Sunday, October 17, 2010

been to so many places around the world in just one afternoon.

It felt like summer despite frightening forecasts of the big debut of an end-of-the-world typhoon.

The sun was our friend, and we indulged on its generosity. And so, in fresh white outfits, big bags, sandals and shades, Nowie, Marion and I scoured the Legaspi Market for a hearty brunch today.
Be greeted by the pulsating beat of drums (forgot to ask what instruments those are) upon entering the market.

Where they sell those tiny quiche. I got Salmon and Broccoli, P50. It was a bit dry and a bit bland.

Pretty stall. Upon closer inspection, they sell French pastries.
Yogurt shake (strawberry, mango, blueberry) for P60. Servings are big; fresh ingredients. Very refreshing, tangy, sweet, perfect thirst-quencher. Highly recommended.

P130/styro. Authentic. So much pistachio in every bite. Stacks of phyllo pastry interlaced with butter and nuts. Surprisingly light (despite the butter), not too sweet. (naglalaway na ko as I type)

Bumped into the legendary pole-kitten-slash-savvy-corporate-magnate-slash-hot-in-her-pixie-cut Tin Rodriguez, who happens to live just across the park. Also, Lian, get well soon!

Also pretty-in-her-pixie-cut, freshly-jetset, collar-bone-bearing, all-glorious-in-her-all-white-sundress, our very own Nowie

Hands down one of the best burgers in town: can compete alongside Burger Ave with its juiciness. Each bite is packed with so much flavor, well-seasoned. Five stars. :) Can't go wrong with burger+ rice for less than a hundred pesos. 

oh, amo el arroz, but my love-affair with it has been cut short. Spanish fare in Legaz: everything could have tasted great, especially the Paella Negra (which I've had before), if it were fresh from the horno. Pricey, though. Hope they amp the flavor of their paella. 3/5.
Manfredd's wine stall, where Marion and I had our comprehensive Wine 101 within 30 minutes, months ago. Manfredd has wine selections from all over the world, and he even has wine from lesser-known places. I remember him telling us that good wine can be found in Kosovo. His wines are fair-priced. Range: P600 and beyond. He wasn't there a while ago, though.
Have to taste Thai fare from this Thai culinary master. Next time, though.

Cute guy and his hot Russian chef girlfriend. We got Golubzi, those Russian cabbage rolls of pork and rice with sauerkraut. P100/3 pieces. Price is okay, could have been better if the cream was more flavorful. Will try pasta next time. 

I had Ricotta and Spinach +Tutta Carne  pizza (10" for P180! Really good! Thin, chewy crust, fresh ingredients, not very oily), salmon quiche and Banana Nutella crepe from the French creperie (P80, better than Cafe Breton). Marion and Nowie had burger+rice (very, very sulit).

Half- Ricotta and Spinach, Half Tutta Carne. Yes, delicious. Hot. 4/5.

Banana Nutella crepe

Salmon/Broccoli quiche

Golubzi (Russian cabbage rolls)

Marion's half-eaten burger and rice. ohemgee I want it so bad. now!

Also sold in Legaspi Market are footwear (espadrilles, those really cool pocahontas-like shoes, etc) art, organic food and produce, clothing and jewelry, and even plants (from the landscape artist where we got Uershula, Marion's uersh-uersh condo plant, may it rest in peace). 

These stalls are actually a reprieve from the usual sunday pasyal in malls. Oh, and so much culture in one place.

Very happy with our mid-day romp at the market

kung matatatakan lang ang passport eh naka-apat na tayo today (French, American, Italian, Russian).

Time to bring out those foreign language phrasebooks once again, because we might just need those Je m'appelle's and muy delicioso's and quanto's for Sundays to come.

*photo credits to Nowie and her brand-new Lumix. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lessons on spirituality from a cab driver



Sheena tries to hail cabs in front of North Park, bids her bosses goodbye. She flags down a cab, rides.


