What’s New at Ayala Malls Legazpi? It’s the Sweet-To-The-Bone Southern Ribs of Bigg’s Diner

Baby back ribs, mashed potatoes, steak fries, cole slaw and a side of barbecue sauce. If you visit Bigg’s Diner at Ayala Mall in Legazpi, can you tell what’s  new?  Yeah, besides it being the newest branch. 😉

Perhaps this photo in the invitation for Bloggers  Lunch held last Wednesday can give you a clue?


You’re right, dear! Bigg’s Diner has a new baby named Southern ribs. Its meat is a little loose, and shreds more easily, yet juicy.

The texture is similar to a traditional barbecue with a pleasant, crisp bark on the outside and tender inside. But of course, these come with a nice pink ring around the edges.

southern ribs
Unappetizing? Don’t be fooled. As per the words of the franchise owner: “Hindi ko ito pinansin kasi akala ko hindi masarap. Pero nang matikman ko, ang sarap pala.” Photo credit to Jethro  Calag.

Was it sweet to the bone? I have to try it again to be sure, and I don’t mind because I liked it. We sampled it after our rice meals with crispy chicken and kebab for me. Both were smoky, juicy and tasty on their own, and kebab was especially sweet.

That made me wonder if they would consider serving the Southern ribs an appetizer. (I don’t know about you, but I like eating meat without rice). Its tender, sligtly fall-off-the-bone meat would melt in your mouth. Yum!

As a meal, the java rice and the sauce were just perfect for it. You would like that the sauce is not that savory since the rice is already salty, and how they blend with its moist, sweet meat.

Lunchtime with these bestsellers.

The bloggers meet the franchise owner and the staff. Photo courtesy of BJ Medina.

Thank you, Bigg’s Diner Ayala Malls Legazpi Branch!


PS Do tell us when you try it. Bon Appetit!

Featured photo (Southern Ribs) courtesy of Dionn Borja.


Because at Bigg’s Diner, there is a “Happy Ending”


There’s a dining spot at Bigg’s Diner in Albay that I consider a favorite. That four-seater table sits next to a wall where two posters hang overhead. The one on the right always brightens my mood.

It says, “I just want to make beautiful things even if nobody cares.”

The Visit

The table was occupied when we went there. So we grabbed the table nearest to us, which was facing the food counter. Once settled, something caught my attention. Oh, cakes!

From top: premium cakes, carrot cakes and psychochoco

One, two, three…I tried counting what seemed to be chocolate-flavored desserts from where I was seated. We learned later that those were the newest offerings of Bigg’s.

But first, lunch with these bestsellers.

And some catching up with Ms. Iris, the marketing head in Legazpi, and whom I first met at one of Bigg’s events for bloggers in Naga.

“Will appetizers be coming soon too,” I asked?

“That’s likely…” she answered and excitedly went on by telling us that it will soon have a branch in Manila. Not only one but two!

Happy Ending”

Next came Bigg’s “Happy Ending” coffee-dessert combos, which were selections of nespresso coffee and premium cakes.

Take your pick: berries cheesecake, apple crumble and cappuccino cheesecake and pair with brewed coffee, cappuccino, decaf, cafe latte or americano.

Our catching up felt like a get together over coffee and decadent cakes as we talk about work, marketing, travel and the now open Bigg’s Diner at Ayala Malls Legazpi.

[Above photo: Bloggers Lunch at Ayala Malls Legazpi. Photo via Flored Medina.]

And some pics with the staff before we parted.



Happy ending, indeed!

Photo credits to Laurie Gucilatar.

3 Ways to extract Joy from Your Material Purchases

There was this joke that says: Money can’t buy happiness, but it is more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle.

Truth, right?

So if you are into collecting all things material, don’t feel guilty. As long as you buy to use it in more meaningful ways than showing off, possessions can bring real happiness too. Just like when you spend on activities over possessions.

Luxurious shops know that, too.

At Havaianas stores, they have a DIY section where shoppers can mix and match for a personalized flip-flop. This happens annually for their “Make your own Havaianas” event.

Screengrab from Laura Lehmann’s Instagram account.

