The Tukis of Oslob

Swimming with the Tukis (Butanding) of Oslob, Cebu, Philippines

The Laidback Brunei

Grandeur of the Sultan Omar Ali Saiffudien Mosque at Night.

Non-Traditional Filipino Hong Kong Trip

Panoramic View of Hong Kong at Night

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March 11, 2015

The Bunny Baker: Cafe and Cake Studio

I saw this post from one of my Facebook friends about The Bunny Baker Café and Cake Studio then I immediately got excited with all the colorful pictures of cakes and coffee arts. According to their fan page, their customers can request and challenge their artists from simple heart shapes to cartoon characters embedded on your cup of coffee.

The Bunny Baker Café is located at the third floor of the Hemady Square along E. Rodriguez Avenue.

It is just beside the elevator, easy to spot :-D
Then came the weekend. Emer and I had some gyoza and shakes from Ersao at West Avenue. Then I invited him to try out The Bunny Baker Café. We didn't had any problem locating the café since it is inside (at the third floor) of the new Hemady Square along E.Rodriguez Avenue.

The café is brightly lit and the ambiance feels homey and was made for the kids and kids at heart. It is a bit crowded on weekends but this is definitely a good place to bring your family and children.
 
Families, lovers, students and yuppies are the main customers. There's also a small television playing some movies that were recently shown in cinemas. I get to watch Big hero 6 for free.

It was very crowded inside the shop. But we took this as a positive sign that they were serving good foods. There were plenty of families and a bunch of young groups or 'barkada' on a weekend gimik of which most were Chinoys. Some were even playing cards inside.

Even the utensils were artistically set-up.

It doesn't just looks good, it tastes even better!

I'm trying to perfect the jeje-heart pose here..

And.. take two please... Perfect! Lolz :-P

So what do they serve? I was surprised that besides coffee and customized art cakes, The Bunny Baker caters to your daily breakfast. They have a leveled up version of the 'Pinoy Silog' meals of which I was able to try their 'Longsilog' version. The 'longaniza' came with two heart shaped sunny side up eggs and garlic rice.

On top of coffees, cakes, pastries and all day breakfast meals, they also serve delightful ice creams.. and it comes with ears :-)

I think Emer was very happy with his strawberry ice cream that he even posed as a bunny.

Emer was full that time so he went straight for dessert. They have some pretty good line up of gelatos. We tried their version of strawberry ice cream. We literally enjoyed the bunny ears (made up of soft sugar mallows) that came with it and Emer even posed as a bunny with his gelato.

That was one of the cake artists. He made that bee girl design. We were actually debating if that thing beside her is a beehive or a poop. What do you think?
I guess this one is Ragedy Ann?

We were seated on a table beside the cake studio where their artists were carefully handcrafting the animated cakes. Emer was so amazed and even knocked on the transparent studio glass to ask the designer to turn the cakes around so that we'll be able to see it better. Three adjectives that will describe these cakes are colorful, alive and fancy!

Because Big Hero 6 was playing on TV and we saw this cake beside us, it gave me the idea to request for a coffee art with drawing of Baymax on it.

And the finale of our visit here was to try the coffee arts. Inspired by the movie playing and the cake displayed beside us, I have requested the waiter if they can make a coffee with a drawing of Baymax in it. The waiter said yes then asked me to choose which coffee I wanted to order. He added that they only do the art designs on hot coffees. I chose the matcha latte then waited...

And waited....

And waited....

And...

Voila! Meet Baymax of Big Hero 6.... Lough Out Loud!
The waiter told us that this is Baymax. I thought it was marsh mallow man from ghost busters or some sort of Chinese ghost. They did explained that I should have ordered the normal coffee because it's hard to design lattes that comes with bubbles in it. Or maybe they should have told me that in the first place before we finalized our orders. Oh well, I'm just gonna drink Baymax anyway so there shouldn't be any fuzz about it. Next time I will ask them to make me a 'Toothless' coffee ;-)
THE MATT-TAKAW RATING:

Ambiance - 4/5 (I love the place! It is full of life, very colorful. It wasn't dim and you'll find something interesting on every corner of the shop. It feels like you're at Charlie's chocolate factory.)

Service - 4/5 (All staffs were friendly and accommodating. Even the cake artists were smiling at us as we gazed at their works.)

Food Quality - 3.5/5 (Good coffee and I love their gelato)

Serving Quantity - 3/5 (serving was kind of small for a man with big appetite.)

