Top Horizontal Menu

Ozark Diner

I discovered a really great diner near our place.  The name of the diner is Ozark Diner - and it's really just within my neighborhood.  It had been raining for the past couple of weeks - and today's the first day that the sun is out --- so I decided to just walk to Ozark.  For the uninitiated - it can be tough - because - it's all uphill from the main road ( Bakakeng ) to the restaurant.  That's actually part of my plan - burn as much calories before my Sunday lunch --- so I don't feel as guilty even it is my cheat day.

Grilled Pork Chop, Biscuit with Gravy, Mac and Cheese

I love Ozark -- I don't hide it from the owners - Kevin and Albert.  Google - Ozark - so you can find out a little bit more information from where Kevin and Albert got its name.  Come back - after reading about it.  Ok?

Open Kitchen - I choose to sit by the bar - so I can see and smell all the other dishes :)

Now that you have googled Ozark - let me ask you - what kind of food do you think they serve?  Correct - Southern food ( not South American --- but Southern --- and no - it's not called SAWDERN --- you must pronounce it as SADHERN --- all together now - SADHERN ).

My Pork Chop being Prepped

The place is busy --- and that's a really good sign for the business because they have not even launched yet.  They are still on SOFT-OPENING mode.  If you're like me --- that would have driven you away like the plague.  I don't like giving an establishment my money - who uses soft opening as an excuse for bad service.   Thing is --- with Ozark - you get really good service (fast and good food).  They're staff are still on training ( kitchen, waiting, and everyone else ) - but you wouldn't notice it because Albert and Kevin makes sure you get the service that you deserve as a paying customer.   

The Sili Labuyo Chocolate Cheesecake - that's Candied Sili on Top

Pulled Pork, With Biscuit and Kale as Side Dishes

I know - I know - you're here to know if you should check out Ozark for the food.  The answer is a resounding yes from this queen.   If you want to eat - comfort food - that most of what the Southern food delivers - then you're in for a treat.

Those are the heavenly biscuits being prepped

Beautiful Biscuits

For me --- what I was really looking forward to is their biscuit - with gravy.  It's one breakfast food that I like eating when I'm in the US.  I have not seen them in the Philippines --- so discovering this in Ozark - makes me beyond happy.   

Ozark Benedict

The other specialty of the restaurant ( I'll talk about the main dishes that I tried - but you need to know this so you can leave room for dessert ).  Their Cheesecakes.  Here you will be able to try Durian Cheesecake, Dark Beer Cheesecake, ginger wasabi Cheesecake,  and others.  But their best seller - is the Siling Labuyo Chocolate Cheesecake - Yummeeeh.

Meat Loaf - with Macaroni and Cheese and Cole Slaw

Now for the mains.  The dishes I tried so far - the Ozark Benedict ( which is their take on the Eggs benedict ),  the Grilled Pork Chop ( this pork chop is juicy and thick - the way the southern folks like it ),  and Good old meat loaf ( this is comfort that really delivers ).  Side dishes that are equally interesting and good ( the ones that I tried so far ): Macaroni and Cheese,  Their Kale with Smoked Pata bits ( this is healthy food -- Kale and fat is a good combination ),  French fries, and of course the biscuits.

Ginger and Wasabi Cheesecake

If you are planning a trip to Baguio anytime soon ---- or if you are from the city of Pines - go ahead and google the place --- you can find them on Google maps.  They are on Bareng Drive --- that's next to the Saint Louis Mary Heights campus.   They don't have signage yet - but look for the red door.   I am sure - you will enjoy it.  They are open 10 am to 10 pm daily.  They can be busy --- so be early ( or late - so you don't hit the lunch crowd ).   Oh - one more thing - they are priced really well.  How do I know they are priced well?  Most of their patrons are local - and in Baguio - we don't pay an arm and a leg for food.  If you are from the lowlands ( ahem - Manila ) - this is one restaurant that hopefully convinces you that you don't have to pay a premium to find good food.

No signage yet - look for the Red Door - Diner below

Look for them in Google Maps.  Street is Bareng Drive

For more information on Ozark - visit their Facebook page at:

San Juan Surf Resort

When I moved to Baguio,  some of my colleagues talked about one of their hobbies - surfing.   They said that they picked it up since the San Juan Surf school is just an hour away from Baguio.  On weekends - they can drive down to La Union in the morning --- and by lunch time - they start driving home.  That sounded interesting - and I've been fixing to check it out but never really did.  Finally this year,  my best friend, dad, the dogs and I were able to check it out.

