Saturday, September 3, 2011

Japan! Japan! Okay Sa Tiyan!

Do you ever feel that as you grow old, your circle of friends grows smaller? You lose some to strange diseases, you lose some due to even stranger situations involving the loss of money and trust but most you lose due to distance. With internet technology so accessible these days, I find that it is the emotional distance, not the physical one,  that can turn a friend into a stranger.

Then there are friends whom you don't really lose, they've just decided to seek greener pastures or run away from the hurts of a painful love affair gone wrong. One new found friend decided that the former  is reason enough for him to chew verdant grass growing (probably more like clinging moss) in the concrete jungles of New York.

He is no stranger to working abroad though. Well, I guess no Filipino family is. With 1 out of 10 Filipinos working abroad, the OFW phenomena is not such a strange thing. It is a hard reality that many  of us understand and bear. 

But I digress. In his first few years in the work force, my friend worked in Japan, back in the days when its live entertainment scene was the arena of talented Pinoys and Pinays. There, he learned many new things like not getting lost in translation and that five-toed socks are for construction workers and not cool J-pop celebrities.  When he returned home for good (or so he thought) one of the things he brought back here was his love for Japanese food. 

Now that he's bound for a foreign land again, one of the things he promised me was a meal in a carinderia with a Japanese cook, right in the heart of Tondo. Some sort of unofficial send-off where we could make a new memory he could take with him to warm his heart amidst the cold steel and stone buildings of Manhattan.

Three rainy nights ago, along with A. (with whom my friend shares a peculiar interest for things supernatural), we grabbed a cab to Tondo. At the corner of Hermosa and Clemente Streets, right where an eskayola statue of Mama Mary seeks shelter from the rain in an MMDA-blue riprap grotto, we alighted.
Unlike most carinderias we are familiar with, this one does not have ready-made (or twice-cooked)  food getting stale and cold in aluminum pots or trays. Instead there is a menu, three tables and a cooking area.
My friend introduced us to Mommy Edtitha and her husband Toshi, a cruise liner cook of twenty years who met  Editha in Yamagata when she worked there as a cultural dancer (after a stint as a dancer for Pinyo TV shows like Eat  Bulaga). They are also the parents of Suzuki, a past Survivor Philippines castaway.
Toshi
It has been two years since Toshi has hung his cruise ship cook's apron and decided to put up this carinderia with Mommy Edith.  Joy for us, because we then get to taste authentic Japanese cooking without the frills of high-end restaurants. Here. you won't find the overly soy-sauced dishes of commercially franchised Japanese food chains.


To drive away the cold, we ordered Ebi Ramen.


The soup has a home-cooked appeal to it. Mind you, the scalding hot broth just smelled so good, we dove right into it, not minding if we would be burning our tongues.

We also ordered a tempura platter. This is not as big as you are used to in the more commercial establishments but you have to appreciate that it is cooked right before your eyes. Toshi will slice the vegetable pieces, crush the okra between his palm and the chopping board while Mommy Editha prepares the thin batter.


Mommy Editha also prepared Gyoza, the Japanese dumpling made of minced pork, cabbage and lots of garlic.




 

We still had some room for Ebi (shrimp) fry before the main event.


Being true-blue Pinoys that we are, the grand event for us were the rice meals.

Tonkatsu or deep-fried pork cutlet...


Katsudon... pork cutlet with Katsudon sauce

Butadon...Pork in simmered in slightly sweet sauce

We ordered mostly pork meals as Toshi said the quality of beef from the market was not very good. He also remarked that beef in the the wet market nearby does not have the same tenderness as Japanese beef.

All meals were served with freshly chopped vegetables.

The rice served was not the sticky long-grained Japanese kind but it doesn't matter. You get your fill and maybe even order a second plate. Traditionally, the rice meals are served in bowls (from the word "don" which means , you guessed it... "bowls"), here they are served in melamine plates and eaten with spoons and forks. Many people in the humble neighborhood eat there, too. They are not astounded by the fact that it's an authentic Japanese meal. Rather, they are just content to eat good food at an affordable price.  Everything we ordered was just billed for P495.

This was truly a dining experience that affirms that you can cook great food even in small spaces,  using only a two-burner stove like the one Toshi brought all the way from Japan.

So,  were you surprised that there were no raw fish and sea creatures wrapped in nori (seaweed)? Toshi wants to use only fresh ingredients and these are served only if they are called in advance by good, loyal customers. They also accept orders for westernized Japanese dishes like Kangkong pasta, Japanese burgers and the egg pizza.

A note to the picky diner-  they only have three wooden tables and you have to buy your softdrinks and ice from the neighboring sari-sari store. There's also no washroom so better pee before you go here. All the worries will be worth your while.
 






