Panda Express now serving customers in Alabang

A few months ago, Panda Express Philippines made its presence in Muntinlupa City felt when they opened a branch at the Shell gas station on the southbound lane of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). Very recently, their presence got felt again as they opened a new branch in Alabang area and already they are attracting a lot of customers.

Panda Express’ newest branch is located at the corner of the Alabang-Zapote Road and Madrigal Avenue. The said branch is located right beside Jollibee and are part of the Molito Complex. The commercial space occupied by Panda Express Alabang (also referred to as Panda Express Madrigal) was a Chowking branch.

Panda Express in Alabang at the corner of Alabang-Zapote Road and Madrigal Avenue.

For the newcomers reading this, Panda Express started in Glendale, California in the United States in 1983 and expanded worldwide with over two thousand branches. Within South Metro Manila, Panda Express has a branch at Doña Soledad Avenue in Parañaque City and also one at the basement level of SM Southmall in Las Piñas City.

With regards to food, Panda Express’ most notable food is its Orange Chicken (note: chicken nuggets with a unique texture and taste). They also offer Black Pepper Steak, Mongolian Pork, Kung Pao Chicken, Beijing Beef, Broccoli Beef, Eggplant Tofu, Fried Rice, Chow Mein and Mixed Vegetables to name some.

The food for customers’ to choose from inside Panda Express.

If you will be visiting a Panda Express for the first time ever, you will have to adjust yourselves to the restaurant’s use of terms such as entrées and sides when you select the meals you want to eat. Don’t feel intimidated as the restaurant has personnel who will explain things to you and guide you.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? Are you excited to try out the food served by Panda Express now that they have a branch in Alabang? If you are an Alabang resident, do you think Panda Express has what it takes to compete and survive given the fact that the Alabang commercial areas are filled with lots of restaurants already? If you were able to eat at a Panda Express restaurant before, which particular meal did you enjoy the most from them?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Search for the five best restaurants of Las Piñas City is ongoing

Recently, a special search for the best restaurants in the city was launched by the City Government of Las Piñas which involves the Nutrition Office and the Tourism Office, the Manila Bulletin reported. This ongoing search emphasizes local restaurants, nutrition and even tourism.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Las Piñas city government launched the search for the five best restaurants in the city that serve the best delicacies that will help promote the city as a culinary destination.

Mayor Imelda Aguilar said the search for the five best restaurants is a project of the Nutrition Office under the leadership of Dr. Julio Javier and the Tourism Office under Paul San Miguel.

Aguilar said the search is also in preparation for the celebration of Nutrition Month in July where the winners will receive special tokens of appreciation from the City Nutrition Office.

She said the Tourism Office will promote the city’s best delicacies to both local and foreign tourists.

She added that the winners will be featured in the city’s official Facebook page and Nutrition Office.

The above article ended with Mayor Aguilar stating that the winners of the special search will be featured in the official Facebook page of the City Government and that of the Nutrition Office. Watch out for updates about this search at https://www.facebook.com/cityoflaspinasofficial and also at https://m.facebook.com/MayorImeldaAguilar/

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Las Piñas City resident, what is your reaction to this recent development? Is there any particular local restaurant that you had visited time and time again? Did that particular local restaurant consistently produce delicious meals each time you ordered? What kinds of meals do you enjoy whenever you eat in a local restaurant?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

My return to Xtremely Xpresso Café in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone

During my most recent visit at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, I took the opportunity to revisit key places around as it has been more than two years since my previous visit. On the afternoon of April 30 (just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon happened), I took time out to revisit Xtremely Xpresso Café (social media here, here and here) located at Dewey Street corner Sta. Rita Road.

Xtremely Xpresso Café is more than just a place to enjoy good coffee. It is also a restaurant that sells to its customers a good variety of tasty meals from pizza to pasta, rice meals and others. The very first time I visited the food joint was in the early 2000s. Through the years I had coffee there during my solo visits and there were also times that I was with the family enjoying pizza and their meals. Xtremely Xpresso’s pizzas were always delicious and filling to enjoy with friends or family.

Xtremely Xpresso Subic Bay Freeport branch on the day I returned.

