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Mayer Hawthorne - Her Favorite Song


But when she gets home, she puts her headphones on
She plays her favorite song and fades away
And when the musics on she can do no wrong
And she feels safe and calm and it's ok
And she says, ba ba dum ba dee ah dum ba
Ba dum ba dee ah dum ba
The world keeps turning, life goes on
Yeah she says, ba ba dum ba dee ah dum ba
Ba dum ba dee ah dum ba
The world keeps turning, life goes on

You got to shake it off, shake it
You got to shake it off

Photo Diary: Seoul Food

Korean Cuisine evolved for centuries from political and social change. It is largely based on rice, vegetables and meat. Korean meals are well known for the number of side dishes or banchan. Kimchi is often served sometimes in all meals. Ingredients and dishes vary from province and also the season. Growing up my mother taught us at an early age to eat spicy and be accustomed to Korean food. I often share my food and culture with friends because not only it is unique but also healthy and delicious. As time passed Koreans have also evolved and opened their doors to different types of fusion dishes and food culture but still with a Korean touch. I would like to share some of our food adventures during my visit in Seoul, South Korea with Rhea and Gugol.

Samgyupsal at Hongik University Area
Now you see it and now you don't

Rhea and Gugol - we had to walk to digest all those samgyup sal.

Hello Kitty Cafe

First meal I cooked - I am really sorry it was not good.
The soup is called Tteokguk - a soup made of Tteok or rice cake commonly served during Korean Thanks Giving Day.
Mandu (dumplings) and some side dishes.

At a Japanese traditional sake bar eating - Raw octopus fermented in Wasabi and stir fried vegetables.

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Bibimpap (with barley) for lunch at Nami Island

Bulgogi Deopap - Bulgogi Rice Bowl
Tonkatsu - Pork Cutlet with special Korean sauce

Kimchi Dog at N Tower

Delicious Heotoek

Korean Street Food at Myeongdong

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O Ji Ngo - Roasted Squid

The famous Myeong dong Ice cream

Samgyetang - Ginseng Chicken Soup

Pungo Pang - Fish Read Bean Bread a famous street food especially when winter is coming,


My Best Friend's Wedding

It's been a while since my last post I've been busy traveling around. I can't wait to tell you stories about my return to my mother's land after 8 years. I came back for a very important reason and that was to be at my best friend's wedding. I can't believe that it's been more than a decade that past since we met. Stephanie and I shared a lot of great memories together from understanding Korean culture, learning the language, surviving everyday life, and more. I can tell you a lot of stories of how we got drunk, sing our heart out at the karaoke, dance at the salsa club, celebrate birthdays, our talks about life and being there for each other when we need it the most.

steph & Me Steph and Me
1st: December 2003 Saturday night out and about in Seoul, South Korea
2nd Photo: August 2005 with Stephanie and Me holding Leo - Luisa's son.

1st photo: August 2009 Stephanie and Me at Caleruega when she visited Philippines
2nd photo: At Cafe Havana having Cuba Libre

Sang-Ik and Stephanie - October 5, 2013

My return to Seoul will not be complete without my dear friends Rhea and Gugol. We all set our alarm to wake up at 6am but we woke up at 7:00am and thus began our marathon to beat the 8:30am meeting time  at Soongsil University (where Stephanie is working as a French Language professor). If you don't know yet - Korean's are very punctual when meeting someone on the set time you have to be there at least 15 minutes ahead. From Hongik station to Soongsil University takes about 45minutes by subway with 1 transfer and I did not even include the walking time from our guest house to the subway which takes about 15-20minutes. So just imagine the three of us wearing formal attire with luggage running. It was really crazy! When we arrived at the Soongsil University I cannot find the bus that is suppose to take us to the wedding venue, I called Stephanie and she told me I have to go inside the university and in the middle area is where I can find the bus. When you see the university entrance all you see are stairs very long stairs all the way up.

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Entrance of the university from the subway and when I say many I mean literally many stairs.

