Food Review: Samjung Grill Restaurant, Poblacion, Makati, PH

Admittedly, this is already a long overdue post. However, as I was perusing my photos in the hopes of clearing up some space on my SD card, I decided, why not write about it.

Last July 14, some co-workers and I braced the rain for hot ramen at Mendokoro. Little did we know that the place was jam-packed and that a hefty amount of people were still in line, waiting for their turn to be served. Saddened yet starving, we had to change plans and look for somewhere else to eat. Left with not a whole lot of options, we took a cab to Makati Avenue and ended up dining in a quaint Korean restaurant named Samjung.

To be honest, it was my first time inside a Korean restaurant. Korean restaurants are everywhere, but I haven’t been in one before. I was never a fan of their cuisine, particularly because, spicy isn’t really my thing. And most of their dishes, well yes, are spicy. While I was hesitant at first, I was easily convinced for two reasons: 1) First times are good; and 2) I was more than hungry. I WAS RAVENOUS. I guess it was the second one that made me go with whatever was put on the table. Not that I cared, I was just really famished. And besides, the belly gets what the what the belly wants.

I won’t be doing a review as detailed as the ones in my previous posts and I hope you all bear with me. Writing this only now makes it rather difficult, as I’m forced to remember the littlest things like what exactly were the dishes we ordered and what they tasted like. Regardless, here’s my review.

Food ⭐⭐⭐⭐

For our mains, we had the their Pork Belly (Php 300) and Rib Finger (Php 500) for our Samgyeopsal and these came with two plates of lettuce and two rounds of refillable side dishes. We also got their Steamed egg (Php 150) and Soy Sauce Chicken (Php 400). The highlights for me were the latter.

The portions were considerable. The Soy Sauce Chicken came with 6 pieces, which was more than enough for the four of us. Nothing beats authentic Korean soy chicken. On another note, the egg was cooked perfectly and the drizzle of spicy powder made it even more delish, so to say.

A significant letdown for me would be the fact that their Samgyeopsal was not as filling. The meat slices were rather few and numbered. I can say that for the four bellies we have, our orders wouldn’t have done us justice if we didn’t get the chicken. Good thing though, was that the meat was fresh and the taste, it didn’t fail us there either. There was a variety of sides that came with the Samgyeopsal; however, the portions were also not as satisfying as we thought or as we would have wanted it to be. Not to mention, only two refills, compared to other Korean restaurants that have unlimited. It could have been a lot nicer with the unlimited, wouldn’t anyone agree?

For our drinks, we had Soju (Php 220). What’s more Korean that Soju, right? From what I know, Soju is Korean rice wine. I would think of it as the counterpart of the Japanese sake. I’ve never had Soju before and I didn’t quite know what to expect, except that it was probably going to taste like vodka. And it did. Stronger. I’d say it was okay, but since I’m personally not a fan of vodka, this drink wasn’t (and isn’t) for me.

Price ⭐⭐⭐

Given the portions and the taste, I’d say the prices are reasonable. I know that meat can be expensive at this day and age so I’m not taking their prices against them. I just think that they should somehow stretch a little bit for their customers, instead of limiting them to just 2 side refills.

Ambiance ⭐⭐⭐

Samjung is a quiet and cozy restaurant compared to the rest of the places within its vicinity. It wasn’t too crowded when we went there, thankfully. It’s also spacious, with a second floor that seemed reserved for larger groups. The decorations were minimal and modest.


Overall, we had a good time. We walked in hungry and came out full and satisfied. Nothing beats bonding over food and trying out new things with friends. I never thought Korean dining would be this fun and exciting. Now I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try it more often.

Until my next food stop,

Neri ❤


Food Review: Filling Station, Poblacion, Makati, PH

What was supposedly a ramen night for a friend who’s bound to the UK very, very soon turned into American dining, which I couldn’t be more thankful for.

I would hear about Filling Station once in a while and I would see pictures of the place and the food here and there. Unfortunately, as it seems I’m the “boring” person who won’t even leave the comforts of her bed, I am quite ashamed and proud to say that I have never been to the so-called Red District at night, nor have I had the chance to experience dining at this restaurant. Until last Friday night. (Thank God for Fridays!) 

