Seoul 2016 || Flying to Seoul & Dongdaemun

I am overwhelmed.

The holidays are here and I’ll be flying out in a few days (I’m writing this post in advance :P) for vacation. I set up a timeline for when I post these travel series and ended up with last minute vlog editing. Thank heavens that I don’t even do a lot of editing. I literally just threw in all the footage, added music (from the Boys Over Flowers soundtrack, no less because Korea), and voila! Not to mention everyone trying to squeeze in time to catch up and exchange gifts. I’ve had to decline most of them as 90% were dinners and I work the night shit shift. I also don’t feel like going to malls to buy presents during December. It’s crowded. The lines are long. The endless playlist of Christmas songs which wouldn’t be as annoying if they weren’t being played daily since September. You get the gist. I’m the Grinch. Christmas used to be a festive time in my life, but I’m just not feeling it for the past few years. Let’s try again next year, shall we?

The next thing that I want to have a go at is traveling with friends! It’s not technically the first time I’m traveling with friends, but this is my first international ‘friends only’ trip. I have always been wary of going on a friends trip because I’m not the most sociable person. I feel drained after spending a couple of hours with a big group (read above: my aversion to malls), and prolonged exposure to my [slightly] offensive brand of dry humor might ruin a good relationship. It is safe to say that I shoved those worries aside once faced with a seat sale I can’t refuse. Off to Seoul, we go then.

Being at the airport at noon was a new experience for me. I always book either red eye flights or crazy early morning flights. But budget fliers can’t be picky, and I was all set to depart for South Korea at 2 PM. Predictably, our flight got delayed for a couple of hours (thanks for that Cebu Pacific) and we arrived at Incheon Airport around 10 PM. First order of business upon arriving was finding a money changer and buying our own T-Money card. Research tells me that T-Money card costs less than ₩4,000, but when we bought it, we were handed the LINE version which cost more. For some reason, using the card had me baffled at times. I couldn’t quite figure out how much balance was remaining on the card and how much the fare was which is weird as I had no problem doing so in Singapore and Taiwan. Similar transportation card systems, but I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, man. Haha!

We took the airport bus to the city. It was probably one of the best buses I’ve ever been in, public transportation-wise. Comfortable seats with enough leg room that can fit both my legs and my small luggage. Damage to my wallet was ₩15,000 though, pricey but convenient.

We stayed in an Airbnb one station away from Myeongdong, and upon arriving, waited for our host at the bus stop. While we were packing for the trip, us girls were exchanging messages on what to bring. We checked the weather forecast and assumed it was accurate, which led me to pack clothes that were good for 19+ degree temperature. Guess who had to jump around trying to warm herself upon getting off the bus? Tsk tsk.

We just dropped off our bags at the room and asked to host to point us to the direction of Korean cuisine. Fortunately, there was a 24-hour noodle shop around the corner. The ahjusshi manning the restaurant was helpful enough to do a demo on how to properly eat it. Perhaps he was too helpful, because he watched over us eating and even cut the extra large kimchi with scissors while a thirds of it was already in Sean’s mouth. Haha!

We had peach soju with our meal, and ahjusshi decided to pour me the first drink. I’ve watched enough Korean dramas to know that it’s not appropriate to decline drinks from your ‘elders’ – I accepted the glass with both hands and did a little bow. Kamsahamnida!

It was already nearing 1 AM when we decided to go to Dongdaemun. I have never seen any cosmetics store that were open during wee hours in the morning until I got there. Even the mall was still open! Life as a fashionista in Korea must be crazy awesome if you can go shopping in your pajamas on a whim.

To be honest, I’d go back to South Korea for their street food alone. We just had dinner, and there were too many choices that we settled on this ₩3,000 chicken skewers with cheese sauce. I’m drooling just writing about this. T_T

We spent an hour or two roaming around Dongdaemun, and the bulk of that time went inside Migliore. It’s full of clothes that I would have bought if only they carried my size. 😛

And that’s it for my first day in Korea. Four days is not enough time to spend in Seoul, in my opinion. I look forward to going back there with C (we already made plans as soon as I got home, talk about being excited).

Seoul 2016 || Korea Highlights

When I was a young girl, I wanted to be a storyteller.

