What’s with all the “shaming”?

Body-shaming. Mom-shaming. Smart-shaming. Slut-shaming. Seriously. What’s with all these “shaming”? Yes, I need to lose some weight around my belly area. Yes, some moms need to feed their children better and healthier food. Yes, some people show off their intelligence too much. Yes, some women need to dress more appropriately and less slutty. But, and I quote DJ Chris Tsuper, “If you have nothing nice to say or if what you’re gonna say is mean, rude, nasty or demeaning, then why not just keep your unsolicited opinion to yourself?”

So I was listening to that “Tambalan” radio program this morning and they were talking about “mom-shaming”. A mother proudly posted a picture of the lunchbox that she prepared for her kid on social media. I’m not entirely sure what was in it coz my attention was divided, but it was something that was “frowned upon” by most health freak moms. Let’s say it has sausages, ham, cupcake, cookies and other processed food or sugary snacks. Of course, some of her so-called friends commented about how unhealthy it was. Some even going so far as giving her a lecture about the bad effects of such food on her kid’s health. Instead of getting praised for her effort in preparing something for her kid, she gets “mom-shamed”.

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I have experienced a similar thing. I recently traveled somewhere and of course, like all of my previous trips, I had to do a jump shot at some point. It’s a must. Unfortunately, I was wearing a crop top and it was extremely windy then. My shirt kept on getting blown up by the wind, therefore revealing my “flabs” around the belly. So I posted a picture of that jump shot on Facebook, thinking there was nothing wrong with my belly fat. I mean, it was not a pretty sight, sure, but it wasn’t THAT bad. Besides, the whole point of the picture was to show the beautiful wind mills behind me. Two of my (brutally) honest friends posted comments saying something about my belly. It was nothing mean or bad and I’m sure they didn’t mean anything by it. But I was suddenly self-conscious about it. I kept on looking at that picture, particularly the belly area, and I suddenly saw how ugly and distracting it was. That’s when I was suddenly reminded of all the body-shaming posts and articles I’ve been reading online. And it’s not just about calling someone “fat” or “chubby, if you call someone too thin or too skinny, that constitutes as body-shaming too.

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^ Me and my flabs

I don’t claim to be an expert on social media. I’ve been using it for years but I still don’t completely get it. I still have so many questions. Why do we care about the number of likes, followers and comments? Why are some pictures more “instagram-able” than others? Why do we care so much about celebrities’ lives and get updates from them as if our lives depended on it? Why do we post pictures and express our thoughts on social media and then later regret it?

But the more important question is: why do we have to be so mean to each other?

So what if this one mother feeds her child lots of sugary food? It’s her child. She can do whatever she wants and raise him however way she wants. So what if I have love handles and muffin top? I am well aware of it. I am not proud of it. And believe me, I am trying my best to get rid of it. So what if someone keeps on talking about facts and other smart-sounding stuff? You should be thankful that he/she is sharing something useful with you, instead of sordid rumors and nonsensical gossip. At least that person is not a know-it-all, there’s a big difference. I know someone who is an INSUFFERABLE know-it-all and believe me, it drove me nuts. So what if someone keeps on dressing up in sexy (bordering on slutty) outfits? If she’s got it, then she can flaunt it. You cannot tell her what to wear and what not to wear. You do not own her.

Looking at it on another perspective, yes, people should be responsible for what they post on social media. If you post a picture of yourself in a two-piece bikini, then get ready to read both good and bad comments. But does an innocent picture of a mom’s special lunchbox for her child elicit harsh and nasty comments? Does a picture of a #confidentlybeautiful plus-sized woman wearing a cute crop top need to be bashed and showered with degrading remarks?

Sure. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. But everyone’s entitled not to hear those unwanted opinions too.

I’m not gonna wash my hands clean. I do have mean and nasty comments about some of the things and pictures that my friends post on social media. I have a lot of those. But they either stay in my head or within the four walls of my room. Or if I can’t help it, I tell my close friends about it. I don’t mindlessly type comments here and there. If I did that, I would be in a lot of trouble.

What I’m getting at here is, I wish people would stop being mental bulimics. I wish we could all stop and think for a second before shaming other people. Nobody is born perfect. Of course, you could just keep on posting pictures and ignore the comments. It’s up to you. You don’t really need to care about what other people will say. For me, it all comes down to respect. We don’t need to be nice to each other all the time (I do admit that sometimes some people are just asking for it). But we can show some respect to each other, can’t we? At the end of the day, we’re all just victims of the crazy world of social media.

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Credit to whoever made those wonderful memes. I love you all.

One OK Rock Live in Manila!!!

I traveled for more than 12 hours, ran like I was being chased by zombies, endured hunger and thirst, paid the cab driver double the fare just to get me to the arena on time… did not get a wink of sleep on the bus, experienced chills and a terrible headache… was almost late for work… BUT IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!!! One of the most epic and unforgettable concerts for me. If I could, I would do it all over again just to hear the fans’ screams and cheers, feel the adrenaline rush, listen to Taka’s awesome voice and see the band rock it out on stage.

 

Undeniably one of the best things coming out of Japan, the band, One OK Rock, consists of Takahiro Moriuchi on vocals, Toru Yamashita on guitar, Ryota Kohama on bass and Tomoya Kanki on drums. These four amazingly talented guys totally rocked the whole Mall Of Asia Arena last January 19, 2016. It would go down in my history ( as a music fan) as one of the most phenomenal and exciting concerts I’ve ever attended. With the release of their full English album, 35xxxv, there is no stopping these lads from taking over the entire globe. The concert was just freakin’ fantastic from start to finish. There was never a boring or ho-hum time!

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So, I mentioned in my blog about them before that I’m not really a big fan. But after this concert, I AM NOW A HUGE fan. I even felt ashamed when they sang a few songs that the whole crowd seemed to know the lyrics to and I was just standing there awkwardly, not knowing a line of it. But then again, I’m a new fan, so go easy on me guys. 🙂

