Your cup filled with local stories 🙂

We, Filipinos, are naturally food lovers. When we were young, there were these foods that our parents and our grandparents, especially, will surely love to prepare for us. There were also these foods that are distinct dish or menu of our family, and are even pass on from generation to generation. During feasts or occasions, there are still these foods that will always be present on our table tops. Who are not familiar with foods like biko, suman, puto and bibingka? These are just some of the foods I grew up munching that are really prepared at home and are made with love. As you are reading this, do you have in mind that famous delicacy your family is known to prepare? (Let me know through your comments below).

You are for sure familiar with these foods, right? Which one’s your favorite?

As I came to Cebu last year, I became fascinated with the city’s lights, with the unlimited offerings of some food shops and restaurants and its interior designs, the tastes of trendsetting milkteas and frappes and mostly with the instagrammable designs most of cafés and coffee shops have. However, my country-girl heart still seeks for that dishes I grew up with, and sometimes miss and wish to find some of those delicacies in the heart of Cebu. As I was browsing my Facebook newsfeed, I happen to see this post and my heart skipped a bit!

A similar post like this one on FB had caught my attention. I wanted to check the place for myself, and of course I cannot let that day passed without also getting this one good shot!

Thank God, that in this vast town like Cebu City,  I finally found the meriendas and local delicacies I am mostly familiar with. Not only that I found them, but what also delights my travel-spirit heart is I can pair these delicacies special in my heart while having a scenic mountain view. How lovely would that be, right? So with great excitement and without a doubt, to finally taste these long-time favorite delicacies we all grew up loving, I invited my friends to come and have fun!

L-R: The Minkay Life, Wife and Friend of Bisayang Lolo, Pink na Baboy Diary, Bisayang Lolo, Miss Divine (co-owner of Maharlicup), Chasing James and yours truly. The more, the merrier!

As we arrived in the place, it was raining so hard, so hard that we can hardly see the mountain top. However, this did not worry us, because we were welcomed by a foggy mountain which we can rarely see and experience in the city, so we were enjoying our mug with that foggy background. The fun just started…

The heavy rain welcomed us!
Wanting to get that perfect “mug” shot, but yeah,that fog is legit! No filters,no edits needed!

We had the chance to interview one of its co-owner, Ms. Divine Valiente, and we were inspired by their aspirations for the café. Maharlicup does not only give you a perfect view for your perfect mug, but more importantly, they showcase varied local delicacies all over the Philippines. Each delicacy has its own story, each representing its town. When you come to Maharlicup, you’re like touring around the Philippines, each is represented with a famous local delicacy. At the moment, most of their delicacies come from the different towns of Cebu, so more like you’re knowing the culture of Cebuanos through their delicacies served at Maharlicup.

Below are Maharlicup’s main local delicacies that you can check and taste when you visit at their place.

Bibingka from Asturias – the pride of Northern Cebu. I personally love the soft texture of this delicacy… and the taste? Similar to that bibingka our aunt prepares before when I was a child.
Naaay! Who wouldn’t love to lick those overloaded grated cheese atop of ensaymada? Definitely, this one is attention-stealer!
I quote Minkay’s line, “Only Filipinos eat morons”! Yessss! This is Leyte’s pride – MORON! I had the first taste of this last year when my husband’s classmate, who later became my classmate,too (Hi, Ma’am Khul!), brought morons to school and we all had a taste of this yummy delicacy! It’s a rice cake that is rolled and wrapped in a banana leaf. Sometimes, it comes with chocolate fillings, too.
DaanBantayan’s famous Royal Bibingka. Maharlicup was rooted from the term Maharlika – an ancient classification of Filipinos for noble or those with royal blood. So, I think, you’ll surely feel ROYAL with this supersized bibingka! 🙂
Presenting the pride of Argao – TORTA!
FUNFACT: Torta de Argao’s secret ingredient is the coconut wine or “tuba”, plus the sugar sprinkles and grated cheese atop.
This Yema Cake is very delightful and inviting to the eyes, something that you really can’t resist! I think millenials will surely love this delicacy as this one is very pleasing and indeed salivating!
Maahrlicup’s flagship! The famous Puto Maya– made of sticky rice and coconut milk, plus Cebu’s pride Sikwate, is indeed a perfect match! The ripe mango even adds to the perfect combination!

