(Review) Lee Hi’s First Love: First Impressions


Lee Hi dropped the first half of her debut album earlier. People  have high expectations for the album because of the stellar performance of her first single, 1,2,3,4 and to a lesser extent, the sophomore Scarecrow.  The two singles did a great job of showing Ha Yi’s range and versatility both as a performer and as a vocalist, so I’m looking forward to the discoveries I will make about her through this album.  Read on for my first impressions on the tracks…

Credits to YG Entertainment.
Credits to YG Entertainment.

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Eating the Bicolano Way


I’ve been back in Manila for almost a week now but I  still can’t help but think about Bicol especially its food. I went home to Iriga City for almost eight days and I literally did nothing but indulge myself with  Bicolano dishes that I rarely get to eat in Manila.  I guess we are like that to some extent. No matter where we go, nothing beats home. I, for instance, would not trade Bicolano food for anything else. I may not be good at eating hot food but I love my share of anything with coconut milk (ginataan in our dialect) and recado (mix of tomato, onions, garlic, ginger, salt and black pepper). So let me share to to you some of the  Bicolano food that I really love.  Let me call this “eating in a day the Bicolano way”.

Breakfast

I usually eat rice for breakfast  but I would not mind a combination of pansit and fried banana. There’s a particular type of pansit that can only be found in the Rinconada district of Camarines Sur. It’s called pansit bato. It’s either made of squash or malunggay leaves. One thing I love about this pansit is even if you just saute it in onion, garlic, tomato and a little bit of salt and black pepper, it’s already very tasty.

This is how it look when it’s raw.
When cooked, tada!

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(Food Trip) Hunky Burgers of Dong Juan


For every travel, I usually write a travel diary but I seldom write anything about new restaurants that I and my friends discover. I am not really a foodie but since I have friends who are, then I also became a foodie by default. So I decided to feature some of the restaurants that I’ve been to and share my eating experience. I’ll start with the restaurant we tried out when we went to Cebu: Dong Juan.

Dong Juan offers all the fast food we love from burgers, fries, pasta and pizza but with a different twist. Everything has been upscaled that one would thought it’s almost a fine dining restaurant. There are a lot of goodies on their menu but of course I did not want to miss out their famous burger so I ordered a cheeseburger (~Php 200)  for myself. Didn’t knew it would be big as this:

This.
And this.

The burger was greaaaaaaat. One of the best I had in my entire life. The patty had the right juiciness and the cheese did a good job of enriching the Dong Juan burger experience. The burger was also so huge that I had to cut it into four so I could bite properly. I wouldn’t mind ordering another one if someone can tell me if there’s a Dong Juan branch here in Manila.

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TvN is Rocking 2012


 TvN is having the time of its life this year. They have produced and are still producing some of the most underrated Korean drama/series so far. Underrated shows as they are, I found them made of better of quality, heart and story than most of their mainstream counterparts from KBS, SBS, and MBC.

 My affair with TvN started last year with Flower Boy Ramyun Shop. Though I didn’t entirely love that show because of the cheesiness of the script and I can hardly stand Jung Il Woo’s Cha Chi Soo, it provided a such a good laugh. Most of the cast were not yhet A-listers but they had such good camaraderie and I had loads of fun watching them.

Who didn’t love these hilarious people? (credits to koreandrama.org)

I thought that it was the last TvN show I would watch but then Dramabeans recapped Shut Up Flower Boy Band. I tried reading the first episode, watched it, loved it and the rest they say is history. I often end up disliking Korean youth-centered shows (e.g. Boys Over Flowers, Heartstrings) because most of the time that the shows become too focused on the love story of leads and the conflicts are larger than life. However, Shut Up has the atmosphere of Japanese youth-centered shows like Gokusen and Hana Kimi where the teens/kids themselves, their dreams, their friendship, the realistic conflicts they encounter at such age are the focus of the story. And I loved it. Learn from Shut Up (and also Dream High to a certain extent) Kshows, during teenage years, not everyone is too concerned about love. Give the kids a time to discover their dreams and their selves before they go on proclaiming their undying love.

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(Review) 2NE1 – I Love You


2ne1 just released a new single entitled I Love You and you can’t just imagine what lengths I did just to make sure I get a copy of the song at exactly 12 MN KST. Yes, I signed up for a paid Soribada account and this is the first time I actually did something like this.

