3AM Thoughts: Our Wedding

It’s been almost over a year and a half after our wedding, and I’m still surprised how time seems to be going fast and slow all at the same time. Hubby was in the US for a while when we got engaged, we planned for the wedding in a few months, he flew back to Manila for our wedding, we got married, spent a few days at the beach, went back to Manila, then he went back to the US, I followed him to the US after a couple of months, then we went back to Manila, we started a small business, and now we’re back in the US.

When planning for a wedding, it makes sense to decide on a small number of priorities that would act as a guideline for decisions since wedding planning can get exciting and it’s not uncommon for couples to end up with a wedding that wasn’t even close to their original vision. Early on, we decided that we wanted three things for our wedding: 1. to have a small list of people (50-60 was our target); 2. to stick to our allotted budget; 3. and for everyone to have a great time!

Being Filipinos, we both have big, extended families, and all our friends are practically family as well, so deciding on the guest list was a big challenge but in the end, everyone who were with us were people who were actually present in our lives.

We challenged ourselves to shell out as little money as possible for a venue that can hold both the ceremony and our reception, with awesome food of course. Out of all the venues we considered, we couldn’t have chosen a better one than Vikings Venue. With the help of my sisters, we were able to set the celebratory mood for a small amount.

Since we were doing everything DIY, we opted for some artificial flowers in peach and lavender color for the centerpiece and for my bouquet, which surprisingly wasn’t a bad idea at all since we didn’t have to worry about them wilting by the time of the event.

We bought a couple of yards of peach-colored cloth that I sewed for the tables. We bought acrylic photo holders for the travel-themed table numbers which I printed out. I typed and printed out all the place cards as well. My favorite part of the whole table setup was the Hershey’s kisses scattered on the table for the guests to munch on 😉 .

The peach and lavender colored ribbon back drop was a bit of a last minute thing but turned out nicely.

Diy photobooth props made by my sister allowed for lots of fun pictures for everyone, too!

Our giveaways were chocolate bars with a travel-themed wrapper that was designed by yours truly, and Starbucks Via for our ninongs and ninangs. 🙂

Everyone enjoyed really yummy macarons that we ordered together with our cake that was a personalized creation by the awesome Chef Joey Prats! All our pictures were wonderfully shot by our friend, Andrew Pamorada.

We went a little bit over our budget for the whole event because of last minute spending but it was not something we weren’t prepared for. Deciding on a small event was the best decision we made because we really wanted to make sure that everyone feels included and that everyone will have an wonderful time. My husband and I were blessed to get married with a simple yet unforgettable ceremony+reception with a small group of people who are present in our lives right from the beginning of our relationship and I wouldn’t wanna have it any other way. 🙂


SLTB

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My First Solo Trip: Bacolod (pt.2)

Hi guys! Day 1 in Bacolod was a bit of a fail. First, I was TEN minutes late to the boarding, so I had to book the next flight. Huhuhu… 😥 That really threw me off. I was even second-guessing the whole trip. Why am I here? Should I still go? I can always go back and get a cab home… I kinda wanted to go back home and curl up in my bed and just pretend the whole thing didn’t happen. If it weren’t for BF, who urged me on to just get on the next flight, I wouldn’t know what to do.

I then went on to get my ticket for the next flight. I had my breakfast at one of the (kinda-overpriced) restaurants near the boarding gate, waited a little more while charging my phone, and finally got on my flight. The change in schedule threw my morning plan off the windows and I’m just so glad that the window view that morning more than made up for the whole thing. Aside from the jittery feeling I get whenever I’m in a plane, I’m off to a better day ahead.

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Isn’t this such a gorgeous sight? 🙂

I met my cousin-in-law and my niece at Sanders Coffee and Sausages along Lacson Street. It took a little while for us to get to each other since they thought I was at the other branch. Anyway, after 2 years, I finally got to see them again (yay!). Another cousin arrived and we hung out there for some coffee, juice for me, hot chocolate for the little girl, Spareribs for the cousin, and more chitchat. By this point, I couldn’t take any pictures of the quaint Coffee and Sausage place because my phone was already drained and I just asked if I could charge my phone by the counter.

