Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Coffee Jelly Galore

Coffee’s such a staple drink for us Filipinos, with coffee shops sprouting from out of nowhere & the prevalence of numerous 3-in-1 instant coffee available in the market. However, one thing that they haven’t thought of making “instant” is my favorite coffee jelly drink, which…thank God, are now practically available everywhere, from the ever-reliable Fast Food chains to the posh coffee shops around town. Given that I’m such a fan of this cool & sweet drink, I’m giving you a review of some of the coffee jelly drinks that I’ve tried.

(1) Jollibee’s Coffee Jelly Ice Craze @ P 27.00
This is probably the most “pang-masa” coffee jelly drink I’ve encountered. My mom actually swears by it, though I’m not very much of a fan of this drink. Actually, this is more of a dessert than a drink (unless you melt all the ice I guess) since you actually have to spoon it out to eat it. This dessert consists of coffee jelly strips on top of coffee-flavored soft ice cream (I’m not sure if it’s actually ice cream…it’s more of a cream if you ask me) with choco syrup & lots of ice. This is what I don’t like about this dessert. It’s got an excess of ice (like half of the cup is just ice) that doesn’t really blend well with the rest of the stuff. I like my coffee jelly dessert smooth & creamy. This is just rough & “coarse” to the tongue when eaten. However, for just 27 bucks, it is well within everyone’s budget & if you’re not as “difficult-to-please” as I am (and if you’re already at Jollibee), then this will do for you.

(2) Zagu’s Café Latte in Regular @ P 35.00
My all-time-favorite Zagu drink flavor is Café Latte. Despite all the new flavors that have come & gone, Café Latte will always be my number one. But this drink will never be complete without the oh-so-chewy black sago that they creatively call pearls. This drink will surely satisfy your coffee fix for the day & will leave you wanting for more. My only criticism about this is that the pearls are a bit warm at times & when they mix this with the drink itself, the tendency is for the small bits of ice to melt. And since I like my drink with bits of ice on it, this can really be quite a downer. Nonetheless, the drink tastes good & for only 35 bucks, it’s affordable enough for everyone to get a hold of. And for just an additional 5 bucks, you can ask for extra pearls (which I always do) or crystals (better known as Nata de Coco) for a more satisfying drink.

(3) Seattle’s Best Java Jelly in Tall @ P 130.00
This drink is über yummy, I can drink two Grande glasses in one sitting (and be soooper hyper after Ü). Seattle’s Best has almost perfected the art of coffee jelly drinks with this super satisfying beverage that feels like heaven. It’s a bit pricey though, but it’s reasonable enough for those special moments when you’d like to reward yourself for a job well done or when you’ve been given manna from heaven. However, as I’ve said, they’ve almost perfected their coffee jelly drink…almost coz I’ve noticed that the consistency of their drink differs every time I order. Sometimes it’s super smooth & not as cold as you’d want it to be, at times it’s just the right blend with bits of ice that melt like heaven in your mouth. I commend them though for making such great coffee jelly bits that are yummy & would make you feel like you’re on cloud nine. I super love this drink, though I’d recommend that you buy it only on occasions when you’re really craving for it since it’s a bit too pricey (in my standards at least). Seattle’s Best Java Jelly is available in Tall, Grande & Supremo, with prices of 130, 140 & 150 bucks respectively.

(4) Starbucks’ Coffee Jelly in Grande @ P135.00
Starbucks’ version of this yummy drink is similar to Seattle’s Best except for the aroma & strength. Starbucks’ coffee jelly drink is definitely stronger than Seattle’s Best, but its aroma is richer & will definitely satisfy even your sense of smell. This drink is topped with whipped cream as well and is better enjoyed with the cream well-blended with the drink (it makes the beverage yummier). I commend Starbucks for being consistent in making their drink. Unlike Seattle’s whose consistency varies per order (dunno why), the different times I’ve ordered this drink at Starbucks resulted to the same consistency & yummy taste as the one before, so hats off to their team for that. The sizes of their drink is similar to that of Seattle’s (available in Grande, Tall & Venti) however, Starbucks' version of this drink is pricier (they increased just recently), with prices of 135, 145 & 160 bucks respectively, so I’d suggest you reserve drinking this beverage for special occasions (unless you have excess moolah with you). Just a tip: It’s best to buy the largest size available since this will give you more value for your money. Same goes with Seattle’s.Ü Additional FYI though: Starbucks' offer a "more chewy" coffee jelly cubes in their drink, while that of Seattle's lean more on the "softer" side. Plus, Starbucks' has more coffee jelly than Seattle's such that there are lots of coffee jelly bits left even when you've already finished the drink. Don't worry though, they have this green "spoon-straw" that allows you to scoop out the leftover coffee jelly bits so that you get all your money's worth.ü

