Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rub Ribs & BBQ - Pasig City

Rub Ribs & BBQ
Rub Ribs & BBQ
Rub Ribs & BBQ. It was yet another special day for two of my closest friends as they invited the whole gang to join their post birthday celebration and to welcome back one of our good friends who had strayed away from the group for quite a long time. Join us as we have fun, celebrate, and dine only at Rub Ribs & BBQ in Pasig City.

Rubs Ribs & BBQ is a small restaurant situated in East Capitol Drive, one of the well known food districts here in Pasig City. This restaurant has its walls decorated will all of these 70’s posters and memorabilia. They have a small interior space that could sit around 40 to 50 people at the same time, but due to their huge volume of guests coming in almost non-stop even way past dinner time, you may have to wait in queue in the restaurant’s waiting area outside the store to be seated. I suggest you send one of your friends ahead if you are planning to dine here since I don’t think they accept reservations and they were only on a first come first serve basis; well at least that was the case when we went there.

      70's memorabilia
         70's Pictures
70's memorabilia
  70's Posters

Family Brunch Meal
Family Brunch Meal
We ordered four platters of their Family Brunch Meal which was good for 4 persons but personally I think I can clean that entire platter out given how delicious their Baby Back Ribs were. The Family Branch meal costs Php650.00 and is served with 2 whole slabs of their juicy, melts-in-your-mouth, great tasting, and mouth-watering Baby Back Ribs and three side dishes which you can select from whatever is available for that day. The side dishes that we were able to choose from were mashed potatoes, French fries, buttered corn, garlic spinach, Texas toast, coleslaw, potato salad, and buttered veggies.

2 Slabs of Baby Back Ribs and 3 Side Dishes
2 Slabs of B-B-R's and 3 Side Dishes

I personally have never eaten spinach before because I was really not a fan of “green and leafy” veggies, but the moment I tried their garlic spinach, it was so good I needed to take the spinach out of the other rib platters. Their ranch style sauce and their Baby Back Ribs was just a match made in heaven as they complement each other’s own unique flavour which makes every bite an explosion of meaty goodness.

If you are visiting with a date or just a good friend, you could order the Super Duo meal which costs Php350.00 and is served with 1 whole slab of Baby Back Ribs and two side dishes of your own choosing. However, if you are just craving for a slab of meat and have no one to share it with, you may order their Singles Meal for Php195.00 and is served with half a slab of Baby Back Ribs, one side dish, and plain rice. 

      Today's Specials
      Today's Specials
Juicy and Meaty Slabs of Baby Back Ribs
Baby Back Ribs

They also offer other American Style dishes such as sandwiches, soups, salads, snacks and nibbles, and several main entree meals as well.

              Rub Ribs & BBQ Menu
                     Rub Ribs & BBQ Menu
         House Blend Iced Tea
         House Blend Iced Tea

Bonding with my friends
Boding with my best friends
After all the heavy meat munching that we did, the best way to flush down all of those strong flavour in your mouth was by having their House Blend Iced Tea for Php100.00 which was good for 4 servings. With an excellent ambience and a relaxing atmosphere, me and my friends just stayed there for a while, relaxed and told stories to catch up with what’s new within our circle of friends. But we were not able to stay for that long because seeing that there were still quite a few people waiting in queue to be seated, we just continued our conversation someplace else.  

Sit back and relax!
Just hanging out ^_^
In my personal opinion, I think the management could have opt for a bigger space knowing that their Baby Back Ribs were really good, people kept on coming back. When I saw their branch in Makati City along Nicanor Garcia Street, it still had a small dining space and I think when more people in that area discovers how good their Ribs are, they will also have some trouble because of space issues.

But I don’t think that would be much of a problem since the excitement that comes from waiting in queue in order to be served with one of the best Baby Back Ribs that I have tasted so far would totally be worth the wait. Truly, Rub Ribs & BBQ is one small restaurant that packs and provides a huge Meaty B-B-R dining experience.

