Dec 28, 2014

Random Gala in Manila

This is way back August when we happen to have a small gathering with my VSO-ICS peeps. I stayed overnight with one of them- which was a very nice sleep of course. And then my companion brought me to the newly built SM in Taguig. By the time I was in Manila this mall was still underconstruction. The Samsung Hall is also located there (too bad I wasn't able to watch Sungha Jung's concert). But that's not what I wanted to say. We had a small tour and she treated me with Magnum Ice Cream. This ice cream is famous in the Philippines for being expensive and yummy. And I assume that the first Magum resto is in SM Aura? Well, nevermind.

So, we first had to choose the ice ream whether vanilla or chocolate. And then, the coating - they offer the dark chocolate and white chocolate. My friend and I had to different orders so we can taste each other's ice cream. And for the toppings they had array of toppings to choose from. It was so varied that you will go gaga for choosing only three toppings for your ice cream (which is very much unfair).
Ok so this is the array of toppings, in blur.. hehehehehe


And tada our finished product ice cream, after going through all the stages.


But it is not just the ice cream that you will be fascinated to eat. If you love chocolates like I do you'll definitely appreciate these chocolate bars that they displayed over the place. How can they possibly be displaying it instead of eating it? grrr such a waste! It is sooo big.



The Magnum place is located at the top floor near samsung hall. It is represented by this large M made of ice cream sticks!


Ok lets move on to the other part of our gala. since travelling to Manila is what I seldom do. I met with one friend of mine who has been wanting to see me but failed due to my busy sched. hahahaha. He is actually been wanting to treat me to lunch so I contacted him that day to fulfill his promise. He took us to this cake resto and had small chit-chat.

and the cakes we had are so deliii..





But they didn't like it that much so I had to bring the left overs. We parted ways right after. and that ended my gala in Manila. Hope to see them again soon.!

Dec 27, 2014

Travel

Photo taken from: The Idealist Facebook Page
I read one post last night and it is about valuing travelling. It didn't just fascinate me but inspired me to have my own planned solo trip.


At my age, one of the biggest discoveries that I treasure most is travelling. The new experience it brings cannot be paid by the years of working in the same company for the rest of your life. There's more to travelling than just seeing new places, it is discovering yourself amidst the place you are unfamiliar with. By the time you've been to more than one place - yourself has been renewed. But we have limiting beliefs, beliefs that limit us from seeing the beautiful world out there. Whether it is money, family, work or unsecure future that keep us from going - be inspired to change your life and the world you're in for many years. With that you'll be amazed by how things can come naturally.

Dec 14, 2014

Food Trip (Sagada)

I'm not really into food but trying new things is one of my motto now so I'm kind of doing things I haven't done before to know my own limitations. That's why if I had to walk for hours or get into topload rides on a bus passing on a very steep road- just  to get into a place I haven’t been before - I'll do it. Challenging myself is my new hype.

And for this post about food, well, some people might think that its not new to them but since it is new to me I'm posting it. These are the places that I've been to when I was in Sagada, my travel buddies recommended it.  They've been there many times, so I bet they have great taste when it comes to food in Sagada.

And our first stop,

Pinikpikan House

"Pinikpikan" is a specialty in the Mt. Province. It is prepared by beating the live chicken prior to cooking. Maybe PETA people won't agree in the way the chickens are killed but this is part of the place's culture, basically since then. So there's no way of stopping them from doing it. And there is no wonder why most tourists drop by and try it since it is delicious. The chicken used for this is a native chicken so it is tastier and fresher than the commerical ones. 


One order of it includes the infamous etag or "smoked meat". Smoking the meat is the same as smoking the fish in central luzon, they do it to preserve them. But I think I prefer etag if it was fried and not in  a soup. It was very salty but worth a try for tourists.

Their food are surprisingly affordable. And the resto doesn't run out of people, tourists keep flocking in.


And an added attraction of this resto - are their really cute dogs. Go to their backdoor and you'll find them. This resto is nearer to the market where jeepneys park so it is not hard to find it, just go straight and look for the sign.

