My Observations: The UJT Burger from Union Jack Tavern

Burgers have long been popular here in the Philippines and they can be bought from several makers like the fast food joints which are quite numerous.

At the expanded area of Festival Mall, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Union Jack Tavern has been selling and serving burgers to customers. Just open the menu when you visit them and then you will find the UJT Burger.

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The UJT Burger served to me in open sandwich fashion.

Sold for less than P300 as of this writing, the UJT Burger comes with a large plate filled with fries (which are thicker and less greasy compared to the fries sold by others) and the open sandwich with one half of the bun with the vegetables on top and the other half with the onions and beef covered with melted cheese.

In my recent stop at Union Jack Tavern, I had the UJT Burger and I started first with the fries which are quite filling and I like the fact that they are not too greasy to handle.

With the burger itself, considering the size, I took me a little effort to put the two buns (with their respective toppings) on top of each other to form the burger.

Then I took a bite on what parts are suitable for biting because this one is not the usual burger. The burger patty itself is quite thick and certainly not flat. After biting down the bread with the vegetables, I finally got to bite the cheese-covered burger patty. The result? The burger patty was quite tasty on its own and definitely worth going for. Then there is also that nice taste when biting the bread, the burger patty, the cheese and the vegetables altogether.

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The UJT Burger in its full form.

It may not be too visible for those who like burgers but failed to check Union Jack Tavern’s menu, but there is no doubt that the UJT Burger is a delicious and filling burger meal just waiting to be discovered.

The UJT Burger is highly recommended and I encourage you visit Union Jack Tavern at Festival Mall.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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My Observations: Starbucks Coffee at One Griffinstone in Alabang

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The front of Starbucks One Griffinestone branch.

Yet another coffee shop of Starbucks opened in the Alabang area in Muntinlupa City very recently. Specifically, this is about the one that opened at the ground floor of One Griffinstone located along Commerce Avenue corner Spectrum Midway in Filinvest City.

Very recently, out of curiosity, I visited to take a close look.

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From inside facing Commerce Avenue.

Like the other new Starbucks coffee shops I visited recently, the One Griffinstone branch has a nice interior and more notably, it’s got views of the immediate surroundings.

When it comes to seating capacity, I counted fifty-one seats, including the stools. For the use of the common rest room, a code is required to be able to use it. The code is printed on the receipt of the Starbucks drink/food customers buy. If you need to use the toilet during your time at Starbucks One Griffinstone, do not throw away the receipt fast.

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The counter.
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Many places to sit and enjoy.

After receiving my drink, I sat down facing one side of the place looking at the Festival Mall in the distance. Then I realizing something…Commerce Avenue literally connects with four different Starbucks branches in Alabang.

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Facing the far end of Commerce Avenue heading towards the direction of Festival Mall (hidden by the trees).

Along Commerce Avenue (note: distances between the coffeeshops and the said road) are the Alabang Town Center branch, the One Griffinstone branch and Starbucks Reserve (part of Westgate) branch.

In a way, Commerce Avenue leads to the old Starbucks branch at Festival Mall. Coming from the direction of Ayala Alabang, one can drive to the said branch by reaching the end of the road entering the area of mall, turn right on a short road going to the open-air parking area (where the old Starbucks and Robinsons department store are).

Are these enough Starbucks branches in the Alabang area as a whole? That’s hard to figure out at this point in time but what is clear is that Alabang is a hot spot for the world’s largest coffee chain. Previously I visited another new Alabang branch of the coffee chain at Madison Galeries.

Check out and visit the Starbucks One Griffinstone branch if you have time.

Alabang Hills Pass Thru Vehicular Stickers (1-year) for Non-Residents Now Available!

Here’s a big update for people of South Metro Manila! The Alabang Hills Village Association, Inc. (AHVA) just started processing applications for the 1-year pass thru vehicular stickers for non-resident motorists and already they released the said stickers to the successful applicants.

The fee for the said AHVA stickers (marked with 2019-2020 as the period of validity) is at P1,200 each according to the association’s personnel I talked with over the counter at their office. Application forms (see the pictures below for reference) are available at the AHVA’s office.

Take note of the requirements listed on the form.

For those who are wondering, the 2-year AHVA pass thru vehicular stickers for non-residents are not yet available as of this writing and the association has yet to make a formal announcement as to when such stickers will be made available.

