a view of the king’s landing from the steps going up the red keep. i cant stop gushing about how gorgeous this little pocket of heaven is.

wanderlust: dubrovnik

carlo, bianca, pepe, royd, bentol, and myself took a short plane ride to dubrovnik, croatia from the czech republic, to take the game of thrones tour. the city has become a major tourist attraction when hbo moved to film scenes from the hit tv show, game of thrones, in croatia for season 2. a lot of the exterior scenes of king’s landing and other locations were filmed in the old city and other parts of dubrovnik. i only knew about it when bianca suggested we take a side trip during the time we’re attending the karlovy vary film festival.


dubrovnik is a gorgeous coastal town and we enjoyed our time in it. it was summer and most of the tourists are heading for the beaches in dubrovnik. and then there was us going for game of thrones!


at the trsteno arboretrum recreating a scene from GOT

i love the cypress trees jutting out of the hills amidst stone-walled houses. ang ganduh parang nasa croatia ka lang. choz.




inside the old city.



people resting by the docks away from the afternoon heat.




we stayed a total of 3 days in dubrovnik before heading to budapest. it was a bit expensive compared to the czech republic but totally worth it. the beaches are awesome and i would love to spend next summer here again. choz.

will post the youtube video of the old city tour we took that got viral in the local news. lol. and for the rest of the photos, here’s the link to my facebook photo dump. cheers!


on the steps where cersei took her walk of shame

food trip, laundry therapy, musings, travel

wanderlust: dubrovnik



stayed away from facebook and logged off twitter since monday because i havent had time to watch the new game of thrones episode. but im looking at all the positives of this action. i had more time to nap between meetings and shoots and during the long uber ride home in rush hour. i missed the hullabaloo of catcalling and whistling controversies and i think that’s a good thing. too much drama and the guy hasnt even really started working yet. my mobile internet is not exactly all that happy though because instagram consumes a lot more data and i hit my cap too fast.


btw, im blogging because im not exactly on facebook still.

im thankful carlo and i got to watch x-men apocalypse last week before we got busy. btw, the critics should just really stop because the movie was awesome. the only thing i didnt like about it is nightcrawler’s jeje hair. sansa stark was awesome as sophie turner as jean grey. and im loving the new cyclops. the character was always my favorite compared to wolverine.



we just finished majority of principal photography for SINGLE/SINGLE season 2 with pepe diokno. the cast is awesome and fun but shooting as fast as we did takes a toll and ill never really like shooting for tv. unless maybe if i were working on a show like game of thrones or some weta production in new zealand then i wont have complaints whatsoever. the best person on the set in S/S was, hands down, utility jay-r who was always gracious and checking that everyone gets hydrated. such a selfless man. thanks, kuya jay-r.

also finished a shoot with paolo dy that i wasnt able to personally shoot haha (because i had a conflict sked with single single). carlo supervised the shoot as double unit instead. wow double unit. i never do double units, btw, but had no choice for this because of the celebrity talent’s schedule. paolo’s fast on the finishing touches and marketing of his new full length movie, ignacio, a gorgeous costume drama on the saint, coming on in july. hope all goes well for paolo and the film!


and im excited to buy a new printer. my other one conked out after 3 years of continuous, “unlimited” printing. and when it did, i was broken and unproductive creatively and realized i was totally reliant on printers. i wish i could afford a portable printer that does A3 paper but i can only afford this. and im happy.


had a short trip flying to cagayan de oro last week to see my cousin get hitched. he wanted me to “host” his reception as i have done with our other cousins’ wedding reception dinners years ago. and so i went. hahaha congrats tonski and zsazsa!

then i got to meet my brother-in-law’s adopted pitbull, bruno. and while i believe in good-hearted dogs, this 8-month old puppy chilled my heart a bit because i was considered a stranger in their house. he barked at me! hahaha and while he slowly approached and licked my hands, his body language was still on guard and anxious and he stares at me (head to toe). it will take a bit more time for him to fully accept me but ill only be seeing him again in december and by then he’ll have grown up and totally forget me. cesar millan, help. haha


but i was at the beach with him that sunday. and because he was so busy swimming to get back to land, i got to hug him and carry him above water.


so many gorgeous people on the set of SINGLE/SINGLE, mind you. and all are easy-going, kind, and considerate of everyone. matteo, shaina, anna luna, brian sy, bernardo bernardo, jc santos, and the dame cherie gil. then we have the gorgeous will devaughn, who walks in and worlds stop. actors aside, i only agree to work in non-tvc projects based on the cast of characters behind the camera. who can say no to bianca balbuena? aber? along with her epic partner, pepe diokno, and epic lover, bradley liew, we have kuya ruel (char kuya), kulas, ms ninay, lilit, patti lapus (extraordinaire), martin and maki. kalorks roll call na ito sige nga. pero hindi na lahat ha, haba the list. shoutout to our hard working team, kitch, sammy, docdoc, nante, melben, isabel, ken, vinze.


