Coffee and Clocks: A "UCC Clockwork" Review - 3rd Wave Coffee Shops in Manila

UCC Clockwork has some of the most Instagram-worthy dishes, and it’s something you have to visit if you’re on the lookout for pretty food to add to your feed.

Snow Ice Treats: A Hobing Review

Bingsu is a popular Korean dessert composed primarily of ice shavings, topped or mixed with various ingredients such as fruits, beans, milk, and nuts.

Carnivore Craving: A "Yoree Korean Barbecue Dining" Review

I was glad that it was going to be a smokeless cooking because we still had to get back to work and we didn’t want to come back smelling like we were the ones barbecued.

A Reply to Sean Ellis' Love Letter: A "Metro Manila" Review

Normally, good visuals with a great story is hard to come by in a time of poverty exploiting indie films. Yet, this time around, not only was it a great story, but visually stimulating as well.

Bayan o Sarili: A "HENERAL LUNA" Review

Tarog's feature is a masterful "work of fiction based on facts" that's needed to be seen by everyone who considers himself a patriotic Filipino.

More than Foodstagram: Beautifully Taken Food Shots Using the Huawei P9


These days, it’s not just about having a significant number of followers on Instagram – your feed now also has to be well curated and stylized enough to look like a pretty portfolio. Being a food blogger, a huge chunk of the pictures on my IG feed are food shots, and given the fact that I’ve received several comments saying my pictures make them drool, I can pretty much say that I’m at least doing a decent job in taking these pictures.


Trust me, taking these pictures isn’t as easy as it looks! A lot of factors have to be considered – like lighting, the angle, the background – sometimes the food already gets cold just because it takes me too long to find the perfect shot (good thing my friends are patient and understanding enough to let me do what I do..lol).

The challenge is that I don’t always bring my mirrorless camera with me - that and the fact that not all restaurants have Foodstagram-friendly lighting. In situations such as these, I rely on my trusty smartphone in taking food shots. I’ve recently been using the Huawei P9, and I can confidently say that it levels up my IG game. Here are some of the food shots I took with the Huawei P9.




Each one’s “Instagrammable” don’t you think? The primary reason why pictures taken with the Huawei P9 have an impressive quality, is the fact that it has not just one, but two special cameras working together at the back of the phone.  These cameras are co-designed by Leica, so you can really tell that Huawei is serious about the quality of pictures taken using the P9.


Allow me to share with you a few tips on taking beautifully taken food shots using the Huawei P9:

Focus on Prominent Elements of the Food

In every shot, the background is just as important as the subject, but with food shots, you also don’t want the viewer to get distracted by having too much going on in the background. You want the viewer’s attention to stay on the food, so make sure that you focus on prominent elements in the subject.


You can use the Bokeh or blurring effect of the Huawei P9 to achieve the focus that you need. When on the camera app, simply click on the icon that looks like a lens on the upper-left tray. Then click on the subject that you want to focus on before taking the picture. The Bokeh feature works best in shooting subjects within 2 meters from you.

Find a Good Lighting

Natural light works best for food shots, which is why at restaurants, I prefer sitting near the windows where I can get better lighting for my pictures. However, not all restos have good lighting, and what about when you have to take pictures at night?

This picture was taken inside the restaurant using the Huawei P9. No editing was done on the brightness of the picture.
Huawei takes pride in the fact that the P9’s cameras work wonders even in low-light settings. The Leica cameras let in a lot of light (I believe the mochorome lens bring in a lot more light that the RGB one) – working together to produce sharp pictures even in darker settings.

Go Pro
The advantage of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, is that you can manually adjust the settings such as the aperture and shutter speed. Not a lot of phones can do this, but the Huawei P9 definitely can.


There’s a tray just right above the camera shutter button that you can swipe up to reveal the Pro Mode. From here you can manually adjust the shutter speed, ISO, exposure, focus, white balance, among others. When done properly, your food shot can have a quality similar to professionally taken pictures! This should be pretty helpful when your taking pictures of food that has some “motion” in them – like chocolate melting out of dessert, steam coming out of a hot pot, or oil bubbling up in the grill.

There’s a whole lot more to taking Insta-worthy food shots, but for those who aren’t professional photographers like me, it helps to have a smartphone that makes it easier for you to take beautiful pictures. 


