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Sunday, October 20, 2013


We're starting a new tradition this year (a tradition that I'm not really sure if we can sustain...but...), the morning of our anniversary we set off to fly out of Manila and into one of the most beautiful places here in the Philippines.

We never had a grand honeymoon so this serves as our little redemption. An 'almost' honeymoon with the kid and her yaya in tow.

No fancy dinners here. No fireworks. Surprise gifts for this year. But this place here. It's more than amazing for me.

Happy anniversary my hanibants. Thank you for taking me and your little princess here!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Scenes From Japan: Tokyo Skytree

So the night of our 4 cities in one day adventure, my coworker and I decided to head right straight to the Tokyo Skytree after checking in at the hotel. We were famished having skipped lunch so we can finish as many invoices as we can during our short stop at Gunma. We only had a piece of Onigiri each and a can of coffee to get us through our hunger. I guess we're also just too excited to rest that we both silently agreed to just directly attack the paper pile in front us till it was time to leave.

We left Kumagaya at around 4:30. Took the Shinkansen to Ueno and checked in at the hotel at around 6pm. We freshened up a bit and got ready for dinner at the Tokyo Skytree Town.

The Tokyo Skytree is a very popular landmark in Tokyo. It's a tall skyscraper currently ranking number 2 as the tallest structure in the world next to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. During my first trip to Tokyo, one of my coworkers pointed at the Skytree while we were on board the train to Kumagaya. It didn't really piqued my curiosity so when I came back it still wasn't on my must-see places. But my coworker convinced me it was really pretty in there at night so we decided to grab dinner there. It took us about 3 train transfers and less than 30 minutes to get to the Skytree from Ueno.

When we arrived at Oshiage station, we decided to explore Solamachi and the Skytree Town first. My co-worker being a frequent Japan visitor, has been here countless times but she was gracious enough to pretend as if it was her first. We considered trying out the tour but eventually decided not to push through. I was too cheap to pay for a the tour and I have not really gotten rid of my fear of heights yet. So after walking around for about 30 minutes, we decided to head up and eat. I couldn't remember now exactly which floor we decided to eat but it was definitely that part where set meals are served (hahaha). We were initially aiming to dine in one of those open kitchen restaurants but we didn't want to go home broke so we opted to remain within the range of practicality.

After dinner, we walked a little bit more but my coworker had to meet friends in Shibuya that night and I wanted to call home too so we headed back to Ueno at around 830. Is the Skytree a must-see even for people like me who avoid tourist-y places? I must say, yes. It still is. Go at night. I think it's beauty is really best appreciated at night.

(more photos after the jump)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Scenes From Japan: Four Cities in One Day

May 24
Tokyo, Japan

On the last day of our week during my travel last May to Niigata, my coworker and I was asked to help out the accounting staff in another site with some month-end invoices. That site is located in Gunma which is roughly about 2 and half hours by bullet train (Shinkansen) and bus from Nagaoka (the city we stayed in while we were in Niigata).

We woke up early to catch the 530 am train to Kumagaya so in turn we can catch the 8am bus to Gunma. I travel light but with a heavy laptop strapped to my back while walking and running around, my body was screaming tired already. But we gotta do what we were there to do and that is give assistance to anyone who needed our help so we shrugged off the exhaustion and pulled ourselves together to make our legendary four Japan cities in one day trip. As a headstart, we decided to skip breakfast at the hotel and just grab a quick one at the Kumagaya Station.

Early morning view of Japan from the Shinkansen
We arrived in Kumagaya around 730 and decided not to make a dash to catch the 755 bus anymore. We lingered a bit at Starbucks after grabbing breakfast and while waiting for the next bus at 810. I also took advantage of the rare treat to access wifi and spent about 15 minutes on Skype with my family back home. It felt good to finally see them after 5 days. 

After answering a few more emails, we headed to catch the bus and managed to get to the Gunma office at around 10am. We immediately attacked the tasked that was handed over to us hoping to finish and leave by 4pm. We wanted to get to Tokyo by 7-ish. And we did manage to do so.

Exhausted? Yes we were here. But the smile isn't faked because the following morning, we are heading home!
Next up, I'm going to share lots of photos and a short narrative of my first visit to the Tokyo Skytree

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hello September!

If this blog can talk, it probably would have stopped talking to me now due to broken heart and deep resentment from my neglect. I've been an absentee blogger. And yes dear blog, I deeply I apologize for that.

