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Romantic Baboy | The place to be for meat lovers.

With the growing popularity of K-dramas, K-pop, and just about anything Korean, it's no surprise that samgyeopsal (Korean barbecue) also became widely known in the Philippines. Over the past few years (and most especially during the height of the pandemic), samgyeopsal restaurants have popped up in literally every street and corner in the metro, and even in the provinces.

Among these restaurants, the most popular would have to be Romantic Baboy. Established in 2018 with its first branch in Tomas Morato, Quezon City, Romantic Baboy is one of the first samgyeopsal restaurants to offer an eat-all-you-can menu. Now with almost a hundred branches all over the Philippines, it's no surprise that Romantic Baboy is a household name when it comes to Korean barbecue.
Romantic Baboy - the place to be for meat lovers.

There are currently six Romantic Baboy branches here in Laguna, and thankfully, one of those branches is in my hometown. The San Pablo branch opened in July 2021. Back then, they were a lot more stringent when it comes to health and safety protocols, like doing temperature checks, filling out health declaration forms, and presenting vaccination cards. These days, they're a lot more lenient - they just ask you to fill out their log book with your name, contact number, and time of entry. 

After logging in, you will be asked to wait a bit as they prepare your table. You will be ushered to your seat once they've set the table with banchan (side dishes), sauces, melting cheese, and lettuce. Likewise, the grill will be ready with fresh charcoal underneath, and seasoned egg on the side. 

Ready to grill!

Romantic Baboy's selection of side dishes includes kimchi, danmuji (pickled radish), coleslaw, pa muchim (scallion salad), eomuk bokkeum (stir-fry fish cake), and goguma mattang (candied sweet potatoes). I actually like their scallion salad, which reminds me of the pa muchim served in my favorite samgyeopsal restaurant in Hongdae. Their fish cake is okay too, but I do believe my version of eomuk bokkeum tastes better, haha. 

Banchan galore!

As for the dipping sauce, they have the traditional ssamjang, sesame oil, salt and pepper, and spicy sauce (which kinda looks like a watered down version of gochujang to me). I usually dip the meat in ssamjang and sesame oil, because that's how they usually do it in Korea.

The Romantic Baboy menu.

They also have a seasonal menu.

Speaking of meat, Romantic Baboy has eight types of meat in their regular menu. This includes Herb Samgyupsal, Woo Samgyup, Moksal, Daepae Samgyupsal, Yangnyum Galbi, Jeyuk Style Daepae, Bulgogi, and Spicy Beef. To start your grilling experience, you will be asked to choose three different types of meat which will be served in wooden platters. Marinated meats, on the other hand, are served in bowls.
Herbed Samgyupsal.

Daepae Samgyupsal.

I've pretty much tried them all, and the Herb Samgyupsal is my hands-down favorite. If you prefer a shorter cooking time, Daepae Samgyupsal is a winner too, since the meat is thinly sliced. Their marinated meats (particularly the Yangnyum Galbi and Bulgogi) are pretty good as well, but they tend to burn the grill faster and make the flames flare up. 


They also have a special menu and a seasonal menu. Included in the special menu are Cheese Scallops, Smokey Samgyupsal, and Bulgogi Chicken. Listed on their seasonal menu are Mak Chang (pork entrails) and Smoked Duck. The meats on the seasonal menu are hard to come by, while the Cheese Scallops are a must-try. They're chewy but super tender, and they taste like the sea, if you know what I mean.

First batch of meat. :)

As I have mentioned earlier, it's eat-all-you-can at Romantic Baboy. Everything on their menu is unlimited, so you can always order for more. Even the side dishes are unlimited, too. (I usually ask for egg, cheese, and lettuce refills, hehe.) You can also ask for rice and gochujang jjigae (Korean spicy stew), which they will also refill if you ask for second, third, or more helpings. All these for only Php 549. Definitely worth the price, if you ask me.

Samgyup buddies. :)

Overall, I love the food and the service of Romantic Baboy. I've visited the San Pablo branch four times to date, and it's been a great dining experience every single time. The food is great, the staff are cordial and friendly, and the restaurant is clean, spacious, and fully-airconditioned. I also like how well-lighted the place is, with huge, glass windows that give you a nice view of the sky and cars passing by.  

