ACEats.com

Food, dining, and restaurants in Angeles City, Philippines

Fortune Teahouse **1/2 (of 4) $$

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Fortune Teahouse, SM CLark

ANGELES CITY, Philippines  Fortune Seafood on MacArthur has spawned a number of smaller, retail outlets they’re calling Fortune Teahouse.  Incidentally, the Fortune chain is owned by the Uy clan, the same family that deliver’s your cable TV and operates Saver’s Mall, among other businesses.  They have an outlet at the SM Clark.

Fortune Teahouse offers a self-styled dim sum cuisine.  The Chinese use the term loosely, but it’s translation is “a little token”, referring to small, sampler-sized dishes intended to be consumed in a number of courses.  Fortune Teahouse doesn’t really offer dim sum, its menu is a lot closer to that of a typical Chinese restaurant.  You order off of a menu and you won’t see waiters pushing carts of steamed bao buns or chicken feet around the restaurant.  You select your food and it’s delivered, just like any other sit down place.

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Hot & Sour Soup, Fortune Tea House

The menu is extensive, the prices reasonable, and the portions large.  A big bowl of Hot and Sour soup, good for 3-4 people is only P100.  An order of six pork siomai, or small, steamed pork dumplings you eat with soy sauce and  vinegar, costs only P75, a real bargain.  Roast duck isn’t always available, but when it is it’s a steal at P300.  Hot pot dishes, sort of a quasi-soup you generally spoon over rice, are huge and also a bargain.  P240 gets you a large, steaming bowl of chicken and liver or, if your tastes are more traditional, the P240 beef brisket hotpot will feed 3-4 people comfortably, perhaps with a couple of shared dim sum appetizers.  There are several Pechay dishes.  Pechay is the Filipino word for Chinese cabbage.  You can order it with garlic (P160) or oyster sauce (also P160).  Stir fried entrees range from P190 – P290, depending on the meat.  Pork, chicken, and squid dishes are on the low end; shrimp and beef on the high end, reflecting the relative cost of the meat.

The dishes are portioned for family-style sharing, which means for those prices you get a lot of it.  It’s another place you’d be well-served to go with a few people so you can try out a number of dishes rather than, say, single-handedly trying to polish of a big plate of spicy spare ribs.  Make sure you don’t forget to order rice:  the menu is ala carte, unless you order one of their combo specials.

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Lemon chicken, Fortune Teahouse

Food gets served so promptly you’ll barely have a chance to take a few sips of your drink.  It’s obvious they do quite a bit of preparation, perhaps even pre-preparing some of the popular dishes.

Sounds great, huh?  Unfortunately there’s a fly in the ointment.  The food really is pretty tasteless.  If you don’t like spicy foods, don’t worry, you certainly won’t get any here.  In fact, the dishes are downright bland.  The hot and sour soup isn’t hot nor is it sour.  The sauces in the stir fry dishes are flavorless.  The lemon sauced chicken doesn’t taste lemony.  You get the idea.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are no real losers on the menu, but there are no winners either.  Most of the dishes are just, well, there.  If dining is simply about consuming protein and carbohydrates for you so your body can operate, by all means go.  If not, I’d recommend trying Fortune Teahouse once just to see if you share my opinion.  At least you’ll be served quickly and it won’t leave your wallet much lighter. -copyright 2008 ACEats.com

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August 23, 2008 Posted by | Chinese | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bretto’s Restaurant *1/2 (of 4) $$1/2

ANGELES CITY, Philippines  A few weeks ago I panned Bretto’s Delicatessen for slipping in terms of quality.  Their restaurant rates a review, however.  The restaurant sits directly adjacent to the deli itself, co-located on mid-Perimeter Road in Angeles City.

The food makes good use of the deli’s forte:  subs, burgers, and meat dishes.  You can order what Bretto’s calls “submarinos” like turkey (P200), club sandwich (P235), and ham and cheese (P235).  You can also opt for what angeles_city_brettos_cafeBretto’s calls roasts on buns, like the roast beef for P240 or Roast lamb for P275.  The roasts come with fries and a small salad.  Really small salad, actually. 

