Category Archives: More Fun in the Philippines

Colonialism

Last June, we spent the Independence Day holiday over at the Bicol Region.  It’s one of the largest portion of Luzon and is also a good vacation stop-over.  I’ll blog about our trip on a separate post so I can share some of our photos.

When you are in Bicol, the first thing that comes to your mind is FOODTRIP!  Perhaps it has been a staple for Filipinos to treat most of our vacations in several tourist spots into an awesome food trip session.

One of the best restaurants that we visited in Legazpi City was the infamous 1st Colonial Grill Restaurant.

photo source : wowlegazpi.com

Hmm, what can you say about their slogan?  “Where Eating is More Than Just an Experience”

So here’s a peek of their menu:

We just came from a day of touring Sorsogon so we were super hungry that we ordered for a big group whereas we were only three.  Talk about MAJOR Hunger.

I’ll narrow it down to the amazing stuff that we ordered that night and let the food speak for itself..

Baked Mussels (Tahong)

Crispy Pata

Calamares (with and odd salsa dip that tastes ok)

Seafood Paella

Bicol Express (of course! When in Bicol, it’s a must!)

Grilled Spareribs (well, they don’t call it Colonial Grill for nothing..)

and for dessert, we just have to try their famous “Sili Ice Cream

This one’s spicy (of course) but there’s nothing really special about the flavor.  You could easily imagine that it would be a good local version of the Chili Italian Gelato but nope,  it’s just a bit creamy but it lacks flavor.

The food was all in all amazing and it really accentuated the goodness of local Bicolano cooking.  We loved every bit of food we ordered here on top of the huge appetite that we had that day.  Good Job Colonial Grill!

The service was okay since the crew were very nice and accommodating.  The restaurant itself also has a good ambiance.

Beside the restaurant was Bicol Blends Cafe.  Too bad we weren’t able to try it because they closed earlier than usual that night.

It was the perfect ending to a tiring day.  We’ll surely come back to this restaurant when we’re in Bicol again.

1st COLONIAL GRILL

Villa Amada Building, Rizal St. Sagpon, Daraga, Albay

Ground Floor, Pacific Mall, Landco Business Park, Legazpi

– 481-1212 | 820-0985

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Seafood Island Boodle Fun!

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear about eating on banana leaves?  For Filipinos, it would be wow, SARAP (delicious)!  As an old yet well-loved Filipino tradition, eating on banana leaves has been one of the best ways to enjoy our scrumptious native dishes.  May it be on the beach, on a hike trip, a picnic, or any other group gathering, eating on banana leaves is truly the BEST!  A great idea that Blackbeard’s Seafood Island has adopted into their famous line of seafood restaurants.

Blackbeard’s showcases the love for Filipino food in their Seafood Grill/Barbecue House and their Northshore Grill.  My favorite will have to be the Northshore Grill as it boasts of an amazing collection of ‘Boodle‘ Feasts featuring the best combinations of Filipino dishes.  Looks enticing right?  What you’re looking at is called the Kanyaman Boodle Feast and it consists of the following:

Pork Tocino (Sweetened Cured Pork), Steamed Shrimps, Salted Egg with Tomatoes, Kare-kareng Gulay (Vegetable in Sate Sauce) with Crispy Lechon Kawali (Deep Fried Pork Belly), Crispy Fried Hito (Catfish), Pork Sisig, Ensalatang Mangga (Green Mango Salad), and Tons of Plain Rice.

Shrimps, Pork Tocino, Egg, and RICE!

Kare Kare with Crispy Pork Belly

Fried Hito (Catfish)

Pork Sisig Kapampangan (Pampanga Style)

Now that’s what you call a FEAST!  What we ordered was good for 5-6 Persons and it costs only 1,250 Pesos.  What a good catch!   The best way to go is to eat with your hands (all the way Pinoy!) but since you’re served with utensils then there’s nothing wrong if you want to stay clean and hygienic.

Seafood Island also has this pirate-y theme and a cozy interior to get your appetite kickin!

They also have such a bubbly menu with lots and lots of mouth watering dishes to choose from.  Take time to weigh in your decisions when you’re choosing the best Boodle Feast for you and your friends or family.  Trust me, you have too many choices and everything looks so good!