If you must know, I was a bit hesitant about going to their concert because it was on a TUESDAY night. I mean, come on, people. Who decides these stuff? Recently, I’ve missed far too many concerts because they were on a WEEKDAY. Like, WTF concert organizers?! Students need to go to school and working people like me need to go to work! The biggest dilemma was the fact that the concert was held at the MOA Arena in Pasay and I live a good 6 to 7 hours away from Manila. I live in the City of Pines, Baguio City. Luckily, there is now a “deluxe bus” from my city to Manila, which would take a route with less traffic and it has no stopovers, so it’s faster than the regular bus. It would take about 4-5 hours, instead of the usual 6-7 hours. The next predicament is the fact that I have work until 2 PM and the concert is at 8 PM. So I have to figure out a way to get to the arena before 8 PM, or at exactly 8 PM. It was just impossible, I thought. So I booked a Joybus ticket which left my city at 3 PM. I was still calm through the first half of the trip. But when the clock struck 6 and I was still nowhere near SM North (where I planned to get off and take the North Avenue MRT to Taft), I started praying. Like, really. I never pray. Just so you know. Adding fuel to the fire is the heavy rush hour traffic and the bus taking a different route than I expected. So while we were stuck in traffic at Mindanao Ave., I saw the MRT station from afar, a good 20 minutes away on foot. I made a split decision to just go for it. I got off the bus and ran for my life. I ran like I’ve never run before. It took me about 10 minutes to get to the MRT. It was already 10 minutes to 8 PM by then. I was a bit euphoric when 8 PM came and my friends, who were already inside the arena, texted me and told me that it hasn’t started yet. I reached the MRT Taft station after about 20 minutes. I ran for my life again and flagged the first cab that I saw. I told the driver I would pay him extra if he could get to the MOA arena fast. And he did. I arrived at the arena at exactly 8:30, out of breath and my heart pumping wildly in my chest. That’s when I heard the screams of fans and the beat of the drums. Good thing we got Lower Box tickets, so I only had to take the escalator to the 2nd floor. The moment I stepped inside the arena, Taka sang the first line of “Take Me To The Top”!!!

 

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The triple headbang

The first thing that left me flabbergasted was how close we were to the stage! I mean, my friend bought the tickets and I had no idea where our seats were. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be in the same arena as these awesome guys. Out of all the concerts I’ve been to, so far, this was the closest I’ve been to the stage. I didn’t zoom in when I took pictures and videos with my phone’s camera. Now… I promised myself (during The 1975’s concert) that I wouldn’t take too many pictures and videos and I would just “live in the moment”. BUT I COULDN’T! Especially when they kept on singing one song after the other! I was on my feet the whole time. I could only sit down for about 30 seconds before they started playing another one of their incredible songs. It was probably the most exhausting and energy-draining concert I’ve attended. But then again, it’s a ROCK concert, so I’m supposed to jump up and down, sing my lungs out and throw my fist up in the air the whole time.

 

Credit: Rappler.com

The band never failed to keep us on our feet: frenzied and pumped up for 2 hours. Even when they were singing their Japanese songs, the crowd was still singing along and cheering wildly.

Credit: Rappler.com

I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve told my friends how incredible Taka’s voice was. There was no other way to describe the quality of his vocal performance. It was breathtaking and extraordinary! He was so hyperactive; running around, jumping up and down, screaming, headbanging, doing some kind of pirouettes and yet, he didn’t show any signs of fatigue or even getting slightly winded! He would belt out their songs effortlessly – like he does it in his sleep!

Toru and Ryota didn’t miss any of the action too. They were also all over the stage, playing the hell out of their guitars, eliciting loud cheers and applause from the fans. The drummer, Tomo, was kinda short so his drum set was blocking him from our view, but I could totally see him banging hard on those drums like his life depended on it.

 Credit: Rappler.com

The marvelous “sea of lights” during their ballad song, “Heartache”, was moving. I just loved that everyone momentarily stopped recording with their cameras and just waved their phones up in the air as one. It was beautiful. He sang the Japanese version and was touched when the crowd actually sang along to it. I liked how he kept on putting his hand to his chest to show how touched and grateful he was.

Taka was the only one speaking in English, with only a slight hint of his Japanese accent. He never failed to amaze me with his showmanship and confidence when he was on stage. It’s astonishing how someone so small (actually they all looked tiny on stage ^^) could command the crowd and release a litany of “F” words like a boss.

 

Credit: Rappler.com

Taka jumped like he’s telling gravity to “go on and fuck yourself” (a line from my favorite song “Memories”).

The crowd totally went bananas when he sang “The Beginning” – the theme song of the first Rurouni Kenshin live action movie. It was followed by the theme song to another Rurouni Kenshin movie, “Mighty Long Fall”.

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Just when I thought it was over, of course, they came out after a few minutes for the ENCORE part! Prior to that, we were all screaming “WE WANT MORE!!!” So when Taka and the boys came out, Taka was like “You want more?! Me too.” Haha!

The best part for me was the ending when all four guys, sweaty and out of breath, came forward, held hands, raised them together and went for a 90-degree bow. And it was the LONGEST AND DEEPEST BOW that I have ever seen in my life. I’m sure everyone in that arena felt their heartwarming gratitude.

 

 Credit: Rappler.com

I promised myself that I would watch every single concert that they would have in my country no matter what. Nothing can stop me. I don’t care about the distance, the time, the day and even the weather. I started listening to this band just because I was kind of into Japanese music then. But now, I can proudly say that I am not just a fan, I respect them as artists.

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Setlist

3xxxv5

Take Me to the Top

Memories

Deeper Deeper

Stuck in the Middle

Clock Strikes

Last Dance

Cry Out

Heartache

Decision

Suddenly

The Beginning

Mighty Long Fall

Encore:

Wherever You Are

Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer

No Scared

EDIT! My friend has finally uploaded her BETTER fan cams… So here are a couple:

Decision (end part) + Suddenly 

Taka’s AMAZING vocals in “Clock Strikes”

The best fan cam of “Heartache”

CREDITS: The good and high quality pics are of course NOT MINE. LOL. The crappy ones are mine. All credits go to RAPPLER.COM

My Second Harry Potter Butterbeer [The Nook Cafe]

My friend Ayen and I are now officially (self-proclaimed) butterbeer connoisseurs. And nothing can stop us. LOL. My first Harry Potter butterbeer was at The Royal Piccadilly and of course, I wrote about it here. That was one of the best moments of my life. I honestly thought that would be the first and last butterbeer that I would ever have. Apparently, I was wrong. Now that He Who Must Not Be Named is gone, witches and wizards are getting more and more comfortable revealing themselves to the Muggles. Gone are the days when they feel the need to use invisibility spells and concealment charms to — oops! Sorry. Got carried away.

Anyway…

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Unlike The Royal Piccadilly, The Nook at Maginhawa Street in QC does not just offer butterbeer, it is a paradise for Potterheads like me and my friend. The sign outside the door already sent shivers of excitement up and down my spine.

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The cafe has two floors. There are three tables in front of the small counter and two outside. It’s pretty cozy, but kinda cramped. Everywhere we looked, we could see something from the magical world of Harry Potter — action figures, the snitch AND Harry’s very own Nimbus 2000 hanging up in the ceiling.

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We were like kids in a candy store — just craning our necks and pointing excitedly as we looked around. When we arrived, the second floor was full. Fortunately, a ‘spot’ opened after about 5 minutes and we were asked if we wanted to go up.

Well, DUH.

OF COURSE WE DO!!!

