BLK 513’s Dark & Yummy Charcoal Activated FroYo

blk 513 in megamall

FroYo isn’t my thing.

When the frozen yogurt craze exploded a couple years back, I wrinkled my nose at the mere mention of it. Everytime someone invited me to eat FroYo, I’d quickly say, “No, thank you!” I just don’t like the taste and feel of yogurt, and having it frozen doesn’t make it any better. So it’s a surprise that I greatly enjoy BLK 513’s Charcoal Activated Frozen Yogurt.

BLK 513 uses Greek yogurt and activated charcoal to reach the delicious end result. It’s rare for a food that’s gray in color to look so good, but their gluten-free FroYo, mixed with fruits and sauces, easily achieved it. Continue reading

Xiao Long Bao Madness at Din Tai Fung Megamall

din tai fung spread

“Din Tai Fung is finally in Manila!”

Well, when I first learned that, I had no reaction whatsoever, because I didn’t know what Din Tai Fun is. When I visited Taiwan last month, we didn’t even include it in our itinerary. I’m not big on Chinese food, so forgive me when I only got to try xiao long bao for the first time last month.

Thankfully, the good reviews of Din Tai Fung in Megamall convinced my friends and I to try it. It’s been a long time since our last get-together. We met in my old company back in 2010-2011, and even though we’ve all moved on to different jobs, we still keep in touch. In fact, I still talk them everyday! However, getting the gang together can be really difficult. So I was really happy last Saturday to meet with them, even though some still couldn’t come.

We arrived at Din Tai Fung past 11:00 A.M., and suffice to say, we were already famished. Good thing even though it’s lunch time on a weekend, we didn’t have to wait long for our turn. They were very systematic, and guests can look at the menu while waiting. Continue reading

Taiwan Budget Accommodation: Sunny Hostel in Taipei

taiwan budget hostelSome travel stories start on the first day of exploring the city. But let me begin my Taipei travelogue with a post about our lovely little hostel. Sunny Hostel may look simple from the outside, but from the moment we stepped inside the hostel, we knew that we’d love our stay. Some hostels meet expectations, and then there’s our accommodation that exceeded all of it.

We booked quite late, and we were already panicking a little because looking for an affordable hostel in Taipei wasn’t an easy feat. Rare are those that offer free breakfast, and we had little idea about the locations of the accommodation. So you can say that we chose Sunny Hostel just based on the photos on Airbnb. And I’m so glad that we judged it by its cover. Continue reading

Sunday Lunch at PatisTito Garden Café

antique house

Back in October (I think—I’m old and my memory’s terrible), my family had a late Sunday lunch  in San Pablo. Instead of going to our usual (Si Christina!), I suggested we head to PatisTito Garden Café, a café and restaurant owned by the awesome Patis Tesoro.

PatisTito Garden Café, previously known as Kusina Salud, is part of Viaje del Sol, a culinary excursion  involving a number of artisan cafés and restaurants in Laguna and Quezon. Apparently, Viaje del Sol is Patis Tesoro’s brainchild!

Upon stepping inside the place, we were immediately awed by the quirky and antique displays. The mix and match style of the tables and chairs, combined with the larger-than-life paintings and furniture probably decades older than me, makes the restaurant a worthy visit. Continue reading

2016 Onwards: The Toned Down To-Do List

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Last year, I didn’t do a lot of things I said I would. In fact, I always come up with a yearly to-do list that ends up being forgotten by the end of February. Reality happens way too fast that I rarely follow through all my plans.

I had a love-hate relationship with 2015. It started with a somewhat laid-back first quarter, a happy-go-lucky middle, and finished with a frustratingly taxing fourth quarter. I have met amazing people this year, new friends I now hold dear. And surprisingly, I have managed to keep in touch with the old ones! I am lucky that I have met people after college whom I can consider as my true friends. Not everyone is so lucky. So I guess I still have a lot of things I have to be thankful for.

2015 wasn’t so bad, but it definitely wasn’t the best. I started a new job, met new friends, started writing for Tripzilla, and gained more pounds than necessary! On the downside, none of my clothes fit, hadn’t written much for Manillenials, didn’t get to travel as much as I wanted, barely had time for anything but work, and very broke. By the end of the year, I was tempted to throw myself a pity party every night, but I realized that I’m too old for that. Instead, I tell myself that this should be a motivation.

2016 needs to be better. I need to be better. It’s all up to me, isn’t it? No more dilly-dallying. No more worrying. It’s about time I stop doubting myself. Continue reading

Fall in Korea Day 6: Sundown at Bukchon Hanok Village

hanok houses roof - bukchon hanok vilage

We arrived at Bukchon Hanok Village just when the sun was about to set. Normally, I would freak out because this meant lesser time for strolling and seeing everything. But it bathed everything in yellow light. Hooray for the magic hour! How can you not love it?

We couldn’t have picked a better place to visit. It was our last destination before we retire for the day and spend our last hours in Seoul exploring Hongdae–our home away from home for the past six days.

Bukchon Hanok Village is a residential community with traditional Korean houses called Hanok. The government has helped the residents restore and maintain the houses, which is an integral part of Korean culture. Real people live in the houses, and it’s the tourists’ responsibility to be respectful when strolling the streets. Though there’s no strict guidelines, visitors are advised to keep the noise down as much as possible. I’ve visited the community two years prior, and it has pretty much stayed the same.

We headed straight to the tourist information center to get a map. It’s a pretty large, and you can easily get lost navigating the streets and alleys. But we really just ended up wherever our feet would take us. While we were rushing to beat the sunset, we also leisurely moved around to savor everything. Continue reading