They offer the so-called biggest burger in town, and I think they are probably right about that.  A half pound “Fatburger” with pickled relish, chopped onions, and lettuce” runs P315 and if you’ve got a massive appetite, you can try the 1 lb version for P420.  They also serve a variety of other burgers, some with unlikely  ingredients.  They top the P315 Aussie burger with and egg and beetroot, making it overly sloppy, while the Bretto’s special comes topped with cream cheese, olives, portabella mushrooms, tomato, and onion salsa, making it even sloppier to eat.  I couldn’t think of an odder burger combo if I tried.

Then there are some simple chicken dishes, like the P240 fried chicken with fries, or the P330 chicken cordon angeles_city_bretto_burger bleu.  Other hot dishes include the bland baked pork chop for P225 or overly sweet pork barbeque for P235.

The food mostly reminds makes me think that whoever planned the menu watches FoodTV too much.  The combinations on the burgers, in particular, just don’t work.  Onion salsa and cream cheese?  They just don’t particularly complement each other.  What you end up getting is creamy goop.

The prices are high, but the portions are fairly large, with a few exceptions.  They have a few sausage selections, like a P295 pork sausage with mashed potatoes and peas that are just plain overpriced for what you get and thoroughly uninspired in their preparation.  Take sausage.  Fry. Add mashed potatoes–from a box.  Serve.  Not appetizing for $7 bucks, is it?

As I mentioned the restaurant lies directly adjacent to the deli and in fact you enter it through the same door.  It’s a small cafe with perhaps 10 tables.  Service is unmotivated.  You’ll need to flag down a waitress for whatever your needs may be.  Luckily it’s a small place, so that’s not difficult.  It’s a nice environment to enjoy a meal.

While the Bretto’s restaurant appears to be popular, it’s not really worth the trip unless you happen to be shopping there. 

CUISINE:  Deli/Australian | COST: *** | RATING: *1/2

August 23, 2008 Posted by | American, Australian | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orchid Inn *1/2 (of 4) $$$

The Orchid Inn and their sister hotel, the Wild Orchid are the hot commodities in town.  You can’t beat their location.  They’re always full, despite high room rates.  This Aussie-run business is booming.

Unfortunately for diners, this has resulted in a popular restaurant, catering mainly to the captive hotel patrons.  Worse, it means that the service and food is sloppy, the staff rather lazy, and the prices inflated.

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They run a daily poolside buffet, and I’ve got to say, their pool area is like a small Oasis in the middle of dusty dirty real street, where they’re located.  But their P504 filet mignon, the P399 pork chop, and P275 chicken kabob leave a lot to be desired.  They’re just plain overpriced and not very exceptional in their quality.  I know I harp on this a lot in my reviews, but spending nearly $11 for a lackluster filet is not my idea of a good deal.  The steaks are better at Sizzler in the States at that price, and the accompanying salad bar would blow these boys out of the water.  The food in the barbeque is cooked to order on a home gas grill–not very professional.  They offer a different themed poolside special nightly: Monday is Mongolian, Tuesday is seafood, Wednesday is Aussie, Thursday, curry; and so on.  They’re all over-priced, they’re all mediocre.  I’ve eaten at just about every one over the past year.  Hey, I get dragged into these places, so sue me!

Their regular menu offers no relief.  A bowl of Tom Kha Gai at P145 is flavorless and insipid, while the beef “mercy” ribs are aptly named at P280.  Curried sausage dinner at P250 is a tasty meal with an estimated P75 worth of ingredients in it.  On the other hand, the simple Southern Fried Chicken for P205 is not bad, as is the Chicken Cordon Bleu at P250.angeles_city_orchid_inn_buf

While the menu items are hit and miss, the service staff is mostly a miss.  It’s not so much that they are not helpful, but they’re more of the wave frantically to get attention variety.  Still, they’re mostly pleasant, but the onus is mostly on you to get service.