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I was kinda tempted to touch the Nimbus 2000 as I went up the narrow stairs , but it was out of my reach. Boo. Right at the top of the stairs, on the coat stand, were Hogwarts robes from each of the four respective houses. Got dibs on Gryffindor! Haha!

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There was also a time turner hanging on the wall, right beside the mirror. There are three small tables and cushions on the floor. We were asked to remove our shoes before moving to the far side of the room.

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Let me just say, the mural painting of Hogsmeade on the wall was breathtakingly exquisite. Sitting right next to it, we couldn’t stop admiring the intricate and lifelike design.

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There was a small bookshelf right behind us and in all fairness to them, they were quite updated with the latest novels. I saw a copy of Eleanor and Park and I was instantly delighted.

My eyes lit up like Christmas lights when I saw a box of CHOCOLATE FROGS on the shelf. I badly wanted to open it and gobble up all the chocolates inside… unfortunately, due to my over exuberance, I dropped it behind the bookshelf and I couldn’t get it back anymore. 😦 So I wasn’t able to take a selfie with it. :(((((

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Going back to the ‘main event’ — the BUTTERBEER. They have a regular butterbeer which costs P100 and an up-sized one which costs P150. TBH, I would recommend you to get just the regular one. The so-called up-sized one isn’t THAT up-sized, if you know what I mean. There’s only a tiny bit of difference, like they just added a few drops or something. LOL. Just the mere sight of the butterbeer made me giddy and I couldn’t stop smiling like a fool. It was indeed a magical experience!

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So Ayen and I had a lengthy discussion about which butterbeer is better: The Royal Piccadilly’s or The Nook’s? While the former gave us an option of whether or not we wanted it spiked, the latter was strictly for underage witches and wizards. The former has a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which makes it more like an ice cream float than a butterbeer, but it was cold enough. The latter tasted like a melted butterscotch candy and a hint of something else that I cannot seem to fathom. It sent us into a sugar rush with every sip. Both butterbeers tasted good, however, The Nook’s butterbeer hits all the right spot.

As self-proclaimed butterbeer connoisseurs, we therefore conclude that The Nook’s butterbeer is worth enduring ten Cruciatus curses. Okay, wait, no, that’s horrible. But, yeah, you get my point. ^_^

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Mischief Managed!

THE FIVE GUYS YOU MEET THROUGH ONLINE DATING

They say life is a rollercoaster. I say “have you tried online dating?”

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“Fasten your seatbelt! You’re in for one hell of a ride.” – Someone should have given me this warning before I got in too deep with all these hullabaloos surrounding online dating.

I haven’t written anything worth reading for like 9 months now. And suddenly, here comes an idea. Something that hits close to home. It’s this crazy little thing called ‘online dating’.

Although I’ve been a member of a handful of these ‘free online dating sites’ for more than two years now, I was never really an ‘active’ member. Mainly because I have no idea how the whole concept of online dating works.

According to my trusty source (Mr. Google), “online dating” is the practice of searching for a romantic or sexual partner on the Internet, typically via a dedicated website.

First of all, I didn’t know that. I thought the whole point was finding someone who shares your interests, someone you have a connection with, or at least someone close to your ‘ideal guy’, and then starting a real relationship with them. I thought it was a cooler, more advanced and modern way to meet guys. I was dead wrong.

Online dating has now turned into a petri dish of creeps, perverts, stalkers, maniacs, assholes, jerks — whatever horrible stuff you have in mind, double it. Ever since I’ve started online dating, I have seen all kinds, colors, and sizes of THAT male part. Believe me, I have seen enough to last me a lifetime. That brings me to my first question.

Why do guys feel the need to show girls a picture of their junk? 

What’s up with that?

Yeah, no, don’t answer that okay. I KNOW WHY. #rhetoricalquestion

I might get bricked for saying this… but, yes, I did start this online dating thing because I don’t have time to actually go out and meet guys. I don’t have male coworkers. I don’t have male neighbors. My friends would never be bothered to set me up on blind dates. The only interaction I have with someone from the opposite gender would be when I ride the jeepney on my way home from work or on the rare occasion that I actually go out — to the mall or the market.

I’ve only started being “active” on these online dating sites this year and in that short period of time, I have met a cornucopia of guys that made me realize I’m in the wrong place. I definitely came to the wrong party. I imagined myself going to a nude beach and walking around with my clothes on; everyone ogling at me and following me around like a hungry pack of wolves.

Since I’ve decided to start writing a blog every week, I thought I should share some of my embarrassing, annoying, funny, awkward and not-so-pleasant online encounters.

GUY # 1

Mr. Friends With Benefits. Of course, this is the first guy that I’ve met. Just my luck. This type of guy is usually a smooth talker. He would make you feel comfortable first, get your trust, make you laugh and then move on to his not-so-hidden agenda. Now, I’m not that stupid. I’ve seen the movie “Friends With Benefits” so I know how it goes. I just don’t get the ‘benefits’ part. Unless the guy looks like Ryan Reynolds or Benedict Cumberbatch, I don’t think I’m getting any “benefit” here. Besides… the guy that I’ve met was more of a ‘backdoor’ kind of guy. And, yeah. NO. Hell no.

GUY # 2

Mr. Send Me A Picture. I remember this one guy who seemed really nice and decent. We had a really engaging, fun and PG-13 chat for a few days. I almost thought he was “the one”… until he asked me to send him a picture. I thought, okay, sure, he wants a selfie. Selfie sent! He said I was ‘cute’ and he asked me to send him more… and more… and more. Nope. He wanted to see my whole body. He doesn’t give a damn about my face. Or my personality. Or the fact that I love reading books. He just wants to see my boobies. LOL. Surprisingly, this doesn’t really offend me. I’m used to it by now. Most guys would actually save themselves some time and just go straight to the point. They’d be like “pic of my ding-a-ling sent, now it’s your turn”. LOL.

GUY # 3

Mr. Are You Open-Minded?. It’s funny how I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count and I don’t think we were thinking about the same “open-mindedness” here. First of all, I AM OPEN-MINDED, meaning I am “receptive to arguments or ideas” and “unprejudiced”. Apparently, in the world of online dating, being open-minded means you are game for sex. That’s it. So if a guy asks me this magic question. I am 100% sure that I know where the conversation is going. I remember this one guy. Once again, I fell for the witty banter between us. I’m a sucker for fun and intelligent conversations. Out of nowhere, he asked me the magic question, “Are you open-minded?”. So I didn’t waste any minute and gave him the answer that he was seeking for. I told him “NO”. He asked why. I told him that I knew where this was going and I’m not into ‘casual sex’ or anything like that. I must have hurt his pride or something because he started defending himself like I was his girlfriend and I caught him cheating on me. LOL! It was sad and pathetic how he tried to salvage the situation, giving lame excuses as he tried to finagle his way out of it. In the end, I decided to just block him because his messages were starting to sound desperate and on the verge of suicidal.

