Apologies for the blog hiatus (I swear, I'm becoming busier and busier and busier each day!). For my dear followers and readers, worry not for I still try my best to give updates via Twitter and Instagram. :)
And to those who are using BlackBerry, etc and can't follow me on Instagram, here's Instagrid:
One of the few best girl friends I adore and love for life celebrated her birthday with us, her equally adorable and lovable friends!
It was a spontaneous night because she just finalized celebrating her birthday after work hours but we did not mind the late notice. It's actually the exciting part of her birthday... at least for me! I was on my way to Tin's baby shower when Maro aka Lottie called and invited me and Paolo. I badly wanted to see her and the rest of the gang for I haven't seen them since the year started. I eagerly said yes, regardless of the place and time. There are risks I'm willing to take for my dear friendship (you must know I always make it a point to get a good sleep for at least eight hours)and this is one of those risks, all for the love of the birthday girl.
Happily, her night was spent in a not-so-far-away bistro called Cabizzera in Congressional Avenue. I immediately met Paolo after the baby shower, sent his mom home and headed straight to where they are. I'm surprised to see the girls complete! Mika, check! Ailyn, check! Johnson followed, check! Plus the ever humorous boyfriends Mark, Monte and our other friend, Raymund. They were singing their lungs out and even I did not miss the opportunity to have them hear my beautiful voice. Haha!
Spice Girls - Baby, Sporty, Posh, Scary and Ginger.
I wanted to call the girls Spice Girls that night. Let me explain: I'm Baby because I'm the youngest, Maro is Sporty because she's a varsity back in HS, Mika is Posh because she loves Victoria Beckham, Johnson is Scary because he's the fiercest(!!!) and Ailyn is Ginger because she's got a beautiful voice. Perfect? Perfect!
The boy band--from A1 to Westlife to NSYNC to Backstreet Boys!
The main reason why I called us girls Spice Girls is because of these men! They kept on singing the late 90s hits popularized by the boy bands and they were very serious about it! So adorable! The birthday girl's boyfriend sang A1's Like A Rose which perfectly fits for her name, Mary Rose. Aww!
MMM with lipsticks! ♥
Spice Girls and boy bands less Ailyn and Johnsy!
I hope I justified my blog post title well! But wait, there's more! We've only just begun. The group left Cabizzera past 12 midnight and wanted to spend the night longer. The best way? Coffee or tea! We couldn't decide on where to stay so we let Johnson take the lead. He's very concerned about Maro going back to her apartment in Makati so we drove our way to The Fort, thinking Serenitea's still open. We walked our way to Starbucks instead while the boys opted for a heavy meal called McDonald's!
An (almost) empty street.
I love this trio shot of us taken by Mikabee. I tried to edit this in black and white and I also find it cute:
I hope The Fort will look like this forever. No flyovers! Just a wide, open street with generous pedestrian lanes and modern buildings and establishments with obedient and well-disciplined people. In a place like this, you can bravely put your camera on timer mode and leave it somewhere to have a COMPLETE group shot. Well, we actually did this!
'Yun nga lang, malabo pa din!
Frap, iced or hot? : )
Thank you, Maro, for such a great night! As usual, I had fun being with you! Our rekindled friendship is one of the many, many, many best things I'm thankful for. Let me share your touching message for me on that same day, "Thank u mar! God knows how thankful and lucky I am to have u as my friend! Labuy! :*..." Well, girl, I feel the same way!
We had a baby shower for my dear friend, colleague and seatmate Tin last Thursday. It wasn't a surprise bash, actually. We all thought of celebrating at Bigoli so I recommended the other branch in The Annex where there's no too much crowd compared to the one in TriNoma. Little did we know that the branch was already pulled out (maybe because there's no too much crowd?) and nobody ever thought of calling The Annex to have a table reserved for fifteen ladies. And since a pregnant woman is a pregnant woman, and most of the time, a pregnant woman should be obeyed most of the time, we went to Pizza Hut to fulfill her pizza and pasta craving. End of story.
Welcome to Pizza Hut, The Annex!
After minutes of walking around The Annex, Pizza Hut's probably the only place to offer good food and value for money for a group like ours. By the way, before I go on with my story, let me introduce you my TV5 Kapatids, majority from the Network Engineering department where the very-soon-to-be-mommy belongs.