Orchid Inn’s location is great and the ambiance at pool side is relaxing, but it’s a better place to drink a beer (at P65 per) and have a snack rather than eat a meal. -copyright 2008 ACEats.com

August 23, 2008 Posted by | Australian | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pancake House 1/2 (of 4) $$

ANGELES CITY, Philippines  This chain restaurant has 73 locations throughout the Philippines. (see here) and 2000 employees.  It’s another good example of how crappy, but well-marketed food can make money.  The food at the Pancake House at the SM Clark could be called horrid, but that would be insulting to all those horrid food restaurants out there.

Indifferent food servers, rubbery pancakes, measly greasy sausages–this place has it all.

The chain is obvious imitating a well-known model:  the International House of Pancakes, or IHOP.  Pancake is in the name, so that’s where the menu begins.  They sport a variety of fruit and classic pancakes, like the peach pancake for P140 and the cheese pancake for P125.  They attempt to get a bit exotic.  As an example, for P140 you can order their chocolate marble waffle.  These aren’t some sort of fancy pancakes, with the

Pancake House, SM Clark, Angeles City

The Pancake House, SM Mall, Angeles City, Philippines

ingredients mixed in the batter, they’re more pedestrian.  Get the pancake or waffle, take the appropriate container of glop and apply.  They also serve standard Filipino breakfast fare like tocino (pan fried pork slices in sauce) and tapa (pan fried beef slices in a similar sauce) for P140 and P170, respectively.

Like IHOP, Their menu doesn’t stop at breakfast meals.

They’ve got a lunch menu with soups for P70 and salads starting at P145.  Then we come to a variety of main dishes, ranging from roast chicken to crispy tuna belly and some pre-fabbed set courses; such as spaghetti, a club sandwich, and soup.  The prices for nearly all of the entrees is sub-P225 pesos.  They also have steaks, but I don’t even want to talk about those, they give me the creeps.

The Pancake House is trying to be IHOP on a shoestring and they fail miserably.  Every food ingredient tastes like it comes from a factory warehouse in Manila.  You know, someone orders an omelet and you walk over to the drum labeled eggs and squirt out 10 ounces of egg mix.  That kind of thing.  I’ve been dragged into the place a few times, in a few different places, and I’ll have to say this:  at least they are consistent in their bad food.  You pretty much know what you’re going to get when you go there, no matter where you go in the Philippines. -copyright ACEats.com

Don’t eat there unless you’re forced to.

CUISINE: American/Filipino | COST: *1/2 | RATING: 1/2 (of 4)

August 22, 2008 Posted by | American, Filipino, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EZ Riders Cafe

ANGELES CITY, Philippines  Since the demise of the Hole In the Wall, a steak and burger joint on Santos Street where the Swiss Chalet stands today, EZ Rider has opened on Perimeter Road near the Lifeline medical clinic and taken up the mantle of the local biker hangout.  It’s a no frills eatery with a no frills atmosphere.

Here you’ll find simple fare:  ham sandwiches, burgers, fried chicken, and fish and chips.  You get the idea.  Nothing fancy, nothing complex.  Virtually all of the cooking is on a short order basis.  You order.  They grill, or, heat it, and it gets served.  It won’t win any awards, but the food is filling and served in ample quantities by smiling, attentive waitresses.

The customers don’t complain.  Everyone is welcome, but the regular patrons are bikers.  It’s a bikers’ place, with various motorcycle club plaques on the wall, some Harley paraphernalia in glass cases, and motorcycle t-shirts hanging on the wall.  It’s rarely empty.  By the way, non-bikers are greeted warmly and welcomed, so don’t feel shy about trying the place out if you drive a Toyota Corolla.angeles_city_philippines_EZ_Rider

Upstairs, you’ll find an open-air, covered patio with fans over looking Clark.  If you grab a seat at the edge, you can watch light planes land at the Omni Aviation airstrip, since they’re on the flight path.  The patio serves as a gathering place for the local motorcycle groups when they finish group rides.  Again, if you happen to be around on one of the weekends when this is going on, non-bike riders have no problem mixing in and chatting with the local group members of clubs colorfully named “Mad Dogs” or “American Steel”.  This isn’t a smokey, members-only type of place.

