Hapag Restaurant and Events Place – Malolos, Bulacan

After our pilgrimage to Barasoain Church and visit to Barasoain Museum, we went to one of the most recommended restos in Malolos.


Hapag Restaurant and Events Place is situated behind the Provincial Hall. They serve Filipino and International dishes.


We were there around 6pm so the place wasn’t packed yet. The guests started to come in by 7pm. Miko and I were joined by my cousin, Kuya Edmund who’s now living there.


Their molo soup was served piping hot. The dumplings looked homemade and were very meaty and yummy. The soup was unusual for molo because instead of it being clear, it’s thick and nido soup-like. We loved it!


The Calumpit Rice is garlic fried rice with egg, veggies, and Calumpit longganisa. Delicious rice and ulam in one dish!


Then there’s the sinful Prawns and Crab in Sweet Spicy Sauce. Sarsa pa lang, panalo na.


The seafood they used had so much aligue. Fitting for our cheat meal.


The Pinakbet with Crispy Pork was loaded with shrimps, too. The veggies they used were sweet. Halatang freshly picked. The pork, parang lechon kawali sa pagka-crispy!


Their Baby Back Ribs was good too. Not sure about the rub they used. It’s definitely not my favorite spice, but it worked well on the ribs because it wasn’t too strong and they mixed it with brown sugar or honey. The only thing I didn’t like about this was the gravy. It was bland.


The Banofee Cake, despite of the not-well formed crust was delightfully sweet. Ang dami pang whipped cream. Yummmm.


The best part of eating at Hapag was the great dishes. The second best part was that it only cost around 1,200php!


We hope to eat here again the next time we are in Malolos!

Hapag Restaurant and Events Place
Beside Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center,
Provincial Capitol Compound, Guinhawa,
Malolos City, Bulacan
0923 7027612, 0906 2419181, 0923 7372589

// listening to Mean Girls – Jingle Bell Rock


My 2014: From Terrible to Terrific

I started 2014 with high hopes. I was certain it’s gonna be my year, but my hopes came crashing down when I faced three major problems– 1- financing the construction of our house in Bataan (ang mahala mahal mahal pala magpagawa ng bahay kahit sa probinsya), 2- change of responsibilities in the office (I was asked to handle employee referrals after years of handling job fairs and events), and 3- the death of my underground bestfriend slash platonic love of my life, Oryx.

house april 2014

Our Bahay sa Bukid in April 2014

The first two had me struggling and the last left me heartbroken. The last also gave the biggest impact. Ang pera, mag-sipag ka lang, kikitain. Ang trabaho, basta tutukan, natutunan. Pero ang tao, kapag wala na, wala na talaga. Oryx’s death taught me to be more appreciative of the life I was given- including the challenges that come along with it. Ika nga, I was given this life because I’m strong enough to live it. And no doubt, 2014 tested my strength, especially my strength in keeping the faith.

Perform Cup 2014

With two of my favorite colleagues who kept me sane during my learning curve phase.

I often asked God last year when would I see His promises to me fulfilled. And often times, I hated myself for asking Him, because it just emphasized my doubt and fear. I hated that my fear was always bigger than my faith and that my impatience kicked in each time I faced a difficult situation. Pagod na pagod na kasi ako. I wanted a break. I knew in my heart that every challenge He allowed was for my character building, and that He would equip me to come out strong, but in the many years that I was sucking up and dealing with so many conflicts, I couldn’t help but question if I would really be able to emerge victorious.

oryx jan 2014

Me, giving a half stand-up comedy, half Maalaala Mo Kaya eulogy- something I know he would have wanted.

A little past mid-year, just right after another heartache, I was frustrated and borderline depressed and asked for a sign. He gave it to me the following day and being the doubter that I was, I was reluctant to admit that it’s really the answer I’ve been waiting for so long. I was scared. If it’s what I was waiting for and I failed to take care of it, would I lose it? And worse, regret forever? I had to review all the lessons I learned and gauge how a 32 year old should react to and act on something that screamed divine intervention. So I decided to take the plunge. Keber na kung hindi ako marunong lumangoy. Jesus walks on water, and He is my lifeguard.

Proj Inspire 2014

Look back and thank God. Look forward and trust God.