For the first six years of my life, I was an only child. My parents had a miscarriage before me and lost my brother just before he can reach the third trimester. When I came more than a year later, I was doted on as much as parents dote on their eldest child. Although they took great care in making sure I do not become a spoiled brat growing up, I had more than enough attention for a child my age. My parents believed in “educational” toys and usually gifted me with sets of books or crafting materials. Mom read to me often. She would halt when there was a word I did not understand, and instruct me to retrieve the meaning from any of the thick dictionaries (we owned the hardbound ones that had too many words in it).

When my brother was born and my parents inevitably had to pay more attention to the new baby, books became my reprieve. I’d be holed up in my room, accompanied by infinite worlds within pages, and fill my unsupervised six-year-old mind with ideas I could not wrap my head around. Roald Dahl’s Matilda even had me believing that if I read enough, I’d be able to move things with my mind! Mom had a laugh with that one, rented the tape of its film adaptation, and patiently explained that it’s a story. That was the moment I found out that grown-ups can buy nice things by writing down their fantasies for other people.

I know, I know. I have rambled a bit. But the point I’m trying to make is how most often than not, life never ends up the way we thought it would. My childhood dreams of spinning tales and providing someone else reprieve from the reality they live in never really came to fruition. And my dream after that, and all other various dreams that followed. I did not get to be a storyteller, an archaeologist, nor a blonde lawyer with a chihuahua in tow (I love Legally Blonde, okay). My imagination has lost most of its luster, and the universe had taken off the rose-colored glasses I wore throughout my childhood. There are days where I still wonder how that child that aspired and read 4 books per day just so she could move things with her mind, ended up in a thankless job with a 45-hour work week. Life, in general, has been demotivating lately and has started to take a toll on me.

But then, I’d look back and see how even though my path has twisted and turned into directions I never planned, it has also lead me to more places that did not even cross my mind. I’ve ticked off things that weren’t officially listed on my bucket list. I’ve gone and literally stepped foot in far away soil*. Life has happened beyond any of my plans. It may be a struggle to be grateful about how actually awesome my life is considering all these setbacks, but there’s no denying it’s a wonderful life.

*Here’s a highlights reel of my trip to Seoul with friends. I wasn’t feeling great about myself for a number of reasons lately. While editing this vlog, I realized that my childhood dreams may not have come true, but in return, I got new dreams instead. One of these dreams are of traveling that is being fulfilled one new place at a time.

A Day in Cebu City

We decided to tour on a relaxed pace for our last day in Cebu. We were in so much hurry to get in time for all the tours that we were surviving on little sleep. It was a treat to wake up a few hours before noon for a change. 🙂 Since we missed the time for breakfast, I dragged everyone along to try Casa Verde. We were hungry and even ordered a salad for appetizer. I have never had watermelon in my salad before.. it tasted okay.

Kim had sisig.

I ordered Brian’s Ribs again.

The little sister devoured a whole order of Excalibur. She’s the thinnest person I know, but she eats enough for three people. I don’t like it lol.

The brother even ate less than my sister and had the Casa Verde burger.

We were all so full to the seams that I suggested that we go to Fort San Pedro to walk around.. and burn a few calories.

Fort San Pedro was a defense structure. Some of its bastions face the sea since it is walking distance from the port.

It’s a historical site where one can learn more about Cebu.

You can ask for the free 15-minute guided tour of the place. They have knowledgeable English speaking volunteers (I was mistaken for a foreigner).

They found a small image of the Virgin Mary in this well which was why many people believed that the water contains healing qualities. No, you cannot get water from this well now.

The place was closing early because a wedding was going to be held there. I asked for their rental prices and it’s pretty cheap (I can’t remember the exact figure) for this huge place. I think you can fit 400 guests here (why one would need that many people in their wedding though is beyond me).

We walked under the scorching sun to go to the Basílica Minore del Santo Niño. The museum was closed though because of the holiday. I still do not have photos of the church because I honestly do not like taking photos of church interiors.

Magellan’s Cross – all the times I’ve been here, it’s always under construction.

Our last stop was the Taoist Temple. These three got so tired after the first set of stairs.

The golden hour is the best!