Sheena plops down the back seat. Manong driver, a guy with glasses and salt-and-pepper hair, maneuvers the cab quietly.

(chirps happily) Manong, sa Pandacan po.

Magkano ang binabayad mo don?

(hesitant) Uh, usually pag galing dito, eighty pesos po.

Eighty??? Huh eh, dagdagan mo na lang, mga benteng patong.

(pissed but smiles) Ok po.

Manong driver covering the meter with goodmorning towel. yes this is a stolen shot by me.

Manong driver covers TAXI METER with white "GoodMorning" towel, does not bother to press the "Start" button, like what's usually done by every cab driver.

So, sister, born-again ka na ba?


Opo, sa ___________ church pa nga ako nagsisimba.

So nakatanggap ka na sa Panginoon? Kelan ang Spiritual Birthday mo?

SHEENA (V.O.) Why the hell do I have to tell?!

October __, 19___ po.

Ah ako, Feb ___, 1993. Sinecelebrate mo ba?

Manong driver launches a full sermon about celebrating spiritual births, how he spends all of his sweldo to celebrate every year, HOW GOD TALKS STRAIGHT TO HIM. 

Ah, alam mo sister, pagpapalain ka ng Panginoon kung babasahin mo ang Bible ng 3 to 4 times, saka ka
lang talaga pagpapalain ng Panginoon, gagamitin ka nya sa kanyang mga gawa. Nabasa mo na ba
ang Bible?

Manong laking Christian school ako, malamang!

Walang patid? As in tuloy-tuloy na Genesis to Revelation?


Hindi po. (Suddenly feels REALLY, REALLY GUILTY)

Ah kasi ako, 3-4 times, at ginagamit ako ng Panginoon, binibigyan nya ko ng mga prophecy!

Pano nyo nalalaman na Diyos talaga ang kausap mo?

Alam mo, pag puspos ka ng Holy Spirit, malalaman mo. Alam mo sister, advise ko talaga sayo magbasa ka ng Bible. Advise ko din talaga sayo eh mag-practice ka mag-speak-in-tongues, magmemorize ka ng verses.

Thats manong driver.

Eh @!#!@%#$^$%&%^*&(*^% Holy Spirit-Talk ito!!!!! Pano ako maniniwala sa mga pinagsasasabi mo if
ON HOW TO BE @#@%#$%#$^%$ SPIRITUAL!

Manong, dito na lang ho sa tabi. (hands out P100)

Thank you sister, GodBless you, take my advise.

Sheena steps out of cab, slams the cab door. Manong driver speeds away.


Talk about hypocrisy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Every sin has a name, and this one's called popcorn.

(note: I'm starting to believe that this blog is my mental floss. Or my very own "yosi" equivalent. It is breaktime here in the office, and I have approximately 15 minutes to write down stuff (aka useless, uninteresting mind-farts).

I've always had a fascination for popcorn. I remember how my now-senile Lola Pacing used to cook kettle corn for me during afternoons in place of real merienda (and she figured out early that the best way to shut up a giggly, chatty, inquisitive three year-old is to shove buckets of salty, buttery goodness she called papkern into the latter's mouth), and when she migrated to the states, she sent me balikbayan boxes filled with cartons of microwavable Orville Redenbacher's "Gourmet" Popcorn because, as she said, she can't be here to make merienda for me (aww). There was Jolly Time and ACE (also Popperoo, local ba yun?) but nothing compares to my darling Orville.

Lola's fault: why I got into my popcorn fixation

However, my puppy love Orville just does not cut it anymore, so I went in search of the best popcorn around the metro. I first found:

Freshly-popped. Sweet and Salty. Minimal grease. Very cheap. Rating: 3/5.
Holy Kettle Corn came at the time when I was too tamad to microwave (meron pa bang mas tatamad sa "too tamad to microwave???") Orville and Lola Pacing turned...... too remember my home address for those boxes upon boxes of state-side popcorn. Holy Chettle Chorn is definitely better than Goldilocks' and Oishi Caramel Popcorn and Mr. Naglalako-ng-Popcorn-sa-kalsada's pink and green and blue popcorn.