Lunch time at Romantic Baboy.

Romantic Baboy at night.

Romantic Baboy opens at 11am and operates until 10pm on weekdays. On weekends, they are open until 11pm. The restaurant gets pretty busy in the evenings so I suggest you come early, especially if you're dining with a large group. 

Romantic Baboy
2F Lynderson Arcade
San Roque - Sta. Monica Road
San Pablo City, Laguna


UNIQLO Announces the Winners of the UTGP2023: MAGIC FOR ALL UT T-shirt Design Competition.

Global apparel retailer UNIQLO today announces the launch of the UTGP2023: MAGIC FOR ALL UT collection featuring the winning designs from the UT Grand Prix 2023 T-shirt design competition. A total of 13 designs were selected from among more than 10,000 entries submitted from around the world on the themes of Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars to celebrate Disney’s 100th anniversary. This special collection, to be introduced from Late May, presents familiar characters beloved worldwide by people of all generations, creatively illustrated from diverse abilities

Thirteen illustrations highlighting the appeal of richly expressive characters 
The work selected to receive the Grand Prize from among the numerous submissions received from around the world is a dynamic pen drawing by Hiroyuki Morita of Wolverine, from Marvel’s X-Men. Other winning entries include a design depicting a moment of rest for a stormtrooper from Star Wars, a design with Flash, Disney Zootopia’s sloth from the Department of Mammal Vehicles (DMV), in a bold pose, and a unique design with Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear from Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 3 shown in a style resembling nutritional information label. All the designs spotlight characters in highly original creations only available in this collection.

Grand Prize Winner, design by Hiroyuki Morita.

Comment from Grand Prize Winner Hiroyuki Morita
“I tried to express my interpretation of the character in a straightforward way, penciling it with high energy that is my distinctive style. It was fun to draw. It thrills me to think that a lot of people will see and wear my artwork on a T-shirt. Thank you!”

The select team of judges included, from The Walt Disney Company, Helen Pak, SVP Creative of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Stef Kardos, Head of the Global Character Art Team, and illustrator Jerrod Maruyama. UNIQLO was represented by UT Creative Director Kosuke Kawamura.

Award Ceremony
An award ceremony will be held in early May at The Walt Disney Studios, the corporate headquarters for The Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California in the United States. As an additional prize, winners will receive a special office tour from The Walt Disney Company, including a visit to the studios where popular characters are created, and the reading room filled with valuable archive material.

About the UT Grand Prix
UNIQLO launched the UT Grand Prix design competition in 2005 to foster creativity and talent, using T-shirts as a canvas to freely express ideas with graphics and messages. The contest is open to talented and imaginative people around the world, regardless of age, gender, or nationality. Previous contests have featured such high-profile themes as Marvel, Nintendo, and Pokémon. The winning designs, selected from the numerous entries, will be produced as actual products and sold worldwide.

Here is a sneak peek of the collection, launching in May 2023. Prices start from Php 590.



Pans Up Home Cooks! You #GataLoveJolly’s Coconut Cream and Coconut Milk.

As a fan of gata-based dishes, I know the wonders of coconut milk and the magic that it can do to your favorite recipes. That being said, I also know how challenging it is to use coconut milk - not because it is hard to cook with, but because of the preparation process when using it as an ingredient.

For example, when using freshly squeezed gata, you need to do the tedious task of squeezing your own coconut milk. If I'm lucky enough to get an already squeezed version from the market (which rarely happens because freshly squeezed gata is only available during the early hours of the morning), the struggle then is to use it as soon as possible to keep it from spoiling.

This can be a little challenging because it means that you always have to plan to cook your favorite gata dishes. But what if your kids are craving for curry or coconut cream pie, but you don’t have time to run to the market anymore?

As a homemaker, cooking our family’s favorite dishes is one of the best ways that we show and express our love. There’s nothing more heartwarming than the thought of creating something that they can enjoy anytime when they want it. Jolly, the leading brand of packed fruits, vegetables and condiments, aims to answer common kitchen challenges by providing freshly packed ingredients straight to the pantries of homemakers without sacrificing quality. In the case of coconut-based dishes, the brand has two standouts that can finally give moms the chance to cook their family’s gata favorites anytime— Jolly Coconut Milk and Jolly Coconut Cream.

