Sunday, August 30, 2015

Beautiful Sunday # 175 - Last for August

Nothing much happened this week. I finished a major project at work. I was given another set of project. Teaching took step back for a while because it was examination week. My only problem now is how to check the papers and compute all grades before I return for work. Added to this, I have to finish the final phase of my freelance work. Nevertheless, I'm thankful for all the opportunities. 

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

Takoyaki from Octoboy - The only takoyaki that I love. It has real minced vegetables and octopus inside. Although a bit expensive that those that are usually sold in shopping malls.

Yang Chow Rice and Buko Lychee Shake - The combination is the best! I love the refreshing shake and the flavorful Yang Chow rice.

Cheese Bokki - The only instant noodle that I love love love. How often do you encounter cheese flavored instant noodles? My dilemma however is how to get this at a cheaper price? It's expensive at Php 60 in 7-11 stores.

7-11 Cookies - I wouldn't buy this cookie if not because of the Hershey's chocolates. True enough, it didn't disappoint. But as always, it's a little expensive for around Php 30.

Who can guess? :) I chanced upon this fried oreo cookies at the workplace's canteen. Much to my surprise, why do you need to fry the oreo cookies? I took a little risk and I had no regrets at all. The pancake shell perfectly complemented the softened oreo cookie. And because I love it, I made my own version at home. Unfortunately, the pancake was not perfectly clean. Our version was distorted and looked like chicken nuggets. Hahahaha Nevertheless, I love the taste of our first attempt.

Becky's Swiss Chocolate Cake - If only Vito Cruz is not faraway from home, I would always have this cake during weekends. Even my father loves this variant. I'm not a fan of chocolate cake but Becky's an exemption. 

Prettifying stuff from The Face Shop - I now declare that this is my favorite Korean beauty shop. After so many years, I found my preferred matte pinkish eye shadow palette. I also purchased this eye liner which is often out of stock to nearby branches. Not in the photo but my everyday eye brow pencil is also from this Korean shop. I share the sentiments of those who find Korean beauty products a bit expensive. True! True. But what I love about my purchases, they have longer life span and enough pigmentation.

Postcards from around the world

Thank you Terra for the series of cute animal inspired postcards.

Marieken is the best! I love this naughty postcard. LOL You can purchase more naughty cards from Marieken here.

Lastly, I was surprised with a recent mail from Jeannie. It wasn't a postcard. It's an actual painting from a dear friend all the way from USA. I love it Jeannie! This is actually my first time to receive a real painting from a friend. 

I'm typing this at 12:40 am. I feel so sleepy after a long day. Hopefully, I'll finish my take home work tomorrow. I'm also half wishing that I would see my cousins today. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Beautiful Sunday # 174 - Feel sadness so that you may know happiness

I'm typing this post on a Saturday evening. It has been a long and tiring week. Things are turning to be more challenging. The silver lining of all these challenges, I made my decision. It's time to face some grown up changes. The decision however entails another long process of waiting and uncertainty. While I have yet to see the outcome of everything, I'm hanging on. I try to leave each day as it comes. 

The long weekend is a welcome opportunity to take things slowly and forget all these serious issues in life. I thought I would just stay home and probably drown myself with sadness again. Some little blessings came. I got some good company with my few cousins. All those catching up stories over a great meal are so priceless. More often than not, this only happens when a family member is celebrating a birthday or during the Christmas holiday break. And just like that why am I suddenly looking forward for December? Who doesn't like December anyway? A few more months, it will be my favorite time of the year again. I can't wait to be merry again. :)

While December is still faraway, here are some of the few beautiful things that made the past week. 

Ersao! - This Taiwanese restaurant is love. I love everything that my cousin ordered. Thanks A and A! :) Even the interiors and the entire crew are love. My cousins treated me to my first meal here. Sure enough, this will not be the last time I will be in Ersao.This will be the beginning of more visits and happy days. :)

Above are the few of the many dishes we ate at Ersao. The Ersao branch in Marikina also offers Takoyaki by Octoboy. Yum!Yum! Yum!

Before the long weekend, I took advantage of Cibo's anniversary treat. I took home my favorite spinach dip and crostini. 

Postcards! - These were the few vintage postcards I purchased from the stall I found along the streets of Sta. Cruz Manila. Please pray that my eBay store will become active again so that I can purchase more :)

Miss Marc Lila by Marc Jacobs - I saw this bag years ago from a female university student in Taiwan. I knew that this was Marc by Marc Jacobs' signature. Hence, I never bothered to search and verify its price. It will surely be expensive. Surprise of surprises, I saw in it my suggested feeds in my eBay account for a cheaper price. Dream come true!!! 

Took a leave from work again in the middle of the week. I just love it that I have the opportunity to wake up with "real" sunshine at home. Everything feels so slow and quiet.

