Philippine Tour: Baler Kick-Off


Visiting Baler, Aurora is becoming a kick-off activity for my friends and I. Ever since our first trip last January 2009, we always find ourselves going back to this beautiful surfing spot.

Going to Baler usually takes about 8 hours. Aside from the long drive, you have to endure about 2 hours of rough road. And I really mean a rough and bumpy road. It’s better to leave Manila at midnight so you will arrive in Baler at 8 am or earlier.

We left Manila last Friday, February 12 around 11 pm. We reached Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija at around 2:30 am, Saturday, February 13. From there, we travelled the next 4 hours through rough and bumpy road until we arrive in Baler.

Believe that you will forget the long drive the moment you see and hear the waves.

Bart, the organizer, usually books the group at Bay’s Inn Resort. The resort has eight classroom-type rooms and a three-storey guest house. Before, we got one of the classroom-type on the ground floor. But for this trip, Bart gave us a corner room on the second floor. We loved our room assignment plus the fact that we have our own balcony. I think Bart is being nice to us because this has been my second trip and third for Zha and Jo. We are regulars already. Hahaha

We ate our breakfast before we start our activities for the day. We ate traditional Filipino breakfasts but it seems like everything tastes so good when you eat by the beachfront.

Right after breakfast, we changed and communed with the waves. Then, we watched the first batch of surfers as they get their drills and start their lessons. Zha and I decided to pass surfing for this trip. Jo, on the other hand, decided to take the Sunday morning class.

Saturday afternoon went quiet cause Zha and I slept after lunch while Jo stayed up to read and stroll. At 5pm, Jo and I went back to the beach to watch some surfers and play with the waves. After tiring ourselves, Jo and I went back to our room to change and get ready for dinner.

There was a beach party at Bay’s Inn. Our trip coincided with the 4th Aurora Cup Championship. Surfers from La Union, Daet, CamSur, Siargao and Zambales were there.

By 10pm, we were already tired and sleepy. And so, we called it a night and retreated to our rooms.

Come Sunday morning, Jo woke up to watch the sunrise. Zha joined her and I followed them at around 6am. Unfortunately, the sun did not showed itself because there was a thick fog. We had our breakfast and Jo got ready for her surfing lessons. Our new found friends, Grace and Marie joined for the morning lessons.

It was another great weekend spent in Baler. As usual, I have compiled some quotable quotes from this trip.

“You shall be blessed!” – Cheng
“Want to know something,” – Zha
“Choice ko ‘to eh” – Grace
“Interrupting animals” – Jo

My friends and I dream of covering as much of the Philippine Islands as possible. Next in our destination is the famous Boracay Island. I know that WOW Philippines Travel Agency offers great Boracay Packages! . Visit Seair Philippines for more details!

I believe that this shot is very postcard material! (*.*)


Mood Chocolates


Chocolate is a universal favorite.  I always wonder how something so small can bring so much happiness.  They say it’s psychological that you feel happy after eating chocolate.  Others say that chocolate has certain chemicals that stimulate the brain.

 Whatever the reasons are, I love chocolates and it never fails to make me happy.

For me, I have specific chocolates depending on my mood. And there are chocolates I eat on pure indulgence.  But the latter is very seasonal because these chocolates are quite expensive.

 Ok, so what kinds of chocolates do I eat on specific times?

 When I am working on graphs, reports and powerpoint presentations, I always make sure that I have a pack of M&M’s within reach.  I munch this little chocolate candies until I finish my work.  It has become a habit since I started working.  It gives me a feeling that I can finish the work as soon as I finish the candies. And it works all the time!


When I feel that I need a quick sugar rush while on the go, I always get a bar of Snickers from the nearest store.  I share the love for this candy bar with my Mom. 


When I was a little girl, my dad used to work overseas and brought home tons of chocolates.  So every summer, I would look forward to Toblerone, Cadbury and Lindt! Up until now, these are the chocolates I would buy for my siblings and parents whenever I get a bonus or when I come home from my trips in Clark and Subic. 


And then, there’s what I call payday chocolates.  Every payday, I treat myself with Ritter Sport or Meiji Macadamia. 


Ferrero Rocher is my love chocolate.  This is the chocolate I buy when I feel “kilig”.


And local chocolates never go unnoticed.  Every time I attend our weekly Christian meetings, I also get a dose of Ricoa Flat Tops.  I used to enjoy Serg’s Chocolate but they were gone in the late 1990s. 


And finally, there are gourmet chocolates that I get to eat on pure indulgence. Leonidas pure Belgian chocolate is the first one I tried in 2005/6.  Then came Royce’s Nama Chocolate.  Now, there’s a new one in the market, Patchi Chocolates.  I have to save up to try this one.





When you love, you smile, cry, laugh, get mad, dream and fail.  These various emotions are essential and only after mustering the courage to embrace all these can you fully appreciate the beauty of love.  No matter what, you have each other.


Every falling leaf is waiting for a garden to blossom
Thus hand in hand, they braved through the rain and storm
Every butterfly is waiting to take to the sky and dance
Thus, they have to weave a cocoon first
The most scenic sea coast is often very winding
Only then would one reminisce about its beauty
If you were not further away than the sky and out of reach
How would my courage ever appear
When you finally came right in front of me
The picture is thus completed
Even if I had to taste the bitter sweetness before this
Now only happiness will remain
Only I can understand this feeling of bliss
The beauty is worth giving everything I have, in pursue
To be able to meet you, know you, like you and love you
I am grateful for every tear that I shed
Only you can understand how precious I am
Please continue to be gentle, in exchange for my bright smiles, day after day
Till eternity it will be for us.

Still Dolce @ 28


Mom and Dad celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary through a dinner at Max’s Restaurant.  It was a close family affair.  Just the five of us – Mom, Dad, Myslef, Deng and Janelle.

happy 28th anniversary!


 We usually celebrate their anniversary at home and invite family and friends to come over to enjoy family favorites prepared by my mom.  These favorites include but not limited to: roasted herb chicken, inihaw na bangus, kare-kare, lechon kawali, sinigang na hipon, beef steak, sisig, lumpiang shanghai, Mom’s pancit canton and our all-time favorite buko pandan. 

This year, we decided to give Mom a rest from all the cooking.  So we opted for Max’s to serve our favorite dishes. 

 As I had to come from work, we decided to meet up at 7:00 pm.  Deng arrived an hour and a half earlier to set up our little surprise.

 Max’s is a family favorite. It’s the second restaurant I memorized right after Jollibee. We loved the way they fry the chicken and I personally love the caramel bar.  It’s best to eat with coffee or peppermint tea. 

The family dinner started with a prayer to thank God for my parents’ good health and their strong relationship.  My dad used to work abroad, thus, Deng and I practically grew up without him around.  It was different with Janelle’s because she was born when my dad retired from work.  I could see how my dad treated my youngest sister and in a way, I knew it would have been like that for Deng and me.  Since my dad’s retirement, I saw my parents’ relationship grew every year.  It’s funny how they would have little disagreements and I would find myself torn in between. Being the eldest daughter in the family, I get to hear each side’s argument.  I know that they know what they are doing but it feels good to be trusted by them. 

The food was served after half an hour and we enjoyed our favorite fried chicken, boneless bangus, sinigang na hipon and kare-kare.

Just before dessert was served, the service crew brought in our surprise – a bouquet of flowers!  I think I saw tears in my mom’s eyes but she held them firmly.  She smiled and I knew she enjoyed the gesture.  Plus the fact that other diners were probably looking at us and admiring her bouquet.  She surely enjoyed the moment.


We shared the cake and each had buko pandan.  Although Mom’s version is still unbeatable!

 Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! Stay Dolce!

Smokey Musings


It was a holiday last November 1 and I spent the entire day at home with my family.  I read various books, checked emails and lazed around. 

 My search led me to visit OPM website and dug into old Filipino music.  I found Smokey Mountain and it brought back childhood memories.  I personally like Kailan and Can This Be Love from the original group consisting of Geneva Cruz, Tony Lambino, Jeffrey Hidalgo and James Coronel.  After the original group disbanded sometime in the early 90s, a second group was organized composed of James Coronel, Jayson Agangan, Chedi Vergara and Zhar Santos.  This second group popularized Da Coconut Nut and Paraiso. 

Here is the lyrics and mp3 of Kailan and Can This Be Love for a quick music fix: Sing-a-along:


Bakit kaya nangangamba
Sa tuwing ika’y nakikita
Sana nama’y magpakilala

Ilang ulit nang nagkabangga
Aklat kong dala’y pinulot mo pa
`Di ka pa rin nagpakilala

Bawat araw sinusundan
`Di ka naman tumitingin
Ano’ng aking dapat gawin?

Bakit kaya umiiwas
Binti ko ba’y mayroong gasgas
Nais ko lang magpakilala

Dito’y mayroon sa puso ko
Munting puwang laan sa’yo
Maaari bang magpakilala?

(Repeat REFRAIN)

Kailan (kailan)
Kailan mo ba mapapansin ang aking lihim?
Kahit ano’ng aking gawin, `di mo pinapansin
Kailan (kailan)
Kailan hahaplusin ang pusong bitin na bitin?
Kahit ano’ng gawing lambing, `di mo pa rin pansin


Can this be love I’m feeling right now
I know for certain I’m feeling right now
I don’t recall ever feeling this way
Tell me what does one say
To one who makes me feel this way
Can this be love I’m feeling right now
I am not sure of this feeling somehow
Why do I tremble whenever you’re near
I can’t seem to say my words so you’ll hear

This is the first time I’m gonna say “I love you”
It’s the first time I ever felt so helpless deep inside
If I had to say a thousand times I’d tell you once again
This is the first time I’m gonna say “I love you”

Can this be love I’m feeling right now
I love the feeling it’s giving me now
A voice inside me is guiding me now
It’s telling me now
To take your hand and say

This is the first time I’m gonna say “I love you”
It’s the first time I ever felt so helpless deep inside
If I had to say a thousand times I’d tell you once again
This is the first time I’m gonna say “I love you”
This is the first time I’m gonna say “I love you”
It’s the first time I ever felt so helpless deep inside
If I had to say a thousand times I’d tell you once again
This is the first time
This is the first time
It’s the first time I’m gonna say “I love you”


Sweet listening! I am going back to my media player and enjoy some good music. <heart>

Cookies and Me


I know it’s been a while since my last post.  I have been very busy with my schedule so I had very little time to write about my latest culinary (mis)adventures. 

So let me start with the arrival of my ice cream maker – Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker ™.  Thanks to my very good friend Anton who brought this home from Canada.  In case you read this, yes, I am learning how to make your favorite green tea ice cream soon.

The moment I got home, I carefully read the instruction manual to familiarize myself. The manual said that the ½ pint freezing bowls should be placed in the freezer overnight with the freezer set to the coldest temperature.  Also, I have to keep in mind that the unit runs on 110v.  My mom decided to place the ice cream maker beside the voltage regulator just in case this little fact slipped my mind.  I have a tendency to blow up things in the house so my mom is taking precautions.

I decided to make a very easy recipe, Cookies and Cream.  I took out my Ben & Jerry’s recipe book.  I bought the necessary ingredients like milk, whipping cream, sugar and Oreo cookies. 

The first batch was unsuccessful because the mixture did not freeze well.  I reviewed the manual and followed the instructions to the letter.  I set the freezer to its coldest setting and had the bowls frozen for eight hours.  I tried again and… tadah… I made my first homemade ice cream.

It was not perfect but my family enjoyed the treat.  You see, one can always buy commercial ice cream but once in a while it feels good to know that you can make your own, just the way you like it.

Sweet eating!

Food finds in Antipolo City: QIZIA Café


 I always love weekends. Who doesn’t? More than a time to relax and get away from the stress of working days (school days for some), I love the weekends because I get to share it with my fellow regular pioneers and visit my friends and Bible students.

Every weekend, I usually go to Antipolo City spending the whole day with Rhona and visiting our deaf students. Sometimes, we work together with other pioneers. We start at 8:30 a.m.

Our territory covers the whole of Antipolo City; for the meantime though, we were only able to cover about 25% of it. Serving as regular pioneers brings so much joy. Despite the long walks, hot summer days and strong rains, there are always reasons to be joyful.

This particular Saturday (August 7, 2010), Rhona and I got two great finds.

 First, we were able to find a shortcut linking Nayong Silangan (southeastern part of Antipolo) to Loreland-Ahon (southwestern part of Antipolo). What used to be a 60-peso fare is now reduced to 15 pesos plus a 10-minute walk. Rhona and I were so happy when we found this road.

After our preaching work for the day, we decided to give ourselves a small treat. So we headed to this new café near Unciano Medical College. QIZIA CAFÉ. This was our second find. It just recently opened sometime in the first week of August. Rhona and I passed by a few weeks ago to check on the prices, just so we know how much it would cost us.

I did not bother to take pictures of the place since it is really bare, just the tables and chairs and the counters. No paintings, flowers or other stuff yet. I think they are still finalizing the final layout and concept of the café. But we liked the fresh colors of green and orange, plus touches of browns. It feels comfy.

Rhona ordered crispy pork belly. She loved it, especially the side dish: tomato and mango salad. I ordered beef salpicao. I loved how generous the serving is plus the tender beef and sautéed mushroom. It felt like eating in a fine-dining resto minus the price. After lunch, we ordered coffee. And I was surprised that Rhona could do café art. I tried it myself but I guess I am not as gifted as her.

For the lunch and coffee, we spent about Php 370. It’s decent considering the serving amount and the quality. Next time, we are going to try their desserts. The cakes and pastries look delectable.