I read somewhere that procrastination, contrary to the popular belief that it is caused by laziness, may actually be due to fear or conflict. We procrastinate because we are overwhelmed, uncertain of the outcome of a major future event, afraid of facing that uncertainty, and/or overthinking all the things we need to do. So instead we do nothing. If that’s really the case then I am currently scared to death but am in denial. It’s less than a month till the board examinations and I haven’t properly reviewed. I tried going to classes in early April and thought everything was fine because I had no absences for three straight days only to regress on Thursday. The following week, I did not even try. Besides, it was the last week. I’m sorry, Ma, I tried making the most out of the tuition money you paid by getting all the handouts but I’d be kidding if I say it’s enough.
I was really hopeful but I always found excuses not to study. I might blame it on my brothers being noisy, the cluttered surroundings, the weather being too hot, the air conditioning too cold, the errands I am asked to attend to, social media being too tempting, myself being trash. Any reason available. Just this year I finished all ten seasons of Friends, am nearing the end of Mad Men, and have watched a lot of movies (for the Netflix subscription, I got my money’s worth). I’m having internal panic. On the outside, I seem okay. I’m sure my parents and friends (except for a chosen few) think that I devote most of my time solving and reviewing. The reality is that I tell myself today will be the day I start only to be drowned in distractions again. Whenever I am reminded that doomsday is approaching — seeing the calendar and realizing it’s already April 13, or being unable to answer basic questions I should already know the intricacies of — my palms get sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There’s no vomit on my clothes yet but I feel it in my gut, like I’m on a roller coaster but am not enjoying the ride. I become disoriented and have to stay still for a second or two or else I’ll crumble. I want to run away (diyan ka magaling dapat ata ang URL mo runningrani!).
This post is yet another distraction. I don’t know why I’m still writing it. Maybe it’s the thought that after I get this out of the way, I can finally start.
I’m angry right now. I want to bang my head and shout at myself for letting the months pass by. A few years ago I was looking forward to this season. As early as first year college, I was thinking of reviewing already for one of the most important exams of my life. My mindset before was, “Study as if you’re reviewing for the boards!“. Now here I am and I’ve never felt more unprepared.
The paragraphs above were written more than ten days ago. Thankfully, I got too sleepy to finish. A lot has happened since. I met with my leader who understood what I was going through and gave me one piece of advice I needed much more than I’d like to admit which is: learn to live with imperfections. If I keep on waiting for everything to be right before I begin studying, nothing will happen. Instead, I need to look at this from a different perspective. No use crying over spilled milk so I should no longer weep over the months gone but look forward to the coming days.
In another article, I read that for believers who are overwhelmed with anxiety, what we need to be is a remembering people. It has not been easy but slowly, and with grace, I remembered the times I was sure I’d fail but somehow made it through, especially during the last two years. Studying hard is an act of worship to a God who is honored by excellence. This does not mean, of course, that all will be good and well, that I will never fail. Oftentimes, the road to Christlikeness is paved with tears and hurt and anger and questions. The difference is in knowing that after all is said and done, He is for you and with you no matter what the circumstances are.
With that, I think this will be the last post till I take the exams and the results are out (just typing that, my heart skipped a beat huhu). The next one would either be me saying that passing is God’s grace because I know I totally don’t deserve it or me wallowing in my failure and still, hopefully, believing it is God’s grace all the same.
Now, on to the foooooood!
One day Fae visited me in Ubelt and instead of eating at a restaurant, we decided to just buy takoyaki from R’ Classic (it’s the one sold on motorcycles with red side cars) and Mang Toots’ Banana Rhum-A, find a spot to loiter in UST (preferrably near the soccer field where we can people watch), and eat while catching up.
