June 30, 2013

In search of the perfect ramen

ramen Manila has had a love affair with ramen since last year, with lots of new restaurants claiming to serve the perfect bowl popping up. My husband and I rarely follow food trends because we find it silly to waste time waiting in long queues (and also because foods that trend are usually not very healthy), but we do enjoy a good bowl of ramen every now and then. Since ramen with chasyu (grilled pork) and tamago (egg) looks similar no matter the flavor, this will be the first and probably the last photo of ramen I will post here. This particular bowl is from Nomama Artisanal Ramen, of which we'd heard quite a lot about. I found it disappointing—the broth was overpowering and the pork wasn't very tender. Sorry, Nomama, but I think that Ramen Bar's is much, much better.

June 29, 2013


tracks of the MRT Ayala Station I've only just noticed the small rocks on the tracks of the Metrostar light rail system—better known as the MRT (Metro Rail Transit)—at the Ayala station. The MRT is elevated for most of its length and I suddenly wondered if there are also rocks on those elevated portions.

June 28, 2013

Green and white

garden of The Blue Leaf The pavilions of The Blue Leaf in Taguig City open to a garden which can be used as an extension area for events held in the pavilions. Not recommended during the middle of the day during summer, nor for our monsoon season. The white building in the background belongs to Accenture.

June 27, 2013

Of wood and stone

Banyan Pavilion at The Blue Leaf The handsome exterior corridor of the Banyan Pavilion of The Blue Leaf events pavilion in Taguig City. I really like the slanting wooden pillars and their stone base.

June 26, 2013

Go skateboarding!

skateboarders practicing outside the World Trade Center When I left the Philippine Wedding Summit (see the two previous posts), I heard a funny noise to the side of the World Trade Center so I walked over to investigate and saw a whole bunch of boys and young men skateboarding on the corridor. I asked a man wearing a shirt that declared he was a bouncer what it was all about. Apparently, June 21 is Go Skateboarding Day. Skateboarding isn't very safe on Manila's streets, though, so Vans sponsored a skateboarding event on June 22 instead. The event was held in the white building to the left and the guys out here were just practicing.

As an aside, why does skateboarding seem to attract more males than females? I don't think I saw a single female in this group.

June 25, 2013

Garden weddings

Aside from the miniature Eiffel Tower at the 2013 Philippine Wedding Summit (see yesterday's post), the lobby also had sample table setups for wedding receptions.
 sample table setup at the Philippine Wedding Summit 
I believe that they were also designed by Pido Villanueva as part of the Parisian ambiance he created for the lobby.
 sample table setup at the Philippine Wedding Summit 
I wish I could have taken photos inside the exhibition hall (the wedding gowns were all so beautiful!), but it wasn't allowed.

June 24, 2013

Petite Tour Eiffel

mini Eiffel Tower at the Philippine Wedding Summit Visitors to the 2013 Philippine Wedding Summit at the (unfortunately-named) World Trade Center in Pasay City over the weekend were greeted at the lobby by this miniature Eiffel Tower created by ambiance stylist Pido Villanueva. If you can't go to Paris for your wedding, you can bring Paris to your wedding instead.

June 23, 2013

Internal glow

stained glass windows of Mt. Carmel Shrine The evening Mass had ended, but the lights were still on inside the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, allowing us to see its lovely stained glass windows from the outside.

stained glass windows of Mt. Carmel Shrine The windows are on the sides of the church and can't be seen from the street. You have to enter the church's compound to see them. They must be even more magnificent from the inside—where you won't see the metal grills—during the day.

June 22, 2013

Killing zone

'Killing Zone' smoking area sign The fiercest sign for a smoking area I have seen to date.

June 21, 2013


The chandelier at Hossein's Restaurant—which serves very good Persian, Arabian and Indian cuisine—in Trinoma mall.
 chandelier at Hossein's Restaurant in Trinoma chandelier at Hossein's Restaurant in Trinoma
Just because I like it and the shadows the glass loops throw against the ceiling.

June 20, 2013


container full of shelled salagubang Shelled, boiled then fried, or cooked adobo-style, salagubang (Phyllophaga – May or June bugs) is apparently considered a delicacy in some parts of the Philippines, notably Northern Luzon. These were brought to the office by a friend who hails from Abra, who explained that the beetles are only available once a year, in May, when they first emerge from the soil after their larval stage. I found a recipe for adobong salagubang in one of our dailies from a woman who grew up in Nueva Ecija in a household where salagubang was a staple. Adobo or fried, I don't think I will ever be able to try one. Can you?