For the San Beda College Alabang (SBCA) students, faculty, campus workers, service providers and the like, the AHVA special pass thru stickers for them will be available on July 20, 2019.

The AHVA also announced that the pass thru stickers dated 2018 shall expire on July 31, 2019.

If you are based in BF Homes, securing Alabang Hills pass thru stickers for your vehicle can be beneficial as it will help you reach the Alabang Town Center, Ayala Alabang Village, Madrigal Business Park, Avida Towers AlabangCommercenterFilinvest City, Festival Mall and Molito through the village and Alabang Zapote Road in case Concha Cruz Drive gets too congested. Passing through Alabang Hills can also help you reach the West Service Road within Muntinlupa’s jurisdiction and along the way you can visit Madison Galeries and other villages.

For your inquiries regarding the vehicular stickers, the processes and requirements to acquire new ones and more, visit the Alabang Hills Village Association’s office along Don Jesus Boulevard inside the village.

You may also call the association at phone numbers 850-8254, 850-9631 and fax number 850-7685. They can be reached by email at ahvainc08@yahoo.com

 

My Observations: Lunch at Toucan Brazilian BBQ Buffet Restaurant

Here in the Philippines, finding a place that serves Brazilian food is quite challenging. For those who live in South Metro Manila, the good news is that there is a new restaurant at the expanded area of Festival Mall, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa, and it’s called Toucan Brazilian BBQ Buffet Restaurant.

As of this writing, the restaurant charges P430 per customer for lunch (I forgot their rate for children, sorry) and P730 for dinner. Out of curiosity, as well as my previous high interest on visiting Brazil for the Rio Carnival and discovering their culture and norms, I tried out their lunch buffet.

As soon as I entered, I saw the buffet table and I took a seat by the wall. The interiors were nice and very notable is the use of the colors yellow and green (plus blue) which easily reminds me of Brazil.

The restaurant really made a lot of efforts emphasizing Brazil to the customers. For decorations, they posted several framed pictures on their walls.

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You like Samba and art?
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At the other wall.

THE FOOD

How about food? On my trip to the buffet selection, there was a mix of meat, vegetables, rice, salad and free flowing drinking (by the wall). What surprised me was the presence of Chinese-style noodles (are those really part of Brazilian cuisine?). For my plate, I decided to have more vegetables than meat. Picture below.

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Pork with caramelized onions plus cabbage and potatoes.

As I started enjoying my drink and meal, the restaurant had personnel walking around carrying metallic sticks (from the grill) with meat attached to them. Because there was this wooden object with its green end on top (red end below), one of the carriers approached me and asked if I were interested to try a slice of beef cattle tongue which I accepted since I wanted to try it.

I had not touched the slice as I was focused on my vegetables and pork. Some minutes later, another guy carrying meat approached me and asked if I were interested in chicken. I asked him to give me some and just add it on the small plate carrying the still untouched slice (beef cattle tongue). Then I took a picture.

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Two different servings of chicken with the slice of beef in the middle.

I finally decided to try out the slice of beef. It was pretty tasty and there was no need for condiments to add flavor. I slowly ate it and then I tried the gold-like colored chicken which, in my view, seemed fried. It turned out, it was very well cooked and was even more flavorful than I expected.

Eventually I got satisfied and decided to flip the wooden object’s red end to the top to signify to the restaurant personnel I don’t want anymore servings. I took my last drink. It was time to cool down, rest and then prepare to pay the fee. When I saw the bill, there was a service charge of P38.36 on top of the buffet fee which I paid.

While waiting for my change to come, I took another picture of the wall decorations nearby.

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More than a dance and a showcase of skin, Samba is a Brazilian musical genre and its most notable music feature is the use of drums done the African way.

Overall, I enjoyed my lunch at Toucan Brazilian BBQ Buffet Restaurant and it was good taste and good value in return for my money. Definitely it is the place to go if you are looking for Brazilian cuisine or if you are looking for a different kind of buffet experience in Alabang. If there is anything lacking, I forgot to ask for their menu for other selections (I always wanted to try Brazilian coffee). Also there were lots of other grilled meats that I have yet to try. Eventually I’ll get them next time.

Toucan Brazilian BBQ Buffet Restaurant is recommended.