** Special thanks to my good friends Raymond Malapitan and Ronald Rodriguez for the wonderful pictures that hey have provided for this blog entry (since my good old camera was not able to take decent shots that evening).

BUDGET: Php150.00 ~ Php650.00
FOOD RATING: 9 out of 10
SERVICE RATING: 7 out of 10

Rub Ribs & BBQ Branches:

Rub Ribs & BBQ – Pasig City
88 East Capitol Drive
Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City
(02) 625-2939

Rub Ribs & BBQ – Quezon City
64 Scout Rallos, Quezon City
(02) 501-2799

Rub Ribs & BBQ – Makati City
Nicanor Garcia (Formerly Reposo Street)
Corner Baler Street, Makati City
(02) 890-0972

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to get a Non-Professional Driver's License in the Philippines 2014

LTO East Avenue - Licensing Center
LTO East Avenue - Licensing Center
LTO East Avenue Branch. 
I have always wanted to get my Philippine Driver’s License ever since I graduated from driving school. I have done some research and read some guides on how to get one, but nothing beats the real thing. Join me as I share to you the story of how I got my Non-Professional Driver's License the Anti-Fixer way.
(Information available in this article is as of June 24, 2014)

Here are the basic FAQs that you should know firsthand before getting your Non-Professional Driver’s License:

1. Must be at least seventeen (17) years old.
2. Must be physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle.
3. Must not be a drug user or alcoholic.
4. Must be able to read and write in Filipino or English.
5. Must be clean, neat and presentable (wearing of sando, playing shorts and slippers during photo-taking and examinations will not be allowed).

1. Duly accomplished Application form for Driver’s License (ADL).
2. Valid Student Permit (at least 1 month old)
3. Medical Certificate with Official Receipt (from LTO accredited or Government physician)
4. Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN) if employed
5. Must have passed the written and practical examinations

Please keep in mind that a new driver’s license can only be acquired through an LTO branch that has their own Licensing Centers (Tayuman, Mandaluyong, ParaƱaque, and East Avenue - Quezon City to name a few). I decided to go hard core and applied for my Driver's License at the LTO Central Office at East Avenue, Quezon City. The entire process should take at least 4-5 hours depending on the volume of applications and renewals being handled by the center so I suggest going there early and it better be on a non-peak working day (Tuesday to Thursday). 

Student Permit
I arrived early at around 8:30 AM but I had extended my stay there for almost 8 hours due to carelessness. So learn from my experience and please don't forget to bring the Official Receipt that comes with your Student Permit. I was forced to file an affidavit of loss and get a duplicate of my Student Permit that comes with a fresh O.R. since your Student Permit is not valid without the O.R. issued by LTO. That processing alone took me more than 2 hours and an extra expense of Php 317.63.

Certificate of Training from Universal Driving School
Certificate of Training from Universal
Before proceeding to the LTO Licensing Center, you should already know how to drive! Don’t be like those egoistic individuals who boast that they got their Driver’s License without learning how to drive. It is both reckless and stupid and might cause you or someone else’s life. It doesn't have to be in a driving school, as long as you actually learn how to drive! You may opt to get someone who knows how to drive and ask them to teach you.

Drug Test - No Longer Required!
No Drug Testing Notice
You should take your medical examinations in any LTO-accredited clinics beforehand and on the same day that you are planning to apply for your license. Some of these medical clinics can be found just across the LTO compound. The medical exam only costs Php 100.00 so you should not be paying more than that. As of June 28, 2013, the mandatory drug test is no longer required. This is good because it would slash around Php 350.00 on your expenses but as a consequence, there would be an increase in the number of drug-users driving freely on our roads. 

Public Assistance Booth
Public Assistance Booth
So after preparing all of your requirements, that first thing to do inside the LTO compound is ask for a queue number in the Public Assistance booth located just before the main lobby of the LTO Licensing Center. Get your documents checked and they will give you a queue number and direct you to which window from the main lobby you should be waiting for your number to be called. I had my Application form for Driver's License (ADL) downloaded from their website and accomplished it earlier to save time but they did not accept mine and still gave me their own copy and asked me to fill it up... AGAIN. So it's up to you if you would like to prepare your Application form beforehand. Even if they do not accept your pre-accomplished application form, you will be more familiarized with the fields to fill-up and your form will be much more presentable and error-free. 