GUY # 4

Mr. Oops I Forgot I Have A Girlfriend. Yep. The worst kind of person out there. Do I really need to explain this further? And yes, I know that it’s stupid to actually believe this kind of guy. In my defense, I didn’t really ‘fall’ for his trap. I just wanted to give it a shot coz he was funny and witty and kinda decent. Unfortunately for him, he texted me so I got his number and my amazing smartphone automatically ‘synced’ to my Facebook account. The morning after our “movie date” I saw him in the “suggested friends” area on FB. Out of curiosity, I visited his profile and saw three words that made me want to meet him again and bash his face in. IN. A. RELATIONSHIP. >_<

GUY # 5

Mr. Let’s Get Down To Business. Believe it or not, I totally respect this guy more than the other pretentious jerks. He might be a perv, but he’s a straight-to-the-point-no-nonsense kind of perv. At least he’s got the balls to tell me honestly that he wants nothing but casual sex. Some would just ask me right away if I’m “naughty”. Others would at least ask me some personal questions and pretend to care about my answers before asking if I’m “up for some fun”. A few would take a lifetime to actually show their true colors and it kinda makes me want to just give them my answer anyway.

What I’m getting at here is the fact that online dating started out as a fun and convenient way to meet people from anywhere in the world and potentially start something romantic… before moving on to the ‘main event’ *ehemsexehem*

I thought it was something that could help timid, anti-social, late bloomers with zero dating experience find their “perfect match” or at least the more realistic version of whoever that is.

Now it’s nothing more than an easy medium for creeps and perverts to get laid without committing to something. Or a convenient way for bored husbands to cheat on their wives and pretend they don’t have kids.

I envy those who actually get to find ‘true love’ through online dating. I mean, I’m not that old-fashioned or conservative in any way. I know what online dating (in this generation) entails… it’s not rocket science. I just thought that there’s still hope out there. I thought I could still come across a nice, humble and funny guy with a stable job and a cute smile.

Yeah. It’s stupid. But a girl can dream, right?

Anyway, let’s just let the memes talk. I don’t own them, btw. 😀

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Meme sources:

https://birdiesboys.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/tumblr_maz7yvivbj1qery84.jpg

http://memeguy.com/photos/images/online-dating-90400.jpg

http://www.trenchy1990.tumblr.com

http://www.yilb.com

http://www.ecardmonkey.com/cards/2013/7/2/0bb30-i-look-great-in-my-online-dating-profile-pictures–ecard.jpg

“The 1975” mania in Manila

“We are bigger in this country than in our own country.” — Matthew Healy 2015125234919

Those were the humbled words of the vocalist of the English Indie rock band, The 1975. And it was one of the most memorable moments for me. I was there. I finally saw them live, performing on stage, in a huge arena packed with screaming fans. I was one of those screaming fans. Words cannot describe how I’m feeling right now. It was just one of those moments that would leave you speechless; often smiling from ear to ear whenever you remember a snippet of what happened that night, even though you are in a public place and you look like a fool. To be honest, I am not a hardcore 1975 fan. My friend introduced their music to me and I gave it a try. I didn’t even Google them to see what they looked like. I listened to the album and I instantly liked it. It was, of course, a delight to find out, when I finally Googled them, that they were not some long-haired, bearded dudes who were born in 1975. LOL! I can’t say that I keep up-to-date with everything about them and I don’t Google them that much. I didn’t even bother refreshing my ‘playlist’ memory by listening to their whole album. I would just occasionally hear their songs on my phone, whenever I’m “sound tripping”. I didn’t memorize the lyrics to all their songs, I only know some lines here and there. But of course I subconsciously memorized “Settle Down” and “Chocolate”, coz I’ve listened to them so many times. I actually went to one of their mall shows last year. Unfortunately, I was too far from the stage and since it was a free event, there were like a bazillion of fans there. I was a bit disappointed in myself. I should have gone earlier. Anyway… going back to the concert… a series of unfortunate events happened before the concert. First, after hanging out with my high school friend at the mall, thinking I have all the time in the world, I realized that my phone’s battery was down to 38%. I don’t own a power bank, so unless I’m not planning to take pictures and videos of the concert, then I have to go back to my brother’s house and recharge my phone’s battery. So I hurried back home at around 6:30 PM and immediately recharged my phone. My friend and I decided to meet before 7 PM, but I figured that there was no need to hurry coz, like every other concert that I’ve attended, there would be a delay in the schedule and they’re gonna have an opening act or something. I didn’t anticipate the line at the MRT and of course the traffic from Taft Station to the Mall Of Asia Arena. At around 8:10 PM, my friend texted me and told me she was gonna go in na, she’ll just come out to give me my ticket. I was in full panic mode then. I didn’t want to miss even a minute of the concert! That ticket cost me 2000 pesos! And what if they sang “Settle Down” or “Chocolate” first?! I had never ran so fast in my life. I didn’t bother saying sorry to whoever I bumped into along the way. I just bulldozed my way out of the crowd. I so wanted to scream at the jeepney driver and tell him to step on it. I arrived at the arena at almost 8:30 PM. Like I predicted, the concert hadn’t started yet. So I met my friend, we went it, bought some bottled water, went up to the second floor and was about to go up to the third and then fourth floor (coz that’s where our seats were located) when all of a sudden a horde of shrieking fans came running down the escalators. They started lining up in front of the Lower Box doors. My friend and I were a bit perplexed for a second, but we calmly followed them and lined up too. It was too crowded and there was a lot of pushing so we decided to get out of there. While everyone else was still running around and screaming like mad people, my friend and I were just strolling around and checking things out. We then realized that they were allowing everyone to go down one level/floor. We walked to the nearest Lower Box door, showed our Upper Box tickets and VOILA — we were in! JUST LIKE THAT! It was sooooooooooo amazing! I was squealing and jumping up and down and hitting my friend on the arm! That was how ecstatic and stoked I was. I just couldn’t believe we went down TWO FLOORS! We found some seats on the left side of the stage and we had a clear view of it. I was just so giddy with excitement, especially when I saw where we were supposed to be seated.

