Author Archive: carloflorenzo

Coconut House

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coconut house 1

Go coco loco.

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I can think of so many things cooked with pasta and eat all these but with a twist. Coconut strips take the center stage in the menu of the Coconut House located in Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

coconut house 3

Buko Pancit (Php105) is my favorite. Instead of noodles, the fresh coconut strips are stir fried with vegetables and seasoning. If you eat fast, you might not notice the difference because the coconut strips absorb the flavors and its texture passes off as real noodles.

pancit buko, coconut house 4

Buko Pancit

Coco Okoy (Php85) is my second favorite here.  The traditional okoy is cooked with shrimps. This one is made with coconut and vegetables, then deep fried. It’s so good especially when dipped in vinegar.

Coco Okoy, Coconut House 5

Coco Okoy

Buko Mami (Php95) was hard to believe. Imagine the regular noodle soup, now made with coconut strips and coconut juice. With those being two of the ingredients used, expect it to be slightly sweeter.

Buko Mami, Coconut House 6

Buko Mami

Coconut House also came out with new recipes.  Buko Palabok (Php105) is their version of Pancit Palabok with coconut strips, sauce, shrimps and eggs. They also serve Buko Spaghetti (Php125) and Buko Carbonara (Php125).

Buko Palabok

Buko Spaghetti

Buko Spaghetti

Buko Carbonara

Buko Carbonara

Pork Sinigang sa Buko (Php325) is sinigang with coconut strips and cooked with coconut juice. It’s a bit sweeter than the usual sinigang with pork, vegetables and tamarind broth. This is good for sharing.

Pork Sinigang sa Buko

Pork Sinigang sa Buko

For dessert, their Coco Halo-Halo (Php85) is the best.  The usual Filipino dessert with shaved ice, sweetened fruits, beans and milk is given a new dimension. This time, it’s made with a special coco ice mix instead of regular ice and I think that makes this better than the regular halo-halo. It also has leche flan, sweetened bananas and macapuno. It’s served with a scoop of ice cream on top, but not the ordinary kind — it’s what they call the fruity coco non-dairy ice cream made with coconut milk.

Coco Halo-Halo

Coco Halo-Halo

fruity coco ice cream

fruity coco ice cream

They also sell other products made from coconut like bags, accessories, soap, oil, sugar and more.

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Right outside the restaurant, you can find their ice cream shop, the Coconut Ice Cream Hut. The products of course include ice cream made from coconut milk.

Coconut Ice Cream Hut

I first went to the Coconut House with friends. I enjoyed it so much that I recommended it to be featured in the cooking show Sarap Pinoy (Saturdays 6:30am GMA News TV). It was approved and cooking demo segments of their dishes were aired in the show. Watch one of the segments here.

coconut house cooking demo

coconut house cooking demo

And I still kept on coming back. I wanted more friends to experience it too. Plus of course, the generous manager Jaime Hernandez gave discounts and freebies.

coconut house

coconut house  (16)Read about Coconut house, its history, updated menu and more, click here. Coconut House is inside Quezon Memorial Circle. Open daily from 7AM to 9PM. For inquiries, food delivery, catering and party reservations, here are the contact details:

(02) 392-4115 / /

*Prices subject to change without prior notice

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Thank you 🙂

*Photos were taken by the Sarap Pinoy staff, John-Ben Rodriguez, Markley Villarin and myself.


Hecky’s Lechon

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I often go for the crunchy skin but this time, I enjoyed the tasty meat of this delicious organic lechon. Hecky’s Lechon (roasted pig).

I haven’t slept, haven’t eaten. I’ve just finished research, checked scripts and finally done with my voice over for the travel show “I Love Pinas.” It was finally time to eat.

I went to Eastwood City, the mall along C5 Road in Quezon City. It was my first time to enter one of their buildings called “Cyber and Fashion Mall.” At the third floor Hecky’s Lechon caught my attention. I tried to look away but couldn’t.

