Year-ender post for 2012

Why does it feel like 2012 passed by like a breeze?

The year has the usual ups and downs but this year, I really felt the impact of people leaving my life. Well, they did not die literally but the bond/relationship we had did. The good times with these people will always be with me. Hopefully, we’ll be able to reconcile our differences in the near future. I guess this just proves that people do come and go. I also had a battle with myself where I contemplated if I have become agnostic or not. I did a lot of research, reflections, and muni-muni… Well, I have come to the conclusion that I still believe in God but not in every teaching that priests preach or claim to be the truth.

2012 let me experience a lot of firsts and these are just some of these firsts: First boyfriend who is now my first ex-boyfriend… but definitely not my first heartache. First public presentation for a research paper. First year in WordPress, yay! First visit to the Mind Museum. First time to attend a garden wedding. First time to watch a Cinemalaya film in UP Diliman. First time to wear Filipiniana outside school/university premises. First biglaang roadtrip. First time to attend a beach wedding. First time to watch the Lantern Parade alone. First baking session (and cupcakes turned out to be damn good!). First major haircut for the year, haha!

01-tile
CLICK IMAGE FOR BETTER RESOLUTION 🙂

I am very thankful for all of the blessings this year such as gaining new friends, being accepted in the company where I want to do my internship,  and getting a part-time job in market research. I was also able to learn more about myself this year. I mean, hey, I’m a tough cookie pala. I may have cried buckets of tears during those times where I felt so hurt and so vulnerable but having a strong support system really helped me along the way. I can now say with a hundred percent conviction that my heart is now stronger, healed… and happier, perhaps. 😉

Survived yet another end-of-the-world prediction. So now, for the yearly to-do list or wish list. Mine includes being fit and healthier, do some travelling, get a stable job (and it should be something that I love), enhance my spiritual life, and hang out more with friends. Cheers to a fun-filled 2013, everyone! 😀

That Empty Feeling…

This year’s Lantern Parade was my last since I will be graduating on April. Compared to the previous Lantern Parades I’ve attended, this year’s was the only parade where I went on my own. Challenge accepted to do the #foreveralone peg in this prestigious UP Diliman event. While waiting for the parade to start, I took these pictures to distract myself…

_MG_2371

_MG_2372

_MG_2381

_MG_2402

_MG_2403

_MG_2407

_MG_2408
Palma Hall looking grand and majestic

_MG_2415

_MG_2429

The only lanterns I saw were up until those from the Asian Institute of Tourism. Before I left the area, I saw College of Education’s lantern nearing AS Steps.

Reason #1 why I left early: My only companion, best friend Kim, can attend the parade but she had to go home early. Since all the good spots were already occupied and she hasn’t arrived yet, we would not be able to have a good view of the lanterns.

Reason #2: A lot of people standing had cameras and whenever a lantern was approaching, everyone would flock there. Curse my height because I could not see anything anymore; thus, I could not take any good pictures.

Reason #3: Lantern Parade is a signal for me that Christmas is approaching but for some reason, I don’t feel the Christmas vibes. The spirit of Grinch and Uncle Scrooge has probably possessed me. I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll be exorcised this week, though. 😦

Anyway, here are the only pictures I had during the parade…

_MG_2433

_MG_2435

_MG_2440

_MG_2445

_MG_2452

_MG_2453

_MG_2455

_MG_2458

_MG_2465

_MG_2466

_MG_2468

_MG_2473

_MG_2474

_MG_2478

_MG_2497

_MG_2498

_MG_2499

_MG_2500

_MG_2501

_MG_2502

_MG_2503

_MG_2505

_MG_2507

_MG_2509

_MG_2510

_MG_2511

_MG_2512

_MG_2515

_MG_2516

_MG_2517

_MG_2528

_MG_2531

_MG_2533

_MG_2535

_MG_2537

_MG_2538

_MG_2540

_MG_2545

_MG_2547

_MG_2548

_MG_2549

Whenever I think that graduation is fast approaching, I feel ecstatic and at the same time very sad. I will surely miss sceneries like these, especially during sunsets.