According to Penguins with People Problems author Mary Laura Philpott, creativity is one way to enhance the experience-value of your purchase. To quote:

When you buy a top-of-the-line Italian cappuccino machine, turn it into a multi-sensory experience: pour enough cappuccinos to fill a bathtub, then get into it and soak. Listen to the foam fizz as the minuscule bubbles burst against your shins like tiny waves upon a human shore. This must be how Earth feels.

Okay that was a bit exaggerated, but she nailed it.

Travel is also on her list of ways to extract happiness from material things we buy. Why, wouldn’t it make you feel great to travel light and still in style? Heck, just thinking of the space you’ll save by getting rid of pairs of footwear is already happiness. Thanks to your dual-function flip-flops!

Her point:

Travel creates a bank of positive memories upon which you can draw at any time. Fly your $425 sunglasses to Central America and show them the Equator. Look around at the local citizens through your shaded lenses, holding their gaze and mentally trading places with them. How do you look in your new glasses as you survey yourself through their eyes? Fantastic, probably. You’ll never forget that.

Lastly, give or share it like what Soleil, a Havaianas store in Ayala Malls in Legazpi, did during its launching. Giving can make us feel good inside, and we don’t need science to prove it. We know and feel it, especially when we are sincere.

Thank you, Soleil, for having bloggers during the event.

As well as for making this traveler’s feet comfortable amidst the sharp rock she was stepping on. It’s a happy coincidence, too, that she can match it with one of her favorite travel accessories: shawl!


Soleil photos courtesy of Ginoel and Alan of http://dropdeaddapper.com/

The 8th Weekend Market at Mandala Park and a First-Timer Loved It

It was Mandala Park’s 8th Weekend Market; it was my first time to visit.

How was the experience? It was fun! With great food and relaxing ambiance, not to mention affordable prices, who wouldn’t? For me, these made Mandala Park a place you’d rather be to spice up the rest of your lazy Saturday afternoon.

The event started late Saturday afternoon. With more or less than 25 merchants, each offering their signature food products, we knew we had to stay the night. That’s the only way to satisfy the craving for each unique product taste.

Our first stop: herbed chicken by Mommy Ann’s Kitchen.

The taste of rosemary and other herbs will surely tickle your taste buds to eat more. Oven roasted, their chicken is slowly and carefully cooked to achieve tenderness and release the mixed flavors of chicken meat and herbs. For diet conscious, you can replace rice with potatoes and other veggies.


Satisfied but not yet full, we moved on to our next target. That was Eats Meats West bagnet burger. A little bit of saltiness from bagnet plus the juicy flavor of beef patty and sweet taste of veggies make this burger creation a perfect match for a beer or soda.


Hence, we found ourselves sampling Ginger Ale made by Standford and Shaw Brewing Co. For P100, you can enjoy this refreshing beverage. A homemade drink carefully fermented to get the flavors of ginger and lemon. You may want to take home a big bottle for P200.


Because we want our tummy happy, we tried another goodie that was Pepi Cubano. An authentic Cuban sandwich, the bread was brushed with butter for extra flavor and then pressed for several minutes for toasting. It is a perfect combination of roasted pork, cheese, ham and pickles that even non-sandwich fans will love it.

For refreshment, we had a taste of Thirsty Turtle’s “Pinetastic Turtle” smoothie. This refreshment is a mix of fresh banana and pineapple, not from artificial flavorings.

Our smoothies had banana tidbits that blended well with the pineapple flavor. Aside from their fruit flavored products, you can also try their luscious fruits plus veggies smoothies. They have Beetroot, celery, and spinach among the vegetables to combine well with other fruits.

At Mandala Park’s weekend market, you get to share homemade food turned signature cuisines and drinks with family, friends and loved ones. And at the same time make our local merchants shine.

Watch out for upcoming events at Mandala Park through its social media pages and my Instagram and Fb pages as well.

Special thanks to Demetrio Ragua of The Manila Journo for this guest blog post and to Mandala Park for yet another great foodie experience at their weekend market.

My Top 5 Homemade Gourmets at Mandala Park’s 7th Weekend Food Market

At Mandala Park, quality seems to be a priority over quantity. The merchants at their weekend food market last April 23 may be a little outnumbered compared with some weekend markets I’ve been to. Yet it proves effective especially that every food we had sampled tasted so good.