Best eaten alternately to prevent umay. A bite of the savory, spicy, mayonnaise-y takoyaki first then the sweet, crunchy, cinnamon-y banana next. Sulit sarap!There was a time when I got addicted to Moshi Manju I’d easily finish a small box all by myself. And I always request an all-caramel flavor.Finally! Ta Ke Ho Me Sushi Stand opened near places that are accessible to me. There’s one in Legarda and Robinson’s Manila. There’s another in SM San Lazaro. I guess they’re expanding. Anyway, I once went with Jerimae, Kiabels, and Asher and we had TKHM roll (salmon, cream cheese, bonito), Dragonball (smoked salmon, mango, spices), Spicy tuna (tuna, panko, spices), and Migori (torched salmon, cucumber, miso mayo). They’re affordable at 99 pesos/10 pcs and was filling despite my initial reaction that the rolls looked small. My favorites were Dragonball and Migori 🙂Near Cza’s apartment in Ventura street, Sampaloc, is Lola’s Ilocos Empanda. They’re made to order (so you need patience) and really delicious especially the one with cheese. I think I can finish two. More, if only the oil from frying that oozes with every bite wasn’t so disheartening to look at. Sometimes, I use visiting Cza as an excuse just to eat here haha!
Thanks to jerimae and kiabels, I found out about this carinderia in Bustillos. I’m not sure what street but it’s the one before 7-eleven when you’re coming from LRT2-Mendiola station. I believe the owners are Ilocano because they sell Igado with the innards and other northern dishes. A student meal which consists of rice, a vegetable, and a meat viand costs 40 pesos. And there’s a nearby shake stand where, for 35 pesos plus minimum amount for add-ons, you can customize your drink any way you want — add cheesecake, oreo, cheese, etcetera. In fact, instead of straw, spoon is given because it’s like melted sundae. These are what student lunch breaks are made of.Kimi let me try the Thai Milk Tea from Chatime and it was so good I was reminded of the one I had in Brunei. In fact, I transferred half of the contents to my tumbler, refrigerated it, and for the next few days took a sip whenever the craving kicked in. Unfortunately as of this writing, it is no longer available 😦
On the right is my attempt to eat more greens. A Subway branch opened in Manila Medical Center last year. My favorite is Italian BMT in Honey Oats bread, no onion, extra lettuce and olives. Sometimes with ranch AND mayonnaise. Not so healthy after all.Whenever I go to Binondo, the only bakeshop I usually stop in is Salazar’s for the tikoy with monggo. However, after rekindling my love for their buko custard hopia, Eng Bee Tin is now visited as well. Besides, it has a stall in Robinsons Manila! I’m not really fond of Hopia baboy because of a bad experience when I was younger so I settle for anything else.
One of my favorite pairings is Gong Cha 30% Taro Milk Tea with Cheese GC cream and Sisig Hooray! I usually have this after exams or a bad day. I go to SM Manila food court and eat the unpleasant emotions away.Pizza Hut has an ongoing promo of free stuffed crust and I of course took advantage of it because their cheese stuffed crust pizza is literally the only thing that keeps me coming back. Otherwise, I’d choose Shakey’s every time.
The St. Marc Cafe at RobMan is almost always empty so it’s a fortress away from the buzzing mall. One time, I took refuge there and ordered matcha tea latte, green tea chococro (the pastry they’re supposedly famous for), and potato and ham sandwich. The drink was just your typical sweetened matcha, the pastry was oily and stale. The presentation of the sandwich was forlorn, unlike the ones I see on anime. The filling was good but it cannot save the dry bread.
Because food is not immune to inflation, I now eat more frequently in Lan Zhou La Mien than Ling Nam because the latter costs 180 pesos already (last time my father checked) and the serving is only good for one person unlike the the former, 150 pesos and shareable!
So happy Kim and I decided to try Macao Imperial Tea while strolling in Lucky Chinatown. The matcha was delicious and the cream on top, divine! Even creamier than Gong cha. Too bad they don’t have taro flavor. Mine is the one without pearls because I like to drink my drink and not chew it. Annnnd there’s a newly opened branch in SM Manila! I no longer care that that mall is very crowded.Thanks to social media, Ministop’s Uncle John fried chicken is becoming more popular. It deserves the recognition and fanfare. Thanks to Tan, I found out that one of the best ways to eat it is by putting soy garlic sauce all over the rice. Plus, it now has a spicy version! Yas for one of our go-to lunches back in 2008.
