Travel: Our Lady of Manaoag (Pangasinan)

01 August 2010


Travel: Our Lady of Manaoag (Pangasinan)


Our Lady of Manaoag
Virgin Mary, Mother of GOD, Queen of the most Holy Rosary, Thou, who hast chosen to raise thy throne of mercy in Manaoag, to be the beloved protectress and Patron of the province of Pangasinan, and there from to bestow thy graces on us, thy children, banished in this valley of tears, look down with thine eyes of mercy upon me who am beset with so many dangers of body and soul. Despise not my petition, O dearest Mother, but intercede for me before thy divine Son now and at the hour of my death, Amen. Virgin of Manaoag, pray for us.

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One of the religious churches in the province of Pangasinan, the Church of Our Lady of Manaoag, located in Manaoag, Pangasinan, has a long history of miraculous events that are duplicated in the murals all over the church. Devotees, coming from all over the globe, have various reasons for visiting the place among of which are pleads for health restoration, peace of mind, good voyage, or better fate.


Lost something of great value? Life’s greatest dreams, love, and desires down the drain? Who to turn to in times of need? What to do? PRAY.


Manaoag’s Prayer Area

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The church is Spanish-Romanesque with a touch of German and Italian Renaissance architectural composition. A big octagonal dome surmounts at the point where the nave and the transepts converge forming a cruciform contour. The Church’s three-level facade has superimposed piers on the first and second levels with the third level designed as a small temple. It houses the image of Nuestra Señora de Manaog or Apo Baket.

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Hundreds flock everyday, lining up for hours to get slight contact with the famed “miraculous robes”. Her mantle is visible and can be touched only through a small partition, small enough for hands to fit.
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Fervently praying, hoping, and wishing.

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Food Trip: Volare

26 July 2010


Food Trip: Volare


I was at Volare Restaurant almost a year ago. I know. I know. This review is way overdue.


Volare is a restaurant run by the infamous chef from Amici and Joey Pepperoni — Chef Giorgio. It is a small Italian restaurant located at the Gateway area, offering reasonably priced Italian food in a comfortable casual dining setting.




Volare’s pizzas are made with fresh, imported ingredients sourced from Italian suppliers. Chef Giorgio Buccarelli highlights the best of Italian cuisine in his restaurant.


Spaghetti Vongole E Gaamberetti – Spag with Clams, Shrimps, Anchovies, Tomatoes, Red wine


Risotto ai Funghi Porcini — my fave Italian dish of all time


Tutta Carne Pizza – the boys’ fave pizza


Chef Giorgio has been a chef since he was 15 and being Italian, he runs his business and cooks his food with Amore (love in Italian).


Me and Chef Giorgio – photo taken by Arman almost a year ago.



Wine and wine glasses used on a daily basis. The sight of two tables occupied by Italian diners only boosted our confidence that we had chosen our restaurant well. Note that Chef Giorgio and his friends dine in Volare everyday. It’s the only restaurant in the Gateway area where true authentic Italian friends dine and wine.



Was missing Volare’s pepperoni pizza and its risotto recently. Hence, when I found myself in the Gateway area this weekend — after standing in line for 30 minutes to buy cinema tickets, I knew that I needed to visit Volare.


Lo and behold. Volare was not in existence anymore. A new restaurant stands in its place. However, we saw familiar faces — familiar Italian faces at that. Chef Giorgo himself welcomed us to his newly named restaurant — Va Pensiero.


Review of Chef Giorgo’s restaurant to be posted real soon.

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Food Trip: Revisiting Cafe Ysabel

22 July 2010


Food Trip: Revisiting Cafe Ysabel


Cafe Ysabel is one of my fave restaurants given its affordability, ambiance, and photography-friendly facade. This restaurant has been in existence for 25 years.

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“The restaurant is a cultural and architectural landmark in Metro Manila. The cafe is housed in a refurbished 1927 ancestral home furnished with period furniture and wooden ceiling fans in a glass enclosed porch overlooking a tree laden garden. This provides setting the mood for a relaxing meal with the warmth of being in a grand home while being served quality cuisine.” —


I always reserve a table or two (or the big room if there are at least 8 of us in the group) before going to the resto. Given that Cafe Ysabel is the restaurant of Center for Asian Culinary Studies, several would-be-chefs hang around the resto on a regular basis.
Left room for reservation
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Whenever I’m with few (smoking) friends, they usually request that I reserve us a table at the main dining resto.
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Double Pepperoni – double cheese and double pepperoni pizza. Sean’s fave Cafe Ysabel food.
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Norwegian Salmon Steak – with your own choice of grilled apples with horseradish cream, lemon cream, creamy orange butter or dill sauce
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Bobby Chinn’s Bruschetta – a flat bread of goat and fresh cheeses, smoked tomatoes, fresh arugula and red wine shallots with

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Harvest Salmon Steak – grilled fillet with red wine sauce and Greek olive puree
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Spicy Lamb Kebabs – grilled skewered cubes of lamb served with Kabbsa rice
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Seafood, Saffron, Prosciutto, Arborio Rice Risotto – my fave Cafe Ysabel dish
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I truly madly deeply love Vietnamese coffee! (Oops — I hope my new dentists aren’t reading this. I’m banned off coffee for a month to avoid staining my new ‘perfect-smile-took-7-hrs to-beautify-(?!?)’ teeth. Sorry Doc Coy and Doc Pia. Promise, my next coffee session will be mid August).
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Restaurant: Cafe Ysabel
Address: 455 P. Guevarra Street, San Juan Metro Manila, Philippines
Telephone Number: +632.726.9326 and +632.725.5089
Budget: PHP 250 – 1000 per person

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