Spontaneous Tagaytay Getaway: The Charm of The Carmelence Lodge, A Toddler’s Sky Ranch Experience

It really was an unplanned trip.

Well, the trip to Manila was totally planned as I needed to report to the company headquarters for my orientation and training for my new role. But the weekend getaway to Tagaytay was spontaneous. It was our last weekend in Manila and since the past days were more of business (as it should), we wanted to go somewhere special for our toddler in tow.

Initially we considered the zoo or the ocean park but since we were all late sleepers and therefore woke up at noon, it was impractical to go to those places for only half the day. So, my sister suggested that we go to Tagaytay! I have to be honest, I was really hoping she’d suggest it but I didn’t want to bring it up because of the bad weather. It was so sweet of her to offer to drive us there even if she did not intend to stay overnight with us.

So before she changed her mind, I instantly went online to book. I ended up booking a quaint cottage-designed inn, The Carmelence Lodge. To save my sister from driving long hours back and forth, my husband volunteered to be behind the wheel instead. He was already enjoying the drive in a new environment anyway.

Because it was already late in the afternoon when we decided to take the trip, we arrived at our destination past dinner time. The lodge did not disappoint. Beneath the dark sky, it still stole my heart. I felt like whoever designed this place had me in mind.

We headed to grab dinner, which was easy since the lodge was located in the town proper.

My rule when in another city is to only eat at places that are not found at home. Hap Chan offered good comfort food amid the windy evening.

Despite the evening’s light rain, the morning that followed was lovely! Blue skies were hovering the now vivid purple structure. Breakfast was served at the patio. The food itself was nothing extraordinary, but the ambiance was perfect. It was extra lovely, thanks to the fact that Continue reading

Vlog: Road Trip and Food Trip in Southern Cebu

Every year, the family goes on a road trip down south to pay a visit to our dearly departed. The cemetery we go to in Argao, being privately owned by the clan elders, has always been a serene place to spend the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day holidays. It’s refreshing to be away from the city and the crowd for a few hours, and surrounded by loved ones—living and dead at that.

This time was a bit different. I went with a mission to see how many food I could try along the way.

I was asked if I could do a vlog for a page which is  almost my namesake. It was something I’ve never done before so I was naturally hesitant. After a lot of encouragement from a few best friends, I took the plunge and was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Documenting a journey and editing it to come up with a story brings a certain kind excitement, much like writing but different.

So here it is, the foods you can try on a road trip down south for kalag-kalag. Enjoy and check out The Queen City of the South, Cebu City page for more Cebu features!  ♥

Cebu Food Trip: American Diner Feels at Luncheonette

It was one of those (many) moments when I’d crave for good bacon.

I begged my husband to take me anywhere just as long as I get to devour crisp, juicy strips of the sinful meat. Lucky for me, he never complains whenever I have this specific yet vague food requests. He actually enjoys the challenge.

We ended up at Luncheonette. We were on or way home from work so it was just accessible, being located at Robinsons Cybergate. We always had it in our list of places to try and my craving was a sound excuse to finally tick it off the list.

Luncheonette is part of the trusted Abaca Group, alongside Maya, Tavolata and others, so we knew right then that we were in good hands.

The first thing that I noticed was the Continue reading

Carcar Food Destination: A Taste of Heritage at 1878 Restaurant

Turning old, private homes into restos has been a welcoming treat for food enthusiasts in Cebu. We’ve seen a lot of this in the city and a quick trip to the outskirts will tell us that this trend is spreading like wildfire altogether—much to our delight of course!

We occasionally head to DM’s hometown, Carcar, on weekends. Some few weekends ago, we stopped by the new “must-visit” spot in town, the 1878 Restaurant. We’ve been seeing it in our news feed so we thought of checking it out since we were already there and it was just walking distance from his aunt’s home.

My lovely mom, charmed by the quaint facade.

It’s not at all a surprise to see old houses in this town. In fact, DM’s family lineage has a couple of century-old houses still standing to this day, one of which has been declared a national heritage. Structures like this has always been part of Carcar’s charm.

1878 is an ancestral home of the Sato family and as you guessed it, the house was built in 1878. You’re welcomed into the secret garden-ish door and right away you’ll notice the stoned walls, heavy wooden furniture, and hanging plants and bulbs everywhere.

Notice the upcycled tires.

Continue reading

Cebu Food Trip: Breakfast at Camden

A fancy breakfast was definitely at the top of our list when we finally got a new nanny for our toddler just a few weeks ago. It had been a crazy period of keeping my sanity as I literally juggled work and motherhood in the past four months after the old nanny suddenly left us. I seldom use literally, so I really mean literally having one hand on the keyboard and the other feeding my child.

But that episode felt like a lifetime away when the husband treated me to a breakfast date before hitting the movies the other day. We are such huge fans of breakfast that we’re always on the lookout for new spots to check out. We’ve been hearing a lot about Camden Cafe and decided to see what the buzz was about.

And boy, were we not disappointed!


This quaint door makes a striking first impression.

Camden Cafe is the brainchild of longtime friends Jacqueline Ma and Hannah Lim in May 2016. They also run a branding firm, the Camden Three. I’ve had the pleasure of working with these ladies in the past so I was able to witness firsthand just how driven and creative these two are. Needless to day, it’s quite evident in the work they have done in this cozy breakfast and brunch nook.




You can tell that every corner in this place has been well thought of. Nothing excites me more than Continue reading

Food Tasting, The Circa 1900 Way

It’s been almost three weeks since I was wed to my dear soulmate! It’s been a good three weeks of dealing with the hangover, getting back to work, and reminiscing on that one special moment in our lives.

This was a wedding which I committed myself into documenting throughout the whole planning process. Turned out, putting your experience into writing was not at all easy when you’re busy executing the one thing you would have wanted to write about.

Now I’m just backtracking to my favorite parts of the days leading to the big day.

First on the list is the food tasting we had at Circa 1900, the venue we chose for our reception dinner after the wedding ceremony.


We always had a soft spot for Circa since we had our third anniversary dinner there. I remember thinking how magical it would be to have a wedding dinner in the middle of the well manicured green lawn and against the backdrop of the stunning old white house.

So when we learned that Circa actually offer wedding packages, we grabbed it right away! It was just the perfect setting for my rustic shabby chic dream wedding.

I got even more excited when I learned that our wedding date was just in time for the opening of their new building, the Casa Dos. I would be the first bride in that casa!

Our entire experience at Circa—from the inquiry stage to the booking to the planning to the day itself—was nothing short of perfect. The staff, headed by its  Sales and Events Executive, Adrian, was accommodating, the place was divine, and the food was sublime!


Upon booking, we were invited to have a food tasting based on our hand-picked menu. We honestly didn’t know what exactly to expect during the food tasting. We thought we’d be served with tiny portions of the actual serving that we even had a heavy meal before heading to the place.

To our surprise (and delight), the food tasting turned out to be a full seven-course meal! We got to experience every course at our own pace and even had a chance to meet the Australian chef himself. Chef Steve came to Continue reading

Of Bride Duties and Backstory Kitchen and Cafe

Almost a month in”hiatus” and no, I haven’t been hiding in a cave. I have been ridiculously occupied with the whole wedding planning.  I had the whole weekend planned out, meeting with suppliers, doing cake tasting, and bridal shop hopping. I saw it as a hectic weekend, DM saw a window for us to try a new place for lunch.

So amid my sudden on-the-verge-of-breaking-down-over-stress episodes, DM decided I needed a breather. And what better way to do it than over a good burger.. or two.

For burger lovers like me, Cebu never disappoints. This time, the destination was Backstory Kitchen and Cafe. We’ve heard about it for a while now, and if we still had all the time in the world like we used to, we would have explored this place sooner. Trying out newly opened restos and cafes in Cebu together used to be a favorite pastime for us.

Locating it was a bit of a trouble. Not that it was hard to find, but the area had several one-way roads that we should have familiarized first.


I was smitten right away when we arrived. A country themed signage against a Continue reading