Going Home Soon

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Hi guys! After nearly three months of staying in Hartford, Connecticut, it’s almost time for us to go back to the Philippines. With only a few more days left, hubby and I are already nearly done packing our things. Everything’s almost ready for our flight back to Manila, except for us. Well, mostly me, actually.

I am gonna miss this place. It’s just so different from back home. Surprisingly, downtown Hartford is a lot more laid back than I thought it would be. I love how old buildings here are old and preserved well while some buildings have used original parts of an older building to be part of a new one.

I also love the Bushnell Park that’s just a few blocks away from where we lived. One can do a “tree walk” and see trees that are home to a lot of squirrels and birds that freely roam around the park. A carousel built around 1914 that’s still operational is also located here in this park. Hubby and I spent a lot of afternoons here, just sitting on the grass while he would play songs on his guitar. A park as beautiful as this is something that I definitely wish we had in Manila.

I didn’t really get to see the sights here that much but we’re praying for another opportunity for us to be able to go back here in the U.S. For now, it’s time to go back home to Manila. It’s still home. 🙂


SLTB

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Upcoming: Healthy Cooking Demo Goes Asian!

Newbee Baking and Cooking International invites you to another healthy cooking demonstration by Celebrity Chef, Chef Redj Baron Saguin of Cook Eat Right! Newbees go Asian, as Chef Redj introduces how to prepare Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, Steamed Fish Teriyaki, and Asian Flavored Rice. Also, you wouldn’t wanna miss the Mango-Banana Flambe that’s the perfect dessert to top off this menu!

Make your own Safari-themed Fondant Cake at home with Ms. Charlotte Bernabe’s fondant demo — the cake will be finished off with a cute topper that the kids will surely love!

Lastly, learn how to always have fresh herbs right in your own kitchens with an urban gardening demonstration by yours truly, Erina Tachibana!

Exciting prizes will be raffled off so register now!!!

batch 3 poster 2When: October 10, 2015
Time: 11:00am
Where: Berghoff Incorporated
109, Ground Floor The Frabella Building, Rada Street, Legaspi Village Makati City, 1200

How to register:
– PHP250.00 participation fee required to cover ingredients and utilities.
– First pay, first served basis.
– Interested attendees are given until Thursday, OCTOBER 8, 2015 at 5 PM (Manila time) to confirm attendance and payment. See below for payment details:

BDO Felicidad Laurel
006780551022
BDO SM Fairview

BPI Erina Tachibana
0089 0437 86

Gcash
09279663151

Please send me (Erina Tachibana) a screenshot or picture of your proof of payment and participants’ full names.
For reservations/inquiries, do send a message to eri.tachi0523@gmail.com or SMS/call 09271282463.

NOTE: LIMITED SLOTS AVAILABLE
See you there!!

SLTB

Couchsurfing in Manila

Couchsurfing in a jiffy:
1. Couchsurfing is a website/app for travelers who are either willing to host other travellers, are looking to stay in a host’s place, or are looking to meet fellow travelers in the area.
2. Although the norm is to stay without having to pay for anything, a surfer is expected to follow the house rules of the host, and to at least be polite enough not to ransack his/her home.
3. Treat your host as a good friend, and don’t just leave your stuff in your host’s place and go elsewhere without saying anything beforehand — hosts aren’t lockers/hostels.
4. Be active in the Couchsurfing community in your area — aside from the regular meetups, events and even the discussion page in the website are some of the ways to be connected with this awesome community.
5. Don’t forget to leave a reference on the profiles of those you’ve hosted/those who’ve hosted you…. and other people you met through CS.

one of the couchsurfing meet ups I attended... :)
one of the couchsurfing meet ups I attended… 🙂

I’ve had my profile for a little less than a year now, but I’ve only been active in the community for about a month. It was when I curiously went through the website that I met a now-good friend, Andi. Helping her out through a small transportation trouble led me to know more about the wonderful world of Couchsurfing. Since then, I’ve met lots of wonderful people through the regular meet-ups and I’m looking forward to sharing more time with them. I haven’t joined any of the tours that are organized through Couchsurfing but I’m looking forward to joining when I have time. I’m thinking of organizing some tours as well… 🙂

To know more about Couchsurfing, click here.

A Quick Trip to Tagaytay

Wanting to avoid the stress-filled city, my sister and I decided on a random trip to Tagaytay. Just an hour or so away from the city, Tagaytay is the usual go-to place for those who wants to go on a roadtrip, but doesn’t want to go too far, or for those who wants to escape the sweltering heat of Manila.

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We went to Tagaytay with no specific destination in mind so we just got off the bus at Magallanes square. It was there where we decided to go to the Puzzle Mansion. We had to ask for directions from the tricycle drivers there, got on a jeep that goes to Alfonso, got off at Asisan, and took a tricycle to Puzzle Mansion.

cool trike! :)
cool trike! 🙂

Initially, 1-way was p60 for the two of us. Since it seems difficult to get another tricycle going back, we asked the tricycle driver to just wait for us, and he charged us P150 for both trips. Entrance at the museum is P100 per person, and every minute spent in the museum was worth it.

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Sissy and I were famished by the time we finished our museum tour, so we decided to get back to Magallanes square. Along the way, however, we passed by Bag of Beans, so we asked the driver to turn around and drop us off at the restaurant. I love Bag of Beans and any reason to go to Bag of Beans is a valid reason, even if it means just passing by it. 🙂

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After dinner, we were able to hail a bus right across the street that goes back to Coastal Mall terminal for P85 each (so convenient! 😀 ). Oh, and I just have to mention, the Cavite-Batangas Bus is awesome! The bus we took was new, and it has two cctvs at the front part of the bus inside.

Aaaaaand that, my friends, was how we had our quick trip to Tagaytay. 🙂


SLTB

Breakdown of fees:
Manila – Tagaytay Bus: P60 x 2 = P120
Magallanes Square – Asisan Jeep: P12 x 2 = P24
Tricycle (Asisan – Puzzle Mansion – Bag of Beans): P150
Puzzle Mansion Museum: P100 x 2 = P200
Dinner at Bag of Beans: approx P750 (for two)
Tagaytay – Manila Bus: P85 x 2 = P170

A Fambam Weekend at Pia Heart Resort

Aug. 1-2, 2015
Pansol in Laguna is the usual go-to for people in Manila who are looking for a quick getaway from the city. Less than two hours on the road and you’re there. I’ve been to several resorts in the area and I’m not really impressed with the quality of those I’ve been to, so I wasn’t really excited about the whole thing. But then again, it’s family… so I had to go. To my pleasant surprise, I liked the place — it’s very simple, yet very clean and spacious, which is nice because among the numerous resorts in the area, it is common to find resorts that aren’t very well maintained so I’m giving Pia Heart Resort a thumbs up on this.

This is where the rooms are (pardon the towels, hehe)
This is where the rooms are (pardon the towels, hehe)

The rooms are simple, has air condition, and has lots of futon style beds that can be used for a big group. The bathrooms are clean and well maintained as well. Aside from the huge pool, a kiddie pool, and a whirlpool, we had a blast at the karaoke machine and had a great fun at the billiards table.

The guys playing billiards.
The guys playing billiards.
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Whirlpool fun 🙂
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A view of the pool.

Overall, I’d recommend this resort for those who are looking for a venue for family reunions or team buildings. So far, I’d say this is one of the nicest ones in Pansol. 🙂

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A not-so-complete family picture 🙂


SLTB

Facebook (I found two, so I’m not sure which is the official one):
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pias-Resort-Pansol-Laguna/653307851410416
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pia-Heart-Private-Resort-Pansol-Calamba-Laguna/280544182144540

A ‘No-Bake’ Day

No-bake desserts should be a no-brainer right? Well, that’s what I thought until I attended the No-Bake Desserts Class at the Joey Prats School of Baking and Pastry Arts last Saturday (June 27). Though excited about the class, I have to admit that a part of me thought I wouldn’t learn as much as I have from the past few lessons I took here since this particular class deals with no-bake desserts (Class #1 was “Cookies and Bars,” while Class #2 was “Macaron”). But then again, it’s Chef Joey… so with much anticipation, I went to the blue and green little house in Marcelo Green Village for my no-bake baking class.

There’s always something new to learn beyond the recipes in his classes – and I’m looking forward to learning more and more new things. Oh, and don’t forget the free food! I love being able to taste new flavors and Chef Joey Prats’ recipes are all to-die-for. By the way, if you’re going to take any class of his, try not to eat too much before the class. Trust me on this one.

The first recipe was the Strawberry Shortcake Tiramisu – a gorgeous twist to two classic desserts that’s sure to be the center of everyone’s attention at any party. The lady fingers used in this recipe is homemade, and is very similar to a sponge cake. The flavors are easily soaked in, giving us a ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ feel with enough character brought about by the different flavors of each layer of the tiramisu. Another ingredient that’s difficult to find is mascarpone, so he taught us a good alternative to this – American Heritage Cream Cheese. I think this treat would be great for people who are working late at night — you’ve got the sugar for energy, strawberries for nutrition, coffee for focus, and alcohol for creativity! Yay!

strawberry tiramisu
the final layer of strawberries

Next up is the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Minted Fruits. Before teaching us how to make this, we were given a sample made with minted mangoes. I love the idea of putting it in a jar as it saves the hassle of transferring the panna cotta or packing it up for transport. During the actual demo, he used peaches instead of mangoes to show the versatility of the dessert (I’ll try making this with strawberries).

panna cotta collage

The third one is a No-Bake Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake made with American Heritage Cream Cheese. Again, we were all able to have a slice each before the actual demo. Now, I’ve never actually tried American Heritage before, but it’s nice how there’s not much water when you open a package of it – meaning it has more of the good stuff that you need. This particular recipe has no eggs and flour which gives it a texture reminiscent of a very light mousse, yet it’s stable enough to hold its shape when plated.

blueberry swirl cheesecake

I would say that my favorite recipe for this class is the Espresso Almond Praline Ice Cream. The smooth ice cream was balanced off by the crunch that the pralines gave, and the flavor was just absolutely lovely. During this part of the lecture, it was also explained to us how ice creams differ in their texture, and how different ingredients play important roles in an ice cream. It was easily done with a KitchenAid stand mixer using the Ice Cream Attachment, and I just wish I can take one home and make ice cream immediately. I swear, this ice cream, by far, is the best I’ve ever tasted. No exaggerations, it is addicting.

churning...
churning…
warning: very addicting
warning: very addicting!

As absurd as a ‘no-bake baking class’ may sound, taking this class was absolutely worth every centavo. All of these four desserts were very easy and fun to make, and I’m 100% sure that family and friends will love them.

After the class, a classmate offered me a ride. We live very near each other so when she asked if I wanted to go with her for me to see her kitchen before I went home, I immediately said yes. When we arrived at her kitchen, this overwhelming joy filled my heart. (Thank you, Ate!) I felt like I walked right into dreamland. I know this might sound weird, but stepping foot in this kitchen made me so happy I was fighting back tears. (*^_^*) I’ve always wanted to be a pastry chef, and I’ve tried different jobs but I’m always strongly pulled back to my love for food. I’m still hoping it’s not too late. 🙂

SLTB

Wandering Around

Lately I’ve been having that certain suffocating feeling and a craving for nature (and ramen). Yesterday, I searched for ways to go to Ippon Yari, but I couldn’t figure out how to get there and thought it’ll take me hours to get there by commute and I was too hungry to wait so I decided it’s best if I went there another time. Anyway, I wanted to go out so I got dressed up, got my pretty strawberry walking shoes, my bag (and the camera I borrowed, but ended up not using even once throughout the day), and a bottle of water.

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I went to the gate where I usually go to ride a jeep. From there, I have two options: to go to the other side of the street (there’s an overpass) then ride a jeep going left, or just stay where I am, where I can ride a jeep going right. Of course I took the overpass. Then I stayed at the 7-eleven… and thought “where would I go?” Without a destination, I stayed a few more minutes in this convenience store, before deciding to go to Mall of Asia instead. Living in the city, the nearest natural scene accessible to me is at the back of Mall of Asia — that stretch of saltwater hitting against rocks below a ledge. I was thinking of a farther place like Tagaytay or Batangas but at 5pm, I’ll have to stay the night which I don’t have funds for. So, MOA it is.

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I like the camera of my phone (a Samsung S4) — it takes nice photos even at night. I’m still really not used to lugging a DSLR around so I just took pictures with my phone.

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I had a quick dinner before going to the bay area so I wouldn’t be tempted to buy any more food there… although I saw the shawarma stand and was thinking if I should get one. I didn’t. 😛

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Funny how malls have mini-amusement parks in them. And these trains… they have one of those in Glorietta and in SM Sucat as well. Sigh… if you can, take your kids to ride the real thing instead of paying to ride these trains that doesn’t go far. Or go on a trip to the provinces so kids can enjoy some beautiful scenery. I think that’ll be much more worth your money. 🙂

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This area is where BF and I usually go to hangout before. I love how it divides nature and the city — at one side is terribly busy with super bright lights, while at the other side is just a vast stretch of endless water meeting the sky at a point that’s almost invisible in the dark. This night was particularly windy so the waves were pretty strong. Along this long stretch of barrier are families, groups of friends, and couples hanging out — each having their own share of food, stories, etc.

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I took a cab going home. While on the road though, the cab driver kept blaming me for choosing a route that’s more familiar to me, but wasn’t moving as fast as he wanted to I guess. Despite me telling him that it’s fine ’cause I’ll be paying anyway, he kept insisting that it was traffic and I shouldn’t have chosen this way and that I should’ve let him take the short cut (which by the way a lot of cars are already taking and by the looks of it was also starting to get too cramped)… Anyway, I ended up going down. Traffic wasn’t moving that time so I just got off the cab and slammed the door shut. I paid, of course, though I feel he didn’t deserve the payment for ranting the WHOLE time. I don’t take sides, but between drivers like these and Uber, grabtaxi, etc.?? I would gladly pay extra for a waaaay better service. Anyway, I just got a jeep, paid Php8 and was able to get home faster — with no ranting from anyone. 🙂

By the way, the picture of that beautiful tree was taken from the area where I went off the cab. I was walking towards the area where jeeps where loading/unloading passengers when I saw this and took a picture of it. I usually get bad shots when it’s dark, but luckily, this picture turned out pretty nice.


SLTB

When was the last time you had a strong urge to go out even without a clear destination in mind, like you really just have to go? Have you encountered cab drivers who seem to have an endless things to rant about? Or even blamed you for the traffic? I’d love to hear from you guys!

Note: all photos were taken with a Samsung S4; all of the pictures in this post are unedited. 🙂