Author Archives: marthakriska

About marthakriska

" never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It's probably worth it." - The Beach Travelling around the Philippines on a budget? Let me help you with your itinerary! Email me at:

50% Off at Mr. Kurosawa!


CashCashPinoy: Pay only P500.00 for P1000.00 worth of food and drinks at Mr. Kurosawa (Eastwood or Newport branch)!

  • Valid from September 16 until November 30, 2011
  • Maximum 3 Vouchers per transaction.
  • Not Valid for special holidays.
  • Call for reservation.
  • Not valid with other offers.


check for reviews on Mr. Kurosawa from these websites:






Mr. Kurosawa (Eastwood)

G/F Eastwood Mall Veranda, E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Bagumbayan, Libis

Quezon City, Metro Manila


(02) 901-0825

Mr. Kurosawa (Newport)

2/F Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila

Pasay City, Metro Manila


(02) 973-6213


3 Days, 2 Nights in Coron, Palawan for 4 at Php17,900 — ALL IN!


CleverBuy: Spend 3 days and 2 nights with 3 of your loved ones for only Php17,900!

57% OFF! Pay only P17,900 instead of 41,900 for a riveting 3D/2N Coron Palawan Tour for 4 Persons with Deluxe Accommodation Plus Roundtrip Airfare, Transfers, Daily Breakfast & Lunch Buffet!

Package includes:

  • Roundtrip Airfare for 4 Persons
  • Roundtrip Land Transfers : Airport – Coron town for 4 Persons
  • Daily Breakfast for 4 Persons (beverages on guest account)
  • Buffet Picnic Lunch during Island Tour for 4 Persons
  • 3D/2N Deluxe Room Accommodation for 4 Persons at the Coron Village Lodge or Darayonan Lodge
  • Coron  Island Tour Destinations (Kayangan Lake, Twin Peaks Reef, Banol Beach, Hidden Lagoon, CYC  Island, Twin Lagoons, Siete Pecados Marine Park, Maquinit  Hot Springs)
  • All Entrance Fee and Government Taxes included
  • Service of Licensed Tour Guide

You have less than one day to get a discounted deal like this. GRAB IT NOW! or look before you book.

**I personally have been to Coron and I highly recommend this destination to all tourists and travelers out there. I’ve yet to publish my Coron travel diary, complete with photos and reviews, so watch out for that!

…and then God gave us some bread.


Day 1 began with our journey to the reatreat house in Brgy. Matalaba in Sta. Cruz where we’d be spending some alone time with God. The overnight retreat was arranged by Lebs’ aunt, who is also the head of this Catholic prayer group in Sta. Cruz. Guided by our facilitator, Sister Dang, the overnight retreat allowed us three to reconnect with God through prayer, meditation, and inner silence.

We left Brgy. Matalaba the morning after. Back in the town proper (where the Rejano ancestral home is located) we spent the day getting to know the town.
First stop: downstairs, Rejano’s Bakery


Lebs and SO helping the panadero (baker) make some bread sticks:



pan de sal fresh from the oven, hopia, and some bread (I forget the name):




Rejano’s Bakery isn’t just your typical neighborhood panaderia (bakery). Not only has it been around for more than 50 years–the bakery has also become famous all over the Philippines for its
star product, the uraro (arrowroot) cookies. Currently operated by Lebs’ aunt, Tita Mita, Rejano’s Bakery sells its products not only in Marinduque: I have personally seen them being sold in Kultura Filipino (SM Megamall) and in NAIA 3.

Here are the uraro cookies before baking:


Finished product!






Down To The South We Go (The Commute)


As instructed by the expert tour guide (our Marinduquena friend), SO and I took the 7pm trip to Lucena, Quezon via Jac Liner (Kamias Terminal). Because the bus ride from Manila to Lucena takes about 3-4 hours, it’s most ideal to leave the city at 7pm so that passengers headed for Marinduque may be able to catch the ro-ro ferry going to the island at midnight.

The bus ride was smooth and considerably enjoyable because of the free wi-fi service. Yep, you got that right, free wi-fi. INSIDE the bus. While moving. Mabuhay ang Jac Liner!

This is me (right) quietly goofing around with Lebs, the host/tour guide (left). Photo was taken by SO. 🙂


Internet speed was not bad at all, which allowed me to tweet and make Facebook status updates from Quezon City to Laguna. However, connection was lost when we reached the first town in Quezon. Mabuhay pa rin ang Jac Liner!

We reached the Lucena port at around 11:30pm, as expected. Lebs said that luck was on our side that night because the port wasn’t as crowded then as it usually gets during Fridays. The queue in the ro-ro ticket booth was short (thank God), so we had a few extra minutes for a snack and a smoke. :p

Since our it was a night journey (so heat was not gonna be a problem) we just bought economy-class tickets. Plus, SO has a tendency to get seasick, so the breeze (and the wide open windows) sure helped.

The ferry ride took almost 4 hours, but boredom wasn’t a problem for us since we had one another to chat and goof around with. Also, there were two functional TV’s in the area which kept passengers entertained while others were reading or asleep.

