Monday, February 19, 2007

Buon Giorno! and Souk Kafé

It was my birthday last Saturday and it's a good reason to do something special like buying a 7 or 8-seater car perhaps. I told this to my wife and she agreed. Yehey! “As long as the vehicle brand is Matchbox” she added. Waaah! Maybe this super duper special birthday thingy will work next year.

So trying my luck once more, I called Antonio’s hoping it’s not too late to make reservations just a few hours before we go there. Haha, as expected especially this particular weekend immediately following Valentines Wednesday, they were fully booked for both lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday. I still wanted to eat somewhere where I haven’t eaten before so off to Cliffhouse Tagaytay we went. This complex sits along Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, a one minute drive from Yellow Cab and Café Lupe when heading towards Taal Vista Hotel. It houses Fire Lake Grill, Buon Giorno!, Café Breton, Domicillo, Platito and Massimo's burger bar. It has a fantastic view of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano. Fruits in Ice Cream Summer Cafe, that you can find in Boracay, will open here soon.


It was past 2pm and Fire Lake Grill was already closed for the afternoon and won’t re-open until 6pm so picking a restaurant that serves grilled meat was easy - Buon Giorno! This Italian restaurant serves grilled meat, antipasto, pizza, pasta, risotto and panini. Bread is served while you wait for your order.


Buon Giorno's Special salad (PhP 150)


New York Special pizza (PhP 220)


Mango (PhP 85), watermelon (PhP 85) and orange (PhP 120) fruit shake. They come in tall mugs of around half a liter, enough to last till you finish your meal.


Rack of lamb with mashed potato, vegetable and mint jelly (PhP 495)


I love the mint jelly. It’s like eating toothpaste when you were a kid or the jelly version of Max menthol candy, hehe. It pairs well with the meat. As an added bonus you'll have fresh breath after dining :)


Roasted beef ribs with Lyonnaise potato, vegetables and Madagascar sauce (PhP 495)


It was a really heavy meal so for dinner we wanted something light in some place new. When I blogged about Mang Inasal after it opened in Terraza Dasma, Robinson’s Dasmariñas Cavite, Ace, a fellow blogger, recommended Souk Kafé which was also located in Terraza Dasma.


The place is cozy, not too crowded and you can eat either outdoors or indoors. We chose to sit indoors on a wooden bench with soft pillows where your orders were placed on a low center table in front of you.


The colorful ceiling lamps add character to the place.


They serve an array of drinks like coffee, tea, chocolate and fruit juice. Rice bowl meals, kulcha, pasta, cakes and cookies are available as well as breads like saj, manquosh and gourmet sandwiches where you choose what bread, meat, garnishing and sauce you like.

Turkish coffee (PhP 75). Bitter and sweet. Yumyum.



Mocha matanal (PhP 90). Yumyum.


Three cheese saj (PhP 105). Yumyum.



Terraza Dasma of Robinson's Dasmariñas sits at the corner of Emilio Aguinaldo Highway and Governor's Drive. Other restaurants there are Dencio's, Cowboy Barn, Mi Ga Korean Restaurant, Showrock ang Mang Inasal.

What a really yummy day!


The Portal for Tunisian Products and Handicrafts - sells fantastic Tunisian products, including lamps, lanterns, carpets and other soft furnishings.


Related Post: Birthday, Birthday, Birthday

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tempura Sam

There are only three Japanese restaurants near the vicinity of Gateway Business Park in Cavite. These are Ippon Yari inside First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE), the restaurant in Aoki Clubhouse (one of the clubhouses of Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club) and Tempura Sam in front of Walter Mart, General Trias.

Last week went to Tempura Sam before doing our weekend grocery shopping. Hannah is now big enough to start learning how to use chopsticks so we asked her to practice by eating the appetizer while we wait for our order.


I like this appetizer made of sweet, spicy dried dilis with bean sprouts on the side. It influenced the way we fry dilis at home. Hannah ended up eating it using her fingers and me finishing most of it.


I love okonomiyaki. Their version (PhP 80) is ok but lacks the variety of ingredients usually found in authentic Hiroshima-style or Osaka-style okonomiyaki that I tried in Japan. In Japanese okonomiyaki bars you select what ingredients you like to add into the basic ingredients of flour, egg and cabbage. You can ask them to add beef strips, pork, chicken, shrimp, squid, octopus, and other stuffs. It is then topped with mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sause or tongkatsu sauce and dancing fish flakes (dried bonito fish flakes). Hannah saw how the dancing fish flakes moved on top of the okonomiyaki. I scared her that it is still alive and she looked in awe when I picked and ate some. Hehe, I told her the truth afterwards. I have to continue searching for the best okonomiyaki in the Philippines.



My wife had her beef gyudon (beef rice bowl, PhP 155) personalized - she asked to have a cooked egg topping instead of the usual raw egg topping. The thin beef slices were tender and yummy.