By August, our house in Bataan started to shape up. nagmumukha na talagang bahay. Hindi na sad gray pile of hollowblocks in the middle of the fields of Morong. Nagka-vegetable garden na. May flowers na rin ako sa paligid. It’s still a work in progress, but seeing it improve every time I go home gives me a sense of pride. Mahal nga magpagawa ng bahay pero nakikita ko naman kung saan napupunta ang pinaghihirapan ko. At lalo na, it gives my parents joy. And I love my parents so very much.

house dec 2014

Our Bahay sa Bukid in Dec 2014

I also got over the neophyte feeling in my new career task. I am grateful for the people who made me realize that handling employee referrals is not just about recruitment, but also about employee engagement. Doble ang fulfillment kasi nakakatulong na sa pagkakaron ng bagong emplyedo, nakakatulong pa para magkaron ng passive income ang mga present employees. And thank You, Lord, I was given a performance award last December for my contribution to the company.


Got this and the X-Factor Award. Sana this year, PERFORM award naman uli! :)

And the most amazing thing that happened in 2014? I met someone that I did not friendzone and did not friendzone me, albeit we started off as friends, and for a time I was afraid it will end there. I met someone who fell in love with me and I also fell in love with. Iba talaga kapag si God ang nag-promise. Kahit na mukhang malabo ang sitwasyon, He will make things possible, with little or no struggle. By the last month of 2014, I was in a relationship with Miko. I’m overjoyed that our loved ones are glad that we are together. Feeling ko nga, kinulit ni Oryx si God to send me Miko. :p

Miko Dec 2014

Photo from our first official date also known as the night he said I LOVE YOU. To which I replied, THIS IS THE BEST DECEMBER EVER. Bwahahahaha!

I’m still in awe of how my life dramatically changed in a year. Of course, the years prior prepared me for the blessing that I overtly received in the second half of 2014. Some will say the promises were delayed, but I believe they were fulfilled in the perfect time. And what’s the perfect time? The time when I was ready. It’s now 2015 and I know that there will still be struggles.  My renewed confidence will meet whatever challenges this new year has in store. If I can make it in 2014, 2015 shouldn’t be a problem!

Have a blessed 2015 to all!

// listening to No Doubt – Simple Kind of Life

Retty and Iya’s Pininyahang Manok

My new rule is that Mama and I have to cook something together whenever I’d be home in Bataan or in what we call the Dar and Retty’s Farm House in Iya’s Farmville. :p

It’s Pinanyahang Manok or Pineapple Chicken for this month. We used the following ingredients for this classic:

1 kilo Magnolia chicken
1 head of garlic, crushed and chopped
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 1/2 small cans of Alpine evaporated milk
2 pouches of Del Monte pineapple tidbits
2 large potatoes, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 red bellpepper, chopped
2 tablespoons patis
1 Knorr chicken cube
1/2 a cup of water
black pepper, crushed
green onions, chopped


Sauté the garlic in oil until lightly brown then put the onion. When onion is transluscent, lightly sauté the chicken and crumbled chicken cube. Kung ayaw mo gumamit ng chicken cube, okay lang. Pero mas masarap kapag meron. Lumilinamnam.


When the chicken is slightly brown, add the peppercorn, pineapple syrup, and water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. be patient. Huwag silip ng slip sa loob sa kaserola para mabilis ang cooking process, okay?


Then add the potatoes, carrots, bellpepper, pineapple chunks, and 1 can of milk. It has to be Alpine or Mama will get angry. Alpine is the best cooking milk for her for as long as I can remember. Totoo naman, mas masarap kaysa carnation or Alaska or the other popular brands. :p


Simmer until the vegetables get cooked. Add some patis and more pepper according to your liking. Put the rest of the milk just a few minutes before serving. Why? Para hindi mag-curdle ng bongga. Sige ka, hindi Instagram-worthy if you don’t follow my advice. Hehe.


Remove from the casserole and garnish with some green onions. Serve with some patis with crushed siling labuyo. Oooh-la-la! Sarap! Sweet, savory, creamy, slightly sour, slightly spicy… Wow! Extra rice nga!


