Michael Brian Tina

Experiencing life while taking down notes

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Temple of Leah

So I visited this place in Cebu that’s been really popular these past few weeks. Thought it’d be interesting to feature it on my blog so I could help inform more people where it is and what it’s all about. Some might refer to it as the Cebu version of Bacolod’s The Ruins and some might not even understand what the purpose of the place is. So to help educate and spread the word, we’re going to be taking a look at one of Cebu’s most recent attractions, The Temple of Leah.

First of all, how to get there. You need to make your way to Busay. it’s up in the mountains. Just ask the locals. You’ll most likely start off from JY Square and make your way up passing by Cosmopolitan, Marco Polo and Chateau De Busay. After Chateau, it should be pretty nearby. Once you make the left turn for Mountainview Resort, you go straight along the road. The next fork in the road should be a right heading to Lantaw Busay, but instead of making the right turn going up to the restaurant, just go left and go to the end of the road. You should spot a big infrastructure with lots of cars and motorcycles parked at the side of the road. Then you know you’ve arrived!

I brought my family along with me and we were all pretty curious as to what was inside. We luckily were able to park our car without too much of a struggle. There is ample parking space at the side of the road, and there are lots of ‘habal-habal’ motorcycles that are willing to take you there from JY Square, you just have to pay them. The Temple of Leah has been a work in progress since 2012, and still lies unfinished, but the pictures I’m about to show you will still probably make your jaw drop.

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This is the side entrance. I know, right? Although there isn’t any color scheme yet, the details in the design of the pillars and columns are just amazing. Is it just me, or does the unfinished look and the grey tones of concrete make it look absolutely rustic? We haven’t even made our way inside the main area yet! The place is open for public viewing, but again it’s still a work in progress, so I do believe that there is some sort of cut-off time when the workers have to continue with construction. Best to go there during the afternoon, before the sun goes down.

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After ascending about three floors from the side entrance, we made our way to the main temple entrance. Here you can see the temple in all its unfinished glory! It has a Rome inspired type of design, and looks kind of like The Pantheon. As you make your way up the steps, you can see two lions, one on each side, which I believe are brass or bronze coated. Makes for a nice touch. Lots of people armed with their selfie sticks, DLSRs and smartphones, raring to take a picture with these golden beasts! Here’s a picture of me and my family. This is where the tripod comes in handy.

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This is what greets us as we make our way into the entrance. I wasn’t kidding when I said this was the most recent popular hotspot for Cebuanos. People came in droves!

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The first thing that will capture your attention is this huge 9 foot bronze statue of whom the place is named after.

Leah Villa Albino-Adarna is the late wife of Teodorico S. Adarna, who is probably known most for two things, being the tycoon and businessman that owns the Queensland chain of motels, as well as being the grandfather of Ellen Adarna. He made this temple as a sort of display of his love for his wife who passed away a few years ago. He created this place to adopt an architectural and structural design that would be timeless and to be a landmark where future generations of the Adarna clan could trace their roots and heritage. The Temple is going to have 24 chambers, all showcasing Leah’s personal collection of books, art and design pieces. Many members of the Adarna clan helped in the formulation of this ongoing masterpiece.

The statue is supposed to be a lifelike representation of Leah at the moment she was crowned matron queen of her alma mater, the University of Southern Philippines. The plaque at the bottom base of the statue reads, “May the beholder discern her innate beauty, poise and genteelness.” It’s certainly represented well here. It’s also matched with a beautiful stained glass art behind it. Two thumbs up to the design team behind the whole concept of the temple. Itt’s absolutely gorgeous, and once everything is finished, I’m sure it’s going to look even better.

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Another one of the highlights is the wooden staircase with these brass angels as the support columns. Really luxurious and grandiose.

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Here’s a picture of my mom feeling like a queen at the top of the staircase. Ha! A cookie for you if you can spot where I am in the picture.

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If you were able to spot me, I was the guy in blue looking upwards at this particular section. It’s a glass pyramid which certainly draws comparisons to The Louvre Pyramid in France. You can’t really see the pyramid that well from this angle, but the next picture should. You can actually make your way upstairs but you have to put in a bit of effort in going above or down the railings, since there are some places that are seemingly blocked off and not intended for public viewing, but you know me, I’ll find a way!

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Here is how it looks from the top. Definitely looks like a mini-version of the Louvre Pyramid. Not many people were able to climb up here, and most of them were content in taking pictures on the ground floor. But they sure missed out on the beautiful view from the top!

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You can see all of Cebu from here, as well as the huge space in front of the main entrance. Beautiful to behold.

