February 2010

Note: This is a continuation of Part 2 - Enchanting Camiguin...

No time to waste!…We arrived in Camiguin at almost noon on this day and immediately embarked on a tour of this enchanting, serene island…

Our second stop was the Walkway at the Old Volcano site. One gets to walk up the Old Volcano using these steps to visit the 12 Stations of the Cross….

…but the First Station is all we can manage to reach…

Several souvenir stores are also located here.

Third Stop: The Cross at the Sunken Cemetery… You can reach the Cross via a rented boat for Php15 to 20 per head (um, it actually depends on which boatman you talk to).

The Cross up close… We had lots of fun photos taken here, pretending we were having a photo shoot in Santorini. lol

View from the Cross at Sunken Cemetery: This monument has several broken guard rails that need fixing. Someone could have an accident and might fall if he or she is not careful.

Fourth Stop: These old Church ruins were what remained from the devastation caused by the Old Volcano when it erupted in 1871. There is no entrance fee but you could give a monetary donation and tip to the caretaker who can assist in taking souvenir group pictures.

The Belfry of the Old Church ruins…

Yes, the Lanzones of Camiguin: they were selling lanzones at Php35 per kilo only! However, now is not really the time for lanzones (regular harvest for this local fruit is during October) and so these tasted a bit sour. But we bought some anyway!

Last Stop: Ardent Hot Springs is where we capped off our little island adventure with a relaxing dip in the naturally warm waters. Entrance fee = Php30.

We wanted to watch the sunset at the sand bar or White Island but the Coast Guard issued a tsunami warning (from the earthquake in Chile) this afternoon and prevented small boats from traveling. So we postponed the trip to next morning instead…

Next Post: Part 4 – White Island, Camiguin

If you wish to visit Camiguin, Adarna Travel and Tours can help you with your bookings. Their tel. nos. are (02) 9344632 and (02) 5717739.

This is a continuation of Weekend Rush in Cebu:

Camiguin was a place I’ve longed to visit for, let’s see… I guess, ten years now. I’ve heard a lot about this island that I inevitably included it in my bucket list as one of my must-see Philippine destinations…

After arriving in CDO, we took the Paras Sea Cat ship at CDO Port. The ship is clean and comfy.  Plus the crew is friendly and helpful, too. We left the port at 8:30 am.

At 10:45 am, we finally arrived! Passing through Macajalar Bay and into Bohol Sea, we finally caught a glimpse of this emerald island called Camiguin. Woo-hoo! (Pic courtesy of Amih)

There are many resorts, cottages, and “homestay” arrangements  in the island. Paguia Cottages is where we stayed. Here, you can rent affordable cottages that are like small houses – each having an airconditioned bedroom and kitchen. It is located in Lumbing, Mambajao.

It would be a good idea if you hire a driver cum island guide to show you around. Ours was Mang Dendo (above) with his handy-dandy yellow multi-cab.

There were not a lot of great places to eat in Camiguin. For lunch, we settled for Kan-Anan sa Parola which was relatively ok. They also sell the famous VJandep pastel (coffee buns) of Camiguin.

Going up the road to the falls…

First stop: Katibawasan Falls (Entrance fee: Php20). It was so tall, its entirety didn’t fit inside our cameras’ viewfinder… so I had to crop and clumsily attach the images together…puede na!

We loved Katibawasan Falls! We had a great time swimming and admiring the view which was really breath-taking! And the water was cold and refreshing. Wished we could stay longer but had other places to visit though…

Having a crunchy snack at the Falls: kiping (wafer made of rice paste) topped with sugary coconut syrup being sold for Php11.

Next Post: More of Camiguin

If you wish to visit Camiguin, Adarna Travel and Tours can help you with your bookings. Their tel. nos. are (02) 9344632 and (02) 5717739.

The A Girls and I took advantage of Cebu Pacific’s promo fares and booked in advance for a trip to the South last year. We chose to travel during this weekend of Feb. 27 to Mar 1. It was only for 2 and a half days but we were determined to make the most of it…

We excitedly left today for our 8 pm flight. Our main destination was CDO but had to make a stop-over in Cebu for a few hours.  Good thing we have friends here who arranged a ride that took us to some major tourist spots in the city – all within a span of a few hours….

Oh, how I missed Cebu! I lived (studied and worked) here for several years and so it is only fair to call Cebu my adoptive city – a  second home. As expected, many changes have happened to this beloved city – it takes a bit of getting used to…

All in a dizzying rush: In Fuente Osmena…Hurrying up to see the sights since we have to catch a plane back in Mactan Int’l Airport… (pic courtesy of JJai)

Oh, Larsian, how I missed you so! My favorite barkada hang-out has indeed changed. The eateries have been slightly moved to another place (but still near the original site) and housed under one roof.

