Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Boracay (Nightlife) Experience

A week after our Thailand adventure, my barkada texted me that she'll book us a Boracay trip. I gladly said yes because I haven't been there and the roundtrip AirPhil ticket was on sale for PHP1200!! There's no valid reason for me to refuse!

The thing with discounted airline tickets is that the travel date is at least a month away or in our case almost 2 1/2 months ahead. Its funny how some people thought this was an on a whim vacation because our Boracay getaway fell on the Ramadan/Ninoy Aquino long weekend. I read in a Yahoo news clip before that people should plan their trips in advance so that they can a. find cheaper deals (if they're into that) and b. so that they can have something to look forward to when you are feeling stressed about work, life and (lack of) lovelife. So these discounted airline tickets work well for me!

It was a 1 hr Manila-Boracay flight. By 9am we were on Boracay airport, we don't have a plan or any reservation, fortunately it was "feeling- tourist" friendly enough. There's a booth where they can assist you for a tricycle and boat ride to Caticlan, we paid PHP150 each.

After the boat ride, we have to pay PHP50 for a van that will take us to the beach area. Hmm from the airport, we already spent PHP400 (PHP200 terminal fee + PHP200 airport transfer).

Since we were feeling "backpackers", we didnt have any hotel or reservation. It was only past 9am and we have all the time (well, preferably before lunch) to look for a cheap but secured room. We walked for almost an hour from station 1 to 3 with our baggage before finally finding a room for rent on an eskinita at D'Mall. It was near the entrance of a 15K per night hotel that we checked out and said "no, thanks".  Aircon, check. Own clean CR, check. Nice bed, check. Looks private and secured, check! And so we unpacked.


Since this was my 4th beach trip this year, except for swimming,  I didn't bother to try the usual water activities. Instead, the theme for my 2 days and 2 nights stay in Boracay was "Eat, swim, party - rinse & repeat"! 

Eat. Swim..After the well deserved brunch from an impromptu workout (a.k.a. looking for a room), although it was only 11:30am the beach looked so pretty so we took the plunge! 4 hours later,  I proved that my 600 pesos SPF70 sunblock spray was no match to the heat of the sun.

Party... So far, we accomplished beach bumming and immersing ourselves to "today I don't feel like doing anything" mood. We ate our dinner, then spent the early part of the night watching teleseryes hahaha. By 10:30pm, we're ready to party!! After walking from D'Mall to Station 1 then Station 1-3, we decided to go to SummerPlace bar located at Station 2. It seems intimidating at first sight because most of the people on the dance floor near the entrance are foreigners or Korean. Come to think of it at least 60% of people there are Koreans and I thank them for being patrons even on off peak season. The alcohol arent that pricey, I tried Bailey's shake (PHP200), Tequila Sunrise (PHP150) and even got a free beer *wink. It was a Monday long weekend and the place was packed. I enjoyed the songs played by the DJ and when you're in Boracay you'll sing & dance like crazy when you hear "Call Me Maybe".  There's even a funny moment when the DJ played "Gangnam Style",  the place went crazy and we're clueless. The song was very catchy and 2 days after, I will watch it on CNN as the new viral video.

Rinse and repeat...The crazy day 1 ended at 4:30am so we spent the entire Tuesday morning in our rooms. We had brunch then shopped for pasalubongs. I heard that their main pasalubong is the suman that can be bought on the airport so I just bought my customary Boracay shirt and shot glass.

We were supposed to try the ATV but we ended up playing card games on our room, I lost PHP150 along the way.

It was not until 10PM when we decided to go for a drink. Unlike the other day, there were less crowd on Tuesday night. We ended up on Epic Bar on Station 2. We just have a standing room only table but I love the crowd, their playlist and the fact that Coke Rum is only PHP105!! I had 3 rounds plus 1 margarita, yeah nevermind that my flight is in few hours (I humbly paid for this recklessness)! There were these 3 European girls who were so pretty, sexy and confident. When I mentioned European, I dont have to describe further but let me define confidence. It is standing on a sofa, whistling to get everyone's attention and dancing like a goddess. I want to be like them when I grow up, oh wait..

I'll be back on Boracay with my family on November, and I think we'll be on the "acoustic" bars so good thing I already had a taste of Boracay nightlife ;)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dear Mike, Sorry i didn't mean to stood you up

She was dancing like crazy with her friends, oblivious to her surroundings because they were on their own stage, the little space on their corner table. They didn't bother to join the club's dancefloor, after 1 bailey's and 1 tequila sunrise each, they were happy on their own.