Price - 3.5/5 (A little over your normal Starbucks budget)


The Bunny Baker is located at Unit 301 Hemady Square, Doña Hemady cor. E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines.

Their website is http://thebunnybaker.com/
Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebunnybaker
Call them : +63 2 650 4153



February 26, 2015

A Quick Look at Tokyo International Hotel

A Cebu Pacific flight brought us to Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1 at around 10 past 12 midnight during the Chinese New Year (February 19) and it was a big surprise to find the airport almost empty with limited number of buses and taxicabs waiting outside.

Jo and I sat on one of the benches while discussing our options. We can either wait until 6 in the morning for an Airbus 1961 passing by Ambassador Hotel Station (where our booked hotel is nearby) or take a very expensive taxi ride (as per reviews from Trip Advisor, taxi from the airport to center of Taipei usually takes 1,200 New Taiwan Dollar). There's no guarantee that a bus will be available since it is holiday and we may lack time since we need to be in the hotel by 8 AM for the Northern Coast Tour so we bargained with one of the available taxi drivers at the airport with the help of a local who can speak English. The driver brought us to Tokyo International Hotel for 800 NTD.

Entrance of Tokyo International Hotel

Our first impression of the hotel was that it was small and the sign board outside was hard to notice.

The reception area has a small desk and some computers available for their guests. Wifi access is fast and free (just ask the receptionist for the username and password).
Jo and I stayed at the lobby while waiting for our tourist guide to pick us up. They allowed us to leave our bags at the counter and let us stay at the lobby and use their free wifi while our check in time was still at 3 PM.

Once inside, you'll notice how small the reception and lobby area is. However, you'll be surprised with how the staffs welcome you. From greetings, to helping you with your bags and inquiries, to calling a taxi cab for you, I just can't believe how courteous and willing they are to assist.

The lady receptionist can understand and speak good English. She also answered all our inquiries regarding directions, transportations and services willingly. She gave us a free map and drew some lines for directions. She made sure that we get to our destinations with ease. She also made all our transactions with the hotel easier.

The staffs were very efficient! They have provided us with the best hotel service there is.

Believe me when I tell you that this bed is very cozy. The design was modern Japanese. Simple yet elegant.

After the morning tour, we checked in to our room and boom! I was amazed with how cute the room design was. It was simple yet it feels bright, clean and so comfortable.

A warm tub is very suitable for Taiwan's weather
The wash sensor can be controlled from these buttons as well as the temperature of the wash water.
There's an auto sensor for the water wash. Tissue rolls were also provided for those who are not used to bidets.

Another big check for this hotel was the bathroom. They have a complete tub set with easy access to hot and cold water. Toiletries were complete. And what made it unique is the hi-tech toilet bowl. Once you sit on it, the padding gets warm, very cozy. It also comes with an auto wash sensor (one doesn't need a bidet anymore) where you can control via the buttons at the side how long the wash takes and how warm the water is (don't worry, they supplied tissue for those who are not used to water sprinkles).

How can one go wrong with a hotel with an award like this displayed at the lobby area?

Overall, we were very satisfied with our stay with Tokyo International Hotel. I highly recommend this place for those who are planning to visit Taipei. Since the hotel is managed by Japanese, expect the services to be of quality.

Reasons why you should stay at Tokyo International Hotel:

1. Quality service and friendly staffs.
2. Design of the rooms are modern Japanese, very comfortable and clean. Hi-tech toilet.
3. Good location, MRT stations are nearby and can be reached by walking.
4. There's a mall nearby, a lot of convenient stores around the area (Family Mart and Seven Eleven), Shin-Len Park and Fast Foods (McDonalds, Burger King, Mo's Burger and a lot of local eateries) are 5 minutes walk away.
5. They were voted as hotel with best service for 2014 at Trip Advisor.

Rooms for improvement:

1. They can improve the list of menu on their breakfast buffet.

Will I go back again?

A big Yes! On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, I would rate Tokyo International Hotel an 8.5. This hotel is highly recommendable.

Tokyo International Hotel is located at number 39 Chang Chun Road, Taipei, Taiwan, 104 R.O.C. There are 4 MRT stations nearby but the most convenient is the Zhongshan Station which is just a 10 minutes walk from the hotel.