Twas a rainy evening, hence a moist-y photo! =D
Now back to Tin's baby shower! We're all giddy about the venue's promo for a big group. And of course, very happy for Tin who's giving birth in two weeks. She's one of the few pregnant women I've seen without losing her aura and grace, and even glowed better than ever despite her baby bump growth.
"Tyang Yannie and Mommy Tin" a la Kumare Club!
The celebration also brought me and my other colleagues of the same department to bond with the ladies of Engineering. Everyone knows how cheerful I am even if I was still in school but... you know, you can't be friends with everyone so I'm happy to gain new friends after spending an unforgettable night with them.
New friend: Brigitte!
My matagal nang friends: (Ate Virgie with Brigitte), Tin, Jen and Wheng.
The baby shower was close to perfection because of non-stop laughing and laughing hardcore about Wheng's bangs, Brigitte's craziness, Tin and Ate Virgie's curvaceous curls, our makeup, Kim's Mango Bravo treat fresh from Conti's and the opening of the gifts. Not to mention the foods served, the Pizza Hut way so the official photographer, Bunso, captured many moments of me busy eating.
I always tend to pout when I'm not picture-ready.
In brief explanation why my plate's super empty!
Then I realized we all had empty plates!
One of the highlights of the baby shower, is of course, the opening of the gifts to symbolize the baby boy's coming. My gift? None pa, but I already know what to give her because Tin personally requested for it.
Baby must-haves for mommies!
A fun night, indeed! Until we discovered an unwanted creature lying down on the serving plate of Pizza Hut's New Orleans chicken. I'd rather not talk about it anymore (but I tweeted about that on the same night we were engaged in this kind of unsanitary and awful incident). Still, I'm crossing my fingers for Pizza Hut to investigate on this matter.
Anyway, Tin's maternity leave will start on Monday. Meaning, she'll be back on track after two months. I'll be missing her and her jokes but I'm beyond excited to see her cuddling her little boy in her arms. I'll be praying for her safe delivery and all the best for her baby!
Summer collections start to rise in EDSA billboards and mannequins are now wearing swimsuits in your favorite mall. Bandanas, straw hats and bags, sunscreen and tanning lotions have a bit increase in their retail prices. Can you feel the heat? It's summer! Are you ready?
The perfect season to hit the beach is fast approaching. If you plan to go out of town to beat the scorching heat of the sun, start planning it now. Planning ahead on where to go and what to prepare for a little getaway will help you save money and time! Beach resorts go up thrice in their rates during the peak season as well as bikinis, SPF and other essentials. Rewrite your summer checklist and update yourself on what you and your travel buddies need.
Let me help with this: where to go, what to wear, what to do, etc, etc! I'm not an expert but I hope you'll appreciate. : )
Diniwid Beach, Boracay Island
Where to go? Boracay. Again? Admit it, Boracay Island is undoubtedly hailed as a top beach destination because of its highly-urbanized feel with the perfect view of nature's beauty. As much as I'd love to explore new places and discover remote islands, I'd still choose to go here for a short weekend vacation.
If you're caught between relaxing and partying, I suggest you to stay at Orinda Beach Resort. Its location is perfect if you want a piece of privacy while sunbathing. Located at Diniwid Beach (near Nami), you can take a distance from the crowd in Stations 1, 2 and 3. When the sun sets, ask the friendly resort staff to bring you to where the nightlife is. Take your time, no curfew. Party all night long! The 24-hour service will ensure you that they can safely bring you back to the resort after drinking and dancing.
If you want to skip Boracay this time, Bataan is a good choice. Guimaras Island and Bantayan Island are highly recommended too! Puerto Galera, like Boracay, is also a good place to "island party" and other places like Palawan, Bohol, Zambales, Pagudpud and La Union should also be considered.
What to wear? One of the few FAQs of my life is how many bikinis do I own and how do I manage to keep, wear, and mix and match them. Well, honestly, I don't keep track of the quantity of my shoes and swimsuits but I keep the designs, styles and types of those in my mind. Now going back to swimsuits, it's my mood who decides on what I should wear on the beach. My mood depends on the item I bought (if I purchased a bikini set, I tend not to mix and match it anymore, because some brands sell items individually). Topshop, for an instance, sells both a set and an individual swim wear but you can score a SET during their clearance sale.
Hot pink with "polka hearts" bikini set from Topshop.
Reversible, strapless bandeau bikini set also from Topshop.
For some mix-and-match techniques, which works simply the best especially when you're on a budget, looking for brands which allow buyers to purchase only an item is the easiest thing to do. Picture in your mind the colors, designs and prints of the swimsuits you already own. The best place to go is, of course, SM Department Store! Sunkissed and Coco Cabana specifically won't hurt your pocket. Keep your budget for other essentials or save it up for a bigger pocket money.
Lime green bikini bottom paired with a yellow bandeau and yellow/purple tribal bikini haltered top.
This photo above shows the original bikini bottom pair of my yellow/purple tribal bikini haltered top. I paired it with a graphic/zebra-print bikini top which I bought from SM Department Store's Sunkissed. I also paired this bottom with this:
...while the original bottom pair of the paisley top is worn with:
...a plain white haltered bikini top. :)
Now, when it comes to coverups, I have a few words for you: never cover up too much. If you want to cover your belly or cleavage, wear something like this:
Well, his is not actually a coverup. Knitted/crocheted clothes can also be worn as coverups. I tried to keep my belly here but didn't want to sweat that much so I kept the neckline open. The length is also enough to cover my upper thigh. :)
If you opt to show a sexier you without showing off your skin, chiffon bottoms are of help. Take these as an example:
Plain and printed chiffon bottoms from Betty.
Oh, by the way! Did I mention I only got these chiffon bottoms for only P150 each? I riri, riri, riri love SM Department Store! :)
What else to bring? You know what your travel essentials are, it's all up to you. My frequent hop to the beach gave me the idea to have a separate kit for the things I need when traveling, including: SPF body lotion, SPF face lotion, lip balm with sun protection, shampoo and conditioner (I recommend Sunsilk Weather Defense here), extra-moisturizing after bath lotion, and facial mist spray. These are my super top essentials aside from the toiletries and stuff.
And lastly, don't forget to bring your cameras and to keep good memories. No matter how near or far your destination is, regardless of what your face and smile looks like, the best trips remain the best when you know how to have fun!
Aside from the Grammys, there are only two things trending worldwide now: Valentines Day and Whitney Houston. Love and death.
I don't know how to relate these two in a single post. But everytime I hear things about Whitney's sudden death, I think about love. And I would still think about love even if it's not Valentines Day tomorrow. Her passing is just too soon. So soon.
I'm not a big fan of her but I love her and her music. I know, I know. I'm one of the few who just became a fan of her because her name stole the limelight once again. You got me? I mean, if she's still alive, I bet there will only be 4 out of 10 who will listen to her I Will Always Love You or The Greatest Love Of All performances or her The Star Spangled Banner rendition. There will only be a few who would want to watch The Bodyguard again, and there will be more than a few who would criticize her for being a drug dependent, who would say "I'd rather listen to Adele than blah blah blah." Admit it. I'm not a hater. In fact, I'm really, really, really sad that she died soon. And we all just professed our love for her now that she's gone, now that she can no longer hear our sobs and see our tears.
Now, do we really have to wait for someone's death before we appreciate his presence? Do we really have to wait for that moment where all we can ever say is, "It's too late..." and/or "I would've/could've/should've done this/that?"
I appreciate life. I know for a fact that one of the main reasons why I can't save enough money is I buy impulsively the things I don't really need. I spend way too much on things that I want because I hate regrets. But I learn so much from being such a freak like this. I value money when I'm about to get broke. And then I always end up telling myself, "At least I bought this." Please don't understand this the other way around. Living, for me, is not spending. I just have to say this because I believe that life's too short to be wasted only on regrets, on what ifs. Do things that can make you happy whatever it takes. LIVING IS ALL ABOUT MAKING NOT THE RIGHT DECISIONS, BUT MAKING THE DECISIONS YOU THINK ARE RIGHT. It's all about living life the way you want your life to be. It's all about saying yes to the things we want to do, to have, to feel. Living is loving.