It was lechon. But I’m trying to be healthy. Then I saw what I needed to see to have enough reason to go there. The sign said “Cebu Style Lechon, Oven Baked Less Fast, Organic. It’s the Healthier Choice!”

Okay then. Since it’s baked, they boast of being non-carcinogenic. And being organic, it means the pig was fed with natural food, no chemicals, no injectibles. Game!

Cebu-style lechon meant the pig roasted was stuffed with herbs and spices making the meat really savory. Still, I wanted to walk away. Before I give in, I wanted to taste it first. I asked the counter guy if I could have free taste. He gave me a piece and whoa! My decision became final. I went in.

I had lechon, soup and rice. The Cebu style lechon doesn’t go with the regular lechon sauce which is a sweet blend of spices and liver sauce. Vinegar is used instead. I enjoyed the crunchy skin but I was more immensely satisfied with the very tasty meat.

Hecky’s Lechon Meal is priced at only Php80. But you can order more.
Lechon De Leche, good for 10-15 persons is Php4,500.
Lechon Extra Small,  good for 20-25 persons, Php5,500.
Lechon Small, good for 30-35 persons, Php6,500.
Lechon Medium, good for 45-55 persons, Php7,500.
Lechon Large,  good for 60-70 persons, Php8,500.
Lechon Extra Large, good for more than 80 persons, Php9,500.

They also sell Pancit Con Lechon sa Bilao or stir fried noodles with chopped lechon priced at:
Php180 good for 2-3 persons
Php300 good for 6-8 persons
Php500 good for 12-15 persons
Php700 good for 18-20 persons
Php950 good for 25-30 persons
How Hecky’s began.

How Hecky’s began.

Hector “Hecky” Tabuena with his cousins established Cagayan de Oro Lechon in the 1990’s. They claim to be the first in the country to use lechon ovens full time. The company closed on 2004 after Hecky passed away. But the following year, his children decided to open the company in honor of their father with new recipes and improved techniques to make their lechon Cebu-style.

Hecky’s Lechon delivers and has branches in other parts of the Metro.
For a list of their branches, click here.
For their full menu and pricelist, click here.
Telephone numbers: (02) 359-5596 / 0915-815-9762
Delivery charge depends on location.

Note: I enjoyed the lechon at Hecky’s in Eastwood…but, a week after this I had a disappointing experience. I ate dinner in SM MOA (Mall of Asia) in Pasay City and chose to buy from Hecky’s Lechon in that mall’s foodcourt. There was a major difference. The skin wasn’t crunchy and the meat was bland. I don’t know if this was a fluke but I do hope Hecky’s could maintain the same quality in all their branches.

(Photos were taken using my camera phone. Several others were from their website.)


RolRen’s Christmas Lanterns (San Fernando, Pampanga)

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Bright and Colorful Christmas Lanterns

Have you ever wondered who makes most of the Christmas lights and decors around the Metro?

Most streets of Metro Manila become colorful every Christmas Season. To my surprise, a lot of those hanging on street posts were made by one company.

RolRen’s Lanterns and General Merchandise is one of the top companies directly hired or outsourced by local government units making Christmases more colorful in the different cities of Metro Manila.

Many of their products sold in malls and specialty stores are priced slightly higher, but when you go straight to the factory, you can buy them at very attractive prices. For Overseas Filipino Workers and foreign tourists, this is also a great place to order Christmas lanterns and decors then have them shipped. Another alternative is to contact the owners months ahead (the earlier you order, the lower the price) and ask for what’s available or have a custom designed lantern.

I went to their factory in San Fernando City, Pampanga Province. This was such a treat. The place was packed with different kinds of lanterns and Christmas themed decors. I was able to go around and take a closer look.

There’s a humongous lantern probably 15 feet tall that I tried to carry. Of course I couldn’t. It had Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in the center.

A very tall angel, maybe 20 feet high, with a trumpet was relaxing to look at. I’m sure it would even look better at night when lit.

