Friday, December 30, 2011

The year that was...

Just one more day and 2011 is finally over! Can I say I just can't wait for this year to end? I'm all excited for 2012 :) 2011 turned out to be a good year for me. Although I traveled less  which is kind of unusual for a wanderlust like me, I was also able to focus on the other aspects of my grown-up life -- like saving hard-earned money rather than spending it in travel, prioritizing relationships, focusing on work and all other things that matter.

So here are the highlights of my 2011 :) 

#1 - Travel

I traveled less this year compared to the past years but that doesn't mean I am slowly losing the wanderlust in me. It's just that there are other priorities I've wanted to achieve besides traveling.

This year, I traveled to Boracay, Bohol, San Juan, La Union (surfing makes me high!), Thunderbird Resort in Poro Point, Baguio, and Iloilo and few more day trips and staycations within Manila.

#2 - Learning new things 

I dreaded Adobe Photoshop for the longest time because it intimidated me. I'm not the creative type, as you know. But the time has come when I have to learn and embrace it because my work calls for it. I started learning it by watching Erick create project covers for our reports. haha.. But of course, I can't always depend on him to do our covers since he's also one busy bee. So I had to learn it myself.  It was a love-hate relationship . I struggled at first but now I can say I can create a decent cover for our project proposals and reports. I am also learning Adobe InDesign to enhance the layout of our reports. Yay for that!

Currently, I am also handling a database project which started out as an ad-hoc task for me. As I often say, I'm not the person to manage this project. I'm getting comfortable managing the project and take ownership for it. I never thought that being a project manager could actually be a very fulfilling job given all the headaches that comes with it.
#3 - Family time

My dad came home last September and it meant more time to be with him. We celebrated Christmas in Iloilo, my dad's hometown. It was great seeing my grandmother who still has a very sharp memory despite her old age at 89. She can still remember all the small details in the family. Our house in Iloilo was finally finished so we can probably go there more often to visit grandma and relatives .. and we can visit Boracay, Guimaras, or Bacolod because they're all close to each other. It was really heartwarming seeing all my relatives in Iloilo. The last time we went there was four years ago and so much has changed but all for the good.

#4 - Running

I joined three fun runs this year: Condura Run, Hyundai Fun Run, and Integrity Run. I recently discovered the joy of running and its health benefits. I used to hit the gym but found it a bit boring except for my belly dancing classes. 

I also went for 10k on the Hyundai Run and finished it in 1 hr and 30 minutes or less. Not bad eh? 

#5 - Food trip

If there's anything that would top my activity list this year, it'd be eating out. Erick and I discovered a lots of restaurants and hole-in-the-wall food places that all served good food.
With the influx of vouchers, we were able to dine in otherwise expensive places also. Thus, I gained a bit weight which I'm liking since I was skin and bones before.

#6 - my BLOG

I started this blog in 2010 but took a break for a while. This year, I became active again in writing and I took time in writing my entries to make them informative and helpful especially the travel and food entries.Writing is therapeutic for me and provides a good break from my 9-to-6 office work.

So thank you for reading my blog :) Seeing the number of blog page views motivates me write better and more.

2011 proved to be a good year for me despite the feeling that something's lacking.  I'm really not sure what it is, but I just get that weird feeling. So, I'm hopeful for 2012. Just good vibes!

Happy NEW Year everyone!



Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Statement Tee Party

So last Monday, we had our company Christmas party at the Trag Hall of San Lorenzo Greenbelt Residences. For this year, our party theme is no other than.. Wear your favorite statement tee! I actually thought of this idea and it was eventually won the vote for this year’s party theme.

Having attended numerous themed Christmas parties, I know that not all attendees wear the required costume. I think some do not want to put an effort dressing up or just are just plain boring. Hehe. So i thought, why not have a theme that would encourage everyone to dress up for the party. After all, it’s just a statement tee!

So here are some of the fun and quirky statements that stood out during our party. Way to go guys!

I was the nerdy type during my high school so dressing up as a nerd is no effort :)

Nerdy me!
Shane on You ..because her name is Shane!
The boss speaks. We know right!

Will work for beer.
Ceeson’s Greetings! Cee’s in festive mood.
Dare to see what's inside.

To: Women, From: God. hahaha
Because we've been acquired. 
I <3 Halcrow

Yrish you a Merry Christmas!

