Monday, November 28, 2011

Sonya's Garden Meal and More

For over a decade now, Sonya Garcia has been welcoming guests to her private sanctuary, Sonya's Garden

Sonya's Garden is a Tagaytay institution known for serving country cuisine using fresh organic ingredients.

It's been a long while since I last visited Sonya's Garden and it was time that I make a return trip considering my new found desire to eat healthier this year. 

Street To Enter for Sonya's Garden

Sonya's Gate

The path leading to the main dining hall is surrounded by greenery. Most guests explore the garden before eating to take pictures and appreciate the calming scenery.

The al fresco dining area, at least to me, looked like a greenhouse with its transparent roof and clear walls. It was spacious with a relaxed atmosphere making it the perfect venue to have a leisurely meal.

A Portion of the Dining Area

Sonya's Garden offers an eat all you can set menu at 610.00php per pax. It is comprised of: 

Dalandan Juice
Refreshing but nothing special

Wholewheat Sesame Bread with Homemade Dips  (mushroom pate, white cheese or kesong puti, bruschetta tomato, basil pesto, anchovies)
The bread was freshly baked and tasty. I adored pairing the bread with the mushroom pate because it gave the bread a creamy texture with a slightly sweet flavor. I also enjoyed the white cheese and basil pesto toppings. The dip I liked the least was the anchovies as it was too salty.

Green Salad of Lettuce and Arugula
With Mango, Broad Beans, Pineapple, Cucumber, Jackfruit, Eggs, Nuts plus Sonya's Secret Dressing

This is the small serving of  fresh and crunchy vegetables that I had. My salad creation was such a joy to eat because it had  a lot of mangoes, nuts, eggs, and jackfruit in it. Healthy though, it was not.

Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato and Creamy Chicken with Mango Sauces plus toppings such as ratatouille, salmon belly, shitake mushrooms, black olives, capers and grated parmesan cheese, pepperoncini. 
The sauces have the tendency to taste old after a few forkfuls so I usually combine both sauces to achieve a more complex flavor. The salmon was overcooked more than usual during our visit.

Mini Turon
I have always loved turon and it was no different with Sonya's version. Extra props for it not being overly sweet and oily.

Glazed Sweet Potato
Too rich a dessert for me

Tarragon Tea
Warm tea to cap a surprisingly full and heavy meal at Sonya's Garden

Aside from eating at Sonya's Garden, one can also...

Buy Herbs,

Purchase Organic Products,

Have A Massage,

Stay at the Bed and Breakfast,

and Visit the Panaderia.

From all the activities to choose from, I headed straight to the Panaderia (unsurprising I know!!!).

The Compact Store that Could

Sonya's Panederia Menu Board

In order to compensate for the healthy meal that I had, I bought some goodies from the Panaderia:

Homemade Chocolate Cake
The cake was actually served with the set menu and I loved it so much that I brought home a whole cake. Soft, moist, and has the right level of sweetness. 

Adobo Roll
It has strong adobo flavors with big chunks of chicken inside. It was too salty though.

Spanish Bread
The creamy consistency and exquisite ingredients elevated this neighborhood panederia staple to another level.

Raisin Bread
Generous amount of raisins with strong cinnamon flavors

Cheese Hopia
One of the Panederia's bestsellers, the hopia is made from pure parmesan cheese. I especially loved the combination of sweet hard crust mixed with delicate salty cheese. So addicting to eat.

As you might have noticed, I failed to have a healthy meal at Sonya's Garden because I went crazy with the  breads at the Panederia

Admittedly, I did enjoy the Panederia more than the set menu offering but I would still recommend the restaurant because one hasn't truly experienced Tagaytay without having a meal at Sonya's Garden 

Consider it as a rite of passage to Tagaytay.

Sonya's Garden is located at Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite, Philippines. For more information, click here

Monday, November 21, 2011

Memorable Nuat Thai

Nuat Thai is an affordable Thai massage parlor that has mushroomed all over Metro Manila. 

Pearl Drive branch

I visited its Pearl Drive branch where I had a dirt-cheap 125php one hour body massage thanks to an Ensogo deal. 

Receiving Area

List of Services

Space was limited but Nuat Thai did try to create a relaxing and peaceful environment for its clients.

Foot Massage Area


The Massage Room

With my very low expectations given the cheap rate, Nuat Thai still failed to deliver a satisfying massage experience. Instead of being rejuvenated, I felt tired and harassed after the session because I was subjected to stretching positions that were acrobatic in nature haha

I honestly can't help but laugh whenever I remember the day Nuat Thai turned me into a pretzel. Looking at the bright side though, the trip to Nuat Thai was at least memorable, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

Nuat Thai has branches all over the Philippines. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


With the lure of cheap steaks, I visited Snackaroo a no-frills, leave any expectations at the door type of eatery located in the middle of a busy residential area in Quezon City. 

Grilling Station

Spot included Snackaroo on its list of 10 Best Steaks in Manila so I was eager to give it a shot...

Papaitan (75php)
Papaitan is a bitter soup made out of cow and goat innards. Too exotic for my taste.

T-Bone (130php)
Cooked medium rare which explains the not so appetizing color of the meat

Porterhouse  (130php)
The porterhouse was a better cut option compared to the T-Bone. Taste-wise, meat was similar to what one expects from any restaurant that serves affordable steak. What gives the meat flavor is the gravy so don't be shy to let your steak swim in gravy.

Overall, Snackaroo neither impressed nor disappointed. It was just right with the price points in mind.

For those interested, here's Snackaroo's limited menu:

Snackaroo Specialty Foods is located at Judge Jimenez St., Kamuning, Quezon City. Coming from E. Rodriguez, it's on the right side of the street.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Learning Basic Photography at Fort Santiago

For five Sundays I dragged my sleepy ass to Fort Santiago... 

I did not devote my Sundays appreciating the storied walls of Intramuros, mind you. 

Instead, I took basic photography lessons under the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation (FPPF). 

 The goal was simple: To be able to take pictures using my SLR camera outside the auto mode

I'm here to report that I accomplished that and more!

I learned principles in photography such as...


Shutter Speeds


Depth of Field



Studio Lighting

The workshop also exposed me to the realities of life...

and made me aware that I don't have the patience and dedication needed to become a good photographer, so don't expect any improvement in the pictures posted in this blog(haha). I still loved every minute of the sessions though and my only regret is not taking the class sooner.

For our last assignment, we needed to submit a human condition photo. This was my effort...

Several esteemed photographers were asked to judge the photos and I was pleasantly surprised when it was announced that I had the 10th best picture in class!

My Shining Moment

Well, truth be told, our batch consisted of only 22 students so.... but that's not the point. Just be happy for me, please!

The rate of FPPF's basic photography workshop is P4,200.00. For location, schedules, workshops, and other information, click here.
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