By the time I was old enough to date a-storm, I had been having this every movie date:

Every sin comes with a name, and this one's White Cheddar Cheese plus three scoops of butter. Price: P45/small bag. This is going to clog your arteries. Finger-lickin' good, I rate this... 3/5 (a tad too salty, a tad too greasy [duh, pa-add ka ba naman ng isang stick ng butter eh]) but makes you smile like an idiot 4 seconds into your first munch!).

Then I started having this, because it was Taters' "healthier" cousin:

Can't find a picture of their popcorn. However, they serve the same flavors, though they've been claiming they're Neo-Vegan. They pop their kernels with olive oil (or so they claim). Same price, but their Greenbelt counter is easy on the eye (with that cool color pallette [ah so ano to, interior design critique blog?! gumaganyan ka pa sheenalogy ha!]) so I like buying my popcorn here than Taters. Verdict: same as Taters, 3/5
I tried MuscleBeach (because they're an international brand and they were in Charlie's Angels, [beach scene, Cameron, Lucy, and Drew disguised themselves as Muscle Beach store tenders while scoping out Demi's character]) but it tasted like kanto pop-corn (Verdict: 2/5), so when I had my first bucket of this,:

I felt like crying. There are whole walnuts inside and each pop is round, like a ball, and coated with white-chocolate goodness. It tasted like a solid, crunchy version of a Starbucks frappe (which flavor, my tongue cannot identify, basta). But then its too sweet and you get "umay" after a while. But it's too expensive, like maybe more than P150, and often times more expensive than a movie ticket. Verdict: 4/5.
One day, there's a shop that opened at the stall where Mag:Net used to stand, Chicago Popcorn Shops. It has a funny typograph as a sign for the stall that contrasts with the pretty italics of the shiny, beautiful, oh-so-lusty red and copper canisters stacked on the counters (sorry I have a thing for canisters, specifically TINS).:
...I was completely won over. Well, I know their Chicago Mix tastes like ordinary caramel popcorn mixed with ordinary cheddar cheese popcorn, but the chocolate-drizzled ones were swoon-worthy (or OA lang talaga ako). At P180 per mini-tin, you get to keep the tin and you can have it refilled for P110. Yep, expensive. But they make the effort to individually coat each caramel pop-corn with choco-drizzle, so for me that's okay (ambabaw ng dahilan!). Plus, this brand makes you feel that eating pop-corn is so "haute", and taking home a piece of luxury everyday is possible (ANO DAW?!) Verdict:4/5.

So, walang 5/5? Wala. The search for a better brand of my sin goes on.

note: none of the photos I used are from my archives. I Google-searched each pop-corn brand and voila, these pics came up and I had them posted here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I've never liked Sundays because they're the day before Monday, and for empleyadas like me, Sundays are equivalent to slow, drag-me-out-of-the-bed stretch before a pillow-snatching, time-pillaging, full-on total body work out which is Monday.

But one of my really good friends taught me the beauty of Sundays. He had this complete notion of Easy, Breezy Sundays: letting the sunshine in at 10am, breakfasts in a nearby coffee shop, nursing an intrepid hang-over from a crazy Saturday night-out, reading the Sunday papers from cover to cover with coffee on hand sitting on a tatami mat by the pool, decking on yourself light, simple outfits, lounging by the condo pool and maybe taking a dip. He taught me how to slow down on Sundays in preparation of Hectic Mondays, something that bridges the go-getting, booty shaking, alcohol-binging Saturdays to the career-building and world-dominating work-week ahead.