(Soongsil University photos are from doopedia - I do not have ownership of the photos just mainly posted for visual purpose only)

Rhea was telling me that the Cinderella scene flashed in her head when the rat holding a key saw the long stairs and fainted. She saw the long stairs and almost fainted. I cannot even remember how I managed to run the stairs in dress and heels all I remember is that my legs hurt so much. We arrived 8:30am! DAMN!

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Inside the bus with Rhea and Gugol

Gugol sitting beside our pile of stuff.

All the breakfast I ate was gone after the marathon but when the ushers came to us they brought water and snack - Kimbap and fresh fruits. I am happy again.

with red polka dot ribbon and a note saying "This is not too much, we thank you for the time you gave to us. We wish you a safe trip and happy life."
- from Sang-Ik and Stephanie

After 4 hours on the highway with so much traffic we finally arrived at Gyeongsangbuk-do. Oh gosh my back hurts a lot. I love South Korea country side. I quickly registered and tried to find my way to Stephanie and when I did I tried to take a photo with her but there was so much people around. You won't believe how many people are there let us just say about 300 people around. She looks very pretty in her traditional Korean Wedding dress I really wanted to hug her but she can't move and have to keep her arms on her chest.

Wedding Altar - Korean Traditional Wedding
Beautiful Stephanie in her Hanbok

The meeting of the bride and groom

Sweet moments of Sang-Ik and Stephanie

Family photos with Sang-Ik's family and Stephanie's family

Congratulations Sang-Ik and Stephanie !!!

See you soon!!!

Photos courtesy of Me, Rhea and Gugol

Photo Diary: My Seoul

I believe that I will never look at another city the same way I do with Seoul. A contrast of old and new, a city that thrives while keeping traditions and customs alive. My love and hate relationship with Seoul has a deep and profound effect on my life. It changed the way I see things, it gave me a deeper sense and meaning in everything I do. The place where have met so many great friends, celebrated life, experienced pain and anger, learned about love and life, dreamed of many things, and where I also keep all my treasured memories. Thank you Seoul.







In the Land of the Morning Calm

This is my SEOUL.

To know more about Seoul
visit: http://english.seoul.go.kr/

Photo Diary: Nami Island

Nami Island/ Nami Seom - located in Chuncheon. It's name originated from General Nami who was falsely accused of treason and died at the age of 28 during the reign of King Sejo. A famous tourist destination this tiny half moon shaped island is a favorite weekend getaway of families and couples.

Aboard the Nami Maid Ferry going to Nami Island


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Just docked at Nami Island
It is an oasis where nature and humanity come in peace large mulberry, chestnut and gingko trees line the islands walk ways that serves as shade to the walking people around the island. Squirrels, ostriches, ducks and chipmunks are openly seen on the green areas. It is also a site for the Nami Island International Children's Book Festival, Nami Island Music Festival and other art and cultural events are performed regularly at the island.             

Rhea and Me - Colors of Autumn
Nature and art at it's best

Winter Sonata Parody - by Gugolle and Rhea
The island became especially more famous because it was the main filming location of the Korean television drama WINTER SONATA (2002) by KBS starring Bae Yong Joon and Choi Ji Woo. And since then the place has attracted some 2.3 million visitors as of 2012.
This includes Me, Gugolle and Rhea

K-POP Culture Heart hand sign / Got Milk?

K-Pop Culture - PEACE SIGN

Another great day!

To know more about NAMI ISLAND
visit http://www.namisum.com/

Dumb Ways to Die

I am so crazy about this game now and their theme song....

                                                                                                                video from youtube.com c/o DumbWays2Die

Happy weekend everyone!!!
We are so glad that on our last day in Puerto Princesa the weather got better and our Underground River trip will finally happened. I would really cry if we leave Palawan without seeing this natural wonder. The Puerto Princesa Underground River is one of the most protected and distinguished site in the Philippines. The river stretches to 8.2 kilometer long and flows directly to the sea which created a natural phenomenon with the existence of 11 minerals, 20 million years old of Serenia fossils that is embedded in the cave wall that made Puerto Princesa Underground River as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Important reminder before going there - you must book this ahead with a tour operator or through your hotel to make sure you get a permit to visit the site.

