personal, places

New York City and Daydreams

Hello. It’s been a while. I did say summers were slow blogging times for me but I wanted to drop by.


En Plein Air – Art installation at The High Line. This one is by Lubaina Himid.

I went on vacation a many weeks ago and the combination of being somewhere new and meeting an old friend refreshed me. My highschool classmate T met hubby and me at her favourite Italian restaurant. We ordered grilled octopus and tagliatelli. Then we moved on to this little pastry shop right across it for dessert. They were famous for cronuts so a line of people snaked through the street for their pre-orders. We went past them because we wanted the not-so-famous pastries. T and I chatted away about past memories, Philippine beaches, vacations and other things on the cafe’s pretty patio. 

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book love, food, Philippines

Philippine Cookery: From Heart to Platter

To me, Philippine Cookery From Heart to Platter is a cross between a humble coffee table book and an elevated cookbook. The book begins with telling us chef and author Tatung Sarthou’s personal experience and views on food. There is a page that outlines his 5 laws of cooking. Despite the typical nature of rules, these five laws felt more encouraging rather than prescriptive. The contents and recipes that follow are organized not by ingredients but by cooking method. Historical and cultural notes are found in between recipes and instructions.


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Hello and Some Flowers

I don’t have much today in the way of a written post. I wasn’t that busy. I’ve been busier before but my mind was all over the place, meaning me=mess for the past days. Haha.

The good thing though is that I managed to insert some nature time. I miss the beaches and blue skies of the Philippines! Lent is actually my favourite holiday because it’s not frenzied like Christmas but it’s still full of time spent with family and food. People go to the beach to celebrate Easter too. Now that is over and May is here! I can’t believe spring is also almost done. Anyway, there’s nothing else to do but appreciate what I have and where I am now.

There’s plenty of hiking trails accessible by transit from Vancouver. The BC province is called Beautiful British Columbia for a reason – awesome mountains, lakes and if you’re by the coast, the ocean!

Here’s photos of flowers and some pics from our little hike last weekend. I hope we all get many chances to be out in nature!


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Living Vicariously: Japan Travel Photos

I wanted to post something this week but had no ideas. I realized though that I’m planning my vacations for this year already but I haven’t shared anything about my trip last year.

So here are some photos of my trip with the hubs last 2018. As my co-worker says, you cannot not love Japan. Yas! I have to use the double negative.

It was our first time there so we only covered the most accessible (or touristy) cities – Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka for an “overview”. It’s just one of those countries that you have to come back to and get to know even more.

Since we have a gazillion photos and because these cities are already highly photographed, I won’t categorize chronologically or by type. Wala lang. Trip ko lang ganito pag share. Here are the pics that are giving me cheer right now:

This cute corner of our room in Tokyo


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Airbnb Recommendations

Rainy and snowy Februaries tend to make me restless and yearn for travel. I’m staying put for a while so I will daydream and share photos of pretty accommodations with you.

I book Airbnb’s more than hotels for the unique experience… Okaaay, actually, budget constraints. Aminin! Moolah levels, location and availability determine whether I book with Airbnb or a hotel.

I’ve found some Airbnb gems during my trips. If you ever need a place to stay in any of these cities, here are the ones I’ve tried and a bit of personal note on why I happily recommend them:


Quezon City

This is a beautifully furnished studio room within walking distance from Maginhawa St. Being close to Maginhawa means you’re close to many restaurant options and a movie theater (Cinema Centenario). Some years ago there were only Grill Queen, Ababu, Ate Fe’s and the ol’ Tomato Kick. Now there’s a lot more. There’s even a gym (Meh).

This studio is also near UP where you can see a play, watch a movie at UPFI, jog the acad oval, cycle around the campus or simply sit under an acacia tree by the sunken garden.

Ok back to the studio -great location, clean and pretty. Yay for the hair dryer too. It was super easy to communicate with the hosts and so many plus points for the free water and Zesto in the fridge.


Dumaguete, Negros Oriental


I picked this 2 bedroom apartment because it had the best looking interiors among the ones available in Dumaguete. That was in 2015, maybe there are more options now. It’s a compound with 1 to 2 bedroom apartments, designed with clean and simple lines.

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places, travel

Tofino Stormwatching

This took me forever to write but here’s some info that may be useful for someone who wants to experience Tofino off-season.