Yey!  Stand up like a boss.

Easy to find - google maps is spot on the location of the resort.  Urbiztondo

San Juan is now known in the Philippines ( and internationally ) as a surf spot.  Going there in May is good for beginners like me --- but it's not that exciting for actual surfers.   The waves that we caught were mostly less than two feet ( if at all ).   The best time to visit for good sizable waves is in July - onwards - although that can really be a challenge because that's also our monsoon season.  But hey - why worry about having the rain soak you when you're already swimming right?

The local kids

I call her the little mermaid.  She's sad that she has a fish tail instead of human legs.

Surfing - like any new skill - is easy for me to learn.  On my third attempt - I was able to get up.  Some people go through a whole hour lesson and not succeed in getting up.   Thing is - I wasn't very graceful and when I finally learned the skill - I started thinking about what I'm doing.  That doesn't help me any - I realized that my instincts are much better than my cognitive ideas when it comes to learning new things.   So after that successful attempt - I fell many times --- but in the end before my one hour lesson ended - I was able to get up and do it with grace.

I met a celebrity - River the Lab Ret"River".  He surfs like the humans.

I asked for another photo with him he said yes - as long as he still gets to look out to the sea.

The surf resort is dog friendly.  The three babies don't like the beach though.  Plus - I need to make them wear shoes next time because the sand is really hot.   Char Siew does not like wearing shoes.  So this is not his favorite place - shoes and water does not really give him good feelings.

Not much waves - so most of the time - we were just waiting.

Surfing is not an easy skill to learn. 

All in all - our excursion to the San Juan surf resort was a great experience.   I paid 700 pesos for the lessons and I paid 500 for the surf board.  They also lend you a rash guard.  If you are on an extended trip to Baguio - I recommend checking out La Union - I'm sure you'd find it a refreshing break from the mountain breeze.  I surely did --- but I must say I can only take those extremely high temperature for half a day.  By early afternoon - I was looking forward to going back home.

The resort looks nice.  Next time - I plan to stay overnight.

Had a blast - I want to go back - hopefully won't have to wait for 2 more years.

Each Furbaby is Unique

I am writing this on Mother's day - a Hallmark holiday that we never really celebrated in our family.  Apart from Birthdays, Christmas, Death Anniversaries, and Wedding anniversaries - we never really got into celebrating Father's and Mother's days.  We tried - but we felt it was Baduy when we did it so we just stopped.

My dad had been busy fixing up the new house that we are moving to.  He and Joel ( our dogs' nanny and all around guy in the house ) - they have been in the new house that we are transferring to for the past couple of days.  That leaves me with my fur babies: Midori, Char Siew and Brita.  They sleep most of the day - except for those moments when I open the door to let them take care of business.  It can be boring - and I've been thinking of something that will keep us occupied.   Then I had a brilliant idea --- why don't I have pictures taken with the puppies in our garden?   It would be a great token/remembrance for this house.

These are my favorite photos for this shoot   They actually show their different personalities.  I enjoyed the shoot but it can be frustrating sometimes because the dogs are not fully trained.   They don't always follow what I tell them to do.

Midori is my first born (or panganay in Filipino).  Cersei Lannister said that you never really love anything in this world more than how you love your first born.  Do I agree with this?  Secret :-) I am actually the first born child in our family.  I don't think I get preferential treatment from my parents but I agree that being the first born child has its privileges.  For example - I get to boss around my siblings when we were younger but other than that - I can't really say that I'm my mom or my dad's favorite child.   As for Cersei - we all know she's a crazy lady --- so I won't really pay too much attention to what she says.

Char Siew - my Ășnico hijo.  He is the middle and the only boy so he seems to have the issues of a middle child and the only boy.  I think he has always felt that adding Brita into the pack was a waste because - he should have been the youngest fur baby.  Now - apart from not being the youngest - he has to assert his masculinity and position in the pack by being the discipliner to Brita.  Oh - I wanted to take his photo in the garden but he has issues with wet grass.  He doesn't like getting his paws wet.  Blame it on his heritage - Shar Pei - are royalty's pets.  So it must be inculcated in their brain that they must always walk on the red carpet.

Brita is the youngest in the pack.  Everyone thinks she's the pretty one.  I must admit - she is beautiful.  If I had any chance of taking anyone of my babies to beauty pageants - Brita will be that dog.  She has a fighting chance to win it and bring home ribbons.  Apart from being pretty - she is also the healthiest in the pack.  Well - physically healthy.  Mentally?  Not sure - she has so many issues - we call her the crazy one. Being the youngest,  she gets bullied constantly by the other two dogs.  Midori and Char Siew asserts their position in the pack.  So Brita is in the bottom of the totem pole.  It's funny to see her as the tallest in the pack - but she follows all the commands of Midori and Char Siew. 