In front of Adamson University near U.N. is a stall selling siomai and shanghai rice. An order of rice and 3 pcs siomai costs 25 pesos only! Plus, you can mix your own sauce. I don’t mind eating it from a bowl covered in disposable plastic, standing along the sidewalk, arm in arm with other diners. I think this is the budget-friendly version of my food photodump haha.Ate Rica’s Bacsilog at UN Square Mall. I understand why this particular type of -silog is popular. The saltiness of the bacon and the cheesiness of the sauce on top were enough to save the generic rice. Next time I’m ordering the double toppings. I just hope the excess oil from cooking was removed before putting everything in the cup. And I’ll digress but I should probably practice my speaking because servers mishear/misspell my name. From DQ’s Runny, to this Randy, Hot Star’s Rally, and the funniest so far, Gong Cha’s Granny. Llao Llao. Only the best yogurt I’ve tried.Sarsa at Mall of Asia is okay especially if your dining with a balikbayan. Their isaw is overpriced (almost 200 pesos for two or three sticks ata kaloka!), the dinuguan lacked something, the sinigang not sour enough, and the vegetables of pakbet a bit hard. But their sisig was good and the pancit, gone in seconds.
Frankie’s is what other wing joints are aspiring to be but are not. The price is reasonable, the serving is adequate, and the taste is delicious. I’m sure my younger brother will enjoy eating every single piece of meat off the bones as much as I did. My favorite as usual is original buffalo with blue cheese dip. My only complain is the location of their branches. There’s one in Mandaluyong (SM Megamall) and Pasig (City Gold Plaza) and two in Taguig (SM Aura and Fort Bonifacio) and Quezon City (SM North and UPTC). Paano naman ang Maynila? Open kayo sa SM Manila, ganon.Long time favorites that I think I’ve written about before pero uulitin ko pa rin ilagay picture lol.Thank you annj for the Irvins ❤ Finished it in one seating huhu. I’m not buying this with my own money because it’s steep but to anyone who’s willing to give, thanks in advance!
I have a love-hate relationship with Pancake House. Sometimes I think their fried chicken is the best (even better than Jollibee there I said it), sometimes it’s just an overpriced piece of dry meat.Kumori’s Matcha Choco Latte is similar to Starbuck’s Matcha Espresso except it tastes more bitter. Let’s face it, Matcha TASTES like grass. Why do we still drink it? Because of the antioxidants my friend and not because we want to punish ourselves. Besides, it gets better the more you force it down your throat.
The bread was stale. Or my expectations with Japanese bakeries are just impossibly high? No, the bread was really stale. Again, the tuna filling, was good. Must be our weather being incompatible with Japanese flour or something? The Hanjuku Cheese is a different story. It’s soft and fluffy like clouds or a baby’s butt (whichever you want). It’s a reward. If it was cheesier, it’d be the grand prize.Dohtonbori at SM Mall of Asia. I look forward to my sister’s layover here in Manila because (1) I get to see her (2) We get to stay at her hotel room for the night and (3) I always have a say on where to eat so I usually reserve the restaurants I want to try but are beyond my budget or am too lazy to commute to for when she’s here (Sorry schwes bawi ako pag may work na mwa).
The Gyudon and Ceasar Salad were delicious but of course, the highlight was Okonomiyaki, the savory version of Japanese pancake. First tried this in 2007 and I remember it having noodles. The ones we had (Butatama and 4-cheese) unfortunately didn’t because I only saw the Premium selection on the next pages after we already ordered. They were nonetheless satisfying and filling. I want to eat there again.If you put mayonnaise long enough under heat, you see with your own eyes that the condiment is REALLY just fat. I don’t care I still like it. I learned long ago that the best way for me to consume vegetables is to drown them in meat and sauces. Works every time.The hybrid burgers of BeefX (formerly Big B Burgers) are delectable. Their patties are 50% beef and 50% other meat (bacon/spam/longganisa). Potions with feelings are served with a presentation which was rather awkward. I wish the poutine, a dish we can thank the Canadians for (and called Poutine ng Ina in the menu), had more cheese curds. The best thing about it is their price point, 140 pesos for a burger of that caliber ain’t bad. The worst is the store’s ventilation. Heat from the kitchen is trapped in the dining area together with the air conditioning. You leave smelling like a burger.
A block from where I live is a place where we can have Batangas Lomi. It’s not a good version (the soup is too thin, the ingredients too little) but it’s better than nothing especially when I have my cravings.Shi Lin at Circuit Makati. It’s like the cheaper version of Din Tai Fung.Mami at Yue Lai Seafood and Hotpot Restaurant along Mabini. We were supposed to go to Binondo but ended up here because Arla lived nearby. I’ve seen this for a long time since it’s just beside Lau Chan but am always intimidated to go inside, it looked expensive. It’s true, abalones and crabs and live fish can be expensive but this one is priced fairly. The noodles are thin, the beef tender, the serving generous. In February, I was in Tagaytay twice in the same week. The first one for one of the most fun and heartfelt weddings ever, and the second for my sister’s birthday staycation.