We had a late night flight back to Manila.. which once again got super delayed. But fortunately, we were a few hours early for our flight so we got bumped to the earlier flight which was also delayed. Damn, Cebu Pacific Airlines suck. Thank you Cebu for being so awesome. And thank you self, for splurging on experience and making your loved ones happy. 🙂 I hope the three of us gets to travel with C soon!

Sorry it took a while to get this post out. It’s actually the last one for this trip and I had it sitting in my Drafts for a few days now. I got a little caught up between socializing and adult responsibilities that I totally forgot all about it. 😦 But the good news is that I’ll be going out of town again next month. So yay for more blog content! 🙂

Travel Vlog || #ProjectSursuroy: Tumalog Falls + Oslob Whale shark Watching + Sumilon Island + Osmeña Peak || #ProjectSursuroy: Canyoneering at Badian + Kawasan Falls + Pescador Island || Bohol Countryside Tour || A Day in Cebu City

Bohol Countryside Tour

Hola! It’s midweek and I’m currently on caffeine-induced survival mode. My body clock still has not matched up to my work shift, my brain is only working partially (I think the rest is working at keeping me awake)that the lag is very much noticeable. Boo! Here I am writing and fervently hoping that doing so will lull me to sleep..

Since it’s not Kim and I’s first time in Cebu (half of her relatives live there), we decided to go to Bohol on a whim. Haha! We bought round trip tickets (first ferry out of Cebu and the last ferry out of Bohol) from Ocean Jet to Tagbilaran. My favorite travel buddy (chicken boy!) would often tell me that while his travel skill is packing and navigating, mine is planning and execution (skills you learn from traveling solo lol). I’ve read up on Bohol prior to actually planning to go there, hence, I knew that it wouldn’t be efficient to rent a tricycle (if I was alone, though, I’d probably rent a motorcycle). I sent a quick email and got a response within a few hours from Bohol Rent a Car, who waited for us at the pier with my name on hand. (Photo: tired faces since we woke up at 4:30 in the morning after checking in late from the South Cebu tour)

Our driver, Christopher, was very chatty and told us a lot of trivia about Bohol and the places we passed by. I realized I made a great choice once we were near Chocolate Hills because 1) it really is far and would take a lot more time if we rented a tricycle and 2) it started raining. I read over at Leia’s blog that you can actually ride an ATV to the chocolate hills, and Christopher advised that our schedule can accommodate an hour of ATV ride. He even recommended it since we wouldn’t be able to see the hills at the viewing point due to the fog.

We all availed of Package B (exclusive of the Php 50/head entrance fee) since it also included the Mini Rice Terraces in the tour (although it isn’t included in the price list). It stopped drizzling when we were preparing to ride the ATV so we chose to forego the use of raincoats (provided free by the ATV rental).

All clean and ready! (I say clean for a reason)

It started raining on our way to our first stop, the 3 Sisters’ Hill, and we were drenched from head to toe before we even got there. (We will then proceed to tour Bohol covered in mud haha)

The Chocolate Hills are not very chocolatey when we were there since it was a weirdly rainy December. The hills got its name from having that chocolate color during the summer.

Mini Rice Terraces.

The trip actually took longer than an hour due to the weather and well, my sister isn’t a very safe driver.. she almost drove herself into a ditch (a few times).

It stopped raining on our way back and as the road started to dry up, the three of us (who are capable ATV drivers haha) went racing. Yes, that’s my sister’s muddy hand. After her near accident, I insisted that she ride with the guide. She took photos of us while I brought up the rear of our group. I like being the last one because I can stop and rest before stepping on the gas (in this case, push the gas button eagerly) to catch up.

Habitat Bohol is just a butterfly garden. I honestly saw about two butterflies flying freely, and the rest are in glass displays.

The garden though is pretty, and there are cabanas which look so comfy. The place was packed with tourists though so we left after ten minutes of roaming around. I think you can get a guide (I’m not sure if it’s free) since we saw some of the tourists have uniformed guides with them, but none approached us as we entered.

We passed by the Man Made Forest on our way to the Chocolate Hills, and we stopped to take photos.


These Philippine Mahogany trees were planted back in the 1970s! I’m not a Twilight fan but I was half expecting to see Edward go tree hopping at any moment.

