Exploring the Universe: Japan 2019 (Nakajima and Aoba park!)

I came back from a wonderful trip to Hokkaido, filled with so many delicious desserts and beautiful flowers. Thank you Universe!

I loved our trip to Nakajima Park in Sapporo, a park where I wanted to live. There was a rose garden, a tranquil zen garden and this quirky playground:

Lol at this photo of me

I loved this bird and it became my company for a good hour:

I gasped when I saw the rose garden! I smelled each one and was very content to just marvel at how beautiful they were.

At Aoba park in Chitose, I was so happy to be walking in a lush forest again. I happily ate my strawberry pon de ring and I lay in the grass while butterflies circled me afterwards:

Look at the coolest playground with the zip line which I really, really wanted to try huhu:

Blessed with angel signs through the gifts above!

A white butterfly kept following us, since we started our walk. It lingered in our windows when we were inside the bus and entered the bus as well! When it went out it lingered near our windows again. Such a magical experience. 🙂

I enjoyed seeing this path and feeling safe and supported while I walked on my own:

We also found the crystal blue fountain before we left! We didn’t think we’d find it because of the vastness of the park but it showed itself to us:

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Exploring the universe: Singapore 2019

Hello friends! I just came back from a wonderful trip to Singapore where I stuffed myself with as much kaya toast as possible, journaled and officially became an instagram wife to my good friend Mons haha.

It’s my third time in Singapore and I did observe that it’s hotter and more humid this time? I changed my shirt around three times because I was sweating too much haha.

It was my first time to try a capsule hostel and I fell in love with it! We got a pod in Spacepod and it was cozy and private. Better than normal hostels because you had a curtain you can lock and it was more quiet inside each pod:

We primarily went there for Gardens by the Bay but it rained on the day we were supposed to go so a lot of areas were closed. It was also super hot and humid that day so we opted to stay in the nice hostel and journal together, which we both enjoyed greatly.

Since we were both big Gudetama fans, we celebrated Mon’s birthday at Gudetama Cafe! I wanted to visit this for the longest time so this alone made the trip worth it haha:

We even wore Gudetama shirts for the occasion 🙂

The newly-opened Jewel Changi was also all sorts of awesome, but what we really wanted was to eat at Shake Shack and visit Tokyu Hands together because we’re both fans of the shop. The line was long but it moved quickly and we were starving and sleep-deprived so we enjoyed our expensive burgers haha:

I regret not buying even one small Pikachu here at the Pokemon store:

The gudetama zodiac toys above were so cute!

Matchy matchy!

You’ve probably seen a trillion photos of the indoor waterfall at Jewel already, so here’s a photo of an installation I loved as well:

I got addicted to these cheesy chicken pops and cheesy chicken balls from Old Chang Kee. We were lucky there was a shop beside our hostel and I think I bought them each day we were there:

The cheese sauce wasn’t too salty and complemented the crispy chicken well. It tasted to me like a mixture of cheez whiz and sour cream which resulted in something really yummy.

For our first night, we prioritized Gudetama Cafe. This had beans, mushrooms and a salad on the side plus bacon and sausage. I think this can be shared, just have an extra order of soup which you can also share:

Since we both wanted to go to the beach but our schedules didn’t sync, we went to the beach at Sentosa, painted and napped:

First time to try cendol!

We visited Bras Basah complex for Art Friend and Cat Socrates:

Met up with my friends and we had yummy satay at Lau Pa Sat:

Haji lane was as colorful as I remembered.

For our last day, we visited Little India and Clarke Quay. I enjoyed painting at Clarke Quay while we sipped Liho Singapore tea (Fruit tea with fresh watermelon, grapefruit and other fresh fruits inside):

We left Singapore with this glorious sight in the plane window:

P.s. Made a flipthrough of my Singapore travel journal! Check it out below:

Exploring the Universe: Zambales 2019

For a quick family vacation, we stayed at Casa San Miguel in Zambales where I spent the afternoon painting and relaxing:

We headed to Pundaquit beach and since it was a weekday there were no crowds and it was even more enjoyable:

I was able to have a lot of “me” time and the break helped me decompress and reassess what I value the most. Glad to have spent time with family.

What I’ve been up to: March 2019

Hello hello! March has been one exciting ride so far. There’s been a lot of changes workwise (more on that in future posts) but I think I’ll be able to post more regularly starting April and I’m looking forward to sharing weekly updates with you. I missed blogging lj style.

