Archive for May, 2015

This is my way of reminding myself of the little things that recently made me happy as inspired by Helga.

 

Here are the things that made me happy this week:

  1. Canceled choir rehearsals. As much as I love singing with my choir, my work schedule this week makes it impossible to accommodate rehearsal time. Cancelling them means I will not miss much and I have less stuff to catch up on.
  2. DIMSUM! Specifically Lugang’s Pork Xiao Long Bao. I availed of Lugang’s Feast All You Can promo and feast I did! I am literally drooling as I type this because everything was so good I ate til I couldn’t IYKWIM.
  3. Finally finished editing and uploading my video montage during our weekend camping trip to Pagbilao, Quezon. I have been working on it for two weeks and midway, Adobe Premiere Pro decided to act up. I had to start from scratch but I am glad I got it all done and over with.
  4. The almost daily rain episodes. The heat is just so unbearable these days and I am so happy that it has been raining almost every day this week. God knows we ll need the momentary reprieve.
  5. iZombie! A good number of bloggers I religiously read have been mentioning how hooked they are to iZombie. I finally gave it a go and boy, am I entertained! So far, I am loving it.
  6. I finally jumped the gun and had a haircut. My hair just feels so healthy and light. And with the new (shorter) length, I was able to style it everyday this week.
  7. SPAM musubi! I have sheets after sheets of nori about to go bad – an S&R impulse buy. I was frying up some SPAM and realized I could probably turn it into a musubi. I only had brown rice but it still turned out so good.
  8. Earlier this week, I woke up with a painful knot on my back maybe due to my weird sleeping position. It hurt so bad and it makes me so uncomfortable but Cris had been giving me back massage for two consecutive nights now. WIN!
  9. Trivia Crack. It’s my newly-installed game I have been playing all day. It’s just so fun to answer random trivia and participate in friendly competition with friends.
  10. I am still surprisingly full from my bibimbap lunch at Seoul Express. Nothing exceptional about the food but for some reason, I was so content with it.

What are the things that made you happy this week?

 

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Around two weeks ago, Vlad mentioned that he was planning on a weekend getaway with his High School friends. Since I was also free, I happily tagged along.

They initially planned on going to Cagbalete but a storm signal was raised on Thursday and the Coast Guard were not allowing boats to sail off. Everyone else was hell bent on hanging out at the port and wait til the Coast Guard raises the sailing ban. However, given my previous mishap with Quezon’s Coast Guard, I insisted we settle with a different beach. Our Plan B was Kuwebang Lampas and that is where we spent our Saturday night at.

We broke camp early on Sunday and after a very filling brunch at a floating restaurant, we made our way to Kamay ni Hesus. They persuaded me to climb up to the very top (never again LOL) and then we rewarded ourselves with Pancit Habhab at Buddy’s (Lucban.)

I managed to capture most of the weekend on video and condensed it in a 4 minute montage. Check it out below.

 

Have you ever been camping? Where is your favorite camping spot?

 

I have been to Lugang Cafe a number of times and I leave the restaurant very satisfied each and every single time. So when I saw from their Facebook page that they brought back their buffet promo, I resolved to avail of it, come hell or high water. I was so eager that I dragged Cris and RC to SM Megamall on a Sunday to have dinner at Lugang. Only to be told that the promo is not available on Sundays. *facepalm* Not giving up, I convinced Philip to have lunch on a Saturday, where else but at Lugang. LOL.

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Their Feast All You Can promo allows you to order from a special menu. You can get unlimited serving of anything from the Appetizer, Dimsum, Soup and Rice and a choice of one dish from their House Specialties for Php588+.

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Let’s start with the basics – soup and rice. During our visit, we had Fried Rice with Taiwanese Sausage and Seafood Spinach Soup (I think the rice and soup varies on different days.) Both were good, as evidenced by my almost-gone-soup. I attacked it as soon as it reached our table, I even forgot to take a photo first.

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For our Dimsum, we had an order of Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao and Steamed Angled Loofah with Shrimp Xiao Long Bao. As expected, I loved the Pork XLB and I ordered another serving of it when we polished off our first set of Dimsum. The Shrimp XLB with Angled Loofah, I didn’t care much about but it was still good.

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For our Appetizers, we wanted to try as much as we could.

Garlic Pork Roll – the roll itself was pretty bland but when dipped in the sauce, it was awesome! Inside the thin slice of pork are vermicelli noodles and other stuff I honestly did not bother to identify LOL. But take my word for it, these rolls are good!

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Vietnam Egg Rolls – your usual egg rolls deep fried to a pleasant crunch. I enjoyed this with the vinegar dipping sauce and a drizzle of chili oil. Bomb!