We dropped by their Greenbelt 3 Branch which was quite new and the staff were super friendly.  You may locate their other branches here.  Value for money was absolutely good because you can save a lot when you go for group sharing meals especially when you’re with friends and family.   Two thumbs up! 🙂

Blackbeard’s Seafood Island is owned and managed by the Red Crab Group of Restaurants.  Be on the know of their updates and promos via their Facebook Page.

Happy Boodle Feastin’!! (..and don’t forget to share your own Boodle experience 🙂)

Side Trip : Puerto Galera

I’ve recently been back from an impromptu trip to the south over the weekend and I must say that it was worth the 2 days break.  The beaches of Puerto Galera are well known in the Philippines especially to Manilenos as this is one of the White Sand beaches closest to Manila.  It took us only a total of 4 hours travel time, 2 hours by land/bus, 2 hours by boat.  This beach has been overrated since I can remember because of it’s widely commercialized status.  Many just flock over to experience nightlife, the beach, the nature tour, and of course, the food which can all be achieved in less than 3 days.  This is my first time here since I’ve always preferred Boracay over any white beach and I must say, not bad.

I took this photo atop the steps to our mini hotel room.  The view was spectacular and very relaxing.  Kudos to my friend who picked the place as not many people go to this far end of the beach hence it’s so quiet.

These rocks and boulders are located in the leftmost side of the beach and it’s a good spot to spend the afternoon in.  You can get a good view of the sunset alongside the quite rush of sea water beneath your toes.

Past the houses after the shoreline lies the amazing forests and mountains of Mindoro.  We were lucky to have had the chance to tour this mountain going to Aninuan Falls as it was another wonderful scenery.  Tour cost us only 100 Pesos each.

This is the Aninuan Falls.  It is one of the well known waterfalls in Mindoro together with the Tamaraw Falls.  We were only able to go here but we’ll make sure to visit Tamaraw next time.  The water was so COLD!  but it was so relaxing after an hour or so of trekking.

Aside from the tour, there were also good finds in the beach like these Mangyan Weaving Baskets.

What is beach bumming without these colorful accessories to brighten your outfit?  Vendors can customize these for you too at 50-100 Pesos each.  It’s pretty expensive but it’s nice help these kind vendors out. 🙂

The food for me is OK.  I would suggest that you lower your expectations when it comes to Puerto Galera food.  There’s nothing really special but many food outlets here are quite affordable.  With meals from 100-150 Pesos, you won’t go wrong and it’s fair enough.  This establishment was pretty famous in the island because of their Unlimited Garlic Rice offering and it’s also open 24 Hours.

They have a wide variety of rice meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  All rice meals are valid for their Rice-All-You-Can promo.

Most of their rice meals come with a Salted Egg and a Fresh Tomato on the side.

This Pork Steak Rice bowl costs 120 Pesos and their breakfast meals range from 99 Pesos to 150 Pesos.

Another thing unique about their food stall is their Iced Tea by the Gallon.  It’s cold Iced Tea served on a Gallon jug for you and your friends to share.

This costs 145 Pesos and it is good for 4-5 People.

On the beach, they have these cute Jetski Tables made of old unused Jetskis.

The following day, we were craving for some seafood after 2 consecutive meals in Food Trip.  We stumbled upon this little restaurant by the beach and they sell pretty good seafood dishes.

We had their crispy Calamari which costs 250 Pesos.  Pretty expensive for Calamari though..

We also had Pork Sisig (combination of Pork cuts seasoned and sizzled in a hot plate) at 150 Pesos

Lastly, we had this odd Sizzling Hotdog (seasoned Hotdog cuts) at 100 Pesos

This might be weird but it was surprisingly good.  Not bad for 100 Pesos!  I must say that they serve their food pretty well and these dishes come with a free cup of rice each.  Satisfying!

All in all our stay at Puerto Galera was good enough.  We had a wonderful time and we were able to take amazing photos so it was worth it.  We’ll definitely go back here when there is a chance.  It’s another great spot to de-stress and just relax without the hassle of long travel.

You can find out more about Puerto Galera, Mindoro by visiting this site.

Nothing Beats Their Old Sizzle!