Do not be fooled! A lot of cars pass by this area, and I had to literally roll off (ripping my dress in the process) to the side when a car whizzed by.

I was looking forward to the visit to the Tarsier Conservation Area because we are told in school year after year that the tarsiers are one of the major tourist attractions in Bohol. It’s important to note that it is clearly written in a huge sign (and in different languages) before entering the area that tourists should keep quiet and not use flash photography in order to keep the tarsiers undisturbed. We were the only local tourists when we went there, and there was a foreign group of tourists (the instructions were even written in their language) who were just so noisy and had to be reprimanded a few times by the numerous guides. I guess that’s the reason why there were only two tarsiers in sight. 😦

We also went to the Hanging Bridge. It’s made purely of bamboo!

We had our super late lunch at the Loboc River Cruise. Since there were so many tourists, we had to wait a bit before we boarded a boat.

It’s a buffet lunch and you are advised to get the food before the boat departs. There is no semblance of a queue in the buffet – you literally just go get the food which is frankly, chaotic and annoying.

It’s not something I would do again, but if you are planning on doing so, go get your food once the boat has departed. There are less (almost none) people competing to win the Hunger Games then. Haha!

Some of the local families earn a living by performing for the boats. You can also get off the boat to join them if you want.

On our way back, we passed by Alburquerque Church. According to Christopher, it’s one of the few establishments that did not get ruined during the 2013 Bohol earthquake.

Bohol at its finest

We also stopped by the Baclayon Church and Museum – you can’t really take photos within the museum and the church is still under renovation.

Our last stop is the Blood Compact site which commemorates the blood compact to seal the friendship between the Spanish explorers and the tribe that resided in Bohol when the Spaniards first landed in the Philippine land.

We did arrive in time for our 6:30 PM ferry back to Cebu! I’d like to go back to Bohol someday and visit Panglao. 🙂

Travel Vlog || #ProjectSursuroy: Tumalog Falls + Oslob Whale shark Watching + Sumilon Island + Osmeña Peak || #ProjectSursuroy: Canyoneering at Badian + Kawasan Falls + Pescador Island || Bohol Countryside Tour || A Day in Cebu City

#ProjectSursuroy: Canyoneering at Badian + Kawasan Falls + Pescador Island

Hello, Monday! No seriously, everything in this post happened on a Monday as well. What a great coincidence right? 🙂 We all crashed from exhaustion (and our late flight the day prior the start of the tour), that I wasn’t able to take photos of our accommodation. We were checked in at Brumini Resort in Oslob and it was included in the tour package. The rooms we got though were dorm type ones located farthest from the beach (and nearest to the highway) with a shared bathroom, but they do have cottages and pool-side villas.

Our room!


We woke up early to catch the sunrise, eat breakfast, and double check our packed bags (I had the sibs pack their bags before sleeping as well – for minimal hassle).

I think the downside of staying in hotels or resorts in tourist spots is paying premium for average things. We had dinner in one of the supposedly ‘cheaper’ eateries (not the resort’s restaurants), and I paid Php 600 for a 3-person dinner. Meh. It happens.

We had free ‘buffet’ breakfast before checking out.. but no coffee available. Haha!

Our first activity for the day was Canyoneering at Badian. We parked inside church grounds, and *SPOILER ALERT* – the water you see in the river behind us is from the Kawasan Falls. You do see now where I’m going with this right?

We took photos while waiting for the habal habal to pick us up and bring us to the drop off point! It was a shorter ride than the one to Osmeña Peak.

Again, I do not have a lot of photos here as I prefer to document jumping off to deep waters on video. It’s actually the first jump that’s hardest.. and the really high ones because the moment you step into the edge is when you really see how high it is. We still jumped, though! You can take a pass on the higher jumps, but the little sis did all the high jumps. I’m so proud!

It’s quite an experience! I’m already planning to go back and bring C! He likes this kind of things as well and it would be fun to have him jump the 50-ft jump before me. Haha!

The Kawasan Falls had three tiers, and this was the last one. We also had our ‘recovery meal’ here which was great because all that jumping and swimming and trekking really tired us out.

