Gloria Maris – Araneta Center, Cubao

It was past 7pm and my mom didn’t have enough time to prepare dinner… and so we had an impromptu dinner. It took us more than 30 minutes to arrive in Araneta Center due to heavy traffic. It was James Ingram’s concert that night, hence the heavy traffic and the full parking lot. We spent another 10 minutes looking for a parking space in Gateway Mall. Oh… I was thinking, dinner should be good…

We headed to Gloria Maris for some tummy-filing Chinese meal.


On the table:


We couldn’t decide what dimsum to order; I thought the Dimsum Combination platter (Php 247) is a great choice. It has assorted dumplings like hakaw, japanese siomai, siomai, beancurd roll, and some sort of seaweed with sesame seeds. It was a solid starter while waiting for our main course to arrive.


The Asado Noodle Soup (Php 178) arrived steaming hot. Each sip was packed with the tasty Asado flavor. The meat was tender and easy to cut and chew, same with the noodles that remained firm yet tender.

The Lechon Macau (Php 268) was cooked nice and crisp. I love the sauce that came with it, it went well with the tender meat and crispy skin of the lechon.

Mom wanted a fish dish and chose Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet (Php 268). The seemingly ordinary dish turned out to be a flavorful meal. Not to mention, healty too! The fish fillet was loaded with sweet and sour sauce with lot of carrots and bell peppers, and onion strips. The flavor brings fireworks to the mouth… yum!!!

Among all the food on the table, the Fried Squid with Salt and Pepper (Php 278) was my favorite. Dunk it on the vinegar with chili and chow it down… ooohlalala… It’s undeniably the best dish for the night. I love the easy to chew squid… not gummy, and the crunchy breading. It explodes in the mouth like a bomb!!!

We thought we should get a noodle dish other than the Asado noodle soup so we ordered Crispy Noodle with Mixed Vegetables (Php 228). It is like the usual noodle/pancit dish just with a crispy noodle. I didn’t get to eat much of this pancit.

I ate and ate until such time I realized I ate too much there’s no more room for the Seafood Mango Salad (Php 168) or for dessert. Still, I ate about 2 spoonfuls of this salad. I find it interesting to combine seafood and fruits, though I’m not a big fan of it. As for the Seafood Mango Salad, it has crabsticks and shrimps and mango chunks topped with cream and cherry. Surprisingly, it was good. The sweet and tangy mango chunks paired well with the crabstick and shrimps.

Overall, I give Gloria Maris a clap, clap, clap for the good food that we had. Though I hope you could improve more by maintaining clean and presentable tables/seats. Some of the  seat covers are already torn and badly need a replacement.

For families and friends who are looking for some good tasting Chinese food, visit Gloria Maris and you will definitely leave the place with a smile… and a heavy tummy.   🙂


Note: I didn’t bring my camera that night and so I would like to thank my sister-in-law, Cy, for taking photos of the food using her Iphone.


Gloria Maris


Address: G/F Coliseum Circle, Araneta Center Cubao, Quezon City

Contact Number: 63 (2) 421-7362


Dampa sa River Banks- Marikina

I’ve heard about this Dampa sa Marikina and would personally want to try it out, so I brought my family there for dinner the other night. I was thinking Dampa like the ones in Macapagal and Libis, unfortunately, the size of the Dampa in Marikina isn’t quite so near.

There are more or less 12 stalls in the area, each with color coded tables guests can occupy. It is overlooking the Marikina River (ampitheater side); perfect place for dining al fresco.

We looked around for what type of food they offer and found out it’s mostly grilled/inihaw. We settled and decided to have our food ordered at Fortune Grill.

Price is cheap and they cook your food upon order. They give freebies “Mangga with bagoong” and soup “Sinigang sa Miso”.

This is what we ordered for:

2 pusit (Large 130 each) – 260

1 chicken (3pcs in a skewer) – 70

1 tilapia-  70

1 bangus- 90

2 liempo (70 each) – 140

1 sisig – 70

5 cups of rice- 50

1.5L Coke- 60

Total: 810


I knew we ordered to much. There were six of us and we were completely full. We miss grilled food and this satisfied our craving.

If you are around the area, go ahead and try Dampa in Marikina. You get real value for your money.






Address: A. Bonifacio Ave, Riverbanks Mall
Marikina, Metro Manila

Bono Yaki Family Restaurant- Libis

Two big events in one day. First was the Canon Photomarathon 2011 held in Pasay City.  My nephew Vandyke and I, together with more than 2,000 photographers, participated in the event. We woke up 4:30am and ate hot pandesal and spanish bread for breakfast. I brought some chips and bottled water for snacks because I knew it would be an exhausting day; the contest required a lot of walking aside from photography skills.  Lunch and snacks were provided during the event. We had 1pc chicken from Mang Inasal and cup noodles for merienda. We left the place 5:30pm for a family dinner in Libis as it was my niece’s 2nd birthday- the 2nd big event of the day. Traffic was heavy that we arrived past 6:30pm in Bono Yaki Family Restaurant.

