Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to Apply for Korean Visa

Wow, its already the last day of January and its just fitting to blog about my South Korea visa application! The entire 1st month of 2013, I've been excited, worried, excited, busy preparing the requirements, before I finally got my visa!

My scheduled trip to Korea is on February and fortunately its still winter! Its my chance to rock winter outfits and finally experience and see snow =) During the Christmas season, I received a lot of winter accessories and clothes =)
gloves, scarves, socks, skirt and more!!
My friend Joni lend me some of her winter collection. When I checked the temperature on my travel date, its 3 to -7 degrees celcius so I really need all the winter clothes that I can borrow. I'm so happy because I've been checking out stores so I know how much these costs!

1/3 of Joni's collection
The next step to make my dream vacation to South Korea is to have a visa! I needed to complete the following requirements
1) Application form - can be downloaded on the site or you can get it on the embassy. Its advisable to download and prepare it ahead of time so that you can double or even triple check your information. Write n/a for items that does not apply to you.
2) Passport and photocopy of the 1st page -  should be valid for at least 6 months. 
3) Personal bank certificate - you need to request it to your bank, some take 1 or 2 days for processing depending on the date of the account balance that you would like to be certified. So

If you are employed like me, you need to request the following from your HR department
4) Certificate of employment
5) ITR or Form 1526

Once I had all the requirements, I immediately went to the embassy! From Buendia, I hailed a taxi and followed the instructions from Google Maps!
1) From Ayala Avenue, continue to McKinley Road
2) Turn left onto 5th ave
3) Turn right onto 26th St
4) Turn right toward Carlos P. Garcia Avenue
5) Continue unto Upper McKinley Road

122 Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Town Center, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City
After passing by Market Market and Jollibee, the Korean embassy is hard to miss. There's no need for appointment but the schedule for application is between 9-11am with first come, first serve policy. I was there by 7:20am, I filled up a form and got a number. Its #032 but I was actually the 1st in line EXCITED. By 8am, we we're allowed to enter the embassy, you need to fall in line again then you'll be asked  about the type of visa application. You'll receive the window number and your line number. By 9AM, I was in front of window 1 and gave my requirements to the consul. Remember that the application form should be in front then the photocopy of your passport plus the supporting documents in any order. The consul gave me a claim form, the result will be given after 5 working days. 
Five days later, I'm back at the embassy to claim my passport and visa!!! The scheduled releasing time is between 2-4pm only and again first come, first serve!
That moment when you receive your visa but you need to stay calm =))
After finally getting my visa, I bought the winter stuff that I've been eyeing for months now!
So fluffffffy!
I cant wait to use all of these!!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bag of Beans Tagaytay Experience

My family and I were supposed to try out City Buffet at SM Fairview for my aunt's birthday celebration but I suggested the idea of going back to Bag of Beans... and they agreed! I think it was 2 years ago when I celebrated my birthday at Tagaytay, we had a lovely sulit breakfast buffet for only PHP350 each. It was memorable and gastronomically satisfying that's why we decided to have a spontaneous 2 hour drive to south instead of rediscovering another SM branch.

north to south for brunch buffet!
Luckily, EDSA and SLEX was a breeze on a Sunday but the traffic caught up on San Pedro-Tagaytay area. We noticed a new branch of Bag of Beans but we decided to go to the original place located at 3650 Aguinaldo Highway, Mendez Crossing WestTagaytay City, Cavite. By 1:15pm, we were famished when we arrived and luckily there's a vacant table for us. The brunch buffet is served from 11am-3pm and costs 450 per pax, which already includes free flowing drinks (coffee, tea, iced tea and pineapple juice).
Bag of Beans!!
The place was packed and its kind of disappointing because we noticed that the food selection was less than what we remembered. We really noticed this because the huge selection of desert used to be in a big round table.  I had to talk to at least three waiters to ask them to refill the ice and halo halo glasses, but I ended up using the soup bowl instead.  Plus the buko pandan and chocolate samplers  has been out of stock since we arrived. Fortunately, my nagging paid off and 15 minutes before 3pm, a waitress went to our table to serve the samplers and saved the day! Hey, we don't want to be shortchanged because we arrived on the later part of brunch. What was served earlier should be available until the last batch of customers.
My plates =)