I started hanging out with him on Sundays and oh, boy, I love how the Philippines' premiere business district transforms into a very serene, posh neighborhood of chatty expats in their caftans and paper pants with their blond babies in strollers and happy Pinoy families in their SUVs and sunday bests. Step out a little farther from Legaspi Village to Ayala Avenue, and you will be greeted by this scene, almost identical to that of Will Smith's post-apocalyptic "I Am Legend":
Ayala Ave on a Sunday. No, I did not take this photo. This is from

Step back into Legaspi Village, and witness a fusion of cultures and a beautiful array of sights, sounds and tastes--the weekly Legaspi Sunday Market.

Native decors from the Market. Photo courtesy of
 I wasn't there a while a go and truthfully, I miss it. It deserves a full blog entry, one day, I will write about it when I finally have my own cam (EHEM. DONATIONS WELCOME). I miss lounging at the tents, sampling everything within sight.We once met a Frenchman by the name of Manfredd, and in a span of 30 minutes, we got an instant yet comprehensive WINE 101. Then there were times when my friends and I would just sit there and ogle at PMAP models who lunch along with the dames of Dasma and Forbes. 

  • For this Sunday, we opted to spend time in the nearby mall, because the heat was unbearable and the thought of having to stay in the Market tents is unpractical. We decided to bring in some "culture" nonetheless, by having Japanese cuisine (YET. AGAIN. ONTI NA LANG EH WASABI GREEN NA ANG KULAY NG DUGO KO). This time, it was Sakura in Glorietta 4. Verdict: So-so. Maguro Sashimi is okay. Best Miso soup I've had so far. Price: Too expensive!

  • Then we had fro-yo at Qoola (Red Mango packed with moms and dads getting into the newest healthcraze-slash-foodfad), then we watched "Eat, Pray, Love". 

  •  So I fell asleep by the time Liz got to India. I remember her being incredibly pissed at that guy from Texas because she can't meditate but I wasn't able to catch anything afterwards, not until she was dancing in a bar with that cute guy in Bali.
The part where i fell asleep: in India
  •  my friends and I got so hungry with all the Pizza Neapolitano that Liz had so we decided to have an Italian dinner in La Piadina.
  • At Piadina: We all had platters of Pasta Arrabiatta and Calzone. Verdict: Pasta was bland and very oily, we even had to dump parmesan and that spicy oil they serve in place of chili flakes. Calzone was big but lacks filling. Prices: too expensive for this quality of food. Italiannis is still the best bet for Italian fare in Greenbelt. 
 oh, and I still have to write about my Cappuccino search. will do that this week. :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

from Chinatown

A most beloved purchase-- a very small, very pretty tea pot from a specialty store; 100 pcs Green Tea bags (should have bought leaves instead, but I got to buy the tea before we stumbled upon this beautiful china pot); machang; the tiniest Chinese gold ingot.

Yesterday, I went around the office asking what to bring as "pasalubongs" on Monday since they all know we'll be on a foodtrip today (wow feeling Hong Kong ang pupuntahan!). I was met with a unanimous answer: HOPIA.

Been craving for this since my shooting days in Sineskwela (a guest actor brought it as a baon); 15 year craving satisfied today!

what makes it special: it has holes inside to drain tea leaves, unlike a normal mug/pot

Binondo Church/fresh peaches/Pretty taiwanese shop owner and her yummy paos and kiampong and kikiam/traditional chinese fare for lunch/tea house/fried siopao (crispy bottoms, steaming hot pork inside)/fresh lumpia/tubo juice/gold mall/rain/chinese desserts/hopia/Estero.

The food trip/photo tour pictures are still with my boss. :)

from arigato-gozaimazu to nihao-ma

I highly anticipated dinner tonight at Yaki-Mix, and for P500, I probably had the best grilled king oyster, shiitake, enokitake mushrooms I've ever had in a long time, not to mention unlimited platters of shake sashimi. My foodie bosses (all baffey beterans themselves) were knowledgeable of which items belong to the must-try category, and boy, our 8-1030 pm stay at Yaki-Mix had been a grill session of prawns, mushrooms, fruits, fish and shellfish (kebs kami sa ibang dish).