Watch out for the next Santos family recipe! I think we will be cooking fish steamed in soy-ginger sauce. Kami naman yata ni Daddy ang magluluto. :)

// listening to Coldplay – Violet Hill

Loleng’s Hutieu-an sa Binaritan – Morong, Bataan

Whenever I’m home for the weekend, I see to it that I spend at least one merienda at Loleng’s Hutieu-an. This noodle place is in Barangay Binaritan in Poblacion, Morong, Bataan. A lot of people who visit the beach resorts in our quiet town drop by here.


Our house is just 10 minutes away by foot. I invited Mama to eat with me last I was home and I was surprised that it was her first time to eat at Loleng’s, considering she’s born and raised in Morong and has been based there since we left Paranaque in 2008. Hence, asar talo siya sa akin. :p


Now you might be wondering, what’s a hu tieu? Think of it a cousin of pho. It’s pronounced as hoo tee-u, although I hear the elders in Morong say it as ho-cho. :p It’s a Vietnamese noodle dish with pork or chicken, vegetables, and broth. I love the soup because it’s a fantastic medley of sweet, savory and spicy. I think it’s because of the pork and chicken stock mixed with the caramelized onions and of course, a hint of chili.


So now, your next question probably is, why there’s a place (a few places, actually) in Morong that serves Vietnamese food. You see, some time in the early 1980’s, there were Vietnamese refugees (and some Laotians and Cambodians) who lived in Morong before they were brought to other countries like US and Canada for permanent resettlement.


Aling Loleng was a former refugee camp worker who learned some of their recipes, turning it into a business years after the refugees moved out. The most popular among the dishes they left us, is the hutieu. I usually have a regular bowl with extra egg. I like this with extra chili and a bit of soy sauce. I prefer the pork hutieu than the chicken, and mungbean sprout than pechay.


Another thing I like here is their cha gio. This is the Vietnamese Spring Roll. We got the one with noodles so it’s bun cha gio. If I’m not mistaken, the bun tit nuong is noodles with meat like tocino? I decided against getting that because the name sounds funny. But tit nuong. Wala lang. :p Anyway, Mama also liked the cha gio, but thinks my cousin’s version of it is better. Well, Ate Maribel does make a mean cha gio. :)


And then, I had a banh mi with my hu tieu. The bahn mi is actually a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread, but in Morong, it specifically refers to the sandwich. I think the complete name for this sandwich is banh mi thịt nguoi. It has ham (or cold cuts), vegetables (usually lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and wansuy) and pate or liver spread. The traditional bread used for this is a baguette, but at Loleng’s the bread used is the freshly baked tinapay made by Kuya Enteng, the most popular panadero in town. :D


Besides the Filipinized Vietnamese dishes, Loleng’s also serves other favorites like spaghetti, pansit bihon, pansit palabok, and halo-halo. I’ve tried all of their other non-Vietnamese food and the pansit palabok is my favorite. Mama had this for her merienda this afternoon. She liked it. Simot sarap!


We were super busog from our merienda and we spent less than 200php for everything. Well, I think I paid 250pho because I bought a pack of chocovron or chocolate polvoron para pasalubong namin kay Daddy, baka kasi magtampo kasi hindi namin sinama. Hehehe! I really recommend that you look for this humble eatery when you are vacationing in Morong. There are other hutieu places in town but Loleng’s is, hands down, the best.


See you in Morong! :D

// listening to Los Lonely Boys – Staying With Me

Porto Cena – Harbor Point

Porto Cena is a weekend food market at the Harbor Point Mall grounds in Subic.


It’s been around for several months but we only got to visit it last week for my birthday.


There were less than 10 stalls open when we went there around 5. Maybe there were only a few because it’s still early?


Daddy had some bangus tocino + yang chow + chop seuy (around 120php) and Mama had chow mein (around 50php).


I had a taco for 60php. Can’t really say much about it and what my parents got. Decent. Ok lang.


What we liked were the assorted chips with dips! For 80php, we snacked on crispy taro, banana, cassava, and ube chips.


We also liked the soy ice cream smartly called Soybetes! We had the pumpkin and chocnut flavors. One cup with 2 flavors for 80php.


We hope to see more kinds of food the next time we go to Porto Cena! May it be as big as its “brother”, Mercato Centrale. :)

// listening to Maria Mercedes