As I said, the food won’t win any awards.  The prices might, though.  A fried chicken dinner with two pieces of chicken, gravy, rice or fries is served for P175.  Spaghetti Bolognese is P160 and the surprisingly good spaghetti Carbonara runs P170.  The best bargain on the menu may be the 200 gram EZ Rider burger with  fries, and lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles for P180, though I find the ground beef to be a bit wanting.  You’ll pay only P110 for a fish burger, a good and filling sandwich.

This is a place where the camaraderie makes the restaurant more so than the food, but it’s great when you can combine the two with a reasonably priced menu. -copyright 2008 ACEats.com

CUISINE: American | COST $1/2 | RATING: **1/2

August 21, 2008 Posted by | American | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cold Drop *1/2 (of 4) $$1/2

If you find yourself out on Friendship Highway, officially called Fil-Am Friendship Highway, you might hunt down a joint called Cold Drop Inn.  Cold Drop serves a rather odd mix of Western foods.  On Sundays, they have a Sunday roast, which features one of several roasted meats for around P350.  It’s not a buffet–it’s just a roast they cook for the day, for example, turkey or lamb; and it comes with all of the fixings like mashed or roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, mixed veggies, and gravy.

The items on the menu resemble a laundry list more than a restaurant menu.  A mediocre set of over-sauced pizzas top the list.  Or you can buy a P320 dinner of lamb stew. 

Cold Drop, Angeles City

Cold Drop, Angeles City

Or Indian foods, like massalas, madras, and vindaloo’s.  You can opt for a rather bland beef stew for P280, a variety of sandwiches, or perhaps the all day bacon & eggs breakfast for P210.

So what do you call the cuisine of this place?  Indian? Pseudo-American? Maybe I ought to add a new category to my site that handles kitchen sink menus, because that’s pretty close to what this place is.

However, based on where it’s located, the prices appear extreme.  Of course, there is the added attraction of an adjacent Cold Drop nightclub with accommodating hostesses,but still, P280 for a mediocre beef stew?  That’s over $6 for a bowl of stew!  The usual rule of thumb would be that the further you get from the nightlife district, the more “realistic” the prices become.  Not so here.

Cold Drop is, however, a nice place to enjoy a beer and chat with waitresses on a lazy day.  You can hang out in the bahay kubos, the thatched bamboo sitting huts.  People watching on Friendship Highway isn’t as lively as on Field’s Avenue, but there’s always something interesting going on.  There’s a crowd of regulars that frequent the place and they are a friendly enough bunch.

I believe if Cold Drop lowered its prices to be commensurate with its location, it would enjoy a livelier clientele because it is a pleasant place, nestled as it is among Japanese and Korean restaurants.  They have rooms for rent for low rates 700-800,

Friendly Cold Drop waitress, Angeles City

Friendly Cold Drop waitress, Angeles City

but tourists may want to pick a more central location because travel expenses taking the overpriced trikes of Balibago could easily run several hundred pesos per day, making it no real bargain in that area, either.

My recommendation would be to drop by and have a beer and see what the place is like, but wait until there is a major menu revision before dining there. -ACEats.com

CUISINE: American, I guess | COST: **1/2 | RATING *1/2 (of 4)

August 19, 2008 Posted by | American, Indian | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hanami **1/2 (of 4) $$1/2

In Japanese Hanami means the Japanese tradition of watching cherry blossums.  Yes, I said watching.  Not picking, not smelling, not sticking them in your girlfriend’s hair, just looking at them.  People take picnic lunches to the river parks in Tokyo when the cherry trees bloom and have a quiet afternoon by the water, just appreciating the beauty of the trees.  It’s very Zen-like.  I would need a boom box and a portable TV to watch a baseball game to indulge in Hanami.  Then again, I’m not very Zen-like.