"Call me maybe" was playing, if they were in Manila, they will be annoyed. But they were in Boracay and they were meant to go crazy while singing and dancing to this tune.

She heard a male voice so she turned to her right. He smiled. She raised her eyebrows. Her friends were on alert mode, lets just say that they don't like boys, period. "I'm harmless", he said. He introduced himself as "Mike", she said her name is Mei/May and then looked at her friends direction. They went back to dancing as if saying you're on your own.

"You seem to be the only one who's friendly around here", he said in a good natured voice and she couldn't help but laugh. "I'm used to meeting new people because of my job plus they literally don't like boys", she explained.

He poured half of his beer on her empty cup. Then he told her, she have 3 chances to guess from which country is he from. "US? Canada?" 2 wrong guesses then she shook her head. She gave up, she's too lazy to try. "UK, but Im an english teacher in China."

She have 1 English friend so that became their common ground. They talked about her work, she just mentioned that her company makes mobile app games in Makati/Manila. At one point he excused himself to get beer, her friends scoffed her for entertaining him. But she argued that they were just talking.

Surprisingly, he came back with more questions and they had interesting conversations about their family, the places they've been to, their fear of rollercoaster..

Then it was past 4am, they were talking about the leap of faith and taking chances. She noticed that her friends were ready to go so with a heavy heart she excused herself. He then asked her if he could see her again, "lunch" she suggested. "dinner? Same place at 7pm", he said after explaining that he already have plans for the afternoon. They agreed and they did an English handshake sorta like a pinky swear to say that you really meant what you said. He kissed the back of her hand then after the reminders about their dinner, she walked out of the bar. She felt sad because he's a really nice guy, he was a gentleman.

While walking back to their room, her friends was teasing her non stop. At first she tried to explain that they were just talking and they saw that nothing else happened. But they wont hear it, they already judged her. She just kept quiet because although they went to the same exclusive for girls school from elementary to high school, she's been an IT student then professional for 10 years now. Being in the IT industry in the Philippines will make you comfortable with 1girl to 4 boys ratio environment. Maybe they are not exposed to coexisting with multinationals everyday (like her) so she kept her mouth shut. She swallowed the strong words of almost being called a whore, easy girl - for talking to an English guy, only 5 yrs older, on the same table with them!

The next day, she looked on the clock as it nears 7pm. She wondered if he will really show up, she felt guilty because she stood him up. She just wished that their paths wont cross, its her last night in Boracay and she's been successful for the whole day.

By 10pm, she saw him on a bar across their hotel's street. What are the odds! She kept that to herself because she didn't want to make her friends uncomfortable again. She just asked them to go to the direction far from him. They finished walking upto Station 3 but unfortunately her friends didn't find a bar that they fancy. So they walked back to Station 1, it was inevitable that he will see her. When she walked past him, she tried to catch his eye but he looked away or he was busy and didn't even recognize her. She wasn't sure.

After sometime, they ended up on Epic bar. She already downed several coke rum when she saw him enter the bar. His friend, whom he introduced to her last night, recognized her and said hello! She tried to catch his eyes but he was just impatiently waiting for his friend.

She didn't plan to talk to him to say sorry or anything because her friends were whispering "o there's your boylet". She didn't want to be bashed again especially for something that she didn't do.

At some point they coexisted, she concentrated on her 3rd rum coke and her friends who were on party mode. Then she saw him dancing and making out with a girl near her table. "Ok" she rolled her eyes and excused herself. She felt dizzy and confused on what he's trying to prove. Or maybe he's not even trying to prove anything, it was just another random night with a new girl he met on Boracay.

After 2 hours of sleep, she went ahead for her solo flight back to Manila. By 12noon, she finished unpacking her luggage. She was supposed to catch some sleep but she was restless because she still felt like a jerk. Maybe he didn't even remember that they were supposed to have dinner, maybe it wasn't his first time to be stood up. But she still felt guilty because either way he treated her well. Too bad she cant say sorry and explain that she didn't mean to treat him that way :(

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

#bangonPilipinas #rescuePH #prayForPhilippines

It feels stupid to use hashtag outside Twitter and Instagram but I have to pay tribute to hashtags which helps coordinate the on going relief effort