Phone: +886-2-2564-3733
Fax: +886-2-2563-7992
Email: tokyo.hotels@msa.hinet.net
Website: http://www.tokyohotel.com.tw

















February 05, 2015

Top 3 Sky Bars in Hong Kong

Aside from the traditional Disneyland and Ocean Park Tours at Hong Kong, having a bird's eye view of the city at night is a must on one's bucket list. Just like Victoria's Peak, some bars offers good view of the city lights. I was able to visit three of the most raved sky bars and have compiled my experience with them.
 
1. Sevva 
View from Sevva's balcony
Where: Sevva is  located at the 25th floor of Prince's Building, No. 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong. The best way to get there is by dropping off at the Central Station of the MTR Chai Wan Line. Once out of exit, you will see a small park. Just look at your right then you'll see Prince Building.
Note: On the way up to the 25th floor, you'll need to press the floor button first before stepping into the elevator. 
A view of Prince's Building from the exit of MTR Central Station.
Crowd: The crowd is a mixture of Expats having fun after a day's work, socialite Chinoy (Chinese-Filipino) groups celebrating over the weekend and some tourists on vacation. Most of the patrons are from the business class and the elites so one would probably need to dress up appropriately when visiting here. You'll probably look fatuous if you went there wearing shorts and sandals. If you can wear a business casual attire or bring a blazer with you then it's better. 

Service: Most of the staffs were snobs (with the exception of few). From the elevator lift, the lady receptionists near the cake display didn't even bother greeting nor guiding the newly arrived guests to available seats. It would seem chaos for you if you're not familiar with the place. There's an area for fine dining, for cocktails and for cakes. Sevva is segmented into sections of which it is hard to decipher which area is which. Being a frequent patron of local bars, I am aware that usually there are VIP areas so it is not a good idea to just seat anywhere (it would be nice if they'll designate where you can actually sit). I have observed other guests (family on vacations from Western countries) who were puzzled on where to sit and the staffs were just ignoring them. 
Sevva has a display of cakes at the entrance right next to the receptionist.
I approached the receptionist and I said that I just wanted to try their famous Marie Antoinette cake and asked if it can be served at the balcony. She didn't understood. She pointed out that I can go and get a seat pointing at the chairs on a bar platform inside. I saw the open door leading to the balcony so I followed my instinct instead. Outside (at the balcony), just beside the door is the bar where most of the waiters are busy running here and there. I got the attention of one of the crew but there's a language barrier. What made it worse is the irritation that can be seen on his face. I was glad that one of the senior staff (maybe on his mid 50's) approached and assisted with my order. I was disappointed that the Marie Antoinette cake was not available. I ended up trying their Chocolate Cake with Marmalade and a glass of Spanish wine. 
 
Food and Drinks: There's nothing special about their cakes and cocktails. For me it is just average. 
Marie Antoinette Cake was not available so I just ordered a slice of chocolate cake with marmalade. It wasn't amusing though.
Price: Prices here were soaring high. You would spend at least 85 HKD for a slice of cake and at least 90 HKD for a glass of wine. Cocktails are much more expensive and would cost you 150 HKD. I don't recommend going here to drink/dine. If you are just after the view from the 25th floor, and if you can manage to explore the place and take pictures without getting caught by the staffs then do it (anyway the crew would probably just ignore you) then make a quiet exit. 
Everything from the menu was insanely expensive. It is better to eat somewhere else. If one is after the view, then keep it down to just a glass of wine or cocktail (just to identify yourself as a customer with the privilege to stay at the bar and take photos). 
Ambiance: Sevva has the best view out of the three bars that I have visited in Hong Kong. Their balcony (an open area with low glass rails) was wider than that of Tott's and Ozone. There were rounded tables and couches for groups to sit in. There were also high tables for standing patrons near the glass rails for those who would love to stand at the edge of the bar for a better view of the city night lights. I didn't stayed for long as it was cold and windy that night. After I had finished my cake, I asked one of the waiters to take a photo of me before I left the bar.
Panoramic view from Sevva's balcony
Sevva has the best view.
I wouldn't miss the opportunity to have a photo taken at Sevva.
2. ToTT's and Roof Terrace 
Once at the 34th floor of The Excelsior, you won't miss the bar's name just near the elevator.
Where: ToTT's and Roof Terrace is located at the 34th floor of The Excelsior at 281 Gloucester Road. The nearest MTR station is Causeway Bay of the Chai Wan Line. I stayed at Wan Chai district but I was able to find my way to ToTT's by just walking starting from the hostel I am staying at (anyway Wan Chai and Causeway Bay districts are just next to each other). I took Lockhart Road to E Point Road and just continued walking until I reached a small plaza with a left turn to a narrow street going to Gloucester Road where The Exclesior building is.
 