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Here in Angeles Hanami is the name of a fairly good Japanese restaurant, located on upper Perimeter Road.  While I think Niji has overtaken Hanami’s sushi offerings, with far tighter and more professional maki rolls, Hanami has its high points.  In fact, the menu is overwhelming in its number of items.  You can select from a huge variety of soups, teryaki, sashimi, sushi, yakitori, and bento box specials.angeles_city_philippines_hanami

All are well-prepared as you wait.  If you’re adventurous and don’t mind the idea of raw fish, try the sashimi.  A huge platter of assorted sashimi, good for 4 or so people, will cost you between P390 and P865, depending on the fish you select.  The sashimi hana-mi with tuna, salmon, ika (squid), uni (sea urchin), and hirame (flounder) is freshly sliced and delivered with the standard soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi for a reasonable P390.  Please don’t expect the nasal-clearing wasabi that you might get in fine Japanese restaurants, however;  what you’ll get here is the stuff that comes in a tube.  Oh well, I guess I need to keep my prescription for allergy medication.

P125 will get you a kappa maki(cucumber roll), or you can splurge and pay P250 for a signature rainbow maki (tuna, salmon, lapu-lapu, kani, mango, and cucumber).  I’d actually advise against getting the fancier rolls with lots of ingredients unless you grew up using chopsticks–they’re darned hard to pick up and tend to fall apart on your shirt because of too many ingredients.  I know they’re all the rage, but I personally don’t like these designer rolls.  Just give me a tuna roll, a kappa maki roll, and a plate of sashimi and I’m set.  Convincing your Filipino or Filipina friends to eat that–well, that’s a topic for a different article.

You’ll find a few other winner’s here.  The tongkatsu (breaded, boneless pork chop) at P235 is nicely done.  I generally like any meat that you pound flat, bread, and fry, but these guys do it well.  The yasai tempura (deep fried, battered vegetables) is also tasty for P170.

I have a few issues with the restaurant, other than the non-spicy wasabi and the angeles_city_philippines_hanami_waitress loosely rolled sushi.  The prices tend to be a bit high.  Nevertheless, they serve the food promptly, the waitresses are clad in traditional Japanese garb, and the sushi chefs wear well-starched crisp white uniforms.  Faux rice paper divides the public dining area from the private.  It’s certainly worth a visit.  Maybe it’s even worth a few visits if you’ve got a hankering for Japanese food. -copyright 2008 ACEats.com

CUISINE: Japanese | COST: $$1/2 | RATING: **1/2 (of 4)

August 19, 2008 Posted by | japanese | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Myrnaki *** (of 4) $1/2

Sometimes you find little gems tucked away in unexpected places.  Myrnaki qualifies.  It’s a small, Greek restaurant in an entirely unlikely setting and an entirely unlikely place.  You’ll find this little rustic Greek restaurant on Mt. Makiling Street in Clarkview, but a better way to describe the location would be to say that it’s a block off of Perimeter Road on a street adjacent to Bretto’s.

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Greek food is hardly a hot commodity in Angeles City, but Myrnaki serves up a nice mix of Mediterranean and Greek cuisine. Souvlaki, mousaka, and, of course, Greek salads with feta chees are what you’ll find on the menu here.  At P205 for the chicken souvlaki, with salad and bread, and P215 for the pork, the prices are quite angeles_city_myrnaki_1 reasonable.  Beers will set you back a sensible P40.  Mousaka, a layered eggplant dish with ground beef, potatoes, and phyllo is a veritable bargain at P195.  I takes some real preparation:  I know, I’ve tried to do it and failed miserably.

Of course, there’s the obligatory Filipino cuisine offered so that your girlfriend/wife/best friend’s wife or whoever you’re dining with can select from more familiar foods, if necessary.

You’ll like the taste as well as the prices.  I’ve tried a number of dishes on the menu and have never been disappointed.  During my last trip there, the owner’s husband, Michael, stopped by and chatted with me over a well-executed plate of mousaka.

The atmosphere deserves a mention.  You can’t call it casual, because the tables are nicely laid out with glasses, sample bottles of wine, and professionally folded napkins.  Then again, you can’t call it formal because it is, after all, in a bahay kubo, or bamboo hut.  I guess that makes the decor eclectic; and that’s truly what it is.

