Saturday, March 31, 2012

Living and Loving the Bum Life!

My previous post is a pain to read. I've read it earlier today and kind of winced a little bit. My thoughts were tangential and truth be told, even I can't tell what the post was trying to say. Well, so much for wanting to be a writer. A writer has to be purposeful and coherent, two things that I am obviously not! 

Anyway, it has been a while since my last day at work. The paperwork for my big move to London is proving to be quite a tedious process and a long wait. Not that I am complaining because to be honest, I really am enjoying my short stint as a bum right now. It's quite amazing how alive and happy I feel these days with the pressures of work taken off my shoulders. I feel like I'm in this frenzy (the good kind) all the time! I want to do so many things! I wonder if I can accomplish everything I want to do, though. The internet is such a major semi-welcome distraction. It beckons to me in the morning with a tweet here or a message there and I am left at its mercy all day long. But I digress.

I've been out and about, catching up with friends, going out with my family, eating to my heart's delight, shopping for travel essentials, and watching films and productions. I never expected bum life to be this expensive! The wallet damages have been severe, but well, I am as happy as I can be. Besides, my last few months in the Philippines must be spent well. Saving up for the future will follow soon, I promise!

Here's a photo collage showing the highlights of my bum life:

Movie night (The Vow, Hunger Games) with friends. Fuerza Bruta (great show!), The Legends and the Classics (1 stage, 2 shows, 3 icons and 4 standing ovations. Can I say, wow?! Best money I ever spent!), Les Miserables school play, and lots of eating out and catching up (Almon Marina, Bizu, Papa John's, National Sports Grill, Yakimix, Mercato Centrale, ChaTime, Gong Cha, and Singapore Food Republic, to name a few).
Life is sweetest with a great family and an awesome set of friends! If I could just stretch this short bum stint some more without the threat of poverty looming overhead, I most definitely would!

Blessed, happy and grateful.

See you soon, London! Be good to hopeful, not-so-little me!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Random Thoughts on Leaving the Philippines Part 1

Not so long ago, I wrote a very lengthy post on my career options abroad, or rather the lack of them. I was tired, under compensated and basically swimming in hopelessness at the time.That was just a couple of months ago, and now, here I am, waiting for my visa and flight date to The Land of the Balding Prince. Great things truly come to those who wait. He is unbelievably good, this God! 

I am terribly excited and scared at the same time. Regarding living away from my family for longer than a week or two -- this would be a first and in a country far, far away from my beloved Philippines, no less! Sure, that's a scary thought, but I think it's time that I break away from my comfort zone and put myself out there, on the road where nothing is secure and every day is another adventure.

In many ways, this opportunity is the realization of several life-long dreams. For instance, I always say to anyone who cared to listen that I would like to go to Europe before I get married. I get asked a hundred percent of the time why I would rather see the continent alone and not as a part of my honeymoon or anniversary celebration. Well, I can't quite explain it either, folks. I just know that this is something that I want to do for myself and with myself first. Oh, the mere thought of being able to actually do this is just exhilarating! 

For some reason, living alone in foreign city is also on my bucket list. I have always had everything I needed within my reach while I was growing up. I had overprotective (but amazing!) parents, you see. I had a driver at my beck and call until I was in third year college. I learned to commute only during my senior year. I don't do my laundry or cook or clean. Heck, I don't even wash the dishes! I have lived the life of a pampered kid, yes, but I refuse to be stereotyped as such forever. I know that I have to work really hard and be strong though, no delusions there. 

On a lighter note, one of the things that I am really, really looking forward to in London is the West End. Theatre, oh sweet, theatre! I'm just soooooo excited to see LES MISERABLES live! I'm such an obsessive fan. How can I not be when the songs are nothing short of amazing works of genius? If the heavens conspire to make another dream come true, Alfie Boe, Ramin Karimloo, Matt Lucas, Norm Lewis and Lea Salonga will again perform together for a Les Mis production and I'll have front row seats! Gah, I'm so giddy at the thought! Speaking of Lea Salonga, I never really knew just how incredibly talented she was until I watched her perform in Les Mis and eventually, Miss Saigon via YouTube. I've been living under a rock, I know, but my, I never looked at her the same way ever since! Such a talented, beautiful and smart (and I really do mean smart!) woman!

Wordy, wordy, wordy... that is what this post has become. Well, I just wanted to share a thing or two, but I kind of got carried away. I have a lot of jumbled thoughts and I am itching to write them all down to clear my head and help me think. Part 2 soonest! <3

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fun Times at National Sports Grill

Thanks to CASHCASHPINOY, I have yet again scored another awesome deal! For 1000 bucks, I got 2000 bucks worth of food at National Sports Grill. Not bad, eh?

