About Me

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An occasionally belligerent mother of five and an autism parent / advocate who believes that traveling, good food and good company are vital to keep one sane. I've worked as a news writer/newscaster, a quality systems auditor, a ISO9001 consultant, an FM radio DJ, a Filipino tutor, TOEFL reviewer and have gone into the food industry both as an entrepreneur and as a mommy chef, giving a sponsored demo on healthy cooking in a mall and on local TV. My favorite job however, is being a mom and a wife.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Success By The Dozen (And Counting) - Ridgewood Hotel At 12 And Their Let's Eat This Tag-init Menu

starting them young - here with my blogger-in-training, MAX
In the highly competitive world of the hotel industry, it's always a good thing when you make it through your first year and even better when you make it through the next. 

But for the owners, management and staff of Ridgewood Hotel, the journey is even sweeter now that they have reached the 12th year mark.

a home away from home
To celebrate this momentous occasion, TMW was among those who were lucky enough to be invited to their 12th year anniversary dinner and the kick off for their Let's Eat This Tag-Init menu last March 25.

The affair itself was more than well attended, with Baguio's who's who in the hospitality industry,  media, f&b and social media. 

L-R Kiko V. of ABS CBN Baguio's Mag TV, The Mediocre Wanderer family, Ridgewood Operations Manager Russ de Guzman and SM's Eljay Ursua

It was a night of good food, camaraderie and thanksgiving, held at the hotel's restaurant. We'd like to send out a big "thank you" to Ridgewood's Operations Manager, Russel De Guzman.

Baguio's multi talented fashion designer Harvic Dominguez and events coordinator extraordinaire, Chai Ramos

As with the TMW norm these days, I'd like to give you, dear readers, a sneak peek of Ridgewood Hotel's summer menu:

a. Pampagana, Hindi Pampa-High Blood - Chicharon, Mangga't Alamang if these were supposed to be bad for you, then we don't ever want to be good!

b. Soup Ulam - Bulalokaw rich tasting beef broth with greens. Authentic bulalo at it's finest.

c. Salad Muna - Baguio Berde Baguio's famous salad greens, for those who indulged on the first item of this menu :D

d. Pasta Kung Umasta -  Pesto Kasama Kita with tinapa or Pinoy smoked fish on the side as garnish, our MAX had 2 full plates of this dish

rubbing his hands in glee as MAX enjoys his soup and pasta
e. Patok Pag Manok - Cordon Bleu PH Version ham and cheese wrapped in chicken, then breaded and fried then coated with a nice tasty cream sauce. Sobrang cheesy, just the way we like it!

f. BOB (Babi of Baby) - Lechong Kawali Istokwa with Bitter Ocampo love the name, love the huge chunks of lechon cooked in sauce that came with the dish

g. Baka Pag-ibig Na  - Salpicow a saucier version of this classic beef dish

h. Isdabest - fish (and shrimp) menudo I must have more of this!!

We came and left in high spirits, with a full tummy to boot! Too bad we didn't win anything in the raffle, but we had a great time, regardless. 

earlier that evening

blues and yellows to reflect sun and sky at Ridgewood's Let's Eat This Tag Init

 congratulations Ridgewood on your successful event and your 12 solid years in the biz

Thank you Ridgewood Hotel for having us! Congratulation on your 12th year, may you be blessed with 12 hundred more anniversaries!!! 

For those interested in staying at the Ridgewood Hotel for a wonderful getaway or to just simply check out what's cooking, check out their website at this link: RIDGEWOOD HOTEL

From TMW, may all you wanderings be better than ours!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

5 Easy-Peasy Budget Saving Travel Hacks For The Mediocre Wanderer, Using The Internet

tickets via a seat sale promo of Air Asia, accommodations c/o Agoda.com and island hopping tours made through a Palawan based travel agency (booked through the Internet)

Traveling does not come cheap. No matter how "low" the cost is, there's always a way to shave off a few more Pesos, Dollars or what have you - without having to compromise comfort, safety and your overall happiness. Check out these 5 tips we do, every time we travel:

More often than not, when available, the fastest way to get from point A to point B is through flying. There are lots of websites and Apps that offer to search the "lowest" airfare. Those handy helpers have to add a certain "booking fee", which is still much lower than that of a travel agent's but still an added cost. Take out the middle man. 

 earn points for every flight booked or purchases made from affiliated partners. You'll also be informed of seat sales from Cebu Pacific
Subscribe to your favorite airline's social media accounts, join airline club memberships (sometimes for a minimal fee) or follow our blog, The Mediocre Wanderer to be updated on the latest airline promos. After all, the journey of a thousand miles, begins with a seat sale.

