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.

A Review of Apocalypse Child (And Why It's One of the Most Honest Films You'll See)

In  its first few minutes, we are greeted with the spectacular folklores of a town at the edge of the sea. And like most folklores verbally passed on, it seems impossible to separate fact from fiction, the real from the fantasy, the banal from the exaggeration. And yet, inside those half-truisms, Apocalypse Child thrived. In its honesty in depicting the beautiful mess of the countryside, it built a film that not a lot of crude guerilla filmmakers nor mainstream productions can offer. In a field dominated by big productions and lottery systems of determining who’s going to get the funding, we see Apocalypse Child emerging as a creative anomaly.

Production as a Participative Experience

Such creative approach is neither a mystery nor a secret to filmmakers. Participative filmmaking has been here for decades. In the advent of the grassroots approach amongst academics, film theory and practice was also steered towards radical methods in production.

Jordan (Archie Alemania), Fiona (Annicka Dolonius), Ford (Sid Lucero), Ford’s mom Chona (Ana Abad Santos), Rich (RK Bagatsing) and Serena (Gwen Zamora)

This is what made Apocalypse Child a far cry from the cinema we have today, and a risky one too. It is a kind of filmmaking that intensively involves actors, their personal nuances, the people of the setting and their history.

Complex Characters and a Relatable Universe

I was transfixed on how the film was able to depict and create complex characters and a universe that I recognize in my promdi origins: From the fucboi character of Sid Lucero (in which the film gave great context on how "Mr. Swabes" are made) to breaking into the façade of a romanticized countryside. What is more ironic than a third class municipality like Baler forcing itself to be a surfing hub? That’s poetic in sense that like the protagonist Ford (Lucero) he is forever in the shadow of his alleged famous father, the same way Baler will always be an cliché of backward agrarian like all rural areas in the country.

As  a friend told me, this is one of the hardest films to describe to potential viewers, not because it’s hard to watch, but because you can’t seem to put your finger on what kind of film Apocalypse Child is. But let me tell you this: few have tried and fewer were successful in capturing candid and believable human relations in a film. We have yet to see that kind of filmmaking being championed by broader audience but I am sure creative trailblazers like Mario Cornejo and Monster Jimenez are definitely in the front lines leading the fight.

Apocalypse Child

Directed by Mario Cornejo
Written by Mario Cornejo and Monster Jimenez
Produced by Monster Jimenez
Executive Producers: Aurora Oreta and Michelle Dinglasan-Tomacruz
Co-Executive Producer: Marti Magsanoc
Cinematography: Ike Avellana
Editor: Lawrence S. Ang
Production Design: Christina Dy
Sound Design: Corinne De San Jose
Music: Armi Millare

Credits to the images and videos used in this post go to "Apocalypse Child" and/or to their respective owners. I do not own these materials. No copyright infringement intended.

Chatting is More Fun with SM Viber Stickers!

If you’ve read my previous posts about my out-of-town getaways, food trips, and even staycations, you’ll notice that I often go on these adventures with the same group of friends. We all love food, travelling and seeing movies that’s why we get along so well! We always find a reason to get together and hang.

We do these trips more or less every month, but given that our schedules are not the same, each of these trips require some careful planning and coordination. The most convenient way to do so, is of course to chat with each other online. We have a group chat on Viber where we plan these get-togethers (or even just talk about random stuff and

Since everyone seems to be pretty busy this month, we figured that another out-of-town trip might not be feasible. But still, we had to fulfill this monthly ritual – so we thought of having a movie marathon at SM Megamall instead! It’s gonna be a whole lot more affordable than our usual trips, so why not, yeah?

Allow me to share with you how this “yayaan” usually goes:

Long story short, Tin and I got to SM Megamall first. Emil was late (no surprise in, and eventually, our own version of #TheSMSquad was complete around dinnertime. It was a simple weekend hangout – we had dinner at a Korean buffet, then had a movie marathon of sorts at the SM Cinema afterwards. It was a simple get-together, but I guess even the simplest things become so much fun when you’re with the right company.

You may notice that we use a LOT of stickers on our group chat. We do so primarily because they’re so much fun to use, and make the conversations more expressive. Our recent sticker-obsession is the SM Viber Sticker Pack (you can download them here) and as you can see, it’s the one that we’ve been using the most recently. 

They’re easily relatable to conversations, not to mention a fun and cute way of talking to friends and loved ones, especially when it involves a trip to the mall. 

The best part is that SM Supermalls currently has a promo with The SM Store until October 15, 2016 (that's this Saturday!). Anyone who shows they have a sticker pack can avail of a 10% discount to all regular priced items with minimum spend of 1,500! Check out SM Supermalls’ social media accounts to know more about these. 

