geeky birthday surprise

J celebrated his birthday recently. I wanted to give him a cake with his likeness as a topper, playing video games, but since I was working with a limited budget, I decided to go for cupcakes instead.

I found Swell Sweets through good old Google, and browsed their designs, as well as external reviews by previous customers. Gel of Swell Sweets replies promptly and is very nice. I was also able to speak to her on the phone after giving her pegs through email, and she described what she planned to do “to make it special”. (Actually, I called their phone number just to make sure the outfit actually exists before making my deposit. You’ll never know, these days.)

Their website is under construction, but the link above goes to their Instagram. Check out their cakes, cookies, and cupcakes! For cupcakes, they require a minimum order of two dozen cupcakes, for a maximum of two designs. You can email Gel through swellsweets@gmail.com if you want more details, or to ask for a quotation.

J’s pretty happy with his PS4 and D20 cupcakes! PS4 is buttercream (my favorite) and the D20 is chocolate. Everything is edible except the stick and the wrapping.

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We also had a nice overnight stay at Solaire Resort & Casino. We were given a Bay View window at no extra charge.

Look at that view.

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We had a breakfast buffet at Fresh and the staff sang J a happy birthday. Thanks!

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six and twenty-nine

Jaykie and I recently celebrated our sixth anniversary and my twenty-ninth birthday. Confetti! Sampaguita garlands!

Thank you to Manix Abrera for this great sketch.

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Thank you to J for the books.

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J took me to a nice steak restaurant (wherein I ordered a pasta) and I bought a bunch of Halloween-themed donuts that I was not supposed to be eating.

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I had a quiet, carefree birthday this year. Just the way I like it.

And now, a word from Tits Palmer*:

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*from Kate Beaton’s fantastic Hark! A Vagrant

quezon city food trip, or quezon city, you’re so far away now that you may as well be a province, or we had to book a hotel room to do this

Our group’s original plan was to go to Cebu. Book a hotel room, play games, eat. Then one of us suggested: well, why don’t we start with Quezon City? With the traffic and the horrible road constructions happening simultaneously in Metro Manila, QC may as well be Cebu, in terms of distance.

On the first week of September, we booked a hotel room in Red Planet Hotel (formerly Tune Hotel, photos later) because there was a promo on Agoda, making it cheaper and affordable. The site says it’s 30 minutes away from the airport. The only sane response to this is hysterical laughter and some tears.

Day 1

First stop: Steveston Pizza in UP Town Center.
Recommendation: Black pizza (Honey glazed chicken breast, fig Gorgonzola and mascarpone mousse, walnuts and arugula julienne)

QC Food Trip Day 1

QC Food Trip Day 1

QC Food Trip Day 1

La Lola Churreria, UP Town Center
We enjoyed the chocolate-dipped churros. They’re served cold, with a chewy center.

QC Food Trip Day 1

Photo taken while in Xocolat, waiting for Jammi to finish getting papers from the printer. Check out Jammi’s page here. She does tarot readings, sells crystals, and teaches classes on Reiki.

QC Food Trip Day 1

Photos taken in Red Planet Hotel. The room is small, but we didn’t mind. (I would probably mind if we paid full price. The price point is similar to Remington Hotel, which is located near NAIA 3.)

QC Food Trip Day 1

QC Food Trip Day 1

For dinner, we walked to Don Andres, a Peruvian restaurant.

Don Andres

Courtyard Building 26

Sgt. Esguerra Ave South Triangle

Quezon City (02) 364-4145

We recommend everything. QC Food Trip Day 1 Day 2

Breakfast at Breakfast & Pies.

Breakfast & Pies

39 Malingap St

Teacher Village – West

Quezon City

Some of the dishes we tried:

Ultimate Bacon Rice

Day 2

Huevos Rancheros  Day 2

Caramelized Spam (I had the rice removed, which probably confused everyone in the kitchen because it took them a while to get the order right.)

Day 2

Pieesss. They have a lot of great desserts, but I really enjoyed their key lime pie. We also checked out Pipino, the vegetarian restaurant next door. Day 2

We dropped by Uno Morato so I can buy some poetry books and play Barbarossa. Look!

Day 2

Barbarossa is a deck-building game featuring moe art. Jammi showed me some alternate cards featuring actual girls and they freaked me out. Let’s just stick with the moe.

Day 2

Day 2

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My tiny book haul from Uno Morato.

  • Dark Hours, 10th Anniversary edition, Conchitina Cruz
  • Mula, Rosmon Tuazon
  • Shall We Be Kind and Suffer Each Other, Mark Anthony Cayanan

Day 2

We moved to Ludo to play some games, and dinner was at Full Belly, but I was unfortunately not able to take photos.

My poor belly and wallet needs a break now.

things i love, summer edition

I turn my head and suddenly it’s June. I don’t write blog posts as often as I used to; I often find myself composing essays in my head but it appears that I enjoy doing that more than actually posting them. That should give me more energy for my fiction, I suppose. What’s new? I found a new old job (long story), got a new haircut, slowly melted in the heat. I hear we’ll see the end of humanity in a hundred years (the prediction was old — made circa 2010 — but the linked article is new, saying an old thing about carbon emissions, to which no one ever listens). I feel happier and more content than I’ve ever been, and I see the irony in this.

Well, since we humans are still around, here, some things I love:

Acacia Hotel Manila

J and I, for his birthday weekend, were looking for a nice place to unwind when I found Acacia Hotel‘s deal on Deal Grocer. We got two vouchers to stay for two nights in their Executive Suite, buffet breakfast included. The hotel is located in Alabang. Great location, great service, excellent amenities. Everything looks new and clean. (And they offer Aromatherapy pillows, which I like.) I recommend you check it out.

