An Ode to Kaya


I love kaya toast. Did I say that? Yeah, I love kaya toast…specifically Ya Kun Kaya’s toast. Who doesn’t love Singapore’s national breakfast? I am drooling just thinking about the sweetness of the kaya and a serving of a perfectly soft-boiled egg. Here in Manila, I usually get my fix of kaya toast in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 branch of Ya Kun Kaya. When I am flying from NAIA 2, I make sure always drop by Ya Kun Kaya before heading to the boarding gate. Sadly, this year I had less work-related travels (though I am not asking for more) compared to 2017, so less kaya toast for me.

Thoughts about kaya toast always brings back good memories. I recall when and I two friends were in Singapore, being the aliens that we were, we went all the way to Chinatown just to get our kaya toast fix. The Ya Kun Kaya branch we went to did not even have its own stall. It just a had a small counter and several tables and chairs in the food court of a mall. We sat there in the middle of a humid afternoon, sipped our coffee, and spread out a map of Singapore in our table to figure out where to go next. What was so funny was we belatedly realize there was Ya Kun Kaya store just a flew blocks away from our hostel in Bugis.

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(Dumaguete Diaries) Where Bad Food and Interiors are Non-Existent


Forbes has recently listed Dumaguete City as one of the best places to retire around the world. My first reaction was, “Why?”. The city does not have the urbanity of Iloilo or Cebu. It’s not even in the level of Bacolod City yet. Apart from Silliman University, it does not  have major attractions. But then I realized, Dumaguete City is a great jump off point for so many other great places like Siquijor, the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayaw, the Manjuyod Sandbar, and so on.  And come to think it, when one retires, one may not exactly wish for a very busy city but rather for a more laid back one that is still in close proximity to relaxing places. Dumaguete fits that bill.

Rizal Boulevard: I would love to see this every morning!

Rizal Boulevard: I would love to see this every morning!

When I asked myself the big “WHY”, I also overlooked that the greatest asset of Dumaguete is its food. I can’t recall eating a bad dish in the city! In fact, I and my friend didn’t do anything but eat when we were there last September. Restaurant owners also invest in interiors.  I couldn’t find a restaurant, even small ones, with ugly interiors! I even joked that perhaps it’s one of the city government’s requirement for the renewal of business permit. Here were my case studies:

Case Study 1: Lab-as Restaurant

Situated the outer skirts of the city, Lab-as offers a variety of seafood dishes at surprisingly affordable prices! My personal favorite would have to be the baked scallops.

Out of focus shot. :(

Out of focus shot. 😦

Lovely food aside, the restaurant had a very homey feel.  There’s something about the wooden interiors that made me feel so relaxed. The staff was very accommodating goo!

Lovely!

Lovely!

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Keep Your Word


One lesson I learned from my freelance writing jobs is I should not commit to an assignment if I can’t beat the deadline. The same goes for writing about topics which I am not very familiar about. But sometimes there are unavoidable situations which cause me to submit a paper late or in worse case, request it to be reassigned to another writer.  The price I paid was steep. The fee for reassigning the paper to another writer was deducted from my salary and I was put on probationary status. Since then, I have been more careful in selecting my assignments and I have always tried to finish a paper at least an hour before a deadline even if it meant not sleeping for 24 hours straight.

Sadly, the same kind of penalty cannot be imposed for friends or relatives who do not keep their word. After all, friendship and any other form of human relation are complex in nature and cannot be caged in boundaries and rules that apply for instance in our work.  We can always go back to the “we are just human” argument that we can’t control people, situations and decisions. We can’t always expect things to happen the way we imagined them.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Home


How do you define home? Or when can you tell when a place has turned into a home?

I hardly stay in one place. The place where I was born is different from where I grew up. I studied elementary, high school and college in three different places. And now that I am working, I am staying in a different place again. I’ve lived for almost 12 years on my own now and I hardly feel homesick anymore. But then I thought… when I’m homesick, which home am I referring to?

  • Naga City saw me as the traveling toddler. While my memories on this aspects of my life are very vague, Naga reminds of how I developed my love for traveling and mingling with people.
  • Iriga City saw me take my first steps in discovering my dreams. I spent my formative years in Iriga City and it is the place I literally call my hometown.
  • Pisay saw me break my backbone and re-establish it. It is where I realized that  there is a larger world beyond the one I already knew and there are lot of people of who are better than me. Despite all the hard experiences in Pisay, it is one of the most significant ‘homes’ because it is where I met the people I now call “friends for life”.
  • UP.  If Pisay was a world outside of my world, UP is the universe outside of those two worlds. If  in Pisay I discovered there a lot of people who was better than me, in UP I discovered I was just another human being–unless I make a difference I can call my own. I hardly know anyone there now that I’ve already graduated but every time I step on UP ground there is a familiar feeling of “Yes. I’m back. UP, can you see me?”. There’s an unspoken sense of familiarity among people who don’t even know each other.
  • Paranaque, Paranaque is a unique case. Can I call it  home already? I don’t think so. Right now, it just serves as place where I can sleep right after work. And while I feel that I am in a stage where I feel closest to myself, I still feel so lost and Paranaque doesn’t provide the kind of solace I feel in my so- called homes.
Which one is home?