What welcomed me was the spread of Asian dishes that are festive to the eyes. The sight and aroma of the food seemed to liven up my tired body.  I immediately brought out my camera and took photos of the buffet table.

They have a wide selection of dishes to enjoy… from soup, appetizers, salad, viands, and dessert.  You can start your meal with a Pumpkin soup or Crab and Corn soup. Both were hot, thick, and tasty.

There’s a salad station with the freshest veggies and greens. Mix and match the ingredients and  dressings for your salad. They have also prepared Caesar salad, potato salad, and coleslaw… all you have to do is dig in.

Right beside the salad station, you can find 19 different kinds of maki/rolls. There’s the famous California Maki and Philadelphia roll. There’s Black Mamba roll, Tempura Maki, and Norwegian roll, to name a few.

Next is the dimsum and steamed seafood (crabs,etc) station. Siomai dumplings and hakao (shrimp dumplings) are steamed on bamboo baskets. (Note: Hakao disappears instantly, they are so good!)

On the other end of the center table are some Asian dishes like Spareribs Salt and Pepper, Chicken Lollipop, Butter Garlic Chicken, and Tempura. It extends to one side of the center table where Jap Chae Korean stir fried glass noodles, mixed veggies, beef brisket, and pork ribs, etc. are. There’s a lot of food choices I wasn’t able to take photo of that part of the table… Ooops…

Oh! There’s also this small wooden ship filled with appetizers, cucumbers, sashimi and kani sticks. It’s colorful and creatively done no one wanted to touch it.

My eyes were fixated on this side of the table that I didn’t bother to try other dishes. As much as I wanted to try everything, my tummy was already filled with the “good stuff” a.k.a. all the meat I grilled. There’s rib eye marinated & plain, beef belly marinated & plain, pork belly marinated & plain, pork bbq, chicken teriyaki, yakiniku pork, gizzard bbq, chicken bbq and salmon belly.

I grilled bacon wrapped veggies and sprouts, pork bbq, chicken bbq and about 1/4 kilo of marinated rib eye and salmon belly. I ate it straight off the grill together with some fried rice.  *drooool*

Food is best enjoyed with family and friends. We shared stories and jokes, I took more photos, and teased those who already had 4 or more plates. I was still grilling and eating my favorite bacon and ribeye while most of them are already enjoying their desserts. I could hardly stand up now. (This is true!) I asked my nephew to get me 4 different kinds of desserts and these  were the ones he got for me.- choco bar (jello like), another jello (pink/yellow), mango graham, and pudding. It was okay. Not so sweet. The dessert line up is something they can improve on.

There’s ice cream with different toppings you can add on. There are mini cupcakes, I didn’t get to try. That’s reserved for my next visit. There’s halohalo and maja. There’s marshmallow and mini peanut butter cookies you can dip on the chocolate fondue. I like the cookies and the bitter sweet taste of the chocolate  dip… yum!!!

We were surprised when the staff greeted my niece with a birthday song. Thank you Bono Yaki. You made Vyone’s 2nd birthday extra special.

I like the ambiance, the good quality of the food, the friendly staff. The service is one of a kind. There will always be someone to assist you.

Bono Yaki is a perfect place for casual type family dining. It delivers great dining experience to customers with the quality of service they give matched with the delicious food and great atmosphere. I enjoyed my experience so much. It’s obviously a clap, clap, clap for Bono Yaki.

Make your reservation now!!!   🙂

Bono Yaki Family Restaurant

Address: 2/f Corby Building, Bagumbayan Libis Quezon City, Quezon City, Philippines

Contact Number: 6554353/ 631-0556

Mon – Fri: 12:00 pm 2:30 pm
6:00 pm 10:30 pm
Sat: 11:30 am 2:30 pm
5:30 pm 10:00 pm
Sun: 11:30 am 2:30 pm
5:30 pm 10:30 pm

Little Store on the Hill – Little Baguio, San Juan City

Good things come in small packages. That’s exactly what Little Store on the Hill proves itself to be- a hole in the wall restaurant that offers filling and satisfying budget friendly meals.

I’d like to thank my friend Malou for giving me a birthday treat and for bringing me to Little Store. Every moment was wonderful – it’s like finding a hidden gem in the busy streets of San Juan.