It was like their partner merchants, whose homemade goodies are the highlights of the event, are chosen beyond them being organic and artisanal. It has to taste good most importantly.

My top five picks are the following:


Pierogi from Babci Kuchina (Php 120/set – 3 pcs)

Intrigued by the name and its origin, I just have to try these Polish dumplings and see how they differ from the (Chinese) dumplings we’re all used to eating. You can have them steamed or fried. They are really tasty, especially their classic potato, onion and cheese.

Baked Herb Chicken from Mommy Ann’s Kitchen – (Php 150/meal – quarter chicken with rice and veggies; Php 550 – whole chicken)

Who doesn’t fall for chicken, and this one is HERBED! There’s a feast of flavors in your mouth as you chew on the tender and juicy meat. I’d definitely come back for this.

Pizza from Blended (Php 170 – small pizza, Php 250 – large pizza)

This super thin crust pizza is so flavorful you won’t even notice you’ve eaten the whole thing. It’s crispy and cheesy. I love the garlic sauce, just right and doesn’t overpower the other flavors of the food.

ginger ale

Ginger Ale from Stanford and Shaw Brewing Co.

I’m a fan of salabat and drinks it regularly, so I did not let the opportunity pass to try and take a sip of this homemade ginger ale. Taste does not disappoint. Definitely a must-try.

Crab Paste “Taba ng Talangka” Original Lemongrass from Native Gourmet (Php 275/80 oz. bottle)

It’s nice to keep a bottle of this “sinfully tasty” taba ng talangka in your pantry. It will come in handy if you want to prepare aligue pasta or you want to mix a spoonful to your steamed rice.


This May 14 at 4pm-10pm Mandala Park invites you and your mother for yet another weekend market. The event pays tribute to the first person that introduces us to homemade goodies and cooks for us whenever we are home. Special treats await for your mom at Mandala Park. 🙂

Special thanks to writer/editor Avi Canale for this guest blog post and to Mandala Park for the invitation.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the information presented in this blog is based on the writer’s experience.




A Night of Fashion, Culture and Tradition at The Oriental Hotel Legazpi


A fireworks display marked the start of the cocktail celebration at The Oriental Hotel in Legazpi, this year’s host for the opening celebration of Daragang Magayon Festival.

This exuberant spectacle, matched with the brilliant light at the lobby, welcomed guests to a night of fashion, culture and tradition.

The event showcased the indigenous gowns created by Gary Roces, a premiere gown designer of buli (Buri palm) wardrobes.

At least five of his creations were displayed at the night’s exhibit, wherein each was given a “nickname” that represents Bicol landmarks, festivals and other tourism booster found only in the region.

Roces has been designing gowns for weddings, festivals, Santa Cruzan and other celebrations like birthdays and JS prom for 20 years now. Some of his gowns have been featured abroad as entries for international competitions. He owns Pustura, a fashion business that specializes in custom gowns and dresses for men and women.


While the gowns’ colourful patterns provide a cool contrast to the lobby’s minimal design, their life-size height easily captures the attention of an arriving guest.

The food station, which features the hotel’s signature food and drinks, was a feast of colors too. Some of the dishes incorporate local ingredients, like that of tinapa pasta and pili nut brownies.





Everyone stopped to listen to the melodic performance of a popular singing chorale in Albay. This includes the members of the LGU Ligao who are in their rodeo costumes, the top PMA passers from the province and bloggers.

Other highlights of the event include the showcase of (volcanic) rock stone sculptures by Vicente Ajero aka Intong Bato.

The festival aims to showcase the cultural and tourism wonders of the province, as well as relive the Legend of Mayon Volcano. Thus, the change in the festival’s name from Magayon Festival to Daragang Magayon Festival.

Visit The Oriental Hotel Legazpi to see the exhibit which is open throughout the festival. Try to visit it at night where it shines like a jewel in the dark.

This year the festival runs from March 24 to April 30.

For inquiries and reservations, contact the hotel through reservations@theorientalhotels.com or (02) 9945644 (02) 9945644 [Manila] and (52) 435 3333 / 5555 Legazpi.