Smoke gets in your eyes: Choose among the eateries and they’ll show you where to sit. You can also pick out your order and have them cooked while you wait…

Seeing Red: Dining at Larsian used to be alfresco.  But now it is all under one roof to shelter the customers from the rain and sun… but the problem was the smoke can be a bother for us, resulting to red irritated eyes; and the smell of charcoal smoke and grilled meat could seep into your hair and clothes…

Nice to see you again!: But they still serve the yummy pork barbeques (Php11) and puso which is sticky rice wrapped in palm fronds (Php 3 each)… *droolingbucketsrightnow*

You’re still the tops, Tops! The road to Tops (or Top) was steep (including the entrance fee: Php100) but the breezy and cool view of the city lights was relaxing indeed.

Just one more stop before going back to the airport: visiting Magellan’s Cross in downtown to say a prayer for a safe and smooth journey…

Goodbye, Cebu! I hope to be back again and stay longer (like a week!) to see more of my relatives and friends…

By the end of our little Cebu jaunt, we were all clamoring for coffee to help us stay awake since there were two more days to our Weekend Rush…

Next Post: Part 2 – Enchanting Island of Camiguin

tonight,  i’m off to an early summer get-away…

so that tomorrow, i’ll be watching the sun set while diggin’ my toes in this sand:

(flikr photo courtesy of when milko shoots)

And it’ll be one more destination I’ll be more than happy to tick off from my bucket list… 🙂

Have a great weekend!

I have passed the Quezon City Memorial Circle probably a hundred times but never had a chance to stop by and to have a look around. So today, I was glad to have a chance to finally visit it since Lev’s martial arts tournament was being held there.

Crossing is a cinch: In order for a commuter (like me) to reach the Circle, he or she can cross the road using the new and improved underpass (above) near Philippine Coconut Authority.

What’s in the Circle? Joggers and exercise buffs make the Circle their fitness venue.  There were families who come for picnics or stroll around.  I saw pet owners walking their dogs. Students or barkadas converge to practice their dance routines or play basketball, volleyball and badminton.

The Quezon City Memorial: Took decades to build, it was finished in 1978. It was based on a design by architect, Federico Ilustre.

Some of the bas reliefs adorning the Memorial. I was happy to see they were all intact -so far- for I have heard of stories that bas reliefs here have been stolen (along with the imported Carrara marble and memorial funds) through the years.  Nakakahiya at nakakalungkot talaga.

The entrance to the museum. You can make any monetary donation if you want to see the inside.

On display at the museum: Quezon’s presidential memorabilia and some of his and his family’s personal items.

Quezon’s tomb is located at the base of the monument.

Other parts of the Circle that is of interest was the colorful Peace Wall…

…and the World Peace Bell.

To be continued in Part 2

Note: This is a continuation of Part 1:

Even if I was born in Quezon City this was my first time to visit the the city’s Memorial Circle

The Circle also has a rappelling wall for the adventurous types.  It is located near the covered court.

Food Tripping at the Circle: The Circle has stores and several small restaurant and cafes.  The newly built facility (above) leads to a courtyard that features established restaurants for the finicky eaters.

Fresh buko (coconut) – pandan juice to help squelch the heat for only Php10.

Lunch at Sunglasses Café: Teriyaki Pork Rice at Php 88 with bottomless melon juice at Php20. Rating: (+_-)

Dessert at Coconut House: ube-banana turon (fritters) in coconut-caramel sauce, topped with nangka at Php55 and hot cocoa-nut drink (chocolate with a bit of coconut milk) also at Php55. Rating: (-_^) d

And the reason why I came to the Circle in the first place was to watch Lev (in blue armor) win his taekwondo matches – 3 in a row! Woo-hoo! Congratulations, Lev!

Lev and his gold medal (right). Way to go, buddy!

Parting Shot: All in all, the park seemed a good alternative place for families and barkadas to hang out in than the usual malls.  I hope they plant more trees for there seems to be a lack of shade for them to seek shelter from the heat of the sun. I suggest the QC government (if they could still possibly guard them) put up more public sculptures that could be modern and functional (for example, decorative artistic benches, gazebos, and slides). People get a big kick out of that and would usually pose and take souvenir pictures.  Still, kudos for its upkeep – for the people of QC, you should be proud and continue to take care of it for not all of us have city parks (mine included) that is even a tiny fraction of what you have.

QC Circle info source: wikipedia

The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch it… I Try it!

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Jdorama Inspiration: Saigo No Yakusoku

Saigo No Yakusoku (The Last Promise) is a tanpatsu type of drama (movie made for TV) shown on the 9th of January, 2010 on Fuji TV.  It is a story of five young men who happened to be in the same building on a day when it was taken over by a mysterious terrorist-like group. It stars the five Arashi members:

From Left to Right: Sho as a barista in a coffee stand; Nino as the building’s security systems technician; Jun as a courier; Aiba as an insurance salesman; and Ohno as a hired custodian.

It also stars Kuroki Meisa and Kitamura Yukiya.

Saigo no Yakusoku is a quintessential Arashi movie, purposely made to make their fans happy. Even if it had a predictable ending, I still enjoyed watching it.

Jdorama Food: Shiruko

Shiruko (also called oshiruko) or Red Bean Soup is a sweet soup made of azuki beans. It is usually served with mochi, a Japanese glutinous rice cake. It is a favorite comfort food among Japanese usually taken during winter and the New Year.

The FooDorama Connection: Having heard that the building has a vending machine that sells delicious red bean soup, Nozomu (Matsujun) boldly invites Yuriko (Meisa) outside for a hot cup of shiruko. Even if she is the company president’s daughter with a busy schedule and he’s a delivery guy she hardly knows, she accepts his invitation. *But who can blame her? It’s Matsujun!*

Matsujun’s ready-made, hot shiruko from a vending machine

The FooDorama Challenge: Seeking Comfort in Shiruko

I looked at the recipes of shiruko, and it seems to me that it isn’t such a difficult thing to do. And azuki beans are more like the common mung beans (munggo) that we Pinoys use (for porridge, buchi, hopia and halo-halo) and is readily available in the market.  Case in point: azuki bean’s scientific name is vigna angularis while mung bean is vigna radiata which for me it means they slightly differ only in shape but taste is more or less the same… which brings me to the question: Should I use mung beans instead?

I mentally debated about buying the real azuki beans or not. Since it is not a challenge if I don’t go for authenticity, I decided to buy the real thing. But…

Anak ng -! Ang mahal naman! E, parang munggo lang ito ah?!: Oh boy, azuki beans (left) are so expensive, I admittedly had moments of uncertainty and regret. Oh, well. It is for the sake of the challenge though. So GO!

I only bought one package. I resolve to conserve it as much as possible so I could use it for other future FooDorama recipes as well. Hee-hee.

I soaked the red beans in water overnight, then, boiled them the following day.  I only placed a considerable amount of brown sugar since I am not really fond of sweets. What came out was this red bean paste they call anko (at right).  This could also be used for daifuku, or –for me- good enough to spread on crackers for a light snack.

To make the soup, I used half a cup of anko and 2 cups of water, adjusting it with either more anko or sugar. As mentioned, it should be serve with mochi.  But now this time, I draw the line here. Instead of buying mochi, I decided to use our own glutinous rice cake, tikoy (nian-gao in Chinese), because it’s basically the same thing but cheaper (and since this was during the Lunar New Year, tikoys were abundant in the stores).

I sliced the cake into small squares and toasted them in the toaster oven for 10 minutes. Afterwards, I placed 1 to 2 tikoy squares in a bowl and pour the hot soup over it:

FooDorama Challenge #3 is done: Shiruko for Lunar New Year 2010! It is best served with something sour and/or salty like umeboshi (on the saucer in the above pic) which they say are pickled ‘plums’ but are actually related to apricots.

The sweetness was just right. I could understand why Japanese are fond of this dessert. There was something soothing about it like a comforting, hazy memory from childhood. It was that good! And to think that I wasn’t fond of tikoy, too. The only way we Pinoys commonly prepare it is to soak tikoy in beaten egg and fry it which can get to be awfully boring.  Shiruko is certainly another better way to serve tikoy. And the contrasting sour/salty taste of umeboshi was an outstanding match! I loved it!

I will certainly try this again. But I’ll go for the practical and inexpensive version: use red mung beans instead of azuki beans; buy Chinese pickled plums rather than umeboshi; and of course, still try tikoy in lieu of mochi.

Shiruko maybe new in my household but for me it’s destined to be a sweet classic.

Next on The FooDorama Challenge:
FDC#4: Okonomiyaki! (Jdorama Inspiration: Hana Kimi)
Previous FooDorama Challenges:
FDC #2: Takoyaki (Jdorama Inspiration: Gokusen)
FDC #1: Yakiniku (Jdorama Inspiration: Kekkon Dekinai Otoko)


Recipe Sources: japanesefood.about, japaneserecipesinusa
Shiruko info source: wikipedia
Azuki beans info source: wikipedia
Umeboshi info source: wikipedia
Jdorama info source: fujitv

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