The staff is friendly and attentive.  The place isn’t all that well-trafficked at the moment, still suffering from their birthing pains; and perhaps that accounts for some of the staff attention.  Nevertheless, you won’t find a bunch of waitresses gathered around the TV watching the latest soap opera.  So that’s nice.

I really hope the place stays around for a while.  The problem with small restaurants located in hard-to-find places is that they tend to disappear and become something else, like another of the seemingly infinite number of sari-sari stores or yet another internet cafe.  I’d much prefer to have the only Greek restaurant I know of in Angeles City as a dining option. -copyright 2008 ACEats.com

CUISINE: Greek | COST: $1/2 | RATING: ***

August 19, 2008 Posted by | Mediterranean | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gerry’s Grill * (of 4) $$1/2

ANGELES CITY, Philippines     Gerry’s Grill is located in the SM Mall, Clark and is a branch of the seemingly popular food chain.  At least I assume they’re popular, or they wouldn’t have 35 restaurants.  From my several visits, I can attest to the fact that there always seems to be several table occupied.

Gerry's Grill, popular

I don’t know where this popularity comes from.  The food really is not very good.  To be sure, the atmosphere and menu of this Filipino restaurant are slick and inviting.  While the dining arrangements and tables appear to be ordered from a catalog, the ambiance and decorations are first rate.  In fact, they’re more than first rate.  Gerry’s reminds me of TGI Friday’s or Chili’s.  It’s a place that looks like a great hangout.

Unfortunately, they apparently spent more on decorations and design than on training chefs.  My stomach gets along just fine with Filipino food, but I’ve had far better at roadside stalls than I’ve ever had at Gerry’s.  If you order 4 dishes, three of them will be poorly cooked or out of stock.  The restaurant strikes me as a franchise struggling to get to its feet and find its forte rather than a well-oiled machine.

Some examples.  I love crispy pata, or deep fried pork knuckle.  It will set you back P405 at Gerry’s, which is expensive for a cut of meat which used to be tossed out.  Worse yet, Gerry’s version seems to feature tasteless, frozen and refrozen joints.  The baked mussels at P140 and baked scallops at P175 taste old and chalky.  They have promise—an interesting blend of cheese and garlic—but the freshness of the shellfish, or lack thereof, spoils the dish.  They should fire their supplier, in my opinion.  The Tanigue Kilaw (Mackerel in vinegar & chilies, uncooked, P160) and Pusit Kilawin  (squid in vinegar and chilies, uncooked, P170)  suffer from the same problems—lack of freshness and inconsistent preparation.

Give this place a pass unless someone in your party really insists on going.  Save your appetite for other places.   –copyright 2008 aceats.com

CUISINE:  Filipino | COST: $$ | RATING: * (of 4)

August 16, 2008 Posted by | Filipino | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cable Modem vs. DSL in Angeles City

ANGELES CITY, Philippines     Angeles City Cable, a subdivision of Comclark and a sister company to Saver’s mall, offers cable modem service packages that start at P688 for 384 kbps and wind up at P4000 for 2 Mbps.  If you’ve got cable in the Balibago area, you pay a deposit of P500 for the modem plus a deposit of 2 times the monthly fee you select, fill out a paper, and some fairly helpful guys will come out and hook you up.  It will save you a bit of cash if you already have a cable run to wherever in your home you want to place the modem, otherwise they’ll be happy to cable it for you—for a per meter cable cost.  The service works fairly well.  Personally, I’ve experienced download speeds of roughly 56 kbps to 80 kbps on the P2000 plan.  Not bad.  This was good enough for low bit rate streaming video, Skype, some heavy duty downloading, etc. More details on the plans offered can be found here:  Comclark link.