Thank you for reading. If you find this news article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Muntinlupa City Seen To Benefit From DTI-BOI Investment Promotion

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The local government of Muntinlupa entered a partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry – Board of Investments in boosting Muntinlupa City as an investment destination. DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo signed a memorandum of agreement with Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi for the investment promotion endeavor at Muntinlupa City Hall, Putatan last April 16. Also witnessing the signing ceremony were DTI-BOI Investments Assistance Service Director Atty. Bobby Fondevilla, Muntinlupa City Administrator Engr. Allan Cachuela, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Muntinlupa President Elvie Sanchez-Quiazon, and other local officials. (from Muntinlupa PIO press release)

The City Government of Muntinlupa continues to move forward and gain recognition for governance, cooperation and a continued business-friendly approach. For those who are unaware, Muntinlupa was named as the Most Business-Friendly City in 2017 and 2018 and judging from the other kinds of awards it won these past years it proved to be a highly competitive city nationwide.

Very recently I received a press release from the Muntinlupa Public Information Office (Muntinlupa PIO) in which the City Government (led by incumbent Mayor Jaime Fresnedi) announced that it has sealed a partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry – Board of Investments (DTI-BOI).

What’s the partnership about? Specifically the DTI-BOI will promote the city as an investment destination. Already DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi for the investment promotion endeavor at Muntinlupa City Hall on April 16.

What does this mean? It means the DTI-BOI will assist in boosting Muntinlupa City as an investment destination by providing relevant information on available incentives to potential local and foreign investors.

The investment board shall also provide assistance in the implementation of policies geared towards improvement of processes in starting a business. BOI aims to create an environment conducive to the expansion of existing investments or attracting prospective investments in the city. Further, the board will also conduct a mentoring program for the City Government’s frontline personnel.

During the MOA signing ceremony, Usec. Rodolfo lauded local initiatives and ease of doing business in Muntinlupa City. The BOI exec recognized some innovations facilitated by the City Government and its assistance in Micro, Small, Medium, and Large Enterprises and locators in Muntinlupa.  He also stated that Muntinlupa City is a business destination for high-value investments.

The mayor expressed his thanks to BOI for its assistance and said that the partnership will ripple to significant employment opportunities and the continuous development of local economy.

The way it is right now, Muntinlupa has arguably the most modern business and commercial zones in South Metro Manila. Already many companies have set up offices or corporate headquarters in Filinvest City, Madrigal Business Park, and Northgate Cyberzone in the Alabang area. When it comes to travel, the local connection to the Metro Manila Skyway is a big boost to the city as it allowed countless motorists to travel faster to and from Makati, Manila, Pasay City and the airports.

Things continue to look bright for Muntinlupa.


Thank you for reading. If you find this news article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

My Coplay Photography (Part 1)

I enjoy taking pictures of people who express their artistry, their concepts and charm through the art of cosplay (costume play) which has grown tremendously popular here in the Philippines over the past several years.

Along the way, pop culture-related events like comic conventions, cosplay gatherings, cosplay parades and other related fan events got organized around the country giving cosplayers even more opportunities to come out in full costume.

Here in the Philippines, I was fortunate to attend such comic conventions like the AsiaPOP Comicon Manila and Toycon which are very similar events showcasing action figures, comic books, movies, TV programs, comic creators and the like. Both AsiaPOP Comicon Manila and Toycon are unsurprisingly popular events that attracted countless cosplayers.

Here are some pics of cosplayers I took in the comic conventions.

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Model and actress Ameera Johara as Wonder Woman during the 2016 AsiaPOP Comicon Manila.
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Also taken at the 2016 AsiaPOP Comicon Manila was this Harley Quinn cosplayer who posed for me.
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This Miles Morales Spider-Man cosplayer surprised me at the 2017 AsiaPOP Comicon Manila when I was searching for old comic books. I took the opportunity to photograph this.
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This picture I took at the 2014 Nexcon in Pasig City.
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This Wonder Woman cosplayer posed for me during the 2018 Toycon.
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Miles Morales Spider-Man and female Deadpool cosplayers posing with some fans during the 2017 AsiaPOP Comicon Manila.

Apart from comic conventions, there were also times when I took cosplayer photos in other instances or activities. Check out my pics below.

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A few years ago, Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City had cosplayers like this one standing in front of shoppers trying to get their attention and convince them to drop some money into the rectangular box on the floor.
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Harley Quinn cosplayer posed for me during the day when Comic-Con Asia had its press conference and media presentation at a hotel in Pasay City in early 2018.
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The Cosplay Craze event at SM City BF Paranaque saw these two “clashing”.