Jolly Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream.

Both ingredients are made with 100 percent real coconuts and are packed with the creamy goodness of fresh gata that is as good and flavorful as the ones you get from the market. Coconut Cream or Kakang Gata has a thicker and richer consistency because it is made from pressing four parts shredded coconut in one part warm water while Coconut Milk (Gata) has a more liquid consistency (similar to cow’s milk) that is made from pressing one part shredded coconut in one part water.

Gata, regardless if it is in cream or milk form, is very versatile on its own. Whether you and your family are craving savory or sweet dishes, there is definitely a recipe where you can use this wonder ingredient. Coconut cream is perfect for savory dishes because its consistency provides a creamier and richer texture common in curries,. Use it for standout Pinoy favorites like Ginataang Isda, Chicken Curry, Ginataang Gulay, Bicol Express, and Laing. Check out our very own recipe for Bicol Express using Jolly Coconut Cream below.

Bicol Express

3 to 4 tablespoons canola oil 
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1 large onion, thinly sliced 
1 small ginger, finely chopped 
1 can Jolly Whole Mushrooms 400g, drained and quartered 
1/2 kilo pork belly, cut into cubes 
1 tablespoon shrimp paste 
250mL Jolly Coconut Cream 
1/2 cup water 
3-5 pieces siling labuyo, sliced

  1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat then sauté garlic, onion, ginger, and Jolly Mushrooms.
  2. Add cubed pork belly and cook until the pork turns brown. Add shrimp paste.
  3. Add Jolly Coconut Cream and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add water if the sauce becomes too thick.
  4. Add chopped siling labuyo. Remove from heat and serve with hot steaming rice.
Coconut milk, on the other hand, has a unique taste and texture that can give your desserts and beverages a distinct flavor. Crack open a can of it if you’re craving sweet goodies like Maja Blanca, Bibingka, Ginataang Bilo Bilo, Biko, and Ginataang Mais. Here’s our very own recipe for Maja Blanca using Jolly Coconut Milk.

Maja Blanca

2 cans Jolly Coconut Milk 400ml
1 1/2 cups fresh milk
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup latik
1 can Jolly Whole Corn Kernels 425g, drained
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated (for topping)

  1. Combine Jolly Coconut Milk, fresh milk, cornstarch, sugar, cheese and Jolly Whole Corn Kernels in a mixing bowl and stir thoroughly.
  2. Place in a large saucepan and cook while stirring constantly over low heat until thick.
  3. Pour into small mold containers. Cool, then refrigerate until firm.
  4. Top with grated cheese or latik.

As a brand that has always been dedicated to providing high-quality ingredients to Filipino households, Jolly allows homemakers to show their care to their families through hearty, memorable dishes that they can cook anytime. Jolly Coconut Cream and Coconut Milk, in particular, are a true testament to this brand promise because they come in easy-open cans that can be easily stocked in our pantries for times when we want to cook our favorite gata dishes. Not only are they high-quality because they are made from one hundred percent real coconuts, they are also irresistibly creamy so you can expect to enjoy the same goodness from the ones you get from the market. You #GataLoveJolly for that, don’t you think?

Jolly products are available in leading supermarkets, groceries and public markets nationwide. You can also order Jolly Coconut Milk and Jolly Coconut Cream online on and Fly Ace Corporation’s stores on Lazada and Shopee. Need more recipe inspirations that can make you and your family scream #YanAngJollyLove? Follow Jolly’s official Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok accounts now for more ideas.


A Slice of Paradise at Paraiso de Avedad.

In one of my earlier posts, I have mentioned that San Pablo City now has an abundance (or overabundance to be exact) of restaurants, coffee shops, and tea houses. Aside from the aforementioned food establishments, new tourist attractions have also popped in my hometown. This includes Paraiso de Avedad, a leisure park/retreat center in the outskirts of the city, and now one of the most popular tourist spots here in San Pablo. 

Welcome to paradise!

Paraiso de Avedad opened its doors to the public around mid-2022, but only became fully operational around September last year. It was around this time when we first visited the place, thanks to my mother-in-law who wanted to go on some sort of nature trip with the entire family.

Our trip to paradise after the jump!


