Da Bang Cafe: A Taste of Korea in Cebu City, Philippines

Da Bang Cafe is a Korean-inspired cafe that will have its grand opening on 7 May 2016. The cafe is located along Junquera Street in Cebu City. It's near Cebu Business Hotel, Palm Grass Hotel, and Super Metro Colon.





At first glance, it looks like a small and humble café until you find out that it has a bookworms' nook on its second floor and a cozy hideout on its third level.

Da Bang Korean Cafe
Da Bang Korean Cafe


Ebisuya Japanese Fusion Restaurant

Sometimes, Japanese restaurants are kind of intimidating. It's probably the elegance, or the cleanliness, or the impeccable personalized service. It is probably because of this that I have tried Japanese food mostly from fastfood-grade Japanese restaurants in Cebu

I was of luck recently when I got invited to dine at Ebisuya Japanese fusion restaurant. The restaurant is located at One Paseo, Paseo Saturnino, Banilad, Cebu City. I went with my brother and two of my blogger friends.


Dining with friends at Ebisuya



Ebisuya Japanese Restaurant

"Ebisuya" roughly translates to a restaurant that is also home in the Japanese language. The first level of the restaurant is the typical restaurant feel. The second level has private dining rooms that provide guests with a more private dining experience. There are small private dining rooms for four people or less and there are larger function rooms that can accommodate up to 30 patrons. Best of all, there is actually no minimum orders to use these rooms as long as they are available when you dine in.

Set Meal 

We were served the Dinner Set Meal A for dinner with two extra dishes. Priced at PhP 2500, Dinner Set Meal A is a mix of around nine Japanese and Korean dishes. The set includes saury or sanamiyaki, gyoza, jjampong noodles, teppan buta, eight pieces of California maki, chicken chahan, chicken salada, Korean pancakes, and a set of tempura. Their menu indicates that this was good for 2-3 persons. But it could really feed up to five persons with a fairly regular appetite.

Korean pancakes at Ebisuya

Chicken salada at Ebisuya
Chicken salada

pot stickers at Ebisuya
Gyoza

Chicken-flavored rice at Ebisuya
Chicken chahan

saury fish at Ebisuya
Sanamiyaki

Korean noodles at Ebisuya
Jjampong noodles




The tempura set had prawn tempura, fish tempura, assorted vegetable tempura, and rosu katsu.

Tempura plate at Ebisuya
Tempura set

Among these dishes, I particularly loved the teppan buta. It tasted like the local tocino with it's sweet pork meat.

Sweet pork meat at Ebisuya
Teppan buta

The two extra dishes they served us were a sashimi plate and a sushi plate. The sashimi plate had octopus, shrimps, Lapulapu fish, salmon, hamachikama fish, sea urchin meat, squid, and shell meat.

Sashimi plate at Ebisuya
Sashimi plate


The sushi plate had Tamago sushi, salmon sushi, and squid sushi.

Sushi plate at Ebisuya
Sushi plate

Location and Contact Information 

Street Address: One Paseo, Paseo Saturnino, Maria Luisa Road, Banilad, Cebu City
Operating Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Mobile Number: +63916 234 6462
E-mail Address: ebisuyacebu@gmail.com

Have you dined at Ebisuya? We want to know about your experience. You may share them in the comments below.

Axis Entertainment Avenue Formally Opens

Axis Entertainment Avenue has been launched formally at The Vibo Place along Escario Street, Cebu City. The grand launch was done last 14 April 2015. It was an event that was well-attended by many of Cebu's influential people.






Axis Entertainment Avenue

I first heard about Axis Entertainment Avenue at The Vibo Place during the Sinulog Festival 2016. The Vibo Place was the venue of Hyper Wonderland. Hyper Wonderland was one of the big parties done after the grand parade of the Sinulog. Back then, it was not fully operating and only a few stores were open. The strip style mall counts mostly themed restaurants as locators. Although Ricoh Copiers and Nikon Cameras also hold offices at Axis.