Going back to my April 30 afternoon visit, I easily recognized Xtremely Xpresso upon arrival. What I found interesting was that the place was bustling with customers both indoors (where it is air conditioned) and outdoors as if life was back to normal (note: Alert Level 1 status was in effect on the Subic Bay Freeport Zone back then). I saw some groups of people, couples and individual customers enjoying their meals and drinks on the outdoor area (note: lots of seats and tables with shade) and the simmering heat of the day did not seem to bother them at all.

Then I entered and saw the ever familiar-looking interior. Almost all the seats and tables were filled up by customers who mostly came in groups or pairs. Everywhere I looked, I saw people really enjoying their food and drinks, and having quality time together. As such, I decided to order a drink and dessert and have the waiter serve them to me at a seat outdoors.

I took sat at a place where there was enough shade to protect me from the sun. While the heat was obvious, there were moments I felt some relief in the form of coolness from the occasional wind coming from the sea water several meters away. After about ten minutes waiting, the waiter served to me the cheesecake slice and the Shockwave Xtreme Frappe’ that I ordered.

The cheesecake I ordered at Xtremely Xpresso.
A close look at a portion of the cheesecake.

As I was seated outdoors, I did not want to let the sun and the summer heat ruin the cheesecake so I started consuming it portion by portion. Each bite of it was smooth and in terms of taste, it had a mild sweetness to it. More notably, it tasted like any cheesecake. In terms of content, it is thick and long enough for me. As such, Xtremely Xpresso’s cheesecake slice is good enough.

Xtremely Xpresso’s Shockwave frappe was cold coffee with some chocolate to its taste with a creamy aesthetic. In my experience sipping it moderately, the Shockwave had a moderate sweetness to it and I felt a creamy coffee and chocolate taste. It was during the remaining small amount I sipped when I suddenly felt a sweetened taste. Then the drink ran out. Xtremely Xpresso’s Shockwave is a frappe that is completely different from what other coffee shops here in the Philippines offered. I can say it is a good drink to have at Xtremely Xpresso.

The Shockwave frappe was mildly sweet and had a coffee and chocolate taste.

So my recent visit at Xtremely Xpresso in Subic Bay was good one. I would not hesitate to return there and next time, I would definitely order a meal, a different drink and something else. In my previous dining experiences there with my family, I enjoyed the taste of their Big Ben pizza, the Seafood Pesto pizza, the Creamy Cheese Penne and their Spinach Omelette. All of those and a lot more are still being offered to customers.

While securing an indoor seat and table is challenging, be assured that there are a lot more tables and seats outside. In fact, having breakfast and coffee outdoors is a fresh and comfortable experience as the sun is not too intense in the morning.

For those of you reading this, if you are planning to visit Subic Bay and you want good food and drinks to enjoy, I encourage you to visit Xtremely Xpresso.

Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…

So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (AMPC)

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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. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A wonderful lunch at Gourmet Garage Subic

When I arrived in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) took place, I was very hungry as I left home very early without any breakfast and I was not able to stop at any of the gas stations (and their respective food joints) along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as we took the counter-flow going north.

After settling at a hotel in close proximity to the triathlon venue, I drove to the one restaurant located at the Argonaut Highway-Rizal Highway corner that I’ve been eager to revisit…Gourmet Garage Subic (social media here and here).

The front of Gourmet Garage Subic!

Coming from the parking area of the business establishment, I entered Gourmet Garage Subic through the rear door and immediately I felt this atmosphere of class with classical music being played as I walked on and recognized their fine interior. It was a very welcoming experience and already there were people enjoying their lunch.

As I was pretty hungry and somewhat worn down by the long drive from Metro Manila, I ordered myself a Caesar (their version of Caesar’s salad) to enjoy something fresh. From the restaurant’s Main Event section of the menu, I chose the Lamb Madras Curry.

While waiting for my orders to be served, I took the time relaxing, enjoying the aircon and the continuous music, looked at the products displayed and browsed the web with my smartphone via Wifi. And then just like that, the waitress served me the Caesar which was faster than I expected. Upon seeing the salad placed in front of me, I was impressed with the way it was presented. There was some food art to it visually.