Getting to Filling Station isn’t quite a bit of a trouble, if you think about it. It’s within the heart of Makati and is definitely accessible from all parts of Metro Manila. Traffic, though, can make it such a hassle, so watch out for payday Fridays and holidays. Although we anticipated that there MIGHT BE and WILL BE traffic, considering that last November 29 was payday Friday because the following day was a holiday, we sure underestimated how bad it could get. What was initially set for 17:30 became much, much later as two of us managed to arrive past 19:00.

I found my whole dining experience here extremely satisfying and you’ll see exactly why.

Ambiance: A Travel Back in Time ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The facade, as well as the interior, take you back in time to that 50’s American vibe where Elvis Presley, James Dean, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe were stars; where the Cadillac was everyone’s car of choice. Every angle, every corner, was filled with memorabilia from the colorful and eventful past post-World War II.

Food: Good Gracious Servings ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Aside from the entire place being Insta-worthy, the food probably is the best part for me. The servings were big enough for 3 really hungry people and the taste totally did not disappoint. Everything that we ordered proved itself to my sensitive and picky palate.

Presley’s Pasta (558 Php) – One of the house favorites and now I know why. The pasta shells were cooked to perfection and the Bechamel sauce, just mmm-good. This pasta dish comes with pizza bread and grilled beef tenderloins. While the pasta was a complete knockout, the steak cuts let us down. When we say medium rare, we don’t mean overly well-done meat.

Crowne Royale (Php 538) – This half-boneless marinated chicken is another bomb. Served with veggies on the side and onion rings on top, this dish originally comes with garlic rice, but can be switched over to fries at no extra cost.

All-Star Nachos (398 Php) – Another house specialty. Multicolored nacho chips topped with loads of ground beef, jalapeno, black olives, cheese sauce and sour cream will leave you wanting more and more of it. I guess you can never go wrong when they say it’s a crowd favorite.

Frozen Strawberry Margarita (Php 888) – Subtle at first, until it hits your gut. The strawberry in it makes it a little bearable for a drink that’s tequila-based. But remember never to get too cozy. After all, it’s still tequila.

Service: Tick-Tock ⭐⭐⭐

The servers were courteous and welcoming. They had smiles on their faces and they picked up orders pretty well. Serving time, though, was a bit of a turn off for me. They served drinks almost immediately, but then the first plate came 20 minutes after. I reckon the fact that they probably have a lot of patrons and first-time visitors like me, but their service turnaround time must be improved. We never want hungry customers going berserk.

Price: Just Right ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have labeled the prices above and they may seem pricey, yes, but I would say that they’re rather reasonable. The quality of their food and the serving size would speak for the price alone. Unlike some other restaurants with very pricey meals, the dishes here are sure to fulfill your cravings and leave you satisfied for the next 12 hours or so. Filling Station offers the Cadillac table to anyone who’s willing to splurge Php 3,000 for food. Not bad, if you’re a group of 4 or 5. It was kind of a shame that we turned down the table, thinking we won’t be able to consume that amount for grub. Until the bill came and we were only some change away from the Php 3,000. Oh, well. Such is life. HAHA.

Overall Rating: A Delicious Experience 

It wasn’t perfect, but I’d definitely go back. It was a fun and refreshing experience. I can’t wait to try out what else is on their bestseller list. I can only imagine it’s going to be top-notch. Not to mention the 50’s diner theme – AWESOMEEEEEE!



Things can never go wrong when you’re with good friends, dining in good places. Filling Station is located at 5012 P. Burgos Street, Poblacion, Makati City.

‘Til next time,

Neri ❤










Tough Love: The Reality of Long Distance Relationships

To say that long distance relationships are hard is an understatement. I would know for sure, as I’ve been in one for over two years now. If you’re ever wondering what it’s really like, I took the liberty of interviewing my own boyfriend, TJ, to share his personal take on the matter. I opened up the idea to him, and to my surprise, he indulged me. I think he was just really excited to get featured on my blog. HAHA. 😂😂

About TJ

Born and raised in Massachusetts, TJ is a die-hard Star Wars and Led Zeppelin fan. He’s a real badass when it comes to word games. He’s quirky and funny, and he never runs out of things to say. He’s got the perfect blue in his eyes, and he doesn’t even know it. He’s stubborn, a certified snugglebug, a caffeine addict, and a one-of-a-kind pain in the butt.

Let’s see what he has to say about our long distance relationship and LDRs in general. Spoiler alert: Might contain cheese in various forms. 😂😂 

1. When and where did you two meet?

We met November 5, 2014 on Words with Friends during random gameplay. She invited me to play, messaged me and said hi. She was the one who made the first move. *grins*

2. Would you say it was “love at first sight” when you met her or was it the “developing” type? How would you describe it?