Axis Entertainment Avenue grand opening
Bloggers at the grand launch of Axis Entertainment Avenue
(Photo credits: Carlo Olano)

Ice Cream Bars at Butterbean Desserts Cafe

Are you a fan of ice cream bars? There's a place in Cebu City that allows you to customize your own ice cream bars. The place is called Butterbean Desserts Cafe. They have a store along N. Escario Street right beside Surfin' Ribs. They also have a kiosk at Ayala Center Cebu.




Ice Cream Bars at Butterbean Desserts Cafe

Ordering your ice cream bar at Butterbean Desserts Cafe is easy. The 5 steps are:

  • Choose the shape and size of your ice cream bar.
  • Choose your flavor.
  • Choose your coating.
  • Choose your toppings.
  • Choose your drizzle.

Choose Your Shape and Size

Ice cream bars are either rectangular, heart-shaped, or shaped like a smiley. They can come in petite or regular size. We chose two regular rectangular bars. 

Choose Your Flavors 

Available flavors are: vanilla, chocolate, green tea, or chocolate. I chose vanilla flavor. My brother chose the chocolate flavor. A regular vanilla ice cream bar costs PhP 110. Other flavors are priced at PhP 120. Petite vanilla ice cream bars can be bought at PhP 75. Other flavors are pegged at PhP 85.

Choose Your Coating

Choosing your chocolate coating comes after deciding on the bar shape, size, and flavors. You can choose between white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, strawberry, and Oreo choco dip. The Oreo choco dip commands an additional PhP 10 charge. I chose the dark chocolate coating. My brother went for the white chocolate coating. 

Choose Your Toppings 

After getting the ice cream bar coated, we get to choose three toppings. I had Oreo, walnuts, and cashew. My brother had candy cane sprinkles, chocolate chips, and Oreo for his version. Other available toppings are sea salt, cheese, almonds, peanuts, M & m's, marshmallows, and dried mangoes.

toppings at Butterbean Cafe
Toppings

All-Star Chicken Meal at Bonchon

Bonchon Chicken currently has 3 branches in Cebu City. They offer Team Bonchon All-star meals good for groups of 2 to 4 persons. I recently visited the Bonchon Chicken branch at SM Seaside City.



Other branches are at SM City Cebu and at Ayala Center Cebu. With my brother Nathan, we ordered an all-star meal: the Team Bonchon All-star Chicken Meal. Other Team Bonchon All-star meals available are the Bulgogi All-star Meal, the Chicken Fries All-star Meal, and the Sandwich All-star Meal. All of these costs PhP 399 each.

Bonchon Chicken
Bonchon Chicken

Team Bonchon All-Star Chicken Meal

We ordered the Team Bonchon All-Star Chicken meal at the Bonchon Chicken branch in SM Seaside City Cebu. This cost us PhP 399. The serving size is good for 2 to 3 persons. The meal consists of a small serving of fried chicken wings with a flavor or glaze of our choice, a bowl of chapchae Korean glass noodles, 3 cups of rice, and 3 glasses of our choice of drink. They also added in a complimentary apple crepe dessert. It was part of a marketing promotion they were running at that time.

All-star Meal at Bonchon Chicken
Team Bonchon All-star Chicken Meal



Fried Chicken Wings With Honey Citrus Glaze

The All-star Chicken meal has a small chicken wings plate as it's main dish, about 5 fried chicken wing slices. We did get to choose our flavor. And we settled for the honey citrus glaze. We were in the mood for a sweet blend during that visit. Other available glaze or flavors are soy garlic and spicy. We weren't in the mood for a spicy treat at that time. And soy garlic seemed to just sound like it has too much sodium on it. Never mind if I am a big garlic eater.

Honey-flavored wings at Bonchon Chicken
Honey-flavored wings


Chapchae Korean Glass Noodles 

Chapchae is Korean glass noodles made from sweet potato stir fried in sesame oil along with some vegetables and small meat slices, flavored with soy sauce and with sugar added as sweetener. Reminds me of my favorite Japanese shirataki noodles on the sukiyaki dish.

Chapchae Korean glass noodles at Bonchon Chicken
Chapchae Korean glass noodles



Rice and Drinks 

The rice serving at Bonchon Chicken is larger than the normal servings in other restaurants. We are big rice eaters anyway. So we even had to order an extra cup. For our drink, we had iced tea. For those who want soft drinks or soda, that is available too.