2015124204646Our view of the stage 🙂

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So the concert started, they hit it off with “The City” and everyone automatically got up on their feet and just started jumping, waving their hands up and down and screaming their lungs out. Including me. Haha! George, the drummer, entered HALF-NAKED. He had no freaking shirt on!!! My friend and I figured he learned his lesson from his last visit in Manila, when they performed under the scorching sun and had to douse themselves with cold afterwards. Haha! Matty was wearing that cute flowery, Hawaiian-ish polo shirt and some ripped skinny jeans that emphasizes his REALLY SKINNY LEGS. Everything was a blur for me. I just couldn’t believe I was finally seeing them and I was CLOSER to the stage than I thought I would be. 🙂 I told myself I would concentrate on the performance and I would refrain from taking pictures and videos. I said I would only take one video and I chose “Settle Down” coz that’s my favorite song. ^^ I said I would leave everything to my hippocampus. But I just couldn’t help it! Even though my phone’s camera is not so HQ and well, yeah, it sucks. I couldn’t even find the ZOOM function so my pictures and videos looked like they were taken from the 4th floor. Haha! Anyway, my friend has the better videos so I’ll probably post them here once she finished uploading them. When they played “Settle Down” the crowd just went bananas! I, for one, started jumping and dancing and making some crazy gestures with my hands. I actually went into a coughing fit after screaming too much. Haha! Matty entered the stage with a bottle of wine, which he gulped down like water. And he would pause every now and then for a quick puff of his cigarette too. I was actually just waiting for him to do drugs on stage. Hahaha! Kidding aside, even though he was slurring his words (coz he was obviously tipsy and getting drunk by the minute) he gave some really touching and fangirl-shriek-inducing adlibs. I’m not sure if he kinda loses his British accent when he gets drunk, but we completely understood everything that he said! I mean, compared to that Trinoma mall show last year where I only understood a few sentences. I’m not sure if it has something to do with the crappy sound system then… needless to say, he was much easier to understand when he’s hammered. XD These are some of the memorable stuff that he said during the concert. It’s not verbatim coz my hippocampus, like my camera, also sucks. Haha!

Matty: This is a big room but I can see everyone. Listen to me… We’re all here. You guys are here… All the people on the Internet are not here. That’s just logical… For one song, I want to connect with you… I want everybody for one song, put your phones away… *points somewhere to his left side* I can see your phone over there! Put your phone away! 

Hahahaha! Actually, this particular moment reminded me of Bruno Mars’s concert last March. Everyone in the VIP area were holding up their phones, recording the whole show and taking pictures so Bruno was like “Hey, put your phones down and just dance with me!” Well, that’s the power of smart phones. It makes us blind, deaf and mute at the same time. We miss out on the good stuff because we are always on our phones. We don’t talk to each other while having lunch or dinner with family and friends, we send emojis instead of saying ‘hi’ in person, we don’t even look at people in the eye because we’re too busy looking down on our phone’s screen. It’s the sad reality of our modern society… BUT, I’m not here to preach. Haha! I guess Bruno and Matt both felt the same thing. They wanted the fans to see them IN PERSON, LIVE, not through the screen of their smart phones. 2015124205948 The fans were very compliant. One by one, all those tiny lights were gone until the only lights were the ones on stage. It was kinda moving… at first. Haha! Eventually, those itchy hands went back to their phones and started recording and taking pictures again. 10432098_10152730525868212_8697104953318905308_n Another epic line from Matty: “This is a big fucking place, I’m really tired. It’s so fucking hard to get from there, all the way over here. It’s a fucking nightmare.” Hahaha! He kept on running around the stage during the performance and because he was hammered, he felt exhausted after a while. LOL. There was this part when he was playing the piano and started singing a song, which I have no idea what the title was, and it was supposed to be a solemn and silent moment. We were all quiet already, most of us even put away our phones again. But there were these four annoying teenage girls, right above us, who kept on screaming and shrieking and calling out to Matthew. The whole arena already noticed them and we were all SHUSHING them, but they were thick-skinned and shameless. They just didn’t get it. I was a bit pissed off. I mean, I don’t wanna judge them but they really seemed like one of those irritating, uneducated fans who don’t really appreciate the music, they were only there to fawn over the boys. Okay, we get it, you’re so stoked about being there but try to get a hint, girls. Everyone’s fucking SHUSHING you, so shut the hell up. I swear, while Matty was singing this really calm and mellow song, they just kept on screaming incoherent stuff. Finally, Matty stopped singing and said “I want you to be quiet for this one…” So we were all like “SHUSH!!!”, and all the shushes went to those pesky, unruly girls. But Matty was like, “But remember, shushing is louder than talking so…” Hahahaha! He was just so adorable! matty

 Matty pics from my crappy cam ^^

Before leaving the stage, George gave us a FULL FRONTAL VIEW… of his ABS GALORE. ^__^ He went to bow in the middle of the stage and then threw his drum sticks to the crowd. Of course, Matty was the last one to leave. He was definitely wasted by the end, he was swaying from left to right and he couldn’t walk straight. LOL! Then he decided he was the KING OF THE WORLD~ so he stood up on one of George’s drums, with his back to the crowd, and made that KING OF THE WORLD gesture… then he jumped back down. The only problem was, he didn’t land awesomely on his two feet…  he fell flat on his butt! LOL! Poor boy. XD I was still on cloud nine even after I got back home. Although my videos were crappy and my pictures were blurred, my hippocampus kept on replaying the events of the night over and over again. I rode the bus home and these three girls sitting behind me were spazzing about the concert too. Haha! Of course, I eavesdropped on their conversation and I made a lot of snide remarks and comments… in my head. XD There was a time when I almost turned around and joined in their conversation. They were talking about how not all of the people who watched the concert were REAL FANS. They said most of them only know “Chocolate” and “Girls” and they felt that it was so unfair because before The 1975 got this famous, they (the girls) were the only ones among their friends and acquaintances who ‘knew’ the band and who liked ALL of their songs. They memorized the lyrics by heart and they knew EVERY SINGLE song that the band released. So they were sort of claiming dibs on the band, saying it’s annoying that they got famous now and everyone knows them. While listening to their conversation, I was smiling to myself. I wanted to tell them “Been there, done that”. Hahaha! If I had a dollar for every time I think about that same exact sentiment, I’d be able to buy a VIP ticket to the next concert by now. XP Like I said earlier, I’m not a hardcore fan. I listened to the album about five or six times then I chose a handful of songs that I like and put it on my phone. That’s it. Before, I thought these so-called fans are annoying because they keep on thinking they know everything about the band. So if I don’t know their full name, age, height, weight, eye color, fave dish, underwear preference, name of their parents, number of siblings, number of past girlfriends, then I cannot call myself a ‘FAN’?! Can’t I just be a fan who appreciates their music; someone who likes some of their songs more than the others? Can’t I just be someone who just wanted to see them perform live and show them my support?  Am I not a ‘fan’ just because I don’t Google them every day, memorize all the words to their songs, keep up-to-date with their recent gigs, mall shows and fan meets or stalk them on Twitter and Facebook? What exactly constitutes a ‘fan’? I’m not gonna be a hypocrite because I used to be that ‘kind’ of fan. I hated those who only knew one or two songs from the album and who had no idea where each band member was born. It was ridiculous and stupid. We all have different ways of showing our love and support for our fave bands and singers. So, it doesn’t really matter how or why you became a ‘fan’, what’s important is YOU ARE A FAN in your own way. 🙂

Bake your heart out!