Spring has sprung and local trees are in full bloom. There are Palawan cherry trees in the park where I take my lunch walks and they make me smile and stop for a few minutes just to admire them:

I was able to attend Stickercon for the first time! I remember last year when I suffered from major FOMO because I saw how fantastic everyone’s hauls were. This year, I knew I should follow my heart and give it a visit. It was my first time visiting the famous Bayanihan center too, home to a lot of conventions I want to attend so this sparked so much joy.

There were 2000 visitors for this one-day event. That was insane!

(Check out my haul in my instagram account: @mabuhaydiy)

The visit to Art in the Park is an annual tradition for me and my family. I’m listing it here for accountability: Someday, I want to have an exhibit of my works in the park or in a gallery or restaurant somewhere. I want to sell my original paintings and artworks–they’ve been waiting patiently here for someone to love them haha.

The bubbles smelled so wonderful! I could have spent a day just standing there near the bubble machine, I was delighted to see everyone smiling when they saw the colorful bubbles near the entrance. 🙂

I also won a hand poured half pan watercolor set from Daniel Smith! It was such a great feeling knowing that gorgeous palette is now mine, since Daniel Smith is one of my fave brands. Thanks to @des_artroom for this!

Am leaving you with these stickers of encouragement from @edenstreet and @pluma_ph. Have a wonderful week ahead! Talk to you again very soon!

Soapmaking adventure!

I made my own soaps last weekend and it was such a magical experience. I wasn’t able to take a lot of photos because I was in the “flow” state, and totally enjoying myself.

Here are some of the soaps I made. Top to bottom: Cool seasalt breeze, Garden blooms in Rose and Jasmine and Yin yang with activated charcoal.

I plan on making more and selling these soon! Stay tuned!

What I’ve been up to: February 2019

Belated happy galentine’s day!

Woke up that day with someone knocking on my door and when I opened it saw my partner waiting outside with a huge bouquet. I’m a sucker for grand gestures so this made me melt and was a great start to my day 🙂

A week before, I was lucky enough to be able to hang out with Lauren Hom! Thanks to titas June and Ella for organizing this. I think we probably scared her by teaching her the values of a frontpack in Manila lol:

I’ve been playing with my sunset photos and made a grid using the tutorial of @mattcrump. I also made a banig-inspired pattern made of it:

Learning more about the tarot has always been in my bucket list so I got myself a practical magical deck. She and I are becoming close friends and I even got the same card twice after shuffling when I asked the same question. Magic. I was so inspired by it that I started a project wherein I wanted to complete the major arcana using my sunset/sunrise photos. Check it out with the hashtag #mabuhaydiytarot.

Here’s the moon and the star:

I also experimented with a more minimalistic approach to my journaling:

I got myself some Shin Han PWC artist grade paints from the sale last month. I played with them in my journal:

Exploring the universe: Taiwan, part 3

My stationery dreams came true in Taiwan. I probably got too carried away but no regrets, for sure. My friend Ella mentioned that what she loved about Taiwan is how they had so much awesome stationery merchandise by local artists from stickers to washi tapes and I’m glad that locally that’s starting to happen in my country too. There are now a lot of locally-designed washi and numerous stickers from various Filipino artists in stores like Common Room and Craft Central and that makes me happy. Ella mentioned a shop called Ma Ma Umbrella shop near Songshan cultual park and we spent a good 2 and a half hours there, just browsing and shopping hehe.

I had a hard time choosing which to buy because they were all so lovely and well-made.

We also went to several Eslite branches and I wasn’t able to take photos because I was in a hurry to shop haha. We still had a lot of items in our itinerary and the day was almost ending eep.

Finally got to try the OG milk tea from Chun Shui Tang. The inventor of bubble tea in Taiwan, they said. This was inside Eslite in Songshan Cultural Park. 30% sugar and the chewinees of the pearls were perfect. My fave from this trip.

The foodtrucks outside Eslite were cute:

We also tried this jasmine and lime concoction from Ice Monster. I can’t imagine being able to finish this by myself, look at how massive it is:

We went to the Red House at Ximending:

The lines were so long in this stall selling popcorn chicken called Ji Guang Xiang Xiang Ji. Or 1973 chicken?

The best popcorn chicken I’ve tasted, and best calamari too! Or something like calamari? Our order came with fried squid which was fried in the same batter as the chicken. Really yummy. While my gf stayed in line here, I got a bit lost because I was looking for milk tea for our drink. I wanted to try fiftea here even if we had a fiftea branch outside our office in Makati haha. I saw some people drinking it and asked several where to buy it. Of course with the mazelike structure of the area I couldn’t find it immediately but after much perseverance and more stopping people with fiftea drinks asking where they got it I saw the place!

I got lost somewhere here because the streets sorta looked the same to a tourist haha:

The fiftea drink I got was just okay. Zero sugar and the pearls weren’t sweetened so it very much tasted like… water lol. Wrong decision to not have a bit of sugar.

We played taiko drums and high tech Pong!

I was so happy when I saw a Sanseriya branch here! I remembered trying Sanseriya in Ueno Japan and loving it so I was excited to eat those garlicky escargots again. Really bad photo but really scrumptious snails:

Ending this with some fave memories from the trip:

Stumbling upon this sight of Taipei 101 outside at night:

Gorgeous travel brochures:

Sent myself mail! Hope it reaches me!

Exploring the universe: Taiwan, part 2

For this trip, we had two priorities: Stationery and food haha. We didn’t go to touristy spots but plotted our itinerary based on recos from friends. To save money, I didn’t want to rent a pocket wifi so I just grabbed screenshots of places in google maps with the Chinese names of places and pointed to it when asking for directions. Super effective!

We arrived in Maokong and ate some street food from these stalls:

I’ve read that it’s common to drink tea when you ride the cable car to Maokong but it was sunny and we just drank lots of milk tea that cost around Php 30 from 711 so we skipped that. We did some exploring of the place though:

There were some food stalls in the area and we tried some of them. My food bucket list for Taiwan included stinky tofu, peanut cilantro ice cream, the OG milk tea, lots of milk tea, chicken popcorn, grilled squid and mushrooms, that big chicken cut into pieces and Din Tai Fung lol. We were able to try all of those. Yay!

My god the stinky tofu was extraordinarily stinky. They said your senses are heightened when you’re PMS-ing and maybe that was also a factor? If you had to ask, it tasted like a horse died in my mouth but that’s just me. I have friends who love it and hate things I love eating so to each their own haha. I didn’t think it would be that bad because I love fermented food and tofu but it just wasn’t a good match for me. Sorry. I tried once and gagged. I tried twice and decided I didn’t want to torture myself so I stopped haha.

I got excited when I saw the stand with the peanut brittle block. I’ve been watching a lot of videos and reading about Taiwanese street food and from the description of the peanut ice cream, I knew I had to try it.

They added 2 multiflavored ice cream scoops and cilantro to this and rolled the lumpia. The ice cream didn’t really taste like the flavors I expected and was icy rather than creamy but having the cilantro there was a nice contrast to the crunchiness of the peanuts and softness of the ice cream. It was okay. I imagined trying this out with a homemade version here. Like what if I used our mango ice cream and some grated cheese as well plus fresh mango chunks with the baguio peanut brittle that I crushed and cilantro? I think I want to try making my own version of this for merienda.

This was the small pear coated in sugar syrup. I think for this it’s best to have the softer fruits inside like the strawberry because the sugar coating was already hard and the pear was also hard so the combination was a bit of a challenge to eat when you don’t have strong teeth like me haha:

The winner here for us was the chopped fried chicken, which tasted like the chicken chops from Serenitea haha.

We did get to eat this yummy pizza and Jack daniels wings from this little foodtruck called Little New York in Songshan Cultural Park. We shared one order and we were both really fans of how it tasted:

At the Night market, we tried aiyu jelly, grilled squid, grilled mushroom, beef wrapped veggies and takoyaki.

The grilled mushrooms and squid tasted just okay. They were a bit tough. Nice concept though! I think the mushrooms would have tasted better if they were cut and dipped in the basting sauce before grilling. This would mean that the sauce would enter the inside and have it more flavorful since mushrooms without seasoning are generally bland. We had to spit out some of the skin because we really couldn’t chew it no matter how hard we tried. Maybe that’s why these mushroom types are better when stirfried or in soups. Now I get it.

The winner this night was the honey mustard takoyaki. We asked the vendor his preferred dressing because we originally picked soy. He said honey mustard and it was perfect for the takoyaki which needed lots of sauce to complement the dry batter and the creamy sauce was perfect for it. Really good!

The title of frog eggs for boba was really intriguing so I ordered a drink but with some miscommunication was handed a drink with aiyu jelly. The jelly was nice and tart but this drink was just way too sweet for me sadly. Perhaps when you order you can have the sugar syrup lessened?

There were so many milk tea stalls in the night market that sold milk tea for as low as around NTD20. We tried one randomly and it was okay. We still prefer the one we drank from 711, same price hehe.

There was a long line here and we needed a small table where we can eat our food so I also tried this milk tea place and realized I just ordered a brown sugar milk drink without tea. The chewiness of the boba was perfect and it was a good pairing with the creamy milk but once again it was too sweet for us. Lol. But what did I expect from a brown sugar drink right haha.

Up next: Stationery and my fave milk tea from the trip!

Exploring the Universe: Taiwan, part 1

For my birthday this year, I celebrated with my love in Taiwan, where I was able to tick off a lot of boxes in my bucket list. 🙂 It’s been my dream to visit Taiwan because I heard a lot of great things about it, especially if you’re a stationery lover and a food lover lol (both me).

We were greeted by the sight of this:

Milktea and juices omg.

But my heart leapt at this sight:

My fave pon de ring donuts! Freshly made so they were perfect huhu

I also enjoyed drinking from that paper cup. So nifty!

Our first day had this magnificent blue sky, which was a delightful surprise because from our research and from the people we’ve talked to in Taiwan, the few days before this had gloomy rainy skies. This was a great way to start our vacation, thanks, Universe!

We were planning on riding the Maokong gondola and the weather was perfect for it. Saw this on our way to the station:

Tips: Ride the regular cable car instead of the glass bottom going up so that you don’t have to wait in line for an hour or so. When you go back, the lines are shorter since people already experienced the glass bottom one.

We also went to the Taipei zoo:

My fave parts of the zoo were the gift shops lol and that area where you can stuff all the crystals you want in a bottle:

Up next: Street food!

So long 2018. Hello 2019!

My 2018 was the year for “light”. In a lot of beautiful ways, my guiding word manifested in my life. Not every day though, but it served as a constant reminder. I often felt lightness in my heart, mostly due to the love I realized I have in this life from the people around me. I ate healthier and took care of myself as much as I can and I reverted back to my ideal weight and am in optimum health based on all those health tests I constantly took. My biggest lesson was taking things more lightly and avoiding overthinking, which was sometimes what I did, but I am still learning, so I also consider that a win.

My heart feels buoyant most days. I think that’s really a big achievement for me and I feel happy that despite everything, I am still here, still seeing the world with bits of hope and optimism.

For 2019, I want to be pleasantly surprised by the Universe. I would be naming it my year for Delightful magic and Abundance. I am claiming it. Next year would be even more magical and epic and I would be having all these opportunities leading me closer to my dream life and dream self.

This year, I am grateful for my love and my family and friends. I got to experience highs and lows which I never thought I’d experience and they all serve to make me grow into being a better human:

💖 Baler with my love

💖 Big Bad Wolf booksale kakaloka

💖 Vday surprise extravaganza

💖 Laiya Coco Grove with fam

💖 Trampoline park and greenfield market

💖 Dia del libro

💖 Lots of gouache and acrylic painting

💖 Lion King musical (!!!)

💖 Great health

💖 Skillshare, Sketchbook Skool scholarships

💖 Dumaguete! Beach trip

💖 Free creativebug

💖 Tagaytay crosswind with fam

💖 Impromptu Theta healing

💖 Lots of beautiful new books and magazines

💖 #oilwayswell

💖 Mama lou’s and va bene

💖 Minimalist journal

💖 Food wars and project runway plus The Good place and Saiki K and Brooklyn 99. Chef’s Table

💖 Bowling and billiards with my love

💖 Museum anniv date!

💖 Being surprised always

💖 Massages

💖 Homecooked yummy meals

💖 Calatagan Batangas

I also recently got to try a hot cauldron hot tub and a glamping sample:

I also got to visit the beach at the end of the year, which is a wonderful way to end this year. Thank you 2018 and I can’t wait to unwrap your gifts, 2019!