Now that SM Supermalls is on Viber, looks like we’re going to have more reasons to have our get-togethers in the mall! #SMonViber it is! 

#TheSMSquad is also on Viber public chat, so you may wanna check this out if you want to stay updated with what’s cool - such as 3 Day Sales, events, shopping promos and discounts, new products released, newly opened retaurants.

Oh, and be sure to Download the SM Sticker Pack on Viber, as these stickers will be available only for 3 months in the Viber Sticker Market. Don’t worry though, the stickers will be usable to you for good once you’ve already downloaded them.

I already have a few ideas on what we can do next month. Bowling and ice-skating sounds great, don’t you think?

Best Food Forward 2016: A Sneak Peek

Wow, apparently this year is already the 6th year of Best Food Forward. It felt like it was just recently that I had my first BFF experience, and now looking back, it’s amazing how this food fair served as a launch pad for some of the successful food business right now. Manang’s Chicken, Burgers & Brewskies, Schmidt’s Hotdog, and Crunchy Crab, are all Best Food Forward “graduates”. It’s also the home of some of my favorites like The Bald Baker, Deep Dips, Chokolate Atbp., Go Brewed, and Brownie Bar! 

Attending Best Food Forward’s sneak peek has already started to become a yearly thing for me, which is why I was one of the eager taste-testers during the preview a few days ago. Here are some of the food concessionaires you should expect from Best Food Forward 2016: 

Crackle Chips 

This is no doubt one of my personal favorites during the preview. These homemade chips have interestingly creative yet surprisingly great-tasting flavors – Bicol Crunch, Himalayan Salt, and the soon-to-be-launched Salted Egg. It’s a good thing that they’re generous with their samples because I can finish one whole container on my own! 

Joy Bakes’ Classic and Quezon de Bola Cheese Rolls 

Soft and cheesy would be the first things that would come to mind when you get a bite of these cheese rolls. It was flavorful yet not overwhelmingly sweet either. I can imagine this to go well with hot coffee. Speaking of coffee… 

Wheelys Café 

Nope, this is not your typical coffee shop – Wheelys is a worldwide chain of “bicycle cafes”, which aims to revolutionize how and where we take our coffee by serving organic coffee in bike-powered coffee carts. 

Not only will this movement make it easier for anyone to start their own coffee business, it also lets coffee lovers like me enjoy truly organic and great-tasting coffee in an eco-friendly way. I got a taste of the Thai coffee they served and I kid you not when I say that it’s really good! 


The melted wheel of cheese trend seemed to be picking up this year, and it’s inevitable that we also have our own version here in the Philippines. If all those cheese-scraping videos online also made you drool, Best Food Forward would be your chance to fulfill that cheesy fantasy. 

Mama Empanada 

These classic chicken empanadas have been an original recipe since 1979. The taste pretty much reminds me of the empanada I used to have for merienda when I was a kid – one that has a sweet crust and is tightly stuffed with flavorful fillings. 

Crab Cakes 

To be honest I’m not quite sure if these are really called crab cakes but that’s how these goodies tasted like to me. Tastes even better when had with actual crab meat! If I’m not mistaken, these were made by RGE Agridev Corp., an exporter of refrigerated and pasteurized crab meat. 

Ozawa Noritako 

Imagine a fusion of sushi and tacos and this is what you would get. What I loved the best about the Noritako is the generous amount of meat that you get in each taco shell. With flavors like Beef Tenderloin Steak, Pork Teriyaki, Chicken Karaage, and Pork Tonkatsu, this is one delightful treat for meat-lovers like me! 

You can grab a bite of each of these and more at Best Food Forward on October 15-16, 2016. The event will be held at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura Premier, Taguig City, and would be open from 11am – 8pm. 

See you there! Oh and let me know if you need tickets *wink wink*

When Food is Rude: A "Sausage Party" Review

Just when I thought The Simpsons and Family Guy have already prepared me for the worst (or best?) kind of profanity in animated films and TV shows, Sausage Party comes along and smashes expectations. In what is essentially a Disney and Pixar parody, you’ll get all sorts of drugs, sex, racial, and even religious references you never thought of seeing in an animated film.

Frank is a sausage (yes, A SAUSAGE!) being sold at a supermarket called Shopwell’s, who dreams of finally being bought by humans who they consider as gods. Just like the other grocery items in the store, Frank believes that being picked by the gods will mean that they will get to the Great Beyond, which is the foodstuff's own version of heaven. However, when a Honey Mustard sauce who was previously purchased and returned to the shelf, claims that the Great Beyond isn’t the paradise that they thought it is, the supermarket briefly plunges into panic. Now Frank is determined to find out the truth, and he embarks on a journey along the shelves and the aisles to uncover what fate lies before them in the hands of the gods.