I suggest going canyoneering in a smaller group (4 is a good number). Our tour group had 15 people in it, and it took us a few more hours than expected to finish because the guides all had to ensure that everyone stayed in the same place while waiting for everyone to jump. We didn’t have a lot of time in Pescador Island due to this and saw no turtles nor dolphins. 😦

It also rained while we were on the boat which caused the big waves. We all unconsciously clutched to our life vests tighter until we got back to the shore.

Even though I feel like this tour could have been better (the weather wasn’t cooperating, unfortunately), my first venture to South Cebu is well worth all the buwis buhay moments! I do plan on going back with C, but maybe with a different itinerary. I’d really like to see the turtles and dolphins!

Travel Vlog || #ProjectSursuroy: Tumalog Falls + Oslob Whale shark Watching + Sumilon Island + Osmeña Peak || #ProjectSursuroy: Canyoneering at Badian + Kawasan Falls + Pescador Island || Bohol Countryside Tour || A Day in Cebu City

#ProjectSursuroy: Tumalog Falls + Oslob Whale shark Watching + Sumilon Island + Osmeña Peak

Yay! I’m back to writing travel posts again which is one of my favorite things to write about. 🙂 This trip was born out of thinking what to get the sibs for their birthdays (they’re both December babies) and Christmas. Combine that with my need to explore as much as possible, and I decided to book us a domestic trip after Christmas. Kim tagged along since she.. had things to think about and needed a break. 🙂 I’ve always wanted to go back to Cebu ever since I first went for my birthday in 2013 (Cupcake Girl Goes Solo in Cebu: Bantayan Island, Anika Island Resort, The Henry Hotel, Cebu City 1, Cebu City 2, Cebu City 3, Cebu City 4, Cebu City 5, Cebu City 6) because I didn’t feel like I really got to see everything there is to see. Cebu’s a great place and I don’t feel like I’ve even scratched the surface. 🙂 Kim was the one who initially found Happy Juanderer. You can see from my previous posts that I am not very fond of availing tours that lasts more than a day, but after researching the itinerary, I decided to simply join their Project Sursuroy Group Tour for Php 5,350/person. The sibs and Kim playfully tout me as the ‘team leader’ during trips as I tend to plan and coordinate things – and I chose convenience. 😛

We got to the airport early since it was the Yuletide season, and although our local airport suck all year round, they tend to do their worst during this time. We were baffled when they called our names to approach the boarding gate, only to find out that there were four seats free in an earlier flight to Mactan (which was already delayed for more than an hour at that) and we were to board the plane. They had us act discreet, to not start a commotion among all the other delayed passengers of our actual flight.. as if one can act discreet while running around the airport to catch a shuttle to get to the plane. We got stink eyes from disgruntled passengers upon boarding, and we realized it might be because they thought that we were late passengers to their flight. Haha!

We arrived in Mactan around 1 in the morning, and took a cab to the meet up place for the group tour. Kuya Ferdie, our tour leader, arrived a few minutes before 4 AM and had all 15 of us in the group tour in two separate vehicles in less than 30 minutes. He and our driver, Kuya Marlon, are very efficient drivers and we covered a lot of land in a few hours. Our first stop was supposed to be Osmeña Peak, but it was drizzling, so we headed to Tumalog Falls instead.

The place is very serene.. and for the lack of a more imaginative word – just so green lol. It was well worth the crazy habal habal ride with no helmets on down the steep slope. Whew.

Bamboo trees line the vicinity of the falls. You can opt to go swimming, but the water was cold and we decided not to.

Our next stop was *drum roll please* Oslob Whale Shark Watching! It was not my first attempt at swimming with the whale sharks, so I was really psyched to be doing this. All the photos I have though for this experience are the ones I took while waiting to be called for the boat. It was the holidays and the place was packed with foreigners and Pinoys alike.

We were given numbers, and we were already for boat #400+ that early in the morning.

Important things to note during the orientation, which we witnessed so many times while waiting: do not touch the whale sharks (it’s illegal and you can go to jail), no flash photography (they will get violent and attack you, nah, kidding), and that if they swim towards you, do not panic and simply make way. Do watch the video (I have a link at the bottom of this post) because I had our whale shark experience there and seriously, THE FEAR IS REAL.

This encounter starts around 1:09 and you can see panicky me swim back towards the boat. Haha! It lasted a few seconds, but I honestly thought I was going to accidentally kick the whale shark and spend six months in jail okay.