That's the orig branch at T. Morato, I believe. No, we had dinner in Greenbelt. I wanted a picture to go with the blog entry, so I got that photo from

Yaki-Mix's check marks for me are:
1. Yay for yakitori buffet!
2. Yay for unlimited sashimi! (think: 6 thin slices of maguro/shake sashimi at Little Tokyo: P350 [I was in Little Tokyo last wednesday with my online marketing wiz/relationship therapy patient and I made him try out the salmon, but of course, it costs a lot more than the P500 "average" salmon at YakiMix])

X-marks are:
1. Long lines (hyped masyado, also, "bago")
2. Quantity over quality
3. The desserts are a fail (eh sana japanese din ang desserts noh? wala bang mochi? daifuku? yokan? anything with anko? kahit kakigori? Hindi halatang Goldilocks at Red Ribbon? Ang tanong eh, alam ba ng mga brands na yan ang "tie-up" nyo?)
4. Teh sa dami ng kinikita nyo, wala man lang ba kayong pang-libre ng green tea/ kahit anong tsaa sa mga customers nyo? eh ang Teriyaki Boy nga meron eh!

Pictures will be uploaded soon care of my foodie boss.

But props to LITTLE TOKYO in Amorsolo, where I have my fill of the best Japanese food in Metro Manila (opinyon ko lang yon). I told you I was there with a friend two days ago right? The best takoyaki, kakigori (shaved ice with azuki beans), okonomiyaki (japanese savory pancakes), yakitori/sashimi/tempura can be found there.

Yeah they even have this Shinto gate thing going on at the entrace. Photo by

Will conquer Chinatown in 12 hours. :)

In lieu of my very East-Asian week, I'm recommending this video for your entertainment. Those Japs, they're really funny/crazy/cute/weird/really awesome.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I want this!

Water-proof shower notebook
This is from perpetual kid, which I was browsing in search for the perfect desk accessory 30 mins before office hours end (and in between procrastinating for reports, buying/sorting out designer goods from our savvy supplier *wink* and deciding what to cook for next week). Product description says the following:

"Use it under water, around water, near water, it doesn’t matter – it’s 100% waterproof and  loves to get wet!"
 This would be incredible, since I get the best ideas in the shower. Heck, I do most of my decision-making, event-planning, soul-searching (and maybe 80% of my life activities) in the shower, so I might as well get this one!

More on office desk toys later. Some new material just came in for Fashion Week, and my takaw-buddy/marketing guru is waiting for me downstairs for our weekly quest, The Search for the Best Hotel Coffee in Metro Manila.

Also, I love you Le Pliage. :)

*edit: I also entered into an informal agreement with my office-lunch-mates that I will be treating them a batch of Krispy Kreme donuts whenever I'm late for work. PRESSURE!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What's for breakfast?

Champorado, two piping-hot bowls of extra-gooey chocolatey goodness

There was kind of a struggle in making this champorado. First, I've never worked with malagkit rice grains before, except when I try to help mom as she cooks Arroz Valenciana. Second, I did not have tablea (as previously mentioned) so I had to work with half cocoa powder-3/4 semi-sweetened choco chips and a dollop of nutella. Third, I planned to enlist my mom in making this (provide an "expert's lending hand") since this is not an experiment, this is going to be fed to at least 10 people I work with, but mom had to go to the hospital with my brother Bryant. So I had to ask help from our newest recruit, Mabel/Mabeth/Ambet/Anabeth or whatever her name is (will post something related to the extra-fast turn-over rate of my maids next time) in checking the consistency of the rice since she's from Central Luzon aka "Kaban ng Bigas ng Pilipinas".

