Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011's 11 Valuable Lessons

2011's 11 valuable lessons:

 Work smarter not harder.

 Kindness is not always a kindness and severity at times, is a kind of kindness.

 Assert yourself and do not let the fear of confrontation censor you. This is especially true on issues of great importance. Holding your silence when you should have spoken your mind forfeits any right to complain afterwards.

The best defense to have against people who like to stand on other people's shoulders and take credit for other people's hard work is to know your self-worth.

Some people love to portray themselves as the victim because it's their way of coping with realities they can't accept. Give them sympathy therefore because that is what they want to elicit but give them nothing else.

If you don't change something about yourself, nothing around you ever will.

All great changes are preceded by turmoil. Have the courage to embrace it however unknown. You can not grasp something better if you don't let go of what is currently in your grip.

Everyone has their version of the truth. It is after all everyone's prerogative. Some truths however, hold more true than others.

Do not call it YOUR dream if you are waiting for other people to realize it for you.

Let go and believe. It. Will. Be. Alright.

Love is love is love is love. It is not something that you should ever apologize for.

 -o0o-

This is a post, I lifted verbatim from a good friend, Therese Seares, which I believed made a lot of sense.

 -o0o-

One of my greatest lessons in 2011,is to take chances. Risk. Trust. Believe. Fight. And do it all over again. There is nothing but bold about doing and fulfilling your dreams and believing that YOU CAN DO IT Thank yoiu 2011! Thank you for the hard lessons learned, for the strengthend relationships, awesome travels and great opportunities. 2012 will be a good year. I claim it to be!

2011 the Great year of Travels

I think this is the year of my most expensive travelling, if combined, to date.  I have been to many several places, to give in to the itch my feet has been feeling.  So here are my unforgettable adventures:

1)  Puerto Princesa, Palawan

I think more than the nature, the scenic view, the tan and the food, it was one of greatest escapes for the year because I spent it with my family.

2)  Cebu City, Cebu

Amidst the rains, our vacation to cebu is one special because this is the first out-of-towns that me and Ron has ever gone to.

3) South Korea

I love South Korea. If there is a place with language barrier I would be trapped in, it would be South Korea. The autumn backdrop was perfect, my partner in crime Kat is all game, there are friends we could run to and we made most out of what Seoul has to offer us.  It was one helluva experience.

4)  Hong Kong Disneyland

Going back to Hongkong to spend a day in Disneyland was used to be an outrageous plan.  But we did it.  Being in the one of the happiest places on earth was a heart warming experience.  I felt tears in my eyes not only once in the park everytime I feel overwhelmed of the blessing to be actually there and experience Disney!  It was fabulous.

5) Puerto Gallera

This is the on-the-spot trip that me and my friends from work did just because the summer sun is so hot and we are craving for the beach.  So we packed our bags, loaded it with pairs of bikinis and readied ourselves to party.  It was an expensive beach escape but then,  we needed it so badly.

6) Trips to Bacolod

I think I have gone home a gazillion times in 2011.  And home is always a special haven for me. It is a breather from my chaotic life in Manila.  =)

7) Manila Trip with Manong's Family and Mom

This is the first time that Saph has gone to Manila.  Manong is going to Saudi Arabia to work and so the whole family did a send off.  We visited Manila Zoo and spend most of the time at SM MOA.  Saph, Manong and Graze also had a chance to visit Manila Ocean Park

8) Iloilo

Just two days ago, I crossed seas to Iloilo with Ron to attend the annual gathering of the SILAK-SILAB community.  It was my first time to attend after being a member since 2003.  And I sure glad I did because it was only at that party that I got to see some big shot abyans that has inspired me to who I have become today.

9) Zamboanga

I guess the reason we went is we thought it would be a waste of tickets if we won't push through with it. So even if we don't have enough money, Ellainne and I still went but I don't regret this trip at all.  It is one vacation that has no planned itinerary yet we have maximized Zamboanga!

10)  Enchanted Kingdom

This is the trip that I was made with bestie Lenny and my college friends Kat and Ellainne. Although, it is not my first time in EK, I still enjoyed it because of these 3 people . =)

11) Intramuros and Manila Zoo Exploration

This is my bonding trip with Rex when he visited me in Manila.   Not that the places are special.. I think what made it unique is seeing my brother actually enjoy.