Before going home, we decided to stop by Mushroom Burger in memory of Tito Del, the first person who brought each of us (on different occasions) there. Almost five years on and the loss is still palpable. Our eyes still sweat whenever we have “what if” conversations about him. I guess it doesn’t go away.Walang sinabi ang Chowking sa sarap ng fried chicken at pancit combo ng Mushroom Burger!Bulgogi Brothers! I remember the first time I ate here, five of us shared in the cheapest set meal available and just filled ourselves with the banchan. The manager may or may not have scratched his head as he compared the space we occupied and time we stayed there with our bill haha! We were broke college students then (I still am, actually). Biane!
Last December, Ate Clarisse (a responsible, earning adult) and I had a set meal good for three/four persons all to ourselves plus an extra order of meat. Naubos naman namin pero di na makahinga! Thank you ateeee 🙂
Masarap, kailangan lang may kasabay na maalat otherwise di ko mauubos.Much has been written about Ippudo’s ramen so let’s take this time to appreciate their Torched Salmon Roll. So tasty and soft one order is not enough but I have no choice because a serving is only 5 pieces and from what I remember, it costs as much as their cheapest ramen?Locavore for a meet-up slash mini baby shower for Abi bebe ❤ Thanks to Irvins, whenever I see salted egg chips in the appetizers menu I am inclined to order it. The restaurant is known for their locally-sourced ingredients as well as creativity in presenting well-loved Filipino staple dishes in a new way. Must tries are Sizzling Sinigang, Lechon and Oyster Sisig, and Mac’s boneless chicken.
It’s weird for the sinigang and sisig to have gravy (or if that’s not gravy whatever that brown sauce is called) but for some reason, Locavore made it work. The dishes were enjoyable except for the boneless chicken which was average.Galbizip: probably the cheapest KBBQ all you can in the metro. 299 pesos gives you unli samgyeopsal and banchans for an hour. You can actually choose between cooking with butane or charcoal. I know meat tastes better when cooked with the latter but it’s also slower and we wanted to make the most out of sixty minutes so butane it is. The banchans they offered were pretty decent. There’s the usual lettuce, nuts, kimchi, rice, egg, and noodles. Standout was braised pork similar to Adobo. I actually eat it with the rice while waiting for the samgyup to cook.
We were I think nine in the group had more or less a dozen plates in total. Had to change the grease receptacle thrice as well. Eating the same kind of protein over and over might be too much so you have to unleash your creativity with the side dishes and eat your way into the restaurant’s bankruptcy (As if! We know food businesses have one of the highest mark-ups on cost).I guess Malate is not yet over the Korean BBQ craze. A relatively new buffet restaurant is Premier along Mabini. Tordy and I ate here last December and had to wait two hours just to get a table. To think that we went late to supposedly let the dinner rush hour pass! Anyway, the cost is more than twice that of Galbizip (580 plus tax ata for the Unli Mix Promo) but so is the quality of the food (more than 12 refillable banchans to choose from). AND THERE’S NO TIME LIMIT.
I decided not to post pictures of the meat because the colors are so nice it might tempt me to visit again. The service is not topnotch but that’s understandable because the place is open 24/7 and though the crew work in shifts, it’s still taxing to serve customers who are hangry from the long wait non-stop (also, can you see the amount of utensils and plates they have to carry and clean?).The Wholesome Table in Bonifacio High Street. Bacon with no grease is still bacon but at the same time, it’s not anymore bacon. Know what I mean? Anyway, I was surprised with the hefty serving since these kinds of restaurants usually think their diners only have half the stomach a normal human has (or I just have twice the size?). The salad was fresh and made delightful by the dressing. Kanto Freestyle’s Pesto Tomato tastes better but overall, this was a good breakfast.