Never underestimate this tiny store for it sells almost everything. One part of the store looks like a mini grocery where fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, candies, seasonings, and spices are displayed. The food display and counter is located at the center; a wide variety of viands can be seen here as well as lots of take-home products to choose from. The rightmost part is the dining area where more or less 8 tables are situated. I like the green painted walls and dimmed lights that give a warm and cozy ambiance. Condiments and free drinking water are readily available at one side of the dining area. Feel free to mix your own concoction to your liking.




On the table:

50/50 Rice (Php 100) is composed of soy chicken, kikiam, and adobo egg on top of a cup of plain rice. The chicken meat is tender, fall off the bones, and well-seasoned. The kikiam is also delectable; I like how chunky and well-spiced the meat is.


Lomah Rice (Php 100) is made up of rice topped with adobo pork, kiamchay, and adobo egg. The adobo pork is tender and well-spiced. The vegetable dish matches perfectly with the meat.


Maki (Php85) is another store best-seller. Maki consists of coated pork slices in thick brown soup and topped with spring onion. The pork is seasoned with spices, tenderized, and coated with starch then deep fried. I enjoyed the warm soup as it is… though some say it tastes better with black vinegar. I should try that next time.


And now, here’s what my friend kept telling me to try… the famous Lumpia (Php 75). I was surprised how big and tightly packed their lumpia is.  We had it split into two for sharing. The mixture of chopped meat and veggies gave a nice texture to the lumpia. The lumpia sauce has the right consistency and flavor. Add crushed garlic for some  extra kick!


I must be lucky that day as I was able to meet and talk with Ms. Mona Chua. She recalled how both her parents Bartolome and Rosalinda Chua shared their passion for cooking that later on bloomed and led to the birth of the Little Store. The mix of Taiwanese street and home-cooked Hokkien dishes were designed to appeal everyone.

When asked about the ingredients of the lumpia, Ms. Mona explained that they only use authentic ingredients of a Hokkien lumpia. It’s the store’s best-seller…they sell about 600 pieces of fresh lumpia per day. Definitely a must-try!!!

With the great service, friendly staff, generous owner, and great food, I give Little Store a clap, clap, clap!!!




Little Store on the Hill

Address:  2 Jose Abad Santos St., Little Baguio, San Juan

Contact Numbers:  7219174/ 7236881/ 4113324/ 7212359.

Hidden Tapsihan- Kawit, Cavite

June 12, 2011 marked the 113th year of Philippine Independence. I’m not really into history but I find it interesting to see in person the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite. Yeah, I’m talking about that ancestral home at the back of the old 5 peso bill.

We left Cubao 4:30am and reached Kawit around 6:30, just in time for President Noy’s raising of the flag and speech. A lot of activities were set for the day such as the Bingo Bonanza and the Job & Nego Expo 2011 sponsored by Smart. I enjoyed the walking thru the food stalls to find something to grab for breakfast. I couldn’t decide what to eat; I just had a Hungarian sausage sandwich for a quick chow.

I knew the sandwich wouldn’t be enough for the whole morning so my friend and I decided to leave the park and find someplace to have lunch. We asked the locals and they told us about the Hidden Tapsihan which was just a few blocks away from the park.

There was no trace that a restaurant is located in this area except for the small orange signage. The name speaks for itself, it’s located along an alley and is indeed hidden.

Here’s the menu board of what they offer. We asked a wait staff what people usually order and that’s what we had for lunch. We sampled the tapsilog, lechon kawali with egg, and molo soup. We also had a pack of chicharon to go.


On the table:


Molo soup is a clear soup made from chicken broth; it is composed of  ground pork wrapped in molo wrapper, shredded chicken and chinese cabbage. The way they made it was simple and perfect to start the meal. For its price (Php 45), I couldn’t demand for more.

The lechon kawali with egg (Php 85) was fantastic! The skin was crackling…crunchy and pan fried into golden brown. The meat was juicy and tender. I just wish they had Mang Tomas sauce to go with it. It would’ve been perfect. The egg that came along with it was cooked sunny side up.

If you like sweet old fashioned pinoy tapa, you’ll like Hidden Tapsihan’s tapa. It’s marinated in a sweet sauce that matches the pinoy taste bud. I want a bit of spiciness in my tapa so I asked for some chili for the vinegar dip. Their tapsilog is only for Php 65. Not bad.

NOTE: Their vinegar makes the tapa “amazingly delicious”. Not so sweet, not so sour, it truly matches the tapa.

Pinoy meals at budget friendly prices is the best asset of Hidden Tapsihan. Go there for your whole day tapsilog-fix.  🙂




Hidden Tapsihan


Address:  Mascardo St. Brgy. Wakas-I, Kawit, Cavite (locals/tricycle drivers can direct you to Hidden Tapsihan)


Han Pao Teahouse- Shaw Blvd.

Eating out at a Chinese restaurant is a feast! There’s just so many dishes to choose from; Ironically, I order pork spareribs every time.

The place was busy when we arrived mid-afternoon. Good thing we found a comfortable seat at the end corner of the resto. Baloogs and I haven’t eaten lunch yet; imagine the hysteria of seeing the photos on the menu. I couldn’t decide what to eat so I immediately ordered for… you know what… yeah, pork spareribs.   🙂

While waiting, a pot of tea was served, followed by a small bowl of soup. I was thinking I was having too much liquid, I couldn’t wait for the main meal.

Still waiting… we ordered kuchai dumplings. The chili-garlic,soy sauce, and calamansi mixture worked perfectly as a dip. Glad to say, this dish didn’t disappoint me. The filling was firm and tasty. The translucent cover was soft; it’s not soggy… steamed at perfection. yummeeeh!

After a few minutes, my spareribs was served.  The serving seemed like a “kiddie meal” when we saw it. A tiny cup of spareribs isn’t enough for my monstrous appetite. I finished the dish in a sec. Kidding aside, the spareribs was just ok. Nothing delightful about it. I prefer the one in Le Ching Tea House better.

I wasn’t happy about the spareribs I ordered. I thought my Han Pao experience would be my last…but…no! Hold on…Brace yourself for this dish I didn’t know existed. The main meal for the day: Noodle Feast.

It was definitely a feast to my eyes seeing the different colors on that dish. What’s so festive about this dish? Well, it has wide noodles at the bottom that serves as the bed for assorted meat toppings. It has two kinds of dumplings, sweet braised beef, white chicken meat, spicy pork, Chinese broccoli smothered with that sweet/salty thick brown sauce.

This dish absolutely gets a clap! clap! clap! No wonder it has become one of the the most ordered dishes in Han Pao. I couldn’t see any flaws about it. I just love how the flavor blends. The sweetness of the beef, spiciness of the pork, and saltiness of the sauce plus the texture of the vegetables and dumplings…luxuriously amazing. I wouldn’t stop bragging about this dish. yeah… I like it so much I had it  for dinner two days ago. Thanks Baloogs.

To experience imperial dining, drop by Han Pao Tea house, you won’t regret it.

Han Pao Tea House

Shaw Blvd. Branch
Ground Level, Sunshine Square
312 Shaw Blvd.
Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines

Phone Number: (63 2) 534-2467, (63 2) 534-3730, (63 2) 717-0465

R. Ma Mon Luk Restaurant- Quiapo, Manila

While waiting for my siopao, mami, and siomai to be served, I read a few articles posted on the walls of the restaurant. That’s the only time I get to know who Ma Mon Luk is. I find his life story interesting; coming from China and moving to the Philippines, poor Mr. Ma Mon Luk had to peddle chicken noodle soup for a living. Also, he used to be a teacher before entering the world of business…a parallelism with my life (just a thought).

As he became popular among Manileños, he decided to open his first restaurant in Binondo, Manila and still continued to peddle his wares on the streets. Two of the five restaurants he owned remain open, Quiapo and Quezon Avenue branches.

Even with the tight competition in the market, Ma Mon Luk maintained the same ambiance of the resto like it was so antique.  What’s the reason behind it? They wanted the same atmosphere like it was the 1950’s.

Too many facts on the wall…let’s get to business.

On the table:

I was enjoying my hot chicken noodle soup a.k.a. Special Mami with a dash of pepper until my friend told me that squirting siopao sauce will make it taste better. It’s not too late though, with my bowl still half full, I added some siopao sauce until it gets brownish in color. It was more flavorful, indeed! Priced at Php 95, this big bowl of mami is to share.

The siopao is bigger than a fist… i’m not kidding. I was surprised to see a siopao that’s so huge. It has generous fillings; so savory that you barely need to put sauce on it. The special siopao is priced at Php55.

Note: Peel the paper and outer covering of the siopao (just for sanitary concerns).

I’m a fan of dumplings but sad to say Ma Mon Luk’s siomai failed to please my palate. Though they claim they use their own secret sauce, I’m still not impressed with their own version of siomai. It was chewy, the texture of the filling was crumb-like and was a bit dry . Ordering this was a disappointment. I find it pricey at 2 dumplings for Php40.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience eating at Ma Mon Luk. It reminded me of my Lolo since their siopao is one of his favorites. I was able to taste the “Original Chicken Mami” with siopao sauce. And… I felt good reading Ma Mon Luk’s success story.    🙂

Ma Mon Luk

Manila Address: 545 Quiapo Blvd, Quiapo Manila

Contact #: 7337596

Quezon City Address: 408 Quezon Avenue, Quezon City

Contact #: 7123560/ 7328756