I don't really have any favorite fur baby.  I try to give them the kind of affection that I think they deserve.  Their different personalities really help in addressing my needs as their parent.  Yes - parents have needs too.  Sometimes I like cuddling - which Midori doesn't mind doing.   Char Siew gives me the attention that an intelligent dog gives to his human.  So being with him makes me proud of myself.  He makes me feel like I'm a good leader.  Brita?  Well --- I will show you in the next photo.  She is the crazy one --- so I get crazy with her - which I sometimes (very often) need to be.

My Big Girl is Easily Spooked

Brita, my German Shorthaired Pointer is easily spooked.  Things that frighten her (not an exhaustive list) - fireworks, thunder, any loud noise, her nanny yelling, a human wearing a hat, a human wearing a hoodie, when I wear formal clothes (tuxedo, suit), my camera, and the list just goes on.

We actually have many different theories on why she reacts negatively towards these things.  One theory is that she actually witnessed a burglary in her previous home that scarred her for life.  I have my own theory - I think that she is a distant relative of Scooby Doo.   I know - Scooby Doo is not a pointer (I think he's a greyhound).  But both of them are big dogs - and both of them get scared of every little thing.

Seriously speaking - I actually want to address her anxiety over these things.  I made her wear the Thundershirt - for loud noises.  It seems like that doesn't work well for her.  It works wonders with my beagle, Midori but not for Brita.   When there is a thunderstorm she hides under the couch - or behind the drapes.

I am still trying to figure out how to calm her down.  Maybe it's age?  I know that Midori had many issues when she was a puppy - but she just outgrew them eventually.

Do any of your furbabies have issues that you wish you can help with but can't?   Did you get to a happy ending eventually?

Midori Beagle, Happy Gotcha

Six years ago - for my birthday - I asked one of the queens to give me a puppy.  I sorta have a puppy back then - Macchiato - but he lives with in Marikina.  I wanted my own furry companion.  So - we all went looking for a beagle (a breed that I've always liked because of Snoopy).

Midori was a noisy beagle - which I knew could be a problem because we lived in a condominium.  But I guess - like with our relationships with potential human partners - we also act out irrationally with our animal partners.  So even if she was the noisiest of the bunch - but because she was pretty - I brought her home that day. 

Today - Midori is the real queen of our household.  She is the most demanding of my three dogs.  My Shar Pei, Char Siew,  actually developed this notion that he has to protect her.  This is why he doesn't let other dogs near us when we're out walking at the park.  The newest member of the pack, Brita the German Shorthaired Dog, follows Midori's every move.  Even if Brita is the taller dog - you would actually see her acting like Midori is the big sister.

My life changed - since that day that I got Midori.  Although it may actually be a cliche - I can attest to its truth - Dogs are indeed Man's best friend.  As she and I grow older together - the bond goes deeper.

Happy gotcha day my buddy Midori.  Here's to many more years of driving each other crazy.

Brogues from Reed's Bootery

I love shoes.  I'm not an Imelda Marcos - but I own a dozen pairs.  Some of my selections actually attract stares - especially in the office - because they're not what most guys would choose to wear.

Most of the time - the shoes shops that I go to have the right design that will make me go "Oooh!"  However,  I really wish that there are more snazzy options.  I wished so many times in the past - that I can find a shop which can make shoes according to my specifications.   

That wish has been granted by my fairy godmother - and she showed me the way to Reed's Bootery at the Abanao Square in Baguio.  Reed makes shoes according to your specs.  He has a variety of design to choose from - and you can pretty much request for the type of leather that suits your budget and taste.  I've had a pair of periwinkle boots made last year.  This time - I thought - I'd go for a little bit more classic design.  I want black and white brogues.  

The brogues you will find in shops today have a more rounded end.  I want mine to be a little more elongated at the tip.  This is the fun part --- making Reed and his staff understand what I want.  It can be a hit or miss of course --- but who cares?  Designing your own shoes makes them unique.

I told Reed that I will actually want croc/alligator boots in the future. They can be a bit pricey --- still way below the price of what the stores will charge for croc boots - but still over 100,000 pesos a pair.

When I wear these new babies - I feel like I'm Fred Astaire --- and although I won't have these get wet --- I want to just be;t out: "Singing in the Rain".

If y'all are interested in buying your own pair of custom-made shoes --- visit the Reed's Bootery at Abanao Square in Baguio.  They will take your sizes and specs --- and have it delivered anywhere via courier.

The Biggest Loser is a Big Winner

When I reached my 30s,  I found it more difficult to keep my tummy flat - without exerting a tremendous amount of energy in the gym.  I hired personal trainers.  I joined every single cardio class.  I drank diet soft drinks.  I ate brown rice.  But with all of these - I continued to have a round tummy.  My Chinese friends call it ITALY ( which phonetically sounds like the Chinese phrase - big round ball ).

I was getting frustrated with all of these - and wondered if I will always just be thin-fat.  I was generally thin but I had a big tummy.  

And recently - I reached the age of 40 --- and I thought to myself.  Maybe exercise is not the only thing that can make me lose weight.  Maybe I need to start watching what I eat.  A big part of me was protesting against this because I love food.  Controlling what I eat will mean that I may have to forego the joy of eating.

So I took some steps towards eating more healthful.  Almost a year ago - I started eating just salad for lunch and dinner.  I kept to eating rice and everything else for breakfast.  For six months - I continued to lose weight.   I started at 172 lbs and ended at 161 lbs. ( I used to wear XL sized clothes and 36 inches waist pants. ) I was happy with the results.  Then I hit a plateau in my weight loss.   

It took me months - as I continued with this routine - and I noticed that my weight see-sawed from 161 to 164.  So I knew I had to do something different.   I realized - I may have to give up on carbs and sugar altogether.  It's just one meal right?  So the transition may not be that hard.

A month ago.  I received an e-mail from Sebastian Sherpa (one of those internet marketing e-mails). Most of the time - I'm skeptical about these e-mails but I said - I'd charge it to experience.  I'll buy the program and see what's it all about.  Sebastian talked about our hormones - and how it affects our ability to use fat for energy.  His program basically promises - that in 22 days - my body will stop relying on the food that I eat for energy --- but will start burning the fat around my tummy for energy.  When that happens - my big fat tummy (ITALY) will be gone.

So what the heck - I said - I will try this program.

The program is basically a low carb program.  It also had other components - like walking,  breathing exercise,  detox, and sleep.  I am also to stop snacking --- which I did religiously in the past because my body must have food every two hours.  

I followed the program - and the weight started to melt away.   My starting weight was 161 lbs.  After 22 days - I was down to 155 lbs.  Finally - my weight has breached that 160 lbs. mark.   

After the 22 days - I continued with the program - low carb, no snacks.  Carb and sugar only allowed during the carb feast days.   After the 22 days - I even introduced my body to drinking fat tea ( that's tea with high MCT oil like Coconut Oil ).   Drinking fat tea allows me to practice Intermittent Fasting - and my weight continued to drop.  Today - I weigh 150 lbs.   

I still have some inches to loose and I need to build muscle definition back up.  But overall - I'm happy with the results.   I can even wear my aspiration T-shirt.  You see I bought a bunch of T-shirts 7 months ago - which were medium sized --- because I was optimistic - I will be able to fit into them. This sleeveless shirt - is one of them.   It fits perfectly today.   My pants size?  Down to 30 inches.  And the skinny jeans - really look like skinny jeans!

I read somewhere that when you reach middle age - you may have to give up on the dream of being able to wear your clothes when you were young.   Wait - I don't have any intentions of wearing the 90s jeans and T-shirts I had --- but I did wish to wear the sizes that I used to wear.  I guess - my wish has come true.

Batman T-Shirt

My favorite superhero is Batman.  He is not an alien.  He is not a god.  He was not exposed to radiation that made him a freak.  He is human - a very rich human being - but still human.  His abilities are honed by training - a lot of training - and of course technology.  

The only thing I don't like about him is that he can be a bit of a psycho.   Actually - sometimes I like him exactly because of that.  But if I were Batman - I don't want to be psycho. 

With Batman being my favorite - of course I have to get a Batman T-shirt from DC Comics Store in the Pavilion mall in KL.   

I was actually thinking of wearing a tuxedo - with the batman T-shirt underneath -- but it just wasn't working out so - I said - screw that --- I'll just wear jeans.

Oh --- I also thought the black t-shirt is a good combination with these Converse High-Top kicks that I got when I was in Dallas.   Converse was having a buy one pair and take the second pair half off.  The shoes are very 80s - and the sales clerk was I think born in the late 90s --- but she thought it was cool.