(Credits to YG Entertainment)

Anyway, I’m digressing. Back to the song. When YG released the series of audio teasers for I Love You, I had a hard time figuring out how the song will turn out because the three teasers sounded like three different songs. And I wasn’t wrong about that. I didn’t like the song when I first played it. I thought it sounded disjointed and there was hardly continuity. You are welcomed by CL telling you “Love is the only way”, then a reggae-ish exchange between CL and Minzy at 0:07, then a change to the electronic repetitive “I love You” and series of verses at 0:36, then back to the reggae-ish feel at 2:46 then electronica to the max at 3:19. I thought I was hearing four songs that were chopped at random parts and were glued together to make the final I Love You product.

Several repeats after… It’s a totally different story. When I thought I couldn’t put the song on repeat, now I am so addicted. I don’t know what’s in this song that makes me want to play over and over again! Is it the beat? Is it the loopy verses? I just can’t pinpoint it. Teddy and Lydia has a done a good job of creating a song that is not entirely ground breaking but enough to make people addicted to it and love it—the very requirements of a smash hit.

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(Review) Etude House Bubble Hair Coloring in Wine Red


Seven (7) months ago, I posted about how I dyed my hair with Etude’s House Bubble Hair Coloring in natural brown. You can read about that post  here.  Guess what? I dyed my hair again but this time in wine red. It’s been actually almost a month now since I dyed my hair but I just remembered to write the review now after I chanced upon the pictures I took while arranging my files.

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You Can’t Help But Love It: Queen Inhyun’s Man


I have a confession to make. Two weeks ago, I tried watching a new Korean drama entitled Queen Inhyun’s Man. Now, I am sick with a disease called addiction. I literally dropped all other shows (Love Rain, Fashion King, King to Hearts, Rooftop Prince, Marriage Plot, and Equator’s Man) I’m watching to just focus on this one. It’s been a while since I totally loved a Korean drama, the last one being Dream High. Yes, I’ve blabbered about how good Moon the Embraces the Sun was but that show got swallowed by its own popularity and failed to live up to the hype.

Ji Hyun Woo as Kim Boong Do and Yoo In Na as Choi Hee Jin

Having watched so many Korean dramas already (see my separate page on the shows I’ve watched), it’s already very hard to impress me. But I still keep watching, hoping I’ll find a new gem and discover new actors and actresses. Queen Inhyun’s Man was a gamble because it’s a product of TvN, a lesser known Korean channel but  because their recent drama productions (Shut Up Flower Boy Band, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop) delivered, I prayed it would follow its predecessor. I must say… the gamble paid off.

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Dream High 2: Too Much of This, Too Little of That


To give up or not to give up?

They say you should never compare a  second season of a show from it predecessor–especially when the previous one has an entirely different cast and story. BUT… sometimes you just can’t avoid it particularly if the first one came without so much hype but ended up leaving a very huge mark that the second season just fails miserably.This, my friends, is what is happening with me on Dream High season 2.

Dream High 2 finally premiered last January 30, 2012 and while first episode left me wanting more, the second one left me cringing. Episode 1 did a decent job of introducing the characters and while majority of the acting is forgettable (ehem Kahi, ehem JB), it reminded me one of the aspects of the first season that I loved so much: performances. Sadly, by the second episode and I think it would be recurring in the whole season,  performances also became the downside of the show.

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(Movie Review) You Are My Pet


(credits to hnmovies.com)

You are My Pet is a Korean film adaptation of the Japanese manga Kimi Wa Petto. The manga was also adapted into a Japanese series in 2003 and starred model-turned-actress Koyuki (as Sumire) and Arashi member Jun Matsumoto (as Momo). Here is the synopsis of the story as provided by Dramawiki:

“Smart, successful and good-looking Iwaya Sumire works for a big newspaper. However, her boss asks her to leave for being too “perfect” a woman. Feeling angry and dejected Iwaya returns home depressed, and most of all lonely. However, when she finds an unconscious young man lying in a box out the front of her home and takes him in. He looks like a dog she used to own called Momo. She dubs him Momo and decides to “keep him as a pet.” It’s the start of an unexpected life together as they overcome obstacles and become quite attached to one another. But can love like this exist?”

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The Moon That Embraces the Sun: First Look


Three dramas premiered this week on Korea’s three major broadcasting stations: The Moon that Embraces the Sun (MBC), Wild Romance (KBS), and Take Care of Us Captain (SBS). Though I am not on the saeguk boat, I decided to check out The Moon That Embraces the Sun because (1) Kim Soo Hyun, Jung Il Woo and Han Ga In are the main cast, (2) the promotion materials were stunning, and (3) the title itself is long enough to pique my curiosity.