Ever since I’ve had the Huawei P9, I’ve been using it to take food shots and build up my Foodstagram. If you’re like me who have already made taking pictures a part of my ritual before meals, but can’t be bothered bringing a DSLR all the time, you may want to give the Huawei P9 a shot (pun intended).

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#GottaCatchEmAllAtSM: SM Stages the Country's Biggest Pokémon Go Lure Party


Pokémon Go has definitely taken over the world, and while players from other countries are already miles ahead on their journey to become Pokémon Masters, the release of the game has been delayed here in PH. Fans have been eagerly anticipating the game’s release in the country, which is why when it was finally launched a few weeks ago, I was one the many Pokémon-master hopefuls who downloaded the app.


You can tell that a lot of people are hooked to Pokémon Go just by looking at the enthusiastic players flocking to certain areas of the Metro, which has been designated as PokéStops. I won’t be embarrassed to say that I’m one of those guys who would go out of his way and take the longer route, just so I can pass by PokéStops to gather items and hunt for Pokémon. This game is just sooo much fun!

One of the features of the game is that players can use “Lure Modules” on PokéStops to attract Pokémon to a certain area. I noticed that a lot of these lure-activated PokéStops are in SM Malls, so when I heard that SM Supermalls is holding a grand Lure Party, I made sure to block off my schedule for a Pokémon hunting trip!

SM Mall of Asia's Globe transformed into a spinning Pokeball during the Nationwide Lure Party

SM’s Lure party was the biggest in the Philippines, and happened simultaneously in 50 malls on August 12 from 5PM to 9PM. I braved the rains and traffic, just to get to SM City North EDSA on a Payday Friday. I’ve already went hunting at MOA a few days prior and I’ve gotten some pretty rare Pokémon there, so I was giddy excited about what I’ll encounter in SM North!


I first went to The Block Atrium to see the short program that SM prepared for eager Pokémon hunters like me. Players were treated to awesome prizes just by showing some of the Pokémon they have caught. Pokémon collectibles were also on sale in the venue, and there were even some fans on cosplay. Several SM establishments and brands also launched their respective special Pokémon promos, including Smart and McDonalds. Smart Pokémon Go users were treated to cinema passes for every purchase of Smart Bro 888, while McDonalds launched their ‘Buy 1 Take 1 McFloat!’ promo in their branches at SM that joined the nationwide party. 


I checked out the list of PokéStops inside the mall and realized that there are several located at the Sky Garden, so I went up to locate the areas indicated in the signs. 


When I got there, I realized that they really weren’t kidding when they said it was going to be a party! Lots of PokéStops and Lures everywhere! I was having so much fun, I event managed to level-up!


If there’s one thing that’s going to make me go out more often than usual, it’s going to be Pokémon Go. One of the first destinations on top of my mind when I do my Pokémon hunting would definitely be SM Malls. Trust me, you’ll earn much-needed XP.

Pokemon Go Lure Parties are still on-going on select malls, so there's still a chance for you to catch up! To know everything the Pokémon Go schedules and promos happening at SM, visit SM Supermalls’ website and its official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber Public Chat. Also follow SM on Snapchat for exclusive updates, Lure locations, and more! 

Waste no time, #GottaCatchEmAllAtSM!

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#StickyBones: A Morganfield’s Review


I’ve already had several friends ask for my suggestions of must-try restaurants offering great-tasting ribs, and now it looks like I have another item to add to my list. I’ve recently discovered Morganfield’s at SM MOA, and I can confidently say that this is a must-try.




Morganfield’s takes pride in their several varieties of authentic prime pork ribs. These are all slow-baked and smoked for hours to give you that tender, slide-off-the-bone goodness you are looking for.

My friends and I asked for the Ribs Sampler (Php 3,295.00), since it seems to be the most interesting item under the “Sharing Platters” section of Morganfield’s menu. It took some time before our order was served to our table, but I guess it’s understandable given that it usually takes 20-25 minutes for these platters to be prepared (and they are slow-baked, remember?). But when our order came in, I immediately knew that it was worth the wait.


The Ribs Sampler combines three of Morganfield’s signature Sticky Bones in one order. The whole thing was huge and is complete from the salad, to the meats, and the sides! Together with half-slab ribs, you get sausages, garden salad, grilled corn on the cob, corn bread, and crispy French fries. Yum!


I kid you not when I say Morganfield’s ribs are a must-try. The meat was tender, and it really does slide of the bone! The best part is that there are several varieties that you can choose from. I’d personally recommend the Spicy Asian BBQ Spare Ribs.