I know nothing about sports, but I love the relaxed, no fuss vibe at NSG. I also love that they serve all the comfort food I need in the world - burgers, fries, pizzas , pasta dishes, ribs and chicken wings! Well, that part is also true for many other restaurants and diners, but guys, this is food at 50% off! 

Buffalo Chicken Tenders
This was basically just fried chicken strips tossed in spicy winger sauce
and served with bleu cheese for dipping. This isn't one of the best in the city
(Try Tender Bob's! They have the best buffalo chicken tenders ever!), but
it sure started our meal with a good, spicy kick.
San Francisco Burger
Now, this is what I call awesome. Their sourdough parmesan bread is simply the bomb!
The patty is juicy, tender and tasty too, but that is just an added bonus. The star of this dish
is really the delicious bread. Yes, the bread!
All-Star Patty Melt.
I did mention before that my siblings love anything beefy
between a bun, so it comes as no surprise that we have yet again another burger
on the table. Same patty and same sauce as the one above,
but served with regular bread instead.
Chicken Barbecue and Four Cheese Pizza
Yes, you can opt to have a combination of flavors in one pie. Don't order this when
you're at NSG, though! The crust isn't the good kind and it's just not worth the price.
Chicken Parmesan with Penne Pasta
The pasta was quite bland, to be honest, but the chicken made
up for that by being the creamy, cheesy, fried goodness that it is.
 My little sister, being the typical Filipino eater, just had to order
a cup of plain rice to go with the chicken.

I know I said in a previous post that I never really liked the food at NSG. Well, I changed my mind, folks! And yes, that's because of the delicious sourdough parmesan bread! 

Thank you CASHCASHPINOY!  So far, everything I've bought from you has been extremely satisfactory! I hope you offer deals again for NSG, Swensen's, Potato Corner and Tocarre Spa. Most especially Toccare Spa because I had the most amazing and sulit experience there!

National Sports Grill is located at the 3rd level of Greenbelt 3,  Ayala Center, Makati City. Expect to spend around Php 500 (approximately $12) when you dine here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

For Posterity's Sake

I know this is already way too late, but I want to write about how my December went just for posterity's sake.  After all, my last Christmas in the Philippines should be as well-documented as possible. 

Whew. When I typed the line "my last Christmas in the Philippines," my heart kinda stopped beating for a second. It has always been my dream to go to Europe, but now that I'm going there to work for good,  it feels oh so bittersweet. But I digress. 

December, as I've said in my post last year, is a month of celebrations. To begin with, there's Christmas, and then, there's also the boyfriend's birthday and our anniversary. But because he's already residing in Canada, we had to make do with Skype dates, choppy conversations, bad videos and all. Instead of feeling sad and deprived though, I concentrated on shopping for gifts!  Admittedly, that was really bad for my bank account, but hey, it was good for the heart! Heart wins over bank account anytime of the day, right?

UNO's Annual Christmas Dinner at Chili's Tomas Morato

My closest friends to date are those who I met from UP. Being healthcare professionals, it has always been quite a challenge to set a date. Different shifts, different hospitals and different days off... total chaos, I tell you! Surprisingly, we had perfect attendance for our annual UNO Christmas Dinner at Chili's Tomas Morato.

Look at us looking foolish with those eye masks and microfiber hair cloths around our heads! Childish, I know, but fun, fun, fun!  Looking at these photos makes me feel strangely sentimental. Some of us will be leaving the Philippines in the next few months, so it will be harder and harder each year to gather everyone around just to eat and be merry. 

Christmas Party with Workmates At Discovery Suites

I love seeing my colleagues looking all dolled up and fabulous! Clad in our boring scrubs day in and day out, it's refreshing to see them so classy and carefree, dancing to the tunes of Teach Me How to Dougie and Party Rock Anthem!  Oh, how we laughed and ate and danced that night!

If I might add, I also love our unit's Christmas parties because I always, always win the raffle. Yup, three years in a row, no cheating. I'm such a lucky, lucky girl!

Enjoying My Last Christmas in the Philippines with the People I Love the Most

I had a very unforgiving schedule last December. The first two weeks of the month, I had 12-hour shifts everyday due to staffing problems. In those two weeks alone, I filed for 48 hours of overtime work. Come the last two weeks of the month, I was on duty on the 24th, 25th, 30th and 31st. Yup, while everyone was enjoying the holidays, I was working like a donkey! I didn't let my lousy schedule ruin the season for me though! All my time off was spent dining out and gallivanting around the city with my family. Obviously, this was not good for both my bank account and my heart, but well, I really can't deny myself my sanity!