Stacked also were numerous huge lanterns possibly 12 feet in diameter.

Most of the products here especially the gigantic ones are already owned and almost ready for pick-up. But the smaller ones, those I can actually carry, are for sale. They have the traditional parol (parol is the Filipino word for Christmas Lantern) sold at Php800.

The Chandelier type which is their modern version of lanterns using LED lights are sold here at Php1,000.

The small capiz lantern is priced at Php300. Capiz lanterns are made of sea shells.

Rolando Quiambao is the lantern maker and designer at RolRen’s. Rol for Rolando and Ren for Renita, his wife. He is also called king of the giant lanterns. He bagged the grand prize for the Giant Lantern Festival competition in Pampanga four times making him a hall of famer.

He says they’re busy all year round. Their main customers are local government units asking them to make not just lanterns but decors also for festivals and local events.

His other clients are from abroad and his products are enjoyed in different parts of the world. He attributes this to his passion for the craft. His ideas are endless and he tries to create new designs every year. The lanterns are cheapest when bought from his factory between January and June.

RolRen’s Lanterns and General Merchandise
1142, 11th Ave., Unisite Subdivision, Del Pilar, City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Telephone numbers: (045) 963-1710 / (045) 862-5156 / (0922) 821-6959 / (0932) 853-0272
Renita Quiambao, Proprietress
Rolando Quiambao, Lantern Maker/Designer

If you think this article wasn’t a waste of your time, it would help me feel appreciated if you click this link here and like my Facebook page. Thank you

The RolRen’s experience was part of the shoot I did for the travel show I host “I Love Pinas” aired in the Philippines and abroad. The staff and I took the photos. Know the airing schedule of the show, click here. Please like “I Love Pinas” on Facebook, click here. Watch the Rolren’s experience on “I Love Pinas” Christmas Special, 11:59pm, Thursday, December 20, 2012 GMA News TV (QTV) and on Light TV Channel 33 on December 15, 2012, Saturday 5:30pm.


Ace Water Spa

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Get ready to get wet!

It’s a one of a kind massage and they call it hydrotherapy massage at Ace Water Spa.

Initially I was skeptic.

I mean really. When I have pain in the muscles, I’d like real massage. I’ve dipped into jacuzzis with water jets but that just cannot do the job.

But this is not a jacuzzi.

I was in for a surprise because Ace Water Spa’s amazing. The place has different sections in the water area you can go to depending on which body part you want massaged. There’s a button you push to start the hydro experience.

I had aching back muscles when I visited Ace Water Spa so I went to the area where I had to lie down. Face down, I pressed the button and the water started pouring from above. It’s not like the regular shower because believe me the pressure was strong and it was actually massaging my back.

Back Massage

I did this three times. Don’t do that. That was my mistake. After the third time, My back felt some pain because I overdid it. My muscles became slightly sore and I felt tired.

There’s another area for the lower back muscles and waist area. I sat and the water was up to my chest. I pushed the button and the aqua jets did the job specifically hitting my lower back and sides.

Lower back and sides massaged

Another was done standing for the head and shoulder massage. It seemed endless, I just had to try all the areas.

Head and shoulder massage

The hydrotherapy massage makes use of ultrasonic jet system with aquatic jets strategically positioned to target specific areas of the body.

There’s also hot herbal pools and a cold pool. You can choose from lavender, jasmine or mint, or try all. Dipping into the hot herbal pools ought to make the guest feel relaxed, blood flow stimulated and toxins released. Well, this depends on the guest’s tolerance for water temperature. I found it very hot. But others liked it.

Hot Herbal Pools (Lavender, Jasmine and Mint)

After the hot herbal pool, the guest can dip into the cold pool to keep the body temperature healthy.

Cold Pool

Guests can swim in the pools or just float lazily and let the lazy river move you around. The lazy river has its current that goes around the entire pool.

Lazy River

They have floor fountains, steam rooms and sauna.

