Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Birthday Weekend at Galera

I've been postponing posts and I hate it! Anyway, I already wrote about what happened on my birthday when my Mom and I ate dinner at Friday's. At first I was at a loss as to how to celebrate my 25th year on Earth, but thankfully a cool idea hit me and Trency while having dinner. Being beach bums, we decided to just hit the beach and relax!

So on the weekend of the 17th to the 19th, my close friends and I went on a sponsored trip to the island of Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro. We left Manila at 3.30am, got to the Batangas Pier at 5.30am and got on the first trip at 7.15am. Amidst the threat (and worries of the parentals) that the sea would be turbulent due to the impending storm, we defied the odds and proved that the sea was safe!

Since it's the lean season, the pier was peaceful with only a few passengers milling around. Since this was sort of a spontaneous trip, we didn't make any hotel reservations. Luckily there was this woman named Tess who approached us with different laminated "brochures" of different hotels to choose from. We decided to check-in at the VM Resort because I've been there before and it was cheaper than the rest. It was only P1500 per night, with 2 single beds and a double bed, aircon, shower, and cable TV.

Getting to Puerto Galera is a hassle-free trip I must say. We took the Father and Son Lines, their roundtrip ticket costs P450 per person. It just sucks because they stop over at Sabang and Muelle to drop off passengers.

We didn't want to waster any time after that 2 hour boat ride. So we checked in at our very simple hotel room, changed into our swimwear, and started out on our Puerto Galera escapade!

But first here's a photo of our room. We're not a prissy bunch so this room was a-ok for us! It was funny because the room had a small aircon, so we thought we'd suffer in the heat! But this little thing proved to us that we were wrong! It blasted freezing cold air through the night and Trency even had to turn it off.I'd give this a 3 out of 5 because the room was okay, but the bathroom was a bit questionable.

When we were ready, we went out to have lunch first. And while walking to find a restaurant, I realized I've been to Puerto Galera every year since 2007, and the last time was for a coverage in our travel magazine in a private resort, and I saw how much the place has changed. They've improved the beach area and they've created areas for the shopping arcade and the restaurants. It was much more organized unlike before when everything was just strewn on the beach.

After a good lunch of inihaw na liempo and tilapia with ice cold Coke, we hit the beach and sunbathed! Oh and with less than P150 you could already get yourselves full! The liempo was around P100 and it comes with rice. This trip was really going well with the budget, I must say! :D

We were able to choose a good spot on the long stretch of White Beach and set up camp away from the bars and restaurants. It was a great place to just hang around in and take as much sun as we could. With the surf, the cool wind, and the bestest friends in the world, it was just a perfect way to spend a birthday weekend.

As night falls, White Beach transforms from being a relaxed place to a real party place. I've seen it during the peak seasons, and the parties here could get really rowdy! That night, we stayed at Aurio's Bar and brought my choice of libation: Vokda (Absolut Kurant) and Tequila. We also made friends with the "waitresses" there, a bunch of trannies who made the night totally fun for us! To the homophobics out there, well uh, maybe this isn't a cool thing for you guys, sorry! But they're not the scary gays, they were fun! Although we felt like they freeloaded on our drinks, cigarettes, and food, we all had good, somewhat clean fun! I also received gay kisses from them when Trency, Amanda, and Aimee told them it was my birthday!

It was a great way to celebrate my 25th birthday, and too think I even stressed out on thinking of a way to celebrate! Being with close friends and just relaxing is a good way to celebrate, hands down! It's my best advice to those stressing over their birthday celebrations.

To Trency, Amanda, and Aimee thank you for being with me to usher in a new chapter in my life. I wouldn't have chosen any other way to welcome in my 25th birthday, this is the best I've had so far and it's all because of you guys! Thank you, thank you!! :D

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy 25th Birthday Dinner: Friday's on a Wednesday

Yep! I am officially 25! Yesterday was a normal day except that I got a bit frazzled by the number of greetings that came my way through different means (Facebook, Twitter, cellphone, YM). It was also a very gloomy Wednesday, but it did not dampen my happy birthday spirit! :)

It was also a cool birthday because it was also the premier of GLEE season 2! By 4pm all of us here in the office stopped everything and turned our attentions to our TV sets. It was just so cool to watch Charice on international TV! And my God the abs of Harry Shum, Jr.! EYE POPPING!!

Anyway, after a day at work it was time to spend some quality time with the mother. I really wanted to eat at Eat Well, via ToT's suggestion and try that yummy looking noodle soup. But since I got a bit lazy to drive all the way to The Fort so we ended up at T.G.I.Friday's at Glorietta 3 instead.

