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Max’s Restaurant has some great chicken!

 

I woke to a tropical depression in Quezon City, Philippines and I was hungry. The closest thing was Max’s Restaurant. It is a chicken restaurant that has stores across the Philippines. It is pretty tasty for what they have if you ask me. Read more

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El Chupacabra: Mexican food in Makati!

I was looking for Mexican food in Makati and I remember walking by this place called El Chupacabra on a side street in Makati. I thought I would go back and see what the food was like. Was it really authentic? Who knows.

One of the problems in the Philippines is, despite being Spanish for 350+ years, it is hard to find good Mexican food in the country. The few that try fail terribly normally. As you can imagine, I was interested in this would be yet another failure or if they actually made it work!


I will go ahead and give you the spoiler: It was quite good and pretty close to Tex-mex. However, it comes at a price as well. We will talk about later.

El Chupacabra expats

My experience looking for Mexican food in Makati?

I ran into a subscriber to my Youtube channel and told him I was about to go and do a review of a Mexican restaurant so he wanted to go with me and try it out too. It is always cool to connect with people who only know me through a computer screen and a camera len.

We got there right as they were opening (a little after noon) so we was the first customers and we sit down in the corner and waited for the menus.


If you are wondering the prices, tacos are between P110 and P130 ($2.20-$2.60) and burritos are between P200-P300. ($4- $6) Yes, it is a little pricy but the area has some pretty pricy restaurants.

He got the Beef Tapa (I do not remember the price) and I just ordered a Steak Taco (Carne Asada) that was on the Tex-Mex menu. That was $2.63 or P131. It was very good but not sure it was worth the price. However, I guess it is all about supply and demand.

El Chupucabra tacos

 

I didn’t get a coke because I didn’t want to throw down the P80 ( $1.60) for a can. I am not super cheap but that is a little pricy for me. Sorry, El Chupacabra!

As far as the food itself, it was quite good and I must say I was pretty impressed with the quality. As I said, most mexican food in Makati is a disappointment. I might have low expectations but I did leave impressed!

El Chupucabra staff

Where to find El Chupucabra?

If you are coming to Burgos Street (the whore area), you just go to Mercedes St by the Lokal Hostel. (It runs right next to the main road called Kalayaan Ave.) You walk past Clipper Hotel and turn at the Iglesia Ni Cristo Church on Felipe Street. It is about 15 yards (or meters) down the street.

The other street on the other end of the block is Polaris Street. It runs down to where Kenny Rogers and Burger King is located.


If you can’t find it, just ask a local, most should be able to help you find it. It is on a side street but this is where the local come to eat. They know the area very well.

If you have been there, what was your experince? Would you recommend it as Mexican food in Makati City? 
Here is the video review on El Chupucabra, Mexican food in Makati City



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Best Hostel in Makati: My stay at Hilik Boutique Hostel

I was in Makati, Philippines and I needed a place for the night. I tried out the new Hilik Boutique Hostel above Subway. I knew it was clean, has wifi, and gave you a free breakfast. All of which are winners in my mind.

I have had friends tell me that it was pretty good and I do have to admit that they have an amazing location. They are directly across the street from the night market at A-venue mall. You can not ask for a better place to base out of while in Makati. If going to the triangle, you are there in five minutes by foot.


One thing that I really thought added character to the place was the painted up walls with traditional filipino themes. It was pretty cool especially to see a guide for basic tagalog words (the language spoken by most in Metro Manila).

Hilik Hostel painted walls

Sony Nex 5t, 1/160 sec, F/, 2000 ISO

Another thing I did notice quickly is how professional they run the Hilik Boutique Hostel in Makati and the staff are quite on top of any issue that someone had. It was refreshing to see as this is not always the case in the Philippines.


They seemed to all speak very good English and was smart cookies. One of my pet peeves about the Philippines is hostel with staff that do not understand English much. It is hard for people from somewhere outside the region of the Philippines to communicate with them. This was NOT an issue here. I was very thankful for this.

