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    Majority of my friends call me Trish, I guess you could call me that too. I'm a transcriptions editor with a really messed up body clock and never ending affinity for films, food and written words. I like street art, sweets, neutrals and monochromes, sushi, window seats, golf carts and lazy weekends.

    Some of the things that completely preoccupy me are my fixation with the now defunct The Civil Wars and their beautiful art of sadness, Oh Sehun, sleeping, CSS and HTML, @iameden, and those damn hypnotizing Tasty videos. Top country in my travel bucketlist? Iceland. But the one that will always have my heart? Hong Kong.

    Some people say I am never home enough (including my mom sometimes) but I'd like to believe I come home as often as I can. Though, yes, there were those occasions that I'd rather sleep through the weekend and tell myself, "I promise I'd come home next week." before I shut my eyes and succumb to oblivion.

    Okay. I'll come home more often.

    A home is a place where you grow up wanting to leave and grow old
    wanting to get back to.
    - John Ed Pierce

    . Tuesday, April 30, 2013 .

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    . Tuesday, April 30, 2013 .

    Some people say I am never home enough (including my mom sometimes) but I'd like to believe I come home as often as I can. Though, yes, there were those occasions that I'd rather sleep through the weekend and tell myself, "I promise I'd come home next week." before I shut my eyes and succumb to oblivion.

    Okay. I'll come home more often.

    A home is a place where you grow up wanting to leave and grow old
    wanting to get back to.
    - John Ed Pierce

    . Monday, April 29, 2013 .

    After a week of like breathing underwater, the results have finally been posted yesterday! I was having an internal debate of whether I would look at the website at exactly 3 PM or I'll just wait for people's reactions via Twitter. Of course, I couldn't help myself so I did the former.

    And since this post didn't start with the words I, won, one, top, 16 (in any order), you probably know by now that I didn't make it. Hehehe. I was bummed for a good 5 minutes and got over it. Congratulations, again, to Kisty Mea of The Style Mermaid and Camie Juan of Wild Spirit! I am just so glad someone gets to represent the Philippines, and these 2 definitely deserve it! Also, to my favorite blogger from Iceland, Auður Ösp of I Heart Reykjavik!

    For what it's worth, I really, really did enjoy the competition! Thank you again to everyone who made a vote for me! It was the first time I participated in something of this magnitude and I'm glad I did! Though most of the time I was at the edge of my seat, it was such a pleasant experience. I met a lot of awesome bloggers from other countries and learned a lot of different blogging styles just by visiting their respective websites. Will I join again next year? If I have more travel experiences by then, I absolutely will!

    I will still see you soon, Iceland.

    Want to know why they were picked and where they're going? Visit the official Big Blog Exchange website by clicking here.
    . Thursday, April 25, 2013 .

    Sometimes I wish, since I was not blessed with any creative talent, I could come up with an original idea that I can make my way around and actually call my own. So jealous of artists that can cook something up and make it their brand.

    Just like Laura McKellar. I saw her artwork while breezing through ModCloth's blog and I kinda felt my heart flutter at sheer amazement with her mixed media artwork. Damn, when will I ever come up with something as great as this?

    There's some so unique in the way she combined animals and people in her works, not just on these ones. The saturated, washed out colors of the vintage print, the intricate, elaborate and colorful embroidery, and the technique of incorporating the animals as masks. It's just so fluid. What I truly love about her works overall is the unexpectedness!

    The photo above is my favorite out of the bunch. I like the pastel background and the purple-ish hues of the embroidery, and the flight of birds just speak so much to me.

    Here are some of her works from the Once Upon Time Exhibit in aMBUSH Gallery in Sydney last November 2009:

    . Tuesday, April 23, 2013 .

    If I could pick a country to visit tomorrow, I would definitely choose Iceland. I have this life-long affinity with this country eventhough I know so little about it. This post is in response to The Big Blog Exchange's question before, "Which are the most desirable countries for the exchange?" And of course, Iceland definitely tops my list.

    After laying out a list of the places I wanted to visit and some activites I wanted to do in Iceland, here's the second part of the things I will do when I get there: tasting their cuisine and experiencing some once in a life time activities.