At some random times, Maharlicup also serves varied delicacies that some locals would bring into their café. They support micro entrepreneurs by purchasing these homemade delicacies and displaying it in their shop. By doing so, they help the small entrepreneurs get a sustainable living.

Imagine yourself having snacks here with your friends and families, and automatically, you were able to help out and support local communities without getting an idea! But now that you’re reading this, I hope you’ll support even more by spreading the news and sharing this good news to everyone!

I hope that you can come by at Maharlicup if you want to escape the noisy and busy street of the city. Or if you will bring some friends to Sirao, don’t miss the chance to drop by at this café as this is only by the Transcentral Highway. It is highly encouraged to come at golden hours to maximize the mountainous view. Most of the café’s loyal customers are bikers who pass by at 6AM having their runs.

Brgy. Malubog, Busay Transcentral Highway, Cebu City
Experience great delicacies with a great view at Brgy. Busay! Experience it at Maharlicup!


Other Information

Location: Brgy.Malubog, Transcentral Highway, Busay, Cebu City

Operating Hours: 6AM to 10PM

Facebook Page: Maharlicup

How to get there?

  • From JY Mall, ride a motorcycle (habal-habal) with a one-way fare of 75php to 100php.
  • You may ride a taxi or grab, however oftentimes, it is difficult to go back to city proper unless you ask the driver to wait for you and pay them with meter off.
  • You can also ride a taxi/grab going there and ride a habal-habal in going back to JY Mall.

Here’s a google map when you are coming from JY Square Mall to Maharlicup.

Happy munching, my dear laagans! Don’t forget to tag me when you had the chance to come by! Happy wandering!


How Did I Meet CharaBento?

CharaBento Cafe at Talamban TimeSquare.

One day, my adventurous friend, “Chasing James”, went to Robinson’s Time Square at Talamban to shoot some video clips for his vlog of the selected items we have hauled from Thrift Shop (Ukay-Ukay). At that time, there’s a program happening in the activity area, so we were looking for a possible place were we can have our fun shoot. We happened to see this café that really caught our attention. And since we didn’t have our lunch yet, we decided to get inside and had our meals.

Cozy cafe that is perfect to stay with yourself or with your squad- truly,it caught our attention.
I am loving this lamp. My eyes for photography is triggered 🙂

Upon ordering, we saw in their menu these very affordable meals that are prepared artistically, very instagram-perfect! My eyes were delighted and with no second thoughts, I ordered the three-bear bangsilog and James had his cute panda pork-adobo meal.

Who wouldn’t get fascinated with this cutie meal! On July 19, I posted this on my personal FB account and this was even shared by Robinson’s TimeSquare-Talamban.

Later, I learned that Charabento had been having charabento classes previously and had stopped since the soft opening of their café here in Timesquare, Talamban. I actually have been eyeing on bento meals since before. I have a parent in the private school where I taught before in Zamboanga, who has been preparing artful bento meals for her kids and has always been posting her prepared meals on her FB account. I always wish to learn some things about creating and preparing these kind of meals for my “tatlong bebes” (my three boys).

I felt like heavens above had listened to my prayers and wishes! After years of just seeing posts after posts on Facebook, I finally had a chance to experience first-hand the preparation of bento meals! At last, it is happening now and this wish is granted because of Charabento! Together with Vlogger/YouTuber, Ma2ke TV, we had our Charabento tutorials from the owner herself, Ms. Rowena Ajero.

I am with Ada Elaine and Ada Nonie of Ma2ke TV. They were having their Intro Spiel at this moment 🙂

The Start of CharaBento

Ms. Ajero shared to us that her hobby of creating these artful meals was primarily because of her kids. Being an artist, herself, she was able to translate this passion into creating bento meals creatively. Bento, as known in Japan, is a single-portion homemade or takeout meal that is composed of rice, meat and vegetables. Because Ms. Ajero had the artistic way of creating some famous cartoon characters into her bento meals and bento boxes, she named this CHARABENTO – which means Characters in Bento.

Some bento samples at CharaBento by Ms. Rowena Ajero.