We made plans to take a dip in the hotel pool, check out the spa, use the gym, and so on and so forth, but of course we ended up just staying in the room to watch movies or heading out to eat sushi. Also, we realized that we like Alabang and wouldn’t mind living there. If only it weren’t so expensive, and so far from everybody and everything.

– Sink into your own much raved-about custom-made, memory-foam “dream bed”.
– Bathe in a sublime bathroom with separate rain shower and bathtub.
– Prepare hot meals in your own kitchenette and take advantage of suite perks such as personalized butler service.
– Then, enjoy other first-rate amenities that are deliciously part of your stay: Wi-Fi access, flat screen TV, a full-sized executive desk, an electronic DND panel and safety deposit box, among others.
– Lounge around the beautiful swimming pool and spa, bask in natural daylight or romantic moonlight at the gorgeous Samanea outdoor garden, or discover the newest in dining experiences on this side of town with the hotel’s restaurants.
– With Acacia Hotel’s sophistication, style, and signature authentic Filipino hospitality, you don’t need to go out of town to experience a luxurious getaway.

Acacia Hotel Manila

5400 East Asia Drive corner Commerce Avenue,
Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang,
Muntinlupa City 1781

Telephone: ++63 2 7202000 / ++63 2 5885888
Mobile: ++63 917 5281504 (room reservations only)
Email: enquiry@acaciahotelsmanila.com

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I love the toiletries.

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20150605_220605Butterbeer from Early Bird Breakfast Club

Also recommended: their grilled cheese and tomato soup, their Yin-Yang Champorado, their French toasts.

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20150601_190754Love Letter: Batman

J found this by chance in Hobbes & Landes in BGC. I’ve played the original Love Letter, but I enjoyed this variant more! I took this home and my siblings got obsessed with it.

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20150610_201954Page-turners

like this one

20150531_142439along with Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch (until autumn 2014) and Stjepan Šejić and Ms. Marvel by Sana Amanat, Stephen Wacker, G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona.

This speaker

that I didn’t buy but took a picture of while in the store because I thought it looked really cute.

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five

Celebrated five years together with a book, a burger, and Ben Affleck. (We watched Gone Girl. I was trying to preserve the alliteration.)

I wasn’t a fan of the novel but I enjoyed the film. To paraphrase a friend, approach it as a Hitchcock homage, a psycho-thriller. Enjoy the sheen, don’t think about the characters’ motivations and reactions too much. They operate on a logic consistent with their world.

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Last month, we dropped by Maginhawa St. in Quezon City, for the purported QC Food Festival. It wasn’t much of a food festival, because several stores ran out of food by 4 pm. We’re fortunate to be able to drop by UP first for lunch, and to be able to head to UP Town Center with friends for dinner.

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Food fest blerg. Even the sky appeared disappointed.

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I like the burgers at 8Cuts. Check it out.

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a brief visit to the alma mater & other sources of enjoyment

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A lot of construction work being done on campus. And a lot of strange graffiti came with it. Like this one.

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Barcino date night.

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We got Netrunner! It was fun to own our own card game. Two players. One plays the Corporation, the other plays the Runner (or hacker). And I almost always lose to J, the poker-faced Corporation.

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HeroClix, introduced to us by Adam and Carljoe. Here we are sweating it out in the summer heat outside Adam’s door.

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I made my first win with these guys! (Thanks to Poldo for lending them to me.)

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And a cute, fat cat. Hi, Minggoy.

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wicked weekends

Spent some time in Bulacan with my siblings. J and I thought we were going to spend the weekend with just my brother, then two of my siblings and my cousin decided at the last minute to come home. The house became less lonely.

It was J’s sister’s birthday. V is a vegetarian, and so we had some vegetarian dishes, and the spread was amazing. I wish I knew where the goodies came from.

Even the cakes were/looked fabulous.

We tagged along the next day to breakfast at Fresh in Solaire.

They served the best yogurt I have ever had in my life. Thick and filling, almost as heavy as cream. I loved it.

I would happily wash all of the dishes if you cooked for me. Thank goodness J is a good cook. Here he perfects his gravy.

Taco Tuesday!

That salsa had other uses.

As a dip for grilled cheese sandwiches!

As ingredients for — we’re still not sure what to call this. I thought it tasted like caldereta.

We had a nice Valentine’s Day dinner at Wooden Spoon, where everything tastes amazing. SERIOUSLY.

Look at kuya at the back, looking so happy for our love huhuhu.

J’s nephew wanted to drag us here. We really didn’t need to be dragged hehe. Project Pie, where you can create your own pizza for PhP 285. Apparently everything’s 285, no matter how many toppings you ordered.

J said their interior looked like the set of Rent.

I can see that.

Ooh, this is a highlight. We saw the matinee show of Wicked on Feb 23. We were seated all the way up in Balcony I Center, but we were able to buy these cheap binoculars for only PhP 75 each. They helped a lot! But in truth, the distance wasn’t that bad. J said we had good seats, right smack in the center of the balcony facing the stage.

We really enjoyed the show. Great set pieces. The last play I saw in the CCP Main Theater was Cinderella, starring Lea Salonga, and that was years ago (and my sister and I were in Balcony II)! I was astounded by the spectacle. Suzie Mathers as Glinda/Galinda is a standout and Jemma Rix nailed the musical’s showstopper “Defying Gravity”. The applause was thunderous. I wanted more more more, and I would love to see this again.

Photo below from the official program. Read more here and here. I wonder what the next big production is going to be. The Book of Mormon? Pretty please?

Some photos at the lobby while we waited for the doors to open.