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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Smokin' Hot BarBQ: A Review

I've seen Smokin' Hot BarBQ for quite sometime in Greenbelt 3 but it was only this weekend that my boyfriend and I tried it. With its name, it seems like an American restaurant so I expect it to be a bit pricey.  Besides it is located in a posh Greenbelt mall.  What's more, its part of The Bistro Group where their restaurants are known to be great tasting at the same time can be quite expensive.  But I was wrong.  I was surprised that Smokin' Hot BarBQ is a Filipino restaurant. And the prices? Very reasonable!

Their menu is complete from starters or appetizers, soup to desserts and even bar list.  A lot of famous Filipino dishes are listed on their menu like Sisig, Crispy Pata, Sinigang, Inihaw na Liempo and many others.  For appetizer, we got a hard time choosing from Kuhol sa Gata (Snail cooked in Coconut Milk), Nilasing na Hipon (Shrimp with Beer or marinated in beer) and Crispy Bacon Belly.  We opted for Kuhol sa Gata since we've been craving for it for the longgest time!

We found this Kuhol sa Gata very flavorful!  The spice from gata or coconut milk was just right.  The flesh from kuhol were quite big and almost all shells are not empty with it.  Serving size is good for 2-3 persons and price is only Php 215.  Now that's really value for money!

For the main dish, of course their specialty is barbeque!  I like how they have some kind of value meal but only to their chicken leg and tigh barbeque.  Good thing, my boyfriend loves chicken and as for me, leg and tigh are my favorite chicken part.  This value meal includes your choice of side dish (up to 3 choices) and your choice of number of chicken pieces.  We ordered for 2 pieces chicken with 1 side dish each.  But unfortunately, our server thought we ordered for 2 pieces chicken with 2 side dishes. 

Our choice of side dishes are Pancit Canton and Ensaladang Mangga with Bagoong (Green Mango salad with shrimp paste)

This combination was perfect.  We no longer needed to order for rice as the pancit canton replaces it.  We love the pancit canton, it was tasty.  It got even more flavorful upon putting some calamansi to it.  Serving size can be good for 2.  As for the ensaladang mangga, serving size was quite small but it really compliments the chicken barbeque.  The mangoes used were not so sour and the bagoong were not so salty.

And now for their specialty, the barbeque.  The chicken leg and tigh barbeque was cooked into perfection.  Normally, most grilled meats will leave you some portion burnt.  But not with their dish.  Meat was just right and quite juicy.  As for the taste, well of course it tasted like barbeque, nothing so spectacular.  I enjoyed my chicken when I put condiment on it.  I think that was barbeque sauce or some special soy sauce.  The serving size for this chicken leg and tigh combination is only good for 1 but my boyfriend and I managed to share this 2-piece chicken which already satisfies our hunger together with the other viands we ordered.  The price of this 2-piece chicken with 2 side dishes combination is only Php 385.  Not bad and can be good for sharing.

For the drinks, we just ordered for iced tea at Php 75.

Our total bill amounted to only Php 675.  And since I am a Premier card holder of The Bistro Group, I get further 20% discount on our total bill.  We only paid Php 588!  For me, that's already cheap considering its in Greenbelt!

I like how Smokin' Hot BarBQ has a value meal although its only for chicken leg and tigh barbeque. I thought it can already be a complete meal together with the side dishes.  Besides, it can be shared! I found that to be a very plus point for budget concious people like me. 

I will definitely go back and dine here at Smokin' Hot BarBQ to try on their other Filipino dishes.  I will also recommend this to friends and family, most especially to my brother who will be coming home to the Philippines soon.

Until next time, Smokin' Hot BarBQ!

You can check out their Facebook page for menu and other details

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Surigao Adventure: Day 1a - Review on Revlun Pension House

Our first destination was in Claver, Surigao del Norte. Since we were advised by our boatman that the Bucas Grande Island tour will take us one whole day, we opted to just stay in a hotel that is near to Hayanggabon Port, pick up point bound to Bucas Grande Island. Our another option was to stay in any hotel in Bucas Grande Island where our boatman can take us there upon arrival in Claver but it will take us an additional transportation cost as it is not part of the Bucas Grande Island package tour.  Being a budget traveler, we just opted to look for accommodations in Claver or anywhere near Hayanggabon port.  The only accommodation I researched was Revlun Pension House.  Unfortunately, no contact details can be found over the internet.  So we took the risk of not getting any hotel reservations and just walk in, hoping that there will still be rooms available.  Otherwise, we can ask around if there are available hotels within the area, but this might be time consuming.  Another risk, it was Holy Week, so we expect a lot of tourist which will mean, no more rooms available.