Lebs and I goofing around (again) in the ro-ro:



We reached Kawit Port in Boac, Marinduque at around 4am. Immediately after alighting the ferry we rode on one of the public jeepneys parked right outside the port gates, which took us to our destination, the town of Sta. Cruz. This bumpy ride took another hour and 30 minutes, as Sta. Cruz is one of the last stops of these transports.

Finally, at almost 6am, we arrived in the Rejano ancestral home. After almost 10 hours of commuting, we were more than ready to go to bed.

Overly Underrated Marinduque


My SO and I joined our good friend to her home province of Marinduque last March of this year for a weekend retreat away from the city. It was supposed to be just a quick “vacation” but our stay in our friend’s ancestral home was so relaxing (and her tita’s cooking so sumptuous) that we decided to stay for another day!



So for all you travelbugs out there looking for a “new” destination in the PI, let me share to you what we saw, tasted, and experienced in the highly underrated province of Marinduque.

Simply click on the links below for a day-by-day account of our trip. Enjoy!

The Commute

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

The Journey Home

Small Talk Cafe: Where The Opening Act Is Huge And The Star Isn’t The Main Event


Before flying out to Bicol I surfed the web for the best places to dine (as I always do) and Small Talk Cafe is the most mentioned restaurant in many travel blogs/guides I visited. The reviews I read were mixed, but the raves seemed to outnumber the rants so I included the restaurant in my must-visit list in Legazpi. And since I’m a huge fan of Bicolano cooking particularly the famous Bicol Express and laing, dining in Small Talk Cafe became part of my can’t-wait-to-do list.

I was so excited to try out the Cafe’s food so we planned to have our lunch there, right after checking out at the airport. Much to our dismay, though, we weren’t able to do so because apparently, we came too early: the restaurant won’t be open until late afternoon. Hungry and extremely bummed, we ate at SikaTuna instead.

The food in SikaTuna wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special, either. I say this probably because it wasn’t my first time to experience their food–the restaurant already has a number of branches around Metro Manila since the ’90s, if I’m not mistaken. We ordered grilled blue marlin and laing.

Because of our tight schedule, eating at Small Talk was moved to our last night in Legazpi.


If my memory serves me right, this dish is called Mayon Volcano Roll. (Reader, feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken. :)) It’s basically deep-fried tempura breading-coated rolled white bread filled with spicy laing and some white cheese. According to the menu, it’s supposed to be a snack or an appetizer, but it’s so filling it could be a full meal by itself!


Adobong Manok Sa Gata — I first came to know about the different variations of adobo (ang pambansang ulam) just last year in my Philippine History class and as a fan of viands cooked in coconut, Adobo Sa Gata immediately became a must-try for me. Small Talk Cafe’s version was a delight! I gorged on the adobo no matter how full I already was from eating the Mayon Roll.


…and of course, the Bicol Express. Ahh. Where do I begin?

Compared to the serving sizes of the two dishes given earlier, Small Talk’s Bicol Express seemed more like a free taste sample than a part of the meal. Despite appearing like a sawsawan (condiment), the resto’s version was bursting with flavor. It was so delicious that we asked for another helping of it, which our waitress kindly obliged.

One interesting thing I learned in this trip is that Bicol Express is not served as a main dish (ulam) in Bicol–it’s merely a side dish served alongside the ulam for additional spice or flavor. (A Western analogy would be how cranberry sauce or chutney is served with turkey.) That explains why it is served only in a platito (saucer) and that it’s made up of about 90% pork fat, unlike in Manila where it’s served in a platter and has less fat and more meat–an ulam, practically.

Small Talk Cafe doesn’t have its own .com website, but it has its own page in Facebook.

Address:  51 Dona Aurora St. Legazpi City, Albay, Bicol

Need more details? Here’s a map.

Phone (Landline): +63524801393

Travel Deal: 3Days/2Nights in Potipot, Zambales for 4 Persons at Php 11,400


Package includes:

  • 3 days/ 2 nights accommodation for 4 persons at Potipot Gateway Resort
  • full board meals for 4
  • Potipot Island tour

Since this package doesn’t include transport, here are some tips on how to reach Potipot Island (if you’re coming from Metro Manila):


  • Take this route: NLEX-SCTEX-Subic-San Marcelino-San Narciso-Botolan-Iba-Masinloc-Candelaria (all towns mentioned in this route after SCTEX are in Zambales)
  • the drive takes about 6-7 hours on average per way
  • Cost depends on prices of gasoline as well as the type of car you’re bringing


  • Take the Victory Liner bus going to Sta. Cruz (Caloocan, Sampaloc, and Pasay terminals have buses going there)
  • once in Candelaria, tell the conductor to drop you off in Dawal, Uacon
  • since travel time is about 7 hours per way, travelers are advised to take the late night departures
  • Access Victory Liner trip schedules here.

Grab it now! or look before you book

3 Days/2 Nights for 2 in Boracay + Roundtrip Airfares for Php 10900


CleverBuy: spend 3days/2nights in Boracay for Php 10,900 (good for 2 persons)!

54% OFF! Pay only P10,900 instead of P23,900  for a 3D/2N accommodation  for Two (2) at Serene Tawhay Boracay Resort Condominiums Station1 with Roundtrip Airfare (Manila-Kalibo-Manila) Plus Transfers!

Grab this deal now!