It’s been two episodes now and I’m loving it so far. I won’t discuss the plot anymore to avoid spoiling anything. The first two episodes merely established the story and the relationship of the characters. The main cast are yet to appear and I’ve read from somewhere that they won’t do so until the 5th (?) episode. Nonetheless, I love the actors who are playing the young counterparts.

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(Review) Etude House Bubble Hair Coloring


It’s been almost seven months since I had my hair dyed dark brown. Since I have my hair trimmed every other month, I can’t honestly expect my hair color to last for a year. I debated between two options: (1) grow out my black hair, or (2) have my hair dyed again. I went for the second option. My next dilemma was to have it done at a salon or I’ll do it on my own.

Having those dilemmas in mind, I chanced upon several Etude House Bubble Hair Coloring reviews. It’s not your usual “mix several cream and apply” type but it’s a “mix several solutions and apply bubble” type. YES. BUBBLES. All the reviews I’ve read said the product was great so I decided to try it out for myself.

Etude House Hair Bubble Coloring in Natural Brown.

I bought the #3 shade (Natural Brown). The box contained a cape, gloves, a bottle with a pump, and two sachets (one was the coloring solution, I guess, and the other was a conditioner treatment). There’s also an instruction leaflet but it was written in Korean so there was no use trying to understand. Thank the hair gods there were pictures included in the instructions.

Contents of the box.

So, how did I apply this thing on hair? After wearing the capes and the gloves, I poured the solution from one of the sachets to the solution in the pumping bottle, “swooshed” the bottle gently, then pumped bubbles from the bottle and applied it to my hair evenly. I left the bubbles in my hair for almost an hour then rinsed my hair afterwards.

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The Quality of YG Music Videos


I love the music videos that YG is producing lately, more importantly their quality. One thing I hate about the current Kpop scene is how idol songs and music videos (MV) have turned into one repetitive cycle. YG is no exception to this. However, I am glad that they have not succumbed to dishing out low quality music videos just to say that their songs have accompanying MVs.

I appreciate it a when a company exerts an effort to construct a story for an MV and not just let the singers dance in a box, shoot them, and that’s it. If their going to do so, then they have to make sure the sets and clothes are going to catchy and flashy enough and the video is shot in super HD to engage the viewer up to the last second of the video.

Anyway, I am digressing again. Going back to YG, they have a combination of MV with story/flowing MV and with MV’s in a box. Nonetheless, their videos are always an eye candy and I can’t help but go O___O. They have also ventured into producing animated videos which are such a good breather for viewers once in a while.

Here are some of their “flowing MVs” which I love:

1. Gummy ft TOP – Sorry (Japanese Version)

This video just came out today but holly molly, it just became one of my favorite videos. Aside from Gummy’s usual amazing voice, there is an excellent use of visual elements in this video.

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(Review) Etude Pure Joy Calming Toner


 My Neutrogena non-alcoholic toner is about to be used up so I was looking for a new brand to try.  The Neutrogena toner is already non-comedogenic but I still suffered from occasional breakouts. I guess my skin is not compatible with the brand  or the other products I use.

 My search took me to a brand which is becoming a new favorite—Etude.  I asked the saleslady for a toner which is alcohol-free and mild. She referred to the Pure Joy Calming Toner.  This is how the product looks like:

Nice Packaging. =)

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(Review) 2NE1- Ugly


It’s the last the song out of the 2nd mini album to be released and as they say, “Save the best for the last!”

True to that saying, I think Ugly is the best song in the album and it definitely deserves to be the title song. I’m glad my wish from my previous review came true. For that, you have again my respect, YG. Ugly has everything: the clean production of Don’t Cry, the emotion of Lonely, the energy of I am the Best, and the subtlety of Hate You. What more could I ask for? The musical style employed in the song is a first from 2NE1 and it’s again very refreshing. I want to hear more rock-inspired songs from them the girls and I can see them doing this for a long time. YG is definitely gaining reign in producing songs of such style (Ugly, and Big bang’s Love Song).

(Credits to YG Entertainment)

At first, I thought the song was a ballad but the introduction of the drum beats and snares changed all that. The song is arranged interestingly in a way that the peak has been focused solely in the chorus. It works well for the song and most importantly to the message the song is conveying. It’s worthy to note how the vibe of the song is very the different from the atmosphere of the lyrics. At first look, the lyrics are very negative and a listener might think the singer is wallowing in self pity. Interestingly, the singer does not redeem herself in anyway effectively sealing the message of being comfortable of one’s true skin.

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