June 19, 2013


bangkas and eating places on a beach in Boracay The beach in Boracay where we had our lunch (see yesterday's post).
 Drive-thru. More fun in the Philippines. I just had to join in the "It's more fun in the Philippines" fun.

June 18, 2013

Twice lucky

Soon after the short trip that my husband and I took for our anniversary, I went on another trip, this time with my new office. To Boracay and its famed fine, white sand beaches.
 sandcastle in Boracay Boracay's sand artists usually date their daily creations. They make a living through the tips that tourists give them when they have their photos taken with the sandcastles, so "writing" the date makes a lot of sense. Many people end up taking photos of at least one sandcastle for every day of their stay.
 sandcastle in Boracay This was the beach where we had our lunch during our bangka tour of the island. No resorts here, just several bamboo huts serving simple Filipino fare.

June 17, 2013


coffee mural at Pancake House Coffee mural at Pancake House. With a pancake and waffle, of course.

See murals from around the world in Monday Mural.

June 16, 2013

Filipino Australo-Melanesians

Aeta performers at Zoobic The Aetas are an indigenous people who live in the mountainous regions of Luzon, most notably in the province of Zambales. They are usually darker and smaller in frame and height than the average Filipino, and tend to have curly or kinky hair. Of course, they now live like any other Filipino, and these three young men donned their traditional bahag (loincloth) only to demonstrate several of their traditional dances during our Zoobic Safari tour. But truth be told, like many other indigenous peoples in the Philippines and all over the world, they have problems claiming and protecting their ancestral domain from people who want their land, and their access to basic services (eg, healthcare, education) and employment opportunities are not at par with with the rest of the population.

June 15, 2013


Zoobic Safari's tiger bus The little tiger bus that brought us around Zoobic Safari's many attractions. Except the part with the free-roaming lions and tigers, of course.

June 14, 2013


a tiger and a domestic cat at the Zoobic Safari Spotted near the waiting area of the Zoobic Safari. Cousins, indeed. Both were absolutely determined to ignore me.

June 13, 2013

Here, kitty, kitty, kitty!

My husband and I finally visited the Zoobic Safari inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. The 25-hectare park has many attractions, but the one it touts the most is the area where tigers and lions are allowed to roam freely, and visitors ride through in a customized jeep protected by steel grills. For an additional Php200 (less than US$5), you can buy raw chicken which a handler will feed to the big cats through the grills.
 close encounter with a lioness at the Zoobic Safari close encounter with a tiger at the Zoobic Safari This is the closest I ever want to get to those big, sharp claws and teeth.

June 12, 2013


the old West or Spanish Gate at the Subic-Olongapo Base
The Old West Gate in what used to be the Subic-Olongapo Base (now the Subic Bay Freeport Zone) was called the Spanish Gate by the Americans when they took over the base. The plaque on the gate reads:

    This gate was the entrance to the original Spanish naval station established in Subic Bay in 1885. The principal Spanish construction lay to the east along what is now Rivera Point and consisted of an arsenal, several warehouses, and a number of shop buildings.

    The base at Subic-Olongapo was used by the Spanish Navy to provide repair, supply, ammunition and medical support for ships. The post was commanded by the second commandancia of the base at Cavite and was considered a subsidiary of that command.

    The Spanish garrison remained in possession of the Subic-Olongapo base until June of 1898 at which time they were driven out by Filipino forces. The area was formally occupied by the U.S. Navy in September of 1899.

On June 12, 1898, the Philippines declared its independence from Spain. Despite being occupied by the Americans soon after, it is the date that we now commemorate as our Independence Day. After all, what is 48 years compared to 333 years?

June 11, 2013

What to do at the beach

Subic Bay beach scene Stroll, play volleyball, build sand castles, take a bangka ride (you can choose what size bangka you want), or just stand still and enjoy the view. Of course, you are highly encouraged to take a dip in the warm, shallow waters.

June 10, 2013


Subic Bay My husband and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary at the start of June by treating ourselves to a short beach trip to Subic in Zambales. This was the view from our room. That white wake near the bottom was from a jet ski that had just passed by.