In the instances that flying isn't an option (i.e. shorter route, not near airport etc.), the wonders of using the Internet to search for the modes of transportation is a must. Once you find out how to get to where you want, fire up your search engines to access the transport company's website (when available) to check for online specials. If there are several transportation options, you can do a short comparative analysis on which would get you to your destination faster and cost less. 

Also, when traveling with kids or your teens, as well as Senior citizens, always make sure that they have with them, a valid school/senior citizen ID. A lot of bus and ferry companies offer discounts both here and abroad for such things. 

ferry ride to and from Puerto Galera: http://themediocrewanderer.blogspot.com/2016/06/en-route-to-puerto-galera-how-to-get.html

Instead of relying on cabs, opt to use the local transportation - MRTs, LRTs, buses and what have you. 

KLIA2's transportation hub
a. A cab ride from Malaysia's KLIA2 to the KL Sentral can cost you RM 74.3 for a budget cab, while a bus ride from the airport's lowest level cost about RM 10.00 / person. Buses ply the 2 km, 40 minute ride until the wee hours of the morning. From KL Sentral, you can take a cab to get to your hotel. Likewise when it's time for you to head back to the airport. That was a clear RM 40.00 ( PHP 520.00 each way) savings for Phil, MAX and I when we were there!!!

TMW has been using Agoda.com for the longest time. We've been quite satisfied in booking hotel rooms and apartments through this website. Not only do they give low rates year round when compared to the Hotel's published rates, but a free room upgrade during the off peak season  is quite possible after you check in (got a suite upgrade in Macao).

we paid around PHP2500 + for a room via Agoda and got upgraded to one that costs around PHP 13,000+

They also usually uphold the "book now, pay later" policy. Booking through their website allows you to earn points that are convertible to cash, in your next booking. 


A word of caution though when booking, don't bother with the Agoda secret deals, or hotel bookings that just show the general area of your accommodations and the cost, where you find out about where you'll be staying AFTER you've paid for the room. We tried that in our last trip to Singapore. The website claimed that the hotel was in Orchard Rd. It was a CAB or BUS Ride away from Orchard Rd. 

rooftop pool at our serviced apartment in KL, booked through Agoda (One Stop Residences)

Except for this experience, the rest of our bookings through the years have been quite spectacular, and Agoda personnel have immediately stepped in to contact the hotel/resort management when we had issues with our bookings at a resort in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. 

for USD 50.00 a night in Siem Reap (via Agoda, of course), check out :http://themediocrewanderer.blogspot.com/2014/07/royal-empire-hotel-cambodia-hotel-review.html

For bigger groups, do consider Air BNB as a great option to score deals on your accommodations.


More often than not, it pays to research where you're going. This includes not just the country or city, but even malls and airports. Use your favorite search engine to find the airport/transportation company's website, the mall, restaurant or shops you'll be visiting as well as theme parks and attractions. We've discovered that a lot of these places offer tourist discounts or early bird specials.
a. Singapore's Changi Airport - I was able to register for a Changi Rewards card that allowed me to purchase duty free, at NON duty free shops in the airport. That's a 7% discount for a minimum purchase, aside from the tax refunds you get when you declare your other purchases from your trip. Registering my Rewards Card also allowed me a go at an airport raffle, plus a freebie Care Bear.

b. Booking a month ahead at Legoland Malaysia's website allowed us to get a huge discount on our park tickets. Links on what we did and where to book here.

c. Shopping at Somerset 313 in SG led to discounts after I registered my passport at their customer service counter at the mall.

d. Looking up the Internet for the nearest restaurants that our sensory sensitive son MAX would want to eat from showed us the daily offers and promos in his fave restaurant, Sizzling Pepper Lunch. 

These and so much more are available with a click of a mouse and typing a few search words.