_MG_2567

_MG_2570

Spent the rest of the evening with Kim. We headed to TriNoma to hang out and catch up with each other’s life. I missed you big time, propphi! 🙂

Best friends forever <3
Best friends forever ❤

Foodgasm episode 13: Xtremely Xpresso Cafe (+ Subic Treetop Adventure)

Before we get to the gastronomic part of this post, let me share the Subic Treetop Adventure experience I had with some of my most favorite companions — Chippy, Eyong, kuya Paul, and ate Kharm. For me and Chippy (ze younger sister), this is our second time in Treetop. We (except kuya Paul) decided to choose package H but the staff informed us that Silver Surfer is not available; thus, package G and H cannot be done. As to whether Silver Surfer is unavailable for now or forever, that’s what I do not know. Chippy and I were quite disappointed since we were not able to try that “ride” out when we first did Treetop Adventure.

We chose package F instead since it’s the closest to the “do-all-you-can-in-Treetop” experience then added Interactive Free Fall to the list of things we would do. So, that’s 720 bucks plus 250 for the free fall and you get PhP970 per person. Here’s a print-screened image on the different packages Subic Treetop Adventure offers:

Treetop Adventure packages
Treetop Adventure packages

This is how we arranged the activities we did in Treetop:

  • Tree Drop (Eyong and ate Kharm)
  • Canopy Ride + Canopy Walk (Chippy, ate Kharm, Eyong, me)
  • Trekking with Jungle Survival Demo (+ kuya Paul because this is the only activity where heights are not involved)
  • Interactive Free Fall (Chippy, ate Kharm, Eyong, me)
  • Superman Ride (Chippy, ate Kharm, Eyong, me)

Eyong -- tree drop
Eyong — tree drop

Ate Kharm -- tree drop
Ate Kharm — tree drop

Once is enough for me and Chippy. We refused to do tree drop since we were not in the mood (or more like we’re afraid to do so). Ate Kharm and Eyong were both game since this was their first time to do it. In fairness, hindi sila napasigaw. They hang you up above a 60-foot tree and before you know it… down you go!

All geared up for the canopy ride and canopy walk!
All geared up for the canopy ride and canopy walk!

Chippy and ate Kharm -- Canopy Ride
Chippy and ate Kharm — Canopy Ride

Canopy Ride and Canopy Walk is a combination of crossing suspension bridges and riding motorized cable seats to let you see the tranquil and beauty of nature. One ride can take a maximum of three people but since we were four, we decided to do it in pairs. You can also ask the kind kuyas to make the seats face each other.

On a leash called harness
On a leash called harness

One with nature
One with nature

Whenever I’m in a place surrounded or filled with trees, I always take an overhead shot like this especially if it’s sunny. We were all thankful that there was no sign it was gonna rain so we were able to enjoy all of the activities in Treetop Adventure.

Time for some trekking!
Time for some trekking!

Finally! Kuya Paul joined us for the trekking and jungle survival demo. The canopy ride & walk ended just in time so we made it to this activity. There’s a schedule for this activity with a 2-hour interval in between each time slot. Ours started at 2PM although the whole activity lasted for just around 40 minutes.

Why, hello there!
Why, hello there!

_MG_2097

You’ll see lots of these lamp posts and of course trees, trees, and trees. Yay! Our trek guide was kuya Jun and I commend him for having a good sense of humor. Even though our trek had lectures, his jokes and punchlines prevented us from getting bored and sleepy (although how does one get sleepy with trekking, right?).

How to make a bamboo cup
How to make a bamboo cup

Complete bamboo meal set -- kainan, inuman, spork
Complete bamboo meal set — kainan, inuman, spork

How to make fire. Huzzah!
How to make fire. Huzzah!

