Cazuela: A Spanish Restaurant In The Heart Of Ortigas Center

The Cazuela Restaurant is a food haven of Spanish cuisine in bustling Ortigas Center Business District. One of Sapphire Block’s (along Sapphire Road) best dining options, the Cazuela serves beyond the traditional Spanish fare that showcases local ingredients of various countries involved in the Spanish galleon trade to produce Spanish flavors. And it’s easy to see why it has become a local cause célèbre among the sociable office workers at Ortigas center.

Cazuela, we learn, is a clay pot used in cooking and serves as a vessel for combining ingredients to make sumptuous dishes. References to the mother country are plentiful: Dali-like paintings adorning its walls, a map of the old world, vintage-like wrought iron chandeliers and wine shelves that adorn the walls. Displays of Machuca tiles, Cazuela vessels and cup lanterns herald what is a reliably impressive modern bohemian feel.

The menu is solidly grandioso as the food is serve in imaginative variances, revealing a good deal of culinary expertise and sophistication, not to mention enthusiasm in the kitchen. Their main Chefs, Mon Urbano, Day Salonga, Andrew Espiritu and Cristina So are stars of their stage as they work out on the orders, grill, fry and plate up their creations in their smallish kitchen.

The pan-seared mackerel served on a bed of mashed potatoes was a surprisingly nice take on a traditional fish; the Costillas Asadas is  grilled pork spare-ribs, deliciously browned on the outside and tender on the inside. The Callos or ox-tripe was stewed to perfection bashed in flavorful tomato sauce while the Ox Tail Estofado was stewed in red wine, so tender you could feel it melt in your mouth!

Pan seared Mackerel (Served over mashed potatoes) – P 328.00

Costillas Asadas (Grilled Spareribs served with saffon rice) – P 428.00

Callos (Ox Tripe served with rice) – P 389.00

Ox Tail Estofado (Stewed and served with rice) – P 387.00

Their signature main course dish, the Veal Caldereta is a 400g veal shank, stewed and simmered in rich tomato sauce served on a bed of potatoes had a richness and subtlety worthy of much fancier venues. Muy delicioso!

Veal Caldereta (Veal Shank) – P 708.00

Tapas make excellent companions to lovers of wine and other spirits. Their selection are prepared with flair and creativity, and peppered with local niche ingredients (clams, home-made chorizo, truffled mushrooms, fresh baby squids and shrimps) with Pinoy influences. I took on the Sangria which were served with the classic tapas and nearly finished a pitcher-full of it!

My Sangria! – P780 (pitcher)

Gambas al ajillo – P 328.00

Baby Squid al ajillo – P 235.00

The Gambas and Baby Squid al ajillo came in small cazuelas, roasted in garlic-infused olive oil while the Tuna Ceviche came in a large platter covered under heaps of sliced greens and cucumber in vinaigrette dressing. The Paella Negra, a paella rice in squid ink and clams didn’t have the punch to stand up to the preceding dishes however, as the color must have been a turn-off to those not in the know but would be appealing to the more adventurous! And it tasted good!

Tuna Ceviche – P 229.00

Paella Negra – P 365.00

For dessert, the menu included the mouth-watering gypsy cake (Brazo De Fernando), the ultra-rich, ultra-“umay” Kesong Puti Cheese cake and the all-time favorite, Churros Con Chocolate.

Gypsy Cake – P 160.00

Kesong Puti Cheese Cake – P 220.00

Churros Con Chocolate – P 160.00

There are a few options for vegetarians here which is often the case for meat-centric Spanish restaurants but their Enselada Cazuela, topped with assorted greens, watermelons, candied wallnut tossed in chipotle cranberry dressing is a very good entree.

Similarly looking was the Orange and Crispy Duck Salad with Citrus Vinagrette. I tried this out mainly because it came with the promise of shredded duck. A promise it remained – whether they forgot to add it or sliced it too thinly it’s hard to say, but any iota of its taste was completely lost on me. Anyway, i’ll just try to concentrate on eating the greens, next time!

Enseleda Cazuela – P 238.00

Orange and Crispy Duck w/ Citrus Vinaigrette – P 256.00

Cozy, relaxed, and not taking itself too seriously, Cazuela exudes the true spirit of Spanish dining. Food prices, like the overall quality, are a little above your average restaurant but you’ll be having such a good time, it won’t seem to matter.

Great selection of Spanish and Italian wines

The restaurant is located at G/F The Sapphire Bloc, Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. It is open from 11:00 am to 12:00 midnight from Mondays to Wednesdays and at 11:00 am to 2:00 am from Thursdays to Saturdays.