I was looking for a hotel that not only would fit my budget, but would also have a pool so that we could all go for a swim. With this in mind, I decided on Saltimboca. And I got a great deal! 🙂 I got a single garden room with a published rate of P870 for an ongoing promo rate of only P670 per night including free breakfast. After checking in, we even let the little girl have a go at the swimming pool for a while.

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The sun was bright and shining, but as much as my cousins and I wanted to stay for more chitchat, we were hungry. So we were on our way to Manokan country for lunch. Chicken inasal in Bacolod, for some reason, is waaaaaay better than the ones found in Manila. Maybe because of the option to eat with the hands? Or the fact that you’re actually in Bacolod? I don’t know… But I know this meal is awesome!

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The lack of sleep caught up with me and I needed some Zs so we headed back to Saltimboca. I really wanted to spend more time with my cousin-in-law and niece but they insisted I get more rest so we called the day off. I couldn’t go back to sleep though, so I went out for a walk. Right around the corner was my favorite cake store which serves the loveliest desserts — Calea.

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I was still full from the lunch we had earlier so instead of the usual cheesecake, I tried out the Black Sambo and paired it with the hot chocolate. I loved them both, but I think the chocolate+chocolate thing is just a little too much so I would recommend having them separately. >_<


SLTB

Nikko’s Baking Studio

While looking around for baking classes online, I stumbled upon Nikko’s Baking Studio and fell in love with the idea of a baking school that caters specifically to home bakers. I did some more readings (links below) and checked out their Facebook page, saw that they do have a restaurant — I need to visit this place and see it for myself!

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I didn’t have anything to do last Saturday, so I went to Makati to check it out. Finding Nikko’s Baking Studio wasn’t very difficult. I’ll have to tell you not to stop at Ayala Triangle though (silly me thought it was really near Ayala Triangle so I ended up having to walk a bit) — remember, the place is located near Mandarin hotel, right across the open parking lot of Metrobank, just along Paseo de Roxas. You’ll see the red gate and the logo… 🙂

I adore the intimate setup of the restaurant — very homey, inviting, and relaxing. The breezy al fresco dining area feels like going to a relative’s place for merienda. This actually reminded me of the time when I was younger, going to my tutor’s place everyday after school and she would usually have some cinnamon toast and iced tea made for us.

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I arrived around 4PM and it’s just another hour or so before closing time… I was also told that a class has just ended so it can also be that I arrived just after everyone else has left. I haven’t had anything to eat yet so I was quite hungry when I arrived at the restaurant. I wanted something with rice so (as per suggestion of the person who took my order) I ordered the Crispy Tapa and a glass (mason jar, actually) of Pandan Iced Tea.

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The Pandan Iced Tea was very refreshing. The flavor is somewhat like the local gulaman (without the ‘gulaman’), but I like how the sweetness isn’t overpowering.

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Served with garlic rice, two sunny side ups (you can have the eggs any way you want), and atchara — the tapa is very crispy, without being tough, and toasted but not burnt. I sooo love their Crispy Tapa! This is actually the best tapa I’ve ever had. The serving was more than I expected though,  so I ended up too full to have dessert (I imagine I could share this with another friend).

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After my meal, I really really wanted to get dessert but I have to skip that for the day — I was just too full. Before leaving, I got the chance to be able to have a little chitchat with the owner, Chef Nikko (she’s one of the chefs whose cakes were enjoyed by the Pope’s delegate). The next time I go here, I’ll definitely get cake. 🙂


SLTB

For baking lessons and other information, do check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nikkosbakingstudio

Related Articles:
http://www.talesfromthetummy.com/nikkos-baking-studio-culinary-school-cafe-and-bakery/
http://dude4food.blogspot.com/2014/09/somethins-bakin-along-paseo-de-roxas.html
http://www.sugargospice.com/sponsored-posts/nikkos-baking-studio-and-cafe/
http://heart-2-heart-online.com/2015/02/10/nikkos-baking-studio/

Dinner, Crabs, Tiffany Uy, and Rainbows

Two days ago, I went to my friend’s house for dinner — it’s already been a year since his father passed. It felt as if it was just yesterday though. The pain of seeing one of my best friends in unspeakable pain felt as if it wasn’t too long ago. But then time has its way of making us feel as if it’s either too fast or too slow. I guess I’ll have to be thankful that despite this sorrowful event, fast forward to now and I can’t be any more proud that my best buddy was able to do good, finally finish his thesis, and graduate (congratulations!).