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This is how the rooftop looks if you’re looking up from the ground floor. This girl certainly feels like royalty, but is acting like an idiot. Please be safe and do not follow in her footsteps. There are no railings, and what she is doing is certainly dangerous. Although there is a bit of clearance from the edge, it is still not a wise thing to do.

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Making my way back downstairs, I was able to snap an image of this library section, which supposedly holds all of Leah’s favorite books. More of those brass angels acting as support columns for the bookshelves. Marble floor with that star design.

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Outside, there were some more statues along the viewing grounds. You can see these two seraphim angels in a guardian stance. Again, it’s really a beautiful work of art, even if it is still unfinished.

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I tried to comprehend what this statue’s pose was supposed to signify, but I failed. On the bright side, look at that view behind it. It’s simply breathtaking!

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Of course, I had to do a jump shot with my nephew. There were so many people that Saturday afternoon!

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Here’s a picture of my parents and my nephew. Even though this place is really beautiful and majestic, again, I can’t stress it enough, it is still a work in progress. I wanted to highlight the cement and the operating equipment behind them. Please keep safe when venturing around the place, as there still might be cracks, rusty bars, nails and screws lying around. You definitely wouldn’t want to get injured here and be far away from the nearest hospital.

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Look at that statue posing like a boss! Naked, no less.

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And as the sun was setting, we said goodbye to the temple, made the drive downstairs, and had some Pizza in Pizza Republic! Which is a giant hint for my next blog post. Ha!

I hope the pictures did the place justice. If you were a bit observant, you could tell that the pictures were coming from different sources. I took some pictures from my sister’s Lumix camera, and some pictures from my cellphone after editing it a bit with VSCOcam.

The Temple of Leah is certainly is shaping up to be one of Cebu’s upcoming landmarks and it really is majestic and beautiful to behold. Once it’s finished, it’ll attract even more people! Right now, it’s free for viewing because it’s still not yet finished, but I really see them charging a fee for viewing once it’s done. Go visit it while it’s still free! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to answer it.

As always, if you liked this post, please leave a comment, share, like, and repost. Show some love and follow me on my social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @mikes41720.

Until next time,

Cheers!

Update (08/27/2015) — As of August 7, 2015, the management of Temple of Leah have started charging an entrance fee of PHP 50.00 per person! So it isn’t free anymore. They said it was to defray the maintenance costs. So please take note! Some improvements here and there too, but the place is still far from finished.

Dining at Black Iron Cebu

Hey, Everyone!

Hope you’re having a great week. After that last post on Gabby’s Closet Cebu, it’s time to switch it up a bit and bring you a food trip review on another newly opened restaurant here in Cebu. If you’re a fan of burgers, steaks and high quality beef and meat, then get to reading because you’re going to enjoy this one. Today, we’re going to feature Black Iron Cebu.

I was able to eat at Black Iron around sometime last week, but I heard it opened on September 2014, so this was long overdue! A couple of friends & I had been planning to have a food trip for a while now, and since my chef sister always recommends new places to try out, I thought, why not Black Iron. I was excited as my sister knows her food, and any place she recommends usually ends up being pretty good. She was not wrong on this one. On Tuesday, we set out for dinner with hungry stomachs and raring appetites.

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After about an hour in traffic, we finally arrived at our destination. Black Iron is located at Ginza Compound, J. Panis Street, Old Banilad Road. If you’re coming from Ayala, when you get to the intersection, left going to IT Park Entrance, straight going to Country Mall & BTC, right to some subdivision, you take the north-east road going to Cempark. Go straight a bit, then Ginza Compound should be on the right side and you should be able to see it from there. Black Iron is right next to Patio Isabel, so hopefully you should be able to find it without much trouble.

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The place is decent sized, but by no means large. It’s fully air conditioned, and they’ve got around 8-10 tables. They’ve also got some interesting design on the walls. It’s a giant green chalkboard, and you can write love messages or graffiti drawings on the wall with colored chalk. This gives it a personal feel, which is nice, although I’m not sure if it’s exactly sanitary if and when the chalk dust might rub off onto the food. Maybe just something to note if you easily get allergies or something.

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I took a picture of their menu on the side. Not much variation to the menu, but there’s more than enough for you to be able to choose something. Burgers, steaks, and some side dishes and salads for the most part. I don’t think they had any dessert options though, which some could find lacking. Hopefully they’ll be able to add more options along the way. I took pictures of the dishes we ordered, so if you want to take a look at what the Monster Chops or the Cowboy Steak looks like, then continue on scrolling! As you can see, they are a bit on the pricier side, but it’s well worth it for the quality of ingredients that they use, particularly the quality of the beef.