For inquiries and reservations, you may call (02) 590 5460 or (0995) 5510424.

Valley Trail Challenge 2016: August 20, 2016

6th Valley Trail Challenge 2016

August 20, 2016
Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
16K / 25K / 50K
Organizer: Frontrunner Magazine

The Valley Trail Challenge has a cult following of trail runners, from the hard core down to those who just would like to experience an easy, almost flat course and it’s among the gems of local trail running events.

This race really has something for everyone. For the road running regulars, it is a chance to test yourself against the trail running habitues on an almost flat terrain whether tackling the 50k ultra distance or shorter. For the slower, but fearless, there is an opportunity to do the course here in Nuvali, (in danger of being phased out because of rapid residential and commercial development) which covers approximately most of the scenic route.
The event is surprisingly one of those very well attended and is well organized, from friendly marshals, adequate aid stations, a well-marked course and a sumptuous breakfast…all under the leadership of Race Director Jonel Mendoza and wife, Con.
IF you are new to trail running or want to try to finish your first 50 km ultra, i can’t think of a better race. It also can serve as a great training run for something a bit more challenging.
Here’s the review i did on this race last year when i got lost and wasted some precious time in back-tracking for the correct route. Hope this wouldn’t happen to you.
Registration is in full swing! Check out below for details:

16K – P 950.00 pesos – Swag: Event shirt and Finisher Certificate, Post-race meal and drinks, a week’s supply of Pharmaton Multivitamins, a pocket calculator, goodies from Universal Robina Corporation and FrontRUNNER Magazine, plus a 20% discount on any Garmin watch purchase.

25K – P 1,500.00 pesos – Swag: Event shirt and Finisher Medal, Post-race meal and drinks, a week’s supply of Pharmaton Multivitamins, a pocket calculator, goodies from Universal Robina Corporation and FrontRUNNER Magazine, plus a 20% discount on any Garmin watch purchase.

50K – P 2,000.00 pesos – Swag: Event shirt, Finisher Shirt and Medal, Post-race meal and drinks, a week’s supply of Pharmaton Multivitamins, a pocket calculator, goodies from Universal Robina Corporation and FrontRUNNER Magazine, plus a 20% discount on any Garmin watch purchase.

Registration period is from July 11 – August 12, 2016.

You may fill out registration forms and pay race fees at any of the following venues:

  • MULTISPORT HUB, Ground Floor Space-1, Building F, Solenad 3, Nuvali Sta. Rosa, Laguna, telephone: (049) 258 0824
  • GARMIN STORE, 3rd Floor, Glorietta 5, Makati City
  • ANTEL PLATINUM TOWER, Ground Floor Lobby, 154 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City

You may also pay via Bank Deposit to Bank of the Philippine Islands: (BPI) Account # 2371 0034 71

Print your name, shirt size, race category and contact number on the deposit slip together with your signed and duly-accomplished registration form and waiver. (DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM and WAIVER HERE). Scan or camera-capture and email to Make sure to email before the deadline for registration and check that you receive an acknowledgement email within 24-48 hours to confirm your registration. Please do NOT post on Facebook.

Race kits can be claimed from August 17-18, 2016 at Antel Platinum Tower Lobby, 154 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City. Bring a valid ID and your proof of payment.

All race kits unclaimed during this period may be claimed at the Frontrunner booth at the Start area on race day, at least one hour prior to gun start.

Start/Finish Line: NATURE AVENUE, NUVALI, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
ASSEMBLY TIME AND RACE BRIEFING: 1:00 AM (50K), 2:00 AM (25K) and 4:00 AM (16K)

16k Start: 5:00 AM, Cut-off time FOUR (4) hours
25k Start: 3:00 AM, Cut-off time SIX (6) hours
50k Start: 2:00 AM, Cut-off time TEN (10) hours (Km 25 @ CP4/East Conservation Road Cutoff – 5:00:00 Hours and Km 37 @ CP 2/Miriam Cutoff – 7:30:00 Hours). Runners unable to meet this deadline will not be allowed to continue and will be brought back to the Start/Finish area.

Please be on time. Latecomers will not be allowed to join the race as we will strictly implement all cut-off times for everyone’s good. However, runners unable to complete their event will still be entitled to post-race items, except the Finisher medal and/or shirt.

THIS IS A TRAIL RACE. Please note that in keeping with the true tradition of trail running, environmental protection and preservation, runners are encouraged to be self- sufficient. Runners must bring their own refillable bottles/cups.