CharaBento Class

If you’re a mom like me who has their preschoolers who are difficult to feed, or an Ate or future moms out there,  here’s a new, trendsetting way of preparing meals that every kid, AND even adult will love. If you’re in Cebu, and is wanting to learn the art of creating bento meals, here’s a good news for EVERYONE and for every aspiring bento artists out there! CharaBento is again opening their CharaBento Classes once a month starting this August 2019. The classes are open every last Sunday of the month.

Come and join with your kids this artful way of creating bento boxes!

Important Information:

  • What: CharaBento FunMeet/Mini Workshop
  • When: Every Last Sundays of the Month Starting August 2019, 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Where: CharaBento Café, 2/F Talamban Time’s Square, Gov. M. Cuenco Ave. Cebu City
  • Participation Fee:
  • P750 (mom and child)
  • P500 (without companion)

The registration/participation fee includes the food ingredients for 2 bento boxes, the free use of tools and some refreshments.

Please check this link for the registration and for a slot reservation.

What are you waiting for? Unleash that creativity in you! Come and join them and you’ll be really surprised with the outputs you’ll produce. Don’t worry if you feel that you don’t have that talent, because honestly,I had been there. I felt like I have no art skills, really, but you’ll just be amazed once you finished creating your CharaBento meal.

Presenting you our final outputs! Teneeen!!! Who would have thought we have the art skills hidden on us. Can you spot which bento box is mine? 🙂
Posting this because I’ve never been proud of my momma-preparing-food career except today! Haha

Checkout these fun-filled photos we have during our tutorial session with Ms. Rowena on CharaBento Making.

Sidetrip review of their sunset drink – perfect match for your bento box!
Who would have thought I can produce this kind of output? Haha! I am even surprised, too. 🙂
Ms. Wheng and her proud students for the day.
(L-R: Ada Nonie, Ada Elaine, Ms. Wheng and Maistrang Laagan)

I can’t put much into words my experience for this bento tutorial, but I have it documented on my vlog. Please make sure to watch it on my Youtube Channel, link is here.

For more information or queries, please visit and like the pages CharaBento and CharaBento Foodart, Coffee and Tea House of Ms. Rowena Ajero.

How to get here?

From Ayala Malls, you can ride a 13C jeepney with a fare of 11php or may opt to ride a taxi or grab. Below is the google map direction of CharaBento, TimeSquare Talamban if you are travelling from Ayala Center Cebu.

Hope to see you there, dear laagans!!!


My Impressions On Tea

Growing up, I have not been a tea fan or tea lover because I feel that the taste of it is so plain and it does not satisfy my palate (or maybe I have been tasting the cheapest teas before 🙂 I grew up loving sweets and sweet drinks, and tea is never on my list. However, the rise of milkteas changed my perspective. In Zamboanga, there’s this rising milktea store in the school where I have taught that really made every student and teacher crazy! On my first year here in Cebu City, I’ve been hopping to café shops to find the best milktea, and taste the best frappes and smoothies in town.

Early this year, I became conscious of my body and weight, and I promised myself to lose weight and look better on the outside. I went into a fitness gym and never rested except Sundays of the week. During my first week at the gym, I had a hard time controlling my food intake, and I remember I have a former student who’s now a registered nutritionist/dietician and a fitness instructor. I tweeted her and ask for some advice like the basic things to do when attending gym sessions. One of the things she said was to drink tea, specifically green tea, and more importantly to drink this before bedtime. That’s how I got to know tea better, and the health benefits it gives to our body. By that time, I forced myself to at least do the routines of drinking tea twice every day. But still, I only do that for the purpose of losing weight to partner with my gym routines, and because I still don’t love the taste of it, drinking tea did not become a habit and it did not last.

The taste of pure tea is finally here!

Checklist on the Health Benefits of Tea

  • Tea contains antioxidants.
  • Tea has less caffeine than coffee.
  • Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Tea may help with weight loss.
  • Tea may help protect your bones.
  • Tea may keep your smile bright.
  • Tea may boost the immune system.
Healt benefits of tea, ALERT!
Island Tea’s loose tea leaves that differentiates them from the market.
Yes! Keep that SMILE bright! 🙂

On Tasting the Best Tea

I realized that the taste of teas perhaps depends on the type of tea, or on the brands you take. I remember my co-teacher in Basilan, Ryan, who has been ordering and drinking tea whenever we go and eat out with some friends on the famous hotel and restaurant we have there in town, I actually love the taste of their tea there. Although I don’t order teas, but Ryan will always willingly share or let us taste the tea he will order every time we go there. There’s a smell and taste of sweetness that soothes perfectly to your nose and throat. I thought that was the best tea I will taste ever for the rest of my life, until I tasted the tea of Island Tea Co!