89 comments:

  1. Jason Paul Rustia ReyesSeptember 3, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    Nice food find!

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  2. Galing! A real find! Wishing I have the time to explore this. Ganda ng blog entry, cooking in small spaces talaga. You should enlighten us even more that cooking great dishes need not be in a nice spic and span kitchen with hi tech equipment and a big kitchen space.

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  3. balik tayo tapos sama ako... nagutom ako! i love the way you describe everything... ang galing!

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  4. love this piece.. and the food... hoping i could visit the place... grabe ang mura ha!

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  5. i jaz saw this sa POPTALK...i will definitely visit..thanks for this blog!

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  6. with all your stories, i would check it out and eat dinner there with my family tomorrow..

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  8. i'm a fan of Japanese food and i'm from Gagalangin, tondo walking distant from that place. i never knew that there is a place like that nearby, not after watching it in pop talk (GMA 7), i got very much interested in search for the place. thanks for this blog! ^_^

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  9. can I ask what is the address of that place...
    I want to try those authentic Japanese dishes...
    Thank you so much...

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  10. Thanks to everyone who posted. It's in the corner of Hermosa and Clemente Streets. Since it's ahole in the wall, walang exact address. Hope you all get to eat there :D

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  11. hi, napanood ko yung episode ng poptalk kagabi, tungkol nga dito sa Suzuki Japanese Carinderia. Gusto po namin kumain ng mga kaibigan ko, paano po ba pagpunta dun kung commute lang, halimbawa manggagaling monumento or manggagaling tayuman? Thanks =)

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  12. hi, i just watch it last night...just wanna ask if it isn't safe going there and eat there? just asking...

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  13. IT'S SAFE NAMAN, YOU PASS THROUGH MAIN ROADS AND YOU CAN PARK IN THE STREET.

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  14. taga-kabilang kanto lang ako, pero kung di pa 'to na-feature sa pop talk ng channel 11, di ko pa malalaman! :) dun kami magdidinner mamaya! :)

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  15. to commute: from monumento, jeep na ang sign board ay divisoria. then baba sa kanto ng hermosa (landmark: jollibee and 7-eleven). tapos tricycle sabihin nio lang hermosa-clemente. :) lalagpas kayo ng konti ng juan luna.

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  16. okay, salamat sa info at sa directions,punta kami kakain lapit lang sa amin, sana open sila khit bumagyo kahapon :) sabi kasi sa poptalk open lang sila 5pm-11pm pa lang. kapag nagustuhan ko dito dadalhin ko mga frends ko at family ko. :)

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  17. hehehehe... welocome! baka magkasabay pa tayo mamaya! :)

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  18. are they open on sundays??

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  19. Frend ko taga-Tondo, kanina nagpunta kami dito sa Suzuki Japanese Carinderia around 8pm kaso sarado naman, nagtanong kami sa kapitbahay bakit sarado at kung kelan ulit sila magbubukas, kaso hindi rin alam ng kapitbahay, wala nman contact number ang Suzuki Carinderia para sana makapag-inquire, ano ba yan excited pa nman kami, hmmp!! hihihi :). Sayang nman punta namin, ayun, nauwi na lang sa Jollibee, ahehe.

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  20. pwede po ask.. what time open ng SUZUKI carinderia?? if galing ng pasay-edsa ano pinakamalapit na route going there?? salamat po

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  21. lrt 1 po kayo, baba kayo abad santos. sa ilalim ng LRT, may mga tricycle, sabihin niyo lang hermosa-clemente. sa may grotto kamo.

    sarado nga sila kahapon. :(

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  22. sana bukas na sila ngayon...really craving for japanese food since napanood ko sa pop talk...i've been there last night wala akong nakita, sarado siguro sila, sana naman bukas na ngayon!

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  23. what is the landmark of that place??

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  24. sana magkaroon ng systema or magdagdag cla ng tao un suzuki carinderia para di mahaba ang pila......5x na kme pabalik2 buti na lng lapet lng huz nmen sa place.....kawawa nman un malalayo.......kain nlang kau YAKIMIZ....hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe.

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  25. maisip sana ni MR. TOSHI na mg-add ng manpower..... haba ng pila.

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  26. nauso na kasi dito eh. soon enough he's going to have to increase price because of higher operating cost sa dami ng kumakain.

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  27. sana mag extend pa sila ng oras at hindi lang 5:00pm to 11:00pm.. sa haba ng pila, paano pa ma enjoy yung food? :(
    pwede din ba ang take out order sa kanila ?