Sausage Party Trailer

Don’t be fooled by the colorful animation and the seemingly harmless characters – Sausage Party is definitely not a movie you’d want to watch with your parents or kids. Just a few minutes into the film and you’d already be thrown into a barrage of profanity, which to be honest still caught me off guard despite already expecting such from this film. I guess it’s just strange to hear animated characters telling each other to f*ck off but frankly, that’s part of what makes Sausage Party interesting.

The bad language though, is only the tip of the iceberg. As the storyline progresses you’ll be treated to sexual innuendos (the lead character is a sausage who wants to get inside his bun-girlfriend), racial stereotypes (Nazi sauerkrauts wanting to get rid of the “juice”), covert religious references, and even actual use of illegal drugs. At some point, I’m confused whether I was feeling disgusted, amused, or maybe a mix of both because apparently, I’m part of the Sausage Party’s niche target audience who, despite the offensiveness, would still find the film to be loads of fun.

One the surface, it may look like a stupid stoner film but I actually found Sausage Party to be surprisingly smart and creative. Not only is the script riddled with witty food puns, there is also an underlying subversive theme in the storyline that throws jabs at how some people blindly follow beliefs set by established institutions. At some point in the film, the reality of the Great Beyond has been revealed to the grocery items in the supermarket, yet despite the having the truth right in their faces, they still chose to believe in the lies taught to them, simply because the truth is too hard to swallow and too inconvenient to consider.

Sausage Party is a fun ride but only to a certain mature audience. Nope, despite being an animation this one’s not for the kids, but is actually something I would watch with my group of friends. Try to keep an open mind and you may actually end up loving this film like I did!

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Credits to the images and videos used in this post go to "Sausage Party" and/or to their respective owners. We do not own these materials. No copyright infringement intended.

Use Promo Code GeoffReview to get Php 200 off on Earth Kitchen + Review

The past month, I’ve been making a conscious effort to start eating healthier and be more active. I’ve actually started earlier this year but I got sidetracked along the way, and so I’m trying to make it up this month before I start binge-eating again during the holidays.

With all the fastfood, dessert places, and burger joints near where I’m working, Earth Kitchen is one of the food establishments that stand out when you’re looking for healthy and organic food. Here is a quick overview of what they have to offer:

Watermelon and Rocket Salad – Php 270.00

This salad is a happy mix of sweet, tangy, and a little bit of salty. Everything in this salad is naturally-produced, and even the kesong puti is homemade.

Pumpkin and Kesong Puti Soft Taco -  Php 210.00

Craving for tacos, yet it’s not yet your cheat day? This should be a great option for you – that is if you’re okay with having no meat inside those taco shells. What you get instead are pumpkin cubes, radishes, peanuts, and other greens.

Earth Kitchen Ravioli – Php 370.00

These soft and warm goodies would be a cheese-lover’s favorite.  Stuffed inside the ravioli pasta are camote tops, white cheese, pili nuts, pomodoro sauce, basil, and more cheese (parmesan)! Be sure to gobble them up after serving so you can enjoy them while they’re warm.

Beef Kebab – Php 380.00

Don’t worry, this meal is still guilt-free because you’ll be having brown rice pilaf to go with the boneless beef ribs. The meat was tender and flavorful, I actually wanted more!

Pastillas Ice Cream – Php 90.00

I’m not sure if this flavor is available all the time (it could only be the flavor of the month), but the Pastillas Ice Cream was definitely my favorite that night. Thick, rich, and creamy would be the best ways of describing it, and you won't get easily satiated because it’s not overwhelmingly sweet.

The best part about dining at Earth Kitchen is that when you order a dish, you’re not only helping your body become healthy - you’re also helping local Filipino farmers and indigenous communities. Earth Kitchen’s dishes are made from ingredients organically grown from the Got Heart Farms in Tarlac and other partner communities from Luzon and Mindanao, so this means you're supporting their livelihood every time you order their locally grown produce.

If you’re planning to visit, you can get a Php 200.000 discount by  booking you reservation through the Seats app (you can download it here or here), and using the promo code GeoffReview in your booking (promo code is case sensitive). Seats is an awesome and convenient way to make restaurant reservations in real time, so you may wanna check it out.

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Curious and Creepy: A "Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children" Review

The best way to describe Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, would probably be to imagine it as some sort of weird mash-up of “X-Men”, “Harry Potter”, and a little bit of “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. From here alone you can already tell that you shouldn’t expect a lot from the originality department. But hey, if it’s a movie about the creepies and the out of this world, I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from seeing it.