The Caesar of Gourmet Garage.
A closer look.

The Caesar was prepared with really fresh romaine lettuce topped (on a key portion) with Gourmet Garage Subic’s very own dressing mixed with parmesan shavings and bits of bacon. Right from the first bite of the salad (note: I used the fork and knife to cut myself a portion) that had the lettuce and dressing together, I experienced this very flavorful and pleasing taste! It was very delicious, I went on to cut portions of the Caesar and slowly consumed it along with the bits. I really enjoyed the salad as it was prepared by the cook to be flavorful, fresh and very satisfying! Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar is easily the best fresh salad I’ve had in a long time!

Just a few minutes after I was done with the salad, the Lamb Madras Curry was served to me. Right from the start, I noticed it was very well presented and the subtle heat I felt from it showed the lamb was newly cooked. I also liked the pleasing smell of the meal.

The Lamb Madras Curry was so nicely prepared and it tasted great!

The Lamb Madras Curry came with basmati rice on the bottom topped with the finely cooked lamb (itself topped with yogurt plus onion pieces and vegetables). On one side was a small tomato with a roasted onion and other onion pieces. The other side had more leaves. The meal was served with two sauces – garlic and chili.

As a first-timer of this particular meal – noted as a Chef’s Recommendation on Gourmet Garage’s menu – I decided to try out a small piece of the lamb without any yogurt on it and I found to be tasty on its own. There is no doubt that the lamb pieces were very finely cooked and the way it was prepared showed that special attention to details was done by the cook.

A piece of lamb by the fork.

I tried another piece of lamb and dipped it on the garlic sauce. The flavor of the said piece was enhanced by the said sauce as I chewed. I can say also say the same about the lamb pieces with yogurt on them. As for the spice level, I can say it is tolerable (pretty mild to be precise) and I never had a problem moving from one bite to another, also consuming the rice (really fragrant) and the vegetables. Along the way, I managed to cut some pieces of lamb placed on the fork along with the vegetable for that meat-and-veggies taste.

The Lamb Madras Curry from the side.

Every bite I had with the Lamb Madras Curry really had great flavor and big satisfaction. It is so great, this is easily the best lamb meal I had in years! Whoever designed the Lamb Madras Curry knew exactly how to ensure great taste, solid satisfaction and freshness (in terms of vegetables prepared and the cooking of the meat)!

Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar and Lamb Madras Curry are both highly recommended to all of you who love food! Make sure you try either of them once you visit the restaurant.

Apart from serving meals, drinks and desserts for diners, Gourmet Garage Subic also has a nice selection of imported products for your home consumption. On display for sale were lots of bottles of fine wine, fruit juices, frozen meat, condiments, snacks, pastry and other good products to take home! They also sell fresh bread products.

Looking for a new bottle of wine to buy? So many to choose here!
Bread and pastry offered.
Drinks, snacks, condiments and other nice products on display.

As mentioned in my past article, Gourmet Garage Subic also caters. Through their website, customers can also order Gourmet-in-a-Box (meals by the tray) and Party Trays (varied types of food with parties in mind). There is something that will surely interest you when it comes to good food! That being said, I urge you to check out Gourmet Garage’s website as well as their presence on Instagram and Facebook.

This is a great place to have your picture taken inside Gourmet Garage Subic!

The next time you visit Funtastic Subic Bay, I highly recommend you visit Gourmet Garage Subic at 1143 Argonaut Street (very near the Starbucks Coffee shop there) for very good food with your family, friends or business associates. On my next visit to Subic Bay, I’ll definitely come back to try their other meals.

Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…

Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (TPT)

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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. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Come to Subic Bay for the big triathlon event on May 1, 2022

If you are looking for nice place for vacation and you also want to watch a triathlon event live, then you should come to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone where the 2022 edition of the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) will be held at on May 1, 2022 (for external references, click here, here, here and here).

For the triathlon enthusiasts who just visited this blog for the first time, the SUBIT is the major Philippine triathlon event that immediately precedes the 31st Southeast Asian Games (also referred to as 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) in Vietnam which itself will open formally on May 12 (references here, here and here) and it will have their own triathlon and duathlon medal events. 2019 SEA Games gold medalists John Chicano and Marion Kim Mangrobang are the favorites for the multisport medal events in this year’s SEA Games but before those games do happen, you will get to see them both as well as the other Philippine Team triathletes in action at the SUBIT.