Skype Dates with Menard

I just have to say thank you to the brilliant people behind Skype for giving long distance relationships a fighting chance! His birthday, our anniversary, Christmas and the New Year were all celebrated via Skype --  not ideally my cup of tea, but well, still a blessing nevertheless! After all, there was a time when couples only had snail mail and telegrams as their means of communication. I really have no right to complain at all.

My December was pretty simple, but it was filled with little cupcakes of blessings here and there. I hope 2012 brings me not only cupcakes of blessings, but layers upon layers of sweet, moist and delectable blessing-filled cakes!

Happy 2012 everyone!:)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chelsea with My Girls!

One day, I would like to pull a Carrie Bradshaw (minus the sleeping around and frustrating love life part) and write for a living in fabulous New York City. I already have the fantastic friends element covered, so all I really need to work on at this point is the writing career.

Last Friday, we all got together at Chelsea to celebrate Kath's birthday. Celebrations with my girlfriends are all about only two things - good food and a whole lot of talking! Our topic for the night was travel, something I can talk, talk and talk endlessly about!

Meet my Sex and the City girls, minus Ja, who is currently living in OZ.
Chelsea is chic and comfortable, definitely a perfect place for gabbing girls! I wish I can say perfect for the food too, but to be quite a honest, the food wasn't anything remarkable. Homey and familiar, yes, but not really delicious or mind-blowing.

Complimentary focccia bread with olive oil and roasted garlic for dipping.
Nothing like warm, soft bread to start the meal right! 
Classic Beer-Battered Fish and Chips
Just your average fish and chips served with coleslaw, malt vinegar 
and tartar aioli. I've had better versions at more affordable prices.
Rosemary Grilled Chicken and Kalamata Confit Pizza.
It sounds really gourmet, but believe me when I say that it doesn't taste gourmet.  The 
crust wasn't as crispy and chewy as it ought to be and the chicken strips were just too
bland. The pizza also had this bitter aftertaste, which I hope, isn't because of the kalamata.
Kalamata is supposed to be delicious, like olives but with a meaty texture.
Roasted Clam and Sundried Tomato Vongole.  
As described on the menu, this was basically just pasta tossed with roasted garlic, anchovies, fresh tomatoes,basil and parsley in a light and "creamy" clam broth.  The pasta was cooked al dente and the
seafood and cheese portions were really generous. The sauce, although with the perfect
consistency,  lacked creaminess and was a bit too bland for my taste. 

A few cups of healthy desserts at Yogut Froz and some more animated conversations later , we were ready to say goodbye to Har, who was to go on a graveyard shift that evening (boo!).

Tart yogurt with fresh mangoes and cheesecake - the only success of the night! 

We didnt want to go home yet, so we had a photo opportunity with them Halloween creepies instead!

Happy Halloween!
Thank you, girls! I had so much fun as always! I wouldn't be including "Chelsea" in our circle of friends anytime soon, though. Haha.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Betcha by Gong Cha, Wow!

When the boyfriend and I went to Hong Kong a couple of years ago, we had milk tea everyday for five consecutive days. Instead of going straight to bed after a tiring day, we would stop by for some street food and a glass of milk tea every night. It was a little routine we had during our short vacation there.

That was, of course, way before the milk tea craze hit Manila! As you can imagine, I was craving  for milk tea like a lunatic when we came back. There was a Bubble Tea branch in Megamall, but it just wasn't the same. I missed milk tea so much that I just had to shout it out in Facebook! 

I guess the Facebook gods heard me because these days, milk tea shops are everyfreakingwhere in my beloved city! There's Teaology, Serenitea, Moonleaf, Cha Time, Sip and my super favorite so far, Gong Cha!

Have you ever tried the Wintermelon Milk Tea of Gong-Cha? It's one of their house specials and it's superb! Have them add some pudding instead of pearls, and it becomes a whole new level of awesome! I think the special milk cream on top does the trick. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Yum!

Source because I forget to take pictures when I'm too excited to eat or drink. Haha.

Oh, I just remembered that I also had this awesome Taro Milk Tea from a store near the Ruins of St Paul in Macau. I have no idea what the store's name was because everything was written in Chinese, but I hope it lands on Philippine shores soon! I think it was what got me hooked to milk teas in the first place! 

This was where we bought the best taro milk tea (ever!).
 Care to identify the name of the store for me?
As for Happy Lemon, no, I haven't forgotten all about it. The store has quite a following! Sadly though, I haven't tried any of their drinks. I hope they put up a branch near where I live because I am itching to try the Green Tea with Rock Salt and Cheese that everyone is raving about! 

So, what is your favorite milk tea store? Please do share so I can try as well!

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