If you just go to the desk and ask them for something, they will help you out. One of the guys even ran downstairs to the Mini Stop store for me!

Hilik Boutique Hostel beds

Sony Nex 5t, 1/100 sec, F/3.5, 3200 ISO

What does Hilik Boutique Hostel offer?

According to Agoda, they have free wifi, lockers, and a shared kitchen (not sure about that one). They also offer free breakfast.

For me, I needed a clean bed in an air conditioned room. I knew that I could find it there. Some of the hostels along Makati Avenue are closer to whore houses than hostels. I needed something clean and professional.


The next thing that I needed was free wifi. They also have a free desktop in the lobby for people to use. I wanted wifi that was in the dorm though. Hilik Boutique Hostel provided that. I did not remember to check the speeds as I was very tired from traveling. I was able to upload a 10 minute video in about an hour if I recall right. Should not be a problem for the average user.

The last thing that I wanted was the free breakfast. I am sorry that I didn’t have my camera with me but it was two eggs scrambled and some toast with Peanut Butter. They also provided some juice for drink. It is not much but hey, it was included in the price for staying there.

One other thing that I really liked was that the staff let the people in the room control the air conditioner. Filipinos have a history of turning rooms into ice boxes. I liked that I could make sure the room was comfortable without being a walk in freezer.


All in all, it might not be the cheapest place in the Makati area to stay at, the location and the breakfast do make it a winner in my mind. However, I have not stayed at many hostels in Makati. I do live in the city is the reason.
Hilik Boutique Hostel prices

What about prices and booking?

I paid P500 or $10.04 for the night but I see that Adoga is booking nights for $8.97. My suggestion is use them if you are staying more than one night. A few night of saving can buy you some pinoy Barbeque at the night market across the street.

While they are not the cheapest, they do have clean beds, free wifi and breakfast to make it of value.


Anything under P500 would lead me to believe they would start to cut corners to be cheaper and you would value or security in the process. That is nothing something you want to risk while in Metro Manila.

Hilik Boutique Hostel dorms

Sony Nex 5t, 1/50 sec, F/3.5, 3200 ISO

Getting to Hilik Boutique Hostel

If you are coming from the airport (most would), there is a few options for you. It will depend of how many bags you have which is best for you.

The clear choice is to use a taxi cab at inflated prices. If using the airport cabs, plan for P300 or more for the short trip. I DO NOT suggest using them. You can easily walk across the street from Terminal 3 at NAIA Airport and get a cab for less than P150.


Another option would be to take the Airport shuttle to Baclaran (behind McDonalds) and walk about 50 meters to the MRT train. Just take the train for two stops to Ayala. From there you just walk to Hilik Boutique Hostel that is about a kilometer from the terminal. This option would cost you about P35 or less than an American dollar.

The final option would be the very adventurous and should only be done in daylight. It would mean walking across the airport to Newport area. Once there, you would get a jeepney to Roxas Blvd for P8. After that, grab a bus to Ayala and do as I said above.

If something in on a bus to Cubao, grab a bus that is going to Ayala Station and get off there.

If you do stay at Hilik Boutique Hostel, let me know how it went!




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Malate is a no go for tourist!

If you are staying in Metro Manila, some people will say that you should stay in Malate in Old Manila. I do not and can not recommend this. I would strongly suggest that you do not stay there if you are a single woman! The problem with Malate is its crime and poverty. When those two mix, you have a recipe for trouble and lots of it.

I am from Manila. I know the city. I know where to go and not go. I know that one street can be safe and the two streets beside it can be dangerous. Read more

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The Jeepney is the way of life in Manila

If you are traveling across the Metro Manila, there is a good chance that you will end up in a jeepney at some point. People love them and people hate them but everyone end up using one before they leave. Filipinos have no choice: it is the only affordable way to travel.

After World War II and having alot of military from the United States in the Philippines; there was a surplus of Willys Jeeps that was offloaded to the local Filipinos very cheaply. Read more