Sunday, March 29, 2015

Beautiful Sunday #153 - Food, places and discoveries

Last week at work tomorrow! I will probably be staying home for the Holy Week break. My family is as always, more than contented with movie marathons, afternoon naps, unhealthy fastfood deliveries, yakiniku dinners, barbecue and late night picnics. I hope one of my paternal cousins will organize a mini-reunion that entails a long day of stories and foodie indulgences. While waiting for this short holiday break, let me share the few good things that made the last week.

Calbee's Jagabee is finally in the Philippine market - Kim!!! I'm no longer drooling over your IG post. Calbee is Japanese company known to produce varied potato snacks. I believe they are considered as the Japanese pioneer in this type of business. I can't remember the first time I tasted Jagabee Potato Fries. If I'm not mistaken, I receive a canister from a relative who went to Japan. I was surprised when I found real french fries. As you can see, I had more than enough servings of Jagabee. I tried the three variants in one week and my favorite is Garlic. 

Another delicious Japanese snack - Anyone who knows the brand that cater this Japanese biscuit? This was generously shared by the Big Boss to everyone in the office. I love the blend of salt, cheese and almond in this very tiny biscuit.

Chocolate sprinkled doughnuts - Thank you Dunkin Donuts for the dose of chocolate energy every lousy and sleepy mornings at work. :)

Ube Pinipig Crunch from Selecta - Classic! Pinipig crunch is my all time favorite popsicle coated ice cream. While others would crave for Magnum, I'm all contented with a cheap Pinipig crunch.

Mornings on the way to work - is always a battle. Hahaha I've been working for 10 years and it's quite a shame that I haven't even stepped to this mini park near the workplace.

Guess where am I? 

The afternoon trips to the Post Office are the best. Never mind the sun and heat, they are still tolerable at this point. No one can argue about the picture perfect Philippine Postal Corporation. Another reason to love the Philpost, this is perhaps the only government agency that does not collect long queue of lines. All transactions made in Post Office happen in a breeze.

Found some piece of beauty on the way to the Post Office - These blue flowers, blue metal fences and a small tree are not hard to admire. Anyone who knows the name of the flower? 

Late night cake night -  After a full meal from Zark's Burgers, my friend A and I decided to walk along Taft Avenue. In the middle of everything, we decided to check out the famous Becky's Kitchen. More than the delicious cakes, I fell in love with the old white house. 

Burger night out with A - Thanks A for the birthday treat!!! What a perfect way to feed your burger addict friend. I intentionally skipped afternoon snacks for this huge dinner treat. Haha

Pardon my "porous" face - It's no so often that I find a real and effective beauty product. I purchased the little bottle of eRAse solution because it claims to lighten the stubborn and ugly scars brought by wounds and acne. I never expected anything remarkable with this Php 99 purchase. Much to my surprise, this very cheap product works! The huge acne scar I got last December is starting to peel and fade away. I will try to do a separate post for this. :) 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Beeffalo : More than just great food

In the middle of the week, I had an unexpected reunion with my few paternal cousins. How timely  because I have been on house-work arrest over the last weeks. No movie or mall dates, just some online shopping escapades (I'm so bad), unhealthy fast-food meals, movie marathons and as always, zzzzzzz. For those who know me well, having more than 8 hours of undisturbed sleep is one important indicator of happiness. Hahaha 

A day before the presentation of my project (Thank God, I'm done) my cousin invited me for a dinner treat. It came in perfect timing because I needed those light and humorous moments. My cousin chose this small, quaint and hidden restaurant in our hometown. At that time I wasn't initially interested with the food and place. I just wanted to see my cousins and have a great time. Turns out, I was given a full treat. I had: great food + great place + great people = perfect way to end the day!!!

I was never familiar with Beeffalo despite being existent in my hometown for quite some time. Because I don't often explore my own hometown, I got lost and noticed a series of unique restaurants around. Like Beeffalo, I discovered a number of old houses being transformed to quaint restaurants. I hope this becomes a trend in Marikina. I love old houses and to make them as restaurants is both eye and stomach candy for me. :)

This has to be my favourite place in Beeffalo. I love the al fresco dining experience. What used to be a small garden was installed with small bulb lights and classic wooden benches. When I will have my own place, I will surely make something like this. A garden with wooden benches, few ornamental plants and green grass, and floating bulb lights are ideal for those late night picnics with my family.