Jollibee Group and Manila LGU offers jobs to senior citizens and PWDs.

The Jollibee Group, in partnership with the city government of Manila, recently announced the resumption of its inclusive employment program to hire senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD). 

This partnership resonates with Jollibee Group’s commitment to provide equal employment opportunities to different sectors, while promoting and practicing inclusivity and diversity in the workplace.

Jollibee Group will hire 28 senior citizens and 17 PWDs as customer relations staff across the Manila branches of Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, and Burger King through the city’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO). Manila PESO will screen and determine qualified candidates before endorsing them to the company. Applicants must also secure a medical clearance from the Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center, the accredited hospital for this program.

Jollibee group and Manila LGU officials.

We started this program in 2019 with the Manila LGU. Working on this program in the past few years have allowed us to see how our elderly and differently abled individuals have appreciated the opportunity find gainful employment. The Jollibee Group continues to support this initiative of the Manila LGU, and we have been very fortunate to have a partner that shares the same desire and passion as the company in looking after the interest of our elderly and PWDs,” said Ruth Angeles, Jollibee Group Vice President and Head for Human Resources-Philippines and Global Organization, Leadership & Culture.

We look forward to forging more partnerships with other LGUs so we can improve more lives and find reliable staff who can join us in our mission to share the joy of eating with everyone,” Angeles added.

The signing of the new memorandum of agreement held last January 31 was attended by Manila City Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan, Vice Mayor Yul Servo Nieto, and Secretary to the Mayor Atty. Marlon Lacson, as well as officials from Jollibee Group represented by Public Affairs AVP Atty. Raul Academia and Philippine Region Human Resources Director Anna Prado.

Interested applicants can get more information on this employment program from the Manila Department of Social Welfare and the Office of Senior Citizen’s Affairs.

Tatay Danny, one of Jollibee's 'senior' crew.
Photo credit: Jollibee.

Back in 2019, Jollibee Group was the first restaurant company in the Philippines to partner with the Manila LGU in providing jobs to over a hundred qualified senior citizens and PWDs in the combined 39 branches of Jollibee, Chowking, Mang Inasal, and Greenwich in Manila. Besides Manila, Jollibee Group also partnered with the LGUs of Antipolo and Pasay in 2019 to implement the same inclusive employment program.


Dr. Nielsen Donato and His True Heart for Animals.

What makes you wake up early in the morning?” asks veterinarian Dr. Nielsen Donato while strolling through his animal sanctuary. “It’s not work. It’s something that you’re excited about.”

When people think of veterinarians, they usually think of them tending to household pets, like cats and dogs. But Doc Nielsen isn’t a regular vet. He’s the managing partner and chief surgeon at Vets In Practice (VIP), which caters to not-your-usual pets, and he also has a background in Avian and Exotic Medicine.

But what makes him so special is his unbridled care for virtually any kind of animal, be it crawling, flying, galloping, or slithering.

Zuma the Albino Burmese python and Doc Nielsen pose for the camera.

Doc Nielsen’s passion started when he was around three years old. One of his favorite childhood memories was being excited about going to church just so he could see the yellow chicks and ducklings being sold by vendors outside.

Today, Doc Nielsen helps run the Laguna Wildlife Park & Rescue Center, which sits within his family’s property in Pansol. This non-profit organization houses around 100 species of farm animals and wildlife, including domestic and neglected pets, as well as exotic animals that were rescued from illegal sellers and dangerous living conditions. The wildlife park has everything from chickens and goats to monkeys and a serval cat, which he tends to with the help of his staff. It’s also backed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which assists in acquiring and transporting animals to the park.

Best Friends Forever: Doc Nielsen and Kulit.

The veterinarian calls the park his “happy place,” which he visits as early as 5 am to see all of the animals and listen to the different sounds that envelope the whole park. “When I’m walking here in the morning or afternoon, it relaxes me. Nalilimutan ko yung mga stress, that’s why I call it my ‘haven,’” says Doc Nielsen.

Compassion project
“We support the animals with our own resources,” Doc Nielsen says as he shows the many enclosures in the park that the animals call home. He also provides them with nutritious food and medicine to keep them healthy while they’re living in the park.

Feeding time: Violet, a rescued tortoise, snacks on papaya.