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Spicy Sliced Offals – to those unaware, offals are the meat taken from the pig’s face. If you love sisig, you would most definitely appreciate this dish. The offals were perfectly tender and were served with mung sprouts and a slightly spicy sauce. Philip loved this dish so much.

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Stewed Pig Feet Slices – these were like Pork Nilaga in a gelatinous form. It came with a dipping sauce that looked and tasted so much like the sauce of those Pork Rolls. These were good but I could only take a couple slices before I got weirded out by the funky texture.

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Pork Wantons in Spicy Chili Oil – the pork wantons were cooked perfectly and I appreciate that the chili oil was not aggressively spicy.

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Cucumber with Vinaigrette – this is a very simple dish but was executed perfectly. The pickled cucumber slices had the perfect balance of sweetness, spice and tang. It served as a palate cleanser for us when all the other dishes started overwhelming us.

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Now we come to our main dishes…

Taiwanese Salt and Pepper Squid – perfectly seasoned deep-fried squid slices. Best consumed while hot because the calamari tend to tern chewy when it gets cold. Nevertheless, a very good dish overall.

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Fish Head with Garlic Oyster Sauce – we originally had our eye on the steamed fish head but our server suggested we get this one instead because the other one tends to be very oily. I am so glad we went with her suggestion because this turned out to be one of our favorites. It doesn’t look like it in the photo but this dish could easily feed a family of 4. The sauce was very tasty and the fish head had generous meat in it. I highly recommend this dish.

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Overall, I liked everything that we ordered. I honestly wish we could have ordered everything from the Dimsum and Appetizer section but there was only two of us and we couldn’t possibly eat more. With that said, I think it will be more enjoyable if you dine with a bigger crowd. So gather all your friends and troop over to Lugang Cafe and eat delicious food to your hearts’ content.

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Lugang Cafe has branches at SM Megamall, SM MoA, SM City North EDSA, SM Aura Premier, Glorietta 1 and their pioneer branch in Greenhills.

Things I can’t really say upfront to certain people…

 

  • A friendly yet unsolicited advice, GET OFF YOUR FUCKING HIGH HORSE! Honestly, you are not as good as you think you are. Not even close. You are weird and quirky but in a non-adorable way. Give yourself a favor and lose the attitude. And for Christ’s sake, get yourself a decent haircut!

 

  • I am so happy that you are trying to get out of your comfort zone and is now more open to experience new things. I know sometimes it appears like I am egging you on to become more spontaneous and act more (for lack of a better term) stupid, I just want you to savor your newfound liberty. I know and I have faith that you are still able to restrain yourself despite being more carefree. Continue living life to the fullest! 🙂

 

  • Thank you for trusting me, for opening up to me. We have never talked about our relationships THAT way before, mainly because I always wanted you to talk about it when you are entirely ready. That night only proved that you trust me enough to tell me all about it, and I appreciate the trust. You have so much patience and love in your heart, and I only pray that you remain strong despite all the trials. And when the load gets too hard to bear, you know I’m just one text message away.

 

  • Shape up, man! You have got to stop being a dead weight and start cleaning up after your own shit. We can only do so much for you. HELP YOURSELF! Don’t you put into heart all the motivational nad inspirational quotes that you share? I know that this is not entirely where you want to be, but as long as you’re here and not able to leave, you need to earn your keep. And don’t act all hostile towards the people who try to help you either. Appearing to be apologetic and humble will come a long way when you’re in deep shit. But honestly, if nothing else works for you here now, feel free to leave. Pursue your passion. I know you will be a lot happier when you go after what you really want.

 

What are things you wish you could say to people around you but just can’t?

I made exactly the same thing previously, if you’re keen you can read it here: Unsent Letters

 

This year’s Holy Week vacation, I brought along Cris and our friends (Tina and Timmy) back to my hometown – Ilocos Norte. I took them to places my family usually visit when I am home or if we have visitors over. Most of the places we visited are at most 10 minutes away from home, including the small mountain/hill that we climbed to get a sweeping view of the newly-erected windmills in our town. I also took them to the infamous Paoay Church and Malacañang of the North. Please watch the video below – though Youtube butchered the video quality. Enjoy! 🙂

 

Have you ever been to Ilocos Norte? What is your favorite tourist spot to visit there?

On my most recent trip to Baguio, I got to try out quite a number of restaurants for the first time – one of them is Oh My Gulay. I have heard a lot of good things about this restaurant so I was really excited to taste their food. I got so winded after the long trek up 5 flights of stairs, but was immediately appeased at the sight of the restaurant’s interior.

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Oh My Gulay is housed at the Victor Oteyza Community Art Space (VOCAS) so be on the lookout for random art scattered all around. The space has a high ceiling and big open windows that invites a lot of natural light in. It is so calm and serene, perfect for an afternoon of chitchat with friends while eating good food.

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When we walked in, the place was a bit swamped which was quite surprising because it was already way past lunch time. We took our time perusing their menu which wasn’t really that varied, in my opinion. When we all had our picks, we beckoned a waiter over to our table only to be disappointed when almost everything we ordered were out of stock. We asked for more time to re-pick our orders and by the time we were ready, we were informed that the kitchen is temporarily closed for additional orders without any assurance on what time it will open again. WTF?!? My friend who recommended the place took matters to his own hand and ordered directly from the kitchen – which apparently was not closed. LOL what is up with that?!?

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We settled on three items to be shared among us four.

Anak ng Putanesca | Php130Our version of putanesca, enriched with a hint of cayenne pepper.
Don’t be fooled by all that cheese, this was as tasteless as a piece of paper. We had to add a loooot of ground pepper (we would have added some salt but the waiter never got back to us when we requested for some, seriously what’s up with the terrible service?!?). I think I should also mention that we never got any individual plates so we all had to eat off the serving plates haha. Back to the putanesca, the only good thing about this dish is that the noodles were cooked al dente.

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Pancit Gulay | Php135Egg noodles with tofu and ten assorted vegetables in season with your choice of spicy or non-spicy special pancit sauce.
To start off, the tally of vegetables did not come up to ten. At best, there must have been five in there. Rip off! But the good thing is that the egg noodles were perfectly cooked and the sauce was tasty. It felt like eating Chinese-style pancit canton without all the grease.

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Talong Parmigiana | Php135Breaded eggplant over whole wheat bread topped with our special red sauce, pesto and cheese.
My favorite among the three dishes we got that day. The sauce was tangy and slightly sweet and the fried eggplant tasted fresh. However, I would have wanted the bread to be more crisp (I swear I am not nitpicking!)

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We would have loved to order some coffee to beat off the cold but with the kitchen situation going on, we figured we should just spare ourselves the trouble. In fact, some diners got so pissed off that they refused to pay the service charge.

I seriously hope that it was just an off-day for Oh My Gulay because I honestly believe that their food have great potential. It’s cheap and healthy, and the ambience is really a hit so maybe I will give them another try on my next visit to Baguio.

Oh My Gulay is on the 5th Floor of La Azotea Building along Session Road and tehy are open from 11am to 830pm

While looking for a hotel in Alaminos, I came across numerous posts with recommendations to try the food at Maxine by the Sea’s in-house restaurant. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity to eat good food, we decided to book a room and stay there for the night to be able try out as many of their meals as we can.

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Before I get to the restaurant and the food, I will quickly talk about their room accommodation. We reserved a room that could fit all 7 of us because we wanted to stay in just one room. We’re clingy like that, LOL. The room we got had 3 double beds and we requested for an extra single bed. With all the beds in there, the room didn’t feel too cramped – we still had space to move around. It was pretty basic, exactly just what we needed.

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The restaurant is built on the water and it offers a vast view of the distant Hundred Islands. You are able to smell the sea breeze as you eat in their al fresco dining area. It was quite perfect to beat the summer heat. It is also extra calming to stare out into the open sea while you wait for your food to be served. Service could get real slow during busy hours so you really need to calm yourself down LOL.

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Our accommodation came with a free breakfast which we eagerly gobbled down upon waking up. They have a selection of the traditional -silog meals and I had the Bangus-silog. When in Pangasinan, eat bangus! It was perfectly deep-fried and the marinade was mild yet tasty. We also ordered a platter of fresh fruits in season and everything was so fresh and sweet. The day before that, we all had our fair share of their fresh fruit shakes – I especially loved the ripe mango shake.

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But my favorite was the SEAFOOD GRILL PLATTER. Capslock para intense haha! This was what we ordered for our lunch during the whole day island hopping tour and OMG it tasted even better than it looks. It had grilled eggplant, boiled okra, grilled shrimp, bangus, liempo, squid, chicken, seaweed ensalada, kinilaw na oyster, fried saba and unicorn blood and glitters. HAHAHA. I am seriously drooling right now! We also brought bottles of gourmet tuyo and bags of chicharon. I mean, heaven right? It was a VEEEERY satisfying lunch.

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We all thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Maxine by the Sea and especially loved their food. I would definitely stay there again if I ever go back to Alaminos and I highly recommend you stay there, too. Or at least taste their food because it was THE BOMB DIGGITY.

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Maxine by the Sea Lodge & Restaurant is located near Lucap Wharf and you may check their website out for more information –> http://www.maxinebythesea.com/home/