Jake Portman grew up to fantastic bedtime stories of kids with special abilities and invisible monsters, told to him by his grandfather. When his grandfather mysteriously dies from a horrific attack by an unknown assailant, Jake travels to Wales to investigate. Here he discovers Miss Peregrine’s Home for peculiar children, and finds out that the tales he grew up with are actually real. However, this also meant that the monsters in his grandfather’s stories also exist, and that he may be the only chance that the children has to be able to fight back.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Trailer

Okay first things first – I haven’t read the novel so I can’t really tell you in this review if the film did justice to the book or if Tim Burton was able to fully capture the world created by author Ransom Riggs. Still, the premise is pretty interesting, and Eva Green’s name in the poster is enough reason for me to see the movie even if I haven’t yet read the book.

Right at the start you can already tell that this is going to be one of those messianic movies, where our lead character who seems ordinary from the start turns out to be this extraordinary “chosen one” who is the only hope to save everybody else from the bad guys. Act 1 seemed to have Harry Potter written all over it, although I didn’t mind because the dark and heavy tone keeps you glued to the screen. Something was telling me that this wasn’t going to be just another kid-friendly fantasy movie.

It started out pretty well, and is actually intriguing enough for you to hold that pee break so you can find out what happens next. However, when we get to the part when Jake discovers the Home, the storyline started to become dragging by dwelling too much on explaining the children’s peculiarities, and the technicalities of the time loop they are in. The introduction of the bad guys didn’t help either, as we are dragged into a hurried narrative, which frankly got me lost along the way.

I don’t even know where to start about how underwhelming the bad guys are. For somebody who have been a threat to other peculiars for many years, the antagonists were easily defeated by our amateur good guys. I dunno, maybe it’s because of the fact that Mr. Barron, Samuel Jackson’s character, does a loooooot of talking and not really much fighting effectively. The underdeveloped supporting characters didn’t help much either, and the story won’t actually be affected if ever we remove one or two.

Some parts of the movie also felt rushed, as we jump from one scene to another, without much consideration for time and spatial differences. At some point I wonder if Tim Burton got tired and just hurried everything to get it over with.

Regardless of the rant that this review ended up being, I’m pretty sure Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children would still appeal to a certain audience. Definitely not for the small kids as some scenes may be too terrifying, but maybe to those who are fond of the curious and the crazy. To be fair, if talking about the peculiar, the film did deliver, and to some this may already be good enough.

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Credits to the images and videos used in this post go to "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" and/or to their respective owners. We do not own these materials. No copyright infringement intended.

Heart in Art: Introducing the Purefoods Blue Line

Have you ever had an experience when you hear a song and then you suddenly remember strong memories associated with that music? I often do, and on occasions when I hear pop songs I used to listen to when I was younger, I often end up reminiscing of the 90s and how so much easy and carefree life was back then.

This is true not only with music. Other external stimuli may also trigger strong memories and emotion - a certain smell, the sound of rain on rooftops, and even the taste of certain food may remind you of lush memories from the past. I remember back in High School, my mom would regularly pack us lunch, and now every time I get a taste of tocino, adobo, or corned beef, it brings me back to fond memories of enjoying the baon lovingly prepared by “ma”.

Corned Beef was an extra special baon to me back then, which is why it always brings me back to memories of High School when I have Purefoods Corned Beef in my meals. There has to be a particular way of cooking - it has to be sautéed in garlic and onions, and extra juicy. When cooked the right way, the taste of Purefoods Corned Beef transports me back to our classroom, hurriedly having lunch over great conversations with my classmates.

Purefoods Corned Beef and the Purefoods Luncheon Meat are the ones that I am most familiar with, (and are actually my favorites). I recently discovered that these are actually parts of Purefoods’ Blue Line products, which also includes the Vienna Sausage, Chorizo Bilbao, and Liver Spread. These are great breakfast ideas, especially the Chorizo Bilbao which goes so well with eggs and fried rice. 

A few weeks ago, I got the chance to turn my fond High School memories into art through a painting activity held at Sip and Gogh.

I tried squeezing out whatever creative juices I have left to translate my Purefoods Blue Line moments into a simple painting. It was a fun event, which allowed guest-bloggers like me to bring out the inner artists in them, carefully turning a blank canvass into a personal work of art. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish my painting, but nonetheless, the experience in itself was already nostalgic. Every stroke of the brush and every carefully plotted lines reminded me of my childhood, as I tried my best to depict those high school memories into something tangible and pretty.

It’s moments like these when I get to appreciate the effort of my mom the most. Looking back, I realize that she doesn’t give us just any corned beef – she made sure that it’s Purefoods, and that we would enjoy the lunch she carefully prepared for us. She valued quality and taste over price. Even in a meal as simple as “Corned Beef Silog”, I was able to feel that she made it with love, and that’s one of the warmest feelings that I now keep.

Truly, just as Heart Evangelist said during the event, “Anything can be Art, just as long as it comes from the Heart”.

You can learn more about Purefoods’ Blue Line products through their Facebook page: