Giada’s Cafe and Kitchen

It was a lazy Sunday.

After spending my whole Saturday nursing an unknown illness, the body has recovered and is ready for anything other than lying down.

I decided to have a lunch out.

I haven’t done it in quite a while as most of my lunches are either at parents’ home when I visit them during weekends or at my place with my measured lunch as I am trying to lose weight.

I found myself in Berthaphil, Clark rounding some restos. I zeroed in on Giada’s Cafe and Kitchen.

A lady opened the door and welcomed me. There were only two persons inside that time plus two new customers who came a little over a few seconds before me.

As I got seated and was handed the menu, I looked up and there was no one to take my order. I have to catch the attention of somebody from the counter (there were a lot of them huddled together) so somebody can attend to me.

I asked for the bestseller. The baby back ribs was mentioned as well as the chicken steak. I was waiting for some nice explanation on why but did not get any. Just curt responses.

I ordered barbecue grilled spare ribs and Italian soda, kiwi fantasy flavor.

While waiting for the food, I noticed that the interior looks nice. There is a great wall paper on the far end of the wall, nice cushioned chairs, decors by the counter and some wall art. Music was also being played adding to the place’s ambiance.

What I find distracting though are the people in the counter. There were just too many. Maybe because it wasn’t so busy yet so they can have time to chit chat before crunch time.

Drink and food came.

The Italian Soda – Kiwi Fantasy, I must say tastes refreshing. The lady who served me said it is made from Sprite and some syrup. I saw the bar man pick up a Torani so I am assuming that is where the flavoring came from.


Then lunch arrived.


The mashed potato tastes normal and the gravy tastes like it came from a packaging. Too seasoned, maybe. The barbecue spare ribs looks yum and tastes ok. It was the buttered veggies which I enjoyed the most.

For the value relative to the price paid, I would say it is ok. I have tasted similar food at a better price and service.

Will I come back again? Maybe yes.


Maybe not.

Giada’s Cafe and Kitchen is located at Berthaphil III, Clark Center along Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Clark Freeport Zone , Angeles City, Pampanga.

A Return to Equilibrium


After a very long hiatus, I guess I am back.

It has been six months since I came back to the Philippines to start a new adventure. Right now it feels like I never really left. The memories of the sojourns I had the past few years felt just like that, memories.

Now, I am trudging on a new path I uncovered for myself.

It has been great.

But like any new life event, it comes with busyness and adjustment.

Settling in my new place; making my apartment feels like home. Getting to know better my role in my job; learning how to be effective in it. Meeting new friends; spending time with them. Spending time with old friends; picking up to where we left off. Getting used to having family time again; making sure it is quality time spent. A lot has been going on.

I forego slowing down, finding time, introspecting, writing for a while.

It can’t be helped it.

Now, I believe equilibrium is back.


Let’s try blogging (again).

Because Champions Wake Up Early!


Finally! After several days of failed attempt of rising early, I was able to beat my alarm clock which is supposed to rouse me at 6:30 AM. Yes, 6:30 AM! I have been such a spoiled brat lately and have been waking up at 8 AM or 9 AM because my workplace is literally just outside my door.

But after stumbling through an article of Laura Vanderkam on What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (you can also read a gist of that here), I told myself let’s give this a try. I bought her ebook and then some in Kindle and started making plans on how I can beat the morning and do more.

My usual schedule is rise at 8 (or 9, whichever feels more appropriate… I know you’re jealous), check my phones for messages with eyes still half open, try to get myself out of the bed, grab the towels, and then take a shower. I am good after a shower. I dress up, grab my stuff and is off the door. If I feel like it, I eat breakfast in any of the restaurants here or I ask for an office service (think room service… did I say I am spoiled?). Then I try to catch up on the schedule of the day, check my emails, and then work… sometimes until 10 PM. See! I deserve those late mornings.

But yeah, I am crazy and I always challenge myself. This time I wanted to beat the self and develop a new habit. I was unsuccessful the past few days. I was cursing the alarm when it goes off at 6:30 AM. I passionately ignored it and found myself waking up even later! 9:05 AM? 9:10 AM? Not good!

But I  never gave up. I still kept it at 6:30 AM since I decided the change. And today I was victorious. Hooray! *throws confetti*

So what do I plan to do with my early mornings? Well, that’s where I get stuck. Having so used to the earlier schedule, I am at a loss on what to do with the extra time. When I woke up today, I was still arguing with the self if I will snooze or just give it a try for gad’s sake. I let the superego win (only this time… I was telling it) and decided to steep some tea, something I cannot do on a regular basis in my mornings as I was always rushing to get out of the room because I am starving!

Now, the stomach is still not on alert mode.

And then I decided to blog. I find such pure, sheer joy when I write. It makes my heart sing. That’s the correct description. I am not good at it (yet) but I hope I will be. And did I say I want to challenge myself all the time? This November, I plan to do a blog post per day. Now, that’s a challenge. I know NaBloWriMo starts on October and NaNoWriMo on November (Heck… I actually just checked. I thought they both start on the same day… darn…) but who cares, I set my rules. Gulp.

Looking at how busy my first 2 or 3 weeks of November will be, I am so brave to pose this challenge to the self. But yeah, let’s bring it on.

So mornings, starting now (or as much as I can push*scold*guilt-trip*motivate myself) that’s the plan, steep some tea or any possible warm drink I have in store (it is so freaking cold here… another reason to stay in bed longer), meditate, write, smile and then do the daily grind.

Care to join me?

Bunga Sedap Malam


I was wondering where the scent was coming from when I sat on the chair. And then I saw this. It is like our sampaguita except that it has a more powerful and lingering smell. I asked for its name. Bunga Sedap Malam. In Indonesia, Bunga means flower. Sedap means good. Malam means night. You get the picture? They told me this is a night flower. A flower for the ghost.

So what is it doing on my table?!

My guess is as good as yours. Because it is lovely ghosts or no ghosts.

Traditional Batak Dishes

Yesterday, over talks on the eruption, we got hungry. A colleague asked me if I would like to try traditional Batak dishes. Batak is one of the many tribes in Indonesia and is one of the most popular in Sumatra. I actually have no preference at that particular time but at the mention of Batak, I immediately thought of Babi Panggang Karo (BPK) or grilled pork. Though Indonesia is the biggest Muslim country in the world, many Bataknese are Christian due to the missionary work of Catholics and Protestants from a long time. Proof is you can find a church here every 10 km or so. No kidding.

After getting stuck in traffic for almost an hour just to get to that place which the colleague argues is serving very good Batak dishes, we arrived. The place has zero ambience. It’s like a hole-in-the-wall kind of place. No air condition. No table cloth. No fancy whatever. Just authentic food.


And these are what we got.


Saksang, according to the colleague, is a typical Batak dish cooked every time there are festivities like weddings and birthdays. This is mainly composed of chopped meat cooked in (animal’s) blood, coconut milk and spices. Saksang comes in two variations, pork meat or dog meat. Pork meat for now for me. I still cannot imagine eating dogs.


The colleague called this Kecap. Kecap actually means sauce here in Indonesia. I reckon Kecap manis with asin (sweet and salty soy sauce) with tomato sauce was used here. It tastes like adobo to me without the sour taste.


And this is my lovely Babi Panggang Karo or grilled pork. The pork doesn’t really taste anything special but this comes with a bloody sauce which gives this dish an interesting flavor. The bloody sauce tastes like Saksang actually, just spicier.


And these are the happy eaters.

As they say when in Rome, do what the Romans do. I have stopped asking for spoon and fork every time we eat out in places like this. Instead, you get a bowl of water to wash your hands with. I am no longer complaining, just embracing each and every moment of this wonderful culture that I was blessed to experience.


Looking like an authentic Indonesian here.


And that bulging stomach tells the whole story of how the lunch ended.