Littering will be strictly prohibited and is a ground for disqualification. Garbage bags will be available in all checkpoints.

Here are pictures taken from the race last year (Valley Trail Challenge 2015).

With Trail Running friends

Main Aid Station

Got a little pacing help by trail demigod, Manolito Divina.

Hukad at Golden Cowrie: A Taste of Cebu

Hukad at Golden Cowrie Restaurant, G/F Trinoma Mall, Quezon City

Every so often, a restaurant comes along that has me scrambling on what to taste first after seeing the dishes well laid-out and already spread at our dining table. My eyes were delightfully curious and mouth almost watering, this is the first impression i got upon entering the Hukad at Golden Cowrie Restaurant inside the Trinoma Mall.

Hukad means limitless serving of food or to limitlessly serve food on one’s plate and it’s an apt name for this cozy place serving Filipino food, some in home-style Cebuano offerings. It’s a cozy, unshowy restaurant that’s made a name for itself in Cebu and other parts of the Visayas and Mindanao with a short but perfectly formed menu and an easy-going conviviality.

It’s first branch in Luzon, Hukad-Trinoma is an exceedingly charming venue, its decor modeled on that of tree branches gingerly resembling a jigsaw puzzle, complete with  iconic puso-shaped lamps inspired by rice wrapped in a casing of woven coconut leaves typically served during meals in Cebu.

The menu at Golden Cowrie is uncomplicated and with its traditional Cebuano roots it’s also fairly familiar. Given that the Hukad’s name has become synonymous with Cebuano cooking, it may seem odd to highlight, of all things, their interpretation of familiar local dishes like Crispy Pata, Pork Sisig, Pansit Habhab, Lechon Kawali and the like which are familiar fares in the metro. But the mainstay of their menu, the Lechon Cebu showcases other dishes that is rightfully Cebu!

“Ngohiong” is a lumpia-like stuffing of grilled pork, singkamas and a special powder which has a peculiar medicinal but delightful taste, the “Bantayan Baked Scallops”, fresh scallops from Bantayan Island of Northern Cebu, the Pomelo Salad and the “Budbod Turon” with Chololate Syrup. It’s thoughtful yet simple… Cebu’s  sinful delights!

There’s an expertise to Hukad sa Golden Cowrie’s cooking that is both a feast to the eye and renders the taste buds excited as well. Favorites here include the “Sizzling Balut Sisig” with its delectable yolk, savory soup and its unrecognizable embryo, the “Tanigue Escabeche”, “Baked Bantayan Scallops”, the “Oxtail Humba” and the “Sinigang Baby Prawns”.

Only their “Crispy Pata” didn’t live up to our expectations. Though the deep fried pig leg was still tasty, it came a bit overcooked as some parts were tough to chew which should ideally be crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. Here, the meat skin was burnt to oblivion!

Vegetarians needn’t go hungry. They got “Vegetarian Sisig”, same taste and experience, minus the guilt; “Grilled Vegetable Miki Noodles”, “Bloodless Dinuguan”, absolutely 100% meatless and bloodless. How, you ask? Taste for yourselves! Other green salads are also offered!

If you’re in Trinoma alone or with your family, visit Hukad which is near the garden entrance and enjoy Cebu’s pride of gastronomic delights!

Here’s a sneak peek of their offerings:

Mangaon ta!

Lechon Cebu

Escabecheng Tanguigue – P 265.00

Baked Bantayan Scallops – P 195.00

Sinigang na Baby Prawns – P 250.00

Comes with Unlimited Rice

Adobong Talong – P 139.00

Ngohiong (5 pcs) – P 99.00

Pomelo Salad — P125.00

Crispy Pata – P 430.00 – P 595.00

Vegetable Sisig — P 175.00

Balut Sisig — P 175.00

Oxtail Humba – P 295.00


BudBod Turon – P 99.00

Ube Halaya Crisp AlaMode – P 130.00

Hukad and Golden Cowrie currently have 24 locations across the country. Eight of which are company-owned while 16 are franchised.  The goal is to have 100 stores by 2021. Hukad-Trinoma franchisee Howard Dee is proud to be instrumental in bringing Hukad to Metro Manila. “We eat there when we go to Cebu for vacation. Even my in-laws have been loyal clients.,” he reveals.

Currently running at the newest outlet is the “Sulit Meals at 149” promo, available from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily. Also being offered are the Feast Bundles, pre-set menus good for four persons that start at P1,399. The Trinoma branch can seat a total of 98 guests and has a function room that can accommodate 24 persons. They may be reached at (0917) 8094324.

