What’s wrong with NAIA Terminal 3?

Finally got to see NAIA Terminal 3 when my friend Karen arrived with her family this weekend from the United States via Delta Airlines. Yes, Delta is one of the airlines that has moved its operations to NAIA 3.
Since both Karen and I didn’t know what to expect, I had to personally pick her up at the airport (long story).
Luckily our friend Lia volunteered to come with me at 10 PM. This is where we got dropped off (at Bay 1)

Outside NAIA 3

We took the nearest entrance and put our bags pass through the X-ray machine. A lady guard barked at me not to take pictures. Obviously that didn’t stop me.
The first thing I saw were the sad concessionaires with not much customers. This was past 10 PM anyway.

Concessionaire, NAIA 3

You just can’t avoid carinderia settings at NAIA, can you?

Concessionaire, NAIA 3

Or the sad convenience store

Concessionaire, NAIA 3

So much water

Concessionaire, NAIA 3

I wonder who chooses the concessionaires and what does it take to get a space here?
Why don’t they have a Jollibee or McDonald’s which everyone can appreciate? Or a Family Mart instead of the sad convenience store?
At least there is one brand I recognised but it’s the saddest Burger King I’ve seen

Burger King, NAIA 3

It was just so dark and cheap-looking (sorry!)

Burger King, NAIA 3

Actually I’m not sorry. The entire arrival floor was dark and somber-looking. I looked up and saw the light.
I saw white lights everywhere, which makes everyone and everything look grey

Burger King, NAIA 3

You can actually mix white light with yellow lights. Because lighting is so important. It can change the way you feel about a place and how everyone looks.
NAIA Terminal 3 has so much space, which is a good thing, with a high ceiling and space everywhere.
I’m happy that all Filipinos who want to pick up their loved ones can be accommodated inside, unlike NAIA 1 where the waiting area looks like a zoo.


Good thing there are signs


and a convenient Arrivals board, which you didn’t see at NAIA 1

Arrivals sign
Arrivals sign

I decided to check out the toilet next to still-unoccupied spaces (ooh…slippers off!)

Toilet, NAIA 3

The cardboard sign looks ngarag (read: worn out)

Toilet, NAIA 3

The restroom looks so creepy—creepier than Narita’s. Nothing makes my skin crawl as much as small bathroom tiles.

Toilet, NAIA 3

It reminded me of a Peque Gallaga movie set

Toilet, NAIA 3


Toilet, NAIA 3

This looks so temporary (read: cheap)

Toilet, NAIA 3

Here’s the really scary part

Toilet, NAIA 3
Toilet, NAIA 3

But thank God no bad smell (unlike Schipol’s) and there was toilet paper!! I wonder who designed the restroom. My guess: contractor?
No thought was put into it. I find it sayang for all the money they spent on the airport and the restrooms already look old and creepy.
Still they are much better than NAIA 1 toilets.
Finally, with all that space, nobody bothered to think about seats. These were the only seats in the house.
Seriously, there must be 24 seats here


So what do people do while waiting for arrivals? They put their drinks down and have a picnic

Lack of seats, NAIA 3

They lie down and charge their phone

Lack of seats, NAIA 3
Lack of seats, NAIA 3

They sit down and charge their iPad

Lack of seats, NAIA 3

They doze off

Lack of seats, NAIA 3

They look kawawa

Lack of seats, NAIA 3
Lack of seats, NAIA 3

You can sit anywhere. No one will stop you!

Lack of seats, NAIA 3

Seriously it makes you wonder if they are there to pick up people or just use the aircon? It looks uncivilised.
I proceeded to the viewing gallery to wait for Karen. (NAIA needs an art director)


I waited with the people behind the glass


At 11 PM (one hour later) Karen arrived with her sisters and brother-in-law

Karen and family
L-R: Karen Salgado, Marty Wilcher, Susan and Carlos Patino

They were hungry but we left quickly because I didn’t want them to see the food choices. Luckily our car arrived shortly and Karen and her sisters were impressed by the new airport.
Next time I’ll review the Departure area—but not so soon because I’m still scared to fly.

Smart Infinity brings Broadway’s ‘Chicago’ to Manila

Smart Infinity—Smart Communications’ premiere postpaid brand—brings to Manila the Broadway hit musical Chicago this December 2 to 21, 2014 at Solaire Resort and Casino.
As a special treat, tickets to the six-time Tony Award-winning musical will be made available first and exclusive to Smart Infinity subscribers, before ticket selling is opened to the general public.