Complimentary Apple Crepé Dessert

As part of a marketing promotion that Bonchon Chicken was running at the time of our visit, we got a complimentary apple crepe as a free dessert treat for the meal that we ordered. It was a good one, just think of a huge baked or fried dough with sweet and delicious apple filling inside with some real apple chunks, drizzled with some brown sugar and sprinkled with sweet apple sauce. I am not a big eater of the apple fruit but this one tasted really good, it made me eat those apple chunks.

Apple crepe dessert at Bonchon Chicken
Apple crepe dessert

Have you tried eating at Bonchon Chicken? Let me know your thoughts about it. You may share them in the comments below.

The House of Lechon

The cosmopolitan city of Cebu in southern Philippines has an intriguing claim as the lechon capital of the world.



Within the central Visayas province itself, many towns and cities compete for the fame and recognition of having the best lechon rendition. One of these competing cities is Carcar in southernmost part of metro Cebu.

House of Lechon
House of Lechon


House of Lechon

The flavors of Carcar City's version of the lechon is now available in the heart of Cebu City. This can be had at the House of Lechon located at Acacia Street, Kamputhaw, Cebu City. It is along the same street as Kuya J Restaurant. Also in the vicinity are Golden Prince Hotel and Elizabeth Hotel.

Carcar Lechon 

Carcar's lechon variation counts on its sauce to enhance the roasted pig meat. If you have ever been to Carcar to buy lechon at their public market, you will notice how the vendors put in some more sauce into the roasted meat. Elsewhere in Cebu, this practice will be frowned upon as it takes away the crunch from the skin. By itself, the roasted pork meat is delicious and full of flavors and also goes well with the common Filipino sauce mix of soy sauce, vinegar, calamansi, and chillies. At House of Lechon, order by the kilo and it comes out cheaper than when ordering smaller portions. a quarter of a kilogram of the regular lechon costs PhP 200 while a kilo will only be at PhP 620. That's a total savings of PhP 180.

Carcar's rendition at the House of Lechon
Famous Carcar lechon



Baked Scallops

Prior to coming to the House of Lechon, I was pretty certain which restaurant in Cebu serves the most delicious baked scallops. That would have been Paolito's STK ta Bay! After trying the baked scallops at House of Lechon, that top spot on my list is no longer so sure. To put it safely, their baked scallops are certainly one of the top two in my list. I like the how the shell meat blends in well with the butter, cheese, garlic, and probably sweet honey. A serving costs PhP 200. It is a generous one counting fifteen pieces. This comes with a spoonful of atsara or pickled papaya too.

Cebu's best baked scallops at the House of Lechon
Baked scallops

Rice Platter

Our biggest surprise when we ate at House of Lechon was how big the serving is for their rice platter. The plain rice platter costs only PhP 110. A cup of plain rice is sold at PhP 35. But the rice platter serving is probably the cup of plain rice multiplied seven times.


Contact Information

Mobile Numbers:
  • +63915 317 6357 (Globe)
  • +63921 358 3433 (Smart)
  • +63932 401 4855 (Sun Cellular)
Telephone Number: +6332 231 0958
Facebook Page: House of Lechon Cebu
Twitter Handle: @houseoflechon
Instagram Handle: @houseoflechon

Have you tried the baked scallops and the Carcar flavors at the House of Lechon? Do you want to share your thoughts about it? You may share them in the comments below.

Healthy Smoothies at Mooshi Greenbar

A lot of people nowadays have become more health conscious. Many have turned to organic preparations to improve health or just plainly making healthier choices. An enterprising few has found an opportunity to cash in on this. Mooshi Greenbar is one of these businesses. They took note of the business opportunities in serving organic preparations to a growing customer base.





Mooshi Greenbar

I have tried some of their smoothies these past few days. The first one I tried at their Ayala branch is the passion cooler. This was mint leaves in watermelon juice. I first tried this blend at Gustus Restaurant in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines. I must have developed an acquired taste as I already find it refreshing.



Passion cooler at Mooshi
Passion cooler



At their SM City branch, I tried their energy boosting power smoothie, a concoction of blended mangoes, bananas, fresh buko juice, spinach kale, and chia seeds. I thought this would somehow taste weird. But it is sweet and refreshing.