Part of the ADL Form
Fill-up the correct fields to avoid erasures
Just be sure to select the correct fields in your ADL such as "A" under the Type of application since this a new application, select "non-professional" under the type of license being applied for, and then select the correct restriction code. I opted to get Restriction Code number 2 since this will allow me to drive both the Manual and Automatic Transmission Vehicles that are up to 4500 Kilograms in Gross Weight. If you are planning to drive a motorcycle then you can also select Restriction Code 1. For professional drivers, they are eligible to get Restriction 3 which will allow them to drive larger vehicles above 4500 KGs. If you would just want to drive an automatic transmission car for up to 4500 KGs, just select Restriction 4.

Here's a download link, just scroll down and click the Driver's License Application Form:
LTO Driver's License Application Form

LTO Licensing Center - Main Lobby
Main Lobby
The next step is to head to the main lobby and wait for your queue number to be called by an Evaluator from windows 8 to 10. Once your requirements have been evaluated and your form has been checked, you will need to wait again for your name to be called from window 11, where your photograph and electronic signature (PHOTOSIG) will be taken. If you are really good in smiling on-the-spot then great, but if not, do practice a few smiles in front of the mirror or else you will be stuck with a lousy ID picture that you will be regretting for the next 3 years.

Lecture Room - Please REVIEW!
Lecture Room
While waiting for your name to be called from window 11, you will be asked to go to the Lecture Room and prepare for the Written Examinations. You can opt to take the English or the Tagalog reviewers. For those who are not confident enough that they will be able to pass the exam given just around 30-60 minutes to review depending on how fast your queue number is going to be called for the other processes before the exam proper, there are exam reviewers that are sold outside the Licensing Centers that you can use to review beforehand. I found an online blog that has a copy of the Tagalog exam reviewer which was updated last August 18, 2013 and based from my experience, the questions are 95% reliable. Here is the link:
LTO Written Exam Reviewer (Tagalog Version)

Written Examination Room
Examination Room
If your name has been called from Window 11, you may leave the Lecture Room and return again after getting your "PHOTOSIG" taken. Take your time to review and don't rush it. The next step is to wait for you name to be called from window 7, which is the cashier. You will have to pay Php 167.63 for the application fee, and then you may head back to the Lecture Room and wait until your name is called again to take the written exam. I know a lot of articles and guides have mentioned that the written exams are so easy and some answering sheets had already answers on them. Well sorry to burst your bubble but in the LTO Central Office, the written exams are machine-generated. This means that each examinee has a freshly printed questionnaire with a set of random questions machine-picked from their pool of questions in either English or Tagalog depending on the reviewer that you have used. The answer sheets are also clean and you will not see any pre-circled items on it. Just do your best, relax and take your time, and if you ever forgot what some of the traffic signs are called, it’s alright to check the walls of the testing room since all of the traffic signs are there. You will be seated one seat apart.

Inside the Examination Room
Inside the Examination Room

You need to get a score of 30 out of 40 to qualify for the Non-Professional Driver’s License. If you fail this written exam, your name will be called again and you will be asked to head back to the examination room which is kind of embarrassing because most of the people in the lobby know that this means you have failed.

You will be asked to retake the exam after 30 days which means you have to restart the entire process and pay the application fee again, bummer right? As a friendly reminder, please don't be over confident and take your time to review and prepare for the exam beforehand since waiting for your name to be called is kind of boring anyway.

