RED BUTTERFLY TRAVEL SERIES: BATANES

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I’ve never imagined going to Batanes. EVER. I usually only hear about the place whenever there’s a storm or a typhoon in the northernmost part of the country. Very seldom do I hear about it being talked about as a vacation or a tourist spot. Which, I now realize, is very puzzling considering how breathtakingly beautiful the place is.

Since I didn’t know anything about Batanes (at that time), my friends were the ones who took care of everything. They booked the flights (which were on sale at that time – half the regular price if I’m not mistaken), the accommodations, and the tours.

We got the round trip tickets (Manila-Basco-Manila) for around 7,000 PHP or 156 USD. The original price at that time’s around 14,000 PHP or 311 USD. PAL Express regularly flies there now for 12,000 or 267 USD (roundtrip).

We were picked up at the airport by our very cool and very kind tour guide – Chris Cataluña. And then headed towards the port going to Sabtang Island.

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Coffee & Crepes at Cafe Breton

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I LOVE coffee. I cannot function properly without coffee in the morning. I usually have Cafe Mocha (105 PHP or 2 USD) or a Macchiato (80 PHP or less than 2 USD). If I’m really, really sleepy, I take black with sugar or honey. I like it sweet.

I also love crepes. I prefer the sweet ones over the savory ones unless I’m starving. In that case, I’d probably get the Veal Sausage, Tomato, Cheese and Egg Crepe (210 PHP or 5 USD) or the Ham, Cheese, Tomato and Egg Crepe (184 PHP or 4 USD).

Aside from coffee and crepe, Cafe Breton also serves salads, pasta, sandwiches, milkshakes and ice cream.

I like the Peach Melba – 1 scoop of caramel ice cream, graham crackers, peaches, whipped cream, caramel sauce, almonds and chocolate syrup (160 PHP or less than 4 USD).

I give it 3.75/5 spoons.

Food – 4 spoons
Ambience – 4 spoon
Price – 4 spoons
Service – 3 spoons

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Cafe Breton
Branches: Tomas Morato, Greenbelt 3, SM Mall of Asia, Robinson’s Place Manila, Trinoma, The Podium, UP Technohub and Pasong Tamo

Korean-style Fried Chicken

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Here in the Philippines, only one thing comes to mind when you think of twice-fried super crispy and flavorful Korean fried chicken – BonChon.

They now have 3 flavors – Soy Garlic, Spicy and Honey Citrus. The Spicy flavor burns my tongue so I usually pair it with Soy Garlic or Chapchae.

I also like their Kimchi Coleslaw (only 45 PHP or 1 USD). But unless you really like spicy food, don’t order the Kimchi Coleslaw with Spicy Chicken. I almost cried when I ate them together.

Kimchi Coleslaw

They also serve beer by the way, that’s why it’s now my favorite fast food restaurant.

I give it 3.5/5 spoons.

Food – 4 spoons
Ambience – 3 spoon
Price – 4 spoons
Service – 3 spoons

While exploring Koreatown in New York, I saw KyoChon. I should have tried the chicken there. I’m curious which is better.

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BonChon
Branches: Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Cebu and Davao
Metro Manila Delivery: +632 6331818

Branches Worldwide: New York, San Francisco, Boston, Virginia, New Jersey, Seoul, Bangkok, Manila, Jakarta, Singapore

A Boodle Feast at a Time of Mourning

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I know it’s weird to start a food blog with death but the first time I ate at Blackbeard’s Seafood Island was when my grandma died. Some of my friends brought me there for dinner to cheer me up a bit.

We ordered Dapitan’s Pride (785Php or 18USD) – crispy shrimps, San Mig clams, grilled tilapia, grilled squid, laing, steamed crabs, grilled liempo and rice which is supposedly good for 3-4 persons. There were 5 of us and what we ordered was more than enough. The food was ok and the place is great for large groups or friends or family.

I give it 3/5 spoons.

Food – 3 spoons
Ambience – 2 spoon
Price – 4 spoons
Service – 3 spoons

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Blackbeard’s Seafood Island
Branches: Metro Manila, Davao, Laguna and Pampanga

Ristorante Bigoli: The Italian Fast Food

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According to the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten), Italian food is the easiest to cook. I kind of agree. Kind of, because I still have to learn how to cook pizza from scratch.

Ristorante Bigoli is a fast food restaurant. If you’re craving for something Italian and you’re in a hurry, try the food there. I recommend the Stromboli. It’s good.

Fast, filling, and inexpensive. A budget of 150-300 PHP (3-7 USD) would be enough. If you know how to make them at home though, I suggest you do that instead.

I give it 3/5 spoons.

Food – 3 spoons
Ambience – 2 spoon
Price – 4 spoons
Service – 3 spoons

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Ristorante Bigoli
Branches: Trinoma, Eastwood and SM City Fairview

Addicting Banapple Pies & Cheesecakes

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Thankfully, I’m no longer addicted to them pies and cheesecakes! If you’re watching your weight or if you’re diabetic, you gotta stay away from Banapple. Seriously. Or at least TRY.

They’ve got a lot of different cakes and pies that would make you go crazy if you love sweets (like me). A slice costs around 95-120 PHP (2-3 USD).

So far, my favorite is still the special pie they did for Halloween a year ago (I already forgot what it’s called). I got so addicted to it that time I think I ate a slice everyday for a week.

They also serve hot dishes that are reasonably priced. My only issue is the space. It can get really crowded sometimes especially during peak hours.

I give it 3/5 spoons.

Food – 4 spoons
Ambience – 2 spoon
Price – 3 spoons
Service – 3 spoons

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Banapple Pies & Cheesecakes
Branches: Katipunan Ave., Il Terrazo Tomas Morato, Ayala Triangle Gardens, Connecticut Street Greenhills, Alabang Town Center, and Market! Market!

Bai Yok

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Apparently Bai Yok (sculptured leaf) is a very popular name for Thai restaurants. I didn’t know that. At first I thought it was a Visayan restaurant until I saw the words Authentic Thai Cuisine under it.

Since I love Thai food, my officemate, Jed and I decided to go there for lunch and check out if they really serve authentic Thai cuisine.

They didn’t have any other customers aside from us when we got there around 12nn which was just fine because I really don’t like crowded places (unless I’m partying in a bar).

A few minutes after taking our order, the waitress gave us free appetizers which I found cool because it was as if I’m back in Phuket.

We ordered Pad Thai and Spring Rolls. I know. We should have ordered a lot more. But since we needed to be back at the office by 1pm, we decided to order just that. Also, we were being very… safe (in case the food’s not good).

The food wasn’t bad at all! Even the price. A budget of 200-300 php (5-7 USD) would be enough per person. It can actually even go lower if you just order a few items like we did. We were full after eating just those. The Pad Thai was good for 2 people (unless you’re really, really hungry).

We weren’t able to try the Tamarind and Ampalaya (Bitter Melon) shakes that they serve there. I would go back to try those and the Tom Yum.

I give it 3/5 spoons.

Food – 4 spoons
Ambience – 2 spoon
Price – 3 spoons
Service – 3 spoons

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Bai Yok Authentic Thai Cuisine
185 Tomas Morato Ave. cor. Scout Castor
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
(+63 2) 475-8828, (+63 2) 788-7707

Operating Hours
Monday to Sunday 11:00am to 10:00pm