_MG_2203Voila!!! This is what kuya Paul was waiting for. Find a dry bamboo when stuck in a deserted island. Make sure you have a bolo and you’ve memorized the six essential steps kuya Jun taught… then you’re good to go! No need for matches, lighter, oil, magnifying glass, and sunlight. Oh and kuya Jun also showed us a type of vine where you can drink clean water. Those who were able to taste it said that there was a lemon -ish flavor.

_MG_2209

We also watched three types of Aeta dance — hunter dance, dragonfly dance, and monkey dance. The hunter dance was the best because the Aeta dancer shot an arrow straight to the box near our seat. *clap clap* Hindi niyo lang alam, pangarap ko kasi maging archer! Haha.

Happy campers ang peg
Happy campers ang peg

Chippy and ate Kharm -- Interactive Free Fall
Chippy and ate Kharm — Interactive Free Fall

Chippy and ate Kharm -- Interactive Free Fall
Chippy and ate Kharm — Interactive Free Fall

with Eyong -- Interactive Free Fall
with Eyong — Interactive Free Fall

with Eyong -- Interactive Free Fall
with Eyong — Interactive Free Fall

This ride lasts for 7 cycles. At first you’ll think that 7 cycles is too long but if you have a penchant for adventures and extreme rides, Interactive Free Fall is quite fast. Bitin is the best word to describe it. Every time the contraption goes down, it feels like I’ve left my heart somewhere above the tree. Definitely not for the faint-hearted!

Chippy and ate Kharm -- Superman Ride
Chippy and ate Kharm — Superman Ride

with Eyong -- Superman Ride
with Eyong — Superman Ride

Finally, we reach our last activity in Treetop Adventure! Dun dun dun dun. Say hello to the Superman Ride! You can flap your arms, wave it, or do a Superman-like pose. Just don’t try to remove your arms from the acrobat-like thing. Our adventure ended a few minutes before 4PM and we realized that we haven’t eaten our lunch yet. I did a bit of research and spotted a restaurant that people showered with compliments. I’m talking about Xtremely Xpresso Cafe.

The Menu
The Menu

Creamy Mushroom Soup (PhP120)
Creamy Mushroom Soup (PhP120)

One of the most delicious mushroom soups I’ve had! Actually, this was Chippy’s order and I just had a spoonful of this. Mix the soup well before tasting it so that the herbs (which taste like basil) are evenly mixed. It makes the soup tastier. 🙂

XX Cappuccino, Tall (PhP80)
XX Cappuccino, Tall (PhP80)

Strawberry Milkshake (PhP120)
Strawberry Milkshake (PhP120)

Iced Coffee, Tall (PhP80)
Iced Coffee, Tall (PhP80)

Eskimocha, Grande (PhP100)
Eskimocha, Grande (PhP100)

Mango Cremo, Grande (PhP100)
Mango Cremo, Grande (PhP100)

I didn’t get the chance to taste the other drinks since I was too happy sipping my strawberry milkshake. It’s really yummy but I feel like Johnny Rockets’ Milkshake is better. I just heard everyone say that their own drink was good so I’ll take their word for it. 🙂

Garlic and Cheese Quesadilla (PhP150)
Garlic and Cheese Quesadilla (PhP150)

Anti-pasti with a chef’s recommendation. Definitely did not fail my expectations. Uy, rhyming! Haha. There’s a generous amount of garlic per quesadilla and you can even see from the picture that cheese is oozing from each piece. It’s a must-have though to have a toothbrush+toothpaste or candies that are very minty… unless you want to talk people, letting them smell that garlicky odor and figure out what you ate for lunch/merienda/dinner.

_MG_2324
Big Ben pizza, Large (PhP749)

I included people in this picture just to show how big this pizza is. Quoting what was written in their menu, Big Ben is “loaded with pepperoni, sausage, bacon and beef… on veggies… garlic, onions, peppers, mushrooms, black olives… and two kinds of cheese.” At first I thought that we would be able to take a few slices home but then again, we were too hungry for that.

See, the pizza slice does not even fit the plate
See, the pizza slice does not even fit the plate.

We had three slices each then someone took the remaining (fourth) slice but I can’t remember who. Not me because I was too full already after my third slice. Oh! And I just remembered that there’s another Big Ben version is the “Big Albino Ben,” where you can have the Red (aka tomato sauce) removed. 😉

This is probably the longest post to date but I did my best to make it short without compromising the details. Hope you guys enjoyed reading this. When in Subic, visit these two places. You won’t regret it. 🙂

——————————

Subic Treetop Adventure: JEST Area, Upper Mau Cubi Point, Subic Bay Freeport Zone

Xtremely Xpresso Cafe (Subic): 1 Dewey Avenue, Olongapo City

Foodgasm episode 12: Dimsum Break — a.k.a. Happy Birthday Chippy!

Overdue post.

Finally found the time (and kasipagan) to post where my family ate to celebrate my younger sister’s 20th birthday. Oops. I think I was not supposed to say the age… but she does not look 20! 😉

Anywaaay, I’ve been hopping around Filipino food blogs for the past two weeks to look for hole-in-the-wall kainan or restos I haven’t heard of.  I stumbled upon The Pickiest Eater‘s post on Dimsum Break, which is the first Luzon branch of Ding Qua Qua / Harbor City. A few people know that I spent three years of my childhood life in Cebu. Even if I was not able to master the language of Cebuanos, I still feel I’m a Cebuana at heart.

_MG_1000

One thing that will always remind me of Cebu is the famed steamed rice from Harbor City. My tatay went back to Cebu a few months ago and I begged him to take home even just one order of steamed rice since it’s been years since I last ate one. And yes, he really bought just one order for me. Haha! So, imagine my excitement and happiness when I read that Harbor City opened up a branch in SM North EDSA. XD

Dimsum Break's menu
Dimsum Break’s menu

What’s different in Dimsum Break is they do not have people pushing around carts where you can choose the food that you want to eat. (That’s how they roll in Harbor City… or at least when I was still a kid) Instead, they have a counter where you can choose different dimsums on display. They also have a menu where you can choose noodles/soups, siopao, desserts, and beverages.

Steamed Rice (PhP68)
Steamed Rice (PhP68)

I introduce to you, my readers, the steamed (fried) rice! One bowl of it is enough to fill your stomach. My sister and I can’t help but say that it’s already expensive since back then, this dish costs PhP25 only. But that was back in 1999 pa eh! It has pork, shrimp, and peas together with Dimsum Break’s special sauce. 😉

Fried Wanton (Php65)
Fried Wanton (Php65)

My sister ordered this and I was so happy since this dimsum is full of shrimp. The “blooming flower” appearance of this dimsum gives the effct that it’s huuuuuge though it’s really enough to take away your hunger. 🙂

Crab balls (Php65)
Crab balls (PhP65)

Shrimp balls (PhP65)
Shrimp balls (PhP65)

I actually can’t remember how these two dishes were called but the names I gave them are enough to help you determine the main ingredient of the dimsum. *wink wink* Both are really delicious but I like the crab dimsum more. I’m not a fan of super oily foods so if you’re like me, you will definitely love the fried dimsum the restaurant offers.

Lomi (PhP80)
Lomi (PhP80)

So far, this is the best lomi I’ve ever eaten. There is a generous serving of meat and vegetables plus the bowl is big enough to share with another person. It’s not too salty for my taste and the soup was really hot when they served it.

Bacon Siomai (PhP65)
Bacon Siomai (PhP65)

Dun dun dun dun! Hail Dimsum Break for combining two of my favorite foods in the world — bacon and siomai. Duh! I was quite nervous how this dish would fare since the bacon is steamed, not fried. As far as I can remember, this dish was not yet present during my family’s stay in Cebu. Anyway, one bite of bacon siomai erased the doubts I had on it. Absolutely D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. I will definitely place this in my to-order mental list whenever I eat at Dimsum Break.