I need a vacation. - I hope to visit this beautiful place again soon. 

Something I encountered from a second hand book I purchased - Although I think I've been having an overflowing quota of sadness recently. lol 

In a few more hours, it will be Monday again. While I can only wish to be weekends forever, I have to face reality. Wish me a better week ahead! :) 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Baltimore 1947

When my eBay account became active over the past weeks, my trips to the courier became frequent. I usually ship everything after work. When I started having evening classes, I had no chance to reach the nearest courier before closing time. I sacrifice a little time from my lunch break to rush in Escolta. 

A few days ago, time was on my side. I had the chance to walk in a slower pace and become more observant with the activities and people around. I finished the entire stretch of Escolta and was about to enter McDonald's near Sta. Cruz Church to have lunch. Before crossing the street, I noticed a stall selling vintage items. Most are stamps, old coins and bills. But what really caught my attention was the pile of old and dusty postcards. It felt like I found a treasure box in the middle of a busy, rugged and not the safest street in Manila.

I conditioned myself, I will not buy. The seller told me that each piece costs Php 20. Fine, still expensive. But soon after, the seller was offering each piece at Php 15. I thought then, I would just buy two pieces. My decision changed when I saw a postcard as old as 1947. Hooray, treasure!!! I knew it would not cost Php 15. When I inquired, the seller was offering it at Php 150. Woah! It was way out of my budget, I still have to buy lunch. But for those who know me, it's easy to predict what happened. True enough, a person becomes more shopaholic when hungry. I learned this from a TV documentary and apparently, it applies to me. :D

I purchased other postcards but since I have poor E.Q., I never bothered to wait. I immediately sent the other postcards to my friends. The only card left on me was the most expensive, the one that almost took my lunch money.

I tried to research the real owner of the postcard. Based on the few online articles I read, the Villonco belongs to one of the prominent families in Malabon. The family even owns this famous ancestral home. My information about the Villonco family is very limited. Anyone knows more about the family, specifically Dr. and Mrs. Cenon Villonco? The postcard unfortunately does not provide any detail about the sender. But for someone who has a friend or relative from Baltimore in 1947, it only proves that the family belongs to the affluent sector of the society. At that time when there is no internet, meeting and gaining friends abroad requires physical presence or having the means to afford those expensive trips. 

The card has an added surprise. It's a pop out card :)

Truth to be told, I still don't know what to do with this postcard. I'm not even sure if the price of Php 150 was a great deal. Part of me wants to resell or give this to a friend. While I'm still undecided, I will keep this postcard for myself. :) 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Beautiful Sunday # 173 - Weekend Treats and Surprises

Define tiredness. I underestimated my plans for the weekend. I met a freelance client on Saturday morning. Our meeting place was quite far from home. Took the MRT and it was one of the biggest mistakes I made. Hahahaha The crowd was no longer tolerable, given that it was already a Saturday. Added to this, the airconditioning system of the train malfunctioned. Welcome to the gates of hell! I alighted way ahead from my destination and took a taxi cab instead. I cannot arrive looking so haggard and harassed. I owe it to my client, added to this, our meeting place was in Greenbelt. I have to look at least half decent. Hahaha
I wouldn't mind taking this passageway several times. This is one thing I love about Greenbelt, although the shops and people around never fail to intimidate me. Haha

I had an intense discussion from late morning until after lunch. Since I rarely visit the Makati Area, I took the chance to explore Landmark and Glorietta. I spent so much time in Landmark's Home Section (of all places). This is probably the effect of gaining so much weight and aging. Clothes and all those prettifying stuff no longer interest me that much. I fell in love with a few furniture pieces, treasure boxes, and the bird cage inspired lamps and decor. I was able to control my shopaholic hormones so I ended buying the much needed bed sheets for our home. I had a great shopping deal only to forget that I'm traveling on my own. I didn't realize how heavy were the paperbags. I wanted to explore SM Makati but the paperbags were punishing me. I made another mistake of taking the pathway to the MRT. I was already too tired so I gave in. I was hoping that the train will be better. I made another stupid decision. I had a repeat experience and by the time I alighted from the rain the heavy paperbags were suddenly ruined. Award for the most embarrassing moment of the year! If only I look as good as Rebecca Bloomwood, I wouldn't mind. Hahaha Perspiration and oiliness to the highest level!  I walked, carried the paperbags and lined up in the supermarket for my saving grace... the cheapest eco. bag to salvage the heavy bed sheets. I ended having early dinner in a fully airconditioned restaurant (another mistake) because by the time I got home, it felt like my head will explode because of the worst headache. 