Each boat in only allowed 45 minutes of encounter, but I plan on coming back and getting that Instagram worthy photo. Hopefully I won’t be super scared then. Everyone was tired from the excitement, and we had our lunch at Sumilon Island.

Sumilon island did have a nice cream-ish sand color, but damn, it was super rocky!

Aside from having to cross the threshold between the sand and the sea, having to eat out of the packed plate proved to also be a challenge. I’m sorry Sumilon, you are no longer in the running to become one of the places I plan to go back to any time soon.

When I read that Osmeña Peak is part of the itinerary, I did not bat an eye. All the blogs tell you is that it’s a minor trek. In my mind, I thought that meant that it was something non-mountain climbers (who does not lead a very active lifestyle) can do on a whim.

It started out easy enough too! We had to ride a habal habal with a winding scenic route up the mountain. I was on it with my brother (whose hat flew off).

Once we got there, a guide went ahead of us to lead the way.

You see that hill behind my brother? No, that was not the peak.

We were only halfway to the peak and I honestly wanted to just sit there and wait for them to come back.

..still not the peak though. It’s called peak for a nothing, Teesh!

The Osita sibs! They all went ahead of me because I kept taking breaks (I’ve been known to try things that are pushes beyond my physical limits lol. Haha!

This guy kept photobombing my pictures. I swear, one moment I’ll check if he’s there before snapping photos, only to find that he and his scarf will suddenly appear in the background. T_T

The view is very much worth it!

I had a small wish upon reaching the top – that may I always have this thirst for adventure, the knack to push my limits (in a very safe way haha), and the ability to get whatever I put my mind to done.

I’ll update the links as I go along! 🙂 Let me know if you’ve been to South Cebu and how it went for you!

Travel Vlog || #ProjectSursuroy: Tumalog Falls + Oslob Whale shark Watching + Sumilon Island + Osmeña Peak || #ProjectSursuroy: Canyoneering at Badian + Kawasan Falls + Pescador Island || Bohol Countryside Tour || A Day in Cebu City

Toby’s Estate

I mentioned a few months back that I have turned in my resignation after three years in the company. I’m pretty happy about getting the chance to go do different things (not exactly since I’ll be taking a similar role in another company), but the sad part about it is leaving all the great colleagues turned friends behind. We had lunch at Toby’s Estate on my last day. It wasn’t anything unusual because we eat out a few times every week.. but it’s not going to be the norm now that I have left. I’ll definitely miss working with these people, our daily chismisan, and the food! 🙂

Fried Eggs (Php 375)
Fried Eggs (Php 375)
Sticky Toffee Pudding (Php 190) + Flat White (Php 150)
Colleagues turned friends!

Som’s Noodle House Authentic Thai Food

When I go out with C, I group it with TAoCBaCG, and name the posts concerning my oldest friend, T+K. What happens when the two merged together?

My friendship with Kim is as cliche as eating Siomai in the streets, and in this case, we were – on one of the outdoor tables at Som’s where you fear for your life due to the onslaught of fast cars passing by.

Siomai (Php 80)

We had spent almost all of our childhood together. Conversations reminiscing our past together would bring on a plethora of anecdotes. Just like the Seafood Phad Thai, there are so many yummy tidbits among the lengthy noodles. Our history is a mixture of roughly crushed peanuts, lemon zest, and seafood – salty with tears, rough with friendly spats and a bit of zest to keep it interesting.

Seafood Phad Thai (Php 250)

Meanwhile, the Tom Yam would be more apt to represent the impression on C and I’s relationship. One look at this dish and you would immediately assume it is crazy spicy (probably due to the color) but it is far off. The first sip on a summer night, instead of ignites your body temperature, maintains it – the lime juice in the soup can’t help but scream refreshing. As for the prawns and our relationship, getting past that annoying cover is hard work but totally worth it.

Tom Yum (Php 250)

Overall, the entire dinner was as filling as their best seller, Bagoong Fried Rice. Separately, they all seem very different, clashing flavors – but combined together brings out a flavorful dish. The green mango strips, the fried egg, the meat, and rice are all bursting with personality – but it works just so wonderfully and ends up a favorite.