They also have strawberry blends and concoctions for wellness, cleansing, and glowing skin. They also serve healthy snacks such as salmon panini, chicken panini, and fresh quinoa rolls.

Branches and Contact Information 

Mooshi Greenbar
Mooshi Greenbar

Mooshi Greenbar currently has four branches in Cebu City:

Ayala Center 

Level 3, New Expansion Building, Ayala Center Cebu 
Cebu Business Park, Barrio Luz, Cebu City
Mobile Number: +63922 847 8500

SM City Cebu 

2nd Floor (beside National Bookstore), SM City Cebu
North Reclamation Area, Cebu City
Mobile Number: +63922 837 6620


Mooshi Greenbar
Mooshi Greenbar at SM City Cebu


Banilad Town Centre 

BTC Lobby, Banilad Town Centre
Gov. M. Cuenco Avenue, Banilad, Cebu City
Mobile Number: +63925 502 3571

Asiatown I.T. Park

Ground Floor, Filinvest Cyberzone
Asiatown I.T. Park, Apas, Cebu City

Delivery is also free within Cebu City from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. A minimum order of PhP 300 is required. Dial +63 32 316 0013 or mobile number +63 917 593 6059 to place orders.

Mooshi Free delivery
Free delivery

Have you tried the smoothies at Mooshi Greenbar? What is your favorite blend? Tell us in the comments below.

Sex Tourism in Cebu: Understanding Forms of Prostitution

Cebu is a popular tourist destination in the Philippines. While there are many wholesome activities for tourists to enjoy, one cannot just deny the fact that some tourists are coming to town not just to enjoy beaches, natural wonders, cultural heritage, history, and food.



More than these, some tourists go beyond the usual tourist spots to satisfy their carnal desires. In this article we shall explore commercial sex tourism in Cebu and in what forms they exist. Please note that we do not support the idea of sex tourism in Cebu thriving. We cannot also just turn a blind eye to the reality that is happening before us. 

Sex Tourism in Cebu: Street Hookers 

Traditionally, street hookers in Cebu are at Junquera Street, Sanciangko Street,  and D. Jakosalem Street at Barangay Kamagayan. Pimps at this place are referred to by locals as itik (ducks). They chase down cars they deem to be potential customers. An emerging place for street hookers is Juana Osmeña Street near Vacation Hotel. Several girls at this area solicit for guests with cars slowing down or stopping in the area. Some malls are also rumored to be pick-up places where independent hookers ply their trade, mostly to foreign clients. There are also rumors that prostitution incidents increase whenever major exams are forthcoming in major colleges. Some students turn to it so they can pay for their school fees. Some do it to maintain a materialistic lifestyle that is otherwise beyond their means. Street-level prostitution is probably the most common form of sex tourism in Cebu.

Sex Tourism in Cebu: Spa and Massage Parlors

Several spa and massage parlors in Metro Cebu are not just what it seems. Some offer services other than a simple massage. To some, the massage is but a front for what really happens. In one establishment, you go up to the front desk and pay up, they show you a selection of lady masseuses to choose from, and whisk you off to some motel. When you get to your motel room with your masseuse of choice, they ask you to undress as they too undress themselves. They then give the customer a mandatory bath before starting on the massage. It's not just an ordinary kind of massage though like what you were told. The massage involves the naked lady masseuse doing a "massage" on you using her naked body against your naked body. She uses her butt, her breasts, her thighs, and her hands to sensually stimulate you. At the end of the choreography, the lady masseuse then tries to seduce you to basically have sex with her for an extra amount. That amount could be somewhere upwards of PhP 2,000. You can probably say that spa and massage parlors are the most common fronts for sex tourism in Cebu.