Meanwhile, here are a few of the many things that caught my attention in Landmark's Home Section. I never purchased any of these. The bird cage inspired decors and lamps are love! Although I know another place where to get this cheaper. Hehehe  I love the chair although the people around me doesn't see any inch of beauty. All the more when they learned the price tag, whooping Php 20,000!!

Patio de Conchita - The last photo from the right was taken from one of famous restaurants in Intramuros. This reminds me, I have to take decent photos and prepare a separate blog post for this beautiful  place. 

You can never go wrong with your favorite cake :) I was feeling down the entire week. To console myself, I gave in to these sinful treats. Oreo cheesecake at the workplace and a few slices from Mary Grace.

Tamarind Juice Drink - Sounds weird, indeed. Discovered this from 7-11 and out of sheer curiosity, I gave it a try. It really tastes tamarind!!! 

Cheese Bokki - This cheese flavored noodles caught my attention. Although expensive at Php 60, it has become my new favorite. Cheese soup! It felt like a dream come true for the "CHEESE-iest" person in me. 

These shabby chic lamps! - I dragged my friend A to Lucky Chinatown Mall only because I wanted to vent out my frustrations over a plate of Thai meal. Hahaha The mall never fails to impress me with their decors. I love the humongous shabby chic lamps hanging from the mall's highest ceiling.

Araneta Center Cubao - The place has really transformed. If you haven't seen the place over the last 5 years, you will be surprised with all the changes. The place is now dominated by high rise residential buildings, a hotel, and buildings rented by different BPO companies. I shot this photo from the Gateway Tower while enjoying my Taco Bell dinner. :)

I took a sudden leave from work for 2 days. To wake up with a decent sunrise is something I've been deprived over the last 11 years?! Haha I have an overflowing pool of leave credits. I realized that it's not so bad to pause for a while especially when everything seems to turn out so worse.

Vikings with Fun Fab Fam - Thanks to my cousin M for the birthday treat. :) 

Postcards  - Dear Marieken, All your letters arrived before the week ended. I love the green envelope. 

Photography from Marieken -  The favorite photo deserves a separate photo. I admire your eye for photography Marieken. 

I'm typing this a few hours before Sunday ends. I still have some examination papers to check. Truth to be told, the past week did not turn out good. There were tears and swollen eyes in the middle of the week. Friday felt bit better and continued on the entire weekend. There were little treats and surprises along the way. I'm thankful. :) 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Beautiful Sunday # 172 - Whirlwind

The past week! I can't find the right adjectives to describe it. Everything started great on Monday. I was doing fine last Tuesday. Something happened on Wednesday. I was very sad on Thursday. Friday turned worst and my entire weekend was somehow affected. This not-so-good stage in my life seems to have its own recurring cycle. Nevertheless, I'm still alive and surviving. And somewhere along the way, there are just some beautiful things that happened. For this post, I intend to focus on the good things instead. Maybe the bad things deserve another blog post. Hahaha 

Addiction to Mexican Corn - A few weeks ago,  I had my first DIY Mexican Corn. A number of recipes I read suggested that the corn be grilled. On my first attempt, I used the ready-to-eat sweet corn from the supermarket. I don't have time to grill after a long day at work. Last week, I attempted to grill the corn. And the result, it tastes way better than the usual boiled corn. The mayonnaise, cheese and chili powder ended to be more flavorful with the grilled corn. So I guess my next DIY Mexican Corn should be grilled instead. Apart from altering the cooking procedure, I also wanted to try sour cream spread than the regular mayonnaise. Problem is, where to buy sour cream spread?

Korean ice cream! - A little expensive but for the stressed and sad person in me, I guess I deserved it. :)

Cookies and Cream Shake - Another expensive good at the workplace and as always, blame the negativity around :) 

Shinning Shimmering Splendid - Hahaha One of the things that brings me happiness. :) I love my new pair of glittery flats. Surprisingly, this pair makes my feet look lighter. 

Vanilla Cupcake Bakery - I will always equate this beautiful place to Leah and Mother E.! Too bad I didn't win the online contest or got served by the hottest Brazilian. Haha With or without the free GCs,Vanilla Cupcakes is our official headquarters in Manila. Thanks Mother E for squeezing me in to your tight schedule in Manila. See you in December again :) 

Oh, gifts!! - Thank you Mother E and Leah!! The wax seal kit fulfills the dream of the kid at heart and the old soul in me. I feel like a British royalty owning this. Hahaha Unfortunately, I have to learn the correct way to use this. 