It is not my intention. But I'm probably just aging. And admittedly, I just couldn't make time to blog anymore. And they blocked everything at work now so I couldn't even squeeze blogging in during lunch breaks. Bummer, eh!????

So even if September is almost ending, I am compelling myself to finish this post.

September marks my anniversary with my current employer. This year, I celebrate my sixth year with them. That's the longest I've been with an employer. I usually remember my exact anniversary date but this year, I surprisingly forgot. Aging, I blame you again.

During my commute home on the day of anniversary, I reflected on the things I learned in the past six years. I think I was able to finish an 800 worded essay if I had a word processor installed inside my head then. It has been one heck of a roller coaster ride for me. First 3 years was a real struggle, then on the 4th year things started to make a turn for the better. On the 5th year, my efforts are starting to get noticed. This year, I can honestly say, I'm happy where I am now.

Through the years, I've learned that patience indeed is a virtue. But as virtues are, it can be earned and nurtured. I learned patience the hard way. And admittedly, I was a late bloomer in that department. Having less of patience on those early years, I did attempt to leave. But luck wasn't really on my side then. The first series of rejections really broke me and almost left my esteem bucket almost dry. I was jaded and was almost coming to work in auto-pilot mode. The enthusiasm left me.

I'm a totally changed person now. And I'm glad I am now in a place where my passions can be openly pursued. I love mentoring people. Young or old. I just hope the spark I have now will finally rub on the people that are with me now.

Ahhhh, despite confessing to being happy, I know I still have a long way to go. So I continue to pray for strength and wisdom to make the right decisions.

Enough senti. Hello and almost goodbye, September.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Happy Place: Mandaue Foam

This weekend has been a very productive one. We accomplished a lot and yet still manage to maximize rest by claiming the entire afternoon for siesta. Ain't that just the perfect weekend?

The highlights of this weekend were my date with the little miss yesterday and my furniture store date with the husband this morning.  I already documented about yesterday's highlight here, so let me rave about this morning this time.

Mandaue Foam has been in my list of must-visit-shops for sometime now. But the when it comes to shopping, my husband and I have this silent rule to never go to a must-visit-shop unless the necessity arises or unless there's an ongoing sale. Saves us the heartache brought about by either impulsive buying or not being able to buy anything because we can't effin' afford an item.

Today however fit both of our criteria so we made the trip even if we both hated going out of the house on a Sunday. We don't regret it because the trip was a success.

We've been saving up for a replacement to sofa for sometime now. And finally we found that replacement at 25% off. I don't know if it's because we were in the shop early so the staff had lots of energy to help us but I really like how helpful they were without being too pushy (if you know what I mean). And they seem to be very knowledgeable about their products which is another plus.

The husband and I found several items that we think we also need at home but we have yet to make room for those in our budget so we had to forego. But Mandaue Foam has now definitely found it's way to our list of happy places. We'll definitely go back. Hopefully, they do another one of this major sale soon!

Here's a list of MF branches here in Metro Manila:

Cainta, Rizal
KM 23, Ortigas Avenue Extension
Brgy. San Juan
(02) 660 6457 or (02) 656 6804

Mandaluyong City
#489 Shaw Blvd.
Brgy. Addition Hills
(02) 721 0661 to 65

Quezon City
Quezon Ave. corner BMA Street
Brgy. Dona Josefa
(02) 711 0801 to 03

Las PiƱas City
487 Alabang Zapote Road
Brgy. Almanza Uno
(02) 556 5621 or (02) 556 6086

The branch nearest to us is the one in Las Pinas and this was a 3-storey building filled with all the good stuff. And at first, I thought they were really expensive items but drop by during sale season like this and the catalog prices won't be as intimidating anymore.

Sharing photos I took from this morning's trip. Unfortunately, their sale ends tomorrow. But if you badly need a furniture fix, a trip to Mandaue Foam tomorrow might just be worth it.

Sale starting at 25% off and up to 40% off
everything just looks beautiful!
sofas for as low as P8000 (catalog price, no discount yet),
sets going for P15000 (no discount applied yet)
view from the second floor
throwpillows and cases starting at 250php

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Recipe: Breakfast Burrito

photo posted in Instagram
A few weeks ago, my college bff who is now based in the US was here from a month long vacation. We got together over dinner with our respective families and other college buddies. We started reminiscing about my brief stay with her when I visited the US in 2007.