I’m a frustrated cook. AND baker. Since I started binge watching Master Chef and Hotel Hell, I’ve been living vicariously through the contestants and the hotel chefs. So last Friday, I’ve decided to go the extra mile, or should I say MILES, to learn how to bake. My dear friend, Ayen, took baking classes a while back and she’s been telling me all about her experiences. I also got a chance to taste some of her cookies and they were perfect! I decided to pay her a visit and get some crash course in baking from her. She gladly obliged and so my baking apprenticeship starts…

I’m not gonna document everything — every single step– here. I’m too lazy for that. Haha. The first ‘technical challenge’ for us was the Apple Tarte Tatin. I watched one episode of The Great British Bake Off and saw some first time bakers make this. Or at least they tried to. I thought it wasn’t that difficult but we had a bit of a ‘dough situation’. Haha!

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And here’s the finished product… TA-TA-TA~TAN~  XD

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Ayen taught me how to do the measurements and the mixture for the dough. However, my dough was kinda dry and crumbly. I don’t know why. I blame the hot weather in LB. LOL! Placing the apples on the pan was kinda fun and exciting. I had to make sure the design would be perfect when we flip it upside down. So… the dough didn’t turn out as well-baked as we wanted it too. And the apples were too wet and soggy. Haha! But it was quite tasty and sweet.

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Next up was the SUGAR COOKIES! The cookie dough drained me of my energy. This one needed lots of arm strength. I started feeling pain on my heels coz I didn’t realize I was standing for too long. Haha! This time, the dough was kinda wet and sticky. Haha! I need more practice on dough-making. I have to learn the proper consistency for it. Cutting the cookies into different shapes were quite fun. We made some flowers, butterflies and hearts. The small and thin ones baked quicker than the bigger ones.

IMG_20141004_200740^ Concentrating on my “piping skills” XD

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^ Failed attempt at Minions LOL

IMG_20141004_205059^ Behold… The Royal Icing 

Although I burnt some of them, I was quite proud of their taste and how they turned out. I had a wonderful time piping the royal icing. I wrote the names of my friends and coworkers on some of them. I also added some swirly designs haha! But as you can see, my piping skills are still clumsy and rusty.

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CREAM PUFFS! It was also Ayen’s first time making these. The preparation time was quicker and easier than I expected. However, we need to move fast and do everything in a hurry. Haha! It was sort of a time-limited challenge. Finally, we got them in the oven. It was fun to watch them ‘pop’.  There was a bit of a problem, again, coz they weren’t turning brown. They were kinda pale. When we took them out, the top was too soft which means they were under baked. So we put them back inside. I guess they spent too much time inside the oven so they turned really brown and crisp… but too hollow inside. We couldn’t inject them with custard coz there were gaping holes at the bottom. T_T We decided to just put some cream cheese in them and place them upside down, like a cupcake. Haha.

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RED VELVET CUPCAKES!

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Ayen made the dough so I wasn’t sure about the consistency or anything like that. She made a nice dough, though. Pun definitely intended. Haha! I helped out in piping the cupcakes onto the cupcake pan. It was a bit stressful coz I had to avoid making a mess. The cream cheese on top of it was made by Ayen, while I stood by and watched. Haha! The taste of the cream cheese was just spot on. It wasn’t too sweet or too… cheesy. Hehe.

OREO CHEESECAKE COOKIES!

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I can’t take credit for any of these cookies. Ayen made them while I was taking a shower and getting ready to go back to Baguio. Haha! I just asked her how she made it and watched her placed the mixture into the pan. I got my first bite of it when I was on the bus, heading back to my city. Now… I’m not just saying this to promote her business or just because she’s my friend. It was REALLY like a party in my mouth! The flavor was rich and cream cheese comes through along with the crunchy Oreo cookies. It was the BEST out of everything we’ve baked. Hahaha!

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Taking a crash course in baking opened my eyes to a lot of things. It inspired me to practice more and do better. I just need to invest in some baking tools first — the important ones, like the oven. And then find an apartment with a decent kitchen coz my apartment’s gonna blow up if I try to cook so much as an egg. Haha!

If you want to order some of those scrumptious cookies, contact Ayen on Instagram @blissbakeshoppe or send her a message through SMS or Viber at 0917 583 0194. She also makes yummy and chewy brownies!

I shall end this with a quote that I saw somewhere on the web.

“When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.” ~ Laiko Bahrs

Wandering Around Bolinao, Pangasinan

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The Korean Thanksgiving, Chuseok, holiday is something that I always look forward to. I get to have 5 days off from work while almost everyone else is working their asses off or going to school. *insert evil laugh* So it’s always the best time for me to travel coz it’s not the ‘peak season’ and the travel spots are not too crowded. Last year, I joined my high school friend/ travel buddy’s family on their trip to Dumaguete and Siquijor. This Chuseok, my travel buddy, Ayen and another friend of mine, Au, decided to explore the majestic and untraveled city of Bolinao, Pangasinan. Ayen lives in Quezon City, while Au and I hail from Baguio City. So we decided to meet up at the Alaminos bus station and go to Bolinao from there. We found out that going there by bus was not a walk in the park. We had to transfer thrice because there was no bus trip going straight to Bolinao from Baguio City. Actually, there is a Baguio-Bolinao bus BUT the first trip is at 11 AM. We wanted to arrive there early so we just took the 4 AM bus to Dagupan. From Dagupan, we had to take the Alaminos bound bus and from there, we took the Bolinao bound bus.

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When you reach Bolinao, you don’t need to worry about finding a tour guide; a flock of tricycle drivers will appear before you the minute you get off the bus. All you need to do is take your pick and start haggling. Since Ayen already did her research, she was able to get the best tour guide/tricycle driver for us. Kuya Jhom was actually recommended by the owner of Benjie’s Cottages, where we stayed on our first night. Since it wasn’t the peak season, he gave us a good discount. We were supposed to stay at Rock Garden Resort but we decided that it’s better to stay somewhere in Patar so we can enjoy the famous ‘white beach’ more. Since we arrived there past 2 PM already, we just had a quick lunch at much-talked-about “Adoras”, which, IMO, was not that special. I mean, I’ve read so much about it in different blogs but it was just… ordinary. I guess it was overrated. Maybe I should’ve tried their special bulalo or something. Anyway, my friend was not kidding when she told me that Patar Beach was VERY far from the other tourist spots. After an hour of a bumpy and rocky tricycle ride, we finally arrived at Benjie’s Cottages which overlooks the ‘creamy’ beach of Patar. Yep. It was not a white beach; it was more like coffee with cream. Haha. We decided to stay at the tree house coz it’s way cooler than a normal cottage room.