Lemon Pie House

Now, friends told me that this is where most people go. And yeah, obviously they are up for the lemon pies. It was also my first time to taste the pie. It was good, but the blueberry cheesecake was  good as well. Their tea is good too.

 

The house is located in the further end and near to the curve going to the first cave. You can just walk to it.

Yoghurt House


If you ate in the "Pinikpikan house", walk further and you'll find it. It is near to stores selling souvenirs and stuff.

Their yogurt tastes really good compared to the ones I've tasted before. I ordered the one with ice cream and loved it.

Gaia café


This is one nice café based on my standard. And it is not really hard to find. It is along the way going to sumaguing cave. Must try are the veggie chips and the lemon tea. I got a separate post of it here 

OTHERS

Suman (Rice Cake)

Maybe their own version of rice cake is worth a try as well. I bought this suman while on my way to cavalry hill and it is quite tasty.


 Etag

This is how etag looks like when still on the process of being etag (I don't know what they call it, maybe airdry)

And a finished product etag - ready for buying.

Fruits

These are the fruits found in the North.
My first time to see and eat rattan. this tastes really sour. I haven't liked it that much.


Persimmon on a tree. It was my first time to see one too. When Iwent to the market I bought 1/4 of the fruit. The taste is similar to papaya - sweet
Peaches. Looks different, right? This is how their local peaches look like. But I haven't tasted it so I don't know its difference with the ones we frequently see in fruit stalls.

Just a thought

Your decisions in life echoes through generations.
Like getting married. Your decision to have a good and reliable partner very much affects your future children and the children of your children. Of course there might be aspects that might make your marriage imperfect but the fact that you strived for a better family is a very good decision to make. Such things as going to a very good university and trying to be confident about everything are decisions as well. But the main point in decision making is foreseeing the result of having that decision. But not all of us can make good decisions, there are times that our decisions will either frustrate us or make us lucky. Nonetheless, if you wanted something good to happen you can make that better decision for yourself and to the people that will depend on you in the future.

Having said that, I am just very much interested at the thought of knowing how great people started small. Maybe because they made good decisions and held on to what they believe in. I do believe that if people will just change their life and strive to be better - they can have that better life they long for.

Oct 29, 2014

VI021 Reunited

Ok, this is about my volunteer memoirs.
Last September, one of my weekends was with the people I have not met for months. It's the first time for our batch to be completed since the RV weekend last year, so it is a bit nostalgic.



Apparently, one of our British counterparts was able to join us, her name is Amy, she came all the way from Scotland to do Development work in Leyte. Her coming is the reason in organizing the group's dinner. Everyone catched-up with each other, threw jokes, laughed, took pictures and a lot more. I actually enjoyed being with everyone again. And as usual, I had to get used to the attitude of some people. Well, now I'm getting used to it.

Oct 9, 2014

Funny hahaha

So I'm funny. Some of my friends say so. But I guess there is a deeper burden that lies on being funny all the time - people think you are always happy and its your sort of duty to shower them with that happiness. I would be glad if there's a job like that - to play a part in people's lives with a good cause for there is no such thing as a happy world? Right?


Personally, it delights me when I make people laugh. The compliments they give is enough for the effort I put on those punchy jokes,  but I think it is the same for all of us, making people smile give us that light feeling because you've done something good. Doing good things is innate in all of us, its just not that fully recognized in some ways.  For me there is no true laughter than from an informal conversation you have with friends.

Oct 7, 2014

Gaia Cafe


Cafés are one of those cute establishments that we see everywhere. They are always artsy-craftsy which guarantee a very nice ambiance for customers. So this one café that I've been to was the first one that I liked so far. Considering that I never really go to cafés that much, comparing it to other cafes is less likely to happen. Hahahaha. You can say that I may have a not-so- high standard yet when it comes to cafes.


So what brought me there? A friend and I was just passing on this signage when we were on our way to a cave.


It says…

 It is one of those you see on Korean series that it caught so much attention from me. We didn't went through at first but it was really tempting so when we were on our way home we finally dropped by.
  Another signage that welcomes guest as we approach the entrance door.

  The café looks like a tree house made of pine trees. And pine trees also make good  furnitures, right?. 
 