Bagoong Fried Rice (Php 120)

Tanabe Japanese Restaurant

I met Mao on my first day at work. He’s the ice cold somen of the bento that is my new colleagues. Being the warm miso soup that I am, I kept my distance. Although we worked on the same project (for two years), we never became close. I always thought hanging out with him is like the beni shake, with his designer stuff and snobbish aura, nice but you can’t always afford.

But as it turns out, Mao is iced green tea. An acquired taste, with his snarky comments (ironically enough, is one of the things I like the most about him), yet refreshing and just what you’d need during warm (and challenging) days. Our funny (albeit sometimes judgmental) conversations is just the tasty chawan mushi of what turned out to be an unlikely friendship. Having Mao as my project manager is the shake onigiri of knowledge – fulfilling with lots of precious salmon on how to handle work adversities, office politics and what not. The Mao-Felice-Teesh lunch out club (who knew, right?) is the matcha ice cream of a working day – sweet (but definitely not for everyone) and guaranteed for a truly authentic experience.

I will truly miss you, Mao. See you soon in Japan! 🙂

Photos are of lunch set meals (PHP 300-400). Other things to try (from all my previous visits): Gindara Special Bento, Makunouchi Special Bento, everything under the Steak Teishoku (warning: food coma!), the sashimi (prepared fresh – you can view it in the bar) and onigiri.

Tanabe Japanese Restaurant

2/F Jupiter Place, Jupiter St., Makati City

Open every day, 11:00 AM-2:30 PM, 5:00-10:30 PM

T+K: Matabungkay Beach

The last time Kim and I traveled together alone was in 2013 when we decided on a whim to go to Puerto Galera. We have talked about doing it again but was pushing it off until who knows when. But one Saturday, Kim texted me at 5 AM in the morning so we could leave by 6 AM. Hahaha!

And leave we did. We didn’t even eat anything and I haphazardly packed some clothes in my bag and off we go. We rode a bus going to Lian, Batangas and rode a jeepney to Matabungkay.

Once we got there, we found this Korean carinderia which is a bit quirky, eating Korean food inside a nipa hut. Afterward, while we’re feeling full, we walked on the beach to look for an accommodation. We scored this room for Php 2000 at Le Nid Douillet de Matabungkay.

And then Kim and I spent the rest of the afternoon (until about 3 PM) napping.. yeah, gone are the days where we spend the entire afternoon scaling rocks and half walk-half swim to reach the other end of the beach.

We looked for somewhere to eat since we missed lunch (Korean food is just brekky, okay) and there are no restaurants in the area. So if you’re planning to have a comfortable stay in Matabungkay Beach, I suggest staying in one of the resorts with restaurants. Looking for food is a feat in itself.

We walked around the beach for sunset.

And walked around again in search of food. Hahahaha! We found some barbecue being sold along the street and bought a lot.

And some midnight snacks from the grocery (with a super snotty cashier). Yes, our tummies are bottomless pits. The next day was no different. Breakfast is another round of scavenger hunt.

You can rent this huge rafts for about Php 1500/day. We just took a photo, though. Haha!

We rented one of those paddle boats for Php 300 so we can go snorkeling. I have heard stories about the strong undercurrent in this particular waters, hence, I decided not to jump off without a life vest. But the water was so clear and nice, and the coral reef was well worth getting my legs bruised. The water was clear enough to still see the bottom even if it was pretty deep already and it was the first time I wished I can go down to the bottom to explore some more (I fear the depth of the sea, which is not that obvious considering my posts, but I dislike not seeing the bottom of the ocean).

The two guys who maneuvered the boat let Kim and I sat at the back, with our legs in the water while they paddled back to the shore.

We then spent the rest of the morning swimming in the pool before we left to go back home. Oh, and I’m wearing Kim’s dress while she wore mine. One size fits all. 😀

I’m really sorry to those who chanced upon this post before I had the chance to edit it. As per usual, I went and uploaded photos to a queued post and totally forgot its’ existence until last night when notifications alerted me. I honestly do not have a myriad of things to say about this trip, because it was simply a relaxing vacation. A short and sweet escape from reality before we had to go back to our boring jobs (although Kim’s is a lot more interesting since she’s a public school teacher) and routinary days.