He doesn’t do this alone. Apart from the staff he works with, Doc Nielsen’s family also helps. His kids, Cedric and Nina, are studying veterinary medicine, so they’re well on their way to following in their dad’s footsteps.

Giving animals a second chance
While giving a tour of the park, Doc Nielsen stops to feed and pet the animals he passes by. One of them is a bearcat (binturong), a nocturnal mammal with cat-like features that’s endemic to Palawan. Doc Nielsen explains that the bearcats were transported to the park with the help of DENR, and they are raised until they’re ready to be released back into the wild.

I promised that if I ever breed any endemic wildlife animal in the park, my goal is to help repopulate their species and bring them back to their natural habitat,” he says. He also takes time to assess animals who might need medical attention and treat them right away to prevent infections.

Doc Nielsen demonstrates how to bathe a Bayawak,
with his resident monitor lizard, Bruce.

It’s not always easy for Doc Nielsen to let go of animals, especially those that have been used to being around humans. Many of the monkeys, for example, lived in crowded areas and were treated as pets in their past lives. Releasing them back into the wild would be a safety risk for them because a troop of wild monkeys might hurt them.

This is why he and his staff ensure that animals like these get the care they need so they can live a long and healthy life. The wildlife sanctuary is their safe haven until they are ready to be released in a protected space.

Doc Nielsen at the Laguna Wildlife Park & Rescue Center.

Whether it’s at his clinic in the city or the wildlife park in Laguna, Doc Nielsen is always ready to offer his expertise and care to all types of species, no matter how scary they may seem.

I always dreamed of being someone like [British veterinary surgeon] James Harriot. I’ve always wanted to treat dogs and cats, and farm animals as big as horses, goats, and sheep,” he said. “There weren’t exotic animals to treat yet [when I was just starting out.] Now, I’m lucky because I get to treat more exotic animals, as well as farm animals, in my clinic and the park.” 


The Stoveless Kitchen: Modern Solutions for Modern Problems.

Managing your own space is as fulfilling as it is challenging sometimes. For anyone living in a modern apartment or a condo set-up where every square foot holds its weight in gold, finding the sweet spot between maximizing space and making it conducive for everyday living can be a real struggle.

It's because of this need that so many multi-functional and space-saving household essentials shot in popularity in recent years. But how effective are they for other parts of the home where we usually spend a lot of time doing manual work and prep? Case in point: our kitchens.

Years ago, a regular kitchen was expected to have several appliances to be truly functional. But modern problems require modern solutions, and so a new wave of kitchen partners that can do multiple jobs started taking over households. Think about it: a few years ago, would you have even imagined that you could survive without a stove?

Now you might say, "This isn't even possible at present!" Well, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer is here to prove you wrong. The latest model from the premium lifestyle brand’s best-selling line of kitchen partners, the Smart Oven Air Fryer is a versatile unit that can do almost anything and everything a home cook needs in their kitchen.

The model’s dedicated air frying setting is just the tip of the iceberg of its note-worthy line of features. With ten cooking functions that include grilling, slow cooking, baking, roasting, and even a pizza-cooking feature, you can skip having a stove–and a dozen other appliances in your kitchen. Make your favorite roast or whip up your favorite crunchy fries in minutes with its dual-speed convection feature that raises hot air and sinks cold air to reduce the cooking time by 30 percent.

The Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer also has an Element IQ System that makes it ideal even for a newbie home cook. The technology is a smart algorithm feature that helps create the perfect cooking environment for different cooking techniques. The advanced sensing and temperature control of this model promises even cooking all the time, eliminating guesswork for its users.

In terms of design, the Smart Oven Air Fryer is crafted for ease of use. It comes with a clear and easy-to-understand LCD Display and an interior oven light that automatically turns on at the end of every cooking cycle. Topping these is its sophisticated and sleek aesthetic which makes it so easy to fit in any modern, classy home.

True enough, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer checks all the boxes a smart homeowner needs from a cooking appliance. It is sleek, versatile, user-friendly, and can elevate anyone’s creativity in the kitchen regardless of their cooking level. Small space or not, this model is a definite must-have for anyone looking for a kitchen partner that can meet their modern needs.

Do you want to learn more about the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer? Check out their website or follow their Facebook and Instagram pages now for more information.