Thursday, January 16, 2014

Café Lydia – The Pride of Marikina

Along the street of Calderon in Calumpang Marikina City lies a little secret. Word of mouth made this little secret now a pride of the city. Café Lydia, now thrives as one of the best restaurants in the area. Featured for several times in national television and is continuously trending in blog reviews, Café Lydia never fails to satisfy its customers. 

Owned by an entrepreneur who formerly ran a shoe business, Café Lydia opened its doors to the public on September 2009. Despite struggles such as the typhoon Ondoy on its opening month, this restaurant continues to thrive and is now a destination restaurant for food lovers both from the North and South. Serving the cravings of families and friends who get together for a common purpose, Café Lydia provides a cozy ambience which is also reflected in the warm smiles of its servers. 

All set to eat!

 Pasta ala lidia (P155) is their house special. It has anchovies, olives, capers, tuna, and fresh tomatoes in olive oil. Quite a large serving of 200 grams.

Chicken Kiev (Chicken Cordon BLeu - P205) is also a must try- rolled chicken fillet with ham, cheese and herbed butter with bechamel sauce, served with mashed potato and mesclun salad. 

Yummy Back Ribs (P310) is served with java rice and mixed vegetables.

House Special Pizza (P240) with pepperoni, ham, bacon, mushroom, onion, bell pepper, pineapple is perfect for a group of pizza-lovers!

 Grilled Blue Marlin (P305), grilled in brown butter garlic sauce, sundried tomato, 
mushroom served with mashed potato and mixed vegetables, is also a great choice for fish lovers.

Who can resist the classic banana split (P125)? Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla ice cream scoops with frozen strawberry, and crushed pineapple caught between two banana halves 
and topped with chopped peanuts 

With Marikina as my hometown, Cafe Lidia is a restaurant close to my heart. Their coffees and cakes are served with the biggest smiles. Aside from a wide variety of menu, they also give speedy services by their very friendly staffs. The interior is quite cozy and comfortable, with warm lighting. There's also free wifi for internet lovers. A visit to Marikina is all worth it, especially if a stop is Café Lydia. Done sharing this little secret with you, it’s your turn to try and be proud.

Cafe Lidia 
Address: 64 Calderon St., Calumpang , Marikina City
Contact Detail: 647-7606
Business Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.(Monday-Saturday); 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Sunday)
Price Range per Person: Php 201 - Php 500
Payment Method: Cash/Credit Card
Accepts Reservation: Yes

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Trek to Remember

Twenty two years ago, a six-year old girl wondered why thick layers of ashes were scattered on the streets of Manila. Clueless and big-eyed, she  looked at the haze in the air and kept on inquiring about what happened. The answer was finally told - these were the effects of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

That was the only memory I had of Mount Pinatubo. Little did I know that I’d be exploring its grandeur (as one of the biggest volcanoes in the Philippines) and that I’d be building memories with it, this time not of eruption/destruction but of a different kind.

And so we decided to pursue the adventure and conquer Mount Pinatubo. Carrying our backpacks and wearing proper attires including study shoes which will survive boulders, heights, streams and ashes; we travelled all the way to Capas Tarlac.

For travellers who'd like to explore Mount Pinatubo, here’s a brief summary of a whole day itinerary.
   1.   Travel from Manila to Capas, Tarlac. – 2 hours
   2.   Sign the waiver form and attend a brief orientation before the adventure starts.
   3.   Ride a 4x4 transport for 40 minutes. Take note: It’s going to be a rough ride crossing streams and boulders with continuous sprinkles of ashes all over your body. Exciting!
   4.   Trek for 2-3 hours (depending on your capability) crossing ashes, boulders, low lying streams and some stairs to reach the crater.
   5.   Enjoy the crater from a viewing point. This is also the time to have lunch, recharge and take a lot of pictures celebrating your success. (Enjoy the fruits of your labor!)
   6.   Go back - do steps 4,3,2, and 1.

The wonderful crater of Mount Pinatubo beholds a beauty to marvel at.
It amazed me how a volcano as destructive as this can also be an attraction pleasing the eyes of onlookers. 
Oh the power of God's creation!

Sharing a video made by Jaresa Felipe of Thirty Six-O Media which features a 3-minute documentation of how our team conquered Mount Pinatubo. Click on the picture to view the video.

Click here to watch video.

Our package was pre-availed from Pinaykeypoint and for a list of the requirements and all necessary data, their site proved to be very helpful. The site also provides a detailed itinerary so if you’re planning to go on this adventure, we highly recommend that you transact with them.

The sturdy 4x4 transport which lets you experience "lahar powder" on your face as you go on a bumpy ride.

Crossing streams make you realize that roller coasters are not scary after all.

The almost three-hour trek is a challenge for the adventurers. 8 kms to go!

Boulders, together with lahar and streams, make the trek mode challenging.
Thanks to tour guides who lead us to easier trails. 

After more than 6 kilometers, you see this sign, motivating you to see which range you belong to.

When you see this rest station, you are near the crater (almost!).

 Trail foods are always helpful, so go for energy bite-sized foods.

There's a free water refill near the rest area. 


Visiting Mt. Pinatubo was an opportunity to meet the kin of the very first inhabitants of the Philippines. 
Aetas are all over the place. Greet them and share some goodies with the kids.

The precious drinks being sold near the crater - P100 each!

Once you reach the top, enjoy a hearty snack while camping and enjoy the beauty of the crater.

Camp around the crater, but don't swim.

I was used to the laidback vacation where one can relax and enjoy nature, but the Mount Pinatubo adventure is something different travel bugs should try. One has to be physically and emotionally ready for this kind of trip. And yes, no matter how arduous and tiring the adventure was, it really was the upbuilding memories to reach the top and the persons we trekked with that matter.

Twenty two years after that eruption, my mind now rarely recalls Mount Pinatubo’s destructive aftermath. Whenever the name of that giant mountain will be mentioned, it is that amazing trek that I will always remember.