Monday, October 31, 2016

Choice of Accommodation in Hong Kong: Star Mansion via Airbnb

October 31, 2016
Last March, my family, Jeff and I went to Hong Kong for a vacation. After our wedding last January, Jeff and I didn’t have our solo getaway. So our first official travel as a married couple is in Hong Kong with the whole family.  It was August of 2015 when I booked the ticket for all of us during PAL’s seat sale. I was really excited with this trip because I was on a serious travel diet for year 2015. :P
I booked our accommodation through Airbnb so that all of us can stay in just 1 house. It’s like a small apartment / condo unit with 2 bedrooms and 1 toilet and bath. It has a kitchen area equipped with electric stove, cooking utensils, microwave oven, kettle and refrigerator. It also has a front load washing machine.  I bedroom has 1 bunk bed, the other room has 1 double bed and in the living room, there’s 1 sofa bed and television. The unit also has a strong Wi-Fi connection.
Living room with Sofa bed
Bedroom with double bed
Bedroom with bunk bed
Kitchen / Laundry area

Since we stayed in an apartment, and we are not able to meet Nick, our host, in person, instructions / house rules were given to us prior to our arrival in the apartment. That includes throwing our own garbage, turning off the lights and air conditioner (we never turned it on during our stay because it was really cold!) when not in use, how to use the appliances, where to retrieve the keys upon arrival and where to return it upon checkout.
Though the place is quite small for us, we didn’t mind at all because the place is very well located. It’s near some fast food restaurants, money changer, convenience store, shopping malls and MTR. It’s approximately two-minute walk going to the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR. The host is very responsive as well to all my inquiries.
However, I wouldn’t suggest this place during cold season in Hong Kong because of their water heater. It takes some time before the water gets hot and the water temperature goes down when used for a long time (roughly 10 minutes straight). Also, one thing I noticed is that, there’s a metal gate after the Unit’s wood door but no key was provided for it, so when I accidentally closed it, I needed to contact the host. Though after I contacted him that the metal gate was locked, he sent his friend to open it for us.
The place may be a bit small for seven people (I find the bed in 1 room too small for 2 people) but with its superb location, I would still recommend this place.

Total Cost for 3 nights: Php 24,958

Star Mansion
3 Minden Row
Hong Kong, Kowloon
Hong Kong

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


October 04, 2016
I've first tried this famous cheesecake shop when Jeff and I went to Japan last April. Pablo is known for its soft and fluffy cheese tarts. I didn’t know that it was originally from Japan and it was that famous until its coming to the Philippines made a noise. I can’t remember if I even included it in our must-try-to-eat list when we went to Japan. All I remember is that, there’s always a long queue of people in every branch that we passed by. Since we have a schedule to follow, we didn’t join the craze. But I was so bothered and curious that we might be missing something if we won’t be able to try it.
Surprisingly (and luckily), we passed by a store that has a shorter queue. Unfortunately though, the store we spotted is not selling the smaller version of cheese tarts. Since I’m a bit desperate already, and besides, their pastries looks really tempting, we decided to just buy the bigger cheese tart. The size though is still smaller if compared to the usual size of a cake.
The next day, we had it for breakfast and guess what? Jeff and I were able to consume all of it in just one seating! Pablo cheese tart is the best cheese tart I’ve ever tasted. It’s thick, smooth and rich in flavor. The crust is soft, not too thick with a little bit of crunch. Eto yung cake na sobrang dami ng laman tapos kapiraso lang yung tart. Sobrang sarap! As in! Medyo OA no? Pero sobrang sarap niya talaga!
So when I heard that they will be opening a store here in Manila, I really got excited. My sister has been tagging me on Facebook pictures / links of Pablo opening in Robinsons Manila. Since I’ll be visiting them on a Sunday, Jeff and I decided to go to Robinsons Place Manila as early as 10:15 Saturday morning to avoid the long queue. Pero may pila pa din! Bwaha. I was expecting that it will take us 30 minutes or more before we can get out of the line but no! In less than 15 minutes, We got our cheese tarts already!
When we were near the counter, sooobrang bango! We bought 2 Freshly Baked Cheese Tarts and 1 Matcha Cheese Tart. However, Jeff and I didn’t like the Matcha flavor that much. I may be a bit biased because I’m not a fan of Matcha flavored food, but even Jeff who is not a picky eater did not enjoy it as much as we did with the Cheese Tart.
It has Mochi balls and Monggo-flavored filling
Of course, the Freshly Baked Cheese Tart did not disappoint. It’s still our favorite. We have yet to try the Premium Cheese Tart but maybe soon. Medyo mahal din kasi! Haha. In Japan, I know there's this soft and hard version for the cheese tart (sana tama alala ko). Pero yung hard version na nabili namin nun sobrang soft niya pa din :p Here in Manila, they only offer the Soft Cheese Tart.
*photo taken 1 day after we bought the cake
If you want to try Pablo Cheese Tarts, I suggest you go to the mall between 10am to 12noon. Expect that there’s still a queue but that will not take you hours before you can have your tarts. Each customer is allowed to purchase a maximum of 2 cheese tarts only. So if you want to buy more, tag along with you your friends and family members.

Reminder: After buying the cheese tart, make sure to refrigerate it immediately so that it won't melt. The lady at the counter told me that it can last its form for at most 6 hours after it is bought if not refrigerated.

Ground Floor, Pedro Gil Wing
Robinsons  Place Manila
Ermita, Manila