 It offers snacks, drinks and meals; and even pastries like muffins and cookies.

 
 What we had were the homemade malunggay chips with a dip of black beans, tomatoes and garlic and blueberry muffins.

   Blueberry muffins.. Nom NomXD

 
For my drink I had the lemon grass tea with honey.

I took random pictures when we were eating. The malunggay chips was a must have, it's some kind of  nachos when we were eating it and a very healthy food for those on diet.

And that's how to eat it. hahaha. Since the dip bowl is just small, I think it wasn't enough for the two of us but they don’t really do refill unlike the dips in Jollibee. Hehehe

 That's the view from where I was sitting. That pine tree was really nice. It is very similar to those pine trees sold at malls during Christmas. 

 When I look to my left this is the view that I get. Inside that window are souvenirs and those pinned pieces of paper are some quotable quotes that are in support to women empowerment which might be the owner's advocacy.

 And that's the owner's house. Well looks like the owner was really artistic and rich after all to have a cute café and a very fancy house like that. :D

Oct 6, 2014

A Place in the clouds

Oh yeah, I walked on clouds when I went to this place. Hahahaha. No I'm just exaggerating.
 

Going to this place felt like we were near heaven because the clouds are just about our reach. And the best thing about our travel is we were all on topload rides, so the view, majestic mountains, rice terraces and vast rainforest were very much appreciated. I didn’t regret me soaking wet because of the rain and shine weather in that 3-4 hour bus ride. It was all worth it.


Above is one of my friends. I wasn't intentionally taking a picture of him. I just wanted to capture that cloudy and foggy road we are passing. I admire how the bus driver maneuver the curves. Riding on top of the bus is both terrifying and fascinating.


Sagada. One of the most touristy sites in the Philippines though has been long existing was my first time to set foot on. And it was a 'fall-in-love' sort of impression that I had when we arrived. What I love most of the place is first the weather, second the food in affordable price, and third the very cute restos, café and bars found in every street corner of the town. This place is definitely a must go to.

Unlike in Bohol, where most foreigner own almost all types of business, in Sagada, most locals manage/own the businesses. A friend of mine explained to me that the place is an ancestral domain, no foreign people nor a fellow Filipino can own a land unless they get married to one of the locals. They consider their land sacred and should only be given to their descendants. And I can see that most of the people have benefitted from its touristy asset.  Since their land is theirs and no one can take it away from them. Locals have ventured into business to cater tourists' needs, from food and lodging, to souvenirs and travel tours - I think locals have provided them all.

I think for the whole trip I almost had nothing to worry about since most of my friends have been there several times already so they pretty much know all the must go places to eat and site -see. Even the cheap places to stay in.

When we were there we stayed in this P250 per night lodging house which is not bad.

Above is the building we stayed in for a night. My friend said that it is one of the cheapest place to stay in.



Sea of Clouds. Since Sagada is situated in the mountains, cold morning welcomed me when I woke up.  I woke just in time to see this "Sea of Clouds". One of my friends took me to watch the sea of clouds up close but we ended up taking pictures of the cavalry hill because we were late when we got there.  I might write something about it later.

More posts will ensue after this one for I took a lot of pictures which is worth sharing I guess.

Sep 20, 2014

Another batch

It's been a year. Right after my VSO ICS cycle, 3 batches came forth and here is another one just done prepping up to be deployed to their placement. As, maybe, a few of you would remember (well, if somebody out there has been reading my blog), I was an RV support of the batch that ensued mine. And it was a very good batch that I've supported. They were all happy and full-spirited young people with hunger for development work. And that was last year. 



So now another batch came and I'm already working in Nueva Ecija but I didn’t stop my involvement in ICS since my cycle ended. What’s nice about supporting another new batch of volunteers is the fact that I know better than them what is install for them, and that how valuable my experiences are for them to grasp the details of being an ICS volunteer. Of course there is a plus, and it is reminiscing my feelings when I was  a participant like them. I wonder how I looked like or how I reacted to the activities we had. Hahaha.