I would say both because the immediate attraction was there, I won’t deny it. I fell in love right at the beginning when we exchanged messages and phone calls. Then when I saw her for the first time on video, I was like, “Whoa, I didn’t expect that.” I was just overwhelmed by her beauty. From there, it developed into a greater love and now, as I recall it, it had always been more than puppy love. It was and is the real thing.

3. What would you say is the biggest challenge of being in a long-distance relationship?

I think the biggest challenge is not being able to touch each other in person. Touch is very important in a relationship and the fact that we are deprived of this need because of distance makes our set-up really painful and oftentimes, aggravating.

4. What would you say is your favorite thing about being in a long-distance relationship?

My favorite thing about being in a long-distance relationship is being able to embrace a new culture. She lives in the Philippines and I, the United States, and apparently, our ways of life differ. Being with her has made me realize that in as much as we are alike in a lot of things, we also have palpable differences such as the food we eat and the language we speak. She has inspired me to learn Filipino and without her, I tell you, I wouldn’t have bothered. *laughs*

 5. Has being in this kind of relationship helped you as a person? In what way/s?

Being in this relationship has given me a brand new perspective on love. It has helped me grow as a person, it has taught me the value of waiting and patience. It’s true what they say, “Good things come to those who wait,” and I believe she’s worth all the time and effort. Our phone calls are the only thing we have right now. It’s sad, yes, but we both understand that we have our own lives to live. She works, I work, and we have this 12-hour time difference. It sucks but whatever time we have, we take it, no matter how little, and we make the most of it.


6. Long-distance relationships are commonly frowned upon. How do you deal with it when people say you’re being a fool for choosing a long-distance relationship over a conventional one?

Life is nothing without risk. She is a good woman and I believe that in my heart. It doesn’t matter if she is living faraway or if she is my next door neighbor. What I’m getting at is, distance doesn’t matter. It’s the quality of the relationship we have.

7. Would you say it’s better being in this type of relationship? Why or why not?

That’s a difficult question and there really is no right or wrong answer to this. All I can say is, the quality of a relationship is never determined by its form or type. It depends on the people involved, and how they make things work for them. There is no guarantee that domestic relationships are better. A lot of them fail, just like long-distance relationships. At the end of the day, it boils down to how much effort a couple is willing to put in, in order to make a relationship healthy, fun, and exciting.

8. Last question, what’s the most important advice you can give to people who are in long-distance relationships?

Two things. First, don’t give up. Long-distance relationships are sure as hell difficult and heartbreaking. There will be days when you will break down to tears and wonder how and why it’s all hard. You may feel like quitting but you have to remember not to give up on the relationship. Never give up on the person. Never give up on love. Always try to see it through. Nothing is ever impossible in the name of love. Second, work together as a team. Establish a common goal, that is, to get together. Focus all your energy into the fulfillment of this desire. Work until distance becomes history, and you two are able to live your own happy ever after. 😉

So there it is guys! To be honest, he and I share the same sentiments and I’m almost certain that anyone who has been and who is in a long-distance relationship right now would very much understand where this is all coming from. TJ and I have been through a lot of ups and downs. Distance sure makes the heart grow fonder, but it doesn’t get easier especially when the yearning turns to frustration and the latter translates to tension. If you ask me how we managed to stay together, I guess it was because we both understood the imperfection of our situation. We worked our way through disagreements and made conscious efforts to stay in touch and really, really talk about things that bother us, scare us, and those that make us happy altogether.

I’d love to hear your insights about long-distance relationships. If you’re in one right now or have been in one on the past, I’d love to hear from you. Leave them comments below!

See you around lovebirds, 


Up, Up and Away: Fulfilling the Dream of a Lifetime Blog Series, The End of an Era

It sounds tragic, even to me as the writer, to name this chapter the way I did. But as Alexander Graham Bell once put it, “When one door closes, another opens.”

The moment I affixed my signature on the crisp paper that read Job Offer, I knew there were a lot of things that I needed to put into perspective. Yes, my life is about to change. But before it could, I have to go through two exams – mandatory, before my application with NMC could be formally lodged.

Part of the requirements for UK employment is the dreaded IELTS test. Both my employer and agency recommended that I enroll myself in a review center in preparation for the said exam. I heeded their advice and decided to go for the review. This decision, however, came with another – leaving my job.

