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

Day 2

Day 2

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.

her story

In 1994 a British woman is interviewed seven times

about her missing husband. This is her story.

Her Story is an interactive crime fiction game created by Sam Barlow (Silent Hill, Aisle) and starring Viva Seifert. Game play is simple (and thus very attractive to an occasional — very occasional — gamer like me): you are presented with a database of seven interviews with a woman in 1994. However, the interviews have been chopped up into clips (some as short as eight seconds) and they are not in order. In order to view the clips, you can type keywords on the search bar. When you first open the game, the first keyword is already there: MURDER.

Screenshot 2015-07-04 17.56.21Watching the first few clips, you start to discern that someone is missing, possibly murdered, and the woman may or may not be a suspect. You only get to see the first five clips of every search (i.e. the database may say “61 clips found”, but will only show you the first five) so in order to access all of the clips, you need to get those detective skills working and try to think of as many inventive keywords as you can. I actually opened up a Word file and took notes of words I could use later in my search, mostly proper names of places and people, but also some mundane ones like “early” or “friend” or “coffee” or “sugar”.

At a certain point, the game (a person named SB in a chatbox that will suddenly appear) will ask you if you’ve got everything you needed. If you answer “yes”, the credits will roll. I answered “yes” after accessing perhaps 60 or 70 percent of the clips, which took me roughly three hours. (You can check on your progress by double-clicking on the DB Checker.)

You can continue hunting down the missing clips even after you choose to have the credits roll. I was pretty satisfied with the narrative I managed to glean from the interviews, but I’m still thinking about it. It’s an engrossing story, and a great gaming experience.

If you have played the game (or is just intrigued about the story), you can watch the clips in order here and/or check the complete list of keywords here.

Highly recommended.

h/t to M who told me about this and to J who bought me this game as a gift on Steam.

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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saturday fun day: ‘light’ launch + bgc art mart + ludo!

I had a fun Saturday that left me energized instead of depleted. (You know how sometimes you do so much socializing in one day that you crash and burn at the end of it? No? Is it just me?)

First stop, the book launch and signing event for Rob Cham’s Light. I am a fan of his work, and this silent comic book did not disappoint. Really amazing art. And great quality printing too on glossy paper. Congrats to Anino Comics and Rob.

LIGHT by Rob Cham

LIGHT by Rob Cham

LIGHT by Rob Cham

LIGHT by Rob Cham

The launch was in Fully Booked. J and I took a short walk and checked out the BGC Art Mart. Megan Diño, whom I have worked with years (and years) ago, has a booth, and I got myself this lovely tote and some postcards featuring J’s favorite European football players. She’ll be there until tomorrow; do visit her, say hi, buy her stuff.

BGC Art Mart

Photo from Megan.

Last stop was Ludo‘s 24-hour Gaming Marathon! They were serious about the 24 hours; there was a big digital display up front showing the countdown.

Ludo's clock

This clock! Photo from Jay Mata, VP of Marketing at Ludo.

The marathon was in full swing when we got there. (We didn’t sign up for the 24-hr marathon; my brain was too tired to handle it.) I was able to play: Love Letter, Evolution, Mai-Star, Mr. Darcy, and Coup. I enjoyed all of them! But I enjoyed Coup so much that we ended up buying it. What is impulse buy.

Ludo 24-hr Gaming Marathon

Ludo 24-hr Gaming Marathon

Ludo 24-hr Gaming Marathon

Ludo 24-hr Gaming Marathon

Ludo 24-hr Gaming Marathon

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I hope you’re having a good weekend.

game recommendations for the lazy gamer

I don’t know if you judge games like I do — that is, if you focus more on the story and the writing than the puzzles. I don’t play games often, and I don’t follow the game blogs and the reviews, so you’ll have to forgive the misuse of jargon. What I’m saying is the games I usually play are slow and boring (compared to games like Borderlands 2) with huge blocks of texts and minimal gameplay. And by “minimal” I mean mouse clicks. Maybe click-and-drag when I feel magnanimous. The thing is, I am impatient, I have horrible hand-eye coordination, and I am lazy. To give you an idea, I tried playing a sample of the first-person survival horror game Amnesiaand quit after three minutes because I can’t open the door, and I can’t be bothered to learn how. (Sorry.)

So if you’re like me, you’ll love these games:

My Father’s Long Long Legs (Play Online) – Created by Michael Lutz. Protagonist’s father loses his job and locks himself in the basement, digging for years. I’ve played a handful of online interactive horror games before, and this is the best I’ve seen so far. Great writing, great use of the medium, with a story that gets under your skin.

It begins:  My family lived on the southern edge of a certain Midwestern industrial city in an old house, old enough that its basement still had a dirt floor.

I was not yet old enough to openly question a parent’s behavior, but certainly old enough to recognize its oddness, when my father began digging.
Analogue: A Hate Story (Get on Steam) – Visual novel created by Christine Love. An interstellar ship called the Mugunghwa reappears after hundreds of years of disappearance, and you, the investigator, is tasked to find out what happened. You will do this by reading log entries and interacting with *Hyun-ae or *Mute, the ship’s two AI, who withhold or reveal information based on their biases and loyalties. It tackles the effects of tradition, misogyny, homophobia, loneliness, and scientific ignorance on families and individuals. Love based characters and circumstances in Analogue on the Joseon Dynasty, which reigned in Korea from July 1392 to October 1897 and is known for its dehumanizing treatment of women.
I got the game as a gift, and didn’t know anything about the plot. Powerful stuff. It affected me more than I expected.
Note: The following games I played with J.
Walking Dead: Season One (Get on Steam) – Developed by Telltale Games, based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book series. The story unfolds based on your choices, and you can choose to say nothing at every turn. Are you going to save the little boy, or the man who helped save your life? Will you choose to leave someone in order to save the group? Are you going to tell the man that you were on your way to prison when the zombie attacked, or are you going to lie?
The developers get the flavor of Kirkman’s comic book series right, focusing on the characters and the relationships rather than on the shock value of zombie attacks. (Something the TV series is clearly enjoying, with their million-dollar budget on special effects. Yeah let’s tear open another zombiedude’s abdomen while this character’s story arc crashes and burns why don’t we.)

To the Moon (Get on Steam) (Listen to the soundtrack) – Created by Canadian designer and composer Kan “Reives” Gao, produced by Freebird Games. A cross between Inception and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. You control two scientists who are hired to create a dreamscape for a dying client that will help him die happy. The request involves going to the moon, but the client himself can’t tell you why he has such an intense desire. The task is to find out, and make it happen. It’s a story of love and memory that keeps you guessing, with a clever and effective gameplay. Poignant and heartbreaking.

 

Happy for the positive reviews Alternative Alamat is getting. We’re at #14 today on the Amazon Kindle Fantasy Anthology list!

Some reviews:

Deck Shoes (Catherine Batac Walder)

Kristine Ong Muslim on Goodreads

Bookish Little Me

One More Page

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It’s been a bit quiet here, huh.

Some highlights from the past week.

A (Board)Game of Thrones!

I have played this before but this is the new version. Thanks to Phil for hosting the game (and taking these pictures). We played two rounds. I was controlling the Lannisters in the first round (where the Tyrells won), and the Baratheons in the second (where the Greyjoys won).

The second round took forever, haha. Jaykie, who was controlling the Lannisters, almost conceded after losing so many troops. But I’m glad he didn’t because it was such a hilarious comeback No, actually, I wasn’t glad because if he had conceded I would have moved my troops and won two castles easy but anyway.

This goddamn Lannister ship

went to the Baratheon side on a whim and singlehandedly (well, with the help of the Tyrell ships) sank the Stark fleets and cut off Dragonstone from the rest of the continent.

It has to be the most entertaining gameplay I have ever seen that night. “For Lannisport!”

Thanks guys.

(This section should have a WARNING: GEEKERY tag.)

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Swensen’s last night, with the boyfriend, his sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. My happy place.