Monday, September 11, 2017

My Cup of Tea... Ice Cream!

From my previous blog entry about buffet indulgence, let's now have a tea talk. I can't think of any other place that offers a wide range of teas from different parts of the world as TWG. We had a chance to experience a relaxing time at its Conrad Hotel branch located in the Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

What's TWG, you may ask. It's unknown to many but TWG's website reveals that it stands for The Wellness Group. But does it really matter? Let's go straight to the wholesome goodness that we had in this cozy tea salon.

We were lucky that during our visit, macarons were at 50% off. It used to be 60 pesos each. They have flavors like Napoleon Tea & Caramel (my favorite), Matcha, Camelot Tea & Praline, Earl Grey Fortune & Chocolate, Vanilla Bourbon Tea & Kaya, and Grand Wedding Tea, Passion Fruit & Coconut. But note that those are what's on the menu, and that the ones below are not in any particular order nor exactly match all the flavors I just mentioned.

The most affordable drink options here are at 195 pesos for a teapot, so we chose a black tea from Brazil.

Finally, the three of us sampled their ice cream flavors which are at 120 pesos each. Relatively affordable with these generous servings, right? Napoleon Tea Ice Cream features black tea with caramelized macadamia nuts:

Next, for dad, Singapore Breakfast Tea Ice Cream is a blend of green tea, black tea, vanilla and spices:

Finally, for mom, Vanilla Bourbon Tea Ice Cream is red tea blended with aromatic vanilla bean:

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Buffet Dining: What's Your Strategy?

Since eating at Spiral is way too expensive, my best choice for variety and reasonable price is Vikings. Everything I ate, I wrote on a table napkin to remind myself of the good value for money. Haha! And take note: No rice!

Round 1:
Pata Tim
Roast Duck

Round 2:
Salmon Sashimi
Baked Oysters
Milk Tea

Round 3:
Creme Brulee
Leche Flan
Raspberry Cheesecake
Fruit Salad
Fruit Tart
Choco Cake
Coffee Jelly
Bubblegum Panna Cotta

Round 4:
Premium Roast Coffee
Duck Liver Paté

Still, I think my experience at Vikings Seaside Boulevard behind MOA years ago was better than at SM North. There were a lot more seafood and we didn't have to wait for any refill.

To end, here are the items I didn't have enough storage for:

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Frames and Lenses

I started wearing glasses when I was 29. It was on August 6, 2015 when I finally couldn't deny the need for it, with a 25-50 vision. A minor issue, you might think. Yet, shopping and commuting started to be inconvenient for me then. Reading signs and hailing public transport became challenges as I squinted. Poor visual recognition also made my friends think that I just didn't bother to greet them during encounters!

Since I was a newbie eyeglass wearer then, aesthetics and price were my only concerns. The lens size and frame weight didn't come to mind and so the purple frame above appealed to me (got my glasses for 2,400 bucks only). Because of the low grade, I was lazy in wearing and bringing those glasses with me, which probably contributed to my worsening eyesight. After a year, in December 2016, I had a 50-75 vision and I opted for lightweight glasses with Nikon lenses (3,280 pesos). As you can see in the picture, it had a narrow frame which was problematic when looking up or down.

More recently, on July 2017, my grade rose to 125-125. Since black frames are in vogue and I wanted bigger lenses, I got my latest pair for just 3,900 bucks. Since Crizal Prevencia was a bit expensive, I chose Crizal Forte UV.

Worsening eyesight is still alarming though. I believe gadgets are to blame for accelerating it.

I even tried OptiMask Pro, an eye massager that promised to help improve eyesight through magnetism and acupunture. You might have seen it through Facebook ads too. The testimonials were convincing and besides, I bought when the initial price had been reduced significantly. Oh well, it is still relaxing to use.

Also, when I went for a complete eye checkup (free with my PAGIBIG Loyalty Card), the doctor from George Optical said that my eyes are very dry. Now, I'm using Optive lubricant eye drops. The box is good for one month and costs 715 pesos.

My eyes are worth saving up for. It could be costly but, I'd rather spend on it than on makeup and luxuries. Oh well, good food of course, is out of the question. Hehe.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Of Cupcakes and Contentment

Hey there! With the midyear, I smell more good things coming up in 2017. You know me - I celebrate life's events as milestones and turn lemons into lemonade. With this mindset and my penchant for dining out, I think one place matches the mood: Vanilla Cupcake Bakery.

My mom, right there at the corner.

Yup, it's been around for a while yet I haven't appreciated it much until recently. I used to think that it's merely a dressed up place that lures you into buying overpriced cupcakes. Also, it had a branch at UP Town Center but it was more of to-go than really savoring the ambiance while dining in. Then, my mom and I discovered that the one at TriNoma is more than meets the eye. It's actually spacious behind the display counter area!

Mom, in another angle of the interiors and more serious this time. Haha!

As of this writing, this particular branch of VCB has a good rating of 4 out of 5 on Zomato. My personal favorite is the Chunky Chubby Chocolate (Sorry cupcakes, though I like you guys too) which I believe is reasonably priced at 148 pesos per slice.

I'm glad that my mom also liked the place and wants to come back for more.

For this blog entry's parting words, it would be nice to leave one of those messages hanging on the wall: Live today for tomorrow it will all be history.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

How Do You Turn Your Back from a Setback?