These are just some of the coffee jelly drinks that I’ve tried in the market. There are a lot more out there & even more to come, I suppose, since a lot of restos & cafes are actually concocting their own blends of coffee jelly drinks since it’s such a hit for us Filipinos. With the numerous coffee jelly drinks out there (I’ve only reviewed 4 but there are a lot more), I’m quite sure that you’ll find one that suits your taste buds & will keep you coming back for more.Ü

Note: The prices posted here are as of January 2006.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Random Thoughts 4

It's almost the end of May...and i've got a lot of things on my mind...i don't actually know where to start...but now my mind just keeps on lingering on the fact that: i'm still ELIGIBLY SINGLE! HAHA! Why start wondering now, you may ask...actually, i don't know too. Feeling ko i'm such a loser. HAHA! Ewan ko's weird. I don't wanna think about it. But it's like everyone expects for me to have someone special by now...considering that i'm already 23...super way past the age limit that my dad gave me for having a boyfriend. But the thing is, it's just not happening. I don't know if it's because i don't even make an effort to make it happen...or because it's just not yet my time...or because i'm too picky...I DON"T KNOW. I'm actually stumped. I'd rather solve quadratic equations...MENTALLY!...than think about this. mind really has some twisted way of playing tricks on me...

People say that it's because i'm too picky. But you know what...i guess i just haven't met HIM. I'm quite sure i'm ready to lower my standards once i get to meet this guy who'll sweep me off my feet. But the thing is, no one has done that to me...yet. Nobody has swept me off my feet. I know naman for a fact na, pag feelings na ang kalaban mo, wala ka ng magagawa. You can't resist it, not even if you want to. Feelings na yun eh. And i don't want to waste my time and my efforts trying to love someone na alam ko naman walang patutunguhan, right? i making sense? I'd probably have to stop this bruhaha now before i reveal too much to you guys...


What's all these fuss about The Da Vinci Code? It's driving me crazy actually. Don't get me wrong, i've read the book, and am one of the eager people who'd want to see how this 'super controversial' book is translated into film. But My God! A lot of people are putting so much unnecessary effort to ban this film. But what they're actually successful in doing is stirring the public's interest, therefore making them (the public) want to watch the film more. Had they channelled their efforts some place else (like the never-ending increase of fuel prices), eh di sana mas na-appreciate pa ng mga tao yun. They should just stop protesting about this film. Anyway, if they don't want to watch it, eh di DON'T! Nobody's forcing them to anyway. I commend MTRCB though for giving the film a rating of R-18. I think i'ts just proper that they did that. Although i'm quite sure a bunch of people under 18 will still be able to watch this film given that we're in a country where pirated DVDs proliferate...but that's another story. All i can say is, at least may effort diba? Na ipagbawal to those people under 18 yung movie...


BTW, it's my first year anniversary at PAL today! YEHEY! HAHA! Trip Pass here i come! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


Belated HAPPY MOTHER's DAY to my MOM! Although i'm quite sure she won't be reading this, still it's the thought that counts right? LUV YAH Mommie! *HUGZ!* and *MUAH!* I would've bought you flowers and had them delivered at our house but you know how much that'd cost? 2,000 bucks!!! Grabe! I didn't know flowers are that costly! So pano ba na lang? HEHE! =)


Had I known SOP will be broadcasting live from SM Mall of Asia last Sunday, i would've gotten there before everybody else! HAHA! pretenses now, but i probably would've done that. If you know me well enough, you'll know the reason why. Anyway, i'd like to congratulate my friend Aya for the successful opening of SM Mall of Asia. I remember the times when she'd text me and ask me who are the current popular Filipino artists...and i would text her a bunch of names. I would've told her to guest Ashton Kutcher, but that's not even close to being a possibility so i didn't even bother texting her that. So anyway, congratz Aya! All the hardwork and going to office on Sundays paid off! Pa-libre naman ng tickets sa IMAX jan...HEHE!

