Dampa Lunching


I went with family to Seaside dampa on Macapagal Avenue to celebrate a niece’s birthday. Not exactly a new Filipino cultural phenomenon, dampa paluto is still attracting waves of customers. Dampa translates to shack or kubo, so the whole experience is straightforward, nothing fancy, and is more authentic when you eat with your hands, like most Filipinos do.

Though we’d do something like buy seafood and look for someone who could cook the purchase for us here in Ilocos, it was my first time to experience going to a big dampa in Manila. I envisioned more seafood like clams, bamboo shells and scallops, so it was a bit of dismay to find a sea of squid and prawns.

Seaside Seafood MarketDampa Seafood MarketRock LobstersRock Lobster

Spotted some rock lobsters and crabs, but those can be really expensive as compared to prices in the province. Dampa prices run cheaper, though, than most restaurants in the metro.

GreensFruitySeaside Dampa

My sister-in-law had it all figured out. We proceeded to G Squared Palutuan (among the rows of restaurants) after buying the important ingredients. We were seated among big groups of locals and balikbayans. Plastic gloves (the kind you see in hair color treatment kits) accompany crab and prawn dishes. It’s amusing that people tend to be so quiet when crustaceans are right in front of them.

G Squared PalutuanDampa SeafoodAmong the food on our table: buttered crabs, tempura, buttered shrimps, baked mussels. DampaSeaside DampaCold Stone CreamerySeaside dampa is close to MOA, so we stopped by Cold Stone Creamery.

Photographed by BlauEarth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015

What to do in Intramuros

Walled Manila

The dungeons of Fort Bonifacio are what I remember best when I first set foot in Intramuros, a Spanish Colonial citadel and the historical  core of Manila.

Walls were built to protect the city during the 16th century. The Sky Deck View Bar of The Bayleaf  provides a bird’s-eye view of the walled district. The Bayleaf is a stone’s throw away from Brandon’s school, the Mapua Institute of Technology, where he is enrolled in BS mechanical engineering. Brandon, Chin and I met at the hotel’s lobby for the start of our Intramuros tour.

Walled City

I already made a mental list of the things to do before entering the puerta near Mapua. The midday sun was menacing, a pedicab ride was a bit of a relief. We went to see the San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in the Philippines, built in 1589 (and what a beauty!), before letting ourselves cool down at Barbara’s, the quaint cafe across the street.

San Agustin Church. IntramurosSan Agustin ChurchSan Agustin ChurchHat Vendors in IntramurosBarbara's

At Barbara’s, Brandon’s linguine with tuyo and the bibingka we shared were less than we expected, though I enjoyed my watermelon shake and pavlova (real delish!)

Linguine with TuyoFruit ShakeBibingkaPavlovaBarbara'sBarbara'sThe Courtyard at Plaza San Luis, IntramurosPlaza San LuisBamboo Bikes

If you have lots of time to spend in Intramuros, Bambike, a socio-ecological company that builds bamboo bicycles, offer bike tours, an alternative way to explore the Walled City.

We strolled farther on to Plaza de Roma and the newly renovated Manila Cathedral or Manila Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica, originally a simple parish established in 1571. It was made a cathedral in 1581, and the seat of the Catholic Church in Manila in 1595. The timeless beauty and elegance of the cathedral make it a favored wedding venue.

Intramuros GraffitiWhite SlidesStreet CornerManila CathedralManila CathedralManila CathedralIntramurosManila Metropolitan CathedralGen. Luna St., IntramurosKuatro Kantos Bar

We beat the heat with pandan juice and tea at Ilustrado. I remembered to order sampaguita ice cream, a novel national flower ice cream Ilustrado is known for. The strange flavor will be intimidating at first and the most pleasurable part is the last part. Cakes were good and the chorizo de Bilbao I fancied was something light if we talk about drunching.

Pandan Juice

Ended our Intramuros tour at Silahis Art and Artifacts, a wonderful store for uncommon Filipino things.

By the way, you can also tour the old district on a calesa for the price of 350 PhP.

Ilustrado, IntramurosChorizo de BilbaoIlustradoSampaguita Ice CreamDesserts at IlustradoSweetsSilahis Arts and ArtifactsAntique WaxIntramuros StreetSilahis Arts and ArtifactsSlingshots made of carabao horns.Carabao Horn Slingshots

Photos of author by Brandon Tan.
Photographed by BlauEarth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015

An unexpected trip to Cold Stone Creamery

Cold Stone Creamery

In America, an average of 13 liters of ice cream is consumed per person per year, according to studies, which explains the countless brands out there, not to mention handcrafted and designer ice creams. I only have a vague memory of the first time I was introduced to Cold Stone Creamery in the desert of Palm Springs in previous trips to California, so I wasn’t hyped up when Cold Stone Creamery arrived in the Philippines. If I have to spend on ice cream, call me a loyal fan of Häagen-Dazs Vanilla. Fast forward to today, I’ve tasted the Cold Stone Creamery orange sorbet and their coffee ice cream. I’m not into complicated add-ons, but I’m sure my chocolate freak kids will love customizing their chocolate ice cream with more chocolate filled into chocolate-dipped bowl cones like I imagined when I was observing what was going on at the store counter.

Cold Stone Creamery Toppings and Fillings

There were not too many flavors to choose from at the particular store we went to. What’s special about Cold Stone Creamery is you can upgrade your basic ice cream flavor into something more you by asking to mix in additional  flavors and textures from the wide array of fixings, which include brownies, cookies, apple pie filling, toffee, peanut butter, gummy bears, fresh fruits, chocolate bars and the usual marshmallows, candy sprinkles and nuts.

Creating your own ice cream  can be a lot expensive. They also have ice cream cakes and are also customizable.

Ice Cream CakeCold Stone C reamery MenuCold Stone Creamery Ice Cream and Sorbet

Going back to the coffee ice cream, I tried the one filled with pecans and I realized my sister-in-law had enough reason to frequent the store. It was creamy, kinda dense, and the sweetness level was average. My orange sorbet on the contrary was cloying after consuming about one-third of it. I’ll probably go back to try the vanilla or indulge on a big cup of coffee.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015