Its day 2 of non working day because of a nameless monsoon that caused flood and heavy rain all over Metro Manila, the capital of Philipines. I'm one of the lucky few who are in a high and dry place. Yesterday, after the work suspension was announced, I just realized before I was about to sleep that I've spent majority of the day checking on my family and friends who live in different areas. I was fortunate to have an internet connection to monitor what's happening all over the metro then getting teary eyed on the act of heroism of almost everyone.
Photo by: Marianne Bermudez / Philippine Daily Inquirer 

I think as Filipinos, we are trained to survive the hot weather also known as "tag-lagkit" from January to April then the rainy season from May to December. I'm a Thomasian so I had extra 4 years of training on braving the flood along Espana. Then I brave the usual traffic and rainy day woes on commuting to Ortigas and Makati when I joined the workforce. I've learned to live with this condition, I always have an umbrella along with my kikay kit and a snack in case of emergency. But sometimes, something big hits us like typhoon Ondoy in 2009 and now this nameless monsoon.

Since its not safe for me to go out there and help, I've decided to compile lists that can be handy to those who want to help as well.

If you cant go out but would like to donate

* @143redangel Donate 50 pesos to the Red Cross and help us save lives of those affected by the monsoon rains. Text RED<space>50 to 2899 (Globe) or 4143 (Smart).

*@GawadKalingaHQ: To those who can't join us in our relief ops, you can donate online. It only costs P230.00/food pack. Click: https://t.co/ssLQm0sV #reliefPH"

* @HabitatPhils: Give Habitat Shelter Repair Kits via Globe. Text DONATE<space>AMOUNT<space>(MPIN)<space>HABITAT.Send to 2882.

*Check out Google's crisis map which shows you where the temporary shelters are, donation centers, and current... http://t.co/cObxvnpm"

*@thepbaologist: Pls deposit donations at d PBA Press Corps' UCPB acct# 00191-000364-8. Pls email pba.baha.assist@gmail.com or txt 09284358333 for d dtails."
From  http://www.facebook.com/University.of.Santo.Tomas.Manila 

If you know someone who needs to be rescued

*Rescue request form

*tweet @DivinemLee your complete  name, number and address and she'll coordinate with rescue5

Bangon Pilipinas!!!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

My Makati Foodtrip Guide

After sharing my favorite affordable videoke places, here's my guide to sulit and yummy foodtrip for lunch out or dinner in Buendia, Makati area.

101 Hawker near Makati Med

Nasi Goreng is just WOW every single time I eat it.

BFast at Ayala Triangle
Try their buffet for only 280PHP :)
My plates, carb-ception! Carbs overload :P
Or try the set meals, they serve breakfast all day -hence BFast name ;) I love their angus tapsilog meal and cakes!
 Wabi Sabi Noodle House & Vegetarian Grocery @ The Collective Malugay St.

I love the Shoyu Ramen (120PHP), Thai Milk Tea (50PHP) and Tofu Chicharon for takeout!
Shoyu Ramen
8065 Bagnet @ Estrella St., San Antonio Village Makati
I tried the set meals  of original bagnet, kare-kare and binagoongan. Their frozen buko pandan is just an awesome treat!

Botan @ the basement of West of Ayala, Gil Puyat

I just love Botan's Tapioca milk tea - with the set meals

Adobo and Shredded chicken set meals. Gotta have egg and veggie side dishes.
Or with toast for merienda!

Strawberry and Butter toast <3

Im craving for everything now - too bad I'm in Caloocan 0.0

TopGrill and Karaoke Republic Experience

We usually frequent Music21, I cant remember the rate and packages and the most recent time that I was there was on an all expense despedida party. 

I think its because of the people that I hangout with that's why I ended up singing in the afternoon with my cousins aged 2 to 20 hahaha

Anyway, In this post, I'll share my 2 favorite videoke bars/grill. Most of the recommended places are fun and with great service, song selection but my choices are all that but affordable! But of course, I almost go to videoke sessions every other friday so I want a nice KTV place but wont hurt my wallet!