Which one is home?

So what’s in a home? I guess it’s the sense of familiarity and warmth that a place evokes in you. That sense can come from people such as family and friends whom you can always go back to. It could also  simply come from memories of  how a place had once been a significant part of your life.

P. S. I actually wrote this way back in June 2011 but somehow I never posted this. When I saw this week’s theme, I said to myself, “Ah, the time has come”. Sorry for the outburst of words and the lack of pictures but I feel I have expressed myself better by posting this.

Check out what home means to other people at Daily Post .

(Travel Diary) Davao Part 3: Of Hidden Paradise, Ladderized Falls and Good Food


I finally managed to find some time to finish my overdue Davao City Travel Diary. It’s been more than a  month now after the trip but the surreality of that experienced is still clearly etched in my mind. On our third and last day in Davao, I’ve discovered the places and things that made me finally fall in love with the place. After that day, I was finally able to say… I won’t mind going back to Davao City for a third time.

The humble Hagimit Falls.

The humble Hagimit Falls.

Day 3

We were schedule to start our island hopping tour at 7:00 AM so we woke up very early. While waiting for the boat, Bounty Hounter, and the boatman we decided to stroll first around Kaputian area and bought bread for breakfast and some snacks to eat during the tour proper. When we got back to the inn, we surprised to hear someone greeting us, “Pangit, pangit! (Ugly, ugly!)”. Turns out that someone was actually a parrot that can say all sorts of stuff from pangit and  magandang umaga (Good morning) but not gwapo (handaome) and maganda (beautiful).

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Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures


For this year’s last photo challenge, we are asked to choose pictures that best represent our year. One picture for every month is not enough for me. There are simply too many great things that happened to me this year so I decided to choose two pictures per months. Without further ado, here’s my 2012 in pictures:

I can say I’ve been really blessed this year. I’ve been everywhere from north to south of the country and there’s hardly any dull month. I didn’t encounter any major problems in both my personal and working life. But above all the places I’ve been to and happenings that I attended, I must say that it’s the people I’ve been with that made this year very memorable. I am very lucky to be blessed with a supportive family, stellar friends and great workmates. I can almost say, I couldn’t ask for more. That’s how great this year has been for me! So cheers to a great 2012 and to a hope that 2013 will be as stellar if not more stellar!

(Credits to Thomas Soler, Zen Ramos, Thea Cortes, and Astor Rejuso for some of the pictures.)

(Travel Diary) Davao Part 2: Of Temples, Museums and Stunning Beaches


Took me a while to write the second part of my Davao travel diary. December is always a busy month with all the last minute reports that need to be done, parties and gatherings that need to be attended, and of course the preparations for Christmas.

Anyway, for our second day in Davao, we originally intended to do a countryside tour (Philippine Eagle Center, Malagos Garden, etc.) ) in the morning. However, we were so tired from the first day’s activities so we just decided to do a city tour. In the afternoon, we proceeded to Samal Island. Here’s how our second day in Davao went by:

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(Travel Diary) Davao Part 1: Of Sunrise, Rafting, Heights and Fauna


March to December. That was a long wait. I and three of my high school buddies (Cez, Thomas, and Conney) had to wait for nine months before this trip came to reality. And boy, it was worth the wait.  Second encounter with Davao was love. And until now, it’s been two days but but my body is still looking for all the thrill and fun I experienced over the weekend. So, what  are we waiting for? Let me take you to how my three-day trip to Davao City went by.

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Day 1

Our flight was scheduled at 4:10 AM so we already at the airport as early as 2:45 AM. Thankfully, there were no glitches and we left Manila on time and arrived in Davao at around 5:45 AM. While on the plane, the sun graced us with his presence and the sight was a unforgettable one:

Davao sunrise as seen from the plane.

Davao sunrise as seen from the plane.

From the airport, we proceeded to Palm’s Residence Inn to check in. Unfortunately, their check in time is at 3 PM. We decided to just eat breakfast at a nearby branch of McDonald’s. From there, we proceeded to Davao Crocodile Park where the office Davao Wildwater Adventure (DWA), Inc. is situated.

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(Blast from the Past) Life in Color


My Chem blockmates back in college.

This picture has a very special place in my heart. This was the picture that our Chemistry batch submitted for the UP College of Science 2009 yearbook. But aside from the fact the these people are of my amazing four-year stay in UP Diliman, I like this picture more because of what it represents: color. The concept we had for this pictorial is literally nerdy: There is so many elements in the periodic table. When combined with other elements, the products are compounds of all sorts of color. Compounds of transition metals are the most beautiful ones because they form compounds of bright colors. In short, Chemistry is not a boring science. It is essentially, full of colors.

