Exploring the universe: Staying in Chitose, Japan 2019

If not for the kind elderly man my dad was able to talk to in the bus, we probably would have been very lost in Chitose haha. From the airport, we rode a bus but had a challenging time communicating with the bus driver even if my dad had some Japanese lessons. We almost went down several stops before our real stop if not for the kind lolo stopping us each time, with our luggage and all lol.

When we reached the place, we had help from kind strangers because we couldn’t figure out how to open the locker containing the keys to the unit…or the keys to the entrance doors hahaha. We did enjoy exploring the area for the nearest convenience store though!

Tofu steak, yummy pork chop, lemon Sprite-like drink, potato soup, kelp onigiri and inari sushi. All for me LOL because I was starving:

p.s. I ate lots of ice cream afterwards too. No regrets!

Unattractive but yummy cheese curry cup noodle, which I deeply miss, for my midnight snack:

I acclimatise to a place by eating a ton of local ice cream HAHA. The frozen delight memories serve as my souvenirs and as expected, I was spoiled for choice in the dairy capital of Japan lol (don’t quote me on that, I have concluded that on my own, but my research tells me that the best milk is from Hokkaido because the nature-y setting makes the cows very zen-like and chill):

The best melon ice cream in the world for me:

The sky was dreary when we arrived but this sight made me happy:

True story: We had to buy water so my dad got the hugest bottle in the store. I was parched so I refilled my water bottle and took the hugest gulp and swallowed. And it burned my throat because guess what…

It wasn’t water at all.

Hand for scale. My Japanese-reading friends told me it was shochu, which is a Japanese distilled beverage with less than 45% (!!!) alcohol. I don’t drink nowadays so this was a complete shock to my innards and my state of mind hahaha.

So you can take it from me. The above is NOT water. My dad kept on lookong for random strangers he could donate it to. Because, sayang lol

I had to stop and smell the flowers because: lavender growing near the pavement deserves to be appreciated…

…and also, I wanted to blow on the random dandelions because I never see them here in Manila haha:

The deserted playground was a bit spooky though:

There weren’t a lot of people or cars outside when we were there and we heard loud booming sounds that was too industrial to be thunder but too loud to be machines (which crept us out). Also, it looked like this at night when the bus drops you off yiii:

But! It looked great and not scary at all during the morning:

Inside the compound:

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What I’ve been up to: July and August 2019

Hello hello! How have you been?

I’ve been enjoying life offline for the past few months and have been focusing on inner work and my health.

I recently got certified in Reiki level 2, and this means I can offer distant healing services for balancing and healing you mentally, physically and emotionally. Send me an email for more details and my rates, and as a bonus I can add a personalized oracle reading for you as well, if you have questions you need enlightenment on. (Email: mabuhaydiy@gmail.com). I grew up in a family of Spiritists, started by my great grandfather and his cousin and headed by my late grandfather. They used pranic healing to help me get relief from stress-induced asthma attacks growing up, so I was always fascinated with healing modalities and energy manipulation. I feel like this is my purpose and it feels so good when I am able to share that light with others. 🙂

Also, I am the featured artist of the Filipino food subscription box @chibundleph for their Summer Harvest box!

You can read more about how you (yes you!) inspire me in my creative process and other sources of inspiration in their blog:

https://chibundle.com/blogs/stories/summer-harvest-art

Here are some of my divination tools which I’ll use for giving you more clarity with the question that you might have when you book a reiki session with me (can be in person as well, or distant healing).

Above is a gouache painting of a flower field in Hokkaido, Japan. I usually pick a significant memory and image from a place I’ve visited and paint it for my future self. You can search for all similar paintings (I have one in Bali, Taiwan, Singapore and New York) using the hashtag #mabuhaydiytravelpaintings in Instagram. 🙂

I’ll be blogging more about our recent Japan trip soon, so stay tuned!

Hope your day is filled with good vibes. 🙂

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:

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!