The day after our dinner meet up, I remembered the first meal I had in CA was a fat tasty burrito. I took an early flight out of Phoenix then to spend a weekend with her in Orange County. She picked me up from the airport and we drove through a burrito place. That memory had me craving for burritos. Luckily, I saved a packed of tortilla bread in our freezer. I quickly searched the web for a simple breakfast burrito recipe and realized that well, I can easily make my own recipe up...with whatever is available in our fridge.

So I thawed the tortilla out. Heated the pan. And started chopping. I didn't think my family would like it, but they surprisingly did. It was a hit, especially to my little girl.

Shared a photo in instagram and a few friends asked for a recipe. So here goes, my very easy quick breakfast burrito recipe.

Cooking time: really quick, like 5 mins
Prep time: depends on how fast you chop and how many you would be chopping but roughly 10mins in my case

What you will need:

- tortilla bread, I used herbed tomato tortilla from French Baker
- shredded lettuce, I used iceberg for this one
- plum tomatoes, chopped
- white onion, chopped
- bell peppers (red, green, yellow, whatever you have), chopped
- grated cheese
- scrambled eggs
- Japanese mayo
- optional -- diced leftover chicken, longganisa, tocino


How to assemble:

- reheat your tortilla bread, takes about 1-2 mins per side or when the bread is already soft enough to roll
- squeeze about a teaspoon of japanese mayo and spread thinly unto one side of the tortilla.
- dump in the veggies. I took a spoonful of each since the tortilla is small (just about 6 inches in diameter)
- top with scrambled eggs and grated cheese
- roll firmly to form a log.
- enjoy!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ryan Says...

I just love this guy. (Unfortunately, he doesn't love me back. Haha. But I'm equally happy with the love I'm getting my the hubs and yes, of course, I love him more). I'm still hungover from watching The Place Beyond The Pines. I'm no movie critic so I won't post a review of that movie. Although I am strangely drawn to movies of this nature (Have you watched Drive and Blue Valentine? He was amazing on those movies, too.). And I just have to say this -- dress him in rags and he'd still look gorgeous. Haha. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Friday Inspiration

Somehow all this has proven to be true for me. 

Sending everyone good, happy vibes!




Wednesday, July 3, 2013


When my mom turned 35 years old, I remember thinking "wow, mommy's old already". I secretly searched for gray hairs but found only a few strands. (Hmmm so maybe she's not THAT old yet) But you see at 35, mommy already had 4 kids and was pregnant with our youngest and one and only brother. Two of those kids were already in high school and I'm pretty sure things weren't all pink and rosy in our home then. We were 4 kids with different personalities and all of which are strongly opinionated. It must have been crazy times for my mom then.

At 35, I don't think I can ever compare to my mom. But I'd like to think that I make her proud somehow. (my mom seems to be quiet a mind-reader she sent me a very touching message containing an almost identical thought early this morning)

I am a grown (haha finally yes!), independent woman. and I am raising the most adorable kid of her time. (haha, indulge me. it's my birthday!) What more can a mother ask for? (Mommy apir!)

This year felt a little different though. I don't feel the same level of excitement that I did in my past birthdays (as you know i'm a sucker for surprises and celebrations - even if they're just simple ones). I'm a little melancholic to be honest. Worry occupies most of my brain space these days I could hardly make room for HAPPY anymore. And I badly miss the old, positive me. (dear positive me, where art thou?)

BUT like a kid growing in phases, I guess adults constantly go through that stage too. (Or maybe we never really do stop growing in phases, no?)

I do wish though that I get through this phase soon as it is not really fun to be in.

For now, I bask in the warm thought that I was gifted with another year. A blessing that is very, very priceless to me and my family. Hopefully, I make good use of this wonderful gift again in the coming year. I hope to touch more lives, inspire more people in my own little way, help make this world a better place in any way I can. I hope to be a better mother, a better wife, a better sibling, a better daughter, a better friend, a better mentor.

I really don't wish for anything more. Oh maybe good health and more strength to endure more challenges in long distance running. I am very easy to please and the Lord seems to know that pretty well. :) And in retrospect, it seems I've been in constant celebratory mood since the beginning of this year. I've been receiving blessings bit by bit starting from the time I official finished my (first) marathon. I like it better this way, blessings trickling slowly than them pouring all at the same time. I'm not good at handling things when I'm overwhelmed, you see.

So today, I am reminded again of how lucky I am. Co-workers took a few hours off their busy schedules to work on a surprise for me. I couldn't stop laughing when I saw this poster that (I was told) they've labored on for almost half a day yesterday. They collected greetings from all of the people I work with every day (even the people from Japan). I feel so loved. And one of my teammates, surprised me with cupcakes (which I really have a huge weakness on) from Larcy's which I've been dying to try for so long now. The day just couldn't get any better. 

my instagram caption for this was: "My #goal is to achieve that body by end of this year..." Hahaha. 
This was really hilarious
Ain't they dainty? Taste really good too! Not too sweet. Just right for me.
My daughter who has been singing the happy birthday song to me every morning since Saturday has been bugging me to reveal what kind of cake I am going to blow a candle from but I dismissed her request because I really wasn't in the mood for birthday candle blowing. Still somebody got me cupcakes with colorful candles to boot so later, the daughter and I will blow a candle together since I am bringing home a cupcake for her. :)

So much to thank for no? The gift of living and loving. It's all over. Sometimes you just have to open your heart wider to make way for them because some days it's just so huge you think something's missing but actually it's just so huge you don't feel it because your heart is not wide enough to receive it. 

Okay, I better stop. I don't think I'm making any sense now. But yes, it's a happy day. No room for melancholy.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Inspiration Friday

I thought my life at work can't get anymore tougher than how it's been in the past 3 months but apparently, it still can. That's how horrible this week has been for me. I would wake at 2am-ish and couldn't get back to sleep anymore. That's how bad my work issues have been nagging me. They hunt me even in my sleep. I was never the type who allows herself to be bothered at home by work but my life just seemed to have turned upside down these past few months (sometimes I look at the mirror and ask, do i still know you? wahaha joke lang)

At 2 am, I am always close to pulling my hair and shouting at the top of my lungs: "Stopppppppppp!...I want my old life back." 

So bratty eh? 

But that's just a knee-jerk reaction really. A glass of cold water always does the job of cooling my troubled mind off. And I start telling myself, "you know you can do better than that." Then I start counting sheep and finally fall back to sleep at a thousand and one.

Several times this week, I'd catch myself deep in thought...with just one particular thing running in my mind -- can I just focus on being a mom and wife instead? I know I'm at my ultimate best (ultimate na. best pa.) in this role. Why can't I just choose to be that?

Again, so bratty. And immature.

When co-workers get so overwhelmed by work they usually run to me for inspirational stuff, and I often am able to give them a boost. But why can't I do the same for myself? It's so damn hard convincing myself THIS TOO SHALL PASS. 

BUT I do know for a fact, it will. So I probably should just stop at this point and picture a warm, sunny weekend   with my fab fam instead. Our garden has just been restored to it's old self I can almost here it calling out for us to set up a cozy breakfast table filled with our pinoy breakfast favorites. Yes, I should probably do that tomorrow. Or maybe on Sunday morning after completing our 10-miler.

Now that sounds like fun.

Okay so enough with the drama. I better start chanting what the poster above says. And I'm just really happy I have a very supportive family who are always ever willing to give me tons of hugs for comfort. 

I wish you a wonderful weekend ahead! Sharing some more inspiring words I got from Pinterest (along with all these other posters in here):

Friday, June 21, 2013

My A-Z (Little Facts About Me)

 Thanks Sha for tagging me (I love meme's and enjoy reading them).

Without further ado, presenting my A-Z:

A. Attached or Single? Attached and will never be detached. :)

B. Best Friend? Scarlet. (because we've been friends for so long and we read each other's minds -- ay ako lang pala i can read her mind wahaha)
Pero baka may magtampo, a have a handful of super close friends too. And you know who you are :)

C. Cake or pie? Hmm, I'll go for pie. But will take cake in the absence of. Hahhaa (what can i say, i have a sweet tooth)
Bag of beans' Apple Pie
D. Day of choice? Friday! There's just something about Friday that totally erases whatever crappy memory I have of the current workweek.

E. Essential Item? I dreaded saying this but now -- my mobile phone, i think. (I'm totally attached now. Sadly)

F. Favorite color? Green. Any shade of it, except for Neon.

green was actually my wedding motiff
(not very evident in the cake color but yes i love green)
G. Gummy bears or worms? Not a fan of either but if i really have to choose will take the sour worms.

H. Hometown? Belison, Antique (i never heard of such place. but it's a very quite town and i always miss it!)

I. Favorite Indulgence? Dark chocolates and freshly brewed coffee (sorry that's two. i can't help it hahaha)

J. January or July? January because our family has a lot of celebrations in this month. And cliched -- but true, right? New Beginnings.

K. Kids? One adorable but mischievous kid. (probably going to be the one and only so i'm really trying to fill up my patience bank now)

L. Life isn’t complete without? My family. They are my most prized treasure.

M. Marriage date? 10.20.07

N. Number of brothers/sisters? 1 little bro and 3 little sisters (but they're all adults now and all bigger than me)

O. Oranges or Apples. Apples. Just because I'm too lazy to peel off oranges

P. Phobias? Mall crowd (hahaha di naman may term ba dun?)

Q. Quotes? "No pain, no gain" -- this was in my HS yearbook. still stands true till now esp when I'm training for a marathon. Hahaha

R. Reasons to smile? Tibs and Maia. God's providence.

S. Season of choice? Summer because this is when I get to take longer leaves at work and come home to Antique to reunite with my family

T. Tag 5 People. Almost everyone i know in the blogging world has been tagged. But just like Aimee's note: if you haven't been tagged yet and you want to join, feel free to tag yourself! :D

U. Unknown fact about me? Before I became a parent, the only nursery rhymes that I can sing/recite from memory is Jack and Jill and Twinkle, twinkle little star. Haha.

V. Vegetable?  The dark green leafy ones (Pechay, Malunggay)

W. Worst habit? Not prioritizing sleep. And cramming. (okay that's habits)

X. Xray or Ultrasound? Uhmmm ultrasound? Because it's more safe and reliable?

Y. Your favorite food? Anything with sabaw. (soup dishes)

Z. Zodiac sign? Cancer.

So that's about it. This sure was fun to do!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Scenes From Japan: Foodtripping in Nagaoka (Day 1 Neneya)

Chow time!
Day 1: Neneya
May 20, 2013

We found this restaurant after walking within the vicinity of Nagaoka Station for almost an hour. We were starving and extremely exhausted from travelling for almost THE entire day (left Manila at 9am, arrived in Tokyo at 230pm and checked in at Hotel Mets in Nagaoka at around 6pm already). We unpacked a few of our things for work, freshened up a bit and went down around 7pm to eat but to our dismay would find out  that most restaurants around the area close early (at around 730pm most shops are already closed). 

We were almost ready to give up and opt for a fastfood meal at the KFC store that we found near the Cocolo supermarket but decided to check out the other side of the road and found this gem of a restaurant at the second floor of a building that turned out to be housing several seafood restaurants as well. This was a private dining restaurant - meaning, every table is enclosed in a small room (the one we were ushered in was just big enough for my co-worker and me) - and we were expecting premium food prices but surprisingly, according to my Japanese co-worker was just right (not too pricey).

We opted to dine light so we ordered food that were mostly with veggies. The main course was a rice dish since the Niigata Prefecture is really popular for it's rice (and yes, sake).

Oh after taking a bite of our appetizer, my co-worker and me agreed the one hour walk was worth it. We took our sweet time finding a good restaurant to welcome us and we found just the perfect place.

Without further ado, I present to you photos of our day 1 foodtripping:

Even in a province like Nagaoka, almost everything is still automated. Even these doors are operated by those buttons at the left. Ah, the perks of being in a first world country
what looks to be canadian bacon on a bed of greens and some cherry tomatoes
munching on our appetizer with  a tall glass of my all-time fave dinner drink - Ume Sour to go with it
the sweetest, most savory raw cabbage i've ever tasted.
would've been best if they used less seasoning here but still it cannot be denied that
vegetables are the best here in Niigata.
Mozzarella slices on a bed of slightly spicy Kimchi.
Not very fond of Kimchi but it was really good combo here with the spring roll chips and the mozzarella slices
the highlight of this dinner. it was so good. but i forgot to ask what it was called.
Eating was probably my stress reliever on these back-to-back trips to Japan. But suffice to say, regardless of how much weight I've put on in just a week, I'm happy I had the opportunity to take my palate to explore the food offerings of this beautiful country.

We All Live For The Weekend.


from Pinterest
And if this gloomy weather's starting to dampen your Friday mood. Here's something to cheer you up:


all photos and poster in here are from Pinterest. 
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