Originally posted on 23 May 2006 @

Friday, May 05, 2006

Singapore on the Cheap

I'd like to share this article I got from PAL's Mabuhay magazine, Feb 2006 ish. It's about Singapore and where to find it's hidden bargain spots. Given that I haven't been to Singapore, this article will be one of the things i'll be keeping handy on my first trip there (kelan kaya yun???). And until i'm able to write to you about my OWN Singapore's a quick rundown on what to do and where to go when frolicking around the Lion City <*ROAR!* haha!>.


Singapore on the Cheap (by Lester V. Ledesma)

No doubt you've heard what people have said about Singapore being an expensive city. Indeed, a fancy dinner here may cost a day's wage in the Philippines, and an hour-long taxi ride may induce a headache. But don't let this keep you from enjoying one of Southeast Asia's richest nations. With the right information, a budget-conscious tourist need not break the wallet to have that authentic Singapore experience. Here's the lowdown on the Lion City's best -- and most affordable -- sights, sounds and flavors.


Glitzy Orchard Road is, of course, Singapore's premier shopping district, but just because it's a goods acquisition specialist's haven doesn't mean you can just charge into its stores blindly with your credit card in tow. Like any good hunting expedition, you should keep an eye out for signs of your quarry -- that is, the word "SALE." Malls like Lucky Plaza or Centrepoint often have sales at the center of their ground floors, with weekly themes ranging from books to clothes, textiles or shoes. This also applies to the basement atrium of Ngee Ann City, where much-bigger expos offer everything from toys to houseware and even quality leather goods. Should you desire a real shopping adventure, leave these chic confines and make your way to the This Fashion store (10 Eunos Road, B1-12 Singapore Post Centre) -- that's 22,000 square feet of bliss for the shopping addict. You can also check out the other This Fashion outlets scattered around town (there's one near the Dhoby Ghaut and Chinatown MRT stations), but this one by far hosts the largest collection of quality budget clothes and accessories.

Perfumes? You'll find cheap, original designer brands at Mustafa Centre (145 Syed Alwi Road), a cavernous 24-hour mall inside colorful Little India district. A favorite hangout of Indian migrant workers, this place sells pretty much everything from groceries to clothes, hardware and even electronics. Best of all, they've got a whole VCD/DVD/CD department dedicated to the best Bollywood hits.

If gadgets are your thing, we recommend heading for Sim Lim Square (1 Rochor Canal Road) -- that's where everything electronic is, especially those concerning computers and digital photography. It would be better if you knew exactly what you wish to buy, as bargaining for these products can be a rather tricky exercise even in Singapore.

There's also that one item that makes up a big chunk of every Filipino traveller's must-buy list: pasalubong (presents for people back home). These you can get at Chinatown's Temple Street, host to an open-air flea market that seems to be the country's knick-knack central. You'll know you've arrived here when you start seeing those "3 for $5" signs, which apply to a great array of mostly Chinese-made stuff like traditional oriental paintings, wooden table ornaments, Merlion keychains, silk pillowcases and that ubiquitous Singapore ref magnet. Better bring ample cash.


Here's the rule of thumb when it omes to finding the cheapest food in the Land of the 'Lah: head for the hawker centers. These al fresco dining centers offer some of the best eating experiences around. Their highly informal surroundings and varied menus ensure a thorough introduction to everyday Singaporean cuisine. Best of all, they're practically everywhere -- just look for the round plastic tables and the nearby food stalls with big, backlit pictures of the menu offerings. Hawker centres like tha Lau Pa Sat Food Market (near Raffle Place MRT) and the Maxwell Food Centre (near Chinatown MRT) do brisk business all day, their seasoned cooks serving up classic local favorites like Hainanese Chicken Rice, Malay Nasi Lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk and served with peanuts, fish and sambal chili sauce) or Indian Biryani (rice cooked with spices and chunks of meat) with chicken curry. You can gorge on these for as little as S$4 (Php130), drinks included. Alternatively, you may choose to eat at the food courts instead -- the indoor equivalent of the hawker centre -- which are often found at the top or bottom floors of most malls. You'll have to pay a bit more, of course, but that's in exchange for the cleaner surroundings and the air-conditioning.