Sex Tourism in Cebu: Gentlemen's Clubs and KTV Bars

Gentlemen's clubs and KTV bars seem to also not go out of style. While the usual joint mostly have shows featuring scantily-clad women gyrating on stage, some places take it a little further with their entertainers going topless, fully naked, or even some do things close to masturbation on stage. Clubs in Bacolod City do more daring things though. But more than these shows are everything else happening beyond that. For starters, when a guest wishes to sit with an entertainer exclusively, she pays for ridiculously expensive ladies' drinks coming at an interval of about thirty minutes in between. Bar fines are also not a secret anymore, this is when you pay to take out an entertainer out of the bar while it is still in operation. Business hours is until the early hours of the morning or dawn. Most clubs close around 3 or 4 a.m. At this time, guest no longer has to deal with the bar should he decide to take out an entertainer. He only has to agree to terms with the entertainer herself. Popular clubs are found along Gen. Maxilom Avenue and Sanciangko Street in Cebu City. You can also find some along the national highway in Mandaue City. It's hardly a secret that places like these are places where sex tourism in Cebu thrives.

Sex Tourism in Cebu: Whorehouses

I have heard rumors of whorehouses operating in Metro Cebu. It is said that the location of these whorehouses or casas is common knowledge among cab drivers. Apparently, you need to know certain passwords or code speak to get them to take you there. This is probably the most clandestine operators of sex tourism in Cebu.

Sex Tourism in Cebu: The Internet

Commercial sex tourism in Cebu has also caught up with the times and uses cyberspace extensively. In fact one town in Cebu is notoriously known for illegal cyber-prostitution activities utilizing innocent children. Some tech-savvy hookers now also utilize cyberspace to manage their bookings and advertise themselves to potential customers visiting Cebu. They now go by different names like walkers or escorts. They offer intriguing services such as GFE or girlfriend experience. Pimps also still abound online. Sex tourism in Cebu has certainly caught up with the time. It too has evolved with technology.

Have you heard of other forms of sex tourism in Cebu? Let us know in the comments below.

Buffet 101: A Humongous Buffet in Mandaue City, Cebu

A few months after it opened at the City Times Square in Mandaue City, I finally had a chance to dine at Buffet 101. The chance came when my cousin and his family from Texas, U.S.A. were visiting Cebu on April 2016.






Buffet 101 in Mandaue City


As the central Philippine city of Cebu continues to develop, a number of restaurants offering buffet or eat all you can meals have recently opened around Metro Cebu. One of these recently opened restaurants is Buffet 101 which opened in December 2015.

Related Reading: Eat All You Can Buffet Resturants in Cebu

So far, Buffet 101 is the largest buffet restaurant I have been to in Cebu. It has a very cozy feel with the ambiance of a five star hotel. And for those who are very particular about restrooms, you will be thrilled to know that the restrooms at Buffet 101 are almost spotless.

Buffet 101 Restaurant in Mandaue City
The spacious Buffet 101 restaurant in Mandaue City

CnT Lechon

Cebu makes a strong claim as the lechon capital not only of the Philippines but of the world. Many people around the world have a lot of good things to say about the roasted whole pig from Cebu. While the roasted boneless belly variety is now a strong market trend, the market for the traditional preparation of roasting a whole pig has not dwindled. In fact, there are many commercial restaurants that specialize in serving the traditional variety while also capitalizing on the boneless belly craze. One of these restaurants in Cebu is CnT Lechon. They currently have seven  branches in Cebu.




CnT Lechon

We were craving for roasted pig one day. So we headed to the SM Seaside City branch of CnT Lechon. We ordered half a kilo of their specialty lechon (PhP 295). Our side dish was atchara (PhP 25) or pickled papaya. Of course, we had a platter of plain rice (PhP 85). To complete our meal, we also ordered pancit canton (PhP 155) for a noodle dish.

pickled papaya or atchara at CnT Lechon
Atchara or pickled papaya


Among the many lechon places in Cebu, the flavors at CnT is among one of my favorites. I'm sure many Cebuanos feel the same way.



CnT Lechon
CnT's rendition


The pancit canton is also surprisingly good. It was loaded with ingredients. There was pork liver, shrimps, chayote, cabbage, pechay, carrots, and squid balls.