I never realized how staying in an institution for nearly 3 years could hold me back. Working for MakatiMed has been a whirlwind experience, with a lot of ups and downs, days when I cursed non-stop, days when I barely had time to pee or eat, and days when I could’ve spent holidays at home with my family instead of reporting for work. Then again, I wanted to be a nurse. Yes, there were bad days but there were also good ones. Days when patients let you know they appreciate you and what you do for them, days when you just have 2 patients and days when you get by a shift without admissions, trans-ins, and complaints. I knew I was going to miss it all but I gambled and took my chances anyway. It was in October of 2016 when I left. Like what I always said to myself back then, whatever it is I’m doing, it’s all for this dream worth chasing – the UK.

It was mid-November when I started my review in JRooz. I was enrolled in the Unlimited program, which afforded me the countless sit-ins, mock exams and one-on-one coaching sessions I had, before taking the exam January of the following year.

I didn’t get it right the first time, and that alone crushed me. I had been sick days before my actual test; I showed up for my speaking exam, feverish, constantly coughing and sneezing. To top it all, I barely had voice, which was a big no-no. 😓 This carried on until the day of my written exams. I was, in no way, fit to take any test – as I was physically exhausted and mentally unprepared. As soon as I walked out of the ballroom, I knew better not to expect.

13 days later, the results were released. I was right not to expect good scores. I felt awfully sad and frustrated, seeing as I made it on all sub-tests except for Writing, where I only got 6.5. Failure never hit me hard like it did that time; that 0.5 away from my target score meant I would’ve to resit the exam again. Nooooooo. 😭😭😭

There was no telling how heartbroken I was then. I debated whether retaking the exam or having my current one remarked would be the best option to take. I slowly lost my resolve to continue the UK dream, but it was my mom who dragged me back to JRooz, who told me that it was foolish to abandon everything all because of one setback. And she was right. I probably stressed myself way too much because of the exam that I ended up getting sick.

I gathered all the strength I had to set my priorities straight this time. I was more focused – the exam was beatable, given the right attitude and preparation. Yes, preparation and at the same time, taking care of myself. When I started going back to JRooz, I was fortunate enough to be part of the “pilot” class of the Intensive Writing Workshop. Here, I learned how to think faster and write better. I couldn’t be more thankful for the timing. It was exactly what I needed . 😇😇

It was March 25 when I decided to take the IELTS again. Doing it for the second time, I’d say the overall experience was better. It gave me quite an edge because I already knew what to expect from the test, the examiners, and the whole nine yards. I felt more confident and relaxed. But more than that, I guess it’s because I wasn’t sick that day. Yessss!

As soon as I finished my exams and walked out, I felt positive. I was happy because this time, I knew that I was able to give my 101%. Though I was not discounting the fact that the exam was rather challenging, I knew in my heart that I gave my best shot. Whatever happens, happens. Results came out after almost two weeks. I was blown away with my scores and couldn’t help but cry, laugh, jump and shout. I was able to hurdle my Writing; and got an 8.5 for Listening, 8.0 for Reading and Speaking and 7.5 for Writing. I didn’t expect such good scores. All I wanted was to pass, and God simply gave me so much more. It couldn’t have been all me – I know God, the stars and fate were all on my side. They wanted me to be in UK and that’s why I passed. Great way to look at it, eh? 😊😊😊

One down, more to go. My IELTS journey was not perfect, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I went through failure, but rose up to the challenge and proved something to myself. Remember: The only time you fail is when you stop trying.

Here are my tips for aspiring IELTS test takers:

  1. Embrace the English language. Language is a skill and for you to be proficient at it, you have to practice. Practice! Practice! Practice!
  2. Bombard yourself with everything English. Watch English shows, read English books and speak in English. Listening to podcasts might also be helpful.
  3. Really review for the exam. If you can, you might want to consider taking a course on IELTS or hiring a freelance IELTS mentor. In this way, you are able to seek feedback, especially when it comes to your writing and speaking.
  4. Check out trust-worthy IELTS sites like IELTS Liz IELTS Buddy or IELTS Simon. You can also find them on YouTube for tutorials. Personally, I found Learn English with Emma very useful during my review. She has a playlist of IELTS lessons that gets you covered from Listening to Reading to Writing and finally, Speaking.
  5. Have the right attitude and disposition towards the test. The IELTS is not impossible to pass. All you need is to work hard and I guarantee you, you will reap the fruits of your labor. Likewise, learn to take care of yourself. If you feel too stressed, take a break from studying and find something relaxing to do. Take it from me, you can’t ace the exam if you’re not at all okay to begin with.