After 2 hours of drive we stopped at the small resting place and of course we had some time to take some pictures.
At the pit stop with Hermann, Mat, Yazmin, Prim and Echo

On our way and a class photo before going inside the Underground river

Going inside the Subterranean River National Park

Inside the Underground River..it is pitch black - Are you afraid of the dark?

There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Post class picture after our Underground River Tour.

We also dropped by the Karst Mountain Elephant Cave


Put Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park on your must visit places.


Puerto Princesa City Tour

There are many people who told me that the PP City Tour is a waste of time and I actually thought it was but when our Underground River Tour was cancelled we made the decision to take the city tour instead of hiding inside our room. We all hopped inside the van and thus began our tour of Puerto Princesa City. **Important reminders when in Puerto Princesa - NO LITTERING - 1st warning -Fine of  Php200, 2nd warning - Fine of Php300, Final warning - Fine of Php 2000 with 2 months imprisonment. They impose strict implementation of this so don't joke about it.

Our first stop was the Crocodile Farm at the Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Recreation Center.

Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Recreation Center

With the 50 years old 17 foot skeleton and skin of a crocodile and more crocodiles inside

Palawan Bearcat and a huge spider probably dangerous one hanging around the bushes.
We also saw the beautiful Palawan Hornbill and Philippine Monkey Eating Eagle

It was really wild and hot out here with the girls.

Next stop was the Ramon Mitra's Ranch - former Congressman who made Puerto Princesa a city. The architecture of his house is shaped like a cockpit because he loves cock fights. The view from Mitra's Ranch was just breath taking you can see the whole city of Puerto Princesa.

This spot right here is the best place for jump shots or just lying in the grass.

Next was the Baker Hills - great place to have a snack because they got it all - buffet restaurant, garden restaurant, beautiful garden with different themes, snack bar, floras and birds. I think we almost emptied our camera battery taking way too many photos in every corner. If you cannot find Tamilok at Kinabuchs you can come to this place.

Like I said...every corner even with this fella here.

They are famous for their Hopia - a must have snack or pasalubong when you visit this place.

The beautiful garden landscape of Baker's Hill.

Next stop was the Binuatan Creations

Binuatan Creations

Traditional weaving is a dying art but Puerto Princesa Palawan keeps it alive and they make functional stuff from place mats, table runner, coasters, wallets, bags, pad holder, and many more. My mother collected a lot of traditional handicrafts traveling around Philippines and I know that she would truly appreciate the Binuatan Creations. I bought her a set of place mat and table runner she was so happy when she got it. We visited the production site it was too early so no one was still there.

Binuatan Creations- Production Area
I love the colors, traditional weaving machines, natural light and airy feeling - not like a factory.

I love handcraft things but I don't like making them. However, I tried my hands on the weaving machine and the lady said I'm a natural. I am so happy I might consider buying a weaving machine. =)

And for our last stop the Historic Immaculate Conception Church

Inside the Immaculate Conception Church

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Natural light coming in inside the church making it look blue not only on the outside but also inside.

The tour guide told us that every time you visit a church in a new place you have to make a wish.

So, Make a wish!

So, what do I think about Puerto Princesa City Tour? AWESOME!!!!

Food Trip in Pueto Princesa

Food is always an essential part of my trip if you hate people who take pictures of their food before eating it then you will hate me more. Hahaha! In our trip to PP We actually planned out most of the must eat places in the island. First, snack time after our adventures in the island at Itoy's Coffee Haus then dinner at Kalui, 2nd day was lunch at Badjao Seafront Restaurant and dinner at Kinabuchs Grill and Bar. And for our food challenge - TAMILOK (woodworm/ shipworm). Anyway, I am not gonna write more here's a little food porn for everyone.

Let's start with Itoy's Coffee Haus- This place is so cozy and homy we all love the ambience and we also discovered that the people of Palawan have a sweet tooth. I am not a big fan of sweets so I am so sorry I can't drink their coffee cause it was too sweet for me. Prim also ordered the blue berry cheese cake but we got the blue berry gelatin cake maybe we should have ordered the chocolate moist that the waiter recommended...hmm..maybe next time.

At Itoy's Coffee Haus

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Prim and Yazmin

Kalui - this place is not only a restaurant but also a gallery- a feast of the eyes and palette. Most importantly make sure to make a reservation before going.