Going back to Baguio, our foodscapade continues as we visit another fave restaurant in the city.  True to it’s slogan, nothing really does beat the ol’ sizzle of Sizzling Plate Baguio as it is known to be one of the best sizzling stops in the summer capital.  Plus points for us since this restaurant is just across the hotel that we stayed in last month (wee!).  People flock over just to get a taste of their various Sizzling Plate specials and for this season, we do have to hustle.  To give you an idea of how crazy Baguio went on last month, here’s a good snapshot:

Need I say more?  But don’t be scared, we did have fun.  Festivals are indeed fun here in the Philippines. 🙂

Going back to Sizzling Plate Baguio was very heartwarming since we did really miss the food here.  We came a bit early for dinner that’s why there were only a few people.

The wooden interior gives a good western-ish theme to the place and it keeps it kinda warm given the chilly weather outside.  People started piling up minute after minute until it was actually dinner time.  All of their sizzling dishes come with free mushroom soup which is a perfect pair to your steak.

The cow doesn’t look to be happy.. obviously.. haha

We both had Tenderloin Steak served two ways.  One is the classic cut..

This time with gravy (yum!).  I had this medium cooked because I don’t want my beef all dried up.

another is called Tenderloin Bits where it’s cut into smaller pieces and served with veggies (excuse the blurry photo)..

It was really good and a very nice way to heat up in the cold Baguio climate.  We loved this restaurant so much that we went back the following day.  This time, we had a different set of orders.  I went for their Australian Beef Porterhouse Steak and I was so happy that it turned out pretty well.

The beef was so soft and fresh.  A true Australian quality beef!

We also had their Salisbury Steak which was definitely yummy.

It even tasted better with that egg on top (sorry, the egg is covering the pattie..).  You’ll never go wrong here because they serve the freshest and finest choice of meat cuts everyday.  Value for money is fair enough since their food prices range from just 100+ up to 200+ per meal.  Their Australian Beef servings usually cost 200+.

Sizzling Plate Baguio has three branches and my favorite is the one in Abanao Extension, Cariño Street.  There’s also one along Session Road and another in SM City Baguio.  I had a bit of a bad experience with the one in Session Road because the staff wasn’t very accommodating and they served me with chewy steak.  Because of that, we said that we’ll always go to their biggest branch in Abanao.

Sizzling Plate Baguio is open daily from 10 AM to 9 PM and you may visit their branches below.  Happy Sizzling! 🙂

Sizzling Plate – SM
Lower Ground Floor Entertainment Area
Upper Session Rd., Luneta Hill, Baguio City
Tel. no. (074) 619-0826
 
Sizzling Plate Cariño
135 Abanao Extension cor. Cariño St., Baguio City
Tel. no. (074) 443-8486
 
Sizzling Plate Session
86 Session Road, Baguio City
Tel. no. (074) 442-4219

Blast from the Past at 50’s Diner

If you have read my previous blogs here and here, you’re probably aware that I’ve been on a short trip recently.  We went to our now fave chill spot, Baguio and it continues to just amaze us everytime.  I admit, I’ve added a few pounds yet again to my exercise-lacking bod. hahaha  I know, I’ll start to live right, I SWEAR!  To prove that, I’ve just signed up for the free Zumba class here in the office next week.  (wish me luck, really..)

Glenn’s 50’s Diner marked our first stop as we had our brunch that morning.  We arrived in Baguio at around 11 am after 7 hours in the bus and it was too early to check in the hotel so we decided to eat first.  50’s Diner is one of our many favorite restaurants in Baguio so we never fail to visit each time we’re there.

The name itself and the exterior is a major giveaway to what this restaurant is all about.  It has been named as one of the famous snack bars/restaurants in Baguio not just because of the way it looks but also because of the delicious yet affordable food they serve.

Interior-wise, the place looks very much vintage just like how it looks from the outside.  There’s a bar at the side where their famous milkshake or ice cream shake is prepared.  Aside from milkshakes, they also serve fresh fruit shakes and what better way to start the morning with a refreshing Ripe Mango Shake.

As you wait for your food to be served, you may feast your eyes on the wall decorations and the interior design since you won’t see many of them here in Manila or there in Baguio.  Feels like a 50’s flashback you never had!

For this one, we ordered light meals that were not too light because of their large portion.  Most of their dishes here, although set for solo, are more likely to be shared by two since they really are big in serving.  Here is where I saw the biggest club sandwich I have ever seen up to date.  Too bad I don’t have a photo because I did not dare order it knowing I will be consumed by it instead of the other way around. hahaha

We had Fish and Chips (cream dory fillet + potato fries)

and Pork Cordon Bleu (which somehow tasted like chicken..)

Please excuse the bite, someone was pretty hungry… haha

So far, these two tasted good.  Given that these are affordable, the taste was fairly justified.  I’ve tried some of their dishes before, some were OK,  some were good, but it’s best to just be the judge of it yourself.  All I know is that I keep coming back because it’s quite cheap, simple, and I love their milkshake!  Here’s a glimpse of their menu:

After that fulfilling meal, we were set to conquer the day. haha  We just loved the cold summer breeze in Baguio so much that we decided to stay outside of the diner for a while before going back to the hotel.

This red vintage car never leaves this spot!  Cute right?  This is probably owned by Glenn too, who knows.

If you’re looking for affordable food, or a worthy snack bar in Baguio, be sure to drop by 50’s Diner. 🙂

GLENN 50’s Diner is located in Baguio along General Luna Road (near Teacher’s Camp, Leonard Wood Road).  They have a new branch along the Military Cut-off Road.  Just tell the cab driver to take you there. 🙂

Smoke

I remember the days when I was just a happy-go-lucky girl who went to beaches more often than ever, enjoying the sun and the sand, frolicking in the shore, and doing lots of other fun summer stuff.  Oh, how I miss those days.  Now, I’m practically stuck in the city, working my ass off (i’m an IT Engineer working in Makati), being busy with things that don’t really put a smile on my face (except blogging!).  I wish I can have the luxury again and go out, have fun, forget the hectic life I’ve been burrowing myself in for the past few years.  Enough said for the rants, be best to rave on good (or should I say GREAT) memories of the past.

Boracay as some of you might have known is one of the best and most famous beach here in the Philippines.  I always cherish the moments we’ve spent when we were in that island.  It is truly magical!

photo credit : wayph.com

One of the best things about Boracay is of course, the FOOD!  This restaurant is the first we ever tried when we first got to Boracay.

Smoke is one of Boracay’s famous restaurants that serve Sizzling Food in Sizzling Plates.  It’s located in Station Two inside the restaurant packed D’ Mall.  We went for this one because it’s cheap and yet delicious!  It mostly reminds me of the sizzling food that we used to have (almost everyday) when we were in college.  Simple with a Filipino touch because Pinoys just love things Sizzling (true that!).

We had two of their best sellers, the Sizzling Spareribs

Love that sauce!

This one tastes really good because of the special sauce that they added to the pork.  We have this one with rice of course. 🙂

.. and the Bicol Express

(candlelit! how nice..)  The Bicol Express is famous of course from Bicol province for it’s spicy flavor because of the chunks of chili peppers incorporated in the dish.  It is made of pork cuts cooked in coconut milk and the spicier, the better!  We had ours at mild spicy flavor (still HOT though!).

Aside from these two, we also ordered the Lechon Kawali (Fried Pork Cuts)

Their version of the satay sauce went well with the fried pork.  Yum!

I still can’t believe that we had a full delicious meal for less than 200 Pesos each. That is considering you’re in Boracay.  We all know that tourist spots almost always sell goods a bit more expensive than usual.  This is perfect for tourists that are on a tight budget.  We do make it a habit to have lunch or dinner here whenever we are in Boracay.  It’s nice to feel at home and feel the sand in your toes at the same time. 🙂

Vizco’s and the Famous Strawberry Shortcake

Wow, here I am with yet another Baguio foodscapade. 🙂 Baguio, along with Vigan (blogged about this here) has been my fave Northern destination because it’s so versatile when it comes to food.  You can go for several dishes may it be Filipino, Italian, Chinese, American, Mongolian, and a lot more because Baguio has it all.  We have visited this city several times now and it has been close to our hearts.

One of my favorite restaurants here in Baguio would have to be Vizco’s Restaurant and Cake Shop.  Along with all the many restaurants and shops lined in the famous Session Road in Baguio, Vizco’s stand out because of their delicious cakes and pastries.  All-time favorite would have to be the Strawberry Shortcake.  As I blogged about here before,  Baguio holds the biggest strawberry farms in the Philippines.  The berries grow beautifully because of the cold weather.

See?  Fresh strawberries on top and bits of it on the center.  I just keep coming back for more!  If it weren’t for the 6-hour travel from Baguio back to Manila, I would have taken home a whole cake for sure.  haha

Aside from their lovely cakes (which I sadly wasn’t able to take photos of, fail!), they also serve the finest Pizza and Pasta.  We’ve had a couple of these during our first few visits but the last time, we had these..

Beef Stroganoff

So sorry I forgot what this pizza is called.. looking at it pretty much says everything about it though..  (reminds me of authentic Neapolitan pizza.. yum!)

Value for money is good since it’s not too expensive and yet their food is delicious (i must say).  Best to give it a try yourself when you get the chance to go to Baguio.  Session Road is Baguio‘s Central Business District  so you won’t miss it!

photo credit : life.georgeputong.com

The building you see here has been renovated so it looks so much better now.  Will take photos next time 🙂

We’ll be going back to Baguio this coming month-end because of their yearly Flower Festival or better known as Panagbenga.  I’ll take photos as usual so I can share them with you.  This is a fun event because townspeople and even tourists (mostly from Manila) all gather up to watch and join the festivities.  When we first came here, I found this site very helpful for all you need to know about Baguio.  To give you a glimpse of how many people flock over, here’s a photo from last year’s event:

Craaaazy right?? haha..  That’s what makes it more fun 🙂

Crave Rave : Little John’s Baby Back Ribs

Again, I profess my love for baby back ribs.  They’re just so irresistible!  (especially when they’re cooked perfectly plus a well made sauce to top it off) This time I go for Little John’s Baby Back Ribs with rice and coleslaw on the side.  You just can’t get enough for sure.  Most of the diners here order the same thing, Baby Back Ribs!

Little John’s Convenience Post is located at Camp John Hay and it serves the BEST baby back ribs in Baguio.  It’s quite a cozy (with the homey feel) restaurant given the small space and cute wooden interior.  They also have this wall of fame kind of thing consisting of drawings that past customers made with their place mats.  For each table, they have a wooden cup that has several crayolas for you to doodle around in your newsprint paper place mat.  Kiddie stuff but adults enjoy it for sure.  Most of the best artworks were displayed in their restaurant.

Whenever we’re in Baguio, we make sure to drop by Little John’s just to get a good dose of their superb baby back ribs. 🙂  Aside from that, they also have a wide selection of meals (mostly American dishes) that are also good.  Value for money is OK since the meals are quite cheap and the taste is all worth it.  (Meals would cost around P200 ($5))

Snack Attack Asia

With no real attack happening but more of craving, I give you guys some of the best (and cutest) Asian snacks that I’ve tried (and still loving up to now :)) haha

First off, a Philippine pride, the Taho is one of my favorite snacks especially when it’s hot and fresh in the morning.

Vendors usually sell these for breakfast.  It consists of fresh silken tofu (custard made out of soy beans), brown sugar and vanilla syrup, and tapioca or pearls.  I like this one best when it’s loaded with syrup.  (sugar rush!)  It also comes in Strawberry Syrup flavor but you can only have it in Baguio.

Here’s Danbo enjoying a small and gigantic cup of Taho.  Cute!

photo credit : threestarsandasun.tumblr.com

Now, we go all the way to South Korea to enjoy these addictive Melona Ice Cream bars.

photo credit: thatholeinthewall.tumblr.com

Melona is the famous yummy creamsicle by Binggrae Co. Ltd.  Even if it’s dubbed as Melona being melon-flavored, it also comes in three other flavors; Mango, Banana, and my favorite, Strawberry!  Too bad only few of our supermarkets here sell Melona. 😦

Over in Japan, we have lots of different kinds of snacks and you just can’t keep track of them.  One of which has been famous here in Manila for quite a while now is Mochi.  Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made out of glutinous rice which is then pounded into paste and molded into shape.  Given the several uses for Mochi, it stood out the most as Ice Cream (flavored ice cream stuffed Mochi).  It comes in numerous sizes, colors, and flavors.

photo credit kimonobox.com

Some traditional ways of serving Mochi is by stuffing it with sweet filling instead of ice cream.  Fillings can be of white bean or red bean paste and sometimes strawberry paste.

