pizza, Dapitan St, Sampaloc, Manila, A. K. A. My Territory since the street is located near my college building at the University of Santo Tomas. Because of that, I led the way from the Rizal Park to this place. hehe

Since we were already around UST, we decided to go inside for a short cut to our last destination. Of course, the experience wouldn’t be complete without a photo or two with these three famous letters. 🙂

These two big A and B letters weren’t existing yet when I left UST. So although I was a mere silhouette because of the time of the day, and I’m Bachelor of Arts holder, I took the chance and had a photo with them. 🙂

Last stop for the day: My friend’s family condominium unit along Espana, Manila.

It was a tiring yet fulfilling day! You should visit the National Museum, too! 🙂

Deboned Goodness: Serye’s Boneless Crispy Pata

A few months have passed, but I can still remember that moment when I first had the taste of something sooooooooooooo delectable, and so, so worth raving about.

I am talking about Serye‘s Boneless Crispy Pata. If you look at the photo below, the presentation alone would make your mouth water in anticipation, and that’s even in person. So just imagine when it finally touches your taste buds. Mmmm…

Serye’s Boneless Crispy Pata at 130 pesos per 100 grams

Discovering the Goodness

Before anything else, let me first tell how I came to learn about the restaurant.

Serye was introduced to me by a close friend and office mate who went eating at its Eastwood branch with two colleagues one lunch break. As a person who likes sharing everything to me, she quickly told me she wanted to make me try its offerings especially the Boneless Crispy Pata, and so she went on talking about it for a few days until at last, our plan to eat together there materialized.

I think we just got our salaries when we headed to the same branch (it’s very near our office) with one of the co-workers she went with her first time. So both of us decided to treat this office mate, the company’s admin head, because she has been really nice to us even if she is just a new acquaintance.

It was around 12nn so the restaurant was full and we waited a few minutes before we got our table. The place was nice and cozy and the crew was really accommodating, but waiting for the food was taking forever, or maybe we were just running out of time since we only had an hour. Setting that aside though, once the food we ordered were already on our table, I forgot that I waited (one of my greatest pet peeves is waiting) and instead, pure satisfaction took over me that by the time we went out of the place, it was my turn to rave about it ceaselessly and enthusiastically to my friends and family.

Inside Serye, Eastwood branch

The Taste of Goodness

We ordered two viands, the Boneless Crispy Pata and Sinigang na Bangus Belly (Bangus is milkfish in English). At 215 pesos per order, the latter is equally superb, only that I think there was too little bangus in it that it seemed like it was a Sinigang na Gulay (Gulay is vegetable in English.), if such food exists. It was delicious that I didn’t find myself hoping there was a fish sauce nearby, and the slices of fish took no fuss in chewing because they didn’t have even a single bone when it’s known to have lots of it, but hey, it is really, really the former that I want to focus on in this post.

Serye’s Sinigang na Gulay… Er… I mean, Sinigang na Bangus Belly at 215 pesos

So what is a Crispy Pata? (It’s so off when the photo above this is not what I’m talking about. hehe Please forgive it. ‘^_^)

Crispy Pata is a Filipino dish made of a pig’s trotter, boiled in salted water, vinegar, and onions (or so my mother said), then deep-fried making its skin oh-so crunchy. When eating, it is dipped in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, sliced onion, chopped garlic, green chili pepper, pepper, and a little bit of sugar for added flavor.

When I was a kid, I remember how everyone would devour it once placed on the table like not doing so would leave them with nothing during family reunions. And now, I was able to have a taste of Serye’s Boneless Crispy Pata. As the name would suggest, it is deboned, therefore, there’s no hassle in consuming it, ’cause all you have to do is chew and chew and chew, and indulge your taste buds and tummy. Now that’s total pampering for you!

It is also sliced to the right thickness for more ease in eating, and is cooked perfectly, so expect juicy meat meets crispy skin as you put a bite size in your mouth. It costs 130 pesos per 100 grams, or 600+ pesos for a small size (like on that first photo above) that’s good for three people. Of course, Serye also serves the regular Crispy Pata for a cheaper price of 100 pesos per 100 grams, but with the boneless one around, I believe it will be just a second option.

Serye’s Boneless Crispy Pata is the restaurant’s newest bestseller and is one of the dishes, along with the Kare-Kare, that won the Sooo Pinoy, The Search for the Ultimate Pinoy Dish award.

The Goodness that is Serye

Serye not only offers Filipino dishes, but also cakes, pasteries, and coffee.

A little trivia about Serye: The name of the restaurant is short and simple, but behind it is a total creativity and a hidden message. Serye is an anagram of the owner’s surname, Reyes, since the menu was based on the recipes of the Reyes family matriarch, Engracia Cruz Reyes (I suggest you click the link before this, she was totally amazing). Aside from that, the word serye, or series in English, signifies the restaurant’s mission, which is “to carry on the family’s culinary tradition.” As a person who’s in love with words, I find this totally awesome.

Currently, Serye has three branches in QC Memorial Circle (924.3411 / 426.2693 / 0921.8489149), in Santana Grove, Sucat (825.4691 / 826.9317 / 0915.2276042), and at Eastwood City (911.2334 / 709.3712 / 0921.3708648). Visit one of them now and be filled with real goodness!

P.S. Yes, I am a Reyes but no, I’m not related to these Reyeses, though I have joked that my father owns it and I was assigned to manage the Eastwood branch. hehe 🙂