Sincerity Cafe ❤ I already know that their fried chicken tastes best when paired with plain rice because it’s so delicious no other flavoring is needed but I still order fried rice *shrug emoji*. First time to taste Machang, I appreciate the abalone and meat inside but then again, I came there for the chicken.In memory of our family’s HK trip. Yoshinoya tastes better there. That or nag-iinarte lang ako.Do you know that during your birthday month you can avail of a free Original King (Butao) if you bring one paying customer who’ll also order the same flavor at Ramen Nagi? I didn’t. It was Arla who told me and I’ve been telling everyone since haha! We also tried the pork tonkatsu roll and it did not disappoint! Like rolled bacon that is deep fried, drizzled with mayonnaise then served on a bed of sliced cabbage to make you feel less guilty about eating fat fried on fat drizzled with fat. But who cares about calories when the food is good?
For Xion’s Christening, we had the celebration at Cafe Juanita in Kapitolyo. I never had the chance to eat here before the occasion but I’m sure I’m coming back. That Kare-Kare! The tofu! The pancit! The pakbet! The cassava cake! (I’m not even sure if these are available in their regular menu). One of the best binyags ever! Wingman at The Collective in Malugay. If you like your wings naked and without much batter, this is for you. Otherwise, Frankie’s pa rin. Comparison aside, it’s pretty delicious.Ooma! Already forgot the names of the plates we had and even when I checked the menu again online I couldn’t pinpoint which is which but they were the bestsellers and lived up to the distinction.Most memorable and the ones I remember the names of were Soft Shell Crab Katsu and Hangar Steak! The latter was so tender (medium well) but you have to eat it fast because the texture of the sweet potato mash gets icky the longer it comes into contact with the grease from the steak.Another restaurant I had to wait two hours for before being seated in (good thing I was with good friends and we had a lot of catching up to do) is Mendokoro Ramenba in Salcedo Village. Upon arriving, you line up at the cashier to order, pay, and get your queue number slip (one for each person). Then the waiting starts. The only seating option available is facing the open kitchen like in a bar, and I think it can only house 20 customers at a time. No wonder. After what felt like a hundred false alarms and half a dozen conversations of “lipat na tayo“/”naghintay na rin lang e, dito na“, our queue numbers were finally called. Thankfully, we were seated at the far end where we are not pressured into wolfing our bowls down fast by the impatient stares of other customers.
Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen. The soup was thick and milky, the noodles firm.Tantanmen. This one had a chili kick which I prefer. The first bowl is too savory.Miso Tonkatsu Ramen.Plus a side order of gyoza.Toby’s Estate. I like this cafe and wish there was a branch nearer to me. The interiors (or at least at their branch in Salcedo Village) is light and homey. I like their Flat White but especially love their Chai Chocolate even if I’m not usually fond of chocolate drinks (with the exception of course of Moo and Chuckie and Milo).Blocleaf Cafe along M.H. Del Pilar. This one has been featured in countless sites because of the architecture and the food. The space is really small I think there are only two tables inside plus four chairs facing the road. But I do agree that it’s pleasing to the eyes with its minimalist design made predominantly of wood and glass. I can only imagine how hot it must be at noon time though.
Bebe and I had Dirty Iced Lattes (double the espresso shot) in Matcha and Chai variants for drinks, Longganisa Pasta and Tuyo Puttanesca for snacks. The drinks were refreshing and perfect in the morning when you don’t have yet the energy to do anything. The pasta was a little too sweet at first but you get used to it. The puttanesca, unremarkable. I hope Blocleaf stands the test of time. I appreciate having a place to go to in Malate that isn’t KBBQ or CBTL.I appreciate Tito Patrick for always cooking my favorite dishes (and his specialties) whenever I go home to the province. Last time, it was Kare-Kare and Dinakdakan. They look like that because they’ve been refrigerated and reheated. Not all things shiny are good for my heart but these two definitely are good with rice.And last but not the least before I force myself using any kind of reinforcement possible (joke lang healthy dapat tayo) is my cheap snack bought from a sari-sari store/mini carinderia two blocks from where I live. The Maja is not the best but it’s only 10 pesos. The bananas used in the banana cue are smaller and therefore more delicious. The bihon does not compare to Manang Tess’ cooking but putting spiced vinegar on it reminds me of home.P.S. Bar exam results came out today and I’m so happy the people I was rooting for passed (I even got teary-eyed as I spoke to one of them on the phone). Plus, my alma mater produced 5 in the top 20. After euphoria, my heart started beating fast and now I think I’m on the verge of an attack. I’m out. Bye.