The big event at Subic Bay on May 1.

For a quick look at who the Philippine Team triathletes are racing and what impact SUBIT had on Philippine triathlon in general, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin sports news report. Some parts in boldface…

The race is actually a tuneup for the PH team going to the biennial meet where it aims to maintain its 1-2 finish in the men’s and women’s division.

Racing in SUBIT are Fer Casares, Kim Remolino, John Chicano, Kim Mangrobang, Raven Alcoseba and Lauren Plaza.

The SUBIT will be a good tuneup race for our SEAG-bound athletes, especially sa game strategy,” said Triathlon Association President Tom Carrasco.

SUBIT has been at the forefront of development of Filipino triathletes. I’m proud to say that SUBIT has produced Southeast Asian Games champions and notable Asian Games performers.

Among the SUBIT products were SEAG winners Chicano, Mangrobang, Nikko Huelgas and (Claire) Adorna, Youth Olympics qualifier Vicky Deldio, Columbia World Games qualifiers Carlo Pedregosa and Mirasol Abad, Birmingham World Games qualifier Casares, and 2018 Asian Games top 10 finisher Kim Kilgroe.

Meanwhile, Cebu-based junior triathlete Moira Frances Erediano, who topped a triathlon event in Dumaguete City very recently, is also joining the May 1 SUBIT.

This year’s SUBIT – formally called the NTT AST Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) 2022 – will have race distances of 1.5 kilometer swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run (Standard Distance), 750 M swim – 20 Km bike – 5 Km run (Sprint Distance) and 500 M – 13 Km bike – 2.5 Km run (Super Sprint Distance) which will cover lots of places in the freeport. With regards to schedules, posted below are the details sourced from the event page at RaceYaya.com

Pay close attention to this.

This year’s SUBIT is a joint project of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and I Love Fun-tastic Subic Bay supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), Standard Insurance, FINIS Philippines, Gatorade, Subic Bay Travelers Hotel, POCARI Sweat, and Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines Inc.

Where to enjoy food and drinks in Subic Bay?

Visit Gourmet Garage and Xtremely Xpresso on your next visit to Subic Bay.

Apart from being a sports tourism hot spot, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone also has nice places where you and your family or group of friends can spend time at and enjoy good food and drinks together such as Gourmet Garage Subic (social media here and here) and Xtremely Xpresso Café (social media here and here) to name a few. Personally, I enjoyed the two mentioned places a lot during my past visits. I would suggest you who read this to visit them on your next visit to Subic Bay.

Located at 1143 Argonaut Highway (very near the Starbucks Coffee shop there), Gourmet Garage Subic is one very fine place to dine in with others and their cooks specialize preparing really tasty meals such as the Truffle BBQ Orange Baby Back Ribs, the Grilled Salmon Tamari Quinoa, Grilled Javier’s Burger, Sake-marinated Fish Fillet, the Lamb Madras Curry, Gourmet Garage’s Beef Tapa and their signature pasta the Luglug Spaghettini to name a few. Looking for drinks, snacks, cakes, condiments and bread? They have them too! Their venue also has a fine-looking design. If you have any catering needs, they are willing to serve you.

Over at 1 Dewey Avenue corner Sta. Rita Road in the freeport, Xtremely Xpresso is a café that offers customers really good coffee plus meals that families and friends can enjoy together. For the coffee lovers, they got the Jump-start Espresso, Vienna Coffee, White Mocha and Vietnamese Coffee plus their very own lineup of frappe’s such as the Shockwave, the Coffee Cradle and Ekimocha to name a few. For those looking for hearty meals, they have Baby Back Ribs, Korean Beef Ribs, Salisbury Steak, the Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich, pasta and their Big Ben pizza!