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  28. guys..need more comments kung sino nakakain na dito para may idea din kame kung kelan bukas hehehehe

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  29. Kaps Mike, maraming salamat ulit sa maganda mong mga sinabi dito,ngayon pa lang namimiss na kita hindi pa ko umaalis :( walang ganito sa NYC.
    para sa mga nagtatanong, Open po sila everyday kahit sunday,5pm to 12mn,or tawag po muna kayo bago pumunta 02+3830732look for Nanay Edith.Pwede rin po mag take out.
    Minna san ,Yoroshiku ne!:)

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  30. sobrang sarap at mura para sa isang authentic japanese food. wala nakong mahihiling pa...nilampaso nila ang mga mamahaling japanese restos dito sa manila.babalik balikan mo sya! ako nga taga bulacan pa pero every week kumakain ako kasama ang barkada..ibang klaseng experience talaga! :)

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  31. C'mon... I Tried eating in this karinderia... ALL I can say is, "SOO DELICIOUS".. Much tasteful than TOKYO TOKYO... I'll recommend it to all my friends...

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  32. I'll recommend you to try thier GYOSA and TEMPURA!!! GRABE SWAK sa banga, Hindi kayo talo sa sarap at lasa :)

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  33. open na ba sila ngayong sunday? last time kasi nag punta kami sarado taga bulacan pa naman kami...huhu tabetai!

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  34. may replay ng Poptalk tonight, nov 1, 10pm sa GNTV. featuring this japanese carinderia. watch na! :-)

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  35. How do we get there from UST? THANK YOU!

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  36. masarap na mura pa ang food kay hapon

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  37. Salamat sa lahat ng nag post. Sorry if I can;t give all of you directions, dahil hindi rin ako ganun ka familiar sa lugar.

    Try calling Nanay Edith at 3830732. Hermosa corner Clemente Sts. Yes, may nagbababarbecue sa tapat at katabing katabi sila ng grotto na blue ni Mama Mary.

    Closed sila for lunch at Sundays dahil ang market nila sa area ay yung mga umuuwi from work na pwalang ready hapunan sa bahay.

    Carinderia po sila na ngayong lang na feature kaya hindi talaga nila inaasahan ang pagdagsa ng customers. Sana po be patient dahil lahat ng orders ay cooked upon order lang ni Toshi-san.

    Enjoy!

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  38. do they make sushi?

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  39. How do we get there coming from fairview? thanks and more power!

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  40. from fairview > commonwealth avenue > monumento > rizal avenue > turn right to Manuguit/Hermosa St. (LM : Jolibee and 7-11) go straight then stop at Clemente cor hermosa street. see map on this link http://www.wikimapia.org/#lat=14.6328564&lon=120.9741443&z=19&l=0&m=b

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  41. very interesting feature. comming from taft ave., how do we get to suzuki carinderia?

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  42. bukas ba sila ngyn plan kc namin kumain mamaya eh

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  43. anyone here para hindi masayang punta namin.. tnxs in advance

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  44. bukas ba sila ngyn plan kc namin kumain mamaya eh.. anyone here can tell me para hindi masayang punta namin.. tnxs in advance

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  45. love this blog! really, food tripping is not just a gastronomic experience, it is also an experience for heart, and the soul. I will take my serendipity travel. kakain ako dyan sa isang buwan!

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  46. If I have the money I'll help in the remodeling of his karinderia to a little cozy place! I love japanese foods! More power! Will visit soon! Kampai!

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  47. we want to get there, malayo lang sa amin.

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  48. excited kmi kumain ng ate sharmaine ko. hope we could find the place.

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  49. nakakain n kami naun...mabait si Toshi. Sarap ng Food.

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  50. Pupunta kami ng anak ko dun very SOON!

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  51. gusto ko magpunta...kaya lang ang layo ng lugar ko...sa riyadh pa...wahhhhh!!!!

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  52. Punta tayo dito...

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  53. gus2 rn nmin pumunta jn from cavite p kmi sna maka2in dn kmi jn ng family q.. wish q lng. Daiiiisuki!!!! Tabetaiyo..

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  54. meron pa ba sila??

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  55. napanood ko kanina sa poptalk, saan kaya landmark nyan para makakain

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  56. please we plan to go there tomorrow, do they open on sundays? and also the open and closing time? please para naman di sayang ang biyahe namin, i there any tips, coz i read that only three tables are available?

    How long does it takes to get the orders because of the long lines?

    thanks

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  57. I know they are open on Sundays. Usually, they are open evenings only. Can't say if you have to wait (yes. there's just 3 tables) but I know, dinner time is when their neighborhood suki come to buy. come in around 6pm, i guess.

    They now have 2 branches. The one along Dagupan St. is where Toshi is. The one along Hermosa cor. Clements St. is the one being run by nanay edith.

    Happy eating!

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  58. thanks for the info.

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  59. nakakain ako diyan kgbe :) ramen/miso tempura platter...

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  60. Wow just came from toshi's karinderya..so delicious..gyoza..katsudon..tempura platter..fried rice and veg. Salad

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    Replies
    1. When u r in tayuman lrt station. Don't ride tricycle it 's still too far. Ride a jeep going to pritil instead. Then in front of puregold pritil ride a jeep going to sangandaan and tell d driver to drop u at hermosa st. Then cross d road at the second cor right side is d blue grotto and adjacent to it is toshi's karinderia..that is clemente street

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    2. hi Marlene ask ko lng if i follow ur instruction,madali ko bng mkita this jap.carenderia?open b cla today?pasensya na kung syo ako nagttnong ha?kc tinatwagan ko ung landline no.nla pro d ko makntak kc.punta kc kmi today,e from bulacan pa kc kmi,pra d masyang sana ung pgluwas nmin.thnks so much...

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  61. sana lang magkaroon pa sila ng proper hygine sa pagluluto at sa kapaligiran kahit na carinderia,masarap naman kahit papaano ang food,at dapat may sistema sila kahit na carinderia pa ito,ng hindi naman ganun kahaba ang pila,at sana nga yung chef na hapon maituro din nya yung tamang timpla at pagluluto sa ibang helper nya,opinyon ko lang ito..

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  62. tumatwag po kmi ngyn sa landline ni nanay edith pero bkit d po nkkntak ung no na 3830732,kakain po sna kmi mamaya sa knila,gusto ko po sna mkatwag muna pra d po sna masayang ang pagpnta nmin.galing pa po kc kmi ng bulacan,hontoni tabetai na!!!!!!!!!

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  63. try n'yo lang ulit tumawag. Nakacontact naman ako sa kanya =)

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  64. Dear anonymous from bulacan hope by now nka punta kna. Actually open nmn sya almost evry day 5-11pm I think..madali lng po sya makita if u will follow my instructions.. happy eating

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  65. Mosi! mosi! Konichiwa!ikitai kedo itsuka mada wakaranai kara hinichi ga kimattenai desu! demo douka toshi san ga doko no omise ga ni iru canto oshiete kudasai nihon jin ga hanashiitai mou'n de shiawase nan desuyo ne! ore wa piripin jin desu soono tabemo no ga oishi kara ore mou tamani tsukaemashitta so sore to jikan attatara ikimasuyo! jya! gambatsutte kudasai!

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  66. Simula ng naadik ako sa mga BUFFET eat all you can..Dun ako nag ka interest mag hanap ng masasarap na kainan..Tama po sa POPTALK ko din to napanuod. 5 Times nako nakakain dito sa SUZUKI kahit galing ako sa pag road trip mamountain bike kumakain ako dito bago umuwi,di mo aakalain na kainan sya pero ayos ang Concept..Masarap ang pagkain dito aprub!!

    Napuntahan ko na rin yun SHAWARMA snackhouse along malate Salas St, but the KIINTHAI san antonio pque na kasama sa EPISode hindi pa.:)Pero pupuntahan ko din yan..hehehe

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  67. mikersindahawz,

    hi! u've mentioned that they have 2 branches na. the other one is located in dagupan st., since its a very long street i just want to ask on what corner st. the carinderia located. thanks!:-)

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  68. sadly, hindi pa din ako nakakarating dito! :( -fairview peeps

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  69. kung mangaling ka ng monumento sakay ka na via jip na divisoria then sabihin pababa ka ng hermosa 7-ELEVEN tapat nun jolibee alam ng driver un malapit un sa abad santos lrt station may pila ng tricycle dun sabihin mo clemente street sa suzuki japanese karenderia un na .

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  70. Will u kindly sent me the address of the ramen shop on this email gusto_ko_larawan@yahoo.com

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  71. saw this last night @ Jessica Soho's Ramen episode.. natakam tuloy ako! mabuti na lang may nag blog about this carinderia. thanks. :)

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  72. saw this last night...i shared it with my husband...searched it today and maybe go there TODAY din:)haha....thanks for this blog!!!

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  73. i need to try this very soon kaso pag kaka alam ko laging pick hours pag pumunta kayo jan kelan kaya wala masyadong tao!!

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  74. san exactly yung dagupan branch nila?

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  75. magkano po yun tricycle from abad santos to hermosa st.? thank you

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  76. Hi there. It's been over a year since I planned to dine in this Japanese carinderia and by all means my friend from Tondo will take me there hopefully this week or the next. Kudos to you- this article is well-written. Love it!

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  77. friends, the have been relocated to a new place at Del fierro st. gagalangin tondo. from their old location ride a jeep going to divisoria at ask the driver to drop you off to Del fierro st. from there you may walk going to suzuki hapon.

    here is a google map link
    https://www.google.com.ph/maps/place/Earnshaw+St/@14.6270813,120.971469,19z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x3397b5ec72f1323d:0xe1d4b18bac7e9d5d

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  78. http://akosibrite.blogspot.com/2013/10/wag-kang-luluha-xd.html?showComment=1404268483733#c4067812032567922990

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  79. meron din kaya cilang sushi?

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    ReplyDelete