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I like how their burgers have lots of options with regards to buns, meat, condiments and side dishes. We ended up not ordering any burger, but I’ve heard that their burgers are good and the next time I come back, I’ll definitely order a burger and let you know how it tastes.

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Thought this design piece on the wall was interesting. It’s a collage of gift cards from a lot of US Retail Stores like Macy’s, Sears, Nike, American Eagle, Lowe’s, Chili’s, and a whole lot more. Feels very American.

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Black Iron is part of the American Beef Club, and they proudly display this plaque as a testament to that. We are proud to serve High Quality U.S. Beef. I’m not exactly sure what goes into making U.S. Beef, but damn, they have some tasty beef!

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My friend wrote his name on the wall chalkboard and placed his Instagram and Twitter account! Little things while waiting for our order.

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Something to note, they are still cash only for the meantime, so please keep that in mind before bringing a credit card and no cash! Boy, they are fully stocked! Heinz ketchup bottles and softdrink cans for days! Right in front of that Sto. Nino, you can see that gold plaque that reads member. That’s the American Beef Club I was talking about earlier. Their staff are very friendly.

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Here’s where the action goes down! I like how they have a clear glass display that shows how they cook your burgers and steaks. It’s a nice touch for those who like to cook or are just curious in how it’s being made.

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This was particularly funny. Their washroom has the insignias of Stand2P and Sit2P, which made me chuckle as it wasn’t the usual men & women indicator. I sure hope you know which is which!

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There’s just something about Heinz tomato ketchup that tastes so good. While waiting for the order, one of my friends actually just placed ketchup on his plate and used a spoon to eat it directly. I don’t blame him. There’s also Tabasco, Mustard and our ever popular Knorr liquid seasoning!

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Ordered their Raspberry Iced Tea  for PHP 85.00 per pitcher. It was good for 3, and I like how their glasses are in a jar. It’s also at PHP 55.00 per glass if you just want a single serving. It was pretty good, you could taste the distinct flavor of raspberry mixed with the iced tea. One pitcher serves about 6 glasses, so it’s pretty good for sharing.

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Angus Baked Spaghetti

It was priced at PHP 250.00 per serving and it comes with a piece of toasted bread. Here’s how it looks before you mix everything together.

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And here it is after mixing! It was pretty good, you could definitely taste the Angus beef portions. This is one of their lighter meals though, so it’s good for sharing. But I didn’t come here to eat spaghetti, I wanted a thick slab of steak and beef!

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Monster Chop

It was priced at PHP 295.00 and boy was it worth it! Just take a look at how huge that portion is. It’s a lot for one person and this can definitely be shared. It comes with one rice, but I suggest ordering extra rice in advance, because you’re going to need it! It comes in a sizzling plate and has some vegetables on the side. The seasoning was just right with the correct amount of salt, and the pork was real juicy. This is one delicious dish. Highly recommended if you don’t plan on ordering steak. Well worth it for the money.

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Angus Beef Burger Steak

I ordered the 1/2 lb for PHP 360.00 or you can get the 1/3 lb variant for PHP 240.00. It comes in a sizzling plate with rice and some vegetables on the side. First bite was sumptuous! The sauce of the burger steak was delicious and the beef was extremely juicy. This is that high grade US quality beef coming into play. Some mushrooms on top and some spices give it that extra tastiness. Again, highly recommend this dish. If you’re used to the usual burger steak from Orange Brutus, you’re in for a pleasant surprise here.

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Cowboy Cut Steak

It’s 1 inch thick and it’s priced at PHP 1,100.00 which seems really expensive, but that’s what you pay for when you want the highest quality beef. There’s also a 1 & 1/2 inch variant that is a bit more expensive at PHP 1,350.00. It comes with a serving of french beans, mashed potatoes and grilled corn. Not in the picture is their homemade cream pepper sauce, which was pretty good too. What can I say about their steak? It was really juicy. This was cooked medium well, although I would have preferred it to be medium rare to have it be a bit more juicy. But boy, is this delicious! You get what you pay for. Your wallet might be crying, but your stomach will be thanking you afterwards. Again, the meat is real juicy and the seasoning is just right. It is grilled to perfection. Over-all it’s simple, but the dish manages to bring out the flavor of the high-quality beef.

