May 31, 2006

Life of Pie

Sometime in 1996, I went on a camping trip with my cousin, his wife and their friends around BC,Canada. Our last stop was the town of Hope in the Fraser Valley. It is a relatively small community east of Vancouver. There are many things I remember about the place: the Indian settlements, Hell's Gate, Fraser Canyon, the Gold Rush trail, it being a filming location for Rambo and of course the breathtaking views.

But what has forever left an imprint in my memory is the home-style restaurant we visited. I'm still kicking myself for not remembering the name! First thing that caught my eye when I went through the doors was this rotating floor-to-ceiling glass case filled with pies. Lots of them. Of all kinds, each with a slice or more removed so you could see it's filling.

I must have been staring at it wide-eyed for a while because my cousin's wife took my hand and gently pulled me towards our table. We were starving so we first ordered regular food. All I wanted was pie, but I ordered a sandwich anyway and managed to eat most of it.

I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into some home-style crusty goodness. When the time finally came to order dessert, the 5 of us decided to each order a different flavor so we had more to sample. I couldn't make up my mind, so I let everyone else order first , helping to narrow my choices. Eventually I ordered the pecan pie which turned out to be delish! My first choice was the banana cream pie, but someone beat me to it. I did get to try that too and was not disappointed.

They were all delicious! I was smitten. I have since developed an obsession for pies. I love them almost as much as I love cheesecakes and cupcakes.

Unfortunately, pies are not a staple dessert in the Philippines. Sure we have buko (coconut) pie which is abundant especially along the national highways of Los Banos and Tagaytay, but all other flavors are few and far between. But steadily gaining popularity.

I bought myself a pie pan in the hopes that I would muster the courage to make my own someday. I haven't yet but I promise I will soon and post about it. I'm thinking a Lemon Meringue pie , or my faovrite Key Lime Pie for starters, yum! :)

You Are Mud Pie

You're the perfect combo of flavor and depth
Those who like you give into their impulses

May 23, 2006


This word has a whole new meaning for me. Until recently, all it meant to me was Roxy Music's sultry song and Bryan Ferry's sexy voice.

However, just recently I discovered Avalon, thanks to Katrina's comment and Wysgal's post on Rants & Raves (Thank you, girls!) . It's an online book sale/auction for books, most of which are second-hand. And the best part about it is it's local, which means no costly shipping and handling charges.

I love books but I especially love second-hand books. Not just because they're cheaper. I like the smell of old books, I like knowing that the book already comes with a history , with the possibility that it was enjoyed by someone previously. I like the dog-eared pages which probably mark pages of importance to someone, or just simply tells me it was well-read.

While living in London, I used to get such a thrill out of going into the thrift shop next door to my office not knowing what to expect and finding treasures on the shelves for 50 pence a piece. Sure, I still went into the occasional Waterstones to buy a new book every once in a while. In fact, I still visit Power Books or Fully Booked when I can't wait to get my hands on certain titles. But I frequent Books for Less and Book Sale more often.

So you can imagine my excitement when I logged onto Avalon. I bought 7 books straight away! All for less than Php 1, 800. Not bad! And the sellers (all 3 of them) were super friendly and super easy to coordinate with. They made the experience even more pleasant.

Now there is one drawback though: the limited selection. I don't think many know about it. There has to be more people out there who are interested in trading books? If you're reading this, please check out the site and if you like it, please spread the word.

May 17, 2006

The world in my room

Christine, the right design for you shows off your Worldly Views

It looks like you think globally even if you live locally. Whether you're a world wanderer collecting passport stamps or an armchair traveler flipping through travel guides, you've got an eye on the world beyond your zip code. But while you're on your own turf, you can still feel like you're in a far-off land through your decor.

To have your habitat embody your international interests, look to imported items and other touches with foreign flair. Try accents like a carved elephant statue, sushi set, gypsy folding table, or paisley mirror. With your worldview leading the way, your room will look out of this world!

This was the result of a tickle test I took about "what design fits you".

I've recently been doing some remodeling work in my parents house and I've really been enjoying it (though not enjoying the way it empties your bank account!). With a limited budget, I've been able to do some nice changes to the exterior of the house, the kitchen, the patio , the den and my room. It's amazing what a coat of paint can do! (Next on the agenda is the master's bedroom and upstairs bathroom.)

I thought the above result was particularly amusing because the one thing I didn't remove or change in my room (which, by the way, went through the biggest transformation because it used to be my brother's room) was the world map that he had mounted on the wall. My two older sisters and my mom tried to get me to toss it for a nice painting or headboard.

They think it's ugly and awkward in the new room with the new paint job. I don't care, I like it. I like being able to stare at it and dream of where I could go next. I like being able to trace my finger along its dusty surface, drawing an imaginary route from one exotic place to another.