Pancit canton at CnT Lechon
Pancit canton


Locations and Contact Information

Main Office 

1377 V. Rama Avenue, Guadalupe, Cebu City
Telephone Numbers: +63 32 254 4249 | +63 32 254 6641

North Reclamation Area Branch 

Jose L. Briones Street, North Reclamation Area, Cebu City
Telephone Number: +63 32 233 5339

Ayala Center Branch 

Food Choices, 4th Level, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu Business Park, Barrio Luz, Cebu City
Telephone Number: +63 32 513 0649

Guadalupe Branch

Guadalupe Heights corner V. Rama Avenue, Guadalupe, Cebu City
Telephone Number: +63 32 268 0988

Kasambagan Branch

GND Arcade, F. Cabahug Street, Kasambagan, Cebu City
Telephone Number: +63 32 516 8870

Banilad Branch

GQS Plaza, Gov. M. Cuenco Avenue, Banilad, Cebu City
Telephone Number: +63 32 511 8287

SM Seaside City Branch

Stall 163-164, Sky Park, 3rd Floor, SM Seaside City Cebu, Cebu City
Telephone Number: +63 32 513 8047

Have you tried CnT Lechon? Tell us your thoughts about it. You may share them in the comments section below.

There's Room for Dessert

I tagged along Kalami Cebu blogger Carlo Andrew Olano to interview Patricia Noel of Room for Dessert Cafe by Casa Verde at SM Seaside City Cebu. Patricia is a scion of the family that owns the Casa Verde group which manages Casa Verde, The Suite Room, and The Porch restaurants.




With our party was Kalami Cebu resident videographer and Emjae Fotos blogger Meliton John Argallon and #CBCFoodies bloggers Channel Marie Imperial and Richard Joseph Abad.

Room For Dessert
Room for Dessert Cafe


Room for Dessert Cafe by Casa Verde

As its name suggests, Room for Dessert is mainly a dessert cafe. Although it does serves some sandwiches that are also available at The Suite Room. During the interview, we got to sample three of their cakes: Lemon Custarrd Cheesecake, Tiramisu, and Mocha Cake.

Lemon Custard Cheesecake 

The lemon custard cake is Patricia's favorite. It is also a hit with all the bloggers present. It's delicious with sweet and tangy flavors blending well with the cheesecake. I love custard so this one's not a hard sell to me.


Lemon custard cake at Room For Dessert
Lemon custard cake



Mocha Cake 

This one is unique from all the other mocha cakes I tasted. The difference in Room for Dessert's mocha cake is in the grainy sugar texture one can feel with their tongue on the icing, by itself a pleasantly different experience. This is my personal favorite among the three cakes served.


Mocha cake at Room For Dessert
Mocha cake



Tiramisu

Nothing much to say about the tiramisu cake except that this was the first one to get consumed. Sometimes, actions do speak louder than words and this one is a case in point. I must admit though, I wish it was sweeter.


Tiramisu at Room For Dessert
Tiramisu


Visit and Connect With Room for Dessert

Room for Dessert by Casa Verde is located at the Sky Park at the 3rd level of SM Seaside City in Cebu City. To connect with them, add them up on Instagram (@roomfordessertbycv). Or follow the Room for Dessert Facebook page. You may also use their official hashtag #RFDbyCV.

Have you tried the cakes at Room for Dessert? What is your favorite cake? Tell us in the comments section below.

White Beach: Pride of Camotes Island

I first visited the Camotes Islands back in 2000. I was there to help facilitate in a seminar for Plan International beneficiaries. Back then I was already in awe of White Beach at Santiago Bay in San Francisco, Cebu. There weren't a lot of establishments around the area that time. Fast forward to 2016, I am back at the very same place. I was again to facilitate a team building program for NPAX Cebu Corporation, a software development corporation and subsidiary of Ng Khai Corporation. The group would be billeted at Santiago Bay Garden Resort right on Santiago Bay. The place has now become the most popular destinations in Camotes.



White Beach in Santiago Bay

In relatively quiet Camotes islands, you will probably find the most number of tourists at the White Beach in Santiago Bay. Santiago Bay is in barangay Santiago of San Francisco town on Pacijan Island, the largest of the islands in the Camotes group.

White Beach
White Beach

Pork Cutlets and More at Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu literally means pork cutlets in Japanese. Ton means pork. Katsu means a slice or cutlet.



One Japanese restaurant in Cebu specializes in tonkatsu dishes. It's name obviously suggests so: Tonkatsu Japanese Restaurant. It is located at the ground floor of The Terraces in Ayala Center Cebu.

Tonkatsu
Tonkatsu