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Well there you have it! Black Iron Cebu is definitely a bit of a sleeper and is still kind of unknown to a lot of people in Cebu, but more people should try this restaurant out if they want high quality beef dishes. It’s on the pricier end for a full meal, but you get what you pay for in terms of ingredients. Save up a bit, or wait until it’s payday, and indulge! I would definitely recommend going back here to try out some of their other dishes. Be sure to bring your friends!

You can contact them and make reservations at 0933-985-6888.

They are open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 11 AM to 10 PM.

You can find their Facebook page here.

You can also follow them on Twitter & Instagram @blackironcebu

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Here’s a picture of some happy faces. Smile for the camera, even if you’re actually really hungry already!

As always, if you liked this post, please feel free to comment, like, share and reblog. You can follow me on my Facebook, Twitter & Instagram accounts @mikes41720. If you have a question or inquiry, feel free to comment or let me know, and I’ll try to help answer. Be sure to check my blog for the next upcoming post, whether it’s another food trip, review or adventure under the stars!

Until next time,

Cheers!

Gabby’s Closet Cebu

Hey, Everyone!

If you guys follow me on some of my social media accounts, you know I have a thing for sneakers. I don’t know how to quite explain it, but I just love seeing and wearing a good pair of kicks. I’ve probably got around close to 20 pairs, and if that isn’t an addiction, then I don’t know what is. If you haven’t read my recent post on my sneaker pick-ups for 2014, you can check it out here! Today, I’ve got a very interesting feature on an apparel and sneaker store that just opened recently. Let’s take a look at Gabby’s Closet Cebu.

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It’s located at the 2nd floor of the Avagar Building. It is in Escario corner Molave Street. It’s nearby Parklane Hotel, so you can’t miss it.

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I was able to visit their store around sometime last week. The Avagar building is also kind of new, so if you have a hard time finding the place, drop a comment below and I’ll try to help answer.

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What greeted me was a very interesting piece. It was a wall clock but instead of numbers, they used the Air Jordan shoes from the first until the twelfth rendition. It was a real nice touch and really showed the deep roots and influence of whom many consider to be the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan. His Air Jordan line started the whole sneaker game and culture and it continues to expand up to this day.

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So what is Gabby’s Closet? Gabby’s Closet is a one-stop shop for sneakers, apparel and accessories. They buy, sell and consign sneakers. It’s a unique concept where they sell brand new shoes that they get from connections and retailers, as well as selling some older releases that were bought from people who wanted to part with some shoes in their collection. They can take your old limited sneakers and post them for sale at their store and take a portion of the profit.

They feature a lot of brands, both local and international, but it’s deeply rooted in the sneaker culture, so you’ve got a lot of limited shoes that create hype and frenzy because of their limited status and timeless designs. You’ll see a lot of Air Jordans, Nikes, Adidas, Reebok, ASICS and other brands which could run up to more than PHP 20,000 per pair! Yes, that’s per pair. Certain sneakers are that highly coveted because of the history and nostalgia attached to it.

I was fortunate enough to have been able to talk to the owner, Sir Roland Chua, and we chopped it up for a good hour or so. It all started when he began selling shoes on eBay since he was based in the US. When he came back to the Philippines, he started selling sneakers and apparel on some online websites. He did not have a physical store, but people were clamoring for sneakers and demand was growing, so he decided to open up a shop in Manila to cater to the people who wanted to get the more limited sneakers but didn’t necessarily have the best access to them, as most of them were being released in the US or in Europe. Thus, around the early 2000’s, Gabby’s Closet was born.

They currently have 3 branches, two in Manila and one in Cebu. The two stores in Manila are located in Shaw and Taft, and he told me that the sneaker game in Manila is bigger than ever. Hoping to expand on the love and passion for sneakers in other areas of the Philippines, he franchised Gabby’s Closet. Along with some partners, they opened the branch here in Cebu in September 2014. Fun fact, Gabby is Sir RC’s daugher, so that’s where the name stemmed from. But enough of the history lesson, let’s check out the pictures of their awesome sneakers and apparel!

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They have a lot of apparel that is a mixture of both local and international brands that go along with the street wear and sneaker culture concept. Bloodbath, Fledge, Bullyproof, Reason, Diamond Supply Co, Antigrvty, Dope, Black Scale, Swamp Monster and Obey. The list goes on and on, but they’ve got a great mixture of designs and styles.

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They also have some accessories and shades available for sale. A little bling and flash on the side never hurt and they’ve got that in supply!

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Some bags and backpacks from Reason & Sprayground are also in display. Not very familiar with some of these brands, but they do have some nice designs.

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They’ve also got an assortment of pants and caps. Whatever you’re looking for, they probably have it.