I tried one of their specialty, stuffed shimp tempura with gyoza (PhP 315). It was good but the shrimp tempura stuffed with tuna and crab meat "disintegrates" when dipped in tempura sauce. Pretty difficult to eat bite by bite. The gyoza was good. Too bad only two pieces on this set meal.


Miso soup is already included in the rice meals above. For our little lady we ordered mango tempura topped with vanilla ice cream, strawberry syrup and chocolate syrup (PhP 95).




Gmail now Open

Aileen Apolo
of Google Philippines said she needed some help from bloggers. Well, here it is:
Gmail is now open for sign up. No more invitation needed from an existing Gmail user.
Here are some interesting videos why you should get a Gmail account.

Attack of the Spam
The in-boxer
The Isle of Lost E-mails
Chat In The Name of Love

Get your Gmail account now!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

War of Our Fathers

"When those of us, who lived through those days, die...
the world will forget..."

- James B. Reuters, S.J.

These were the words that greeted us on the exhibit of the Philippine Veterans Bank called "War of Our Fathers"

Almost all of us, if not all, have a relative who fought in World War II. In my case it is my grandfather, Herminigildo Unite. I was named after him that's why have "II" in my name. I am not a Junior because I was named after my lolo and not my father. Also not a "III" because my lolo Hermie's only son was named Florentino.

My lolo was part of the Philippine Army and fought in World War II as a Lieutenant in Samar. Former president Ferdinand Marcos also fought in World War II as a Lieutenant in Northern Luzon. In 1953 lolo fought in the Korean War together with former president Fidel Ramos. In 1966 he died as Major in Laur, Nueva Ecija, a week before his departure to Vietnam.

I never got to know my lolo in person but I remember my father's story how they have to eat at home in Ballesteros Cagayan and Project 3 QC like soldiers in a stomach-in-chest-out position; clinking sound in the dining table while eating was forbidden. Imagining it makes me think of those black and white movies with actors in well pressed clothes and shiny shoes.
Unite Family ancestral house in Ballesteros, Cagayan

My father, sibling, me, lolas and my father's cousin Jose Torrices

One more Kodak moment

The exhibit showed pictures of what happened throughout the Philippines during World War II and there were memorabilia also on display. Let me share with you some of it woven in the timeline of events of the war.

  • December 1898 - After the U.S won the Spanish-American war, the U.S. purchased the Philippines from Spain for $20 million (USD) as part of the Treaty of Paris.
  • June 12, 1898 - Emilio Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Philippines and became the first president.
  • February 4, 1899 - American soldier William Grayson shot a Filipino soldier who was crossing a bridge into a Filipino-occupied territory in San Juan del Monte, an incident historians now consider to be the start of the Philippine-American war.
  • March 23, 1901 - The US proclaimed the war ended when Emilio Aguinaldo was captured by American troops.
  • 1937 - Douglas MacArthur, who had retired as U.S. Army Chief of Staff, accepted and was tasked by the Philippine Government to reform the Philippine Army.
  • July 7, 1937 - The Empire of Japan invaded China, starting the Pacific Theater of World War II.
  • September 1, 1939, Germany, led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party invaded Poland and started the European Theatre of World War II

  • September 27, 1940 - Japan signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany and Italy. The pact founded the Axis Powers of World War II.
  • December 7, 1941 - Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; also attack the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, Malaya, Thailand, Shanghai and Midway.
  • December 10, 1941 - Japanese invade the Philippines.
  • December 22, 1941 - Japanese invade Luzon.
  • December 23, 1941 - General Douglas MacArthur begins a withdrawal from Manila to Bataan.
  • December 26, 1941 - Manila declared an open city to prevent its destruction but the Japanese bomb Manila the next day.
  • January 2, 1942 - Manila and U.S. Naval base at Cavite was captured by the Japanese.
  • January 7, 1942 - Japanese attack Bataan.
  • February 22, 1942 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders General MacArthur out of the Philippines.
  • March 11, 1942 - MacArthur left the Philippines and flew to Australia. There he vowed, “I shall return.
  • April 9, 1942 - U.S. forces on Bataan surrender unconditionally to the Japanese.
  • April 10, 1942 - Bataan Death March begins as 76,000 Allied POWs including 12,000 Americans are forced to walk 60 miles without food or water toward Camp O'Donnell in Capas, Tarlac.
  • May 6, 1942 - Japanese take Corregidor as Gen. Wainwright unconditionally surrenders all U.S. and Filipino forces in the Philippines.
  • May 12, 1942 - The last U.S. Troops holding out in the Philippines surrender on Mindanao.
Thus began more than three years of harsh treatment in the Philippines. During this period MacArthur supplied weapons, radios, magazines and propaganda materials to the Filipino guerrilla resistance by submarine and airdrops, so they could harass the Japanese, provide intelligence reports and keep control of the rural jungle and mountain areas.
Guerilla Notes
Unique to the Philippines, Guerilla or Emergency Notes were printed during World War II by Guerilla Forces in the municipalities and provinces where they operated. Made under unfavorable conditions they were printed with whatever materials were available that time. Possession of these notes was punishable by death or torture by the Japanese.