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The service had some downsides.  Depending on the traffic level of the network, some of the higher bit rate applications, like streaming video, could grind to a crashing halt.  You see, cable modem networks are shared networks, meaning that if 100 people are surfing, your service might be great, but if 1000 subscribers are using the network, your bandwidth will decrease.  Also, the modems they offer tend to be flakey, sometimes requiring modem reboot (shut down, restart) to get an IP address. That’s in a addition to all of the other things that can go wrong in either dsl or cable networks:  servers down, high Internet traffic, and so forth.

DSL, offered by PLDT and Digitel, also comes with a modem, but it delivers data across telephone lines.  It’s not available in all areas.  The reason is complicated, but we’ll try to make it simple.  You’ve got to have a doohickey built into the phone lines within about a kilometer of your residence.  The doohickey is an optical node, basically a fiber optic connection to your neighborhood.  The Philippine phone companies haven’t quite gotten around to putting those connections throughout their network, even in Angeles City proper.

 

Cost is roughly similar to cable modem service.  At the time of this writing, the plans offered ranged from P990 for 384 kbps to P3000 for 3 Mbps.  Installation is free.  PLDT charges P1200 for the modem, though the fee is waived for any plan above P2000 and certain other high ticket plans. Full pricing plan can be found here:  PLDT pricing.

My experience with this service, with PLDT, has been a mixed bag.  It took them over a week to install the modem.  Once they installed it, they forgot to authorize the modem (basically, punch a code in the computer at their office to turn it on), so I spent a lot of time waiting around for these guys, all told, over a week.  When all was done, the broadband service worked flawlessly:  fast, not variable like cable modem bandwidth and no senseless modem reboots.

Better yet, I’ve experienced twice the download bitrates for the P2000/mo. Package: between 76 kbps and 170 kbps.  A lot more is possible at these bitrates.  Higher quality video streaming, twice the number of downloads, and very very snappy Internet browsing.

Unlike cable modem networks, dsl networks are not shared, so you have a dedicated connection between your computer and the ISP’s server, in this case, the phone company.  This should lead to more reliable and higher quality broadband, and it seems it does.

I don’t have any direct experience with Digitel’s DSL.  The Web consensus is mixed.  People seem to either love it or hate it.  All three services seem to vary wildly in quality depending on where the subscriber lives.

Some critical comparisons.  Comclark’s field service is a lot faster and generally more knowledgeable.  Both, however, act like monopolies and are not all that customer service focused.  You have to wait, sometime all day, for their installers.  They seem completely unable to pinpoint a time when they might come to your house and their installers are either literally the only Filipinos in the country who haven’t learned what a cell phone is or their companies don’t provide them, so don’t expect warning calls.  If you work, plan to golf or play billiards, or have errands to run, you’re out of luck.  You’ll be forced to sit in your house waiting and waiting, or have someone else do it for you.  I was forced to wait myself, because I had some specific installation things I wanted to make sure they DIDN’T do, like run a cable to an open window in our air-conditioned room.  I recommend you do the same.  Angeles City cable, in particular, is notorious for installers who show up, punch a hole in your screen and run a cable through your open window.  They seem allergic to installing proper jacks, or at least drilling nice, neat hole in logical places.  PLDT’s favor slap-a-phone line in with minimal work trick is to run the phone line through your air-conditioning cage opening.  So you see what you just might want to be around to prevent them from doing a slap-dash installation job.

Comclark has better phone service:  you can get a real person on the phone if you have problems.  PLDT, the phone company, does not publish any phone support numbers.  Figure that one out! 

Comclark’s closest office is in Saver’s Mall and it’s professionally run and well-staffed.  PLDT’s is not that much further away, on the left side after the bridge as you head towards Angeles City.  The waits are longer and the staff is less knowledgeable.  They tend to specialize in form filling rather than phone service.

To wrap it all up, if you just need Internet access and want to turn it on with the least hassle, go with Comclark.  If you must squeeze every bit possible out of your connection, buckle in and take a wild ride on the PLDT express.  Once the service is up and running, it’s actually quite good.  Comclark is cheaper at low bit rates, while PLDT ends up cheaper at higher bit rates.       -copyright 2008 acexpat.com

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August 14, 2008 Posted by | Computers | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment