Swift

_MG_3817

Lately, everything seems to pass by too fast. For one, today marks the last day of March 2013. I can’t believe that one quarter of the year will come to pass a few hours from now. This means that our deadline for our undergraduate thesis is fast approaching as well as our graduation rites. As I recall what happened over the past three months, each event feels like it happened just yesterday or at the latest, a week ago. I am quite nervous whenever I remember that this coming May, I will be starting my first full-time job. Though I am also excited since I know that there will be lots of good things in store for me in my work place. Wish me luck!

Think about the photo before and after, never during. The secret is to take your time. You mustn’t go too fast. The subject must forget about you. Then, however, you must be very quick.Henri Cartier-Bresson

One Friday Afternoon

IMG_0308“At that moment, Farf saw that the Farf hypothesis was undeniably true: Love did cause Fear. The more you Loved, the more you Feared the Loss of the thing you Loved. But what was one to do? Live with the Fear? Love in spite of the Fear? Wake up every morning knowing that today could be the day on which someone you Loved might be Lost?” — Lars Farf, Excessively Fearful Father and Husband, George Saunders

Foodgasm episode 14: Chef Arch’s Lime 88

Aaaah. Finally got the chance to post my first entry this 2013. This one is an overdue post since I went to this hole-in-the-wall resto last December 21, 2012. I always see this place packed with people especially during the night. My mom and I actually wondered if it was the usual inuman place. The chance to see what’s in Chef Arch’s Lime 88 came when my mom was too lazy to cook dinner and she didn’t want to eat fast food stuff. We (mama, tatay, and I) ordered three dishes and I was able to make my mom buy me a cocktail. This was the first time she bought me an alcoholic drink. Yay! 😉

Lychee Martini 75
Lychee Martini (PhP75)
Creamy Garlic Tuyo Pasta (PhP175)
Creamy Garlic Tuyo Pasta (PhP175)

While waiting for this dish, we thought it was good for sharing. But since I was soooo hungry that night, I actually thought to myself I could finish this dish on my own. Haha! Good thing we still had two other dishes to share so I was fine with sharing the pasta with my mom. This dish was really delicious although I would have preferred the tuyo to be himay already. Tuyo flakes might also work for this dish.

Osso Busco Kare Kare (PhP230)
Osso Busco Kare Kare (PhP230)

OH. MY. GOSH. BEST KARE-KARE I’VE TASTED! The meat was perfectly cooked. I also love how the bagoong (aka shrimp paste) was done. It tastes the same as what my uncle cooks, which I consider as the best bagoong. If you’re a first timer at Lime 88, you should order this one. If I’m not mistaken, this dish is one of their bestsellers.

Silken Tokwa and Crispy Tenga with Sinamak Soy Dressing (PhP190)
Silken Tokwa and Crispy Tenga with Sinamak Soy Dressing (PhP190)

I was hesitant to eat the crispy tenga because it’s ear. Duh. I don’t know which animal owns that ear but my tatay insisted it was delicious. I had a bite and all of my doubts on this dish disappeared. The tokwa (or tofu) and tenga matched with the dressing which is actually just soy sauce and vinegar. Cholesterooooool. </3

The claim to fame of this place is “street food with a twist.” Indeed, pinasosyal nila yung street food — from plating to the name of the dish and even to how Chef Arch placed his own twist to the different dishes. It’s quite pricey though. Still, the food was worth every cent we spent. I highly recommend this place to everyone, especially to those living in Mandaluyong. 😉

——————————

Chef Arch’s Lime 88: 160 San Rafael St., Mandaluyong, Philippines

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

Foodgasm episode 10: Little Tokyo (Shinjuku and Kagura)

Hey there! 😉

The last day of October 2012 meant that my family would be commemorating the 40th day since a relative of mine passed away. We had mass in Ascension Columbary followed by a small salu-salo. My aunts and uncles decided to celebrate All Souls’ Day yesterday since there would be fewer people in the columbary.

With the BIG family… not complete though :p

And finally, after x number of months (or years?), Eyong’s dinner treat happened. Haha! We chose to eat authentic Japanese food for dinner and the best place to go to is Little Tokyo in Makati City. Shinjuku Ramen House was our first stop for the night. The staff were so friendly and very attentive to any customer need. We had to ask how big was a regular bowl of ramen since we were planning to eat again after our food escapade in Shinjuku. They said that a regular ramen bowl is good for two people if both are not super hungry. We decided to order two ramen flavors — Chashu and Wantan.

Chashumen (PhP290)

I did not regret ordering Chashumen since it was so yummy. The meat was very soft that it actually felt like it melted in my mouth. The noodles were firm and for me, it was good that the veggie was chopped into small pieces rather than huge chunks of ‘em.

With Eyong — we ordered the Chashumen! 🙂

My sister and cousin opted for Wantanmen because of the siomai -ish in the ramen. I asked how it tasted and all they said was “Delicious!” They put lots of chili powder in their ramen to make it spicyyy and they told me it was good that the powder did not change the taste of their food.

Wantanmen, regular (PhP245)
Chippy and kuya Paul

We were expecting though that our ramen would be really hot — a sip would be enough to burn your tongue. However, that was not the case and we were quite disappointed with that. Still, the ramen was so good that we kinda forgot about the ideal temperature for the food. My cousin suddenly remembered that we did not order sushi. I am not a big fan of this since my three previous experiences with this food were all bad. He insisted that it was really good and maybe California Maki was just not the right sushi for me. He ordered Spicy Tempura Maki, which got Eyong and Chippy excited since they looove spicy stuff.

Spicy Tempura Maki (PhP210)

One bite of this sushi and I was converted. My first and immediate reaction was “Oh my gosh! Sobrang sarap lang!” It was that good!

Spicy Tempura Maki consists of 8pcs

We went to Kagura afterwards, which boasts their okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese dish that resembles a pancake with a variety of ingredients, such as pork, shrimp, and tuna flakes. Besides offering the regular okonomiyaki, Kagura also offers a modern type of okonomiyaki, which has noodles as an added ingredient. We ordered two types of modern mix okonomiyaki — one has tuna flakes while the other has chicken skin.

Chicken skin — modern mix okonomiyaki (PhP260)
Tuna flakes — modern mix okonomiyaki (PhP260)

I preferred the okonomiyaki with tuna flakes since I could really taste the tuna inside. My cousin jokingly said after his first bite, “Uy! Century Tuna!” He told me that indeed, the tuna okonomiyaki was better than the chicken one. Both dishes were really good that we vowed to go back there when we have enough money again.

The adventurers riding in the Adventure

I thought we were going home after the Little Tokyo trip when my cousin said that we would go to Tagaytay. I thought he was just joking but when I saw that we were on the road to Bicutan….. He wasn’t kidding. Talk about a spur-of-the-moment roadtrip! And so, our Little Tokyo trip extended to a Tagaytay trip.

It was a good thing that I wore my beanie yesterday and I accidentally brought my mom’s sweater with me. Fortune teller, chos!

I’m the type of person who is afraid to do unplanned things because of possible reprimands or consequences. I was happy that the people with me were game na game with the roadtrip. It was hard not to be “infected” by their happy vibes. 😉 Guess where we chilled out in Tagaytay? Starbucks! Haha! We actually thought of going to Bag of Beans but it was around 9PM already so the resto might already be closed.

Feeling Starbucks models!
Playing around with the Warheads tapes
BB models naman daw ngayon
Awkward shot! Haha!

Cheers to the sudden but happy roadtrip!

Orion spotted!

——————————

Shinjuku Ramen House: 2277 Chino Roces Ave., Legazpi Village, Makati

Kagura: 2277 Chino Roces Ave., Legazpi Village, Makati