Someone once asked me, is it there so you could mark the places you've been to? No, never even thought of that. Actually, it's there so I can mark the places I WANT to visit.

Before I remodeled, I had all my travel souvenirs displayed on my shelves. But because I tore down the old shelves, and built new ones enough only for my books, I decided to keep these souvenirs in plastic crates until I have a place of my own.

Instead of buying key chains or ref magnets, I like buying stuff I can eventually use to decorate my future home. It's never just one type of item, like a mug or thimble or spoon from each place. I don't think you can confine all these wonderful places to just one item with each place being so unique and so distinct in its character from the others.

May 16, 2006

The adventures of a stormy island wedding

Got back from Boracay yesterday, a day later than planned. What an adventure!

Because of typhoon Caloy (international name: Chanchu), Joey and Carlo were forced to move the wedding to Sunday afternoon in the hopes that the storm would let up by then and that those stranded in Caticlan could finally cross to the island.

Where's the beach? This was taken Saturday, what was supposed to be the wedding day.

Despite the foul weather, we still managed to have a great time. I really don't think it's possible to have a bad time in Boracay. And we never forgot the reason we were all there: to celebrate the union of two of the sweetest, most beautiful people in the world!

The day we arrived was still sunny, the guys got to play volleyball and football and we had cocktails by sunset outside White House, and dinner in the Mongolian place in Station 2.

Dong's power serve

We also braved the winds to eat in some new restaurants in the next couple of days like Lemon Cafe, Bamboo Lounge and Zuzuni and to check out the new stores in D'Mall.

Just a quick sidenote on the above-mentioned places:

Being a lemon lover, I was psyched when I found out Boracay had a new place called Lemon Cafe. I could almost taste the lemon tortes, the lemon cheesecakes, the lemon squares...ok I'm drooling now. So on our first day, I wasted no time in dropping by for some sampling. I was not disappointed. I had the lemon torte which had the perfect sweet-sour combination I love about lemon desserts. We were so happy in fact that we went back that night for dessert again after dinner. This time I had the lemon cheesecake, yum!

Zuzuni was just great. Super friendly staff, cozy ambience, and most importantly delicious Greek food! They even gave us complimentary dessert which was just blissful - natural Greek yogurt covered in honey and crushed almonds ( at least I think it was almonds). WOW! Sometimes I make myself something similar for breakfast but without the nuts, I'll have to try it their way next time.

But Bamboo Lounge. Bamboo Lounge was simply excellent! My words will not do it justice, you just have to try it yourself. That was the best meal I had in Bora, hands down.

Anyhoo, going back.

I think we managed to help the bride and groom keep their spirits high despite all the worry and stress the weather was dealing them. Then again, being the cheerful, happy people they naturally are, I don't think they needed our help. They were such troupers, not letting it dampen their moods. They put on a strong face and partied every night with friends and family.

The Despedida de Soltera on Friday night was held at Boracay Terraces Resort. What was supposed to be an outdoor guateque (loosely translated as a Spanish pot-luck party) and paella cooking contest became an indoor paella pleasure fest while the winds howled outside and the glass windows shook menacingly.

Santi's paella which won in the aesthetic category.

There were four paellas made, and each one received a deserving award before getting wiped out by the guests soon after. They were al so yummy!

We were near the northern tip of the island, experiencing the eye of the storm and the night was cut short when one of the windows gave way and shattered into tiny pieces. Thankfully, no one was hurt. I don't think I ever experienced a storm in full force outside the city where there is nothing to lessen its impact. I have to admit I found it quite fascinating.

On Saturday many of those stranded in the mainland (including the father of the bride and the maid of honor) were finally allowed by the coast guards to cross the waters to the island. On what was supposed to be the wedding night, everyone celebrated with roasted calf, drinks and dancing. It seemed almost as if the wedding was meant to be moved, just so we had an extra night of partying. :)

On the actual wedding day, despite a brief downpour during the wedding ceremony (which is believed to be a downpour of blessings from Above) , the sun came out as if bringing with it a fresh new life filled with hope and promise for the newlyweds. It was a beautiful day for a wedding, breezy and balmy. Joey was positively glowing!

The cutie ring-bearer :)

The coconut and palm- adorned bridal car. :)

The ceremony was short and sweet, and the reception in Sea Wind was a blast. The speeches were so touching, I don't think there was a dry eye in the place and the couple couldn't look any happier. This has to be one of the most romantic and charming weddings I had ever been to. :) Joey and Carlo, you deserve nothing less, I love you both so much!

Us with the newlyweds.

May 10, 2006

Trigger happy!

We were happily chatting away over yummy chocolate concoctions in Max Brenner with old HS friends when out of the blue, Mike - an old friend's boyfriend who was visiting from Pasadena, CA and who I had only known for barely 4 hours - points a finger at me and accuses me of being a 'gadget girl'.