and speaking of vinze, this guy was our intern for the whole two months of summer. i warn interns that production shoots go beyond their required 240 hours of internship and they have to be willing to stay a bit longer to complete a project. this guy stayed two months and went through 5 different tv commercial shoots and 6 days of the SINGLE/SINGLE shoot. still so much to learn but hardworking, he wanted to just stay forever as art department. but like all interns, and because i believe in real education, i strongly demanded he bring his ass back to school and finish college before coming back to work full time in the art department. i tell you, you’ll thank yourself years later. and your mom will be the most fulfilled mom because she’ll see you on stage getting your diploma. congratulations in advance on your graduation, vinze. 😉

and i have now finished my coffee and have to run off do prep for another shoot. cheers and wishing everyone a safe and productive weekend!


ps. this is perhaps the best ramen in manila ive ever experienced. was introduced to this by direk erin pascual. life changing ramen. this is mendokoro ramenba in salcedo village, makati. the shoyu ramen is the best and the only thing i order and eat because i cant get over it. no, i cant.

art & design, filmmaking, food trip, laundry therapy, movies, musings, set design, sketch

a week off facebook


the selfie album. part 1.


tourist mode on the streets of macau. we walked a lot in macau because there were less cars hence less pollution. the streets were clean and safe. the weather was cold and we didnt sweat. at all. everything was fascinating to look at, we just had to walk all over macau. the only time we took the cab was when we left the airport going to our hotel.


selfie at a korean cafe with a filipino waiter. it’s awesome to bump into filipinos working abroad. we then hear stories of woe and i do wish the conditions in the philippines were much better so these pinoys dont have to leave the country just to get a good paying job.


one way to ward off homesickness in a foreign land is to be in the company of pinoys. and to eat food from home. getting tired of steamed fishballs or beef brisket noodles on just the 2nd day in macau, i wanted to eat tapsilog already. good thing filipino restos  and sari sari stores were aplenty along the r. da alfandega. they ran out of tapsilog though. so i ordered the next best thing. lechon kawali.


the fake sky at the four seasons cotai shops was amazing but dizzying. dont stare while walking. the venetian canals with their gondolas line the area and a lot of them singing gondoliers were, you guessed it, filipinos. it’s hard work too. imagine rowing a boat WHILE singing opera.


when we checked in at the holiday inn macau in central cotai, we did not know they’d give us a room on the 33rd floor! awesome view… of the next hotel building. and a view of the venetian hotel where we’d walk the red carpet the day after. woot woot!


while researching for things to do in macau, i read a lot about koi kei bakery. when i saw the shop near the ruins of st. paul, i thought it was a one-shop bakery. then i saw another branch just a few stalls away. and another. and another. na-over franchise ata itong koi kei, OA lang sa dami lol

food trip, musings, travel

macau in 6 pictures, part 3

selfie mode. because.

art & design, filmmaking, food trip, musings

food design in HENERAL LUNA

yesterday i had to go out and buy a newspaper, something i havent done in years! and it struck me that the same thing is happening to people with Heneral Luna, saying they havent been to the theater in years yet here they are. the Lord be praised!

Production designers Benjamin Padero and Carlo Tabije left no stone — or should I say plate — unturned when it came to the food styling.


col boyd was not crazy about the local food


the spread prepared by chef toto gonzales and chef gene. i explained to chef gene the scene would have been after dinner where the guests would have milled around to chat and gossip. chef gene suggested this lineup. we also discussed plating and i took notes, including flower arrangement!


our awesome executive producer, nando ortigas, all dressed up beside ms annie rocha, wife of our producer, ed rocha. on the right is line producer, daphne chiu.