    Cuisine Appreciation!

    The Definitely Will Try List. Photo Credits 1 | 2 | 3
    1. Pylsur. This is basically Iceland's hotdogs. The only difference is that there's an additional ingredient besides the pork and beef -- lamb. According to some websites, that's what makes the hotdogs tastier than the usual. It was also highly suggested to order it in "eina með öllu," which meant one with everything, so that means hotdogs + ketchup + pylsusinnep (brown mustard) + cronions (see 4th item on the list) + raw onions + remoulade (tartar sauce like). Sounds delicious.
    2. Skyr. It's somewhere in between a yoghurt and cheese. Most websites I've read describe it as yoghurt-like but technically, it's cheese. I love both so it doesn't really matter! Hehe. It's extremely popular as Icelanders eat it every chance they get -- may it be breakfast, as snacks and they also use it as toppings for dessert. (via)
    3. Fish. The country being surrounded with vast waters, it is for sure that seafood is included in their menu. Fish are caught early in the morning and served fresh to consumers everyday.
    4. Cronions. The Nordic crispy fried onions that usually go with the hotdogs! This is a must have when you try the hotdogs, most people are left wanting more because of the crunch and texture given by these delicious salty bits!
    5. Pönnukökur. Also called the Icelandic pancakes but the thinness of this dessert also reminds me of a crepe. According to this website, the main differences of the 2 were the size (pönnukökur is smaller) and the texture. You want the recipe? Click here.
    6. Lobster. Another seafood worth the try. In the photo, the Icelandic lobster is being shallow fried and then it is to be served with lobster sauce. (via) Yum!
    . Monday, April 22, 2013 .

    Last month, the boyfriend and I wanted to be a little spontaneous (hahaha) one morning so we decided to get up early and have breakfast somewhere in Makati. There are a couple of breakfast joints I wanted to visit for a while now (Brew-Kus, Mr. Jones, Apartment 1B and Agahan), so I thought this would be a great opportunity.

    After much internal debate, I suggested we try Agahan since it's already open early in the morning (7:00 AM, as per Google) and it's nearer from where we're coming from. With the help of Google Maps, we took a cab going to Agahan. We got off at an intersection and walked back a little.

    So, we finally saw Agahan's signage (refer to photo below) and we were really excited to eat! The only difference though is that when we saw the place, the pillars were painted white and there were blinds partially covering the entrance. I figured since the sun directly hits the place, they put blinds to lessen the heat.

    Photo credit: Wheninmanila.com
    When we got inside, I was surprised and puzzled at the same time. As opposed to the loud, vivid colors shown, what greeted us were white, almost like those of hospitals, walls. The place was filled with Chinese (if I'm not mistaken) people giving us puzzled looks while having their breakfast. There was no menu posted and no one to ask about anything. We felt like we were transported into another dimension! Haha.

    After a few minutes of being awkward in such an unfamiliar territory, the boyfriend was nudging me to leave as something felt very wrong in that place. We slowly stood up and left the place and laughed hard when we got out.

    We hopped into another cab and asked the driver to drop us off at The Columns in Ayala because we figured we're just going to hang out at Moonleaf. But because we're such hungry young people, we decided to walk around so we could find a nice place to have our most awaited breakfast.

    After the longest walk I had in a while, we reached Ayala Triangle Gardens and decided to have breakfast at MoMo Cafe. The resto was not packed, the ambiance was light and it's so relaxing to see the greenery of Ayala Triangle Gardens while having an early morning meal. And, of course, I've dined there before so I knew what to expect. (You can read all about it here.)

    Skinless Vigan Longganisa, Hamonado and Recado (PhP 220)
    I ordered this since I'm in a longganisa mood that morning. I enjoyed eating this but I hope they added more of the Vigan Longganisa. The Hamonado Longganisa (is that what it's called? Because it's shaped like one) dominated the dish. I'm a sucker for sweets but I'd still prefer a salty (or tasty) viand than a sweet one. Another plus was the tomatoes. I love tomatoes! I eat them in any way!