Cath Kidston tea, some craft supplies and this Bluetooth remote control, thanks Leah! Will surely be waiting for your own blog party.... complete with sponsors Hahahaha

Childhood Crush - Who can guess? I might give a prize if you can guess it right. Hahahaha I've wished to watch this movie in the big screen. I never had any chance with my mother because at that time, we only go to the mall twice a year. (Hats off to my thriftiest mother!!!) This film was shown around January when Pope John Paul II visited Manila for the World Youth Day. The blessing of our new home was also scheduled during that weekend. My older cousins who came fulfilled my secret dream. They took me to the mall and rest was bragging rights to my few friends. Hahaha Some of my friends were not able to watch the movie either because they were not allowed by their parents or they did not pass the R-13 requirement. Hahaha I was 11 years old back then and because I was a bit tall and I look old, I was able to deceive the strict security personnel.  

Senti Sunday - I found my masteral thesis back in 2008. The title of my paper seem to be speaking to me now. Hahaha 

Rustan's Gift Wrapping Services is the best - I have a little confession to make. My mother asked me to purchase a nice set of handkerchief and tie for a male relative. And because Rustan's was on sale, I was able to score a nice bucket bag for myself. I probably gave the wrong instruction to the cashier. Much to my surprise, even my bucket bag was gift wrapped. Hahahahaha So the ending, I carried this huge box on the way home. 

Surprises from the mail - #Postcrossing friends, the most awaited batch of postcards finally arrived. I first thought that my dear friends are older or within my age range. Surprise of surprises, their age range is between 18 to 20 years old?!! Thank you Athena, Hannah and Hellen.

The "challenges" of the Postcard Challenge - As much as I feel happy receiving beautiful cards and stamps, part of me feels ashamed. It's a challenge to find nice postcards in Manila. The most that I see in bookstores are those that feature the local tourist destinations. Unfortunately, some postcards seem to have been taken in the late 90s. The Philippines is quite deprived of handmade or painted postcards. The same as with stamps, we have limited selections in Manila. The most that we have here are commemorative stamps. It even has to take an event to provide an additional variety. 

I haven't been blog hopping lately and I feel quite guilty. I haven't been feeling well... emotionally and every time I reach home, exhaustion has become my company. I don't want to share my own negativity so I opted to confine everything here. My gratitude overflows because my blog has been surrounded by beautiful and a few heart warming comments lately. Thanks everyone!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Beautiful Sunday # 171 - And we finally met

A few months ago, I related my attempts to reconnect with my long lost penfriends from South Korea. A few weeks after, my attempt turned out to be successful. My letter reached one of them and I was already more than happy. And because of technology, communication became easier for us. We became Facebook friends and would chat once in a while. It was also through Facebook that I discovered that my friend stayed in the Philippines for almost a year. I believe that was more than two years ago. I regret the fact that I should have reconnected with her earlier. If only I wrote to her earlier, we could have been given the opportunity to personally meet. 

Fast forward now, I discovered that my dear friend returned to the Philippines for work. I saw a familiar photo posted on her Facebook account so I decided to confirm her presence. When she said that she was indeed here, I wanted to scream OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! She's here, for real!!!!! And even though I have poor social skills, I never had second thoughts. I invited her for a meet up. We were suppose to meet around April when I had those forced leave credits. Unfortunately, there were some hindrances that came along the way. We would occasionally exchange messages and she sought my assistance for this brand of Virgin Coconut Oil that she prefers. I was quite surprised that VCO is that expensive in South Korea. I was successful in finding her preferred brand that is rarely available in most supermarkets. I wanted to personally hand out the bottles of VCO but I understand her busy schedule and priorities. But deep inside, part of me is still hoping that we would meet one of these days. She surprised me last week because she was asking if I'm free over the weekends. I never had second thoughts, I said yes!!!  And the rest was history :) 

It's for real! I have a great and beautiful friend from South Korea! Say hi to my dear friend, Jenny :) 

It took me a while to reach our meeting place. Blame the traffic from the afternoon rain. I felt stupid for making her wait. :( And since I'm meeting a South Korean friend, we have to do it inside an authentic Korean restaurant. :) I had my favorite Bibimbap and she introduced me to this Korean spicy squid with noodles. It was the best! We started talking and eating at 5 pm and before we knew it, it was already so dark outside. Haha We parted around 8 pm. Hahaha We may have exchanged letters a few times but it felt like I knew her for the longest time. I tagged my friend Anne and we somehow interviewed her about the best places to visit in South Korea. Haha 

I was surprised with the number of places Jenny has visited in the Philippines. I admire her best for being able to survive like a typical Filipino. She's a legit Filipino commuter! She takes jeepneys, UV express / FX taxis, buses to tricycle when she visits different places in the Philippines. That is real bravery!!! 

I hope this will not be our last meet up. I made a promise to Jenny. :) I have to complete the 20 bottles of VCO. Hahaha She has a few more months in the Philippines. I wanted to treat her at Cafe Lidia  or bring her to Lilac, the famous food hub in Marikina. And before she leaves the Philippines, I also wanted to give her a little send off dinner. And probably next year, Anne and I would visit her in South Korea. :)