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food trip, musings

vahay kuvo part 2

ever since we did our marketing at marikina the other week, carlo and i have carefully documented the meals we produced and ate. apparently we still had to hit the neighborhood grocery for more items like cans of milk or some other ingredients not found at the public market. out of the stash of food we got here were the dishes carlo cooked and we both plated for instagraming (@luningninggerzi) :


that evening coming back from the market, this was the first we prepared. mussells with carrots and napa/chinese cabbage. instead of rice, we have sweet potatoes.



lunch was fried big-bellied round scad (galunggong) with a bed of veggies consisting of baked sweet potatoes in basil, muscovado, honey, and blackbean sauce. dipping sauce is iloko vinegar.


dinner was shared with tita tems (who doesnt go home for lunch). we had red snapper (maya-maya) steamed in lemongrass and other aromatics and seasoned with tamarind (sinigang) powder). since we used the small oven toaster, the fish was split in two and curiously, the head part’s drippings tasted differently than the tail part (the former was tasted like the ocean and the latter’s taste was more subdued). on the side we had a salad of boiled leaves of the sweet potato (camote tops) and fresh tomatoes, onions, in a sweet-sour vinegar sauce. there were also eggplants (boiled) paired with bagoong balayan (a kind of fish sauce) with calamondi. no rice tonight.


carlo also proceeded to make his own chili sauce by chopping up sili labuyo, green chilis, and peppercorns. toasted the garlic in oil then cooked the chilis into it. sesame oil was added later on.



lunch was just omelette and whole wheat bread. no photo. forgot. lol.

dinner was mantis shrimp (alupihang dagat) cooked in garlic and butter. on the side were sauteed veggies in peanut sauce (using local peanut butter. yum). i prefer to call these shrimps aliens because i think shrimps are of alien descent.


here is the photo of how i plated the alupihang dagat. so crazy.



lunch was blanched cabbage heads and tomatoes dipped in bagoong, calamansi, and sili, and eaten with hands. we also had fried galunggong and fried brown rice. galunggong had a sukang iloko dipping sauce.


dinner was adobong manok, cooked for hours. adobong mother and child, as per carlo, this adobo was served with hard-boiled egg plus boiled squash and sweet potatoes. ripe cantaloupe for dessert.



last lunch was stir-fried vegetables with an awesome plate of fried squid. dipping sauce is iligan’s pinakurat, the best vinegar in the world!


we had to add a few more items purchased in the neighborhood grocery to supplement what we got from the market. this would amount to maybe another thousand pesos. our initial Php 940 plus about a thousand pesos, divided into more or less 8 dishes would amount to Php 242.50 per meal with 2 or 3 people sharing the whole meal. still awesome!

im sharing this because we do have fun preparing these dishes and eating them! im hoping to inspire others also who cannot escape the clutches of fast food. maybe for others as well, you should realize you dont have to spend so much to eat better. give a little bit of time to cooking and it will reward you. the greatest chef in the world, gusteau, does believe, “anyone can cook.” and while i dont do the cooking, i do the dishes and that’s still a noble chore. lol. cheers and have fun!

food trip, laundry therapy, musings, travel

camiguin in two days

i booked plane tickets for my art department staff around august last year so they could join me in my mindanao birthday celebration this year. i planned out a week’s itinerary for them, most of whom never stepped on cagayan de oro before. this list of activities included white water rafting and ziplining. unfortunately, about a week before we were to fly out from manila, we received news of a tragic accident resulting to the death of a bohol tourist while rafting in cdo. i tried to tame down fear by explaining this is an isolated case–only 3rd death in 17 years since the rafting industry came about; happened also on friday the 13th (june 13 2014). yes, superstition but whatever. eventually i got the group to agree on no rafting and instead do a tour of camiguin.

benjamin padero camiguin 2014 june-5852


ive been to camiguin in the 80s and then around the year 2000. this would only be my third time there. the place almost hasnt changed and that’s a good thing. what’s also great about the place is it doesn’t cost much to go there. here’s my attempt to persuade others to visit camiguin by listing what we spent for this year (june 2014).

to get to camiguin from manila, you can take the plane to cagayan de oro. promo fares on cebu pacific normally are issued out 6-8 months before the travel period. after taxes and surcharges, one would be paying PHP1500++ promo fare round trip manila-cagayan de oro (no check-in baggage).  normal plane rates run around PHP6,000 round trip if purchased maybe a week before a flight, cebupac or pal (pal is normally more expensive by p200 haha). upon arrival at the airport, take a shuttle (ranges PHP 150 to 200 per head) to bring you to the city 30 minutes away (normal drop offs are at centrio mall or at limketkai mall).

from wherever you are in CDO, take a cab or jeep to agora market. ask to be dropped off at the bus terminal or where the vans going to balingoan pier are located. cab may be around p100. jeep is 7.50 per head.

there were 11 of us in the group to camiguin. the barkers struck up a deal with the driver (normally, you wouldnt be able to talk to driver until later not unless you have contacts) and explained to us the van had a 14-person capacity and they were charging us 1,650 package rate for all 11. we agreed, got on, and van immediately left for balingoan pier.