Another dining option would be to seek out any of the traditional kopitiam ("coffee store" in the vernacular). These are small family-run cafés which offer their own specialty dish. Killiney Kopitiam (67 Killiney Road; is one of the more popular establishments. It is so popular that its owners already have a handful of branches around Singapore -- boasting time-honored Peranakan (Malay-Chinese) fare like Mee Siam (sweet, spicy rice noodles with eggs) and Popiah (vegetables and chili in a flour wrap), aside from good, strong traditional coffee.

Over at the Esplanade, you can also check out the latest branch of No Signboard Seafood (#01-14/15 The Espalanade;, the crab dishes are so good that the owners found no need to even name their joint. Despite the swanky surroundings, their prices remain true to their humble beginnings as a hawker stall.

Last but not least, there's good value dim sum to be had at Chinatown's Tak Po Restaurant (42 Smith Street), where guests order steaming baskets of Har Gao, Crystal Chives Ball or Prawn and Banana in Dragon's Beard (among a great many others) via a neat little checklist that displays the cheap, S$.70 - 3.00 (Php25-100) price range.


If you're the type of person who doesn't mind sleeping in a dorm bed and likes to hang out with ang mohs (Westerners) over beer and chips, take your backpack to Little India's Dunlop Street. Amidst the colorful environs of this ethnic enclave is a veritable budget travellers' community, complete with the de rigeur internet café's, pubs and provision shops. Around here it is possible to get a bed with breakfast for around S$15/night (that's Php100), thanks to cheerful hideouts like the Prince of Wales Backpacker Hostel (101 Dunlop St.) and The Inn Crowd hostel (35 Campbell Lane; A bit higher up the price ladder is the nearby Madras Hotel (#28-32 Madras St.;, which offers the standard-type hotel rooms starting at S$65/night (2,150 pesos).

If you find this neighborhood a bit too grungy, check out the area around Chinatown's Keong Saik Road instead, where a handful of decidedly classier boutique hotels stand. Of these, the least expensive would be the Royal Peacock (55 Keong Saik Road; with nicely-designed ensuite rooms that start at S$85 (Php2800). Also in the same area is a Hotel 81 (181 New Bridge Road;, belonging to a local chain with several branches throughout Singapore. On the other hand, those wishing to lodge near the Orchard Road area may check in at Lloyd's Inn (#2 Lloyd Road;, an independent traveler's favorite with room rates starting at S$70 (2300 pesos).


Forget that guided city tour if you're on a tight budget. The Singapore Tourism Board station at Changi Airport hosts a wealth of information about the Lion City's many attractions, most of them arranged according to subject and location. Highly recommended are the self-guided tour itineraries for the ethnic enclaves of Little India and Chinatown. These pocket-sized pamphlets come complete with a map and a walking route that traverses the neighborhood's highlights. In Chinatown, be sure to drop by the Chinatown Heritage Center (Temple Street, there's an S$8 entrance fee), a museum inside a beautifully-restored shophouse that recreates the lifestyle of bygone days. Visitors to Little India, on the other hand, should check out one of the many Indian temples along Serangoon Road -- come during poojai time (that's the daily Hindi prayer ceremony -- schedules are posted ont he main door) for a free and genuine cultural experience. And while you're there, look out for those fortune-tellers along the sidewalk. For S$5 (Php150), watch as a parrot picks out a card with your future on it -- whether this is real or not, it's still cool to watch.

Getting around, too, doesn't have to be expensive. An Ezlink card (which you can buy at the nearest MRT station for S$5+prepaid fares) gives you easy access to the extensive bus and MRT network. There's also the Citybuzz line, which passes the city's most popular dstinations -- log on to for a complete listing of the stops -- for a flat rate of S$1. Alternatively, you can alsto take the traditional bumboats that glide down the Singapore River. They're a bit more expensive at S$5, but the scenery is well worth the fare.

Originally posted on 05 May 2006 @