It seems we have underestimated the Ribs Sampler, because four fully grown men weren’t able to handle all its glorious goodness. I’d say one platter may be enough for 4-5 people depending on your appetite, although take note that in our case we had a few leftovers. I wanted to gobble up some more but my tummy just can’t handle it! Given the number of people it can serve, I say the price is pretty reasonable.

It’s a good thing that we also had great-tasting beverages to wash down all that meat. Try the Virgin Apple Mojito (Php 215.00 Don’t worry, it’s not alcoholic), which is a mix of fresh apples, lime chunks, mint leaves, and soda. The Begonia (Php 225.00) is pretty good too, being made up of kiwi, strawberries, lime, and passion fruit syrup.

Virgin Apple Mojito
Begonia
Sadly, we weren’t able to try the desserts at SM MOA, so we headed to the Uptown, BGC branch of Morganfield’s just so we can have a taste of their dessert!

This time, we started with the appetizers – the Bacon-Wrapped Meat Balls (Php 345.00), and the Awesome Threesome (Php 525.00). I say the Awesome Threesome is worth it because it’s actually a combination of three of Morganfield’s best-selling appetizers – the Crab and Spinach Dip, Spicy Chicken Wings, and Russet Potato Skins. Believe me when I say that the Crab and Spinach Dip is a must-try.

Awesome Threesome 
Bacon-Wrapped Meat Balls  
Crab and Spinach Dip

Shortly afterwards, we had the best part – dessert!

If there’s one thing that would go so well as dessert when having Ribs, it’s brownies with ice cream. And we’re glad to find out that to find out that Morganfield’s Chocolate Brownie (Php 195.00) is served with premium vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce! The warm brownie complements the cold ice cream really well, that I could easily finish two of these!


We also asked for the Volcanic Chocolate Lava Cake (Php 275.00), but sadly, the cake didn’t have that rich, chocolate “lava” we were looking for. We sliced open the moist chocolate cake hoping for that oozing chocolaty goodness but it seems that the chocolate syrup has already mixed with the cake itself. I dunno, maybe it’s a bit overcooked? I’m pretty sure though that this is only and isolated case.


No lava :(
The next time my friends ask for must-try Ribs, Morganfield’s would definitely be one of my suggestions. Their menu seemed to be friendlier if you’re eating as a group, so this would be a great option when dining out with family or friends.

Morganfield’s Philippines: Home of Sticky Bones

MOA Branch
North Wing, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City

BGC Branch
2nd Floor, Uptown Place Mall, 36th corner 9th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
975-5700
0977-803-6347

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SM Supermalls Celebrates the SM Cybermonth

It’s that time of the year again! August marks SM Supermalls’ celebration of the SM Cybermonth, and I’m giddy excited to make my usual rounds at the SM Cyberzone and get my gizmo geek on!


If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you may remember that I took part in the launch of the Cybermonth Tech Sale last year at SM City Fairview. This year, the launch was held closer to home – at SM City North EDSA.

Mr. Patrick Raymund Pacla, SAVP for Cyberzone & Sponsorships, welcomes guests and media to the launch of the this year’s Cybermonth
Just like the launch last year, the event was packed with cool deals and exciting announcements from partner brands, namely Vivo, Blink, Smart, Cloudfone, and Lenovo. Allow me to share with you the ones that I am personally most excited about:

Special Offerings from Blink

Blink is SM’s very own VOD service, which lets you stream your favorite movies and TV series online. This month, you get to enjoy Disney movies and animated series through Blink Unlimited, as well as enjoy Hollywood blockbusters with the Blink Blockbuster Bundles.


The cool part is that you can even watch recently released movies – like Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Kung Fu Panda 3!

Launch of the latest VIVO Smartphone
VIVO may not be as popular as the mainstream smartphone giants, but it can compete in terms of function and design just as easy. VIVO’s recently launched V3  (which comes in a sleek and stylish Rose-Gold edition) has a 3GB of RAM, a fingerprint scanner, and 4G LTE connectivity!

VIVO Club Ambassador Jose Palabyab shares what he loves about the VIVO V3
The camera is also noteworthy, having an impressive 13MP phase-detect autofocus main camera, and an 8MP front-facing camera. Perfect for yuppies like me who like to take food shots and selfies!