camiguin at dusk

we wanted to leave CDO early and hoped to arrive at balingoan pier around 10AM (cdo to balingoan will take about 1.5 to 2 hours) but we got out of the house late. it’s always a challenge herding a large group especially on vacation where schedules are mere suggestions. the driver did assure us we’d catch the 11.30AM boat in balingoan pier. and we did.

upon arrival at balingoan pier, we headed straight to the ticketing office. ferry tickets to camiguin (benoni port) cost around P150 per head. plus P2 environmental fee. plus p2 terminal fee.

storm is coming

we arrived at camiguin’s benoni pier around lunchtime.  a driver with a multicab was supposed to meet us there (i made reservations prior). right when the boat approached the pier, porters started coming up the boat including a guy who came up waving a sign with my name on it. “that’s us.” we followed the guy who led us to a purple multicab and endorsed us to the driver from the resort we were staying at.

the day before leaving for camiguin, my brother-in-law and i were already in contact with the owners of paguia resort (contact number 0917-310-7085, look for ruel) and we booked for a big room/house that would fit our group of 11 for only P2000 a night, including an extra bed. the same resort also sent out

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food trip

the burrow bar and brew


heard a lot about this place from my sisters. it’s a cozy watering hole in an area surrounded by bridal shops. i do remember in the 80s the building burrow is located now used to house our favorite video store (honi music center or something like that) where we’d bribe our grandfather to take us during weekends so we can pick out and rent animated films on betamax.

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the concept of this bar is pretty simple and straightforward. this supplements the bartending program of a vocational school located beside it. the interior is sparsely decorated but tastefully done and the bar features a wide selection of hard liquor and commercial beers. the beers are priced a bit higher than most establishments in the area (p50) and they dont offer it in buckets. it kinda works to keep the bar’s clientele within a certain age group or social class perhaps (it’s cheap but not that cheap haha).

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came by tonight with my sister, cousin, and my mother. i wanted to see this place as i was intrigued by the concept. the acoustics could have been better but the lighting worked for me and i always love anything with dark grey walls (right wall of bar). the food is decent (i got to try their cheezy meaty fries; they were out of calamares) and they serve their beers in frozen mugs. the biggest come-on is that the place is indeed cozy (and clean!). carlo and i currently still maintain our dream bar to only serve coffee and beer and seeing this makes our dream feasible.

the burrow is located on capistrano street, in front of thai me up. the 1st image is borrowed from the bar’s facebook page. you can look up its location via foursquare here.

food trip

les capehan de tarlac

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we spent about 2 weeks in capas, tarlac to shoot the battle scenes of HENERAL LUNA in may. why oh why did we only find this cafe last week? found on the ground floor of mr blue inn (macarthur highway, capas tarlac), where monica and the pm team were billeted while doing preps for our train station shoot, id see monica’s posts of her breakfast on instragram but it wasnt until i got here that i was charmed by the place.

LES CAPEHAN DE TARLAC is currently on a soft opening status, serving only breakfast but will cook lunch and dinner meals if you book ahead and discuss with the cook on what you want to eat. we asked for pakbet and galunggong for lunch and ginataang kalabasa and fish fillet for dinner, of which some ingredients were harvested from their garden at the back. the coffee they serve is from baguio, freshly brewed with panutcha sweetener and you pay per head (unli coffee? yes). it’s almost the cafe carlo and i wanted to resurrect blumentritt into where id only serve coffee and beer. whatever is available in the ref would be offered for the day.

im also of course a sucker for nice cement finishes and the semi-industrial minimalist nature of the interiors. it felt like the dining room tambayan of a buddy, intimate and totally friendly. i hope this cafe will be a hit with locals and tourists.

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les capehan de tarlac is found on the ground floor of the DEB building along the macarthur highway in capas tarlac. look for the signage of mr blue inn.

food trip, musings

gulay stash

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the last stash of our 4-week organic vegetable and salad pack subscription from the good food community arrived yesterday. their bayong packs consist of organic produce in season or whichever is ripe for the picking on that particular week. this week’s batch included creamy avocadoes, some chilis, lots of malunggay and camote tops. the salad pack of lettuce, arugula and some basil came wrapped in banana leaves.

fresh kung fresh talaga. they also easily wilt, showing it is grown without artificial fertilizers or insecticides. here’s proof of that:

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a little praying mantis was found packed in with the goodies 😉 ahlovet!

the 4-week subscription is Php 1,600 (or 400 per week) and their 12-week subscription is Php 4,200 (or 350 per week). every tuesday you get one bayong of veggies good enough for a week (or less). there are different other packs available. if you want more info on the packs and on how to order, check out their website and start eating healthy 😉