Friday's isn't a stranger to us, it's usually a go to place when we're super hungry and a super size meal is needed to satisfy our growling tummies! The dark interiors make it a really sorta intimate place, but it's kinda weird because it's supposed to be some HAPPY drinking place. But it was cool since I was with my Mom and she's not into the loud tunes. But the bar in the smoking area made me miss Trency, Amanda and Bugsy's.

It was just a simple happy birthday meal. I had Fish and Chips which were really good. Tender, crispy, and not too oily! Just right for the birthday girl, and Mom liked the softness of it too. The oily thing with this was the fries were a bit disappointing. They were too pepper-y for my taste, and I ended up making pagpag the fries at the side of the plate just to rid it off the pepper. If it weren't for the overdose of pepper on those fries it would've been perfect with the ketchup! :)

And it's just really weird how they serve fish and chips now. Is it just me or have the cooking gurus really have changed the presentation of this dish? I haven't gotten to write about it, but I recently had fish and chips over at Grams, and it was also cut up into small pieces! Unlike before it was one huge slab of fish, and you cut it up yourself. Can someone please tell me if this goes for all restos like Fish & Co. or at Momo Cafe?

As for Mom, not much of a fan of American food, she stuck to the Filipino Liempo. I had this dish before and it was just sooo good! I'm just about to blog about this, because I just had liempo when we went to Puerto Galera on my birthday weekend. And it's just beyond compare! I've never had liempo as tasty, as juicy and as tender as this one in Friday's! And what's cool is that they're very consistent, and consistency is key to bringing customers back! Kudos for this one Friday's good job! :D

But the total kicker for this night are the Mojitos I had! I'm more of a beer drinker and Mojitos are usually a pass or fail thing for me. A friend of mine had Mojitos before and I didn't like it because the bartender seemed to be a bit concerned about us. The Mojitos ended up tasting a bit watery and bland.

I was only supposed to have one order of the Classic Mojitos, but ended up with 2! Yes, it was that good and I was THAT thirsty for alcohol. What? It's my birthday?! Mom even encouraged me to get the 2nd one, thanks to our server who asked if I wanted another one! Being 25 ain't so bad ey!? And I also experimented on my 2nd order, I squeezed the lemons into the drink and turned out to be really good. It was like alcohol with a twang. Friday's Classic Mojitos is just to die for! Totally recommended for the alcoholics out there..like this blogger! :)

It was a great way to celebrate my 25th birthday! I just wanted to thank everyone who greeted me and made me feel like the most popular kid in town! I had wished for several things yesterday while at Mass, and I do hope that some of them come true. I know it takes more than praying and wishing for it, because it also needs work and some personal changes. I am still set on going off by myself sometime soon, and I hope I do get to do it.

So here's to 25 wonderful years! I really sincerely hope that 25 opens up a lot more for me. And thank you to Friday's for giving me a hearty birthday dinner! :D

T.G.I.Friday's Glorietta
3rd floor, Glorietta 3, Ayala Center Makati City
Contact No - 7527685 | Fax No - 8928910
Website: http//www.fridays.com.ph

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Serious Contemplation

Since last year, I have been meaning to go soul searching, and I mean SERIOUSLY. Here I am exactly a week before turning 25, exactly a week before embarking on the so-called "Quarterlife Crisis" every 25-year-old-to-be fears. And yet, I sit and think that it shouldn't be feared at all. After all, Jacob Black said in New Moon, "Age is just a number, baby!" And with that ridiculously hot body, why shouldn't I believe him right?

But I have been seriously considering to take some time off..ALONE. And when I was talking to my mother about this last night, she actually allowed me, to go out and go alone. I totally need this. God has a plan for everyone, I believe in that saying. But right now, I am stuck in limbo, not knowing what God had actually planned out for me. And this is what I want, no, make that NEED to find out by myself.

I am in the phase I call "I am a stranger to my own self". Two years ago I would've bravely stood in front of you all and tell you while looking straight at you that I know myself. But today, I'm not so sure, I'm not sure AT ALL. What I can tell you about myself right now isn't exactly a pretty picture. I consider myself a mess, a weird, over paranoid, over thinking mess! I stress over the simplest of things. I get paranoid of what could happen an hour from now. I tend to look forward TOO MUCH to a future I'm not even sure of. And I don't want any of this anymore. I want to stop being an over paranoid, over thinking person.