We didn't stay in the garden, but my cousin chose the equally beautiful porch.

And what I had for dinner


I failed to see the air conditioned area of the restaurant. What I know for sure though, I will still choose the al dresco dining experience when I visit Beeffalo again. And yes, Beeffalo is worth another visit. 

Love and Hate with Johnny Air

The shopaholic hormones attacked me again at the beginning of the month. I will not mention the sins purchases I made. I treated myself to the usual blouse, bag and to those who know me well, a pair of ballet flats. :) I bought again another pair of Toms ballet flats and as much as I want to hide it, it was one of the most expensive pairs I purchased. 

A pair of Toms is expensive, especially here in the Philippines. I also don't purchase them in their regular US price at $ 85?!? My strategy is to wait for the Black Friday Sale, Yearend to New Year Sale. My years of stalking taught me that Toms' most awaited sale happens during holidays in US. When I had a little additional money last February, I grabbed the chance. I bought ballet flats I've been eyeing from their website since last year. In just a few clicks, the shoe became mine! :) Albeit, still virtually of course. 

Toms official online store only ships to US and Canada. This did not serve as a hindrance for me because there's always Johnny Air. Although I have to say that I have a love-hate relationship with this third party cargo forwarder. Love because they take care and deliver my items to my home country all the time. Hate because their shipping fees never fail to surprise me. The  last time I shipped a pair of Toms via Johnny Air, I was only charged around Php 860 for a small box of shoes. This happened last December 2014. I was the happiest. When I attempted to use Johnny Air again, I was expecting the same amount. Much to my surprise, I was charged around Php 1,100 for the same size and weight. What makes March more expensive than December? Or probably, they have increased their fees without me knowing.

Another minor concern I had with Johnny Air is the unknown lead time for delivery. Of the three times I availed the services of Johnny Air, the average waiting time I experienced was 7 working days. This starts from the day when my item arrived in their US office. This is really fast. The last time I used Johnny Air, it took them almost two weeks to deliver my item to their SM Megamall branch. 

While these factors are beyond my control, I just wish that Johnny Air, ASOS and my other favourite online stores would perform like Zalora. I never had any problems with the few purchases I made with this company. The first time I used Zalora, my order arrived after four hours. On my succeeding purchases, everything was delivered the next day. I hope Zalora carries more international brands (please include Toms and return the Anthology shoes). This way, I will be spared from the expensive shipping fees and waiting time.

While I'm still waiting for this to happen and for my money to increase, I can settle window shopping again for more comfortable ballet shoes from Zalora Philippines. And it's not hard for me to choose because I seriously want this cutest bow flats from Keds ;)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Beautiful Sunday 152 - Season Ending

March is almost over. A couple of weeks more, classes are over and I'm back to a full time office slave again. Work will be lighter (I hope so) but I will sure be missing the little additional income. My not-so-favorite season is approaching and over the next weeks, electricity and water consumption will surely increase. Haha I don't know but I'm one the few who does not favor the summer season. 

Meanwhile, here are the few beautiful things that made my week.

Long John Silvers is here in the Philippines - It's first branch is situated in SM Manila, quite a privilege since the place is a few blocks away from the workplace. If you love fried dishes made of chicken, shrimp, crab meat and fish, this restaurant might be perfect for you. 

Although I've noticed that not all items in the US menu are available in the Philippines. The baked dishes and sandwiches are not (yet?) available. An average value meal retails for Php 100 to 200. Prices are relatively affordable and best of all, servings are very generous. 

Updates from the Postcard Challenge

Cutest postcards from The Netherlands - Thank you Marieken! I believe all your postcards already arrived. You have a very beautiful queen and worry no more, you didn't send me identical postcards.

Calendar from Typo - Thanks Jenny for sending this all the way from the land down under.

I've been a good colleague - Yes, I'm claiming it. Haha Thank you N for the sweetest treats.

Sights of Intramuros

This old tree - The old tree has been one of the casualties of a typhoon that hit Manila many years ago. The devastated tree was left untouched even by the Intramuros Administration and the City of Manila. Surprise of surprises, it survived despite being uprooted. It continuously grows its own leaves and (I maybe wrong) increased its size. For me, this should be considered as one attraction in Intramuros... if only the responsible government agencies share my sentiments. 