After eating, we went around the mall since we ate so much. Good thing we did because we accidentally spotted a Hello Kitty exhibit at The Block. ヘ(^_^ヘ)(ノ^_^)ノ Here are some pictures I took with the family.

Tatay, mama, Chippy
Tatay, mama, Chippy

The biggest fan of Hello Kitty meets Papa Kitty and Mama Kitty. How I wish I could take them home. ♥
The biggest fan of Hello Kitty meets Papa Kitty and Mama Kitty. How I wish I could take them home. ♥

Sanrio character cakes courtesy of BreadTalk
Sanrio character cakes courtesy of BreadTalk

Happy birthday to my one and only younger sister, Chippy! :D
Happy birthday to my one and only younger sister, Chippy! 😀

——————————

Dimsum Break: 3/F SM North EDSA Annex, Quezon City

The first two weeks of my November 2012 + Foodgasm episode 11: Yabu: House of Katsu

A lot of things happened since I last updated my blog but let’s just talk about the highlights of those weeks. The first week of November was enrollment in my university… my last enrollment actually since I’ll be graduating on March 2013 (hopefully!).

My last registration form as an undergraduate student

Since I only have two remaining subjects for my last semester, I had a lot of free time for rakets. I assisted in four projects in the company I’m working for (part-time though). I really enjoy doing market research. I feel like I belong in this field rather than in media. I’m still a bit undecided what companies I’ll be applying into after graduating.

Trying to sneak a picture during my break from work 🙂

The second week of November 2012 meant that our batch would be having our grad pics. Yay! I really had a hard time thinking about my creative shot. My initial peg was to have a vintage atmosphere… then it hit me! Imitate an icon from the vintage times. :>

Guess who… 🙂

I had spare money to spend on whatever I want so I bought a few things recently. Since my university ‘required’ walking from one class to another (which is usually from one building to another), a lot of my shoes got worn out and so I let them rest in peace na. I bought two pairs of shoes this week — one from Forever 21 and one from Tutum Shop, a proudly Pinoy shoe brand. 😉

Lessie shoes (blue) from Tutum Shop

The other pair of shoes I bought is part of the Hello Kitty collection of Forever 21. I rushed to the Megamall branch when I found out that they already released the collection. Basta Hello Kitty (at magandang product), bibilhin ko agad! I think that I will never be too old for Hello Kitty. *sigh*

Sweater, leggings, and pair of shoes from Forever 21 x Hello Kitty collection

I also went with a close friend of mine and her boyfriend to the National Bookstore Warehouse Sale. We went there on the second day and a lot of good books were already bought. 😦 The only book I was able to buy for myself was one about photography. Originally, it was for 1,000+ pesos but I got it for 200 pesos na lang. 😀

Books I bought for my cousin and little niece :>

I treated my parents to dinner at Yabu: House of Katsu (Megamall branch). It was our first time there and I’ve really been curious how their food tasted like ever since people started ranting about how really good their katsu is. I ordered the Rosu Tonkatsu Set which was around PhP400 for the biggest katsu. Gluttony at its best. Besides the katsu, Yabu offers unlimited cabbage and unlimited rice. Quite sayang for me since I don’t eat too much rice. I loooove their cabbages though since these are thinly sliced then you either drizzle or soak them with the Sesame Dressing or the Yabu Special Dressing. My meal also came with a bowl of miso soup, japanese pickles (which I didn’t like), and fruits for dessert.

tile1
[L-R] — (above): Miso soup, Rosu Katsudon; (below): Sesame seeds and katsu sauce, salad dressing, fruits and pickles
I think that what makes Yabu unique among the restos I’ve tried, which offer katsu, is their “interactive” activity of doing your own katsu sauce — grinding the sesame seeds then pouring the katsu sauce over it then mixing it. My parents and I had fun doing this grind-pour-mix thing. I would definitely come back to this place anytime, especially if my tummy craves for katsu. 😀

——————————

Yabu: House of Katsu: 2/F Atrium, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City