With good friends and good food around.

The art gallery inside the restaurant
Badjao Seafront Restaurant a great place to eat seafood in the sea and with mangrove trees around to protect the area.

Entrance to Badjao Seafront Restaurant and the mangrove forest surrounding the restaurant. Love it!

Great food with great company - just another day in paradise island Puerto Princesa, Palawan

The Mangrove Forest in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Did you know that every February 14 the people of Puerto Princesa plants Mangrove trees to express their love back to mother nature. The mangrove forest in Palawan is constantly increasing also it is the only tree that grows in sea water. They are an important part of the eco and coastal system in Palawan. It is a nursery place for many species of fishes and shrimps even oysters. The people of Palawan also believes that because of the mangroves they are protected from tsunami and typhoons.

Their best sellers - Crispy Pata and Crocodile Meat Sisig. - DELISH!!!
We also had Bulalo (Beef Marrow Soup), Mixed Seafood with oyster sauce

And finally the TAMILOK CHALLENGE!!!
Tamilok - Woodworm or Shipworm is a famous delicacy from Palawan. Usually this worm or oyster rather is found inside the woods of Mangrove trees. They are called "Termites of the sea". Yes! they are oysters an unusual soft clams with long, soft naked bodies. It is usually prepared "Kinilaw" or raw then mixed with vinegar, lime, onion, and some chili for a kick.

Yazmin - at first she was scared but she actually ate more than me.

Hermann and Mat

Prim and Echo

ME!!! I know it is really long, big, and scary but as Andrew Zimmern said: "If it looks good EAT IT!"

More Palawan adventures coming stay tuned! :)

Puerto Princesa, Palawan

I actually did not expect that this trip would make it. It's been raining endlessly in Manila for the past months not to mention the crazy winds and flooding every where. Our flight was even moved twice - Yazmin and I were getting mad cause we prearranged all our tours 3 months ago. But as you may already know no amount of rain, wind, or turbulence can stop me and my friends from getting on a plane and taking this trip.

I have gathered all my good friends Yazmin, Prim, Echo, Mat, and Hermann together we journeyed and discovered the friendly, clean, wild, and beautiful city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

Welcome to Palawan Everyone!
It's Prim's first time to travel far away from Manila riding a plane! =)

First order of the day after checking in was Island Hopping. 3 Island stops - Starfish, Luli and last Cowrie Island.

Just arrived at Starfish Island with Me and the gang!

Palawan is rich in marine life that is why this place is very protected by their city government and their people.
Puffer Fish that was shown to us by the boat man he let us hold it cause he said it is safe.
Clown fish hiding in the corals below. - WE FOUND NEMO!
Even though the water was murky and the the waves was strong we still enjoyed Starfish Island.

Next stop is LULI Island - also known as Lulubog- Lilitaw Island (Sinking and Appearing Island) sometimes it is there, sometimes it is not depends on the water level. We are lucky it was there so, we braved the sea snorkeled and feed some fishes.

The weather was getting better this time and we enjoyed snorkeling and taking so many jump shots!

Our last stop on our first day tour of Puerto Princesa, Palawan was Cowrie Island you will definitely love this heaven island cause this is where everyone stop to rest, eat and relax and so we did.

Cowrie Island, Palawan - taking photos while waiting for our fruit shakes

Our lunch picnic especially prepared by our tour guide VIN.
Prim now finally learned how to use the snorkel. Hehehe!

Prim, Me and Yazmin - We played so much in the blue crystal waters of Palawan Island

While enjoying the island the wind and weather shifted again suddenly the island was in chaos strong winds and big waves are coming into the shore.
We immediately went back to the cottage to seek shelter before heading back to the city.
We can all feel the sand hitting our legs and face - IT HURTS!
The fishermen call this phenomenon "Unos" it is like a storm that passes by it will be gone after 30minutes to an hour.
After the "unos" we headed back to the city and felt better.
Thank you to the brave boatmen who took us to the shore safely.

With a starfish and my signature jump shot in the water.

More Puerto Princesa adventures coming up in my next post.

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January 2014



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