To those of you who will take the IELTS, pray a lot. Do your best. GOOD LUCK AND MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU.

Leave ’em comments below. If you have some questions, you can reach me at

Bye for now,


Up, Up and Away: Fulfilling the Dream of a Lifetime Blog Series, The Birth of an Idea

dream (noun)

: something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time

In my twenty-seven years of existence, I’ve had quite a number of dreams. As a kid, I wanted to become a doctor, a pediatrician to be exact, a teacher, and an actress. Gee, looking back at it now, I can’t help but laugh at myself – I had such high hopes, can you believe it?

Fast forward to the day that is today, a lot has changed. Some childhood dreams got washed away by time and the need to be practical. I ended up as a nurse, basically because I got drawn to the promise of a bright future. Yes, the reality of the nursing profession here in the Philippines continues to stupefy me however way or angle I look at it. Even then, what kept nurses afloat despite the horrendous working hours and the menial pay was the hope that one day, they’d be able to seek a better opportunity abroad and live decently. This same thing has kept me going for nearly three years working as a nurse in one of the most prestigious hospitals in the country. I relied on three things, and God knows that it took more than that and sheer will to get to where I am today. Every day, I had to repeat these words to myself: Better life. Stable job. Income that is going to be more than enough for bills and basic needs.

You’re probably wondering where I am writing this from. If you must know, I’m still here in the Philippines, but God-willing, I hope to be in the UK soon. Yes, you heard it right. That’s where I’m headed and this blog series will be on all accounts of what has happened from day one, what is happening and what will happen to me when I get there. I am way, way behind in my writing, as I’ve come up with this idea not even 48 hours ago. But hold me down to it, I will try my damnedest to recount everything that took place from the time I decided to embark on this journey.

So now, where do I begin? Hmmmm, let me see. It was 2016. September. I had grown weary from days and nights spent being a nurse. It sure had its perks, which I did get to enjoy most, if not all. 😉 The sad truth was, no matter how much working with the rest of the team felt like bonding with family, my exhaustion finally took a toll on me. I realized I wasn’t happy anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a nurse. I wouldn’t have stayed being one if I really didn’t feel passionate about it. It just got to a point where I paused momentarily, looked at myself, and asked “Is this still worth it?” Aside from the fact that I was clearly experiencing the cardinal signs of what you may call a “burn out,” much of my frustration resulted from the inequity that is – how inversely proportional every nurse’s pay grade is to the amount of workload he bears. I was part of the industry for a while and with my own eyes I saw how nurses grappled just to make ends meet. I was one of them.

It was heartbreaking, bearing this in mind every time you had to go into work. But my inner resolve was much stronger than I imagined – when every day felt like a quitting moment, a mental picture would flash right before my eyes and remind me that in 5-10 years, all the hardships would pay off. That kept me going, what urged me to wake up and brace yet another 8 or sometimes 12-hour shift without breaks in between. You have no idea what it feels like to put this all down into writing. Surreal. I feel like I deserve to score an Olympic medal or an Oscar trophy. Haha. 😁

Going back, it was late last year when I ended up fooling around with the idea of working abroad. To be honest, while I have considered the possibility of a life away from friends and family, I haven’t really made a solid decision about it yet. It seemed pretty tempting, especially when a lot of your colleagues are doing the same thing. Bandwagoner, I guess that’s me. 🙂 Out of curiosity, I managed to send out resumés to one or two recruitment agencies. One thing led to another, and to cut the long story short, I got a job as a nurse in the UK. It all happened so fast, that none of it even registered to me at first glance. Suspension of disbelief. This is how I would phrase that moment. More than ecstatic, I felt a whole lot of emotions overwhelm me. I felt worried and anxious because not only did I have to physically and emotionally condition myself to take in what would be – the biggest change in my life – the immediate need was for me prepare myself mentally. Just when you thought you’re already done with exams, you realize that life is one hell of a test. No way you and I are getting out of this, brotha. 🤣

Anyway, in order for me to jump-start my Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) application, two exams were deemed necessary – one is this English proficiency exam called the IELTS, and the other is a nursing competency exam, which is the CBT.

Join me as I open the next chapter of this blog series with my experience sitting the IELTS. Crazy things happened along the way and I’m looping you in with all the juicy details.

See you around,