When's the last time you hugged your mother? When's the last time you smelled her hair after her tiring day? How about your father, when's the last time you kissed his cheeks? When's the last time you shared a story with him the way he read you bedtime stories when you're still young?
When's the last time you let your sister borrow your favorite bag, shared a favorite food with your brother? When's the last time you went out with your cousins and uttered that they're the truest friends we could ever have in life?
When's the last time you gave a hand to your colleagues who are in need? When's the last time you smiled at the guards who open the doors of your workplace for you? When's the last time you offered a snack to the attendants who clean your desk before you start your day at the office?
When's the last time you hung out with your friends? When's the last time you had dinner with your dearest high school friends who never, ever let you down? When's the last time you had a picture taken with your college friends who helped you during your final years in school?
When's the last time you heard stories against you, when's the last time you heard praises and appreciated your existence?
When's the last time you forgave those who hurt you?
When's the last time you said thank you for the simplest joys you received and for the things you have prayed for which has now finally came true?
When's the last time you said "I love you."?
Please don't wait for that special day before you give your mom a bouquet of flowers, your dad his favorite drink, your other half a special gift.
Appreciate the people who are with you now. Appreciate the singers who give us wonderful music to listen to. Appreciate your bosses, your teachers, the people you see everyday. Give your smile to everyone. Appreciate life. Live life. Love life!
"Find your strength in love," said Whitney Houston. And now that she's gone, may she find peace, joy and love in the hearts of those who love her. May God bless her beautiful soul. Rest in peace, ma'am.
And after reading this, may we all find a way to let our loved ones feel needed, loved and appreciated.
If you're still clueless on where you want to celebrate Valentine's Day with your loved one this Tuesday, think again. One of my favorite restaurants in the metro has just turned into cupid's favorite stop. Starting today, February 10, until February 15, Tapella will serve Special Menu for you and your special date.
Choosing the perfect location for Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Gaudi and Tapella Restaurant nestled at the cosmopolitan Serendra and Greenbelt 5, is the perfect place to enjoy a romantic evening. Share a cocktail in front of the bar area or enjoy an amazing prefix dinner whatever you desire, Valentine is definitely worth to celebrate.
Nothing could be more special than celebrating a delightful dinner with a sparkling Cava amidst a posh and chic ambiance. From February 10 to 15, take pleasure in a sumptuous 3 course meal good for a pair or more. Highlight of the menu is Gaudi’s best seller Chuleton Villagodio, a certified Angus Beef grilled Villagodio style and Arroz Manchego, paella bursting with manchego cheese, chicken, asparagus and shrimp paella. For those who do not fancy meat, Lomo de Mero a la Plancha, or simply grilled sea bass with asparagus paired with Arroz Sobresada, a chorizo enriched paella is definitely worth a try. Of course, before main a better way to start the meal is through a fresh salad or soup. Gorge with Ensalada de Tapella, tossed greens drizzed with house dressing or Gazpacho de Sandia, cold tomato and watermelon soup with fresh cheese and mint. And after all the indulgence on the main dishes, be sure to leave some space for Tarta de Lava, oozing with rich chocolate this cake is another Gaudi’s certified dessert contender.
Bask in the heart of Metro’s most sought venue, Tapella and Gaudi are surrounded by high end shops, top Business Offices and theatres, making it the best choice to ensure an ideal Valentine celebration. For more information or reservations, call 7572710 and 7572711.
To celebrate our eighth year together, Paolo and I went to the Queen City of the South with his good friend, Jeff and his girlfriend Jen. We booked our flight last January, thanks to Cebu Pacific's 699 promo that we finally decided to go here instead because we originally planned of going to Davao or Bacolod for our anniversary. We even thought of Dumaguete, actually!
Get your browsers ready, this one's loaded with photos. :)
At NAIA Terminal 3.
Paolo and I took the 6:50 AM flight. We anticipated the long travel going to Bantayan Island--three to four hours bus ride going to Hagnaya Port plus another one and a half hour ferry ride from Hagnaya Port to Santa Fe Wharf. Define air-land-sea transfers here. But when we arrived at Mactan, we headed to Mandaue City for a brunch. Then from the North Bus Terminal, we took the Ceres bus bound to Hagnaya (Php 150/pax). Four hours later, we took the Super Shuttle Ferry at the Hagnaya Port (Php 180/pax) to get to Santa Fe Wharf.