Getting to Know Island Tea Co. More!

Island Tea Co. is not just a typical milk tea store! For the information of everybody, they are not even a milk tea store. They are actually a TEA STORE that sells one of the finest tea in the country. Their edge over other tea or milk tea stores? They give us the best and finest Ceylon Teas that are ONLY produced in Sri Lanka! Plus, what you get are not just ordinary teas that are prepared on tea bags and concentrates, but theirs are teas that are prepared from loose, dry tea leaves! So, yes, you are tasting not only the imported and finest teas from Sri Lanka, but you know as well that the tea you are drinking are more organic, healthier and 100 % natural tea compared to other tea beverages you’ll taste on some café or milktea stores!

So, yes, they are proud to claim that they serve the real tea because of their loose leaf teas! And yes, after tasting their teas and milkteas, I am more than convinced, without a doubt!

One of their best sellers – wild berry tea!

At first, the idea only started with bringing and selling loose tea leaves here in the Philippines, until the owner, who’s by the way a Sri Lankan himself, thought of expanding it as a store that caters other trendsetting tea beverages.

Diffrent flavors of their loose tea leaves that are also sold per gram.

Today, what they have in their stores are the following: milk teas, black teas, green teas, fruit teas, tea mocktails, tea shakes and tea smoothies. They also serve pure ceylon hot milk teas that are very new and are not seen on other milktea or tea stores. Just as you thought milk teas are cold drinks only, they have hot milk teas here that will perfectly compliment your mood.

This nutella cream cheese milk tea tastes heaveeen – my personal favorite!
To fight with the warm weather outside, this cold tea mojito will quench your thirst! You must try this best selling iced tea!
The making of nutella cream cheese milktea
Proud to say that Island Tea Co. is “Serving Pure Ceylon Tea”<3

If you have tasted their tea, for sure you will love to come back. If you’re on tight budget, don’t worry because you can still get your finest teas and prepare it at home! They actually sell loose tea leaves of different flavors by grams.

Check out the prices of your favorite flavors which are sold per gram.

After having been gone to Island Tea Company, I honestly started looking online for tea infusers so I can start buying loose tea leaves from them and have a tea party any time at home! I am excited to share this best tasting tea to my friends, and to Ryan, when I get back to Basilan. 🙂

The Menu:

To go with today’s trendsetting tea beverages, they offer different tea drinks from hot teas to iced teas – all with the flavor of the purest tea from Sri Lanka!

They also offer other pastries that vary every day, to perfectly compliment with your favorite tea beverages.

Island Tea Co Branches:

Join their team as they are open for franchise! As of today, they have the following branches open nationwide:

Now Open – SM North Edsa Manila Ayala Feliz Marikina, Ayala Market ! Market! BGC, Taguig Outlets at Lipa, Batangas SM City Cebu, SM Seaside City Cebu, Robinsons Galleria Cebu, Parkmall Cebu, ICM Mall, Tagbilaran, Bohol, J Center Mall, Mandaue, Cebu, SM Uptown, Cagayan de Oro, South Town Centre, Talisay, Cebu Shopwise Batangas, H Mall, Mactan.

Opening Soon – SM Taytay, Manila, SM Masinag, Manila, Sundance Residences Cebu City, Gaisano Mall, Davao, Ayala Central Bloc – IT Park, Cebu, Ayala Abreeza, Davao, Festival Walk Mall, Iloilo, Pacific Mall, Mandaue & Many more locations nationwide !

For further information, and for some promos available in their selected stores, visit their Facebook Page here.

The wanna-be model of Island Tea Company! 🙂

Definitely I have changed my idea on teas after having been gone to Island Tea Co. It’s absolutely a must-try. If you’re like me who’s not a fan at first of tea, come and taste the purest Ceylon Tea in the country now and let me know your experience! This is something you don’t want to miss out!

Please make sure to check and subscribe to my YouTube Channel: Maistrang Laagan for the video of my Island Tea experience. Link is here.