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Last but not the least, we’ve got these jogger pants from Kirv and Outkast Paradigm. Jogger pants have kind of been the trend lately, as they do tend to show off your sneakers a bit more. I have gotten into this fad, and have about 2-3 pairs myself. Lots of different designs from camouflage, leather, denim and fleece to choose from.

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This special pair of sneakers are enclosed in a clear acrylic case. These are the Nike ‘What the LeBron’ 11’s. LeBron James  is one of the most popular basketball basketball players today, and he makes up one-third of Nike’s signature basketball athletes along with Kobe Bryant & Kevin Durant. It’s crazy to think that he’s released his 11th shoe already, goes to show you how huge the sneaker scene is. This is called the What the LeBron because it’s a mixture of all different colorways of previous LeBrons slapped onto one shoe, and the left and the right shoe are both different! A bit out there in terms of design, but this is one of those coveted sneakers. I believe this pair is around PHP 24,000.00. That’s not a typo.

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We’ve got more apparel on this side and we have the Air Jordan section on the shelves. Like I mentioned earlier, Michael Jordan is one of the greatest of all time, and his influence has spread to greater heights even outside of basketball. He’s won 6 NBA Championships, has been MVP, slam dunk champion, scoring leader, defensive player of the year, and olympic gold medalist. The list goes on and on. There is that 23, his basketball jersey number, which provides a really nice design element as tribute to His Airness. His signature line, the Air Jordans, has served as launchpads for other contemporary signature lines like LeBron, Kobe, KD, Penny, DRose and the like. Again, I will say, these shoes are not cheap.

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The shoes you see here are what started it all. The Air Jordan 1’s. The red pair is called Breds (black and red) and the blue pair is called Royals. Nike launched these back in 1985, and they’ve been highly coveted ever since. They’ve been re-released several times due to popular demand, but the demand is greater than the supply, so these are pretty limited. The price for each pair of these shoes are worth around PHP 15,000-20,000. They are worth a pretty penny.

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Here’s a look at the Air Jordan 6 Cigar. This is a Brand New Dead Stock (BNDS) pair in a Size 12, and it is being sold for PHP 19,000.00. This is part of the Cigar & Champagne pack that celebrated Jordan’s first championship, as you can see the championship ring detailing on the shoe, along with the brown, red and gold accents. It’s amazing to see how Jordan’s sneaker line has evolved. From the Air Jordan I in 1985, we’re now up to the Air Jordan XX9 in 2014. Even if Jordan is already in retirement, his shoes seem to be timeless and still manage to create that hype!

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Gabby’s Closet keeps their shoes shrink wrapped in plastic to extend the lifespan, as over time, these do tend to break down a bit if not worn. And if the shoe is slightly used or worn, that will also affect the pricing. Incidentally, even the sizing comes into play a bit, as more people do fall in the range of Size 9-10 and it would be more in demand. These are several colorways of the Air Jordan 4, another coveted silhouette in the Air Jordan line, and which many sneakerheads would consider their grail. A grail, short for holy grail, is what you would consider your favorite pair of all time.

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Aside from Jordans, there are also other sneakers that may be up your alley. From Nike, we’ve got Penny, Kobe, LeBron, KD as some of their athletes with signature lines, as well as other brands like Adidas and Reebok. Lots of designs and colorways to choose from, and what makes each release special is that some of them have backstories or personal details on the designs from that particular endorser.

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The two high-top sneakers are Kobe IX’s, which was released around last year. The pair enclosed in an acrylic case is the Kobe VIII Prelude. It was part of the Prelude pack, with special editions of all of Kobe’s older shoes up until the release of the 9th edition. As you can see, this sneaker is priced at PHP 21,000.00. And you thought a pair of leather shoes were expensive!

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Here are some shoes that are more of that everyday lifestyle look. There are everyday step-in shoes with Nike Roshe Runs, Flyknit Trainers & Airmaxes as well as some skateboarding shoes with the Dunk and Janoski models. Some other brands like ASICS & Saucony also feature some of their retro lifestyle sneakers. This section is much more affordable but still manages to have a premium price point due to the fact that these sneakers are still kind of hard to get and are still coveted in nature. There are also have some caps on display as well as some cool figurines.

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The ones on the top shelf are the Nike Roshe Run, which is your everyday slip-on sneaker with a running shoe design. The ones on the bottom shelf are Nike Airmax 1’s & Airmax 90’s, which have a vintage runner look to them, as these are old retro models that still have different colorways to release each year. I personally am a fan of all these three silhouettes and think they look amazing.