More than a historic site, Intramuros is a beautiful place. Unfortunately, it has been deprived of its much needed attention and preservation. There are open spaces that can be developed and preserved at the same time. Given that Intramuros is near the office of the Bureau of Immigration, tourists are always flocking in the area. I hope someone would revive the old, picture perfect, enchanting and distinct beauty. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Beautiful Sunday 151 - The week that was

The short course I started last November is finally over. My Fridays and Saturdays are finally free again. As much as I'd like to say one task down, the real task is just about to start. Before I receive my certification, I have to accomplish one major project at the workplace. This is where the real challenge begins. I'm still clueless of what project to pursue. This is so much different than thesis writing and all those academic papers I used to do. I have to involve people and I have to convince the management to make things happen. This is what I call as a grown up school project. 

Meanwhile, please forgive me for posting this :) 

A little accomplishment that does not happen to me everyday :) Hopefully my good performance will be carried out to that one great project I need for the full certification

Setting aside this serious side, here are the other few beautiful things that made my week

Last day in school! - My Fridays and Saturdays are back!!!! But I will surely miss this space in the always intimidating Ayala Avenue. 

Orange and orange - It took me two friends to purchase this orange (of all colors) pair from Payless. For someone who has darker skin shade, orange, red and all those bold colors never looked good on me. But my friends are the best shopaholic buddies ;P

There's something about old local movies - Cinema One has been one of my weeknight buddies. I'm one of those kids who grew up in the 90s, but enjoy the movies released back in the 70s to early 80s.

Monogrammed! - I initially wanted the popular three-letter monogram. I later realized that humongous pendants are not really for me. So I opted for a monogrammed disc with my birthstone. 

Hooray for today! - I suddenly craved for Mc Donald's breakfast last week. The ending? I had unhealthy breakfast for three consecutive days :)

Bacon!!!! - Blame Mother E for advertising Purefood's Bacon in Maple Syrup, it's way better the the traditional Honeycured style. I have to post this photo because for the first time... I cooked dinner for myself hahahahaha

New product discovery - The school that housed me every Friday and Saturday introduced me to The Sandwich Guy. I'm personally not a big fan of sandwiches. Most of the sandwiches I encountered taste bland and boring. The Sandwich Guy made me like sandwiches again. 

I'm not clumsy - I told you, I'm not the best person to handle cupcakes. I'm only good at eating them. :)

The other cupcake made it though :) - I'm currently enjoying this carrot cupcake while typing this post.

My favorite hair product - A bit expensive for my regular budget but when results are considered, spending Php 300+ for this product is not so bad. It's way different from all those hair serum that makes my hair looks so oily. Loreal's version tames most of my frizz without leaving any trace of oiliness.

Postcards from around the world - Thank you Terra and Wilma for the postcards. The Postcard Challenge will be one of my happiest accomplishments for 2015. This reminds me I have to send my third round of postcards this week. :) 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Beautiful Sunday # 150 - Places and Discoveries

Tired! Tired! Tired! :) The first few days of the past week were spent for work. Before the week ended, I attended the remaining classes of the short course I started last November. I still have a couple of weeks to attend and that one great output I have to produce. I'm confused, exhausted, added to this some life changing and grown decisions I have to make. While everything still remains at the pending status, let me recount the few good and lighter things that made the past week.

Learning never stops - and this grown up is studying again :) I have a love-hate relationship with schooling though. While I love to learn new things, I hate that I have to forgo my weekends and add another weight to balance apart from my regular work. 

Hello Ayala Avenue! - Another love-hate relationship I have. I love the high rise buildings, air-conditioned and clean underpasses, pedestrian friendly streets, clean and safe surroundings and the Ayala Triangle garden. What I hate include that weird intimidating atmosphere and the more than 2 hours of travel time I have to endure. 

Nice wreath - It doesn't have to be Christmas to display a wreath. I found this beautiful wreath displayed inside the toilet (of all places) of Mom and Tina's Bakery and Restaurant in Makati.