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^View from the tree house

FIRST STOP: Cape Bolinao Lighthouse

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This was just 10 minutes away from Benjie’s so we decided to check it out and probably see the sunset from there. The sun was too bright while we were there so it was extremely difficult to take pictures. I couldn’t even see my phone’s screen. Haha! The lighthouse was locked and I’ve heard that not all tourists can enter it. Just when we were about to leave, though, someone opened the gate for a small group of tourists. Kuya Jhom immediately signaled us to go inside too. At first, the ‘gate keeper’ blocked our way but Kuya Jhom told him to let us come and he did! It was one of the best experiences ever despite the dizzying and exhausting climb. It was my first time to enter a lighthouse and I enjoyed every minute of it. When we reached the top, we couldn’t take proper selfies coz the wind was blowing too hard. The view, however, was simply breath-taking. If there was a zombie apocalypse, I figured I could just stay on top of that lighthouse since the zombies would be too tired or too weak to reach the top. Haha!

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SECOND STOP: Patar “Creamy” Beach

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The best thing about our stay at the beach was the fact that, save for a couple of ladies taking a rest a few meters away, we had it all to ourselves. It wasn’t awkward to take pictures and act silly. I even took my topper off despite the fact that I wasn’t too confident about my fat belly. But then again, who freakin’ cares? Haha! It was peaceful, relaxing and quiet. It was like we reserved the place. 🙂

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The weather was not really good so we weren’t able to capture the sunset. The sun sort of hid behind the clouds. T_T We decided to take a shower and prepare for dinner. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a real cowboy and I’m not fastidious or anything. I can stay in cheap accommodations. But I can only tolerate too much mess and dirt. Especially in the toilet. A dirty toilet is one of my pet peeves. I just don’t get why people wouldn’t take a few seconds of their time to flush the freakin’ toilet bowl. ANYWAY, my friends and I figured out later that we paid for the beautiful, creamy beach, not for the accommodations. Haha! A very frustrating and annoying thing happened to Au and me. Ayen was lucky coz she already finished taking a shower before it happened. There were other guests, a group of guys, who were lined up at the nearest toilet so we had to use the one farther from our cottage. Just when we were about to go inside, the lights went out. There was a blackout. The generator could only power the nearest cottages and toilet. So Au and I just took a shower together –in total darkness. Haha! We couldn’t wait any longer because we were cold. That was another first for me – taking a shower in complete darkness. LOL.

The next day, we packed up after breakfast and started our tour. Benjie’s was a great place, if they fix it up a bit more. Our plan was to take the tour and then transfer to Rock Garden Resort for our second night. We just wanted to stay somewhere with a proper and decent toilet. ^^

THIRD STOP: ROCK FORMATION

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???????????????????????????????        I’ve heard that this was supposed to be a haven for most photographers. It was quite interesting but I didn’t enjoy it that much coz it was so freakin’ hot and the sun was shining TOO brightly. Kuya Jhom told us that a 16-year-old girl tried cliff jumping in there before. She survived. I almost wanted to try it too coz it wasn’t that high. But the waves were too strong and I felt like I might hit a rock or something. Plus, I needed a life vest coz I cannot swim. T_T

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FOURTH STOP: Wonderful Cave

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Now this is where things got more interesting and way more fun. We thought Kuya Jhom was joking when he said that ‘Wonderful Cave’ belongs to his family. Apparently, it was true. When we reached the cave, he started telling us the ‘history’ of the cave. His late father was just walking around and shooting rocks (with a slingshot) at random rocks. That’s when he discovered the cave underneath some huge pile of rocks. There was actually a bit of a family feud over the ownership of the Wonderful Cave and the Enchanted Cave. The latter was owned by Kuya Jhom’s grandmother and from what I understood; they were claiming that the former was also their property.

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Once again, we had the cave all to ourselves so we swam for a quite a while. I didn’t want to get out of the water. The water was so clear, bluish-greenish, cool and almost magical. You could see the rocks at the bottom. Since none of us could swim, we decided to just stay by the roped area because it was only 3-4 feet. The middle part, past the roped area, was 8 feet deep. After waddling, and attempting to float, around the water for almost 30 minutes, we decided to leave… with a heavy heart. I really didn’t want to go because it was so relaxing. I wanted to have my own cave too. Haha! There was another cave nearby but there was no water. It was more like the kind of cave where you could go spelunking… and probably get eaten by a horde of deformed cannibals. LOL. We were told that a variety of birds lived inside that cave.

FIFTH STOP: Enchanted Cave

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Unlike the Wonderful Cave, this one is bigger and more developed. There were lots of areas that you could take pictures of before reaching the majestic cave. I found it interesting that most if the huge rocks around the place were actually giant corals. They were proof that Bolinao used to be underwater thousands of years ago. While we were walking around with our tour guide, a cute kitten kept on following us and photobombing in our pictures. Haha! The cave was bigger and more developed than the Wonderful Cave, albeit the lights were dimmer. It was difficult to take proper pictures even with our cam’s flash.

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OH YEAH. We had the place to ourselves again. It felt like our own, private underground pool. Haha! This one was much deeper so we had to hold on to the ropes on the side to be able to go around. You don’t need to worry coz there’s a lifeguard standing by in case of emergency. I wanted to see the other side but it was a bit difficult to get through the huge coral rock so we just stayed there and took lots of selfie. Haha. The best part of this was taking pictures underwater. Haha! I thought it wasn’t that hard but I was dead wrong. We had to smile while holding our breath and I realized that I couldn’t hold my breath without making the ridiculous puffer fish face. LOL.

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While I was struggling to keep my eyes open, hold my breath and smile at the same time, Ayen was calmly and perfectly smiling beside me – with her freakin’ dimples showing! WTF. After many attempts, wherein I swallowed half a liter of water, we finally stopped. Some tourists arrived and our lunch was ready so we decided, with a heavy heart, to get out of the water.

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Although the food was quite delicious, we thought the serving didn’t justify the price. We thought it was kinda overpriced.

        SIXTH STOP: Balingasay River

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There was nothing much to see here, unless you’re going to take the ‘boat tour’. It was known as the cleanest river in the province and one of the cleanest in the Philippines. The serene green waters and the line of mangroves by the riverbank were a bit enticing. I wanted to lie down on a boat and give in to my stupor. Haha! We were told that the water from the river flows through the waterfalls. Our tour guide told us that during summer, there is a floating restaurant here and we could take a boat tour while waiting for our order.

SEVENTH STOP: Bolinao Waterfalls

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I’ve visited about 4 waterfalls before and they were all fantastic. This one was probably the cleanest and biggest. The water was very cool and clear. It was like the water from the cave. We couldn’t take a dip into the first waterfalls because it was 20-feet deep. Even if I could swim, it would still be scary because of the rush of water. We went to the second waterfalls. This time, there were more than a dozen people swimming so we didn’t have the place to ourselves. They all seemed like locals, though. We spent a bit of time walking around the area, trying to find a spot with a shade. It was just too hot for us. It was a bit difficult to waddle around even though it was not too deep because there were slippery coral rocks underneath and one wrong step could hurt us.