Is it punk or phuk?
Mahalay daw.
Crazy and innovative
All I can say is Lah!
Proudly Pinay

Meh ganun
And guess who bagged the best statement tee award?!

It's the twin crocodile Lolongs.

the white Lolongs
Mistress and Wife
Whatever happened to Lolong, these two sure know about it! :D

It was fun and interesting seeing all the statement tees flaunted by my officemates. It brought the fun side of us "corporate slaves".

Have a great holidays everyone! XOXO

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Filipino fare at Café Via Mare

I always pass by Café Via Mare in Greenbelt 1 and the one in Landmark on my way home.  But I never had the chance to dine there. Seriously, I never knew what I was missing until I  discovered the joy of eating Filipino comfort food at Via Mare. First off, Erick had a Php2000 gift certifcate for Via Mare as a sort of reward or incentive he got from one of his projects. Greatness..


Café Via Mare prides itself as the café restaurant that serves traditional Filipino merienda fare in a very cosmopolitan setting. It was one of the very first establishments that led to the development of Manila's café scene. Not only it is famous for its merienda selection like bibingka and puto bumbong, but also for its favorite Filipino dishes.

We knew we won’t be able to consume all the 2k GC in one dining so we made like 2-3 visits to Via Mare. Let me share with you what dishes are a must-try.

If you’re in the mood to try some seafood, think no further and try their Adobong Pusit. This dish is an instant hit for me. I’ve always loved eating squid –  it may be grilled, stuffed, or served in a pasta. The baby squid meat was so tender and the adobo taste reminded me of how we cook our Adobong Pusit back home in Bicol.

Crispy binagoongan and pinakbet was Erick’s top pick. I'm really not a fan of pork binagoongan. Yes, I  crave for bagoong (shrimp paste) always but not when it's cooked with pork. But the bagoong blended well with the pork bellies and the pinakbet is something not to be missed.

Since I first tried Bagnet in Ilocos, I can’t help but look for bagnet dishes here in Manila. Via Mare’s version of Ilocos Bagnet is almost good as the one served in Ilocos. They reinvented it by making it as Ensaladang Bagnet. The crispy roasted pork tasted good with tomatoes and shallots in calamansi and bagoong dressing.

We tried Sinigang na Karne. It's one of the recommended dishes and had the right taste of tamarind broth. My favorite sinigang is from Sentro 1771 but Via Mare’s is also a good alternative. Plus, they have generous servings of meat in your sinigang. What’s not to like about that?

We also ordered the all-time Filipino favorite Kare-kare. Erick was not quite keen on ordering it but I insisted. Haha.. Let’s just say we loved it from the oxtripe, vegetables, peanut sauce, and bagoong alamang. The meat was tenderly cooked and the vegetables were fresh and cooked. I am a peanut butter person so I definitely love any dish with a peanut sauce or butte but the kare-kare was all good not just because of the peanut sauce.

For side dish, we ordered Fresh Lumpiang Ubod. Well, I didnt like it that much because I’ve bitten a garlic thinking it was ubod. They give you chopped garlic to complement the taste of lumpia but according to my 'very-forgetful boyfriend' I was the one who scooped the garlic and didn’t spread it evenly on the lumpia. I don’t remember doing that. Haha. But I see a few tables ordering it and Erick approved of it so it must be good. 

We also tried the Kalkag Rice which is basically fried rice with tiny dried shrimps. I must say it’s already a meal on itself. The serving size is for 2-3 persons.

And now for my favorite part of the meal.... desserts!

I was in for a dessert treat at Via Mare. The mais con yelo we ordered was one of the best iced desserts. Well, making a mais con yelo is no-brainer but Via Mare’s version was very creamy and the shaved iced was very thin making it very enjoyable to eat. It literally melts in your mouth.

We got curious with their summer shooters which is a dessert sampler including mais con yelo, sago’t gulaman, and guinomis so we went ahead and ordered it. Of the three, I like best mais con yelo and then guinumis which is sago or tapioca peals with milk and crushed ice  then topped with pinipig. I found the sago’t gulaman too sweet for my taste.

We wouldn’t miss to order their puto bumbong. It’s holiday season and where else can you order a good puto bumbong when you’re right in the smack of Makati. The puto bumbong tasted liked the one I usually buy right beside our home. Filipino desserts are  really no like no other!

Overall, I was very satisfied with our Via Mare dining experience especially with the taste of their food and the quality of the service. It will be no wonder if I'm back soon. I'm one happy eater :)