"Yeah, you! You with your Treo, iPod, laptop...." (because he heard me mention that I downloaded a song online and into my iPod)

I start laughing and brush it off. But those 2 words kinda echo in my head and I start to wonder, am I really a gadget girl? That thought had never crossed my mind before, and it's not something I would use to describe myself.

However, today! Today, I think I just confirmed it. I went out and bought me a nice new digital camera. It's a state-of-the-art point and shoot Canon Digital IXUS 65, 6 Megapixel camera with (what I thought was the best part about it) a 3" LCD.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to take pictures, edit , share and print them, and organize them into albums. I have no one favorite subject, though I seem to lean towards pictures of kids and scenery. I am no professional photographer, but I love taking pictures! One of my dreams was to be a photographer for National Geographic or Life Magazine.

So I'm so excited with my new toy! I get to test it out in Boracay tomorrow, what a perfect place for photo ops. Joey will be happy. I'll be shooting away during her wedding there. She has this thing, if she could have 10 cameras on her the entire time, she would. She's such a ham. hehe

So yeah, maybe I am a gadget girl to some degree, I suppose. :)

May 5, 2006

The one about feeding my wanderlust

Since I've been back to Manila, I haven't travelled as much as I would have liked. It's not as easy to just book that flight online and go, as it was while I was living in London. Flights there seemed so much cheaper, (more budget airlines with a wider range of destinations), more convenient, more affordable, and just overall easier.

Since I moved back here 2 years ago, I did however get to make it back to London for 3 weeks, Singapore, Egypt (!!!), SF and Macau. I know I have been blessed to have seen so many beautiful places, but I can't seem to curb this appetite for travel.

Right now, I've got the following trips booked and paid for (well all but the Mexico trip has been paid for):

May 11-14 - Boracay for friends' wedding (next week, woohoo!)

June 23-27 - Hanoi, Vietnam with some girlfriends (this is gonna be a hoot, it always is with this them!)

October - Mexico for my best friends' wedding , and a week in Las Vegas (with a stop over in Phoenix, AZ to visit Sheila, an old friend from school).

Feb. 9-12, 2007 - Kota Kinabalu with my newfound group that I travelled to Macau with. We had such a great time that we made a pact to travel together at least once a year on the 2nd week of February - our Macau trip anniversary.

Ok so far that's it. I can't afford any more trips until summer next year! Both financially and vacation leaves - wise.

May 2, 2006

Meet Rusty

Aside from being a beach-lover, I am an animal-lover and dogs top my list. For as long as I can remember we've always had a dog, and out of the 5 dogs we've had during my lifetime, only 1 was not a German Shepherd. It's just the family's favorite breed.

Rusty, is a special dog. You know, like a special child with special needs? :) And I say this with the much love and affection. My dad is convinced he's got Down syndrome, or is mentally retarded while my mom wonders sometimes if he suffers from ADHD. I really don't know for sure, but I swear he is just the most hyper, crazy dog! He's always in the mood to play and he makes us laugh A LOT. And he's actually very smart, as all police dogs are.

He's misunderstood though, the poor thing. No one will dare ring our doorbell while he's outside because they're afraid he'll chomp at them through the gate. Or worse, jump the fence. Hello, can you not see his tail wagging as he barks and growls at you? Never mind that he is frothing at the mouth, he can't wait to play with you! Just kidding, I've never seen him froth.

Seriously, he's really sweet. It's SOP in the mornings, when I wake up and come out of my room and he'll be lying right outside my door waiting for me. Then he'll get up and follow me to the breakfast table where he'll sit ON (not by) my feet while I eat. He's so tall that when he begs all he has to do is prop his chin on the table and look cute.

I love my Rusty, craziness and all. He's super handsome, sweet, dependable, funny, cuddly, and obedient. What more can a girl ask for? ;)

Easter weekend in Calatagan

Here are some pictures from our Easter weekend (April 12-15) at the Razon's beach house in Calatagan. We had such a nice time, it was pure R & R. Thank you Lizzy and Colo! :-)

Riza and Colo enjoying their vacation to the fullest.

This is Enrique, Rosa's son. Isn't he just too cute?! I want to have a baby girl already just so I could pair her up with him.

The Punta de Santiago lighthouse, which dates back to WWII

I'm a big fan of lighthouses. I don't know why but they really fascinate me. I have yet to climb one though! (If my stamina permits, that is). We waited for the caretaker to come so we could go in but it was getting dark and he was obviously late so we left. It would have been perfect too, I would have finally been able to say I climbed a lighthouse! Never mind that it was not a very tall one.

Juan Marco getting his first taste of beer from Papa Javy :)