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you excited to visit Subic Bay for the May 1 triathlon event and the local places to enjoy good food? When was the last time you visited Subic Bay?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

31st SEA Games official slogan is “For a stronger Southeast Asia”

The highly anticipated 31st Southeast Asian Games (also referred to as 31st SEA Games or Hanoi 2021) is about 45 days away from formally opening in the city of Hanoi in Vietnam. Originally scheduled for 2021, the SEA Games this May will be significant not only because it will be the first time the regional sports gathering will be held during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it will test the resolve of the Southeast Asian members with regards to sports events organizing, location control and, of course, handling the participation of the many athletes from the member nations who will take part in a wide variety of sports competitions. The determination and focus on proceeding with the biggest sports event of the region (scheduled for May 12 to 23, 2022 although there will be some events taking place before the opening ceremony happens) is already being reflected with the newly unveiled official 31st SEA Games slogan called “For a stronger Southeast Asia”, as well with the official event song titled ‘Hay toa sang’ (Let’s shine), as reported by VietnamPlus.vn.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the report of VietnamPlus.VN. Some parts in boldface…

Communications for the upcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) have been bolstered as the region’s biggest sports event is approaching.

The official song for the Games ‘Hay toa sang’ (Let’s shine), composed by renown composer Huy Tuan, has been unveiled, showing the pride on the culture and people of Vietnam, and highlighting sportsmanship as well as efforts to achieve the best results, with lyrics in Vietnamese language and chorus in English.


The song also sends a message of development, solidarity and friendship between Vietnam and international friends.

Deputy Director of the Vietnam Sports Administration Le Thi Hoang Yen said the song’s lyric is simple and easy to learn. It is hoped to encourage athletes and be favoured by sports fans at home and abroad.

The event’s slogan “For a stronger Southeast Asia” is to convey a message of solidarity to build a thriving ASEAN Community and further promote its role in the international arena.

Earlier, the regional sport events’ official logo and mascot have been introduced, with the logo symbolising a flying bird and a V-shaped hand and the mascot based on the saola – a rare animal listed in Vietnam’s Red Book of Endangered Species.

The saola, scientifically known as Pseudoryx nghetinhensis, is dubbed the Asian Unicorn because it is so rarely seen, looks like an antelope in appearance, and is recognised by its two parallel horns with sharp ends which can reach up to 50 cm in length.

The species was first discovered in May 1992 by a joint team from the MARD and the World Wide Fund for Nature during a trip surveying Vu Quang National Park in the central province of Ha Tinh, near Vietnam’s border with Laos.

For the newcomers reading this, the delayed 31st SEA Games is indeed pushing through as planned with the opening set for May 12 and closing on May 23. While the daily reports about Vietnam having over 100,000 new COVID-19 cases recorded looks intimidating, the SEA Games organizers are still laser-focused on proceeding with the competitions and Vietnam itself reopened its borders to foreign visitors and dropped COVID-19 restrictions on the said visitors. Already COVID-19 prevention and control measures specific to the SEA Games have been implemented.

The 31st SEA Games will be huge as it will take place in Hanoi and in the eleven neighboring localities. There will be forty specific sports and more than five hundred events. About 10,000 participants are expected to join in. A lot of preparations are being done by both Vietnam and the SEA Games members (and their respective athletes who qualified). The 31st SEA Games is something that should not be missed.

For additional insight about the 31st SEA Games and Vietnam, watch the videos below…

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the official slogan of the 31st SEA Games? Do you believe that even as Vietnam is struggling with very high COVID-19 cases, the SEA Games will be done orderly and successfully this May? Would you happen to know if someone in your local community qualified to represent your country in the SEA Games in Vietnam?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

COVID-19 prevention and control measures for 31st SEA Games in Vietnam set

With less than two months left before the 31st Southeast Asian Games (also referred to as 31st SEA Games or Hanoi 2021) officially opens on May 12, 2022 in Hanoi, Vietnam, the national authorities established COVID-19 prevention and control measures in connection to the said games, according to the report published by VietnamPlus.vn. Indeed, the SEA Games of 2021 are pushing through as planned even though the number of new COVID-19 cases in Vietnam are very high.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the report of VietnamPlus.VN. Some parts in boldface…

The host Vietnam has built COVID-19 prevention and control measures, part of the preparations for the upcoming 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31), as regional sports delegations show a concern about the work.