Guerilla Notes
Guerilla Notes zoom
A woman guerilla in Marawi, Lanao del Sur, shares her food with a fellow guerilla.

  • October 20, 1944 - U.S. Sixth Army invades Leyte. General MacArthur and President Sergio Osmena stride up the beach of Leyte to set up the Philippine government on Philippine soil again. They came ashore shortly after the first wave and were accompanied by Lt. Gen. Sutherland and Brig. Gen. Carlos Romulo. Via radio, he addressed the Philippine people. “I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil – soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come, dedicated and committed, to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring, upon a foundation of indestructible, strength, the liberties of your people."

    "This is the voice of freedom, General Douglas MacArthur speaking. People of the Philippines, I have returned! By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil -- soil consecrated in the blood of our two people. At my side is your president, Sergio Osmena, a worthy successor of that great patriot, Manuel Quezon...the seat of your government is now, therefore, firmly re-established on Philippine soil. The hour of your redemption is here...Rally to me. Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead on. As the lines of battle roll forward to bring you within the zone of operations, rise and strike. Strike at every favorable opportunity. For your homes and hearths, strike! For future generations of your sons and daughters, strike! In the name of your sacred dead, strike! Let no heart be faint. Let every arm be steeled. The guidance of Divine God points the way. Follow in His name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory."

    "I shall return" propaganda badges with the Philippine flag in war-time orientation kept the people's hope alive during the Japanese occupation. Leaflets saying:
    "Clear the way for the fighting men."
    "Don't block the roads. If you must leave your towns go across country or over trails"
    "Filipinos! American planes are bombing and strafing this area. Remember, we don't want to hurt you but bombs cannot tell friend from foe. Stay away from all military targets: buildings, supply dumps, bridges and all installations used by the Japs. Keep off the roads!"

  • October 23-26, 1944 - Battle of Leyte Gulf results in a decisive U.S. Naval victory.
  • October 25, 1944 - The first suicide air (Kamikaze) attacks occur against U.S. warships in Leyte Gulf.
  • December 15, 1944 - U.S. Troops invade Mindoro in the Philippines.
  • December 17, 1944 - The U.S. Army Air Force begins preparations for dropping the Atomic Bomb by establishing the 509th Composite Group to operate the B-29s that will deliver the bomb.
  • January 9, 1945 - U.S. Sixth Army invades Lingayen Gulf.

    Left: MacArthur with other American officers and some Dagupenas on the balcony of the West Central Elementary School's Home Economics building.
    Right: MacArthur surveying downtown Dagupan with aides and residents.

  • February 3, 1945 - The 511th Parachute Regiment (a part of the U.S. 11th Airborne Division) prepares for a combat drop in Tagaytay Ridge. This became the site of the first parachute landing in the Philippines. The monument now found in Tagaytay Rotonda commemorates this event.



  • February 3, 1945 - U.S. Sixth Army attacks Japanese in Manila. Manila was the only city in which Japanese and Allied forces collided. The results were unspeakable: an estimated 100,000 of its citizens died. In the entire World War II, only the battles of Berlin and Stalingrad resulted in more casualties.
  • February 16, 1945 - U.S. Troops recapture Bataan.
  • February 23, 1945 - 2,000 Civilians Set Free By Daring Raid at Los Baños. MacArthur ordered raids to free prisoners in internment camps ahead of the attacking American forces, for fear that Japanese might slaughter them before they are rescued. One of these internment camp was the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna where more than 2,000 civilians were held prisoner since the beginning of the war. Filipino guerrilla groups operating in the area helped the Americans. The successful rescue composed of 54 amphibious Amtracs, nine C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft that was carrying paratroopers and 5 ground teams.

  • March 2, 1945 - U.S. airborne troops recapture Corregidor.
  • March 3, 1945 - U.S. And Filipino troops take Manila.
  • April 27, 1945 - The operation to liberate Baguio City provided the route to advance and penetrate the mountain stronghold of General Yamashita. The guerilla force of the USAFIP NL and the Sixth Army secured the city. From the air, Baguio City was completely devastated by the war. The only standing structure was the Baguio Cathedral in the heart of the city (near center of the photo below)

  • May 8, 1945 - Victory in Europe.
  • July 5, 1945 - Liberation of Philippines declared.
  • July 16, 1945 - First Atomic Bomb is successfully tested in the U.S.
  • August 6, 1945 - First Atomic Bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
  • August 9, 1945 - Second Atomic Bomb is dropped on Nagasaki. Emperor Hirohito and Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki then decide to seek immediate peace with the Allies.
  • August 14, 1945 - Japanese accept unconditional surrender.
  • September 2, 1945 - Formal Japanese surrender ceremony on board the MISSOURI in Tokyo Bay as 1,000 carrier-based planes fly overhead.
  • September 3, 1945 - The Japanese commander in the Philippines, Gen. Yamashita, surrenders to Gen. Wainwright at Camp John Hay, Baguio.

    A copy of the Instrument of Surrender signed by General Tomiyuki Yamashita, the highest commander of the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines, Denhici Okochi, the highest commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Philippines and Maj. Gen. Edmond Leavy, deputy commander of the United States Army Forces of the Western Pacific. An armband of the Military Police during the Japanese occupation is on the lower left corner.

    Filipinos rejoice on news about the Japanese surrender. A picture of General Tomiyuki Yamashita is on the right side photo.

  • October 24, 1945 - The United Nations was born.

Let me leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein.

"I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

Friday, February 09, 2007

To all Mapúa Alumni


Our alma mater is currently building a database for Mapúa Alumni. Please take time to register yourself by going to go to the official website of Mapúa Institute of Technology.

To view the registered alumni click here


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

PalmRidge Resort

Pasensya na ha, commercial muna.

A close relative of my officemate, Pam, recently opened a private hot spring resort in Pansol, Calamba, Laguna. Me and my officemates thought of having our HICAP-HGA Christmas Party there if the group chose an overnight party. But the dicision was to have an awesome dinner party in South Forbes.

If you want to have some fun in a private swimming pool filled with relaxing hot water from the hot belly of Mount Makiling in Los Banos, Laguna, you can rent their Mediterranean-inspired private resort called PalmRidge Resort.

PalmRidge Resort

  • covered pavillion tha can accomodate up to 100 persons.
  • 30 chairs and 6 tables comes free of charge
  • one adult & one kiddie swimming pool filled with hot spring water
  • 3 air-conditioned bedrooms (with toilet & bath, two single beds)
  • kitchen with gas stove and refrigerator
  • grilling area
  • garage for 2 to 3 cars

Update: Summer 2010 Rates

  • Daytime slot (8am to 5pm) - PhP 7,000
  • Overnight slot (7pm to 7am) - PhP 8,000
  • 24 hours - PhP 15,000
  • Video Karaoke rental - PhP 700
  • Reservation is on a first come first serve basis. Reservation deposit of PhP 2,000 for half day use; PhP 5,000 reservation for 24 hour use.
  • You have exclusive use of the resort facility for the duration of the rent period. No other client will be entertained during your stay.

Important: When you call, tell them that you came to know about the resort from Hermie's Blog.

PalmRidge Resort
Purok 1, Bgy. Pansol, Calamba City, Laguna
Cellphone: (0917) -500 -1141
Resort: (049) -833 -2084

Monday, February 05, 2007

Birthday, Birthday, Birthday

My ankle is slowly getting back to normal. Its now perfectly fine in walking mode and driving mode but still aches a bit in running mode and rough terrain mode. So finally we went to Tagaytay to celebrate three birthdays: that of my wife, my father and my brother Miko. It's the best time of year to go to Tagaytay. The wind is strong and the temperature is coolest. We chose Filipino food so we went to Josephine's Restaurant and had Mutya ng Cavite soup, Sitsaro Guisado, Relleno Bangus, Tinadtad na Mangga, Calamares Fritos, Chopsuey, Lechon Kawali, Fried Chicken and Fried Tawilis. I enjoyed eating that small fish found only in Taal Lake when we went to Taal Vista Hotel last year.


The food was good as always and there was none left for pabalot. If there was room in my tummy, I would have tried the bibingka that they were preparing for everyone to see. Carbo for dessert hehe.

We stayed for a while in the view deck of Josephine's restaurant. At 2:00 PM, it was cooler outside than inside the reastaurant. The cool breeze sends slight chills as we enjoyed the view. One side of the view deck was being prepared for a wedding ceremony to be held later that day.

Hannah with lolo Poyen and lola Lorna.


We passed by Cliffhouse. It's bigger than how it looks from the outside. There was enough parking for around 25-30 vehicles.


The view of Taal Lake was spectacular.



The whole compound has floor tiles with patches of greens and stones that are well maintained. It is quiet, relaxing and gives you a feeling of exclusivity to take it slow and enjoy what Cliffhouse offers.



We would definitely come back here to have some pasta and grilled meat of Fire Lake Grill and Buon Giorno!, enjoy the crepes, sandwiches and coffee of Cafe Breton, and savor the Wagyu Burger and gelato of Massimo.