And this batch, is a bunch of another full-spirited young people gathered from different backgounds. I've got high hopes for them being the first batch to be deployed in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija which will be focusing on Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM). For this team, I give my best of luck and a successful cycle ahead!


Sep 10, 2014

How to do a staycation?


Sometimes it is very tiring to plan a vacation trip cause it often entails a lot of preparation and you also need to allot time for the planning itself.



I'm pretty good at doing anything at home when I'm free. If others think that it is boring to do a vacation at home, well, they are WRONG. It can be an option if you are not really fond of travelling.



These are things that are really nice to do at home (well it is what I do at home):



Watch movies, series or animes. Imagine if you have a list of movies you need to watch, you can watch it all in your free day. You can also invite friends over to your house and do a movie marathon, and when it is all done, stay up all night and chika chika with friends.



Read books. If you're a person who’s really into reading, this is your chance to read those books you bought that you have just stuck on the side because you have no time to open it. Reading is not boring. Especially, when you are reading a very nice one.



Learn to play instrument/s. There are things that we have been wanting to do, but the fact is, we don’t enough time to do it. So, maybe on your staycation, why not try to learn to play the guitar, piano or anything you've been wanting to learn since you were little?  It is easier now to look for video tutorials online and give that dream of yours a try.



Cook. Been wanting to cook the nicest recipe you've discovered? Start your kitchen battle. You can replace your mother or sister from cooking all the time and have them taste your recipe. I've discovered from a friend that cooking is also a way to relieve stress. So its basically 'hitting  two birds with one stone", you're making your tummy full at same time you are relieving yourself from stress.



Karaoke. A singer in the closet? Frustrated singer? Or either of it. Singing is definitely relieving. If you agree to what I'm sayin' then try doing this at home. It is so much fun with a group of friends when you fight over songs to sing. Having karaoke is better than spending 5 pesos in Karaoke machines. It is also a way to catch up with friends. 



Happy Staycation! :D




Shape up or ship out


Dear 'insecurity',



I'm writing for you to know that I have always wanted you to stay out of my mind. You don't have to be there, you're just ruining the positive vibes that I've been trying to establish.



I know that it is hard not to think about other people cause they affect you somehow. But please try to appreciate what you have and stop comparing yourself to other people, it won't do you good nor make them any lesser than you. Good things starts within yourself. Mind your business, cause it is where you'll have to focus on.



Might as well build your own character and confidence so you can beat the odds that will come your way.



There are times that it's tempting right? Why do people love to flaunt what they have? They make you think the what should be unthinkable and throw away appreciation you have for yourself. What are you going to do about this, are you just going to give up like that. Them overpowering you? Don't let them do it, you have more strength than them. They don't control you, you control yourself and you are free to get away from that uncomfortable feeling you are in.



You'll need to resist these kind of temptations more and more cause there are more to come, you still haven’t  met the worst. Always fasten yourself seat to overcome the rough ride.



Love,

Myself

Aug 27, 2014

Living in Bohol 101: Boholanos

Thinking of staying in Bohol for a long time? You might be a tourist who simply wanted to travel or a volunteer who has been assigned to make a social impact. Either of them, you still need to know Boholanos, apart from being very "Hospitable"  (known Filipino attitude) there are other things you might need to know about them.

Boholanos are…

  1. Happy people. They find ways to make themselves contented to live a happy life. Regardless of the hardships.

  1. Love to sing. Anywhere you go, you'll find karaoke or videoke machines. Most families even have it in their house. Boholanos are also great singers, I must say. I also think singing is in the Filipino blood, Filipinos also love to watch singing contest on TV or live so don’t tell them that singing contest on TV are cheap cause they definitely have high standards when it comes to singing.
  2. Love to help other people. Bohol is a safe place for tourists. Ask a Boholano, and you'll know. They love it when they are able to help.

  1. Receptive to foreigners. They very much welcome foreigners because they see them as cool, handsome and wealthy people (in general), this might be a disadvantage in some cases, but mostly foreign people are able to benefit from how they are treated. :D

  1. They speak English, specifically American English. Yeah, for foreigners who don’t know, Philippines speak great English and Boholanos as well. I would like to emphasize this because I worked with a British youth when I was volunteering and he said that he didn’t expect people in Bohol to be speaking in English. So if you'll stay there for long, don’t worry, you won’t get lost cause you can ask people around.