New Driver's License Processing Flow
New Driver's License Processing
If you have done well and passed the written exam, then off to the next step you go! Wait for your name to be called again and you will be asked to "proceed to the waiting area for the practical examination sa tabi ng puno ng langka (beside the jackfruit tree)". Here you will be briefed by the practical examiners. They will give you the basic Do's and Don'ts and some friendly reminders. LTO is encouraging examiners to please bring their own vehicles to avoid paying the car rental fee and to "ensure" that they will pass the practical exam since they are already familiar with the vehicle that they are going to use. Since I don't own a vehicle, I paid a rental fee of P250 for a manual transmission car. An automatic transmission car is also available for rent at P250, a motorcycle at P150, and a mini dump truck which I think costs a bit more.

Start your Engines!
Practical Exam -Test Track
Just some reminders before heading down the test track. First, if you already know how to drive well, don't be a show-off as you might piss the examiner off. Second, if you are not that confident with you driving skills (like me), don't be nervous, just relax because most of the examiners are nice people and might even give you some pointers during the actual exam. Third, listen to the examiner’s instructions, like if you are asked to keep right, them keep the damn right or else you will fail the exam. Lastly, the clutch on their test cars, which are small hutch back Suzuki manual-transmission cars that looks kind of like Mr. Bean's car, are hard as hell. Give it a feel a few times before revving up the vehicle because most of the time the gear won't click and you will end up smoking up the place and over-revving the car like a baby cow crying for help. Also, don't forget to smile, greet the examiner and thank them after the practical exam for being patient with you. You need a score of 70 out of 100 to pass the practical exam.

Waiting for the moment of truth!
Waiting for their Driver's License
After you have passed the practical exam, you will head back to window 7 again and wait for your name to be called. Here you will pay the other licensing fees depending on the restrictions that you have applied for. I only applied for restriction 2 so I just paid Php 417.63. After that you may relax, have a snack, and wait for your name to be called and get your License card at the releasing section at Window 13.

My very own Non-Pro Driver's License!
My Non-Pro Driver's License
At the end of a long and exhausting day, I managed to get my very own Non-Pro Driver's License. It just gives you a great sense of fulfilment that you are now privileged to drive on Philippine's roads and I did it all by myself. Trust me, you don't need those fixers to set you up and get your license. Some of them will just overcharge you and some might just run away with your money as some of the other applicants have been complaining about. And besides, the entire process of getting your driver's license by yourself is the proof that you are indeed eligible to drive a vehicle out there on the open road. So good luck and don’t forget to bring your own snacks as you may be in for a long day!

BUDGET:  Around Php 1,000.00

Fees and Charges:

  • Medical Exam : Php 100.00
  • Application Fee : Php 167.63
  • Car Rental (Manual Transmission) : Php 250.00
  • License Fee : Php 417.63

TOTAL : Php 935.26

SERVICE RATING: 7 out of 10

For more information about getting your Philippine Driver's License, please visit their website:
Land Transportation Office - Official Website

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ibayo by Barrio Fiesta

Ibayo by Barrio Fiesta
Ibayo by Barrio Fiesta

Ibayo. Most people often skip their own birthday bash because of their tight budgets. That’s when deal sites come in to the picture. I have purchased three deal vouchers from which really helped squeeze in my tight budget. Join me again as I share my story on how I celebrated my 23rd birthday here at Ibayo by Barrio Fiesta, located at the San Miguel by the Bay, SM Mall of Asia.

         Interior Design
   Bar Counter

Ibayo which means “The Next Town” is another concept from the Barrio Fiesta group of Restaurants. Ibayo offers a wide selection of signature specialties from the house of Barrio Fiesta and a new range of creatively mixed cocktails that will give you a total Filipino dining experience. It’s really a great place with friendly staffs and relaxing ambience but unfortunately, for someone who sweats easily like me, I think the place has poor air-conditioning.

         Crispy Pata
  Shanghai Rice

The vouchers that I have purchased for P495 each gave me a 50% discount on a package composed of their signature Crispy Pata, Shanghai Rice, and a 1.5L bottle of Coke (but in our case, it had 250ml more FREE so it was really a bargain!). Their Crispy Pata was always as awesome as ever. This special high-cholesterol goodness has made Barrio Fiesta one of the best places to enjoy a great tasting deep-fried Pork Knuckles. The Shanghai Rice, which was just a fancy name for stir-fried rice with some herbs and egg, complements the taste of their Crispy Pata.