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Well there you have it! Gabby’s Closet Cebu offers a certainly unique take in terms of shoes and apparel, and it is close to my heart because of my love for sneakers as well. These shoes are certainly not cheap, and you will be paying a premium for them, but the sheer nostalgia, history and design makes it compelling to be a sneakerhead in this day and age, especially for us here in Cebu. So if you’re in town, do check it out and show them some love. They’ve got cool stuff over there. I hope to one day be able to own a pair of Jordans myself!

Here are some useful links and contact numbers if you want to get in touch with them:

Gabby’s Closet Cebu Facebook 

Gabby’s Closet Cebu Instagram

Gabby’s Closet Shaw

Gabby’s Closet Taft

Contact Number for the Cebu branch –  0923-629-8111 / 414-1732

As always, if you enjoyed this post, please like, share, comment, reblog, love and all other forms of support out there. It is highly appreciated. Feel free to follow me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @mikes41720 for all three accounts.

Lots of stores and restaurants are opening up in Cebu, and it’s exciting to see where the future takes us. 2015 is here, and I’m stoked for this year’s adventures!

Until next time,

Cheers!

Brunch at Yolk

Hey, Everyone!

I already wrote this post on my cellphone on the WordPress mobile app and it was already good for posting, but apparently it didn’t save and I lost the whole draft! Very unfortunate, so I’m typing this now on my desktop and hopefully it’ll still be a good read for you guys. Anyway, today is February 1, and it signals the start of the love month! And what better way to start things off than to chance upon a new restaurant find! Me and my sister just had brunch over at this newly opened restaurant called Yolk. It’s a little hidden restaurant which focuses on coffee and breakfast food, and as the name implies, most of its dishes has eggs in it. Read on to find more about this hidden gem!

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Yolk is located at 80 Tres Borces Street in Mabolo. For those who aren’t familiar, if you’re coming from Ayala, and you reach the intersection  that has Leona’s and BBQ Boss, you go straight and then take the first right turn after Bread After Bread. Just go straight, and it should be on the right side. This place is a hidden little gem, away from the main roads, but it shouldn’t be too hard to spot. Only issue I foresee is that there isn’t much parking, so best of luck in finding a parking space on a busy day!

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It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and we got there at around 11 AM. It was kind of packed already, as there were lots of people who were having their breakfast or early lunch. The seating capacity is around 25 people, and they have around 7-8 tables. It’s a little cramped, but that’s also part of the appeal of this place since it definitely fits in the category of hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

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Here is their counter and a little peek of the cooking area at the back. They’ve got around 3-4 staff members, and they were all very kind. Excellent service, as they were happy to greet us and take our photos. Food arrived after about 10 or so minutes, so it was pretty quick.

While waiting, you can enjoy the rustic decoration around the interior of the place. Off-white brick walls and wooden fixtures give it a very clean and country look, and all the decoration pieces were very interesting to look at. Lots of interesting pieces. Very Instagram worthy and everything looked like it came straight out of Pinterest. There were chalk boards, picture frames, a huge world map, lots of quotes, bottles, books and plant ornaments. Artistic and you’ll find yourself staring around the walls until your food arrives! Here are some pictures to show you what I’m talking about.

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Here is my date for the start of the love month! My sister, Michelle, loves food and is a very competent chef! She also paid for this brunch, so I am very grateful for that. Ha! Love you, Manang!

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They’ve got a couch and coffee table with some newspapers and magazines. I just love how the place looks and it feels very homey, exactly where you’d like to have your Sunday brunch.

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They use yellow light bulbs that are encased in jars, which was very unique and added to the feel of the place.

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I just found myself reading some of the quotes on the walls, and it was just very noteworthy. The overall design will have all the foodies, fashion and style bloggers, coffee and meeting yuppies flocking to this place!

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I took some photos of their menu. Not very many choices, but to give benefit of the doubt, it is breakfast food. So don’t come here and expect any lunch or dinner type entrees. The names of their dishes are pretty amusing. It’s so Fluffy I could die? Two-some? Fat Boy? Some witty naming conventions for their food. They’ve got a little mix of everything, with some salads, some sandwiches, some pancakes, and lots of plated food with eggs in it! They also have lots of cold and hot beverages, mainly coffee and brewed tea, so you can have your pick with that. Prices seem reasonable, although personally it’s more on the expensive side considering this is for a breakfast meal.

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You’ll be glad to know they have speedy wi-fi on hand, which is probably a must in this day and age. Those chalk boards are just a nice touch and easily customizable. Their specialty coffee, as the picture says, is sourced from Colombia, Sumatra and Ethiopia. These beans traveled a long way, so they probably must be worth the try!

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Iced Mocha

A bit pricey at PHP 140.00, but it was actually pretty good! The chocolate and coffee combination was delicious, and you can tell that the coffee used was a high grade source. Very rich and slightly dark. Be sure to mix it well before you take a sip, as the coffee settles on the bottom.

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All Beefed Up

Fried rice topped with a sunny side up egg, tomatoes and carrots on the side, and their homemade corned beef. It was good, but personally it looked a bit lacking, especially with the PHP 220.00 price tag on it. Still, props to Yolk for trying their own homemade corned beef, definitely gives it a unique flavor as to the regular canned corned beef.

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Eggs Benny

A salad on the side with a dressing of Balsamic Vinaigrette,  two pieces of toasted sourdough bread topped with crispy bacon and two poached eggs, lathered with their calamansi-infused buttery hollandaise sauce. When you break open the poached egg, the yolk drips all over the dish and it’s a great look for the classic take on Eggs Benedict. It was pretty good and filling, and the serving was just right. Again, this might be a bit expensive at PHP 280.00, but it was pretty worth it both for presentation and taste.

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You can find their Facebook page here. Their Instagram page can also be found here. Follow them on Twitter @YolkCafePH. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #YolkCafePH  and #CebuEats when you post on social media to show Yolk some love! If you have any questions or inquiries, please feel free to send Yolk a message on their social media accounts.

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Here is a picture of me and my sister after our meal. All smiles! #TeamLingin

Overall, dining at Yolk was pretty good! Cebuanos love to find these little hidden restaurants that haven’t been discovered, and this is no exception. Definitely worth a try. The only gripe I have is that the food is a bit on the pricier side and they lack parking space, but not to take anything away from them. The place was gorgeous with its Instagram & Pinterest worthy decor and interior, the food and drinks were good for a hearty breakfast or brunch meal, and the whole experience was a great meal that is easy like Sunday Morning!

Follow my site (www.michaelbriantina.wordpress.com) and my Twitter and Instagram account @mikes41720. Hope you enjoyed this post!

Until next time,

Cheers!

Dining at Tokyo Table

So here’s another one of my food trip adventures. Apologies, as this is another backlogged post. But it wasn’t too long ago, so it should be fine. This time, I was able to try out the dining experience over at Tokyo Table.

tokyotableDuring the holidays, we never really mind our budget and waistline, as we’re kind of on ‘holiday’ mode, where anything goes and money is not an object. Of course, we always come to regret it right around after New Year. Ha!

Some of my workmates and I had our team Christmas Party at Tokyo Table last December 15, 2014. It’s an all-you-can-eat restaurant located at the heart of City Time Square. City Time Square is a new arcade or commercial square, which is situated right next to Parkmall. It’s also right next to LIV Superclub, so for any of you party-goers out there, you’ll be able to locate the place no problem. Lots of parking space too, so no problem there.

Like the logo says, Tokyo Table is an all-you-can-eat restaurant the focuses on a mixture of yakiniku or grill (smokeless) style, sushi and a whole bevy of Asian flavors and cuisine. I was excited to try the place out, as lots of people had recommended the place. Did it live up to my expectations? Let’s find out!

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The place was packed when we went there, and that was on a Monday evening dinner! So that was a good indication. It’s best for you to reserve a table in advance. They also have special private dining rooms for you to reserve in case you have a private function or small gathering or party.

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The place was gorgeous! I apologize in advance for the horrible quality of the pictures since I was just using my cellphone, but the place still looks stunning nonetheless. There are Japanese paintings and characters adorned on the wall, and the fixtures are made mostly of wood. There are bamboo plants around the place, which give it a relaxing, zen garden type of vibe.

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Each table has a grill where you can cook several types of meat (beef, pork, shrimp, chicken, squid, etc.) yakiniku style. The servers will just go up to your table every once in a while to place some more oil or to replace your grill entirely if there’s too much charred residue buildup. I think it’s a nice blend, where you can pick out food buffet style and still cook to your heart’s content with some other options. Mind you, there is one full table that is solely for raw meat and seafood, which you will find in the pictures below.

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As of my count, there are about 25 different kinds of raw meat and seafood you can choose from. It might be a bit too much, but it’s nice to know that you’re definitely getting what you’re paying for in terms of options, as this buffet isn’t exactly affordable by any stretch of the imagination. I will comment that the meat we decided to grill was fresh, and most of it tasted good, it’s just that I would suggest that you try a bit of everything, and go back to the meats that were more to your liking. My personal favorite would be the lean strips of beef, as they cook almost instantly and taste real good! Some of the other meat options would take a really long time to cook, like chicken and pork, and it wasn’t really worth the hassle in my opinion.