I'm looking forward to more adventures in 2012.  I'm excited.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Moist Chocolate Cake

For my birthday, I baked my first ever moist chocolate cake... physically disastrous but everyone loved its taste! The day after, we're still feasting!

Moist Chocolate Cake

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Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup baking cocoa
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 cup brewed coffee
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

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Sift together dry ingredients. Add oil, coffee and milk. Whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla. Whisk until well incorperated (about 2 min.). It will be quite runny.

Grease and flour 2- 9 inch round pans. Pour the batter into the pans and bake at 325ºF for 25-30 min until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 min. before removing to cool completely.

For the Ganache
bittersweet/dark chocolate, chopped (amount depending on your preference)
1 pack Nestle Cream

Bring to boil chocolate and Nestle Cream over slow fire.

Let cool to room temp.

Natilla Filling:
1/2 cup condensed milk
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter

Procedure:
In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients for natilla filling except vanilla and butter. Cook until thick. Remove from fire. Stir in vanilla and butter. Set aside.

After cooling remove cake from the baking pan.  Layer the first cake.  Put Natilla on top as generous as you can.  Place the second layer on top of the cake.  Put icing at the sides and top of the chocolate cake. Make sure that there is

18th St. Pala Pala

For anybody's birthday, it is a tradition in the family to be treated out for dinner.  That is basically our birthday party when we got older.  I find it intimate and made me contented of what is available and convenient.  For my birthday, my family shied away from tradition of dining at one of my favorite restaurants in Bacoldo, The Apollo Restaurant and opted to treat me for seafoods at 18th St. Pala - Pala.  I could not really complain as I am a seafood lover.

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18th St. Pala Pala

Food hunters, like me, will be treated for an al fresco dining experience at 18th St. Pala-pala.  Seafoods like a variety of fish, shells and mollusks, crabs, shrimps and squid, are displayed in an iced counter for everyone to choose.  This is also where you order and instruct how you want these food be cooked.  You could have them in a soup, or have it steamed, fried, or served as a steak in a sizzlig plate.  Whatever you want your dish cooked, 18th St. Pala Pala could do it with an Ilonggo touch.

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My party of 7.

So mom got us fish heads for soup and had a large fish belly parts in a sizzling plate.  We ordered only for two types of viands but we got 2 servings of each.. It was too much for 6 people (Saph just had milk).

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We got 2 servings of soup

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And another two of fish steak.

The feast was small but I had my party for my birthday.  It was good enough for me!

-o0o-
Bacolod 18th St. Pala Pala
Bacolod City



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ms. Engg 2011

In the College of Engineering in UP Diliman, December means Engineering Week.  The academic organizations based in Engg battle against each other for the most precious points to be hailed as EWOC or the Engineering Week Overall Champion.

It was eons since I graduated.  Yet I still feel connected to the college whenever I attend events during the Engg Week when I have the luxury of time.  Two consecutive years now, I was able to snag some tickets to Ms. Engg, a competition amongst cross dressing straight men. You got it right.  Only real straight men are allowed to be part of this pageant of pride, brains and beauty.

I was quite amazed of the transformation each contestant underwent.  In their photos you would never mistake them of being guys.

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Our group's favorite, Ms. GPs (Gears and Piniions) aka Fiona

I was with my brother and 2 of my college friends  (who are not from Engg) and it was a laugh trip for the four of us.  It was already the talent competition when we arrived at the UP Theater (gone are the days where Ms. Engg is held only at the lobby of Melchor Hall and it is free) yet we still had the best laughs ever!  The contestants are all game to make a fool of themselves. Most of the contestants did dance numbers while some did song and dance.  Other's just made an appearance and called it talent.  Hahaha!!

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During the Long Gown Competition, all the contestants showed their curves, and their walk..Take note, they are all in heels.  It surely made me feel good that these men could actually relive the agony ladies undergo when wearing heals.
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Just like any pageant, the most amazing part is the QandA as they reveal what's on their mind and what they believe in.