Floor Fountains

They require guests to wear fitted swimwear, bathing suits, trunks, cycling shorts or rash guard for tops. Regular shirts, shorts and even board shorts are not allowed. In case you don’t have the required attire, you can rent or buy swimwear at Ace Swim Shop.

They have locker rooms, shoe racks, shower areas and changing areas.

Locker Room

They do not allow food and drinks and guests are recommended not to eat heavily before going to the spa to avoid vomiting. After the experience though, they serve good food at the Ace Coffee Lounge.

The rate for adults is Php550 which allows you to use the facilities for four (4) hours. I think that time is reasonable. For kids 4 feet below, it’s Php250.

399 Del Monte Avenue (near the corner of Banaue St.) SFDM, Quezon City
Telephone Numbers: (02) 367-8040 to 41 / (02) 367-8061 to 62 / (02) 415.0164 Fax (02) 415-2477
They also have a branch in Pasig City at United St., cor. Brixton St. near Pioneer, Pasig City with trunkline number: (02) 451-1111

Spa Inquiries :
Comments & Feedback :
Ace Coffee Lounge Inquiries :

If you think this article wasn’t a waste of your time, it would help me feel appreciated if you click this link here and like my Facebook page. Thank you :-)

The Ace Water Spa experience was part of the shoot I did for the travel show I host “I Love Pinas” aired in the Philippines and abroad. The staff and I took the photos. Know the airing schedule of the show, click here. Please like “I Love Pinas” on Facebook, click here.

Where to go and what to do in Quezon City? Click here.


Newest Ride in Enchanted Kingdom at 17

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Top View of Disk-O-Magic


It’s definitely a spinning and rocking experience! That’s the Disk-O-Magic ride of Enchanted Kingdom (or EK), its newest attraction launched coinciding with its 17th anniversary celebration.

Disk-O-Magic, going up!

The seats allowed me and my friends to face the park during the ride. We could move our arms and legs freely because the safety bar supporting our back made it possible for riders to remain secure even without holding on to the seat.

Disk-O-Magic spinning

It’s a huge disk literally spinning while it rocked left going up, then down to the center, then to the right going up and back to the center again. Each time it moved higher and higher.

At first, I was able to raise my arms while it was spinning. But as it rocked higher and higher, I realized my hands were already holding on to the seat tightly. But it was still a major rush!!!

Here are my tips. Make it your first ride for the day. We waited for more than an hour because of the long line. Oh and do it on an empty stomach. All the rocking and spinning might not be good on a full tummy.

EKstreme Drop Tower

My favorite ride is still EKstreme Drop Tower. The first time I rode it, it was still one of those attractions I had to pay for separately. But now, it’s already included in the ride all you can ticket. It’s one of the great moves of EK coinciding with the theme park’s anniversary.

EK @ 17

Ekstreme Drop Tower

It’s a tower that moves up very slowly to a height 120 feet and then… it suddenly drops at a speed of more than 40 kph.

Ekstreme Drop Tower slowly goes up

The suspense of the slow upward movement always builds up expecting a drop any second. And when it happens, oh boy, it’s like my heart’s left up in the air while my body rapidly descended.

Ekstreme Drop Tower suddenly drops

It’s terrifyingly fun! There’s terror on my face each time I do this ride. One day, I know I’ll be able to finally raise my hands during the drop.

Read more about Ekstreme Drop Tower, click here.

There are so many things I enjoy in this theme park which keeps me coming back again and again and again.

I love the fireworks at EK.

Fireworks at EK

Other EK attractions I always go to include:

Rialto (now in 3D)


Wheel of Fate

and Space Shuttle

Visit EK’s website call their Makati office (02) 812-7291 or email at

If you think this article wasn’t a waste of your time, it would help me feel appreciated if you click this link here and like my Facebook page. Thank you :-) Photos were taken by John-Ben Rodriguez, Tina Casayuran, Cookie Lorenzo and myself.

Read my first blog about Enchanted Kingdom, click here.

Where to go and what to do in Laguna Province, click here.