Top Grill
Jupiter St. Eurocrest Bldg., 126 Jupiter St. Bel-Air 

It was by accident how my friends and I ended up at TopGrill. It was Friday night and the usual videoke places in Jupiter St., Makati are packed. We have this habit of long ayaan, it usually starts at 7pm and can last for 1-2 hours. Then suddenly, its 9pm and the places we want are packed! </rant>

Top Grill @ Jupiter
What I like about Top Grill is their sulit package! hahaha I love to have fun but I'm  also in tipid mode. They have this promo of 280PHP for 2 hours worth of videoke and the 280 pesos is consumable for any food and drinks of your choice. You can even order as a group then extend for 70PHP per hour, although its non consumable. Yay! I think I've been here for 4-5 Fridays this year, thats also the same number of nights I've spent on the condo. They have a comprehensive song list but its not too updated, we cant sing along to Call Me Maybe yet ;)

Three's a crowd? Not!
It was our inaanak's birthday slash yearly get together and after a delicious dinner at Mister Kabab my friends and I decided to sing our hearts out. Thanks to Google and iPhone Maps, we found Karaoke Republic. It was a Wednesday night so it wasn't as busy as on peak nights. They have a promo of 70PHP per hour on weekdays and 90PHP per hour on weekends.

Mango juice, Margarita and Rum Coke!
They have this separate monitor setup for choosing songs

Bar-ba-sol on a playlist! That says a lot on how wide their selection is :)
Karaoke Republic @ Timog, thumbs up!!!

Saturday BakeFest: DIY Easy Cookies & Muffins

Baking ingredients can be very expensive so I thought it was time to invest on a nice equipment. I wanted to buy any of this

Pag nagkamali pa, its not the equipment, its me!!!

But the budget only allowed to buy me an Imarflex Rotisserie, my friend Romzkee recommended it. The oven has an option for temperature which is crucial for most recipes. When I looked it up on a local online store, it was worth 2600PHP so I was happy to find one at Trinoma Ansons that costs 2100PHP. Yay! More money to spend on other basic utensils like measuring cups, spoons, wax paper and pans! So, I came home with all of these, instead of new bag or shoes, signs of aging?
My new oven, baking utensils and ingredients. Somehow, I always find new ways to give my credit card a workout! 
Last weekend, I tried the reverse of how not to bake chocolate cookies recipe. The cookies are yummy but it ended up too oily (too much butter) and hard instead of chewy (too much baking powder).
3/5 stars for the cookies
So, as I walked around the grocery store, I was ecstatic to find an instant muffin mix! It feels like cheating but this is stepping back. I'll start from instant mixes before going back to following recipes again.

The muffin mix! Too bad the choco cookies mix was out of stock!
Add 3/4 cup of milk, yay I got to use the measuring cup!
And the measuring spoon for 2 TBS of melted butter AND 1 piece egg

Mix everything!

And put it in the muffin pan!

The result, after baking it for 15-19 minutes!

Im so happy! It tastes good, I even added chocolate bits for added surprise.
 Its a shame that I cant find paper cups, Im not sure if that was the reason why the lower part was kinda burnt. But hey, my mom, aunt and sister said it tastes good, in spite of that hahaha ;)

J-Drama Review: Beautiful Life

Beautiful Life is the nth Kimura Takuya series that I've watched. It aired in 2000 but its storyline is timeless, just like most Japanese series, IMO.

Hmm Kimura's role often smokes, and this series was not an exception.
It is a tragic love story between, Kyoko, a young woman who do not limit herself while being physically bound to a wheelchair due to illness, and Shuji, a talented and driven hair stylist. Its kind of weird but Kimura pulled it of.

Kyoko is a librarian and one day while driving to work, he accidentally met Shuji.  They ended up meeting on the parking lot of the same library, Kyoko asked him to move his motorcycle. He thought she was being arrogant but it was only when Kyoko was about to get out of her car when he realized that she's on a wheelchair. He felt bad and that was the beginning of their love and hate friendship then relationship.

As a friends, then as couple, her situation has become an unconscious hindrance. They can only go to certain restaurants (it made me think how hard it is for disabled people here in the country. ), she has an overprotective brother (he thinks that Shuji doesn't know what he's getting into) and girls flock Shuji because of the nature of his job.

It also didn't help that Shuji is focused on advancing on his career while Kyoko wants to be independent but sometimes become too sensitive because of her situation. 
This series made me crave for Ramen because they often have a date on this Ramen place :)

Just when Shuji was willing to give up his career and vowed to being committed to Kyoko, that's when her health condition worsen. I wasnt prepared for the ending, it felt abrupt that SPOILER ALERT--> Kyoko will suddenly die. She was on the wheelchair but they never showed any signs of serious health problems :(
Watching the sunset together. This scene never gets old.

But the good thing was Shuji was able to make their dream come true. During his stylist stint at Hot Lip, we was excelling but he's not entirely happy. Finally, he moves into a house near the beach and had his own styling salon just as how he planned with Kyoko. I cried a lot on this heartwarming series, very beautiful story indeed.