Rizal’s Little Tokyo: Sakura Circle

My cravings for takoyaki (and adventure) led me to Sakura Circle, a venue filled with Japanese-themed stalls, including restaurants, mini-marts, and a salon. Its “title” kind of reminded me of the Little Tokyo in Makati, although this one had more reds and pinks.

How to Go to Sakura Circle

From any point in Ortigas Extension, ride an Antipolo-Tanay jeep (not Antipolo Simbahan). Sakura Circle is just nearby Ynares Center, before Unciano Medical. You can ask the jeepney driver to drop you off at Sakura Circ; other landmarks include Padre Pio and Jollibee.

What to Expect in Sakura Circle

Standing up to its name, Sakura Circle is filled with artificial flower decorations that looked like cherry blossoms, as well as Japanese lanterns and LED lights to complement the whole place. It had two floors, the first containing the restaurants and the garden, the second containing inuman tables.

What to Eat in Sakura Circle

There were numerous restaurants to choose from, but we chose to eat shoyu ramen (Php 215) and takoyaki (Php 90) from Nobuan, teriyaki spam musubi (Php 214) from ABCT kitchen, and cream cheese dark chocolate milktea (Php 120) from Tea Straw Milktea Hub.

If I had to rank our food, the takoyaki from Nobuan will gain the highest spot, followed by ABCT’s teriyaki spam musubi. I’m not sure if the logic behind this ranking is my craving, but the takoyaki tasted good. Swak, kumbaga, especially when I’m reminded of how the cheese inside complemented the crispy, sweet batter. The teriyaki spam musubi had me full (it can be shared by two people), though I wished I knew how to eat it without gloves. I understand that the meat was already salty and the whole dish was already poured with teriyaki sauce, but I wished the rice had some unique taste in it as well.

The ramen and the milktea was okay, but if you’re there to taste something new, I would recommend something else.

Favorite Picture

Sakura Circle
11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
11A Circumferential Road cor Sumulong Extension, Antipolo, Philippines

Las Casas Experience in the City

I had gone to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, and it was one of the memorable tourists destinations I’ve been, I must say. When I heard that there is a Las Casas in Quezon City, going there during my birthday month was one of the things I decided to do.

Note that you still need to reserve your slots by contacting them using proper channels. Our reservation was confirmed, I think, days before the actual date. You can check their Instagram and Facebook for more details.

How to Go to Las Casas QC

We went there via Grab, but at least I could tell that—from where I live in Cainta, Rizal—the nearest and fastest public transport that could drop me anywhere near the venue was MRT 3. From Quezon Avenue Station, there are tricycles nearby that could take you to Las Casas. There may be also be jeepney routes, but I wouldn’t elaborate here since I was not able to experience it first hand.

What to Expect in Las Casas QC

Las Casas Quezon City is smaller than the one in Bataan, as expected, but it has its own charms. You will be greeted by a fountain and a garden filled with angel sculptures that would seemingly take you into another country.

For one hundred pesos, you can also tour around the plaza wherein you can see constructions that may remind you of the Spanish colonial architecture in the Philippines. One of these is St. Joseph Chapel, a well-known venue for weddings.

Both the garden and the plaza could be used for wedding receptions.

What to Eat in Las Casas QC

We arrived an hour earlier our schedule so we toured around the venue first before proceeding to Kusina Marina to dine in.

Our main dishes were bistek tagalog and tortang talong and then taro ice cream for dessert. I could not remember the prices, but these are, altogether, less a thousand. I would recommend the main dishes, but I could not say the same for the dessert.

As a sweet tooth, I felt betrayed that they recommended me this instead of the ube-flavored dessert; thus, I never wished to order something of taro flavor again.

Favorite Picture

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar Quezon City
134 Roosevelt Ave, San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City, 1105 Metro Manila
Website: https://www.lascasasqc.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LasCasasQC/

Mood-Healing Restaurant in Maginhawa: Van Gogh Is Bipolar

One of the restaurants in my “to go to” list was Van Gogh Is Bipolar in Quezon City. It was a restaurant inspired by the prominent post-impressionist artist Van Gogh, who was, in fact, bipolar. I knew about it when a colleague posted a picture on Instagram, but after some research, I decided against going, as the prices didn’t fit my budget and commuting to Quezon City was horrible. A week before my birthday, I finally went for it.

How to Go to Van Gogh Is Bipolar

We went there via Grab, but you can get there via public transportation as long as you know how to get to Philcoa, Quezon City. If you’re coming from Cainta, Taytay, and other East areas like me, you can ride a Crossing Ilalim jeep and then take either a bus going to SM Fairview or the MRT toward North Ave. For the former, tell the driver to drop you off at Philcoa; for the latter, once you get off the MRT station, look for the jeepney terminal and line up for Philcoa. Once you get to Philcoa, look for the tricycle terminal. Line up for the red ones (special) and tell them to take you to 154 Maginhawa.

What to Expect in Van Gogh Is Bipolar

You can dine in one of the two areas of Van Gogh Is Bipolar: Light and Dark. I’m not sure what Light looks like, as there was a workshop when we arrived.

Dark was ornamental and . . . relatable, I must say. I have had depression episodes, and as much as I would love to look at every word on the wall, I was afraid of triggers. I was able to feel manic, the rush of creating something. Later I learned from an article that the owner Jetro Vin Rafael had the same mental disorder as Van Gogh’s. He was there during our stay, and he seemed ecstatic to meet us, informing that we could write letters and place them inside the designated boxes.

What to Eat in Van Gogh Is Bipolar

Upon finding a seat, a “lifesaver” will explain you their menu. Take time to read what they offer. They have five feasts: classic (Php 999 per head), experience (Php 1,250 per head), signature (Php 1,750 per head), lovers (Php 3,850 for two), and great supper (Php 2,750 per head). Our was lovers, which consists of four courses: soup, appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert. Buko juice with chia seeds and a glass of wine were also served.

Before you eat, you will be asked to clean your hands with baking soda and vinegar and then rinse them with warm water. You don’t have to go to the washroom; the lifesaver will bring the needed materials to you.

The appetizer was interesting. It was a “ritual” in Van Gogh Is Bipolar that you have to take their Axl Rose egg shot (which consists of raw egg yolk, tamarind puree, sea salt, chili flakes, honey, and Jägermeister) and then say “salud,” a Spanish word equivalent for toast.

Once you’ve finished the five courses, tea is offered. You choose your tea based on the mood you want to be healed. (Since I was often feeling anxious, I chose light chill.) Also, if you choose lovers feast, you can have one box of your preferred tea.

Favorite Picture

Van Gogh Is Bipolar
Inner Courtyard 154 Maginhawa Street, 1103 Quezon City