Through the “Woods” and the Sea

Last year in November, Mr. Leading Man and I had this idea to see Tofino. Tofino is a town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. To get to it by car is convenient but commuting there is also simple. The trip can be divided into three legs though one can think of it as only two legs- a bus trip with a ferry ride in between. Here’s how we did it:

From Vancouver, we took the 7:15 a.m. Tofino Island Express from Pacific Central Station. We got our tickets in advance online (ferry tickets are not included). A minibus shuttled us from the station to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. The BC Ferries ticket from there to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island cost $17. This part takes two hours which we used to have a proper breakfast. An Island Express bus was already waiting at the Nanaimo arrival area for passengers. We handed the driver the bus tickets we’d kept and continued on. I personally like long bus rides and welcomed the next five hours staring outside as we weaved through trees and lakes.

The bus made a few stops along the way. The longest stop was in Port Alberni for a 20 minute break. Passengers have to decide whether they want to be inside or outside during this break because the bus will be locked. There is an old post office with red doors repurposed into a small grocery. The driver recommended their sandwiches. We decided to just get coffee in the café/bakery nearby.

tofino pacific central

Pacific Central Station – Vancouver, BC


Cabins by the Beach

Finally we arrived at around 3 p.m. at the bus depot in downtown Tofino. It was drizzling. Most surf and bicycle rental shops were closed. We rented our bicycles at a sweets store aptly named Candy Jar and cycled for a good twenty minutes along the highway to get to Ocean Village.

I found out about Ocean Village through a blogger who also found out from another blog. See! Those things work. Thanks to them because we loved the place. Our temporary home was in one of the well-equipped cabins facing Mackenzie Beach.  Towels and toiletries were provided except toothpaste. The washroom was supplied with Sea Wench body wash, shampoo and conditioner – all locally made. We were happy to find an efficient kitchen complete with a big fridge, microwave, stove, cookware, dishes and wine glasses.

tofino cabins

Grey skies

tofino 1

It looked better during sunrise.

tofino beach

BYOF or shop at the COOP

Hubby and I planned to cook some of our food. Due to our Pinoy gastronomic needs, we made sure to bring tocino and pre-marinated bangus (milk fish) for our breakfasts. For the rest of our meals, we bought the ingredients at the local Coop where the prices are understandably higher than in Vancouver.

tofino food

Budget food but make it fashion. That weird bit is tocino just in case you’re wondering.

We ate out sparingly. We had coffee and pastries at the Common Loaf café/bakery. Our only full meal out was at a restaurant called Sobo. Hubby ordered their Thai Chicken and I ordered the Fish Taco. My hubby’s order was a generous serving of flavorful chicken thighs marinated in soy sauce on top of vegetable citrus slaw with a side of peanut sauce. He ended up sharing it with me.

tofino common loaf


Freezing Water and Dogs

My husband rented surf gear from Live to Surf, a surf shop located along the Pacific Rim Hwy in a nook where there’s a bunch of other food places like Chocolate Tofino and Tacofino (we did not get to try these anymore). He was crazy enough to surf in uber freezing water. As for me, I began my career as surf photographer and videographer on that day. Haha kidding. I simply begged off from learning it and offered to be THE IG wife. I was  also happy to look out the ocean and watch the doggies playing on the shore.

tofino mon

tofino dog

Pet-friendly accommodations meant lots of doggies!




Going Back

On our return, we decided to take a cab to the bus station. The $10 was worth paying for the ease. We made sure we got it early because it was the only taxi in Tofino. Yes, there’s only one cab in Tofino. The driver recommended Common Loaf so we went there again and sent some postcards before getting on the bus back to Vancouver.

tofino tonquin

Tonquin Park

I enjoyed our stay in Tofino despite the weather. We only had one sunny day out of the three nights and four days we were there but we made good use of all our days. We cycled, hiked, cooked and ate. It was a nice break from the routine of work and home. Tofino might be entirely different in the summer. Perhaps livelier but we had a fine time during off-season just the same.

And that is it! As Tigger says, TTFN.






food, personal

Update on My Packed Lunch Challenge

Book Review (1)

This challenge made me cook more than I usually do. For the past two weeks, I cooked tapa, squash and shrimps in gata, green onion pancake and garbanzo soup. My lunches have become healthier.

Although I cook more, I’m not really crazy about sticking to the challenge especially that it only makes sense on weekdays. The main goal for packing lunch is really to save money and lessen my calories.

I also found a way to make it easier for me. I bought a pack of pre-washed arugula and a box of cherry tomatoes then kept them in our office fridge so I can have greens daily with my packed lunch. One time I didn’t prepare but we had salted eggs at home so I just brought that and ate it with the greens and tomatoes for lunch.

Here are photos of some of my packed lunches. I’ve been using this old mousepad as my placemat ever since I started working at this place. Hehe.