As the night came to a close, Ms. IE Club reigned as 2011 Ms. Engg added more points to their EWOC pot.
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Ms. IE Club in Formal and Character Attire as Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland

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2011 Ms. Engineering, Ms. IE (Industrial Engineering) Club


All photos are from Ms. Engg 2011: Eng'gchanted Facebook

Monday, December 19, 2011

UP Lantern Parade 2011

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During college, I look forward to Christmas break.  It does not only mean that my favorite time of the year is about to come but it also mean that I have a time out from grueling examinations, professors and lectures.  More than that, I look forward for the chance to go home and spend a 2-week long vacation at the province.  But before boarding the plane, I usually wait for the last days of class at UP to witness all its activities before it slumbers during the holiday season.

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On its last day before the Christmas vacay, the UP Campus at Diliman holds the UP Lantern Parade, a competition between colleges, organizations and iskolar ng bayans of which lanterns, float and costume will be the star of the show.

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Assembly of Students, Teachers and Staff

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Assembly of Students, Teachers and Staff

With this year's theme:  Pasko 2011: Isang Unibersidad, Isang Komunidad, the  Lantern Parade aims to bring the university, its other campuses and the community together in a night of creativity, resourcefulness, and camaraderie.

Some of the floats I have seen are heroes.
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"Ding! Ang Bato!" - Darna

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Voltes V or Transformers?

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Pacquiao vs. Ali

Some TV and Movie icons
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Yaya Angelina

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Babae sa Balete Drive

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Tyanak?!

The audience also look forward to the parade of the members of Babaylan, an organization of gays, transgenders etc.
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Delegates from Babaylan

It is also an opportunity to meet up with friends that you haven't seen after graduation.
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College Friends

After judging, fireworks display awed the students, university employees and staff but there was a mishap at the last part.  Good thing our group were already on a jeepney on our way to find dinner, seeing the fireworks from afar.

I would like to leave you with a funny lantern, me and my friends kept guessing.  We only confirmed it when we asked the students holding it.

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What do you think this is?

Oblation Run 2011

The members of the Alpha Phi Omega has once again shed off their clothes, and protected their identity with mask to run for a cause, this time calling for change on our ways towards the environment and seeking to promote awareness in saving our rivers.

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Picture from spot.ph


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Picture from spot.ph

The Oblation Run started at the premier state university by the APO fraternity in promotion of Hubad the Bayani, a play, in 1977.  They ran in protest of banning of the play and self expression. Through the years, they have run in protest on UP budget cuts, price hikes, and protection for the environment.

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Picture from spot.ph

The Oblation Run happens in time of the fraternity's Anniversary.  For this year, December 16th is the big day for the nudes.  A sis, Gienah, have planned of visiting the campus once again to witness and enjoin the whole UP community in this once-a-year event.  Likewise, the UP Lantern Parade will be up in the evening so she took the big opportunity, of spending the day in our alma mater.  I am, by far the nearest sis residing/working near the campus so I was obliged to go with her.  =)

We were waiting for the nudes at the AS (Arts and Sciences) steps where most of the crowd is.  It is a mix of students, alumni, media, and even speculators that are not part of the UP community.

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Picture from spot.ph

This is my first time after I have graduated so there's a feeling of excitement.  But note that I haven't miss a single run in my undergrad years even when I was still enrolled at UP Los Banos in my first year.

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Picture from spot.ph

A program was set across the AS building with performances from UP Repertory Philippines, Noel Cabangon, and message from University Student Council President and etc.  While waiting, the population increased, you couldn't move!  As soon as the Oblation Run float arrived, so is the start of the run.  A path divided the crowd and soon enough the parade of naked men holding red roses came in making the crowd, especially the women and gays, scream.  For first timers, it surely was an experience. =)

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Picture from spot.ph

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Picture from spot.ph

About 10 minutes of wild crazy crowd trying to get a glimpsed of naked men running for a cause, Gienah and I decided to buy some food from the food stalls scattered around the academic oval.  But there were no tables and chairs, we went to Casaa for our lunch.

It's good to be back at UP!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Cucina ni Mamang

Right after work, my officemate Wena sent out a text blast inviting friends for a free movie at UP Film Institute.  A Japanese old film was shown and Wena is fond of them.  So after work, I packed my bags and walked from the office to the UPFI.

I wasn't really keen on the movie because it was a pain to watch.  The film was so old it kept on stopping a thousand times.  But the story was nice and inspiring.  The movie tells of an old public servant who had stomach cancer. In the last part of his life, he thought of doing something great and he was very determined to put all his heart into it.