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Right next to the meats for the grill, we’ve got a full salad bar at your disposal! It’s not the most decked out salad bar, but they do have lots of sauces and condiments for you to make a delicious salad. It’s always a good touch when it’s on top of ice, so the ingredients stay fresh and cold. Personally, I always start a buffet out with a salad so I pace myself and ready my stomach for the heavy eating afterwards!

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Right next to the salad bar is the sushi bar! I really found that boat to be a real nice decoration piece, and the chefs are just right behind the display, so if you have any requests, they are right there to cater to your sushi needs! They are constantly refilling the display, and there are lots of choices, which again, is a nice touch. I’m not really too keen with the raw tuna, I prefer the California Maki and other kinds of sushi rolls. I did try a little bit of everything and it was all fresh and good! Good to note that they have no shortage of Kikkoman soy sauce, which helped bolster the flavor, with just a tinge of Wasabi on the side.

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Special mention goes out to the Ebi & Yasai Tempura! I just love Tempura and it is my favorite Japanese dish by far. I probably went and refilled my plate three to four times. The tempura was fresh, although I have to say that the flavor of it wasn’t anything special. Now, it was good, but not amazing. Still, this gets a special mention in my book, as an unlimited offering of Tempura will always get a nod of approval from me!

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Now, contrary to the name of the restaurant, which is Tokyo Table, lots of the food being offered in the restaurant isn’t just specifically Japanese, but more of an Asian fusion cuisine. They switch up their menu every week or so, and there are lots of choices. As you can see from the pictures, there are lots of Filipino, Thai and Chinese dishes, so you can have your pick. There’s a special section for Chinese food, which they serve in the steamers, which is a nice touch, and the rest of the food is laid out in different plates and platters. No Lechon, mind you. There’s probably around 15-20 different dishes you can choose from the buffet, but to be honest, some were repetitive and I could only pick out a few that were actually really good. Again, the options are numerous, but not everything is tasty.

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They’ve got unlimited softdrinks and different kinds of iced teas and lemonade, which is good. Also, they’ve got free-flowing coffee and their own draft beer concoction, which I personally didn’t get to try since I was so stuffed with just the food alone.

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Lastly, we can’t forget about the dessert bar! When your stomach is bulging and you’re full as can be, you’ve still got to have room for dessert right? Well, Tokyo Table has that covered! They’ve got a lot of choices as well in the sweets and dessert department. Got to try a little bit of everything, and it was all really good! The only thing that was unfortunate was that some of the more delicious choices didn’t seem to get refilled like that blueberry cheesecake all by its lonesome.

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Here’s a picture of me and the team, enjoying our meal! Smiling even though our bellies were bursting to the brim. Ha!

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Here’s a picture of the pricing and how much you’ll expect to pay over at Tokyo Table.

Now, here’s a little thing that made me feel a bit cheated about my experience at Tokyo Table. If you were a bit observant with the pricing in the picture, it says that prices are VAT exclusive. Which we only found out about after the bill had arrived. So, expect to pay around 12% more than what is being shown. I’ve already calculated how much you’ll be expected to pay once the final bill arrives,.

Monday-Thursday lunch is PHP 550.00 per head. (around PHP 620.00 per head after VAT)

Monday-Thursday dinner is PHP 650.00 per head. (around PHP 720.00 per head after VAT)

Friday-Sunday Dinner as well as special holidays are PHP 750.00 per head. (around PHP 840.00 per head after VAT)

At least pricing is cheaper for the kids. Just make sure they’re below 4 feet. Ha!

You can check out their Facebook page here.

Reservations can be made at (032) 239-7000.

All in all, would I recommend Tokyo Table? Here is the verdict.

They’ve got a beautiful place and interior, and the food choices are numerous. It’s also an interesting concept of combining a buffet with a yakiniku grill, which makes for a totally unique dining experience. There is a full salad, dessert, and sushi bar as well as lots of plated dishes for you to choose from which are all from different Asian cuisines. Unlimited refills on drinks is also welcome. But with so many choices in the food department, only a handful are truly good and worth going back for in my opinion. In this case, it was quantity over quality. And with the price point they are charging customers, especially with it being VAT exclusive, I’d be hard pressed to recommend Tokyo Table price to value wise for your money. But not taking away all the good things from it, it has a lot going for it and it is definitely worthy of trying it once, but maybe not more beyond that.

Until next time,

Cheers!

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