But more than Chemistry itself, what “color” connotes transcend to me, to the people in the picture, to our stay in UP and to life in general. There’s so much that life has to offer. There’s so much to see. There’s so much to experience. Essentially, there should be no room for boredom. Our life for now may be limited to a certain area or if you’re lucky you can be the type to who gets to travel to new places. Either way, the way our life turns out to be  is a product of how we choose to live it.  If you dwell in negativity, pretty much your surroundings will also treat you negatively.

Have a great day everyone! 🙂

(Food Trip) One of a Kind Pasta


On a random afternoon, after listening to the talk of Filipino historian Ambeth Ocampo, my best bud Nicole and I found ourselves very hungry. Our hunger brought us to Greenbelt II and ultimately to Ma Maison. Ma Maison is a Japanese-America fusion restaurant and true to its name, its interior is very interesting and eye-catching.

Too bad I only took few pics.

 I can’t comprehend which is the Japanese and American but the atmosphere of the restaurant was really very cozy. Too bad I only took a few pictures. I ordered a pasta while Nicole beef curry. I was expecting an ordinary plate of pasta so I was dumbfounded when this humongous and gorgeous plate was served in front of me:

Gorgeous!

The pasta was served in a sizzling plate, topped with the juicy hotdogs and lines with scrambled eggs! Yes, you read that right. What I thought to be melted cheese were in fact scrambled eggs. I never heard of such practice in why whole life but it was good experience trying it out. I remember posting this picture in my Twitter account and called it “one of the best pasta I’ve had in my whole life”.  Two months after, no other pasta has yet to top this on list.

I sort of hate myself for not taking a picture of the beef curry my friend ordered but Nicole said it is the best curry she tasted her in life. We both agreed that we definitely got what we paid for (at almost 400 bucks per meal) and we will definitely come back to Ma Maison to try more their Cuisines.

So, if you happen to be around Greenbelt, has money to spare, go to Ma Maison. You will definitely enjoy every bite!

 

(Travel Diary) Quick Cebu Getaway (Part 2)


Hurray! I managed to finish my travel diary earlier than expected. So here’s the second part of my Cebu getaway last weekend:

I will go wherever my feet will take me to.

Day 3

 We didn’t swim anymore on our second day at the resort since we had to go back to the city proper by lunch time. We left the resort at 8:30 am and then dropped by Sharmrock in the town of Barili for a quick breakfast. We arrived in the city proper at around 11:30 AM and then proceeded to Taboan market to buy pasalubong.

The market has every imaginable dried fish and pasalubong from Cebu. Price for a kilo of danggit or pusit ranges from PhP 450 – 650 depending on your bargaining skills. One can also buy dried mangoes, otap and rosquillos in Taboan.  From Taboan, we dropped off Tena and Sanch somewhere in the city proper and agreed to meet at around 2 PM at SM Cebu. Thea and Lukas also parted ways with us (I, Shei, Sab and Io).

 The four us then proceeded to SM traveler’s lounge to deposit our bags and settled to eat at Chikaan sa Cebu. The restaurant serves mainly Filipino food with a Cebuano twist. Food was great and surprisingly, prices were very reasonable. We just a paid about Php 1000 for an order of unlimited rice, pork sinigang, camaron rebosado, grilled squid, kinilaw and fruit shakes.

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(Travel Diary) Quick Cebu Getaway (Part 1)


Last July, my officemate Thea informed our office gang (which consists of me, Io, Shei, Sab, Thea, and Nico) that Cebu Pacific has promo flights going to Cebu. She booked herself a round trip and then asked us if we wanted to join her in Cebu. Of course we readily said yes! Php 1,200 for a roundtrip fare? Yeah baby. Yeah.

A memory worth relieving for.

Day 1

 After almost two months of waiting, September 24 finally came! Our flight for Cebu was at 6:30 PM so we were supposed to leave the office at 4:00 PM. I had to report for work at 7:01 AM so that I don’t have to commit an undertime! We arrived at the airport just on time and apart from the change in the departure gate and minor delay in the runway, our travel was very smooth.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary


I just came from a short trip so I am posting late again this week. Anyway, for the theme of SOLITARY, I am sharing two shots of my friends. I am not sure if they noticed  I took candid shots of them. I like these shots because the atmosphere of the pictures is so pensive.

Special shoutout to the birthday girl.

 

View from a car? A train? You guess.

 

Hope you enjoy them! 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close


The focus of the picture is a bit ill-placed. LOLS. I don’t know if it’s the sunset or the two people in the picture. The two “close” people are actually my friends. 🙂 They are walking side-by-side because the beach floor was a bit rocky. 🙂

I hope you’ll have a great week! 🙂