Champorado (not-so-native)

1 cup malagkit rice
3 table spoons Ricoa powder, unsweetened
1 cup semi-sweetened chocolate chips
2 vanilla pods
1 tablespoon Nutella
at least a liter of water 
Alpine evap milk, or all-purpose cream

Put rice and water in a pot, bring to a boil, stir consistently. Put in Ricoa powder, semi-sweetened chocolate chips, stir. Scrape off seeds from 2 vanilla pods and incorporate into the rice mixture. Stir in Nutella. 

Season with sugar and evaporada. Others prefer powdered milk or all-purpose cream, and thats also okay. Serve hot along with crispy tuyo or dilis. :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

because I am so decided to cook champorado for office breakfast tomorrow

tomorrow's breakfast could be a gourmet version of pinoy champorado. well i am definitely not trying to impress my officemates with my so-called cooking skills (of which i have none), but because Rustan's Fresh Greenbelt 1 failed to produce traditional tsokolate tablea, i'd have to make do with the only substitute available: semi-sweetened chocolate chips. Also, I was curious with the vanilla pods, and how it would probably go well with the choco chips so i bought them. And I was even thinking of using arborio rice (well while at it might as well step up the game right?) but it was P300.00 a box so I decided to buy malagkit rice instead.

I searched the net for some recipes using tablea substitutes and found that folks who reside outside of Pinas use store-bought cocoa powder; so I was thinking, probably Ricoa would work? Or my Cadbury Hot Choco Powder? Or the Ghirardelli in gold canister, which my mom keeps hidden at the back of our cupboard? Or probably put some Nutella in it too?

excited much? yeah.

hope i could pull this off. teeheeeeeee.

in other news: I was told that Tumblr is wayyyy better than Blogger, and that Blogger is on its course to a slow death. This might mean a very, very short blogging stint using my current platform. Let's see. :)

First update

In the middle of report-rushing, Facebook-updating, recipe-searching, I had, what it seems, the most profound (yet nonsensical) idea of starting a blog, the factors of which are as follows:

1. I was inspired by a high school literature mentor's successful venture into the world of online word.
2. Working for a certain PR agency that espouses Online Marketing and given the task to form a blogger database, this is an attempt at "getting to know" what I am supposed to be steeped in. Ehem, this is for WORK. (repeat: ehem).

Although, I am not quite sure what to blog about. Reasons being:

1. My days are mundane.

Well, not really. Even if my days are uninteresting I always try to find a way to squeeze in something new: to purposefully find something "interesting" each day. Call it some sort of an addiction, this "something new" mantra, but this is what actually keeps me sane.

2. I've always wanted to blog, in fact, I started several, but I ditched the idea of being read publicly altogether when I started receiving.... well, uh, certain feedback. Then there's the emotional side of me that just can't help but spill itself whenever I type in my thoughts. I know for a fact that blogs aren't supposed to be receptacles of whine-vomits, and I am whiny. Then there's the part where I stop writing altogether when I'm happy, because I'd rather live in those moments and I almost always can't find the words to describe the exhilaration/mutedpalpitations/endorphineoverload I get to experience whenever nice things happen. Then, I am incoherent. My thoughts are usually disjointed, full of expletives. Also, I am best served "in person" (def: you need to meet me to really understand me). Plus I'm not interesting enough, not insightful enough, not creative enough, etc etc.

(see I'm whining already)

I've noticed that the blogs that garner most attention are the food blogs, especially those with really good photos. But I am not a good cook; I occasionally churn out "average"-tasting food, mostly replicas of the many colorful and other-wise exceptionally superb recipes found online. I also do not own a camera (I'd rather pose than take pictures, but if handed an SLR/point-and-shoot/DSLR I'd be snap-happy) so I, for the life of me, do not know how to make this space worthy of some sort of readership. I also have normal taste for fashion, and I do not have the resources/patience to blog about and actually buy/scour many of obviously sartorial choices available far and wide. I am no techy. I am not business-savvy either.

So what to blog?

Oh well. back to regular programming (aka report-rushing).