Here’s a cute photo of a Mochi tower (with smiley Mochis!):

photo credit : yourjapanesemenu.blogspot.com

Another famous Japanese snack is the umbrella-shaped Strawberry Chocolate from Meiji.  Simply put, this is the perfect combination of strawberry and chocolate in tiny packages.  Imagine fresh strawberries dipped into melted chocolate..yum!

photo credit : asianaisle.com

Here are more of Japanese snacks, biscuits this time.

photo credit : modernasianstyle.tumblr.com

Pocky and Pretz are both manufactured by Glico and these are my fave on-the-go snacks.  It also comes in numerous flavors and cute packaging.  For Pocky, my faves are the Strawberry flavor and the Milk flavor.

Chocolate + Strawberry Pocky

For Pretz (which pretty much looks like Pocky minus the dipped part), my fave would have to be the pizza flavor. 🙂

Last but not the least, we go to Hong Kong to enjoy some Eggette.  These babies are my fave street food when we were in Hong Kong.

Plain “Eggettes”

Eggettes are basic egg-puffs that tastes more like pancakes and are served hot and soft.  They also have several flavors such as strawberry, chocolate, and coconut.  (God, I miss this!)  Be sure to try this one out when you get to go to Hong Kong.

That’s about it for now as I can’t think of anything more but I’m positive that there are still lots (and lots and lots and lots)!  I’ll bear in mind to blog about them sometime. 🙂

Vigan Delights

When it comes to food-trippin, I must say that Vigan is THE place to be.  Northern provinces house the freshest vegetables and the citizens here in Vigan  City (called Ilocanos) are one of the BEST cooks in the country.  Their delicacies are just irresistible given that they are simple and easy to prepare.  I’d like to give a little background about this city known as the “Heritage City”.  Famous for it’s Spanish vintage architecture, Vigan is one of the top favorite tourist spots here in the Philippines.  From the name itself, Heritage City, you can tell that it is quite rare as it is a World Heritage Site being one of the few Hispanic towns that were preserved here in the Philippines.  To give you a better overview of how the town looks like, here’s a photo I took from way back.

The famous "Calle Crisologo" in Vigan City

There are many other tourist spots around the city but since it’s pretty small, you could probably tour the entire area for about a day and a half.  For me, the best part of being in Vigan (aside from the amazing view) would of course be the FOOD!  I’m positive that I gained a few additional pounds during our stay there, but I don’t regret it because I just had the time of my life.  hahaha

The Vigan Longganisa is one of the trademarks of the city.  It’s a small sausage consisting of pork and lots (and I mean LOTS!) of garlic.  These are best paired with Rice (as Filipinos love) but they also go well with bread.  They usually boil and fry these but it’s also great grilled.

with Asian Pickles and Vinegar on the side

The Empanada is another Vigan specialty you shouldn’t miss on trying.  I consider this as one of my favorite delicacies of Vigan and it’s considered as their famous street food.  Many food stalls and shops here in the Metro are selling their own versions of this delicacy but still, nothing beats the original.

with the special Ilocos Vinegar as sauce

This is mainly consisting of ground pork (or sometimes the same ingredients as the Vigan Longganisa), fresh cabbage (or green papaya), egg, and a wrap that’s made out of rice flour.  Some put anatto oil together with the rice flour thus the orange-y color.  I’ll take note to post a recipe on how to make one (no worries, it’s easy!).

Another trademark is the Ilocos Bagnet.  This is simply a double-fried/deep fried pork belly made juicy yet crunchy at the same time.  Like the Longganisa, this is also best paired with Rice.

also with Asian Pickles on the side

We had the best Fried Rice that we ever tasted in the same restaurant and it went absolutely well with both the Bagnet and the Longganisa.

Felicitas Special Fried Rice

Another way you can enjoy the Bagnet would be with Pita Bread.  This one was called “Bagnet Wraps” (shreds of Bagnet with cucumber slices wrapped in pita bread with garlic mayonnaise dip.. yum!).

with slices of cucumbers inside

There are still lots of Vigan specialties that we haven’t tried yet but we will once we get the chance to go back.  The town proper is very far from Manila as it takes one an 8-hour drive to get there (jeeez! no airport since the town is quite small).  Anyway, the long travel won’t matter when you arrive because it will all be worth it. 🙂