The Internet allows you to see just how much travel agencies charge for a tour. Some are totally worth it (Hop On Hop Off Tours) while some could just be a waste of time and money on your part (See our Chao Phraya River Tour)

The most important to take note off in your research is the base cost. If you think that the websites offer steep tour charges, wait til you get to  your country or city of choice, and talk to the locals. If it's lower, exercise caution, ask the hotel staff, haggle and enjoy. 

organized ticketing system for visiting Angkor Wat: http://themediocrewanderer.blogspot.com/2014/07/move-over-lara-here-comes-aya-our.html

But if the prices on the website offers more, booking is just as easy, so go for it.  

bring a school ID for discounts

And there you have it. Quick tips to shave off a few bucks using the Internet!

From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Baguio Food Crawl At The Cedar Peak

Meet my eldest son Trey. At home, we call him Cokey. Yes, I am a mom to a 20+ year old person :)
Since our last Food Crawl at SM North's Food Circuit, eldest son was intrigued as to how food crawling worked. Him being of legal age, I likened it to bar hopping; but instead of having the goal of trying to get more inebriated as the night wore on, the goal of a food crawl was to try as much from the menus of various establishments.

To teach a novice the "Art of a Successful Food Crawl" we went to Cedar Peak Residences, a building right across my son's place of higher learning: The University of Baguio.

Here's where we went, what we ate and what we thought we tried out (all because sometimes the establishment's menu says one thing but ends up tasting like another).


SOLIBAO - serves Filipino dishes, desserts, Cebu Lechon, fresh fruit shakes, Vigan empanada, Shawarma and many more. A veritable food crawl joint on it's own, that's been a premier Baguio food establishment for several decades. (AKA Where you go if you want to enjoy your meal). They also have two other branches in the city.

What We Ate:
a. Binagoongan Binalot - steamed rice, pork binagoongan, salted egg, a huge slice of tomato and soup
b. Pulpog and Ampalaya and Shrimp

What We Thought We Ate: Home cooked meals that remind you of your Mama's cooking, that is; if your Mama can cook good food


CLASSIC SAVORY - opened since the 50s in the Philippines, with two branches in Baguio, they offer Filipino and Chinese dishes and desserts.

sorry, son's pretty new with the" photo before eating" concept

What We Ate:
a. Combo B - classic Savory chicken, Salt and Pepper Squid, Rice, turon and iced tea

What We Thought We Ate: since the whole concept of our food crawl was to hit all the food establishments in the building, we took the easy way out and ordered a little of everything via this little platter. Eldest son, Cokey is now a fan.


LING NAM - Another restaurant that has been around in the Philippines since the 1950s, they're famous for their noodle dishes. Serves Chinese food.

What We Ate:
a. Spicy Spareribs with Salt and Pepper
b. Pancit Canton
c. Fragrant Harbour Rice - fried rice with meat

What We Thought We Ate:
TOO MUCH! This is the first Ling Nam branch in Baguio. I've always loved their food (not as much as I love Hap Chan), but yeah. It's comfort food.



What We Ate:
a. Fisherman's Platter - breaded fish fillet, fried calamari rings and some mussels topped with cheese. Dish comes with tartar sauce and should've had shrimp tempura in it, but the resto was fresh out of shrimp
the menu

What We Thought We Ate: dried, boring bar chow. Mussels were so overcooked that they were stuck on the shells, all shriveled and dried. Fish fillet and calamari tasted the same too - like breading! 

sudoku and word puzzles while you wait to be served

I didn't bother with the tartar sauce, figured it was just mayo anyway. Generously poured a lot of hot sauce on my plate to compensate for the lack of flavors and uber dry textures. They should rename this dish and call it the Baker's Platter instead as everything seemed to taste like bread crumbs anyway.


HOW COW MILK SHAKE FACTORY - milk shakes and cakes. A one stop shop for desserts, sweet things and happy thoughts. Place is uber cute and Instagram worthy

What We Ate, er, DRANK:
a Snow Man Milk Shake -  a white chocolate milk shake

What We Thought We Ate: creamy, milky yummsies! (shake so good, it's rendered our brains to mush)



What We Ate, er, DRANK:
a. Mint Chocolate Frappe - halved my sugar level and still enjoyed this refreshing chocolate drink.

What We Thought We Ate: the folks from Infinitea are "sukis" or regulars in our youngest son's school whenever they have food bazaars and school programs. Yes, we are fans of the brand.


TIYATRO - we thought this was just a KTV / Movie place. Turns out they have that as well as nachos, fries, popcorn and pizza! We will check you out real soon Tiyatro!

There you have it, our Baguio Food Crawl - Cedar Peak Edition. Eldest son and I had a blast and a full belly to boot!

From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!