At the recent second Chefs de Mission Meeting of the Games, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Sports Administration Tran Duc Phan told delegates that in the face of complex developments of COVID-19, Vietnam has devised three options of allowing full capacity, restricting or barring spectators.

In case no fans are allowed in competition venues over COVID-19 concerns, all individuals are required to wear face masks, except for competing athletes. If capacity restrictions are observed, seats will be arranged to maintain distance among spectators. As for the no-restriction plan, spectators must still observe the 5K message on the prevention of the spread of the virus.

The commute of sports delegations and athletes must be held in a closed routine. Arrivals will take COVID-19 rapid antigen test within 24 hours.

Any found contracting the virus may stay in quarantine at hotels if they develop no or mild symptoms. Those with severe symptoms will be transferred to assigned medical facilities.

Athletes having contact with COVID-19 positives are eligible to compete and not be quarantined. 

The organising board will cover COVID-19 testing and treatment costs for medical incidents handled at competition venues and accommodation facilities. Sports delegations are to bear hospital bills, insurance and other costs.

For additional insight about the SEA Games and the reopening of the nation to foreign visitors, watch the videos below…

Vietnam recently reopened its borders for foreign tourists (for references, click here and here). The COVID-19 crisis negatively impacted Vietnam’s tourism industry and like any other nation, there is a drive to achieve economic recovery which means creating jobs for the unemployed, generating additional economic activities for the surviving businesses, and more . On face value, the delayed SEA Games is key in helping Vietnam achieve recovery. Local tourism insiders state that the recovery of the tourism industry will take a long time. At this point, it remains to be seen how much of an impact the SEA Games in Hanoi will have on the nation’s ability to attract visitors from overseas.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you looking forward to the 31st SEA Games? Does the current high number of new COVID-19 cases in Vietnam concern you? Do you think that the announced COVID-19 prevention and control measures are sufficient? Among the many sports events of the 31st SEA Games, which one interests you the most?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Tasty food at Saibachi Japanese restaurant in Festival Mall, Alabang

Have you been at Festival Mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa City lately? If you are craving for delicious food at one of the many Japanese restaurants inside Festival Mall, then you should take a look at Saibachi Japanese restaurant (stylized as SAI-BACHI) at the ground floor level just steps away from SM Savemore Supermaket.

In my experience, I’ve been dining at Saibachi in the mall from time to time over the past several years. Their restaurant has limited space (note: they have a counter for orders and payments, and a selection of food at a space by the wall just outside their restaurant), some chairs and their tables are small compared to those in other restaurants there. The current COVID-19 pandemic saw the imposition of limitations on how many customers could be allowed to eat inside restaurants (I’m looking at you – MMDA, Metro Manila Council and IATF). Even so, Saibachi still succeeded in staying in business and keeps on feeding customers with delicious food. Not even the pandemic and government overreach could stop them.

At this point, you must be wondering what food of Saibachi’s do I enjoy eating. Let’s move on!

Miso Soup

The single serving of Miso Soup in a small-sized cup.

For starters, I like their Miso soup which as of this writing costs P55 per single serving (small sized). In terms of taste and ingredients, it is good and satisfying to have. It is also one of the earliest items to be served to me in most of my dine-in visits at Saibachi Alabang through the years.

Futo Maki (Foto Maki according to Saibachi)

The 5-role Futo Maki set.

Saibachi’s Futo Maki is served with five pieces along with soy sauce and wasabi. Each roll is not as thick compared to what is served in other Japanese restaurants but to Saibachi’s credit, each roll is tasty and their specific selections of ingredients per roll shows precision. The 5-roll set is good enough in terms of taste and content for me personally. Those who crave for greater satisfaction with Futo Maki should consider a second set to order. The Futo Maki set nowadays costs P125 per order.

Fried Rice

A solo serving of Fried Rice.

Fried rice at Saibachi (P150 per order as of this writing) is pretty tasty on its own. The taste is strong enough, I did not need to add any condiments anymore. Their fried rice has bits of meat, carrots, egg and a few other vegetables. For a single serving, the content is satisfying enough for me dining in. For anyone who craves for greater satisfaction of fried rice, you should consider ordering Saibachi’s fried rice offerings through their delivery and catering services.

Beef Sukiyaki

A bowl of soup-style Beef Sukiyaki on the right, Miso Soup cup on the left.
A close look on the ingredients prepared in Saibachi’s Beef Sukiyaki.

This one is easily my favorite in Saibachi when dining in. At P220 per order, the Beef Sukiyaki is served by the bowl and it is what others would refer to as the “soupy type Sukiyaki” for it is prepared in soup-style. On face value, the bowl looks small but in reality, it contains a good amount of hot soup, Sotanghon-style noodles, pieces of beef, vegetables and one egg on top. Beef Sukiyaki served in other Japanese restaurants are often large (note: with lots of vegetables and ingredients served fresh apart from the soup) and prepared to feed at least three people. If you want a tasty Beef Sukiyaki for your solo enjoyment with lots of soup, enough ingredients and a strong taste, you will get it at Saibachi! Personally, I consider this as Saibachi’s dine-in special and I highly recommend it.

Chapchae

The very tasty Chapchae on display.

While they are referred to as a Japanese restaurant, Saibachi also serves non-Japanese food. Anyone who loves Korean-style noodles should order the Chapchae whenever dining in. To begin with, Saibachi’s Chapchae are really prepared to be very tasty and anyone who loves strong flavors will enjoy it. When it comes to content, I find the Chapchae solo-serving (P150 per order as of this writing) to be rather lacking. Any customer who wants more of the very delicious Chapchae should consider ordering another serving or go for the bilao-sized servings (for multiple people to enjoy).

The above-mentioned foods are the ones that I enjoyed collectively when dining inside Saibachi at Festival Mall over the past several years. That being said, I recommend their Miso Soup, Futo Maki, Fried Rice, Chapchae and Beef Sukiyaki to you readers. Apart from serving food for diners, they also serve meals of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino and Thai cuisine through delivery and catering. Going back to my previous dine-in experiences with them, they need to improve on their Beef Ramen which I must say is flawed and not exactly a satisfying ramen experience (note: the beef served had that burned taste and feel, and the noodles served did not look and feel made in store but most likely were sourced from the wholesale market).

Saibachi’s Beef Ramen needs improving.

Also, in my opinion, the interior of their restaurant inside Festival Mall needs some improving to be more comfortable for families or groups of friends (five people and more) to enjoy. I understand their restaurant space is limited and they need enough space for the kitchen personnel to work in, but I can see that some improvements could be made on the dining area. When I say improvements, I don’t mean a full renovation which can be very costly.

Ultimately, if you love Japanese food and you want it with the best possible value for your limited budget while visiting Festival Mall, I encourage you to try the food at Saibachi’s restaurant. Go there! They have lots of other food offered and their menu has lots of items for you to select.

The wide menu at the space by the wall just outside their restaurant. Look at all the choices and prices.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Have you dined in at Saibachi inside Festival Mall lately? What meals do you enjoy there the most? Also, have you tried ordering Saibachi’s food through delivery service or through their catering packages? How often do you eat inside their restaurant whenever you visit Festival Mall?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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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. 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 with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Gold Delight’s Coco Halo-Halo ice cream

Here in the Philippines, what is considered by many to be the most popular local dessert reflecting the Filipino culture is the Halo-halo. For the foreigners and newcomers reading this, the Halo-halo is the cold dessert composed of crushed ice, milk (condensed or evaporated) and a variety of ingredients such as purple yam (ube), nata de coco, leche flan slices, sweet beans, coconut strips, jelly orbs, gelatin portions, fruit slices and a scoop of ice cream.

In Tagalog (the major language here in the Philippines), halo means mix. Halo-halo then means mixture (rough translation – mix-mix) which is realized when a consumer mixes all the ingredients together. In this form, the consumer will experience a unique, sweetened taste with each serving by the spoon complete with different ingredients entering his or her mouth.

Now in line with this article’s topic, try to imagine halo-halo in the form of an ice cream! That’s right! There is such a thing and in certain points during my lifetime, I consumed ice cream designed to have the taste and ingredients of halo-halo! Such halo-halo flavored ice cream were temporarily offered by the different ice cream makers.

Here, I want to show you Gold Delight’s Coco Halo-halo ice cream which is now available in pints and half-gallons!

Gold Delight’s Coco Halo-Halo ice cream in half-gallon.
This is what the Coco Halo-halo ice cream looks like up close.
Coco Halo-halo in pint and in half-gallon. These were sold in Las Piñas City for P90 and P275 respectively.

So what can I say about the Coco Halo-halo ice cream? It is made with water, coconut milk, sugar, milk solids, red mongo beans, white beans, kaong, nata de coco, and jackfruit strips to name some. The ice cream itself is mildly sweet. Its taste is enhanced when you eat the ice cream with the frozen (but not hard) ingredients. While it is not as sweet as the standalone halo-halo dessert (note: which can be served sometimes with condensed milk by certain sellers), it still is delicious in my taste. It is also ideal during this hot summer season. As such, Gold Delight’s Coco Halo-halo ice cream is recommended.  

For more content about Gold Delight and Ice Cream House, check out my Coffee Crumble-Cocoflan article as well as my DIY Sundae Box article and the Pastilla de Langka article. If you are interested in ordering Gold Delight ice cream products and have them delivered to your household, call their mobile number 09190091543 or visit them at their official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/icecreamhouseph

The details regarding ordering such as how to pay, what form to fill up and how long it will take for orders to be delivered are available for viewing at the FB page.

For those of you living in or near Las Piñas City, there is a local seller of Gold Delight ice cream products and you can call them at mobile phone numbers 0915-4606505 or 0917-3646363.

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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. 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

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

My Observations: Sigekiya’s Haruichiban Ramen

It has been quite some time since I last visited my favorite place for noodles here in Alabang. This is because mainly of the pandemic that started in March 2020 followed by a series of lockdown periods and varied forms of community quarantine. Along the way, I kept focusing on my corporate work and as a result of the social effects the pandemic had on local society, eating outside or having drinks at a coffee shop became much less frequent for me.

Very recently, I revisited Commercenter and, finally, I returned at last to Sigekiya Ramen which is a great place for Japanese meals, especially noodles (note: Sigekiya makes their own fresh noodles which always have nice texture and are always filling). For the newcomers reading this, I previously wrote my opinions about Sigekiya’s other meals like the Gojira Ramen, the Chicken Teriyakidon, the Yokohama Tantanmen, and my personal favorite the Tsukemen.  

Other than missing their great tasting food, I returned to the restaurant mainly to try out their latest offering – the Haruichiban Ramen.

The Haruichiban Ramen with a nice presentation!

Shortly after taking my seat inside, I ordered one Haruichiban Ramen which was priced at P300 (introductory price) and it was served to me in less than ten minutes time. It came in a regular-sized bowl which was still large in terms of containing all the content. Right from the start, the Haruichiban Ramen was hot and it had a very nice smell.

As this was my first time to have Haruichiban Ramen, I slowly examined it and noticed it had a brown looking soup with Sigekiya-made noodles under it, an entire boiled egg slashed into two, vegetables and a nice serving of pork. Everything was well prepared!

A closer look…

Then I started consuming the soup. It was delicious! To be specific, it had a strong flavor and I felt the taste of garlic. This is no ordinary soup. It’s really something made with careful mixing of ingredients with the goal of giving customers a delicious and unique experience. According to the Sigekiya waitress I talked with, the soup for Haruichiban Ramen has the taste on tonkotsu combined with miso and shoyu. Minced garlic was a key ingredient.

From that point on, I went on to consume the rest.

The noodles made by Sigekiya are always nice and filling to eat with the rest of the meal!

Ultimately, I really enjoyed Haruichiban Ramen. In fact, I love it and I would not hesitate to come back for it again in one of my future visits at Sigekiya. Haruichiban Ramen is very delicious and since it has Sigekiya’s own ramen combined with a nice serving of vegetables and the pork serving, it was easily filling. For the P300 I paid, I got great taste and satisfaction in return.

That being said, Sigekiya’s Haruichiban Ramen is highly recommended!

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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. 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

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673