For general information, log on to or find them on Facebook as “hukadgoldencowrie” and on Instagram @alwaysafeast. Franchising inquiries may be directed to (032) 231-2481.

DBB Mt. Batolusong Trail Run – August 7, 2016: A Sneak Peek

MGM Productions Present: DBB Mountain Rockstar Trail Run

MGM Productions takes you back to the most awaited trail run in Tanay, Rizal, the DBB Mountain Rockstar in 3 different distances. The route traces to beautiful trails through stunning mountain of clouds backdrops, plenty of fresh air and water, friendly marshals and a welcoming race atmosphere for everyone.

The distances include a 50km ultra distance which gets you to three (3) mountains – Mt. Batolusong, Mt. Maynoba & Mt. Cayabu which organizers call the MGM Trio. The race will also have the shorter distances, the sweet 12km and exhilarating 25km categories.

Each distance will take you to some magnificent landscapes with long-winding ascents, cloud-swept mountain tops that will put a smile on your face. There will be river crossings, run through farm-fringed valleys, weave through towering forest trees and sweep along flowing trails beside rivers, creeks, many water falls and mountain lookouts.

Registration is ongoing!

Mt. Batolusong, Barangay San Andres, Tanay, Rizal
August 07, 2016

This is part of the MGM Trail Running Series.

Distance: 12km / 25km / 50km

Start Time: 4:00AM (50km) / 5:00AM (25km) / 5:30AM (12km)

Cut Off Time : 12km (6hrs) / 25km (9hrs) / 50km (15hrs)

Starting/Finish Area: Barangay Hall of San Andres, Tanay Rizal

Registration Fee:

Php 1,150.00 / 12km Mountain Trail Run
Php 1,450.00 / 25km Mountain Trail Run
Php 1,800.00 / 50km Mountain Ultra Trail Run

Inclusive of the following: Finisher Shirt, Medal, Race Bandana, Personalized Bib Number and Post Race Meal.
* 25km and 50km finishers will get a FREE MGM Mountain Rockstar Cap

Registration Period: June 21 – July 22, 2016

Registration Procedure:

Deposit the registration fee to
Account Name: Rayman D. delos Angeles
BPI Savings Acct Num: 3199-1456-56

Send a scanned copy of the deposit slip to with your name, gender, race distance and size of finisher shirt . Subject: MGM MT. BATOLUSONG REGISTRATION”. Please keep and present the deposit slip when claiming the race kit on the race day.


No onsite registration
Once all the slots are filled up we will close the registration
No distance switching

****** The event takes place RAIN or SHINE! ******

Here’s a sneak peek of the race route which was held last year and is going to be used for this year’s race edition.


** Private Transportation
From Cubao take Aurora Blvd. East Bound and continue straight to Marcos Highway. You will pass by Sta. Lucia Grand Mall, Masinag, and Cogeo. After Cogeo, you will traverse zigzag roads.

You will pass by Palo Alto and Garden Cottages. A few meters from Kilometer Post 51, the Welcome Arch to Barangay San Andres is on the other side of the road (left side). This is actually the place that locals refer to as Batangasan or Batangas.

Follow the road leading down to the valley that is Brgy. San Andres. You will pass through two small bridges. Take the left turn after the Brgy. Chapel. The Brgy. Hall cum registration area is located 30 meters from the main road and just before the covered court. From Batangasan, the Brgy. Hall is more or less 4 kms in distance.

Early morning travel from Cubao to Brgy. San Andres is 1 hour 45 minutes.

** Public Transportation
From Cubao, take a jeep or FX to Cogeo Gate 2 (Php 35 FX). Once in Cogeo, proceed to the jeepney terminal adjacent to the market and take the jeepney going to Sampaloc/Tanay. Tell the driver to drop you off at Batangasan/Batangas. (1 hour travel time).

Hire a habal-habal or tricycle to San Andres Barangay Hall. (15 minutes travel time).

Run For Ur Future: August 28, 2016 at MOA (Manila Leg)

Saving and managing your finances now is a major part of building a better life for the future. You may not be able to implement it to the fullest extent right now, but you should know about it and you may be surprised by what it can do for you, and what you can accomplish, if you start now.

When we say “savings”, it is any money you put away for the future, a habit that we should get into while young! Building a culture of saving money while nourishing our careers will allow you to generate funds that will sustain you for the short term and up to your retirement age. Adequate savings gives you the power to withstand an unexpected expense, help you weather financial hardships such as sickness or unemployment, achieve a financial goal like home ownership, and provide funds for your golden years when you retire.