Even happiness seems elusive. Don't get me wrong, I am very blessed, and I'm sure as hell know it. But being stuck in this phase makes one unhappy, and I don't want to be unhappy anymore. I want to start looking at what I have right now, at my present, with happiness. I know it's not too much to ask, I mean everybody is in pursuit of their own happiness. I know material things could make me happy, like finally getting an iPod or the puppy I've long since wanted to have. But the kind of happiness I'm in hot pursuit of right now is the intangible kind. The kind that makes you at peace with yourself. The kind that makes your mind at ease. The kind that makes you a much better person. Not over paranoid, and definitely not something that makes you over think.

I don't want to keep blaming that guy who made me like this. It's not his fault, and besides it was so long ago. What I have become right now is my own doing. I got hurt, fine. But it shouldn't turn anyone into an ugly person. I let myself get into this for so long I feel like I've been trapped, sucked in by this quicksand I feel that's residing in me. I want to be happy, and really be happy. And I want to know myself again. I want to be the carefree person whose happiness depended on the happiness of others. I want to break myself free from my own self.

I need time off. As I approach the ripe age of 25, I want to start it right. I want to change, for my own sake and my sanity. I want to reconnect with God because I feel that the moment I have reconnected my severed ties with Him, it's the time everything will open up to me. I am hindering my own personal growth. And I want to grow and be happy while at it. I want to be once again comfortable in my own shell. I want to be the friendly one again. I WANT TO BE HAPPY!

I need this, so I am definitely taking off to think and find myself. If I have to re-learn everything, I'd take it. If it would open my mind and let go of every inhibitions I have about myself and about life, bring it on.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Satisfying our Cravings at the CCA Kitchen

Every week now, Mom and I have been having our Sunday bonding at the Eastwood Mall. It's hilarious that we have to travel all the way to Libis from Cainta just so we could hear mass in ENGLISH. But it's been fun cos I've been on an eating spree, and the blog's sorta on a roll. I think that's why I could feel the fat slowly seeping back in my body again! Wait, I just bought new dresses! I have to fit in them!!

So yesterday, Sunday, Mom and I found ourselves at Cravings at CCA Kitchen. I've been pretty familiar with the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) since my editorial days with FAME Publishing. They've been so generous in baking/cooking/whipping up totally delicious dishes and desserts for our magazine readers. But it's my first time to eat at their restaurant, Cravings.

It reminds me so much of Angelo King International Center (AKIC) in Benilde. Since the students are pretty much hands-on, the food you eat are actually made by them, the receptionists are students, and so on. Cravings is pretty much the same, they cook and even sell their products (cookbooks, vino, desserts, and other merchandise).

What's cool about Cravings, and is quite sad how they don't really rely on it to draw in customers, is that when you order from their Entrees you get to avail of their eat-all-you-call soup and salad. You have 3 soup choices - Chili con Chocolate, Egg Soup (which I had and sucked), and Cream of Carrots (which Mom had and was really good!). You could also put in croutons, peanuts, mushrooms, and other stuff to spruce up your soup.

Since Mom's a soup AND salad person, she enjoyed it. But I did get my own salad, which only had cabbage and carrots, it looked pathetic. Sorry it's the only veggies I could actually take.

For the main course, Mom had Braised Beef. It had french fries, rice that looked like porridge, and of course the beef. It was tender and really tasty. Funny cos it was served in this huge ass bowl-like plate thing that occupied most of our table, but really the whole content of it was just at the center.

As for me, I stuck with the good old, never-fail poultry dish. I ordered the Sunday Roast Chicken Dinner, perfect because it was Sunday and it was our dinner. The chicken was HUGE, I think it was 1/2 a chicken, roasted to perfection. It was moist and tender, but not oily, unlike some disastrous roast chicken I had in the past. It was so tasty that there's really no need for gravy or any other sauce. It had rice and buttered vegetables on the side.

Drinks, I had Mango Banana Freeze, which was a disappointment because whoever made it put a whole lot of ice. It ended up with a diluted, watery taste to it. As for Mom, she had Fresh Lemonade, which she liked.

Ambiance-wise, it had this really cool, somewhat homey feel to it. Instead of the usual pinlights or bulbs, they used candle-shaped lights that hang from the ceiling. It was spacious, and you don't bump into the other people's chairs when you get your refill of the salad or soup. I really liked the clean feel to it.