I think it would be nice to focus my birth month reflection on my in-between-jobs experience, the waiting game, identity, and faith.

Have you ever given up something that you loved doing for what you have thought was a bigger calling, responsibility, and opportunity? Ever gone through a really demanding process, only to find out that you were not informed of other requirements that would disqualify you? Did you take a calculated risk, thinking that you did so well throughout, only to discover you were misled to a dead end?

If you have a limited time to finish reading this post, I have one good piece of advice: It's true when they say "It's okay not to be okay." Go ahead and doubt for a minute: Am I good at what I do? Will I get back on track? After that, keep going. DO NOT let your doubt cloud your self concept. You are strong. You want excellence. You will never give up.

I've started working since I graduated college. I'm not used to being idle and instead, experienced juggling work and study. So what happens when I experience being unemployed for one month? Honestly, I tried to be productive and appreciative of the free time, doing the following:

1. Cleaning the house, cooking, selling items that we no longer need
2. Watching on Netflix, reading books, malling
3. Job hunting (and yes, since 2008, I had my fair share of unnoticed and unsuccessful job applications too)
4. Online teaching

I felt that as a former Iskolar ng Bayan, the jobs I choose should contribute to the society and hone my communication skills. But even with a college and MA degree, combined with more than eight years of work experience, things didn't come easy. For some jobs I chose, I was not chosen.

But like what I told a close friend, "Sometimes the things that are meant for us are not the ones we deliberately plan." How did I manage to handle a setback with grace?

1. Constant prayer (from the start to the end of the process) - I remember saying "Lord, if this is not what you want me to do, I'd accept it. But if this is for me, please grant me the strength to do well."

2. Self-confidence - I believed there would be other opportunities, and better ones. I just had to keep looking.

3. Being choosy - Still, I did not settle or apply for jobs I didn't see myself being into.

Now, I'm happy where the events led me to- thankful and not regretting my decisions.

It was indeed a happy birthday.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Why I Love to Teach

Dear Diary,

Recalling how studious I used to be in school, it doesn't come as a surprise that I considered teaching as a profession. Yes, I may not be an Education major, but that longing to impart important things to learners and the love for learning itself have always been there.

It may be weird, but I go to great lengths to play the role, starting off with playing titsir-titseran even without playmates to act as students. I had this small chalkboard and my favorite topic was the digestive system. It would be complete with a drawing and explanation.

As I had my first job in the government TV channel, trainees worked with me and my producers. They asked for pieces of advice when it came to pre-production (including script writing), production and editing. I found it fulfilling whenever someone said something like "Ganoon pala gawin. Salamat po."

Even as I pursued another career outside of traditional media, my final job assignment led me to training fellow employees. The calling, I described here. Our work processes frequently changed back then, so keeping yourself abreast with updates had been a constant demand. Cutting the long story short, the experience trained me to be a trainer.

Then the desire to be part of the academe came. Equipped with a post-grad degree, willingness to learn, and optimism, I was received by the Paulinian community. Handling students from different programs but mostly from BA Communication had been an exhilarating ride. So why do I love to teach?

Not because people will thank you for it. You should not expect them to say thanks. Not because you will be appreciated by institutions. I heard many stories of unappreciated ones. Not because it will be financially rewarding. I heard of those who are "overworked yet underpaid." Not because you know everything.

But because personally, I don't want to be static. Teaching stimulates me to change, be steps ahead, practice thoughtful class preparation and error correction, and most of all, to pass the knowledge and values on. The things learned from school and experience.

It doesn't have to be within the four walls of the classroom with the job title of College Instructor or Trainer. I may take on different jobs, but teaching will undoubtedly be a part of me, always.

Friday, April 28, 2017

How's Yours?

Bago lumipad pabalik ng Canada ang aming malalapit na kaibigan, muli kaming nagkita-kita at naghapunan. Isa na namang kapana-panabik na laro ang ipinakilala ng aming game master.

1. One participant shall be the it or guesser. He or she would have to stay away while the remaining participants discuss #2.
2. Participants shall decide on a particular thing that they all have or possess.
3. The guesser will come back and choose the first participant to ask "How's yours?" The answer will serve as a clue to help the guesser identify the item. The clue must not be too vague. Also, it should not be very specific or, a giveaway.
4. The guesser continues to call participants one by one and ask "How's yours?" until he or she is able to give the correct answer.

Once everybody is called and the correct answer is missed, the guesser will be the same person. If someone is called and the given clue makes the guesser identify the secret item, then that participant becomes the next guesser.

Now, on to our best examples:

Analyn: How's yours?

Leine: Mahirap alisin.
Paul: Makati.
Rap: Naiipit.
MJ: Pabalik-balik.
Jhackie: Sumisiksik.
Ryan: Lumalagpas.
Lud: Minsan meron, minsan wala.
Russ: Masangsang.

Analyn: Buhok sa kili-kili.

MJ: How's yours?

Ryan: Luma na.
Leine: Kailangan nang palitan.
Rap: Marami.
Russ: May kurbada.
Lud: Minsan 'di ko nagagamit.
(Tawanan sila.)

MJ: Toothbrush?

Tama nga. Hehe!

Maganda ang larong ito dahil may malalaman ka tungkol sa mga kaibigan. May tawanan at panghuhusga rin. :-D