It is through this race that awareness has to be instilled through health and fitness in a sport like running. Race is for the benefit of World Vision and Tahanan ng Pagmamahal.


3K, 5K, 10K, 16K


3K – Php 550
5K – Php 650
10K – Php 750
16K – Php 850

Manila and Provincial Schedules:

DAVAO CITY – JULY 17, 2016 at Davao People’s Park
CEBU CITY – JULY 31, 2016 at Cebu Business Park
MANILA – AUGUST 28, 2016 at SM By the Bay, Mall of Asia

Inclusive of Race Bib, Singlet, Drawstring Loot Bag. 10K and 16K runners will also get RFID Timing Chip, Finisher Medal, Finisher Shirt.

Finisher’s shirt for 10k and 16k runners

Proposed Finishers’ Medal for 16k and 10k finishers

Looking At The Route: Soleus Cross Country Challenge 2016

I’ve ran this route several times, both in training and during races and the course is truly unique with all the trimmings of a great trail run. From the casual runner/walker to the serious trail runner, this route of the Soleus Cross Country Trail Run Challenge, to be held on July 10, 2016 at Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal has something for everyone: river crossings, single-track trails and fire roads, woods, unrelenting uphills and downhills, farm fields, and magnificent views of the Sierra Madre mountains!

Just recently, Judith Staples of L-Timestudio and Coach Roel Amabao-Ano, the event’s Race Director led a test run of the route comprising of members of Team Soleus and some friends in the trail running community. I absolutely love the views along the trails with the backdrop of the Ten Commandments tablets at Mt. Sinai serving as the starting point of the run.

The single track trails and the main fire road descends into the Casile River for roughly 5 kms., crossing this river a few times before turning around and heading back uphill which will be long and arduous climb. Nevertheless, it will all be worth the pain and effort if you love being challenged with all those magnificent views as backdrop. The Soleus Cross Country Challenge will offer 21k and 12k distances.

(See registration details below).

Here’s a sneak preview of the route with Team Soleus:

The 10 Commandments “tablets” which serves at the starting line of the race. With race proponent, Ms. Judith Staples of L-TimeStudio.

With the super-fit Judith Staples

If you haven’t registered yet, take advantage of the registration discount as the early bird registration will only be available until May 25. Regular registration starts on May 26 to June 30 or until supply lasts.

Details are as follows:

Finisher’s Shirt

Finisher’s Shirt Design (L-R): Tin Ferrera, Coach Roel and Sheryl Quimosing

Amor Sanz and Coach Roel

World Vision Run 2016: Run For Health and Nutrition

For the past five years, the World Vision Run brought people from all walks of life to run in the hope of sending more underprivileged Filipino kids to school. This year, World Vision is inviting everyone again to run and show their care for the children to help fulfill their dreams for better lives. World Vision Run 2016 is for the benefit of malnourished children and to fund nutrition interventions in areas where chronic malnutrition is most prevalent.

By joining the World Vision Run 2016, running more kilometers , sharing the cause and experience with your family and friends, or even considering to sponsor a child will definitely contribute in helping more children have brighter futures ahead.

What: World Vision Fun Run 2016
When: June 26 2016
Where: Blue Bay Walk, Pasay City

Registration Fee
PHP300 – 500m
PHP600 – 3km
PHP700 – 5km
PHP800 – 10km
PHP1,000 – 21km (with finishers medal)


TECH SHIRTS (Choose Your Color)


About World Vision Child Sponsorship

The best way to help a child is to help his community become a better place to grow up in. For a donation of P600 a month, you will help provide children and his community with access to: education, health care, nutritious food, clean water, livelihood opportunities and more.

Child sponsorship ensures that the community will be able to provide children with the basics they need to help them grow up in a healthy environment and have a chance for a better, more sustainable future.

How Child Sponsorship Works

Child sponsorship is an exciting journey of transformation – for the child you’re helping and for you especially if you use all the tools available to help you bond with your sponsored child.

It works by linking a poor child to an individual/ group who is committed to give a regular gift of P600 a month per child or P7,200 a year. Your monthly pledge is pooled with those of other child sponsors in the Philippines and overseas. Pooling together resources/ donations enables World Vision to maximize the productivity of every peso.

When you decide to sponsor a child, you’ll meet the child that you’ll be sponsoring by receiving a welcome kit that includes your sponsored child’s photo and profile, along with ways to connect and be updated with your new sponsored child.

Sponsorship fosters sustainability. World Vision plans and works alongside community members to help build healthy communities for children.

To know more about Child Sponsorship or other ways you can make a difference, click on this link: