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.

Advertisements

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!

Exploring the universe: Lime and Basil resto, Cavite

I think this might be my fave thai resto locally– Lime and Basil Thai restaurant in Alfonso, Cavite has yummy dishes at reasonable prices. Thankful we got to try it as a family.

I’ll leave the detailed foodie blog posts to the bloggers haha but here are my faves and other lovely things that caught my eye in the place:

image

Loved this appetizer! Gourmet kwek kwek haha. Wish we could order this, would probably have eaten ten or fifty.

image

Catfish rice and grilled pork

image

Pad thai

image

Sticky rice with mangoes. So pretty!

image

Papaya salad. Loving all the edible flowers used as garnish! I noticed that they used various stoneware plates mixed with white ones which added a nice homey/rustic/swanky touch to the dishes.

The place was equally gorgeous:

image

image

image

image

On our way home it poured and when the rain stopped we were treated to majestic skyscapes. I snapped these pics on the road:

image

image

image

image

image

image

P.s. we munched on yummy kutsipan (pandan kutsinta) on the way home–you can buy this from bahay pastulan:

image

P.s.s. It’s my first time to try a baked alaska! We ate this in Krazy garlik since it was my dad’s wish for father’s day:

image

I LOVE IT.

Exploring the universe: Coco Grove resort, Batangas

I’m so happy that I was able to visit the beach twice in less than a month!

This time we stayed at Coco Grove resort, and I snapped some photos to help me remember how much fun we had.

image

Had a quick lunch at Cafeño, and I really enjoyed the tamales and the adobo flakes with rice:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

So glad I was able to make some art at the beach! 🙂

Exploring the universe: Virgin resort, Batangas

I realized recently how much I missed blogging about where I’ve been and talking about those gems that caught my eye through the journey. Trying to change that, though! My trusty waterproof point and shoot Canon gave up after 10 years so am still thinking if I should buy another one like that. I loved it so much, and all my photos in the past were mostly taken using that. I dropped it so many times (once in the Great Wall where it almost gave up lol eep) and perhaps it should be laid to rest heh.

Anyway! Took some snaps in Virgin resort in Batangas and I have to say that it has the best shoreline in all the resorts we’ve tried in the area. Just take a look:

image

image

image

image

image

I’ve been pretty swamped with adult responsibilities lately and feeling a bit bummed. Luckily this trip gave me much needed “me” time. I played in the water, sank my toes in the sand, slept under a coconut tree and made art. All this while in the company of great friends. Thank you Universe!

And just like that, my blues were washed away. 🙂

Exploring the universe: Baguio 2016

I’ve always dreamt of having an artambay with friends outside of manila and recently that dream came true!
Visited one of my fave places in the Philippines, Baguio, with my friend Ella 🙂 Met up with Aileen and we had a mini artambay while munching on yummy pastries from Hill Station:

image

I was also able to draw some Baguio memories in my travel sketchbook:

image

image

image

Painted this linnet while we were waiting for the bus:

image