          Fried Chicken
 Inihaw na Pusit

I also ordered a family-sized Fried Chicken for P435 which was prepared similar to how they were cooking their Crispy Pata. If you are familiar with how Max’s fried chicken tastes like, it somehow tastes like that. The ladies requested to have the Inihaw na Pusit for P305/kilogram. They said it was good but unfortunately I was not able to taste it because it was gone way too fast before I even had a bite… if you know what I mean.

Original Kare-Kare
Ibayo also offers two kinds of Kare-Kare, the seafood and the original Kare-Kare. In our case, we ordered the original family-sized Kare-Kare for P350 which was made of tender oxtail and tripe stewed in creamy peanut sauce. Barrio Fiesta is well-known for its delicious Kare-Kare. In almost all the gatherings that I have been to, whenever Barrio Fiesta was the venue, their signature Kare-Kare never fails to stands out.

Adobong Kangkong

Those high cholesterol dishes would definitely take their toll someday, so in order to counter those unhealthy treats, we ordered some Adobong Kangkong for around P150. It was good but unfortunately, I did not like the way it was presented. The way it was plated was a bit messy and it looks really unpleasantly rushed.

White Adobo
I have read from several food blogs that Ibayo’s White Adobo is a must try. So I ordered one serving and boy was I surprised! I totally agree that it tasted good and it gave me a new adobo experience since I think there was no soy sauce used in preparing that dish but the way it was presented was really disappointing. The chicken meat was so tender it already came off the bones and the pork was overcooked it almost looked like corned beef.

I also sampled their Bistek Tagalog for P215 and it was very good. The taste took my mind off the disappointment that I felt from some of their dishes. Caldereta has always been one of my favorite dishes. When I have spotted that they had Kalderetang Baka on their menu, I immediately ordered one serving for P215. The beef was tender and the potatoes and carrots were neither overcooked nor crunchily raw. It may not be perfect but it was still great!

         Bistek Tagalog
  Kalderetang Baka

Turon ala Mode

Finally, instead of ordering fruit shakes, halo-halo or any other sweets for dessert, I let my friends have the Turon ala mode for P75 per serving. Sure it was meant for afternoon snacks, but nobody said it couldn’t be a healthy alternative for dessert right? I have read several reviews about this snack online and I also vouch that this is really a must try.

My Best Friends

At the end of that evening, it was neither the dishes that we had nor the venue that made my birthday extra special. It was the time that we have spent and the stories that we have shared together with my best of friends that made my birthday celebration really fun and memorable.

BUDGET: Php150.00 ~ Php500.00
FOOD RATING: 8 out of 10
SERVICE RATING: 8 out of 10

Ibayo by Barrio Fiesta
Across SM Mall of Asia
Bldg G Unit 7-8 San Miguel by the Bay Seaside Brgy. 076
SM Bay City, Central Business Park 1-A Pasay City

Daily Schedule:
3pm – 12mn on Weekdays
3pm – 2am on Weekends
Also open for lunch on Holidays
For reservations and more info:
Contact: Monica Asuncion 0906-5002782

Please see Ibayo by Barrio Fiesta menu below:

       Pork Dishes
                   Chicken and Beef Dishes
      Fish and Seafood Dishes

                    Drinks and Desserts
         House Specialties

                             Bar Chow

      Cocktails and Drinks

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

50's Diner - Baguio City

50's Diner
50's Diner Baguio City

50’s Diner. Whenever I remember our Annual Barkada Outing this 2012 in Baguio City, there will always be a restaurant that I will never forget. The locals often say that your Baguio experience will never be complete if you have not visited this restaurant even once during your stay in the City of Pine Trees. In this post, join me as I take you to 50’s Dinner, situated along General Luna Road, at the corner of Brent Road in the heart of Baguio City.