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After a while, we transferred near the falls coz that spot seemed cozy. Hehe. I saw some guys jumping off the falls and I wanted badly to jump off too. One of the guys was talking us into jumping, saying that it was okay since we rented a floating tube. I was almost convinced to do it and I wanted to tell him to wait for me down there and hand the tube once I emerge from the water. But Ayen was a bit uncertain coz we might hit some rocks down there. I was also scared but I thought this was a once in a lifetime chance. I won’t be able to do it again. In the end, I didn’t jump coz the guy already left and nobody was there to save me. T_T

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Hiking towards the waterfalls and climbing up and down those caves drained our energy. After another long and bumpy ride back into town, we stopped by Bolinao Grill for an early dinner. Something on the menu instantly caught our eyes.

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P500 for ALL of that? Hell yeah~ Haha! It was the most satisfying meal we’ve had since we arrived here.  And it wasn’t overrated OR overpriced. LOL.

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After a long day, we went back to Rock Garden Resort to shower and get some rest. There was actually something creepy about the place at night. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that aside from our next door neighbors, we were the only guests there. And there were some unidentified drunk guys loitering around and attempting to strike a conversation with us. We were a bit wary and uncomfortable before going to bed.

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The next day we got up early and looked around the mini-zoo while waiting for our breakfast.  The only problem here was the beach was not ‘swimmable’. It was too rocky and seaweed-y. Haha! So we paid for the accommodations here, not the beach. Hehe. We ate breakfast by the beach and then went kayaking! Yep. We were supposed to check out by noon but the fun was not yet over for us. 🙂

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It was, yet, another first for me. I’ve always wanted to go kayaking and I finally did it. Albeit, the water was not wild and running, it was calm. Actually, the water didn’t seem like ocean water. There were no waves. It was just like a calm river. Luckily, Ayen was ‘well-trained’ in kayaking so we had a bit of training before going into the water.

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It was easier than I thought and the paddle wasn’t that heavy. After doing it for a while, though, my arms started to hurt. Haha. I kinda thought it was a great upper arm exercise. Hehe. We didn’t stray far away from the beach coz we were both scaredy cats. Haha. Au tried it next and Ayen had to go with her coz she was also a first timer. After taking a shower and packing up, we got ready to leave.

The only thing left to do was to buy pasalubongs. I honestly didn’t know what to buy. I’ve always thought that traveling is the only me time that I have – the only time that I can be selfish – so I don’t buy that much pasalubong whenever I travel. I just bought the famous dried and salted fish – danggit and the rice cake cooked in bamboo—binunguey.

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 ^ I’m just fascinated with turtles. 🙂

       I’m not gonna talk about the trip back home coz it was too exhausting and extremely infuriating. I thought it would be smoother and shorter since it was a Monday and not many people are going to Baguio. I was wrong. We waited for more than an hour for a van but it didn’t come so we had to take the bus. The traffic jam in Dagupan was just terrible.  I fell asleep and woke up so many times but we were not yet there. It made me wish we had a car and that I could drive. Haha.

Visiting all those phenomenal places in Bolinao made me realize one thing. I should either get swimming lessons or invest in a life vest or a life buoy. Or maybe bring my own life guard. Haha! I really really wanted to take the plunge in the waterfalls or dive in the clear waters of the cave. But I couldn’t. T_T This trip also opened my eyes to the natural and breathtaking beauty of nature. I wonder why people feel the need to destroy and vandalize such wonders. I’m lucky that I was able to see them before they become too commercialized and sullied by inconsiderate tourists.

 

My First Harry Potter Butterbeer [The Royal Piccadilly and Cakery]

As a Harry Potter fan, nothing could make me happier than knowing that some of the amazing stuff mentioned in the books (or shown in the movies) were actually REAL. Or at least there’s a version or a kind of it somewhere. 🙂 Aside from chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, I’ve always been curious about the famous butterbeer from Hogsmeade. Some of my friends sent me this secret recipe from Starbucks and it was the closest thing to a butterbeer that we Muggles could have. However, one of my Potterhead friends told me about this cozy Brit-style resto-bar that sells authentic Butterbeer. According to her, The Royal Piccadilly’s owners tried butterbeer in the UK and after a series of experiments and taste tests, they were able to concoct their own butterbeer recipe! There are two types of butterbeer that you can order here:  the normal, sweet, PG-13 butterbeer which tastes like butterscotch candy AND the ‘spiked’ butterbeer which has a shot of rum… I think. I’m not sure what the alcohol was but, oh boy, that made my head spin. Haha! My friend and I ordered one normal and one spiked. 🙂

 

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At first, though, the waitress told us it was NOT available coz the “special” ice cream that they use for it is out of stock. I was NOT disappointed, okay. I was DEVASTATED! I came all the way from Baguio City — a city 7 hours away from Manila — just for this butterbeer!!! >_< It was so annoying coz the waitress was not so nice and we were trying to act all cute and kept on bugging her about it — we even offered to buy the ice cream if that’s all that was missing — but she didn’t even give us a ‘proper’ reaction or at least SMILE and sympathize with two crazy Potterheads. Ugh. Anyway, we ordered fish ‘n chips, of course, and some pasta with meatballs. They said it was only SINGLE serving and not for sharing but GDI look at the size of that FISH!

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I was starving, yes, but I cannot devour that by myself! Haha! We ate for almost an hour and we were still hoping that the butterbeer would be available anytime soon. Haha! After staying there for 87 minutes — yes I have proof coz they printed that out in the receipt LOL!

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We were ready to go and we billed out already… but we decided to ask another waitress about the butterbeer. Yep, we are NOT leaving without a taste of butterbeer! We asked her if it is available and she was nice enough to actually TRY telling the people in the kitchen to make us some butterbeer! Or maybe she got sick and tired of us and just wanted us to leave already. Hahaha! We must have had a sign on our foreheads that says “WE ARE NOT LEAVING WITHOUT THE BUTTERBEER!” LOL XD She said “I will try to find a way to get you some butterbeer” and SHE DID!!! I so wanna hug her and tip her big! And I wanted to throw some meatballs at that other waitress who couldn’t be bothered with our request. Ugh.

Minutes later, we got our butterbeers and when I took the first sip I felt euphoric~ It was probably coz I didn’t stir it and all the rum below went straight to my head or something. Hahaha! I really enjoyed every sip! It was, as cliche-ish as it might sound, magical. 🙂

I highly recommend it to all the Harry Potter fans out there. 

Here are some pics of this must-visit classy and spectacular place.

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