After dinner, Wena and I decided to have dinner.  We are both UP graduates in the same college in the same course but it was only at work that we got to be close.  So to live out our college days, we decided to have dinner at Lutong Bahay.  It is located at the street just before the UP Post Office.

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My partner in crime, Wena


As we entered the street, we realized that it is not only Lutong Bahay and Lutong Kapit Bahay that are diners-in-a-budget havens but almost every house opened a food place or a little cafe/tea place.  We haven't reached Lutong Bahay yet when Cucina ni Mamang caught our attention.

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The walls of Cucina ni Mamang

The place was small yet jampacked with students.  There was a small food counter holding about 4 viands.

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The almost empty food counter

Wena and I got Chicken with basil and tomatoes which was served with rice.  I added a buko and lychee shake to go with my dinner.

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Chicken with Basil and Tomato, Php 50

I like the taste of the Chicken, the basil is very genreous, it is like eating pesto.  The serving was small though, I was not able to finish the rice because I ran out of the chicken.

The lychee is overpowering the buko in my drink.  But I like the taste of it overall.

I like the fact that eateries are now up and blossoming at UP.  It adds spice to the competition and increases the options for students and hungry souls like me.

-o0o-
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Cucina ni Mamang
UP Diliman


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Friends Meet up Mom and Tina's Bakery Cafe

Our good friend Ji is here in Manila to send off his dad to the States.  Of course she could not go home to Roxas without seeing us.  Ji was my former dormate, a college friend and my sorority sis.  She and Kat were roommates when we were in college.

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So yesterday, Kat and I met up with Ji at Mom and Tina's Bakery Cafe at the newest building in Katipunan, the SM  Berkeley Residences.

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I love the atmosphere of Mom and Tina's.  It is very homey with a country themed interiors, transporting each customer to their mom's kitchen.

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The wallpapers are bright and colorful, the tables are adorned with basket filled Christmas-y flower arrangement and there are  nicely painted plates displayed. 

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But what made mom and Tina's click is the comfort one each gets from its home cooked recipes making it an answer to gastronomically deprived diners.

Ji got herself a Chicken Spinach Lasagna which is served with two buns.  The lasagna, topped with loads of cheese, is served in a small ramekin is good for for individual craving.  The spinach is chopped so finely and mixed into the sauce, even those who don't eat veggies would love the dish.

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Chicken Spinach Lasagna, Php 175

Kat got herself Callos which was served in a ramekin separated from the rice. As per Kat, the towel is very soft and there are green olives which she loved very much.  I'm not really a fan of Callos but with the looks of Kat enjoying her food, it is of no question that the dish is really good.

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Callos, Php 195

I loved my order of Barbeque Pork Steak, served with Java Rice and Atsara. I love the taste of the barbeque pork because it is well marinated and it was very soft. Although some parts of the pork was a bit burnt, made it a little bitter, I still find myself loving it.  It hits right home.

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Barbeque Pork Steak, Php 265.

For desserts, the three of us got a cake each.  Kat got their Mini Sansrival, my choice is Prune cake while Ji preferred Chocolate Banana Cake.

The Prune Cake was a so so.  I enjoyed it for the first half of the cake but it became too sweet as you go on eating.  Good thing we were sharing the cakes, so we were able to finish it up amidst its uber sweetness.

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Prune Cake, Php 100

The Mini Sansrival was a downer.  The mirengue was too chewy, we hard a hard time to take a slice, likewise it was hardwork to chew.  But the butter creme was divine and the cashew nuts are in generous amount.

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Mini Sansrival, Php 75

The Chocolate Banana Cake was a so so.  I just love the chocolate icing although Kat find it bitter.  I don't like the texture of the banana cake because I find it dry.

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Chocolate Banana Cake, Php 95

We were glad to have chosen Mom and Tina's.  Comfort, ambiance and great tasting food all housed in one zone.  It surely is a time-out from the stress from work and the chaos and buzz of the Christmas Season.  My lunch break was a short one hour but I'm surely glad to have wasted it with friends and in a place such as Mom and Tina's. =)

-o0o-
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Mom and Tina's Bakery Cafe
2nd Level, SM Berkeley Residence
Katipunan Avenue
Quezon City
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