Lasagna from Mom and Tina's - Great way to end a tiring week

Street Art - Encountered this in one of the underpasses in Ayala Avenue. Hope to see more of these rather than the dirty and notorious vandalism in Manila. 

I love mornings! - Supposedly hahaha I was quite early on my second day in Ayala so I ended killing time at Mc Donald's. I never realized how I miss hash browns and pancakes. I'm thinking of reporting earlier to work tomorrow just to catch Mc Donald's breakfast menu. Hahaha 

Strawberries from Baguio- Gift from one of my cousins, thank you Jacob! 

A new favorite! - I have always been loyal to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's Toblerone Cake, I dropped by one of their branches in the middle of the week and discovered another variant in Oreo - Coffee. It was the best! Better than my old favorite :)

This wallpaper is too nice not to be noticed - Again, I saw this beautiful and intricately designed wall paper inside the toilet area of Mom and Tina's. Of all places, I never expected to find something prettifying inside the toilet and wash room. 

The biggest fried chicken - I discovered another good and budget friendly fastfood near the workplace. Hot Star is not lying. It was the largest fried chicken I've encountered.

PS To my friends who have been visiting and leaving comments here, thank you very much. Work and some grown up issues are occupying me lately. When everything else become stable again, I promise, I will do my regular blog hopping adventures :) 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Beautiful Sunday # 149 - Sky Deck View Bar and Manila's Sky Line

It's the third month of the year! While everyone is enjoying their weekend break, I'm reporting for work on a Sunday. :) No complaints, I'm used to doing this twice a year. I have a long day ahead. Hopefully, it will be a productive one. The past week has not been so good for me. I was infected with a case of bad cold on Monday night. Tuesday came, the severe colds was accompanied by its deadly friend, cough, cough and more cough. The holiday in the middle of the week went as a little blessing. I don't have to consume my sick leave credits. But if only I had a choice, I wanted to extend the holiday break. My presence is unfortunately needed on Thursday because of my project that will run on Friday. Fortunately, I felt a little better on Friday except that all my medicine intakes are starting to affect me. Hello there drowsiness! It felt like everyone is calling me to zzzzzzzzz

I may not be feeling well the entire week but as always, there are some beautiful things that came. One of which is the unexpected dinner treat from my Big Boss. He brought the entire office to one of his favorite restaurants. 

 Sky Deck View Bar

You can guess from the name of the restaurant, a place where you can have an amazing view of the city's sky line.

 Al fresco lounge, great view and good food, define Sky Deck View Bar. Let the succeeding photos prove this

We arrived around 5:30 pm, perfect time to witness sunset in Manila. In my opinion, this is the best time to visit Sky Deck. Seeing the sunset is already an attraction.

Perfect weather to start a great dinner

Tip : Reserve a seat on the sides to enjoy sunset and the view of Manila's Sky Line

A view of Intramuros, a historical landmark in Manila, established in the 16th century back when the Philippines was still colonized by the Spanish Government. 

We got the round table in the middle of the restaurant which was quite a regret. Although for bigger groups, Sky Deck automatically recommends this round table in the center of the restaurant.

But for me, the real sky deck is found in this elevated area

According to my Big Boss, you have to automatically pay the Php 700 consumable drinks and food to avail this area

Now I get it :) Everything looks better in this area

The view from the secluded area of Sky Deck

Great place and customer service are so far the best features I've experienced from Sky Deck View Bar. The most important and real reason why we visited the place didn't impress me well. If I were to give a rating, I have to say its 3 out of 5 stars for Sky Deck View Bar's food offering. We initially wanted to avail their buffet treat. Unfortunately, we learned that buffet is only offered on Fridays to weekends. We went for ala carte which was expensive for my budget. :) The Big Boss ordered a lot but the one that captured my taste buds is the Four Cheese Pizza. The rest of the we had like Callos, Sinigang na Bagnet, and Kare Kare were just fine.

Sky Deck offers varied food selections in their menu. But mostly are Filipino-Spanish inspired dishes. Although if I will be asked if I will return and recommend the place, I would still say yes. Sky Deck View Bar provides a quiet, hidden and quick getaway from all the hustle and bustle of Manila. 

If you want to experience the lighter and silent side of Manila, Sky Deck View Bar in Intramuros is highly recommended.