Smart Life: The newest lifestyle app from Smart
True to the brand’s dedication to innovation and making consumers’ daily lives better, Smart launched a new lifestyle app called Smart Life, which aims to help the digital-savvy millennial` to manage their lifestyle.


Make sure that you don’t miss out on the all the cool happenings for the whole month of August as SM Supermalls celebrates Cybermonth! Cool deals and awesome tech sales will be happening this month, so be sure to visit the IT retail stores & Cyberzone whenever you’re in an SM Mall. Looks like I would need to save up for my gadget buys this August!

For more details, visit www.smsupermalls.com & follow its social media accounts at Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

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#‎GoodFoodFeelsGood‬: Choose any Two of these Pancake House Favorites

Do you also experience moments when you’re in a restaurant and there are just a lot of items on the menu that sound so good, it becomes so hard to choose?


This happens to me and my friends A LOT, and the first 15 minutes of our stay in a resto is probably spent deciding who gets to order what (we often prefer to order different kinds of dishes so we can taste a variety of meals).

Well, it seems we won’t be having this problem in Pancake House, with their ongoing promo! You can choose any two of the following for only Php 370.00 (exclusive of service charge).

Pan-Grilled Pork Belly
2-Piece Pan Chicken 
Special Salisbury Steak
Spaghetti and Grilled Cheese Sandwich
I went with 3 of my office buddies to the BGC branch a few days ago and had two orders so we can have all four dishes. Being the borderline carnivore that I am, my personal favorites were the Special Salisbury Steak and the Pan-Grilled Pork Belly.

The best part is that each order already comes with an iced tea, so the only you thing you’d have to pay extra for is you’d want to have some dessert (which in my case, always happens..haha).


This promo is available until October 15, 2016.

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I Made My Own Creamy Chicken Adobo, and it's Surprisingly Easy!

Remember when I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I couldn’t wait to make my own Creamy Chicken Adobo? Well here it is! I finally decided to test my own cooking skills (I used to be a whole lot better at eating than cooking), and set out to prove that with the right ingredients, I can also do well in the kitchen *fingers crossed*


This is going to be some sort of experiment to me because I’m not used to having adobo with cream. Here’s to hoping that I’d at least get somewhere near the Creamy Chicken Adobo that was served in the Nestlé All Purpose Cream cooking demo I attended a few weeks ago.


I’ve already shared the recipe taught to us by Chef Rob Pengson in my earlier blog post, but allow me to share with you my own experience of making chicken adobo, made creamier with Nestlé All Purpose Cream:

Ingredients:




·      1 whole chicken, cut into pieces, approximately 1 kg
·      1/3 cup vinegar
·      ¼ cup MAGGI® Soy sauce
·      ¼ cup water
·      1 sachet 8g MAGGI MAGIC SARAP®
·      ¼ cup crushed garlic
·      2 bay leaves
·      Black Pepper
·      ½ cup oil
·      1 pack NESTLÉ® ALL PURPOSE CREAM 250mL

Preparation:


1.       In a pot, boil chicken in vinegar, soy sauce, and water. Add MAGGI MAGIC SARAP, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns. 


2.       Cook uncovered until boiling.  Lower the heat and simmer while covered until chicken is tender or simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain the sauce and reserve it on the side. We’ll be using this later on.


3.       In a separate pan, heat the oil and start frying the chicken until it gets golden brown (the chicken starts smelling reeaaally good at this point).


4.       Remove the excess oil and start pouring the sauce we reserved earlier. Allow to simmer until most of the sauce evaporates.


5.       When almost dry, start pouring in NESTLÉ All Purpose Cream and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Serve hot.


Believe it or not, my cooking actually tasted great! Just when you thought your adobo couldn’t get any better, here’s another way of leveling-up your dish, transforming it into a new language of love. Make this for your loved one and I’m sure they’d feel extra special knowing that this is not the usual adobo they know (extra points if you’re like me who doesn’t really cook that often!).


This recipe of course, is just a guide, and you can further customize your cooking preparation according to your preferred taste. In the version I made for example, I topped the finished product with roasted garlic, and added some chili flakes to make it a bit spicy. I shared it with my friends at work and they gobbled up the whole thing in no time!


I’d be sharing this recipe to my mom back in Bukidnon. If my version tasted great, I’m sure that hers would be a whole lot better!

For more creamy recipes, check out https://www.createwithcream.ph.

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