Welcome to Santa Fe Wharf.
Almost six hours of traveling, whew! All the blogs I read about getting to Bantayan Island said it was quite exhausting but after seeing such a wonderful town like this, you're gonna say, "It's worth the wait." I'm joining the bandwagon now. It's a paradiso!
From Santa Fe Wharf, a girl holding a sheet of paper with my name on it waved on us. It's Anne. She picked us up, introduced us to Tita Doris and brought us to a very beautiful place called Kandugyap. Kandugyap, which means "house by the sea", served as our home for two short nights. It's a lovely piece of property in a long stretch of island in Santa Fe with big rocks and white, powdery sand and pristine, crystal clear blue water. The Mediterranean-inspired villa was exclusively reserved for us. It's magical, the view's breathtaking, everything was beyond perfect. And let me add an excellent service on that.
Kandugyap: House by the sea.
The boys took over the kitchen and Paolo did not let me touch anything there. Well, I didn't want to feel so useless so I prepared the table for dinner and also fixed and washed the dishes after. We had grilled fish, chicken barbeques and pork nilaga and had a few drinks at the cliff to end our first night there.
Dinner is served! Thanks, boys!
First night, yay!
We called it a day after consuming two to three bottles of beer to wake up EARLY for the next day. Sunday morning, our host prepared scrumptious breakfast for us: fried eggs, danggit and other sorts of dried fish. The boys also cooked fried rice! What a good way to start our day!
Good morning, Bantayan!
The boys went to the market after our heavy breakfast to buy danggit, fried fish and squid for pasalubong because the locals advised us to buy directly from there. Danggits from Cebu come from Bantayan so we expected cheaper price. :) They also brought stuff for our lunch, including a "pogita" for only Php 80! Oh yeaaah!
And while the boys are out, here's what Jen and I did:
We took photos! Hee hee hee.
You know it. A good place deserves a mini photoshoot. Jen and I stroke our best poses to keep personal souvenirs. What can you say about the facade of our villa? Santorini-inspired! I can't find the right words to explain Kandugyap. All I can say is.. see it for yourself!
A better view of our exclusive villa!
Lunch of the day: Deep-fried breaded shrimps, tocino dried fish and ensaladang kamatis.
I love this photo. It somehow reminds me of Patty Laurel and I don't know why.
It's the most awaited beach time!
Oh. Yeah. No bikinis this time. Lolol.
I less than three this man! My belly's a witness! ♥
And oh btw, meet Jeff and Jen who looks like my bestfriend/cousin, Aieen!
We will, we will ROCK ya.
Hand signs. 5 + 3 = 8 years. But Paolo kinda looks creepy here.
When we went back to the villa, it rained hard. Perfect timing for me to watch the Green VS Blue game of La Salle and Ateneo! The boys (as usual) prepared our dinner while the girls repacked our things for our departure the next morning. The clock ticked too fast. It was our last night in Kandugyap, sad to say. But looking forward, February 6 was just a sleep away to officially call our relationship an 8-year long. ♥
Monday morning. We all got up by 3:30 AM to take the 5:30 ferry ride but we missed it so we took the 7:30 ferry instead. By lunch time, we're back at Mandaue City and were surprised to see a lot of people outside. Moments we realized there was a 6.8 magnitude earthquake which was also felt in Cebu and a tsunami warning was raised three hours after we hopped off the ferry. Oh God, thank you for keeping us safe.
We kept going with prayers inside of me. We had our last lunch at CNT Lechon, bought another set of pasalubong at Island Souvenirs in Mactan and killed time at Starbucks right beside Island Souvenirs.
After four years, I had the courage to eat Lechon Cebu again.
My fake smile! The earthquake really scared me!
Eight long years. Our Iloilo/Guimaras trip during our seventh anniversary has just passed. Next thing I know, we're on our ninth, tenth, so on and so forth. It takes time, I know. But I must say, I'm enjoying every minute of us together. :)