Chicago evite

What’s more: from now until September 8, 2014, every new Smart Infinity plan will come with VIP tickets to Chicago, on top of the gadgets and services that come with every subscription.

Infinity Music Plan 3500 comes with two complimentary orchestra VIP tickets to Chicago, along with two Misfit Shine fitness tracking gadgets, one Chicago album, and 30 songs monthly—to go with the call, text and data subscription already bundled with the plan.

Misfit shine

Plan 5000 comes with either a Samsung S5 or iPhone 5s, two orchestra VIP tickets, a Chicago album, and 30 songs monthly along with call, text and data.


Plan 8000 provides a free Macbook Air, two orchestra VIP tickets, a Chicago album, and 30 songs.
Macbook air

Based on a 1926 play by Maurine Watkins, Chicago is the Tony Award-winning musical that gave us Broadway hits like ‘All That Jazz,’ ‘Razzle Dazzle,’ ‘Cell Block Tango,’ ‘Mr. Cellophane’ and ‘Nowadays’.
The musical follows the characters of aspiring vaudevillian Roxie Hart and seasoned vaudevillian Velma Kelly and the murders they committed in the 1920s.
In 2002, its Hollywood version won six major Oscar awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (for Catherine Zeta-Jones).

Chicago, featuring its Broadway cast, will run from December 2 to 21, 2014 at The Theatre of Solaire Resort and Casino.
To know more about Chicago and the premium Smart Infinity experience, call 848-8806, email infinitysupport@smart.com.ph, or go to http://www.smart.com.ph/infinity.

My office space in Metro’s August 2014 issue

This month’s Metro magazine comes in three different covers featuring Pond’s girls (L-R) Toni Gonzaga, Julia Barretto and Jasmine Curtis Smith.


It features my office space (where I’m blogging this), thanks to Geolette Esguerra (who called), Gian Cruz (who wrote the story), and Paul del Rosario (who photographed it).

My office

I’m quite happy how it came out. Buy the issue at National Bookstore! xo


Mandarin Deli and Paseo Uno’s last days promos

Before the Mandarin Oriental closes its doors on September 9, 2014, say goodbye with the hotel’s Best of the Best promos at the Mandarin Deli and Paseo Uno.

Paseo Uno Dining Area
Paseo Uno

At the Mandarin Deli, the monthly Wines and Tapas series will hold its grand finale on August 15, three days before it closes its doors on August 18.
For the one-night only event, Executive Chef Rene Ottlik and his team will prepare tapas served with over 30 exquisite wines from the hotel’s cellar, representing all of the world’s best wine regions.
The Wines and Tapas Grand Finale is priced at PHP 1,800 net per person.

Savor the Mandarin Deli’s cakes for the last time as Executive Pastry Chef Darren Harding and Chef Mario Quiambao recreate the Mandarin Cake Shop’s all-time favourites like L’Hirondelle Cake, Napoleon, Baked Fresh Fruit Cheesecake, Sacher Torte, Black Forest Cake, Mixed Fruit Tart, and Swiss Chocolate Cake.

L’Hirondelle Cake

Finally, Paseo Uno will be the last outlet open at the hotel.
From August 18 to September 5, the nightly Luxury Buffet will be offered at Php1,950+, which is the price of the regular dinner buffet (vs the Luxury Buffet price of Php2,200+).
What’s more, free-flow white wine has been added to the list of the complimentary drinks selection at dinner, along with iced tea, soft drinks, San Miguel Light and Pale Pilsen.
Free-flow White Wine is also added to the daily buffet lunch priced at Php1,750+.

Paseo Uno was the first all-day dining restaurant to introduce the concept of open-kitchen buffets in Manila’s dining scene in 2003. Enjoy for the last time the Paseo Uno experience with the live stations offering foie gras, tempura, roast beef, homemade pasta, shawarmas, and crêpes, all prepared a la minute.

Roast Beef at Paseo Uno

For reservations and enquiries, call 750 8888 extension 2411 for Paseo Uno and 2415 for the Mandarin Deli.

To know more about Mandarin Oriental Manila’s new location, click HERE.

Who needs a telephone directory?

When Ben was little he asked me: “Mommy, when you were young, did you write with a feather?”

Quill etc

“No, Ben. I am not that old.”
“Mommy, when you were young was the world black and white?”

Hemady kids
Me in white shoes

“No, Ben. The world was in colour. Only films were black and white. Camera films.”
“What’s film Mommy?”

My dear Ben, since you were born the following things have become obsolete:
1) Magnolia Chocolait in bottles


2) Aquanet


3) Encyclopedia Britannica


4) Sony Walkman


5) Sony Betamax


6) Floppy disks

floppy disk

7) EasyCall


8) Laserdisc


And so on. That’s why it boggles my mind why I received this package yesterday from PLDT: a freaking set of yellow and white pages!


Like seriously, if I want a phone number of a restaurant or supplier I can Google it.
I’m really shocked that these heavy waste of space and paper are still being published today.
I’m just putting it out there because people have to realise that these books will end up in the school’s newspaper drive. Let’s put an end to phone directories please. I don’t want to receive them. Please don’t send them to me. Thank you!

Where to find the best steak in Hong Kong

Six days later, I’m still thinking of La Vache!
Opened last October 2013 in Hong Kong’s Soho district, La Vache has been consistently named as one of city’s best steakhouses.
After reading about it on The Wanderlister, my steak-obsessed husband had been planning to fly to Hong Kong just to eat here, and finally we did last week.

La Vache! HK

Jeroen had reserved a table weeks in advance for his AFAM group of friends, while Darren McDermott, who lives in Hong Kong had to make a HK$1,000 deposit to secure the reservation.
Lucky for me, I only knew the “mayor” and “vice mayor” of Hong Kong to get a reservation the night before.
The “mayor” is Fed Tan, whom I’ve known since he was a teenager at Xavier School, and the “vice mayor” is James Acuña, one of Hong Kong’s top bloggers, a.k.a The Wanderlister.
The mayor and vice-mayor titles are really just a joke, because between the two of them, they know the whole of Hong Kong—from where to eat, where to shop, what’s cool, and who’s who.

James and Fed at La Vache!
James Acuña (L) and Fed Tan at La Vache!

The name, La Vache! is a French expression for ‘Holy Cow!’ and the only thing on the menu are the steak and frites.
Walk-ins welcome but reservations are a must for parties of five or more.
Tables are covered with white paper. Once seated, tell the server how you want your steak to be cooked and they will scribble an initial on your placemat—like M for medium and R for rare.

La Vache! HK

Prepared by Chef de Cuisine Tony Ferreira, dinner starts with a house-baked baguette and French butter, followed by a mixed green salad with walnuts and a zesty mustard vinaigrette.
The meal is an incredible value for steak-lovers at just HK$258 per head.

La Vache! HK

The frites are something else. At first I thought they looked ordinary but after three bites they were seriously the best fries I’ve ever had (we heard they are cooked in beef fat). And did I mention that Hong Kong serves the best ice-cold bottled Coke? Perfect combination.
Our steaks were brought in large platters and placed on top of a candle-lit food warmer.
Don’t forget the special sauce.

La Vache!

Few steaks ever come close. The best steak I’ve ever had was at an ancient Japanese steak house in Tokyo that my dad took me to many years ago. It cost an arm and a leg.
The La Vache! steak experience is easily in my Top 5 of world’s best steaks (though Filipino in me secretly wished I had a plate of white rice to go with it. Then again you can’t have everything.)

With no more space to spare, James Acuña mentioned they had the best desserts in town.
Out came a dessert cart with traditional French pastries such as Oeufs à la Neige, meringues floating in crème anglaise, and Mille Feuille, layers of puff pastry and cream.
Three deserts were ordered and shared by our group of five, which included Kissa McDermott and Patrice Ramos Diaz. But seriously, I had no more space.

La Vache! HK

As for wines, they have a carefully curated list of approachable Old World wines, including a private La Vache! blend of Cinsault, Syrah, Mouvèdre and Cabernet-Sauvignon made specially to pair with steak.
The bar is stocked with cordials, spirits and aperitifs from which they create classic French cocktails with modern twists like Le Boulevardier with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Dolin Rouge Vermouth, Campari and orange bitters, and a Thé Martini made from vodka, black tea liqueur, lemon juice and bitters.

La Vache! HK

After the meal and the great company, I can honestly say this is one restaurant worth flying for—this coming from a seriously fearful flyer. Don’t miss it while in Hong Kong.

La Vache! HK

La Vache! is at 48 Peel Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong
To reserve, call +852 2880 0248 or email info@lavache.com.hk.
You can also reserve online at http://www.lavache.com.hk/
To know more, like them on Facebook

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