Speaking of graduation, news about a student breaking the highest grade in the Philippines ever since the WWII was everywhere. My initial reaction was, “wow, how much smarter can this person get?” Then I found out that it was a she, and that she was a Filipino-Chinese graduating with a degree in Biology in the University of the Philippines, aiming to be a doctor someday. I don’t know her personally, but I’m just happy for her, and hopeful that she turns out to be the best in her field (no, pressure ^_^). There were negative comments about her, absurd questions about her background, and doubts regarding her willingness to serve the Philippines in the future. There were people who judged her of being non-Filipino, and  I say it’s her business, not anyone else’s. Just like what my friend observed, “If there’s someone from a different country who has even a speck of Filipino blood in him/her who did something remarkable, ‘kung maka-Filipino pride, wagas’ even if that person never actually set foot in the Philippines. But in this case, someone who was born and raised in the Philippines, studied in a State University, is being judged as less of a Filipino just because her ethnicity is Chinese…” Let me just say that with all the intermarriages in our history, being a Filipino is more than the ethnicity. More than the problem of being overcritical, a lot of Filipinos tend to have a problem with how they say (or not say) things — they might mean good, yet, most of the time, their delivery turns out to be offensive. Personally, just say what you mean to say, and always choose the right words — and consider the receiver. Going back, give the girl a break, pinaghirapan niya yan… she deserves it. For Tiffany Uy, I hope you all the best… keep doing what you’re doing, and be a great Filipino-Chinese… be an awesome human being. 🙂

On another note, same-sex marriage is legal in the whole of the United States! Congratulations to the LGBT community! I can’t really say much, but know that I’m happy for the LGBT community…. Rainbows are awesome!! 🙂 🙂


SLTB

Happy New Year!

It’s a few minutes before midnight and I wanted to post this before the first day of the year ends so here goes…

This year has had a lot of ups and downs for me but I’m grateful that the year ended on the positive side. I’m thankful for being able to maintain this blog, despite my constant struggle with being able to finish an article… and most of all, I’m thankful for all the adventures this 2014 — Baguio, surfing, etc.

Basically, 2014 was a good year to me, so to make 2015 a better year, here are my top 3 goals for 2015:

1. Better health — I’m going to lose weight, be in my best shape, and be in tip-top condition this year…

2. Travel — although my most beloved travel buddy isn’t going to be with me for a while, I’ll still be going places, that’s for sure. 🙂

3. Business — I have a few hobbies that I want to monetize and I have a good feeling that I’ll be able to do that this year… 🙂

Happy new year everyone! What’s your new year’s resolutions/goals?

SLTB

Where to Stay in Baguio

As we arrive in Baguio, the first thing we did was look around for a place to stay. We checked a couple of hotels but non would fit our budget. We were about to check out another Inn when we asked a guard for directions…. and he told us to check out a unit at Burnham View Condominium. As if fate has guided us, we found a really really nice studio unit with really friendly managers, Tita Norms and Tito Orland. 🙂

The unit that we got was complete with a kitchen, a clean bathroom with nice hot shower, a queen (king??) size bed, and cable tv. For a low price per night, we got a really amazing deal!

bedroom
bedroom
dining area, tv, ref
dining area, tv, ref
kitchen and main door
kitchen and main door
clean restroom
clean restroom
bathroom complete with hot shower
bathroom complete with hot shower

They have other transient accommodations, and they can cater to big groups or families as This particular unit that we got was very near Burnham Park though, so you might want to check it out. 🙂

For more details, click here to check out their Facebook page.