If you are familiar with the famous movie and theatrical play “Grease” then this place would definitely make you feel like you are a part of that story. This place has a classical ambience that would give you an idea what it was like way back in the 1950’s. They have vintage movie posters on the walls, the couches are similar to what you would normally see on those 50’s movies, and their food servers also wear that old-school American diner uniform. 

They even have a rare jukebox in one corner of the restaurant, though I am not sure if that thing was still working. Another “tourist attraction” whenever people visit 50’s Diner is the red vintage car in front of their store which they said was still working perfectly.

            Classic Jukebox
Inside 50's Diner

My friends and I decided to have our dinner here after our long and tiring but really fun exploration of the amazing tourist spots in Baguio City. If you are going to visit this place with your own car, I suggest you find a parking space nearby or have someone come earlier to spot a parking slot in front of the restaurant. This is because the restaurant is always busy and full of customers; you would really have a hard time finding a parking space.

Food Counter
Fortunately for us, we did not have to wait that long to be seated. I would never believe that the place was extremely popular until I have seen it with my own eyes. As soon as we were seated, I looked outside of the window and saw a huge line of people piling up in front of the diner! I guess that this was no surprise since 50’s Dinner offers huge servings of various American inspired dishes that are not only tasty but also budget friendly, which makes the restaurant really famous among locals and tourists alike.

Burger Steak Meal
My never-ending quest for the world’s best burger steak continues as I sampled their Burger Steak Meal for P85.00 which was served with two medium-sized beef burger patties, some mixed veggies and either steamed rice or French fries. The burger patties not only look good, they also taste good! Normally I would have this meal with steamed rice but since I want to “feel American” even just for that evening, I opted to have their huge and tasty serving of French fries.

Like the rest of the “heavy eaters” on the gang, I also ordered the infamous “She” Meal for P180.00 which I shared with my girlfriend. This monster meal is best not only for sharing but also for people with monster appetite as well. You better prepare your stomach for this huge meal which is composed of fried chicken, breaded pork chop, hotdog, French fries, mixed vegetables, and a scoop of ice cream for dessert.

One of us ordered the “Gangsta Gangsta” for P135.00. This dish comes with a slice of grilled pork chop, fried chicken, chicken spring rolls, fried egg (sunny side up), mixed vegetables in oyster sauce, and steamed rice. Another one ordered the “Guys on the Hood” for P135.00 which is a combination pork chop, fried chicken, garlic bread, spaghetti, mixed vegetables, French fries, and a slice of pizza.

          "Gangsta Gangsta"

     "Guys on the Hood"

My friends with who were either really had low appetite that evening or on a self-proclaimed diet, ordered the Fish and Chips meal for P130.00 which is a plate full of huge French fries, a couple of breaded fish fillets, and a small serving of mixed vegetables. There was also someone who ordered the Hamburger meal for P85.00 which was composed of huge beef hamburger and French fries.

Fish and Chips


Fruit Shakes
Water would not be enough to clear our palates from these heavy sodium meals so we had to order some of their featured beverages. My friends ordered some fresh fruit shakes such as the Strawberry Shake for P75.00 and the Ripe Mango Shake for P65.00. While me and my girlfriend ordered their famous Hot Chocolate for P65.00 that was served with some creamer-like milk. Not only were these beverages delicious, they were “almost” healthy enough to compensate for the sodium-rich meal that we just had.

Hot Chocolate

At the end of that evening, some of my friends known for their reputation of having huge appetites were not able to finish their meals, especially for those who have ordered the “She” meal. That only proves that 50’s Dinners really does provide you with “huge servings”. That gives a bigger value for your money’s worth. If ever you are planning to visit Baguio City, please do drop by 50’s Diner and I am sure you and your loved ones would have an awesomely “huge” dining experience.

BUDGET: Php70.00 ~ Php250.00
FOOD RATING: 10 out of 10
SERVICE RATING: 9 out of 10

50’s Diner
92 Upper General Luna Road, Corner Brent Road,
Baguio City, Benguet, Philippines
(0916) 659-5555