Nevermind the 4 hours travel back to north, Bag of Beans is still one of my go-to buffet places IF you are already in the area. Don't do a roadtrip like what we did 0.0 AND dont forget to stop for the must have pasalubong from south--> buko pie!!!
Buko pie <3

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Best Portuguese Egg Tart in Manila!!!

Last year, my brother went to Macau and he gave us boxes of Portuguese egg tart as pasalubong. We've been craving for it since then. For months I found solace hahahaha on local bakery's egg pies then my sister asked me to find something like Macau's egg tart! Lo and behold, the egg tart ala Macau is just around the corner--> Lord Stow's Bakery at Food Choices Trinoma!!!

No need to go to Macau =))

for only PHP450

happiness in a box!

DIY Spicy Tuna Carbonara

When I was in college, my friend Anj used to work part time on a cafe at Espana. During our long breaks we used to study there and order this Spicy Tuna pasta which I suddenly remembered on the way home from Church. I wanted to make it for dinner but I opted to look for carbonara instant mix rather than making the sauce from scratch because I always end up eating my experiments =)).

I cant find a spicy tuna carbonara recipe so I just tweaked the recipe found at the back of McCormick Carbonara mix.

the ingredients: spicy tuna, instant carbonara mix, all purpose cream & pasta

Its my first time to cook pasta and I think its really crucial to cook it well. No matter how yummy the sauce is, it will be forgotten when the pasta is soggy or undercooked.

cook on boiling water for 10 minutes
To prepare the spicy tuna carbonara sauce, cook the tuna on its own oil.
Mix McCormick instant carbonara and all purpose cream. Originally, the recipe indicated water but I opted for the cream to add flavor and thickness just how I remembered the cafe's pasta.
You can drain the excess oil from tuna before mixing the cream.
Drain the pasta as well =)
Mix pasta and sauce. Yay, presenting my spicy tuna pasta =)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Paris, je t'aime

The film "Paris, je t'aime" is composed of 18 different short stories which were all filmed in different parts of Paris. I've been dreaming of visiting this picturesque city and the 2 hours + film showed that aside from the Eiffel tower, it has more to offer! 

The stories featured the different faces of love. It started with a single man, wondering why he cant be with someone special then there's a father-daughter love in "Parc Monceau", an interracial romance, a grieving mother, a long-married man turning to a prostitute for advice on pleasing his wife, a couple on a brink of divorce and two handsome men caught in a love at first sight.

It also showed the life in Paris which are not often portrayed in films such as a salesman pitching beauty products in Chinatown, a housekeeper  who needs to leave her own child to take care of  her employer's child and a peek on the lives of  mimes in "Tour Eiffel." 

Of course there were stories about the tourists, one  is a funny story of an old man who learned about local etiquette in the Paris Metro. "14th Arrondissement" is centered on  postal worker from Colorado, who traveled solo and shared her thoughts about Paris and life.

I think the most creative is "Faubourg Saint-Denis" where the highs and lows of the love story of a blind student and an American actress (Natalie Portman) was beautifully told in 4 minutes or less. Another memorable story is "Bastille" where a man met his boring wife on a restaurant to ask for divorce so that he can be with his exciting mistress. Sounds like a cliche? Dont judge it yet because during their conversation, he learned that she is sick so he had to make a final choice. 

The funniest is "Quartier de la Madeleine" where a vampire fell in love with her prey (Elijah Wood). And another fantasy is about an engaged tourist couple who received a romantic advice from Oscar Wilde.

Paris, je t'aime is fun, fast paced  and although the time was limited, each story was engaging. The 18 stories made me see 18 different faces of the city yet all captured the magic of Paris. Someday <3

Monday, January 14, 2013

Brit Lit: Straight Talking by Jane Green

The first Jane Green book that I read was Mr Maybe and I liked it a lot. Her wittiness transcends the cringe that I get from the female leads who jumps from one man to another. Call me hopeless romantic or hopeless :P but I don't really root for these fictional characters if they sleep around when they are in a relationship =)) I know its in their culture to be open about it but that didn't stop me from enjoying the British humor.

Image source:  

"I was never supposed to be single at thirty years old. I was supposed to be like my mother, wasn't I? Married, a couple of kids, a nice home.."

Straight Talking, is a story of Tasha, her friends and 21st century dating  circus . This is a classic chick-lit because Tasha is living in the big city (London), making big money (as a TV show producer) and she's single and still searching!

"When you're a single girl, friends are vital."

Who doesn't enjoy a good lunch or shopping bonding time with girl friends? And like Tasha, we all know a friend who is like Andy (strongly believes in passionate love), a Mel (would rather be in steady, loveless relationship) and an Emma (who's in an almost perfect relationship if only the other half would propose). Tasha has several ups and downs, but its a lighter burden with loyal friends by her side. 

"I who leads a glamorous life.. cant find a bloody man."

She also regularly meets with her shrink to figure out why she cant be happy with a man. Actually there's no scarcity of men on Tasha's world. After Simon cheated on her, she got to keep his best friend Adam as her best guy friend too. Thru him, she met Andrew who is perfect but don't do commitment. 

"I recognize that smile.. A smile that says congratulations. A smile that I want to be loved like you."

She got the shock of her life when Adam proposed that he wanted them to be together. She felt betrayed because she didn't see it coming. But Tasha gave it a try and Adam became the prince charming that she dreamt about. 

"I think I just discovered what love is. That love can be passion , it comes in many forms."

Adam has been growing on her although at the back of her mind, he is still safe and comfortable. She still looks for passion because Adam is the best boyfriend, but not for her. It may sound cliche but sometimes you need to lose something to find its true value. 

Straight Talking is very entertaining, it was written in a way that Tasha is directly speaking to the reader. Yes, I easily saw Adam as the prince charming but it was laid out in such a way that Tasha was the last one to realize it. Honestly, I dont really root for Tasha's character, she easily fell for Simon and still wants him back even if he cheated on her. She flirts with too many men and once she finally found a decent man who loves her dearly, she broke Adam's heart with his friend Andrew! Overall, its a very fun story of modern romance,  the charade of waiting for a man you met to call, girls sticking up for each other while together they search for the right kind of love. =)

Friday, January 11, 2013

DIY Bacon Pizza Using Tortilla Wraps

Cheers to my first post for 2013! Speaking of the new year, one of my resolutions is to spend more time in the kitchen, preferably cooking/baking/making something edible! So its Friday and I'm supposed to go to a friend's birthday party BUT after reading about the Friday traffic madness tweets I decided to stay at home. Good thing I RSVP'ed, Maybe.

Yesterday, I passed by the grocery section and impulsively bought tortilla wraps with no specific recipe in mind =)
7 pcs for only 39pesos
After checking out our ref for available ingredients, I decided to make my own bacon pizza! Straight from the freezer, I fried the bacon using the non stick pan so there's no need for oil.
Bacon <3
I prepared the shredded cheese and luckily there's an italian flavor pizza sauce. yay!

A good cheese is key for no umay DIY pizza

On low heat, cook one side of tortilla wrap until its light brown. Turn it over then spread the pizza sauce, add the cheese and bacon to your heart's content =) hey, its a DIY recipe so anything goes! Cover the pan so that the cheese can melt into lovely, yummy form.
Tortilla wraps are thin so pay attention so that it wont be under cooked or burnt!

My DIY Bacon pizza looks and tastes delish! <3
I still have 5 tortilla wraps left, maybe I can use it to make my own quesadilla =)