Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lunch Without Cellular Phones

Can you survive an hour without your mobile phone? In this day and age, it seems quite impossible. You'd go out for lunch but you keep your phone right beside your plate because your office might need you for some immediate decisions or you're waiting for World Cup feeds on Twitter. My friend Camille Cruz-Reyes aka The Hungry Lady and I decided to part with our smart phones for an hour to enjoy our twice a year lunch. Well, the crazy maki never tasted as good and our table talk went from funny to serious to hilarious.

Oh, but I had to bring out my camera twice in the name of blogging.

Senju, EDSA ShangriLa Hotel

Camille pretending to chat on her mobile phone.

Me, pretending to text for the camera.

Wakame No Gamazu Ae, seaweed in sesame and vinegar dressing.

Crazy Maki, prawn tempura, crabstick, omelette, cucumber and salmon skin with crunchy toppings.

Kaisen Mentaiko Sumi Udon, seafood and baby lobster with spicy cod roe and charcoal udon noodles.

Tenderloin Beef, US beef tenderloin

Vanilla Ice Cream

Monday, June 9, 2014

Boracay For The Non-Partyphile

Coming from an industry that parties almost every night, I'm an oddity. I like intimate dinners and quiet conversations. I like road trips and stopping at random hole in the wall eating places. Perhaps it comes with age or maybe because of my stressful job, there is a constant need for longer coffee breaks and occasional weekend getaways.
Three months ago, I received an SMS from Joshua Aquino inviting me to his birthday weekend in Boracay. Most people prepare for months in the gym before going to Boracay, famous for its powdery white sand and beach parties till sunrise, it's a place to see and be seen. Knowing Joshua and his family, I knew it would be relaxed, and away from the party scene. Indeed it was, simple barbecue dinners, night swimming and a sunset cruise to cap Joshua's celebration. Marvelling at the sky and its changing colours, and feeling the sea wind, it was a perfect moment for a grateful prayer.
Happy birthday, Joshy!

Our home for three days.

I wish I had a piece of this in the city.

Tummy cleansing.

The villa's private pool.

Birthday boy, Joshua Aquino.

The colour and veins of fallen leaves interest me very much.

I can spend the entire afternoon just reading a book in this hammock.

The calming sound of waves.

The infinity pool at Villa 13.

View from the top.

Sunset cruise.

Taking it all in.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bloom Binmaley

It all started one evening in February, while having our cauliflower fritas fix at Poppins, my friend Monette Victorio and I were talking about Sakura season in Japan and wishing we had one in the Philippines. I was telling Monette about the Balayong, more popularly called the Palawan Cherry Blossom tree. It's actually not a cherry tree but a variety of other tropical flowering trees like the Flame Tree and the Golden Shower. I suggested why not plant these trees in her hometown of Binmaley, Pangasinan and in five years, it will be a summer destination for tourists wanting to see the blooming Balayongs. Monette and her mother Josefina Victorio, a tourism consultant to their town Binmaley loved the idea.  I made a t-shirt design using the Keep Calm application on my iPad with Monette's brilliant tag line Bloom Binmaley, and Smart Communications happily sponsored the tree planting event.
We planted the seedlings a month ago, on the first of May, making it easier to remember the date, not only because it's Labor Day but also Pistang Dagat in the province of Pangasinan, a celebration of their sea's bounty. I'm so happy I'm finally realising a dream to plant a million trees, soon, I will be planting more Balayongs in San Jose, Tarlac with a couple of friends who share the same dream and love for our country.

A hut by the beach of Binmaley, Pangasinan.

The town monument to it's fishermen.

The bell tower of Binmaley church.

The Golden Shower tree.

Balayong seedlings from Manila Seedling Bank.

A Balayong tree in memory of Monette's sister, Jiji.

From the net, a Balayong tree in full bloom.