This is my first post of cosplay photography that I took and I hope you enjoyed viewing it. I’m still trying find other such pictures among my files and once I get them organized, I’ll post them here.

Also if you are organizing a pop culture event and you need online media and/or photography coverage, please feel free to contact me so that we can discuss business terms privately. Thank you.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article to be engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco.

 

My Observations: Beware of Discreet, Sign-carrying Beggar in Alabang

If you want to prevent yourselves or your loved ones from becoming victims, then you should read what I encountered today (March 18, 2019).

This morning, coming from the direction of Festival Mall in Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City, I was about to enter the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) branch at the ground floor of the Insular Life Corporate Center along Commerce Avenue.

As I was preparing myself, a thin, dark-skinned young man wearing dark shorts, dark t-shirt and slippers called my attention from behind. He carried a light bag on his back.

So I looked back carefully and then he said “Sir, patulong po.” (meaning he needs my help) and showed me a noticeable handy sign (like a card) with words written on it emphasizing that he needs money to solve his problem. From that moment on, I figured out he was a beggar trying to manipulate me discreetly (he did not even open his palm to show begging).

I just ignored him and went inside BPI Insular Life branch to do my transaction at one of the ATMs (automatic teller machines). As the ATM I used was processing my transaction, I took a few peaks outside and noticed that the guy was still standing outside on the lookout for other people he could approach.

Right after I completed my ATM transaction, I took it upon myself to photograph him for this very article. I also figured out it was a rare chance of mine to find out if he was trying to scam people given his very discreet approach on asking for money.

So I walked outside with my smartphone and its camera ready. As he noticed me nearing him, he showed me again that sign and asked for money. Then as I pulled out my smartphone to photograph him, he quickly put his sign away and faced the other direction trying to hide his face.

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This is the first shot I managed to take as he hid himself when he noticed my smartphone. The thing he is holding with his left hand is the sign/card with a written message to convince people to give him money for his “problem”. At this moment, he knew his discreet begging was exposed.

After taking the first photograph (the one right above), I still aimed my smartphone camera at him and I asked him to face me and challenged him to beg while being seen. He refused to do it and kept hiding himself by facing away from me.

Check out the pictures below.

 

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By the time I took this picture, he was resisting and decided to keep facing away and hide the beggar’s sign. He refused to face me and beg knowing that he was exposed. His earlier courage of discreetly begging for money was gone.
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The discreet beggar walking away.

As the discreet beggar walked away, I went back inside BPI Insular Life branch and alerted the security guard about the beggar.

The guard said he remembered seeing that beggar a few times from before begging within the Filinvest City spots. He also remembered that from time to time, adults like the one pictured would beg discreetly for money just outside their bank.

More notably, the security guard said that it is illegal for anyone to commit begging within Filinvest City. He added that the discreet beggar I encountered was very lucky that there was no Filinvest City security guard present otherwise he would have been apprehended for committing a violation.

The guard also warned that such beggars who use signs and words (to convince people to give money) might be members of local crime syndicates.

By the time my short talk with the bank security guard ended, the discreet beggar was several meters away heading towards the direction of South Supermarket.

Out of curiosity, I decided to follow him temporarily to determine if I could spot him trying to find a new spot to beg at others.

I walked some meters towards the discreet beggar and after a minute, I guessed he could have decided to go home. I took one last picture of him walking away before deciding to let him go.

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The final picture I took of the discreet beggar walking to the distance.

This incident I am writing about was NOT the first time I encountered a beggar along the roads of Filinvest City. What makes this different is that the beggar used a handy sign while saying only a few words to beg.

I have a strong mental defense and I always practice caution (including awareness of my surrounding). It’s natural for me to resist the manipulation attempts of street beggars.

If I were to give out money to help people who really need help, I would not give to beggars  roaming around and I certainly discourage you from giving to them especially if the begging constitutes a local violation. Surely you would not want to give your money to a beggar who happens to be a member of a crime gang!

If you want to give out loose cash to help people who really need help, I recommend you give to legitimate organizations like CBN Asia for example complete with legitimate ways to do it backed with record keeping.

Going back to encountering the beggars who roam around and near you, better have a defensive mindset and be ready to protect not only your money but also yourselves. Also be ready to call the local police or the nearest security guard if ever the beggar victimizes you.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article to be engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco.