Chew on this: Gastro Park Kapitolyo

My boyfriend and I spent one sunny afternoon in one of the newest foodie spots in Pasig City: Gastro Park Kapitolyo.

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Food parks have been popping up here and there as of late. The first one I heard about was Maginhawa’s Streat, Z Compound in Malingap Street. Both are in Teachers Village in Quezon City where restaurants of all sorts seem to bloom on a regular basis. And then recently there is Gastro Park in Kapitolyo. Kapitolyo has already established itself as a foodie destination for homegrown hole-in-the-walls that serve good and affordable food. New restaurants are opening every now and then and they never go out of style.

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Gastro Park Kapitolyo is an expansive (not expensive) space with different food stalls of different cuisines and specialties, wooden tables and chairs, and music. The garage-style food court has inventive burgers, Mexican bulalo, Filipino-styled sandwiches, bagnet, Thai-Mex street food and more. The vicinity, after all, is still partly residential even with the presence of commercial establishments. This is the exact ambiance that foodies can have at the district’s 1st Street where Kanto Freestyle Breakfast also is.

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We tried as much food as our tummies could handle, and here are the dishes or drinks that we tried that day:

Sweet Nothing

 | Menu |@sweetnothingshakes |

Upon entering the park, the first stall that greets everyone is Sweet Nothing. Sweet Nothing is the park’s beverage provider. It also serves fun milkshakes, aside from refreshing juices and canned sodas.

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I may be wrong but it seems that Sweet Nothing is the main stand for dessert items. Sweet Nothing is also the most attractive and thought out among the stands.

One of the most popular stalls in Gastropark is Sweet Nothing, which serves juices, milkshakes and desserts. We tried the Strawberry Shortcake Shake (Php 120) and the S’mores Milkshake (Php 120).

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Though I’m biased with chocolate, I was more impressed with the Strawberry Shortcake Shake, topped with cotton candy. I enjoyed sipping the Strawberry Shortcake Shake more when I mixed the cotton candy with the shake.

Brick Plate

And one of the kiosks that caught my attention was Brick Plate. Brick Plate serves American comfort food including steaks, ribs and pizza.

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The shake ribs come with two ribs packed with meat. The corn, coleslaw and barbecue sauce come in small plastic containers. The meat was slightly on the tough side and it was lightly seasoned. It is best enjoyed with the sweet barbecue sauce.  I liked the two side dishes as it added crunch and more flavor to the bland ribs.

Japbox

Menu | @japbox_ph |

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Japbox is Japanese food in a box. Putting a twist on the popular Chinese takeout boxes, Japbox is sure to surprise your eyes and buds whenever you unbox their filling and flavorful Japanese treats, from sushi to tempura to rice toppings and more.

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Bagneto

Menu | @bagneto |

Bagneto is an Asian fusion restaurant specializing in bagnet (a deep fried pork delicacy hailing from the northern Ilocos region) served in different forms and flavors. Bagneto does their bagnet right.  If you’re looking for something different, Bagneto’s sisig is made entirely of crunchy bagnet, with a lovely egg cracked on top of it. In case you haven’t noticed, the name and logo was inspired by the character Magneto from X-Men.

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We had a great time trying out various dishes and drinks at Gastro Park Kapitolyo. The prices are reasonable and the choices are numerous that one visit is not enough to try everything. This place is great for gathering of friends and family where you can buy different kinds of food and share it with every one so you can try them all. Unfortunately, we cannot try all of it because they were so many for just the two of us. I would love to visit this again and try out more food stalls soon.

What are you waiting for? Grab your friends, drive up to Kapitolyo, Pasig and enjoy the food. For more updates you can check their Facebook.

Gastro Park Food Park
1st Street, Bgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Monday 4:00pm to 12:00mn
Tuesday to Thursday 12:00pm to 12:00mn
Friday to Saturday 12:00pm to 1:00am

1 to Infinite

 

My lovely boyfriend and I celebrated our first anniversary. Today is one of the best days in my life. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY BABY! I’m proud to say that we have made it already this far. Because staying in a long distance relationship is very hard for sure.

It seems so unreal. Knowing that I’m still together with someone who’s not with me for months, physically. 1 year. 1 year I’ve been praying for peace of heart and strength. It’s not easy, it’s still not easy. It’s not easy when the one you love has to be far away from you and it’s not easy when you see other people have all the time in the world to be physically close to their loved ones. When I think about it deeply, I realize that my relationship is composed of messaging and 30 minutes to 1 hour video call. That’s what I have. It’s more of dates over FB Messenger, chatting with him and making kissy and huggy noises over a phone call when we both say goodnight to each other. It’s not exactly the ideal relationship someone wants, but that’s what I have.

Distance isn’t meant for everyone. It’s not easy and a lot of people give up. I’ve also heard so many times that it can break a relationship more than it can make it. Not a lot of people believe that it can work and not a lot of people would be willing to take this risk. But for those who experience the latter, they know what strength is, they have a great understanding of patience and a deep value for time. It’s not just about the distance, it’s also going to be about the time difference, the need for internet connection to communicate (cause I’m pretty sure international text is going to be a killer) and our patience for and with each other.
4e16319f4126cc498d0316b73743e8d5 It doesn’t stop me from believing that this can be different. I guess at the end of everything, I don’t really see the distance, because all I see is the other person at the end of all the kilometers and miles that separate me from him and to know that I still have a clear vision of him at the end of everything, it makes me want to do whatever it takes and whatever I can to go through with this.

So I’ve been with John for one year already and we’ve experience being apart for several months. It hasn’t been easy, and I can’t stress that enough.

But, this is the choice I make to love him every day. To pick up the phone and message him good morning or good night. To remember that he’s the first one I can still call when things go bad, when things go good. To ask him how his day went. To see his face and laugh with him. That part of the relationship is actually pretty easy, keeping him in my life.

Not easy is seeing couples hold hands and knowing I can’t have that. Not today, not tomorrow, not next week, not when things go good or when things go bad. I have to wait and be patient until the next time that I can hold his hand, which is the next time that we see each other, it makes it all the more meaningful the next time. You don’t know what it’s like to go through the joy of seeing him and dreading the start of the countdown. Day 1, and the next day inches closer to the day you have to let him go again.

Most times the situation challenges you to your limits and makes you want to give up. It makes you ask so many questions like why do I have to wait for someone like this, am I ever going to be with this person, how long is it gonna take before we really end up.

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Fortunately, my luck falls on John and the kind of man that he is. If he wasn’t the one I was going through this hell-hole with, I wouldn’t have made it to 1 year of long distance. BUT (yeah, big but), I’m happy and it’s been worth it. He’s been worth it. Especially when you see that through all your weaknesses and failures, his love still preserves and he always chooses to see the best in me when I forget to see myself that way.

We’ve been realistic. We know that there’s still a lot that can happen to us, especially since we still have our lives ahead of us. A lot of things have changed through the course of our relationship. We’re not rushing into anything, to be honest. We both know that right now we love each other a lot to keep ourselves committed to one another, but we will not, in any way, sacrifice the dreams that we want for ourselves.

So we’ve actually been good at this. We’re both balancing out ourselves and the relationship and we give each other time to breathe and do our own things, live our own lives while we’re both away from each other. Most importantly, we support each other grow on our own and discover new things and abilities without the other, as well as discover new things we want and new things that could be in store for us. We never pull the other down; we both know that we plan to be together, just not now. Right now we have ourselves. Right now we have months of being independent and we want to maximize that for ourselves before entering into a really serious commitment (which is marriage duh #letsberealhere). We’re both really happy. We’re not holding each other back or denying ourselves the little bubble of happiness we get from our relationship too and that’s been the best part and that’s why it’s all been worth it.

I have to get by September, October, November, December and only God knows how many more months in 2017 till I can see him again. But I guess no matter what happens in our relationship we’d both love to see each other again and again and we both know that we’ll always love each other.

And we both trust in that.  I just hope that, that will be enough to keep us together.

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So, right now, I want to thank my boyfriend, John for never failing to make me feel like a princess every single day even though we’re thousand miles apart. You’re the most dependable, most protective, and most caring guy. In spite of my nonchalance and occasional air of ungratefulness, please know that I appreciate all this, that I appreciate all of you and that I wouldn’t have it any other way with anybody else. I’ll always stick around with you. For 1 year we shared a lot of great memories together and I will forever cherish them. Cheers to more adventure, more crazy and unforgettable moments together. I wish I could spend our day with you.

So love and enjoy the distance that you have instead of complaining about it more than you appreciate it because the more you complain, the more it causes disdain. And stress and pity-partying and just everything else that could break a perfectly good relationship. Be more appreciative and forgiving and everything will be alright!

I’ll see you soon baby. I love you and miss you always!!

Chew on this: Crisostomo: Turn of the Century Filipino Cuisine

With the mixture of influence from colonizers and the rest of the Western world, it is no longer a surprise to hear the very diverse food preference of many Filipinos. I can say Filipinos can really relate with the food. You can see lots of Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Thai restaurants in the country that sometimes, you can’t help but wonder, is the old traditional Filipino taste already seeing its demise?

Filipino cuisine is slowly wedging its foot in the international food scene. The difficulty lies in how to translate the usual family-style servings to something that’s more sophisticated looking to be more easily accepted by the other parts of the world. Albeit it would be splendid to see adobo or sinigang in some minimalist and artistic creation, sometimes though, those big servings are the ones that spell comfort and home, and I think those are some of the endearing characteristics of Filipino food, one fact that is equally important to portray to the rest of the globe.

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One restaurant, found in the heart of the newer side of Metro Manila, begs to disagree. With renewed vigor, Crisostomo’s a restaurant claiming to serve turn of the century food, is bringing back the interest for Filipino delicacies with gusto. It has even improved some of the most common Filipino dishes we have.

The first thing that came to mind when I heard the name was the two popular novel by our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal, the Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Who can forget the lead character named Crisostomo Ibarra?! Reaching the place it sure showed Filipinos during the Spanish time, probably during the times of Padre Damaso and Donya Victorina. Attached in the walls are portraits of people obviously wearing Filipino clothes during Spanish times. The covering of the menu has a portrait of a man in Barong (National Filipino clothes) and wearing a tall hat. The pouch they used for packaging take-out foods has a sketch of a woman or man in Filipino costume.

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Crisostomo is a Filipino restaurant named after the protagonist of Jose Rizal’s novel, Noli Me Tangere. It specializes in Filipino cuisine–the restaurant’s facade even boasts that they serve “turn of the century Filipino cuisine”.

Few weeks back, my family and I tried Crisostomo, the new Filipino restaurant owned by the famous Chef Florabel Co, located in Resorts World Manila, Newport City, Pasay. We opted for Filipino food because of my balikbayan cousin. He’d been in Singapore for quite some time and are dying to gobble up as much Filipino food as they can. Anyways, we got there almost ten o’clock in the evening already and to my surprise, there were still a lot of people. The place was full and we have to wait for around 10 minutes for a vacant table. When we were finally able to get seats, we were already starving. Reading through their menu was like taking a trip down Noli Me Tangere lane as every dish title included a character’s name or a place from that setting.

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With my pretty sister
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With my adorable grandma
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My grandma and handsome daddy
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My balikbayan cousin

The restaurant was a bit small. Nonetheless, the decor exudes a Spanish maharlika vibe that’s cozy and warm. Wooden balusters line up the glass windows, portraits are mounted on the spring-green. A big distressed wooden China cabinet houses liquors, wine glasses and pristine white tea sets. Locket and vintage pendants as well as beaded jewelries hang from wooden hands that protrude from mirrored walls. The interior and lighting were posh enough to exude an inviting ambiance for couples, groups of friends or with family. It could, however, ward off potential Crisostomo customers who may conclude that the food may be priced sky-high.

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My oh-so-lovely family enjoying our foods. :)

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And now for what you’ve all been waiting for: The Food.

Don Juan (Php 295) is an inihaw na liempo dish that was typically your run-of-the-mill pork ribs (though it looked more like belly). Cut into strips, these grilled meat rests on a small banana leaf and showered with chopped chives and garlic bits. The meat was marinated nicely and tender to the bite but for the price I had expected something more.

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Salome’s Secret (Php 295) is actually stuffed squid which I really loved. The big squid was grilled beautifully with a bit of charred portions on top. The chopped chives was sprinkled across the seafood’s length. Imprisoned within the rings were slices of tomatoes and onions, which rendered color to the plate. The squid was tender and I liked how the sweet sauce complemented that smoky flavor.

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Escolta (Php 375) Birthday noodles, pancit canton with assorted meat, seafood, and quail eggs.

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De Los Santos Platter (Php 1695) is a family platter, combining the best of Crisostomo, Pork barbecue, liempo, chicken, pusit, bangus belly, oyster, inihaw na talong and achara or grated fermented papaya. This is a good thing to get for a big group of people.

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If you are planning to treat your balikbayan friend or friends from other countries for dinner or lunch, Crisostomo Filipino Cuisine can be one of the best choices.

Overall, everything we ordered tasted good, and for me are considered comfort food, them being Filipino dishes. The prices are a bit on the expensive side, and when I asked the waiter how big the servings were, he said it was good for sharing (2-3 persons). When the dishes came, it turned out that the sharing portion is indeed good for 2-3 persons. Service wise, it wasn’t exceptionally good, pretty fair or what you would expect from a restaurant.

We had a hearty, satisfying dinner at Crisostomo. The staff were also very accommodating. It was a nice dining experience, it feels like singing a kundiman with contemporary spin.  These were more than enough reasons for us to want to go back there.

For more info about Crisostomo you can check their website.

Movie Blog: That Thing Called Tadhana

Where do broken hearts go? And can they find their way home? “That Thing Called Tadhana” tries to answer those questions and more.

Tadhana. Fate. Destiny. Do you guys believe in it?  How about soulmate?thatthingcalledtadhanadsweetbox

Let me tell you upfront that this is the HUGOT film of the year. Most chick-flicks revolve around the blossoming of love. Others focus in the moving on process. This film tried to cross those boundaries and let everyone know that both of them can’t just happen on the same day.

Ever since I missed the initial screening of this movie, I’ve waited for it to be released. Due to positive reviews from fans and critics, the indie film has been picked up by Star Cinema for nationwide release on February 4. So when I finally got to watch it, I was so- so about it.

Before you continue I should warn you that this may contain SPOILERS!!! A lot of emotions and a whole lot more of feelings. So if you think that you will not be able to handle them, you can always press X and come back after you see the movie.

One more thing, PLEASE DO NOT JUDGE ME.

Part of this year’s Cinema One Originals Film Festival is Antoinette Jadaone’s  ‘That Thing Called Tadhana’. A Rom-Com that tells the story of Mace (Angelica Panganiban) and Anthony (JM De Guzman) met, by fate and chance, at the airport in Rome on their way back to Manila. Mace recently got out of a terrible breakup from an eight-year relationship. With nothing better to do, Anthony decides to accompany the damsel in distress from crying in a street corner to heaving large luggage along Session Road. Through a series of embarrassing but endearing events they eventually learn more about each other spurring them to go on an instant trip to Baguio and Sagada to find escape, release and consolation for their romantic miseries. In the process, they found hope for a new love and a new beginning with each other.

The movie started really strong. With the way Angelica’s character, Mace, was throwing away clothes (and even thongs) to fit the baggage allowance on her way back to Manila from Italy, you’d expect more funny scenes and kilig moments just like how JM’s character, Anthony, saved her in that dilemma. The palpable chemistry between the two makes for an engaging and pleasant watch. The two characters were well defined at the beginning– their language, their decisions, etc.

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Antoinette Jadaone’s That Thing Called Tadhana has a small scope, having only two characters and a story that relates to something deeper and more poignant, resisting the kilig factor common to romance films. What’s remarkable about this movie is its simplicity. The movie was mostly just about the two of them – talking, walking, eating, singing, etc. But the lack of actors does not equate to lack of depth. Since it is just the two of them in 95% of the scenes,  you’ll expect that the story will find a way to add some twist. The story also inserted the narrative of the Arrow Pierced with a Heart, which somewhat gave a break on listening to the two characters talk about their past and hopes for the future.

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It is a movie uses the first encounter concept, similar to Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, which made the film a thoroughly pleasant experience. It is the best Filipino version of Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy with a little inspiration from E. E. Cummings’ poem, “I Carry Your Heart With Me”. It was effortlessly romantic despite the absence of any kissing scene; funny without trying to be. Through excellent scriptwriting and realistic portrayals they were able to illustrate the painful, torturous and excruciating walk one goes through after a betrayal and  they were able to capture it down to the last detail. The past is the villain so conversations were prevalent, but it was never a bore especially because they convey the ones that always hits home.

The movie provided a stirring start and with an even more provoking ending. It tells a story that even how dark, cold and tedious your night was, the sun always rises again — beautiful as the glorious Sagada Sunrise—to usher in a new day for your renewed heart ready to make and fight for your destiny.

It’s rare for a movie to simultaneously make you laugh and cry at the same time. That Thing Called Tadhana does it effortlessly, that I walked out of the cinema with a ridiculous grin on my face and overflowing emotion in my heart. In under two hours, Angelica Panganiban and JM de Guzman had me enthralled.

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The movie appealed to the emotions of the viewers as the characterization of our leads seem to be based on real life events, too real that 4 out 5 of those who’ve watched can claim that it’s their story they were watching. It takes ordinary life situations and turns them into a little gem of a movie. It shows that a character-driven plot and well-written dialogue are enough to make for a great story. The compelling storytelling makes the hour and a half movie feels longer, but in a good way. There’s no unnecessary side characters, no filler scenes, no nuances often common in romantic comedies.

Tadhana avoids being predictable. Just when you think they’re about to kiss, the movie takes on a different route. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen next (because it’s what happens in every freakin’ Filipino RomCom!), they turn the other way. They take every Filipino RomCom tropes, then dissect and disassemble them into something fresh, yet familiar.

I found myself squirming with glee in my seat in almost every scene. It may not be a love story in the strictest sense of the concept, but there’s no point in denying that JM and Angelica look great together. Be it in the petty bickering or the intense gaze between the two, it’s easy to like the two, together or as individuals. While Angelica ravishes in her hysterical crying and witty line delivery, JM charms with his controlled tears and quiet gazes.

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Honestly,  this is my first time to watched an indie film so I’m not sure if I’m writing this review right. Anyway, I have watched only this film from the line-up of Cinema One Originals this year. I am glad That Thing Called Tadhana is one of them. The movie isn’t perfect, and there are lapses I am willing to overlook. The gentle moments and silent understanding between Mace and Anthony more than make up for it. They didn’t answer all the hanging questions on love, but they didn’t really need to. Also, what is admirable about the film is how it showcased Baguio and Sagada, you’ll actually invite your company, or probably your partner who is best watching this with you, to go to Baguio. The sea of clouds was fantastic and it would be great if the cinematography managed to capture the clouds while Mace releases her anguish over them. The movie shows what traveling can do to broken hearted folks and how it can develop two people together.

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That Thing Called Tadhana is a meet-cute type of movie, but with more realistic insights on how love affects us mere mortals. In its raw and unpolished takes it succeeds in making us not just see a character but rather a part of ourselves in the film.No heart is hard enough not be swayed or melted with a love so true that it consumes you whole. Mace and Anthony aren’t just movie characters—they’re your friend, officemate, classmate, sister, brother, neighbor, and heck, even you.

Unlike most indies, this one had wide mainstream audience appeal; which definitely a good step forward for Philippine Cinema. The story is completely relatable and brought to life with pithy witty words and delightful disarming performances. I think I want a sequel

Here are some #HUGOT lines from the movie that most, if not all, can relate to.

  1. “Para sa mga umibig, nasaktan, ngunit umibig pa rin. You know, tatanga-tanga.” At the beginning of the film, this lines appeared, which brings some truth in them. This suggests that the film is dedicated and made for those loved and lost, but chose to love again.
  1. Kung mahal mo, habulin mo, ipaglaban mo. Wag mong hintaying may magtulak sa kanya pabalik sa’yo. Hilahin mo. Hanggang kaya mo, wag kang bibitaw.” If you love someone, set them free, right? And if they come back, their yours? No, no. Mace believes that if you love someone, you run after them and fight for them. You don’t wait for destiny to push them back towards you. You pull them hard as long as you can.
  1. “Alam mo ‘yung sinabi ni F. Scott Fitzgerald? There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.” You will surely see this quote in a different light after watching this film.
  1. “Kasi ‘yung ganyang kalaking pagmamahal, ganyang overwhelming love, imposibleng walang pupuntahan eh. May mababalik sayong pagmamahal. Not necessarily sa taong pinagbigyan mo, pero sigurado ako, mababalik ‘yan sa’yo.” No matter how hard or how long it takes, chances are, you can always recover from a heartbreak. As Anthony said, it’s impossible for an overwhelming love to go to nowhere. That love will always come back to you. It may not necessarily come from the person whom you gave love to, but love will definitely be reciprocated.
  1. “Pano ba makalimot?”“Pwede kang uminom gabi gabi, pwede kang umiyak gabi gabi, pwede kang makipagdate kung kani-kanino, o pwede ka ring makahanap ng new love.” There are many ways to mend a broken heart. You can drown yourself with beer, you can cry every night, you can go out and meet other people, or you can find a new love.

For you guys, who haven’t see the film..here’s the trailer and the OST the film.

 Enjoy, and feel free to let me know if you enjoyed the movie! Happy love month!

 Disclaimer: All photos were from That Thing Called Tadhana’s Facebook Page.

Cheap Saturday Thrill

On days when the pockets are low on cash, my refuge are places in nearby cities that offer clean air, refreshing views and comfort food. If New York City has its Central Park, Metro Manila has the UP Diliman campus. No disrespect to Luneta and the QC circle, but in terms of wide and green open spaces, this big hectare flagship campus of the State University is unmatched in Metro Manila. The campus is a gigantic garden with tree-lined avenues and wide grassy areas where all sorts of outdoor activities can be held. I am not sure if there’s a place that can compare to it in the Metro.

Bonifacio Global City may have lots of runable and bikeable pavement, but its small trees hardly provide any shade. Luneta and Roxas Boulevard meanwhile have deteriorated a lot, as evidenced by the seemingly uncollectable trash along the baywalk. If you’re sick of breathing in the brown, oily air of Metro Manila while running or biking, UP Diliman is the best place to go inside the Metro.

Since it’s my day off and I definitely need to de-stress once in a while, I ask my dad to accompany me to go jogging at UP. Whoo! Exercise–I badly need you…like, right now. I might need to stretch some bones and work out some muscles, a jog or walk might be enough. Haha! Supposedly, my sister and mom will come but unfortunately they have morning errands to attend to. So, it end up just me and my Daddy. For the second time around, we visited UP Diliman to jog. We chose to run in part of UP oval, where the academic oval is closed from all vehicles (just a small part is one lane passable). This oval shaped part of UP becomes a huge park where most sounds come from the chirping of the birds and most smell come from trees and grasses. I don’t think there is another public place I know in Metro Manila that could give such an encouraging environment to run and bike, or even walk dogs, like UP does.

It was a lovely Saturday morning and I’m so much excited for this good morning run. We jogged there from 9:00 in the morning until 12 noon yet it didn’t feel like it was lunch time (just my stomach told me so). I know this kinda late and that’s a major bang for me ’cause I’m definitely NOT a morning person I have a big problem waking up so early in the morning (I’m one of those girls whose always hitting that snooze button :P) so I woke up around 6am to fix my things and to condition my bones for jogging! The academic oval is lined with huge acacia trees that could provide shade even on hot afternoons. There are lots of jogger out there, most are moms and dads with their little kids, young at heart groovy senior citizens and bikers (even skaters) late in the morning. People just gradually dispersed when noon came. For those who want to run with fewer people, noontime would be the best time to start jogging there. Anyway, even if there are many runners, the place is still huge that it’s almost impossible to accidentally bump into anyone.

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There is also a designated bikers’ and runners’ lane on the oval which motorized vehicles are not allowed to use. This means you don’t have to worry about getting run over by a car while you’re focusing on your run. On Sundays, the entire oval is closed off to motorized traffic and becomes one giant playground for runners, bikers, long board skaters and families who just want to enjoy the shade of the trees.

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Look! Here is my sooo comfy Neon Pink Nike kicks. :)
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Me and Daddy! Sorry for the face look at that big bags under my eyes but care bears don’t care lols
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Another selfie with daddy-o! and whooo i’m sweating a lot and it felts soooo good! :)
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We also encountered some photo shoots and little kids have their training for soccer while circling the oval. Many other things could be done there, and…well just sit and bum around. For me, I would like to have a picnic there one of these days. The grasses and the shades are so inviting, I pictured myself eating a home-made sandwich on a picnic mat :D
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What a beautiful RAINBOW!
After about 3 or 4 rounds down the usual running route, we got tired and decided to take a rest. If you get hungry or thirsty, you could catch a few food vendors roaming around selling steamed corn, carioca (sweet, sticky-like rice balls), banana cue, turon, dirty ice cream, taho (made of fresh soft/silken tofu, arnibal (brown sugar syrup), and pearl), and some refreshments. Thank you to those awesome small-time vendors Manong “taho” and manong “ice cream” are good enough for me. The only inconvenience on a weekend is the difficulty to find a restroom. Since it’s a no school day, buildings are closed, meaning the comfort rooms designated on each school building are also inaccessible.

As usual, UP never failed to offer a breather from the hustles and bustles of the city. I feel happy that more and more people get to discover that UP is not merely a school for the ever stereotyped “geeks”, but also a place to run freely. And thank you to our kuya’s and ate’s who patiently trim the grass, and keep the area clean. I hope people will continue to preserve what’s beautiful. =)

Disclaimer: I am no health expert, all of these are just based on my little experience :)

Jogging Tips:

1. Warming up
Before you start to jog or anything too athletic, warm up your body. You can do this by simply stretching or jumping in the same place. If you can do some sit-ups they’re also a good way to warm up your body. Once you feel alive and energetic, you can start to jog slowly. Friendly reminder: Do not jog for more than a kilometer for beginners (Don’t force yourself too much). You can slowly increase the area you jog as the days progress and your body gets used to the jogging phase.

2. Outfit
Always remember that when you’re doing sweaty activity like jogging, you should wear something lightweight and tight pants are no-no. Keep it loose, why? it’s because, your body will surely get sweat as you jog and wearing loose clothes will ensure proper perspiration. Keep in mind that the more you perspire the better. Take it as a sign that your body is burning down those calories and fat.

3. Too tired?
If you are just starting out (like me), then chances are that you might feel too tired at times. If this happens, stand or sit down in one place and practice deep breathing. Inhale deeply and fill up your lungs with air. Drink water, lotsa of it to avoid being dehydrated. This will help you get back on your feet and jogging in less time. ALWAYS KEEP HYDRATED but DON’T DRINK LIQUID TOO MUCH you might vomit along your way.

Hope these tips helps you! :)

Waking up early in the morning was very rewarding, I had so much fun jogging at the same time it helps you to have a healthy lifestyle! I actually want to do it some more! i just wish I have more time.

Summer Adventure: Boracay 2014 Part 2

Check this out! For Part 1 of my Boracay adventure.

Tip: Availing of water sports activities as a group can be very advantageous since the bigger the group, the bigger the chance of getting lower rates (per head). The more the merrier, as they say. Do remember that while these activities are fun, they consume a lot of time.

Due to the tiring activities we did (and the cocktails consumed) the previous day, waking up early in the morning seemed very challenging. We started the day with the breakfast. We also had coffee to counter the strong urge to sleep. We wouldn’t want to waste our time sleeping in freakin’ Boracay, would we?

By 9am, we wandered again to White Beach. The morning view of the coast was beautiful as ever. The sunny weather really added to the beauty of the scenery, not to mention the rather few tourists roaming around (possibly due to the late-night partying).

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Good Morning Boracay! Getting ready to do our water activities already.
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For our itinerary activities today we booked at Boracay Fun Philippines online and we chose four activities: Parasailing, Island Hopping, Helmet Diving and ATV which we get as a package that cost us Php4000/person. So went to our meet up point at the front beach of Astoria de Boracay, Station 1. We contacted our coordinator, Sir Vergel to assist us for our planned activity that morning. Since Sir Vergel had other clients to attend to, he referred us to his partner, Mark, for the booking assistance.

So, here we go *drumroll* let’s start with our first activity:

1st: Parasailing on the blue waters of Boracay

This time, it’s by Aerial adventure! I’m so excited to try this one. In fact, this is my favorite among our adventure in Boracay. Do you ever wonder how it feels to ride on those chutes half a mile away from White Beach?

Parasailing is such a common water activity in any tropical island vacation, but a Boracay vacation will not be the same without taking a bite on this exhilarating experience.

Parasailing is an activity I’ve had in my travel wish list for a while now. Being flown in the air in those chutes looked like so much fun. Scary, sure, but definitely fun. It is a gentle ride on air while being carried by this colorful canopy chute and be towed by a rope attached to a moving speedboat. With Mark, our coordinator/tour guide, took us to the Boracay Fun Philippines booth in Station 1 to register and signed a waiver. From the shores of Station 1, we rode a speed boat to the middle of the bay. From here, we were transferred to a bigger boat that had the contraptions needed for the activity. It was a cooler boat than the speed boat, it was bigger, the seats were soft and everything looked white and clean. :) We were then asked to wear life jackets and the Kuya started putting on us the harness and fixing the ropes, then we were led on the edge of the boat and instructed to just sit down and hold on to the straps. OMG! Okay, we just followed but in a bit of panic cause we really don’t know what will happen next. Haha!

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Me and my friend ready for flight.
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Slowly, I could feel the chute being pulled by the air. We just started screaming to get off the tense we felt. Whoooo! Then, we were floating meters away from the ocean. I looked down at my feet and at the boat, which looked so tiny. The skies were a beautiful sky blue color. In the air space around us, other people floated in their own chutes, enjoying the same views. What a perfect start of our day.

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Can we go higher?
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Higher?
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Wooohh!! And Higher.
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Whooops! Seems high enough.
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Ok. This is pushing it.

Was it worth it? The flight lasts only about 15 minutes and cost us Php1500/ person, but the experience of floating above the calm waters was priceless. That was such a fun experience and not at all as scary as I thought it was going to be. I’m glad I tried it.

And really thankful to our tour guide, Mark for taking all these photos and video, he really had a lot of good shots that made the whole Parasailing really cool! . :) So, here’s a short clip of our aerial adventure. Woot! Woot! :)
Also, thanks to all the boat staff  in assisting us well and making our Parasailing experience a safe and fun one!If you haven’t tried this water adventure, go and try it on your next visit you’ll surely not regret it!

2nd: Snorkeling and Island Hopping

The island hopping lasted for about 3 – 4 hours, we passed at the crocodile island and at the Puka Beach where we hopped in and spent lunch. Puka Beach is located at the far north of the island offering nothing but the simplest beach experience. There no sail boats there, banana boats, parasailing and other water adventures that the White Beach is offering, but if you want the best of Boracay’s splash, sun, sand and shells, you’ll have it here.

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The whole place was so tranquil too when we got there with only 20 tourists enjoying the sun, sand and water. The sand felt more coarse soplease wear your flip flops.  There were also some nice looking seashells that I got to enjoy picking. Upon reaching the entrance to Puka Beach, you’ll be welcomed by a line of small stalls selling different handmade crafts, mostly made of Puka Shells, and the beach’s restaurant, Pajack Kamayan.

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They said that the reason why this beach was called Puka Beach is because of the Puka shells that can be easily found on the shores, and indeed, there were a lot of them there. Some locals even sell fresh Puka shells and some created nice bracelets out of them. Which, I find so nice, BTW. There’s no entrance fee here, so if ever you are in Boracay, I insist that you visit this place and fall in love with it.:) Puka Beach is worth-visiting and is indeed a world-class tourist destination.

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We resumed after lunch and passed at the famous beach resort of Manny Pacquiao, the West Cove, and at the exclusive resort of Shangri-La.
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West Cove, Manny Pacquiao’s Resort
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Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort
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Now, onto the snorkeling moments! We stopped in the middle of I don’t know  where for some snorkel time! I’m pretty scared but I love sea activities. Just a tip, if you have your own mask, by all means bring it, or buy one, if budget permits.  Snorkeling was fun!  I looked down for the first time and I actually saw the depth of the sea! It’s so different because when you look at it from the boat, the sea seems shallow, but it’s actually very deep.

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Tip: You may want to bring along a waterproof dry sack so that you can carry with you some cash or gadgets, even while swimming.

3rd: Helmet Diving and Reef Walking

We were very anxious and at the same time excited to do helmet diving because it’s our first time also.We rode a small pump boat going to the dive area. Helmet diving is a bit scary because you have to go down to the deep blue water wearing a pressurized helmet, a slight error can be very fatal. So before we went on to dive, we had a short orientation on the do’s and don’ts while we’re underwater. Our package also included pictures and videos of us under water!

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Helmet diving’s objective is to go 15-20 feet below the surface, feed the fish, and stay down for about 15 minutes. The most challenging part here is the pressure on the ears, which we were told to equalize to lessen the pain. The guide said to sneeze really hard while holding your nose shut, once we feel the pain so our ears would pop. Mark, our tour guide, advised to also try to swallow, or yawn. The helmet weighs 35kg above the surface and only 2kg below the water.

I was the first to go down, and gosh. Honestly, despite the orientation, I was oblivious what to do so when the helmet was put on my head scare for my safety stroke in my mind, I gripped hardly on the iron handle and did not release my hand so the diver pulled my body down and gently guided me. My ears were really painful for the first 2-3 minutes. Equalizing didn’t help immediately. My friend, Jen, went down next and gestured the “OK” sign, I released a deep sigh of relief and slowly smiled back and realized it’s safe to breath underwater. :) Here are some of our photos:

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We were given slices of bread to feed the fishes but I was not concentrating, I was thinking more of going up back to the boat. It was too much for our nervous system so my friend touched my hand to send a signal to the diver to pull us up. Once back to the boat we could not help ourselves but poke fun with each other and laughed hardly on our bloopers! But it was a great experience another check on my bucket list. :)

Tip: You might want to pay attention to the instructions given, especially the sign language. Universally accepted signs may differ with underwater signals (thumbs up is given to signal that you want to go up, not “ok”). 

4th: ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) Ride

If you’re not a fun of water sports adventure then ATV/Buggy Ride is the best land adventure for you to try. You can rent it for Php500/person for an hour of tour/adventure. You will have a tour guide to follow throughout the ride and you can have stopovers in Mt. Luho Viewpoint. But make sure that your ride is in good condition, wear helmet at all times, & don’t forget to stay safe, have fun & enjoy the view.

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We were led to the rows of ATVs for the test drive. Our personal guide gave us instructions on how to safely operate the ATV. Good thing it’s an automatic transmission. It had a push-button at the right side of the handlebar which you have to push to speed up (contrary to the squeeze-throttle motorcycles have). I also had trouble turning the handlebars as I found them to be very stiff and resistive (lack of lubricant perhaps). Driving the ATV is a piece of cake for me even though I’m not a motorcycle rider and have a little knowledge on driving, I was confident that I would quickly adapt to the technique in handling the machine. I think even though you don’t know how to drive you can easily learn how to ride an ATV.

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ATV riding skills: like a boss Haha!
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Tip: If you’re not too sure about your driving skills, regardless if you’re going with the ATV or the buggy car, you might want to give the driving honors to a more educated (or at least confident) companion. Although the trail is completely concrete, it is one uphill ride but that has several turns and curves.

What a way to end our activities for the day! We went home to our hotel with sore arms and muscles but it was all worth it! Remembering those times still bring smiles to us! It was indeed an adventure! :)

For three days and two nights it felt like I was in a completely different world, no worries, no concerns, no tension, I relished every moment of pleasure and freedom. It’s good to think life one at a time. I had this very amazing, really incredible experience of fun and leisure.

We had our last-minute souvenir shopping at some boutiques around the White Beach. And by the time we were finished shopping, we rushed back to our hotel to make sure that we didn’t leave any important stuff and just to make sure that I’ll be able to catch my ride back to Kalibo.

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Boracay Sandcastles! The locals create sandcastles as charming backdrops for photo opps, they will just ask for a donation.
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Time was not good on us as our flight took off late as scheduled. Our flight is delayed for almost an hour via Tiger airways and wait at Kalibo International Airport.  We arrived at Manila after an hour and back to reality again! Can’t get enough of Boracay. I’m so sad that we have to leave…Well, that’s life!

So why I love Boracay? I figured, it’s not just about the island’s sun-kissed shoreline, ivory sand and crystal water, but more about fun and discoveries, the exciting activities at daytime and lively scene at night time, the sugary sand, the sunset and the energy! Simply the best of both worlds!

Every second of our stay here is worth of a good memory. Every smile is worth of good friendship and experience that can’t be bought anywhere. I’m highly recommending it to everyone! This is one place that you’ll never get tired of visiting, and I myself can’t wait to my next visit here!

Thank you, Boracay, and to everyone who made this wonderful trip sooo memorable!

Thank God for giving me this chance. I guess he knew how hard working I am so he treated me to a very relaxing vacation at this very lovely island.

I’ll see you soon! I promise! :)

Summer Adventure: Boracay 2014 Part 1

Summer is undeniably everyone’s favorite season of the year. It’s the perfect time to go to the beach, hit the waters, and get a tan.

Gorgeous tropical environment, stunning coastline, sparkling water, romantic sunset, fun-filled daytime activities by the sea and vibrant night life, where else to experience it but at the dazzling island of Boracay in the Philippines!

Hello sunshine! I love outdoors and strolling in the beach is one of my most favorite runway. I was in Boracay for almost three days. As I have said on my previous posts, I love travelling spontaneously. One of the most spontaneous trips I had is my trip to Boracay. I had no plans of going to Boracay actually. Me and my friend still undecided. With just limited money I have on me and knowing that Boracay is a first class beach destination; thinking of my possible expenses might be a nightmare. But, the adventurer ego of me wanted to give it a try at least and I think it was a perfect escape from chaotic life in Manila. To have a breathe of fresh air and leave the busy city once in a while. All I need to do is prepare myself for excitement since this will be my very first Boracay escapade!

For those who are not familiar why Boracay is the so-called paradise of the Philippines, I’ll give you a little vision of the island.

Boracay is a tiny island in the Visayas region of the central Philippines. As the most popular travel destination in the Philippines, it’s far from undiscovered — the island absolutely teems with tourists, especially Filipinos, Koreans, Chinese and Americans. It is a paradise for sightseers, adventure-seekers and party-goers, if you fall into any of these categories, then this place is for you.

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White Beach is the main hub of the island, stretching along the west coast, and it’s often cited as one of the world’s best beaches. And with a beach path running parallel to the shore, you could spend your whole stay on Boracay on sand — I know I nearly did! It is divided into three sections named after the former boat stations: Station 1, furthest north, is home to luxury resorts. Station 2, in the middle, is a huge commercial hub and home to tons of shops, restaurants, bars and hotels, as well as DMall, a massive shopping complex. Station 3, furthest south, is much quieter and more relaxed. There are other beaches — Puka Beach is a big day trip destination.

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As for me, I loved the Station 2  and spent the bulk of my time there, and would often head up to for dinner and drinks.

And, now I’ll share to you my awesome Boracay escapade. It may seem like an ordinary quick getaway, but adventures seem to follow wherever I go.

Believe it or not, this is my first-ever visit to this island. So now, finally pushed through my daring travel dream: to explore the island of Boracay for the first time.

With Cebu Pacific’s promo fare deals, I was able to get to Boracay. Since my friend doesn’t have a credit card I  booked for us a affordable but not cheap flight to Kalibo and I got so excited. Finally, flight time has arrived. We boarded the Cebu Pacific flight from Manila to Kalibo at around 10:05pm. We were rather lucky because our flight took off on time. We have heard of instances of delayed flights especially with the Kalibo route, hence the minor worry. The flight was okay in general. I’m thankful that we arrived at Kalibo International Airport safe and sound.

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Selfie at the Airport while waiting for boarding. Haha! :))
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Hey! That’s me. :)
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That’s my friend, Jen!
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Take a selfie first before the plane will take off! :) nevermind our big eye bags Hehe
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Since, we’re a budgeted wanderer we decided to go to Boracay via Kalibo. Kalibo is one of the main hubs towards Boracay. It is about a 2hrs bus/van ride away from Caticlan Jetty Port, where you will ride a boat about 5-15 minutes to get to the beautiful island of Boracay.

After the arrival in Kalibo International Airport, you can see a lot of stalls offering a package of either bus or van with ferry ride. This package usually costs from Php 200-Php300 depending on the bus/van company. During my visit we opted to ride a van which costs us Php200/person. Good thing is, the services is open for 24hrs so no need to worry for your transportation to get to the island of Boracay anytime you arrive.

After almost 1 1/2 hours of travelling we were dropped off to Caticlan Jetty Port where we paid environmental and admission fee (Php75) and terminal fee (Php100). We were also required to sign up in the visitors’ log sheet where everyone is need to sign in order for the local government unit to monitor the number of people coming into the island. The ferry ride (Php50) is just 15 minutes, so basically, after almost 2 hours of travel you will arrive to the mesmerizing island of Boracay.

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BUT wait there’s more, after the 15 minutes ferry ride, you still need to ride a tricycle, which is the main transportation vehicle on the island, that costs Php150 to get to the White Beach where most of the hotels are located. The Php150 is for the whole tricycle, so you won’t share it with anybody, it can carry up to 4-5 people. But, if you are really in a budget, you can share the tricycle with other people.

Although it seems tiring to get to Boracay after deplaning in Kalibo…Everything just seems to go away once you catch a glimpse of the glistening sand and turquoise water of Boracay.

May 3, 2014, we arrived! The long travel is finally over! Boracay here we come! First thing to do is to look at the shores, just like in the news, Boracay sand is still the finest and whitest sand I have ever seen. The shores have algae, though. I love the scenery of the beach and stuff and I like the idea of walking around underneath the intense heat of the sun! Yeah, I’m ready to get sun-kissed skin and care bears don’t care…Sun is fun in Boracay!

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Nice bumping to my friend, Jorine :) Unfortunately, we didn’t spend more time because they going back to manila that day when we arrived.
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We stayed at Frendz Resort Boracay, which would be our home for our 3days, 2nights stay in Boracay. Upon check-in, the hotel personnel check our reservation and gives us our key and accompany us to our room. We paid Php1000 per night for 2 persons. For this amount, we have our own bed, with toilet and shower heater. The resort has its own mini diner inside where you can eat if you’re tired to go outside. There is also a Wi-Fi Access Zone. We booked through HostelWorld although you can also do the reservations at Frendz Resort Boracay website here.

We arrived in our hotel early morning. We did not waste our precious time. We only rested for a few minutes. Take a bath and quickly change into our favorite summer bikini and shorts then ate breakfast at Mcdonalds located at Station 2. We were slightly far from D’mall and all other shops. We had to walk a few miles, but we were thinking this is Boracay! We have to walk to see everything! :)

The first thing we did was taking pictures near the beach. The whole day we were just walking along the white sand beach! ahhhhh feeling the white sand of Boracay on my feet made me feel excited and the thrill of hearing the waves and lots of people strolling along the streets of boracay!! This is truly a vacation! The sand of Boracay is certainly one of the best I have seen because it is very fine. Majority of the people I saw are foreigners so I was already expecting that the prices of meals and other stuffs are staggering. Watched the magnificent sunrise. I now understand why people love this paradise. One of the best sunrise I’ve ever seen.

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The place is scenic. I don’t have anything to add anymore. I, myself was blown away by its wonderful shore, the district itself and the beautiful people surrounding it. No wonder, Boracay is one of the world’s best tourist spot for travellers around the globe. There are plenty of fun activities to do in Boracay, like the boat sailing, flying fish, scuba diving, helmet diving, island hopping and many more! Later that night, we walked along the white sand beach where some parts are well lit. The night life in Boracay is quite marvellous as well. You’ll see tipsy people holding a bottle of vodka or tequilla while partying hard. Haha! I am laughing right now but I am not kidding.

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Me and my friend went on Smart Live it all out – Solar: All time glow event @ Epic Bar. This event happened from sun up to sun down. Party at the beach and the music and rave is awesome! People are fun and drinks are wild! :) Restaurants and bars are lively during the night where we saw a couple of live bands performing in different locations. Unlike other beach resorts in the country where visitors only enjoy the beauty of the seaside at day time, Boracay offers a unique experience of fun and adventure even at night time. As the sun dramatically goes down, Boracay springs to life and visitors are treated to an ultimate party adventure. Catch a glimpse on the video I take during the party at the beach. Put your hands up in the air!!
Wake up, sit on the beach, get brunch, get lunch, picture takings, swim a little bit. Watch the sunset, get dinner, maybe get a drink or two. That’s all you have to know.The thing about Boracay is that the beach here is so great — the sand so white and fine, the beachfront so long, the landscape so beautiful, the water so warm and turquoise — that you can do nothing else and still feel entirely accomplished.

By past midnight, we were already feeling tired (and a bit groggy) so we decided to end the day. We needed ample sleep to match our equally hectic itinerary set for the next day.

So, here’s the Part 2 it covers our fun and extreme land and water sports adventure. :) Check it out!

Milk Tea-rific #4: Dakasi

It’s time for another milk tea post. :)

If you’ve been a regular reader, you’d know my undying love for tea and its trendier sibling, the ever-famous and sought-after milk tea. Although I’ve already had my fair share of this refreshing beverage, my hunt for the best milk tea shops in the Metro is still on. And recently, it led me to a new milk tea store in Dela Rosa Makati by the name of Dakasi and of course being the milk tea fan, I checked it out.

I love drinking milk tea; this is one of my favorite refreshment. Now a day’s there’s lot of milk tea available in the market (yes I invaded with lot of store offering milk tea). The milk tea phenomenon seems to be going full steam ahead with no signs of stopping just yet. Being the milk tea drinkers that we are, we’re always game to try new brands.

With the number of milk tea places that have popped up and still are popping up, there’s no way I could ever hope to try or even know about every single one of them. This review is by no means comprehensive, and I’ll try to update each time I try a new place.

Dakasi originated from Taiwan in the 90’s. Today, they have stores established in Southeast Asia particularly in Taipei, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hongkong, Indonesia, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines. The Taiwanese milk tea brand opened its first store in the Philippines about a year ago, and it has since expanded to include 17 branches around the country, bringing its worldwide total to over 500. According to their website their specialty is Taiwan’s green tea and was founded in 1999.

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When we were walking along the streets of Makati, my friend recommended the tea to me so we went to the little store they have. Because it was my first time I had trouble on choosing what I’d buy. In the end, I ordered their best seller, Dakasi Bubble Milk Tea.

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Walking into a Dakasi store is sure to bring a smile to your face. Done up in bright white and yellow, with a smiling star as its logo, Dakasi seems to call to adults and young alike as a place to let go of your worries for a few minutes.

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I tried one of their bestsellers on my very first visit, the Dakasi Bubble Milk Tea. Indeed, it tastes good! It’s not too syrupy, and I could still taste the tea in it unlike other milk teas that end up tasting either like milk or sugar. It has pearls added on it already, but you can always try combining it with another add-on if you wish to. The pearls are smaller, softer and sweeter compared to those sold in the market. Honestly, the tiny little pearls in regular serving of Dakasi Milk Tea remind me so much of Happy Lemon’s one-gulp pearls. Dakasi’s pearls were sweeter than Happy Lemon’s and the general taste of the milk tea drink is heavenly sweet, and I really liked it. I had the most gulps between me and my friend. It was definitely worth the try and worth coming back to. :)
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Dakasi Bubble Milk Tea
Aside from being happy with our orders, I’m also impressed with the selection at Dakasi. Dakasi offers drinks in hot and cold form. For the cold drinks, they have specialty drinks, special milk tea, matcha tea, iced tea, iced drinks, fresh tea, fruit yogurt drinks, smoothies and Yakult + tea. If you are new to the milk tea world, you could try their bestsellers like the one I mentioned a while ago. I have yet to try the following on my next visit: Dakasi Okinawa Milk Tea, Oreo milk tea and Strawberry Au Lait. And unlike other milk tea shops, this store offers a lot of hot concoctions as well.

As me and my friend discussed our usual catch-up topics, we observed the shop and agreed that it could be a great place to hang out. The staff was as happy to help as the cheerful ambiance implied, the store itself was very clean and efficient, and the teas were served in record time. The ambiance is just right for light reading, studying, or just talking with friends. The best thing is they have free WiFi connection, so that means you can really do blogging there, or homework. :)

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Of course, that doesn’t prevent you from personalizing your options. Dakasi allows you to specify your sugar levels, although they recommend trying these at 100 percent first since these were specially formulated for the best flavor. You can also pick from six add-ons: egg pudding, chocolate pudding, red bean, grass jelly, pearl, or coconut jelly. Here’s a glimpse of their menu:

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Dakasi has potential in attracting a lot of milk tea lovers, and I’m one of them. People should definitely try it.

Dakasi has branches at Annapolis Carpark in Greenhills Shopping Center, Dela Rosa Carpark 1 in Makati, Market! Market!, Banawe Street in Quezon City, UN Avenue corner Orosa in Manila, Festival Mall, Robinsons Place Otis, P. Tuazon Street in Cubao, Robinsons Place Manila, Trinoma, Technohub Iloilo, SM Calamba, SM Sta. Rosa, Harbor Point, The District, and Marquee Mall.

If you want to know more about Dakasi visit their website or you can check out their Facebook Page.

Since when did weather become such a SUPERSTAR?

The Philippines is one of the few countries I know that can take on a succession of storms and typhoons with nerves of steel and an unusual degree of calmness. But when the latest typhoon named “Yolanda” hammered its fury full force last Friday, the results were damaging at the very least.

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A few days ago, a very strong storm developed in the Pacific. Haiyan was formed in almost perfect conditions to become the strongest storm in the world this year. Haiyan is locally known as Yolanda. Packing winds of over 250 kph near the center, it is bound to create much damaged.

I’m pretty sure all of us, if not, most of us have read and watched the news about the recent Super Typhoon which left a massive destruction of lives and properties in the central part of the Philippines. Seeing the photos and video clips circulating around the web was really a heartbreaking experience for me, and I’m sure for everyone who will see it. Dead bodies on the street, on the shores, on house debris, and on rubble are almost everywhere. For those towns that were greatly impacted by the storm, it was like an apocalypse day for them. Days after Typhoon Yolanda ravaged most parts of Visayas, victims of the catastrophe are out of shelter, food, water and clothes.

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Tacloban City bore the brunt of the power of what had been cited as the planet’s biggest cyclone of the year barreling through the Philippines. It is bad enough that Tacloban City and its suburbs took the major brunt of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) ferocious winds and giant waves that destroyed buildings, blew away houses, flattened vegetation, made corpses hung from tree branches and/or scattered on the ground, but what is making everything worst is that lawlessness among the residents and survivors, brought about by hunger, thirst and frustration, is taking over.

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Looting is getting rampant and uncontrollable that not only commercial and residential establishments are being raided.  In the video clip, news reporter, Ted Failon described the details of the mall robbery. The typhoon victims took different electrical equipments such us refrigerators and electric fan. A typhoon victim was also seen bringing out a bicycle from the mall. They were literally shopping for free.

They’ve resort in taking advantage of closed business establishments and consume all goods they can find in order to survive. Well, you can’t really blame those people who rob stores, malls and the likes. It’s a man’s instinct to survive.

It is getting to be a classic case of survival of the fittest. Hunger, thirst and desperation to feed oneself and family know no fear anymore.

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A meme that was widely-shared in Philippine social media today described the Philippines’ misfortune of “bearing the burden of [being hit] by the strongest typhoon ever recorded”. Presumably this, if we are to understand where the creator of this meme might have been coming from, is with regard to what is likely seen by many to be a long-overdue recognition of Filipinos’ “resilience” in the face of horrific adversity.

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The above and the rest of the text in the meme is displayed next to a logo of CNN implying that this was part of an actual news report published by the prestigious international news organization.The heartfelt comment earned cheers online and is now trending especially in the Philippines.

One can quite easily understand a nation’s search for meaning as it reels from multiple challenges thrown at it as if to test how much its people can “bear” with a “smile”. The earthquake in Bohol that killed hundreds and reduced centuries-old churches to rubble, the appalling pork barrel thievery scandal that has all but discredited Philippine “democracy”, a withdrawal of Filipinos’ visa-free travel access to Hong Kong by that principality’s legislators, and NOW THIS.

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For many, this is a time for prayer, for others a time of giving, and for many more a time for both. Maybe for those who looted Gaisano Mall, it is a time that calls for one to help themselves — to a few goods. Different people respond to disaster in many different ways. So let us not judge people’s actions after the fact. The better exercise, perhaps, lies in evaluating what a people do to prepare for the unexpected next time.

I hope every one of us can share what we can and help these people rise again from this calamity. There’s no little amount with a heart full of desire to comfort those in need. Everyone can help in their own little way. Let’s take a part. It is very devastating to see our fellow countrymen in this kind of situation. Let us help and pray for the Philippines in this most trying time.

God Bless us all!

I pray that nothing this strong a typhoon (or stronger) will hit the Philippines again. It is the worst I’ve seen in two decades. If you can find it in your heart to extend any kind of help and/or assistance – be it food, clothes or cash. The organizations below are mobilizing and deploying major disaster relief efforts. See how you can lend support, and you can contact any of the following numbers:

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DISCLAIMER: Do not own the photos! Credits to the respective owners.

Chew on this: Chili’s

Yo, all my foodies…It’s been a long time since I post a food review, but the belly is back to burp! :)

I’ve been creating quite a post backlog, and got a loads of good food for me to review. But today I’m posting about my delicious experience at Chili’s. Chili’s is a well known international franchise restaurant where you will feel at home eating wonderful food and drinking cool refreshing drinks. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chili’s is basically a resto that offers not really a spicy food literally, but they have frozen margaritas and amazing fajitas! The price might be a bit expensive but it’s all worth it. Currently it has 6 locations around the metro. Chili’s is a great hang-out place for foodies who want authentic American and Mexican specialties.

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Another fixture of malls among other places is the Chili’s Restaurants and their trademark Chili Pepper sign. A good advertising ploy since the “chili pepper” can be seen well before you can actually spot the restaurant. You see, Chili’s is one of the few casual dining places I like.

It’s nice to go out and treat yourself to a good meal. During our lunch dates, my friends and I decided to splurge a little since it was our first time being together again for months so we had lunch at Chili’s in Greenbelt 5 during a hot afternoon. The Chili’s place at Greenbelt 5 was actually big; it also has some more tables outside to accommodate customers who smoke and love seeing the skies. It is a great place to relax with friends and family. It is our favorite hangout if we are craving for Mexican and American food.

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L-R: Zackie and Me
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L-R: With my friend boyfriend, Ron, Gaena and Paige

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There were four of us and if you frequent Chili’s you know that they have big servings. Imagine four girls ordering Bottomless Tostada chips, Buffalo wings, Pesto Pasta, Sandwiches and Bottomless Iced Tea all at once. There were only four of us but our table was so full of plates. **Since we frequently eat at Chili’s the pictures I posted are on different lunch dates with the friends. :))**

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L-R: Me and Paige
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L-R: Jen and Zackie
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Here we are enjoying our foods!! :D

The menu includes starters, salads, sandwiches, pastas, steaks, fajitas and hamburgers. They have a full service bar and I’m sure I won’t be the first to tell Chili’s staff knows how to mix some pretty nice drinks. I find their food to be exceptional and fantastic. To me it all had different taste to each item I sampled; perhaps it was their signature blend of spices applied to all their food.

Being the creatures of habit that we are, we ordered pretty much the same food that we always do. Food serving here are big. So ready your tummy for it will be great dining experience. Make sure to loosen your pants button. :)

For starter, we ordered The Triple Dipper and Bottomless Tostada chips.

We started our dinner with our favorite Tostada chips. Since we were hungry and this one is very easy to prepare, this can help us pass the hunger for a few minutes.

The Bottomless Tostada chips are crunchy with mildly spicy salsa dip.  Like oh my goodness I’ve been craving for this for so long already. This is like a bowl of goodness. You can “top-up” the chips for free as many times as you want. We Filipinos love this sorta “free” thing, hence why Chili’s is always, always packed. By the way, the chips and salsa dip have unlimited refills so if you want to simply eat this till you are so full of chips, go ahead! :) We managed to finish two or three refills of the chips and have taken home the fourth refill (nearly empty too).
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Tostada chips with salsa dip
The Triple Dipper is a combo of their best selling appetizers: Buffalo wings, this one is really spicy but it complements really well with the cheese dip. It was okay to me which needs a little more tanginess flavor. Chicken Crispers, perfectly golden brown breaded chicken. I was surprise that it’s really juicy and tender! And South Western Eggrolls, its crispy flour filled with smoked chicken, black beans, corn, cheese, red peppers and spinach. I find it a bit spicy, but who cares, its gooood! Served with their winner sauce and dipping.
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Triple Dipper: Buffalo wings, Chicken crispers & South Western eggrolls
We also ordered the Chipotle Chicken Pesto Pasta. We first thought that it’s same boring pasta when they served it to our table. But I was wrong. Really creamy, pasta on a chipotle based pesto sauce topped with huge chunks of grilled chicken. The portion of this dish was very large. I think it really was meant for three to four people to eat. The taste of the garnishing and sour cream and the green stuff was not that bad actually.
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Chipotle Chicken Pesto Pasta
As addition to our meal, we have the Cajun Club Sandwich. The sandwich itself is delicious served with french fries. It’s little, roughly three bites’ worth, and is very tasty.
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Cajun Club Sandwich
And the Bacon Burger was quite satisfying. Just looking at it, you could sense some serious substance. The solid slab of beef is served with crispy-thick bacon, aged cheddar cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and mayo. The quantity was pretty good considering what I paid. Served on a sesame seed bun Plus! It was also served with fries. The fries were crispy and hot with enough salt already on them. Their patty was huge and awesome!
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Bacon Burger
For drinks all of us ordered Bottomless beverages you can choose from Iced Tea, Lemonade and Fountain drinks. The lemonade was okay but I didn’t really enjoy them since they were not too sweet (I have a severe case of sweet tooth!)

By the end of the meal, we had our leftovers wrapped to go and asked for the bill. We were making wild guesses as to how much our total bill would be. Our bill was around Php2k+. Crazy but well worth it. We just said we’ll never over-order ever again! It’s just that Chili’s has so many scrumptious foods to choose from and it’s difficult to only choose 1 among 50 choices. What’s good though is that their servings are big enough to share as a group.

The staffs are very friendly and accommodating. They have a good knowledge of the food they serving. You can always ask them what’s good or not according to your taste preferences. Despite having a lot of customers, the service was very fast.

All in all, it was quite a gastronomical dining experience. The overall menu is a bit expensive, but the food choices will fill you up. Chili’s isn’t a bad deal for food. Good little bites, though, but filling as hell. Extremely addictive until you actually get full. I just wanted to keep eating and eating until my stomach reminded me that it was full. And everything tasted great. I can’t complain.  I’d really like to go back and try other dishes. It is definitely worth a second (or even a third & fourth) try. Plus I’d like to claim my free buffalo wings on my next visit. :)

You can check their website or you too can enjoy these yummy foods by simply visiting there branches at these following locations around the metro:

MAKATI: 2nd Level Greenbelt 5 Ayala Center Makati City
GREENHILLS: 26 Missouri St. cor. Nevada St., Northeast Greenhills San Juan
TOMAS MORATO: 199 Tomas Morato Ave. cor. Scout Fernandez Quezon City
ROCKWELL: P1 Unit 36 Power Plant Mall Rockwell Center
ALABANG TOWN CENTER: LGF, Corte de Las Palmas Expansion, Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City
MEGAMALL:  2/L Mega Atrium, SM Megamall Edsa cor. Julia Vargas Ave., Mandaluyong City