Good thing, there are still a lot of rooms available in Revlun Pension House.  The establishment seems new or at least newly painted.  The rooms were situated in the second and third floor.  The ground floor was the reception area and beside it were other establishments like canteen, sari-sari store, bakery, etc.  There are also ample parking spaces in front of the building.  The reception area was just small and simple.  Since its our first time in that place, we ask the receptionist (manang) and some of her companions on some how to's in the area and of course, the places to eat.  Even if there is a canteen at the ground floor of the same building, the receptionist pointed us out at G-Ann's which they say was the restaurant where most tourist eat.  I'll blog about this restaurant soon.  I also learned from them that they are open 24 hours 7 days a week, even on holidays.

The room we availed was just a small and simple room with 2 single beds, small cable tv, air conditioning and rest room.  The first thing I checked was their rest room. I was surprised that it was very small!  I'm sure you're familiar with rest rooms in any aircraft.  That's how small it is or maybe a bit bigger.  I'm not sure if all their rooms have the same rest room size.  But nevertheless, it was clean, so as the room itself.  The cushion of the beds were just right, though a bit thin but still comfortable enough.    The pillows they provide have cute cartoon character design, hello kitty and tigger.  Each bed also have blankets and towels each.  They also provide few toiletries like soaps sachet shampoo and coreless toilet tissue.  Outside the room is a veranda with small round table and two chairs.

our room
the beds and restroom door at the back

small cable tv

Our toiletries

small restroom: toilet on left and shower and sink on right

Tigger pillow

Hello Kitty pillow
The veranda

The location of Revlun Pension House was perfect as it was just walking distance in Claver terminal.  The area was peaceful and seems safe or maybe it was Holy Week when we stayed there so the neighborhood was quiet.  There is also a nearby gasoline station in case you have your own car.  Globe signal was ok but there is no 3G network in the area in case you want to use it with your smartphone to connect to the internet. 

You may contact Revlun Pension House at 0907-244-5467.  I hope this number will last long with them since I learned that their previous contact number got lost.  By the way, our room rate was Php 600 per night.  Not bad.

More blog posts about Surigao here!
Day 1
Transportation and map

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Surigao Adventure: Day 1 - From Butuan to Surigao Del Norte

When I was still researching about our trip to Surigao or Caraga Region, I know it will be an adventure trip. Why? Because, the famous destinations are quite far from each other which means we will endure a lot of commuting from one place to another especially when our flight will be from Butuan City. I prefer this to be our start and end point because aside from the fare being cheap, it is situated at the center which would somehow lessen a bit our travel time in some destinations.  You can refer to my previous blog for the map location of Butuan City and other famous destinations. Also, this trip will be an adventure because we don't have any hotel reservation on the first and second day!

Initially, our itinerary for day 1 was to travel from Butuan to Bucas Grande Island, Surigao del Norte which is about 3 hours away.  It wasn't hard to find a van from Butuan airport which will take us to Surigao del Norte since there are a lot of vans available at the parking area outside of the airport.  As mentioned in my previous blog post, all the while I thought you need to catch the 12noon last trip ferry from Surigao del Norte to be able to reach Bucas Grande Island. Our flight arrival in Butuan plus the travel time going to Surigao del Norte will not be able for us to catch the last trip. Good thing I learned that you can hire a boatman from Claver, Surigao del Norte to take you to Bucas Grande Island.  So this was our first destination, to reach the municipality of Claver.  This was our final itinerary for day 1.  You may refer to my blog post here for the detailed transportation info.

Upon reaching Claver, we were glad that the Revlun Pension House, the only accommodation I have searched to be near Hayanggabon port in Claver (starting point going to Bucas Grande Island), was very near the last van stop and bus terminal.  What made us even happier is that, they have a lot of available rooms!

Below are our expenses for Day 1 (good for 2):

Snack at airport - 150
Van from airport to Badas Junction - 400 (2 hours travel time)
Pepsi - 11
Van from Badas Junction to Claver - 120 (40 minutes travel time)
Revlun Pension House - 600 per night
Lunch at G-ann - 370
Tip - 20
Mineral Water - 30 (2 small bottles)
Dinner at G-ann - 430
Tip - 20

TOTAL for Day 1: Php 2,151

We survived the first day of our adventure. You may read my review on Revlun Pension House here.