A good experience in a restaurant or any place ensures people to come back to try out new things. As for Cravings, I'd definitely come back and try out some of their entrees. Since it comes with an eat-all-you can soup and salad, it comes out relatively cheap, with that huge meal Mom and I paid less than P1,000. Great to bring the family, especially when you're a group of hungry adults. They also have a promo that if you ring up a bill of P1500 and above you get a 20% discount when you pay with your Citibank Visa card.

3rd Floor, Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City

Other branches would be at Katipunan, Shangri-La Mall, Salcedo Village in Makati, and Alabang.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Diner Style ala Grams

Diner-style establishments amaze me because they're not a Filipino concept. It's not an everyday thing for us, so when an opportunity comes to get to eat in one, you just go grab it. Given it's price and it's inaccessibility to some, diner-style establishments only cater to a specific crowd, which is a bit saddening. There are so much stuff in their menu that's not available in a McDonald's, and they have different twists to their meals that make it such a fun place to go to.

I remember falling in love with "diners" when we ate at Mr. Jones. A bit pricey, sure, but dear God it was really good. And I'm glad I was able to experience it all over again, this time at Grams.

Located at Rockwell, this place is a bit hidden. It's clumped along with Starbucks and Pancake House. It's quite popular with the young ones, since it's very near Ateneo Professional Schools.

It was a stormy Thursday night, when I accompanied two very hungry Ateneans (yikes! :p) Trency and Kenn. Since I was still full, I only had coffee which was unbelievably REFILLABLE (yes, I was thrilled to the bones!). But the two hungry ones had this.
My refillable coffee! I ended up having 2 cups that night!

This was Trency's Chicken and Pork Adobo. Really good and very tasty! Tender meaty goodness. I also loved how they cooked their scrambled egg. Highly recommended! :D

This would be a very hungry Kenn. He had 2-pcs. fried chicken with mashed potatoes and buttered vegetables. Sorry we weren't close so I didn't have the guts to ask for some dibs! :D

Looking around, I saw people eating merrily. It was kind of weird because it was close to 12mn but there were still a lot of people milling around. In fact, the place was as noisy as hell!

I'm sorry, about this, but this was just too cute. This was their bathroom sign. Since it was the bagno for both male and female, they came up with a totally creative sign!

I'd definitely want to come back to Grams and EAT. I just hate that I was too full that night. But I will be back just so I could taste something that came from here. And yes, compared to Mr. Jones, Grams is definitely more affordable! :D

Now I think, it's also time to taste Johnny Rockets at Eastwood. :D

The Rockwell Club
23 Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center
Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel. No. 756-1535

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Trip or Treats: My 100th Post! Goodie Giveaway #6: The BIG Outlet (New Season) Sale 2010!

Trip or Treats: My 100th Post! Goodie Giveaway #6: The BIG Outlet (New Season) Sale 2010!

Since the BER months have officially begun, Christmas is just around the corner. And what better way to kick it off by shopping EARLY and avoiding the Christmas rush. Just click on the link above and create a link, just like I did, then write a comment at ToT's blog - NOT MINE!!

Super easy!! Let the shopping spree begin!! :D

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bring The Leprechauns On! :)

Rush hour traffic was extra HELL-ish yesterday. Heavy rains in the early morning plus the long weekend, with people having to rush back to the city, made for one NIGHTMARE-ish trip going to Makati. I had even silently resigned to being late for the first time ever!

But amidst the dark gray skies looming overhead and the drizzle, dampening every commuters' and drivers' spirits, was a big surprise. Nope, it wasn't wrapped in a shiny wrapper with a fancy ribbon. Instead it was spread out in a huge arch right before my eyes.

It was a moment of surprise, I didn't care if people in the jeepney or in the FX saw me smiling like a crazed lunatic, all alone in my car. But I was frantically rummaging in my bag for my cellphone just so I could take this once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence. It was a RAINBOW, giving me it's upturned, somewhat playful smile.

Mere seconds after I took these two snapshots, the rainbow started to fade. It was like telling me, "Come on Mai hurry up! You may have the lousiest camera phone, but I will, as much as I could muster, let my colors shine through this dull cloud behind me!"

And here it is! A sign that despite hardships, there will always be something to look forward to. I needed this, and I hoped my Mom saw this too. We both need a rainbow right now. But seeing this rainbow on a totally dismal Tuesday morning, gave me hope that sooner, not later, Mom and I will finally get that break and get things back to normal.

I was just waiting for a leprechaun in all its green clothes and pointy hat sliding down that rainbow, guffawing. Oh, and I hope someone found that pot of gold at the end of it! :)

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