There were still some people protesting when I got to Causeway Bay. The protest, in general, was peaceful.
ToTT's is located at the 34th floor of The Excelsior building.
Selfie at the elevator
It's dark at the corridor where the elevators are located.
Crowd: The crowd here has a lower profile. There were young partners on date and some groups (still under a younger age bracket) that would pass as students hanging out during late hours, some expats and business professionals. In general, the people here were dressed down and more relaxed that those at Sevva and Ozone Bar.

 
Service: All the staffs were friendly. From the waiters, to the cashier and the receptionist, everyone were just so nice and accommodating. Two of the staffs were also new (I can tell because they're not used to jotting down orders and made some minor mishaps). Nevertheless, they were so friendly.

 
Food and Drinks: Was able to try some bar chows. Chips and Calamari were good. The cocktails were just so-so. 
Oh, I love their Calamari!
Nothing to rave about their cocktails and signature drinks.
Price: Just like Sevva and Ozone, foods and drinks were expensive. But out of the three bars, ToTT's was the least expensive. 
Expensive. The chips were free so maybe ordering one of their cocktails will suffice if you just want to see the view from their terrace.
Ambiance: I love the interior inside. The ambiance was calm and a little dim but very relaxing. The place was less crowded compared to Sevva. The Balcony was relatively small. ToTT's terrace would have offered the best view of Victoria's harbor if it wasn't for the two buildings that were blocking the supposedly perfect view of the city.

 
I captured a panoramic view f Victoria's harbor from ToTT's Roof Terrace. You'll notice the two buildings blocking your perfect view of the city.
You might want to request a seat near the middle so that you'll get a better view.
This is the corridor going to the terrace. It is dim but furnished with elegance.
Because the place was dark, I got a blurred photo.
3. Ozone Bar
This is what greeted me at the entrance of Ozone Bar.
Where: Ozone Bar is located at the 118 floor of The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong at number 1 Austin Road West, West Kowloon. The Ritz-Carlton building is conveniently connected to the Elements Mall which is directly linked to the MTR Kowloon Station.
 
The Ritz-Carlton is Directly connected to the Elements Mall which is linked to the MTR Kowloon Station.
If you start seeing these branded stores, then you're on your way to The Ritz-Carlton, just take that escalator going up.
I saw this at the lobby near the elevators.
Crowd: Mixed crowd composed of businessmen, socialites, expats and elites floods Ozone. You'll probably need to dress nicely. Expect some noisy locals, cougars and Filipino groups to fill the place on special occasions.

 
Service: They have the friendliest staffs. The receptionists were all smiling, the bar tenders were very attentive and friendly (especially the Filipino barista) and the waiters were there to please.

 
Food and Drinks: They have great selections of cocktails but I settled for a glass of mojito. I wasn't in the mood to try some house specialized drink that night. But my sweet tooth craved for their mango pudding which was very good. 
I wasn't really up for a drink that night so I just had a mojito.
My cravings for sweets was satisfied by this mango pudding. I love it!
Price: The most expensive out of the three bars that I have visited. Decent cocktails will cause you 130 HKD and up. It's advisable to skip the desserts and tapas, grab it from somewhere else (except if you went there with pockets fully loaded). 
Guess how much this already costs...
Ambiance: The idea of being on the 118th floor (also considered as the highest bar) is something to ponder. Being on higher grounds doesn't necessarily equate to having the best view. For instance, you may find the city lights vague if the clouds are at level or below you. Clouds and strong winds may cause some water condensation against the glass walls causing opaque view. Timing is also hard as clear sky doesn't show up every night. A little sprinkle from the clouds can totally ruin your visit (that is if you are after the view). The inside of the bar was actually one of the most elegant I've seen. The interiors were very modern and it was just so hard to stop gazing at the changing colors of the lights. There was an area for dining and there were high stools surrounding the bar for drinkers.
Everywhere inside the bar was perfect. It's like the arts have come to life. The lights were beautifully changing colors and the music was so relaxing.
Lonely mojito and me.
It's hard to get a clear view of the city lights from the 118th floor.


Final Verdict:

  • The best view belongs to Sevva.

  • The best interior and most friendliest staffs are from Ozone bar.

  • The cheapest cocktails out of the three bars are from ToTT's Roof Terrace