  1. Shy people. This is when they are around foreigners, they are shy to speak in English (though they can speak well or a bit), they are shy because they are conscious with their grammar not because they don't know how to speak English.

  1. Love to dance. Attend to events and gatherings, and the most frequent talents are singing and dancing. Aside from singing, Filipinos also love to dance and most of them are not shy when you make them sing or dance.

  1. Love to eat. Fiesta is part of the culture, and the height of fiesta is from April to May. You can see banderitas (hanging colorful streamers) in a series of towns you'll pass by. And when you say fiesta it is eating a lot of food - healthy diet is not an excuse.

  1. Religious people. Bohol is known for a lot of old churches, and most of them are true-blue Roman  Catholics. Going to church is an important thing on Sundays, so if ever you are staying in a host home or Boholano family, it is a sign of respect if you agree to them taking you to church. They are not going to convert you or something, going once or twice is enough. Don't be surprised if they ask you your religion, it is  a normal thing, so be prepared to answer nicely.

  1. Clean. They are mostly concerned about cleanliness, and house keeping is done if not everyday or during weekends. They do household chores frequently. Just don’t be too messy and you'll be fine. They would also appreciate if you'll try to help, (though most of them will try to tell you you don't have to, but  insist anyway) they are glad to teach you how to do chores like  washing  clothes with your own hands or cooking in wooden fire.
  2. Taking a bath once or three times a day. Body odor is sometimes offensive, be sure to take a bath at least once everyday.

I'm sure I've got a lot of things missed. Most of them are just drawn from my volunteer experience with British people. So if someone out there would like to ask specific questions, I'd be glad to answer back in a Boholano perspective.

Aug 15, 2014

Baguio City: Chil Cheon Gak


Yes, this is when we visited Baguio. Our trip organizer gave me a chance to plan our lunch. And since I badly wanted to try Korean Food, I've decided to look for a Korean resto famous in Baguio. But I guess I didn’t research well huhuhu. A friend of mine told me that "Red Station" is better than "Chil Chun Gak". Anyway, though my colleagues resented eating in that Korean resto, because they weren't really satisfied considering also that it was their first time, all of us gave out a sigh and said that it was worth the try.  But I was glad that they didn't make me pay all of it knowing that I was the one who planned it all. Hahahaha


But since this is my first time eating all Korean food, I'm posting it though  it wasn't satisfying right after.


Yeah, we've ordered that much and those side dishes in small cups were free. I'm suppose to order samgyeopsal but they don’t serve unless you ordered two sets of it. And  I sensed that my company wouldn't want to order it wahahahaha. So I sticked to ramen instead. See that bowl with the soup, that is mine. It was even funny, we are eating in a Korean restaurant and all of them  wanted to eat Filipino food.  Hahahaha.


 We are a rice-eating country, and eating won't be  complete without rice. But honestly, the rice bowl was just small but I wasn't able to finish it, huhuhu, it didn’t go well with the ramen I ordered. :'(


But this is the most interesting part of our lunch, taking a picture of the chopsticks. Hahahaha

For documentation purposes, I took pictures of the resto as well.


 They' got a nice interior though.  And you get to choose whether you'll sit on a chair or on the floor. We decided to sat on the floor which is on the left side of the picture.


And that's the area we chose. :D


They've lots of tables to choose from if you'll go further right. This was that part.

CONCLUSION:
I seriously need to get used to the taste of Korean Food. But I was thinking it might be hard for me to do, since I so loved sweet food and, generally, the taste of Korean foods are way different. :( So maybe I'll just stick to being a fan of K-Pop, K-dramas and K-Culture yet excluding the food hahahaha. I guess I just went so bitter just because I didn't get to order the food that I wanted. Whooo.

But, I would still continue to look for great Korean restos, and order a different Korean dish, maybe I'll love some of them. Well, it takes time to get used to something you haven’t grown with.  Ajja!