    English or American Breakfast? (Yes, that is the name. PhP 295)
    The boyfriend's choice was this one, with an additional order of garlic rice. He told me everything on the plate was delicious and heavy, which is what he totally loves about the dish. I am not very fond of the baked beans (or any kind of beans, except monggo) but the sausage patty was excellent. The grill marks make it look more sumptuous. The meat was tender and juicy and very delicious! And yes, the chargrilled half tomato was a nice pop of color on the plate!

    You just can't deny that MoMo Cafe has the best value for your money when it comes to the servings and the quality of the food. And this time around, I was really happy with their customer service!

    We were laughing while having breakfast because of the misadventure we had earlier that morning. We sat around a little longer after we ate because we got tired of all the wandering we did. We talked about a lot of things and saw this huge dog that kind of looks like a Siberian Husky but it's coat is much fluffier!

    On our way back, I'm still bugged by our experience at Agahan. The question, "What the hell happened?" was still loud inside my head. So I googled the keywords Agahan and  Makati again but this time I added the word closed. And yes, ladies and gents, I just found out that Agahan was already closed since last year! Apparently, I didn't do my research enough. But in my defense (haha), when I checked Agahan's official website then, there was no announcement that they already closed.

    I told the boyfriend immediately and we can't stop laughing! But both of us were curious as to what was that place we just went to and why they didn't bother removing the Agahan signage? A canteen perhaps? I don't think we'll ever know.

    MoMo Cafe is located at Ayala Triangle GardensAyala Avenue, Ayala Triangle, Makati
    MoMo Cafe Official Website

    . Sunday, April 21, 2013 .

    It feels great that finally, after a few years of struggle and confusion, I can answer this question with a yes. And I am very grateful for that. In all honesty, I never had a gameplan in my life. But I cannot say that I am the impulsive, carefree type that lives by the moment. For a while, I was lost and had no idea what to do and where to go, but as the saying goes, "One step at a time."

    There's no exact formula as to how we will reach that place or that state where/when we could finally say, "I'm where I want to be." In my opinion, if you want to get moving, you have to take the first step. If you don't know what you want to do, you must figure out at least if you are fine with where you are right now and/or if you like what you're doing right now with your life. Indeed, all the opportunities are out there but the responsibility of finding them is solely in our hands.

    The answer to this question is different for each person, but it always boil down to moving forward. Some may say we are all headed in one direction, and that is true, so we might as well make the ride worthwhile. Right? Don't get stuck, just keep moving forward.

    I've read this comment in SoulPancake's website:
    We aren't supposed to know, we are living in our present, past and future in this moment. If you make the best out of now you guarantee your future will be great.
    What matters is you keep on going, the future might be vague but at least at the end of the day, you don't find yourself in the exact same spot, soles digging the ground, and haven't moved an inch.

    "Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. 
    Tip toe if you must, but take the step."
    - Gemma Stone

    SoulPancake is the brainchild of Rainn Wilson (yes, from The Office), Devon Gundry, Shabnam Mogharabi, Golriz Lucina, and their other creative friends. It is a creative movement/project that touches art, culture, science, philosophy, spirituality and humor that encourages people to open their minds, speak out and be real.

    SP Official Site / SP Facebook / SP Tumblr / SP Twitter
    . Friday, April 19, 2013 .

    The official list of the top 100 finalists was posted last April 17th --  a day after a voting period extension given by Hostelling International. Why the extension? As if a plot in a movie, a day before the competition phase was supposed to close, a spammer attacked TBBE's website and reported numerous blogs in the top 25 of each region (mine included) which caused our entries to be removed from the list, thus, people were not able to vote.

    There was certainly panic among us as this blog post by TBBE garnered nearly around 200 comments, eagerly waiting for an answer as to why our entries were suspended. Each one anxious because time is ticking and votes are waiting in vain. Thankfully, TBBE responded as quick as they could, replying to each and everyone of our queries, emails, tweets and FB messages, informing us of what went down and that they already fixed the issue. And with that, they allowed an extra day of voting to compensate to the votes that might have been lost. Great news! What's even better was that through this crisis, if I may call it, I got to know a lot of the other bloggers more as we constantly update the thread with the latest news we have. Such a wonderful group of positive people!

    So everything paid off in the end because, yes, I made it to the top 100! I held the 17th spot in the Asia Pacific region and 41st overall. Not bad at all. I knew I had limited time to gather as much votes as I can (I joined April 3rd), even resorting to privately messaging each and everyone on my Facebook friends' list and tweeting about the competition constantly. I just had to do it because I wanted to have an opportunity in this life-changing experience!

    A big thank you to all those who took their time to read my message, go to TBBE's website and vote. Double Triple thank you to my close friends for helping me campaign and get more votes from their own families and friends. I really got all the help I could get and I could never be thankful enough for all your efforts. Thank you! And of course, unending gratitude towards Hostelling International for coming up with such a unique competition like this!

    I already made it known that if given the chance to be 1 of the lucky 16, I would definitely like to go to Iceland! I made a entry about it and what things I would do when I set forth on that magnificent country. The second part of that, I'm currently finishing. So, I would definitely like to swap with Audur Osp of IheartReykjavik.net! Her website is very informative, a lot of tips and other tools of the trade in living in Reykjavik!

    It is with great joy to announce also that 4 other creative bloggers from the Philippines made it to the cut! They are Jean Alaba of TheEagerTraveller.com, Camie Juan of Wild-Spirit.net, Tin Iglesias of Fashion Ate The World, and Joamar-John. Go ahead and visit their blogs and be inspired! Kisty Mea of The Style Mermaid also made it but she's representing Singapore because she currently lives there.

    Now, all we can do is wait until TBBE announces the final 14 and the 2 wildcards on April 29. I am filled with anticipation (and a little anxiety)! Haha! Good luck to everyone!

    You can view The Big Blog Exchange's Top 100 List here.
    . Wednesday, April 17, 2013 .

    Another weekend spent away from the city! Sometimes, I have this impulse of getting away from it all, and sometimes, I consider going to the beach to unwind and relax.

    After the most inconvenient bus ride to San Juan, La Union, we were greeted by the beautiful sunset. Here's some snippets and fragments of our getaway:

    Super late lunch at Sebay Surf Resort

    Wearing Marion's slippers. Silly me forgot to bring a pair . 

    Where we stayed.
    A quick dip before calling it a night.
    Early morning walk along the shoreline.
    The fat cat during breakfast. Doesn't look like he's fat but he is.
    Pancakes, Bacon and Cream Cheese. Breakfast @ SeaNymph Cafe. (They use Maya Hotcakes!)
    I got tons more photos during the rest of the trip but I'll post those separately as I want to make another post about the delicious and affordable food we had in La Union.

    I especially enjoyed this trip because we were just basically chilling out. Everything was laid back and we were not in any pressure to wake up early. LOL. I met new people (Ceej, Gab and Steve) there, had great conversations and shared one unlucky incident with them (hahaha). It was such a joy to watch the sunset and spend the nights laughing with friends.

    No, I did not surf because I just didn't want to. I cannot swim and I do not dream of learning a sport that involves water and yet I can not even help myself float. Hahaha.

    I cannot wait to be back at La Union. Maybe next time, I'll convince myself to try surfing.

    . Monday, April 15, 2013 .

    If there's one thing I would like to change about myself, it's to be less of an introvert. I do not like to be the center of attention nor socializing with people I don't know. I suck at small talk! I guess I'm just not comfortable being surrounded by people in general.

    Up to this moment (I am now 26 years old), I still have a stage fright. My palms still turn cold at the thought of introducing myself in front of a crowd. I remember back then during my kindergarten days, I was supposed to give a speech in front of our graduating class, I panicked and ended up running down the stage to go to my mom. I know, such a chicken.

    When I learn that we're supposed to present in front of class (during college), that I'm supposed to speak to a group of operators that I handle in the production (when I was still an engineer) or just that moment when I know that I need to speak my mind and give my opinion about something, I get anxiety attacks, my tummy hurts, my palms sweat and my voice quivers when I speak. You will definitely know that I am nervous.
    I guess we have different reasons for why we’re scared to speak up: for some, it’s lack of self-confidence, or maybe fear of authority, or maybe you just don’t want to create any conflict or ripple in the water. Sometimes, it’s all of that all at the same time. (via)
    I know this might be trivial to some other people but for me this is a major trait I am still trying to improve through the years, and boy, will this be a long process. I know I'm a teeny bit more comfortable with interacting with people but I still do not like the idea of speaking in front of the public. Every time I get a point across, it really, really feels good but it still feels somewhat exhausting, like it's such an effort in my part.

    Here are some ways you could speak up as suggested by Arriane:

    IN SCHOOL:Go against a popular but common idea for a project if you know your idea is better and more innovative,
    IN THE OFFICE:Speak to your boss when you know that some processes can be done more efficiently, and you believe that what “has always been done before” isn’t working anymore,
    IN LIFE IN GENERAL:Dressing the way you want to without thinking of what others will think is a form of ‘speaking up,’ too!

    I guess this is where blogging comes in. I'm such a pain to watch, with my public speaking skills (or lack thereof) so I sort to blogging to comfortably voice out my opinions and thoughts. In a way, blogging has greatly helped me gradually overcome this fear of mine.

    I know I will take my time with this one. I know things have already improved but I know I'm still far away from removing this timidness in my system. Everyday is a step closer to this self improvement and I'm glad I came across this motivational blog post by Arriane to help me along the way.

    How about you? Are you once afraid to speak up? What did you do to overcome this?

    Need a boost in life? Read these little tidbits of positivity by Arriane on her website, *Wanderrgirl.com.
    . Thursday, April 11, 2013 .

    Photo credit to Inspired by Iceland
    How did the fascination start? I think it was during 6th grade, because of my Geography subject. We were all assigned different countries to research and report in front of the class. Yup, I got Iceland. There was no Internet back then (17 years ago!), so I relied heavily on the little information I found on our encyclopedia. Iceland was indeed picturesque even when seen in print. I learned how to properly pronounce Reykjavik, what their form of government is and memorized facts of their economy. And somehow, these little tidbits of information stuck. I got attached to this country (which I knew so little about then) ever since.

    Recently, Big Blog Exchange had a survey which included the question, "Which 3 countries would you choose for the exchange?" Of course, Iceland was at the top of my list. I know I have limited knowledge regarding this country and I haven't known anybody personally who's been there so the constant research through the Internet always filled my curiosity.

    If by stroke of luck I get to be picked for the BBE and they would allow us to go to our destination of choice, here is the first part of my list of (very touristy) things to do and to experience in this beautiful European country:

    See the Sights!

    Photo credits 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

    • It's a staple thing to do for visitors of Iceland to take the Golden Circle tour. On the photo is Gullfoss waterfall which is a part of the usually 3-stop tour. Gullfoss is called the "Golden Falls", since on a sunny day the water plunging down the staircase truly looks golden. It's usually compared to the Niagra Falls with regards to it's beauty.
    Another point of the Golden Circle tour is the Geysir, which is actually where the term 'geyser' was derived from. Of course, I'd like to witness the actual eruption of this great geyser, which I read can shoot up to as high as 50 meters or more! The Geysir has been dormant since 1916, except for one occasion in 1935. Since then its repose has sporadically been disturbed by the dumping of tons of carbolic soap powder into its seething orifice in order to tickle it to spout. (via)
    The Þingvellir makes up the last spot in the Golden Circle tour. This is believed to be where the Icelandic parliament was founded, which marked the founding of the nation of Iceland.
    • See the Northern Lights! This one I might have to include in my bucket list. It was highly suggested to go to Iceland between September to March to be marveled by this glimmering beauty. But you could always take a chance to see it.
    • Visit the Hallgrímskirkja. This is a Lutheran parish church located in Reykjavik and you could practically see this from anywhere in the city eventhough it's just the 6th tallest infrastructure in Iceland. I want to see the great and elaborate architecture exhibited by this place. The church now is also being used for exhibits and performances.
    • I wouldn't miss to see the Puffins! These cute Aves are actually great swimmers! One of Iceland's delicacies is puffin meat but I guess they're just too cute to eat, at least for me. Hehe. I also read that their beaks turn gray during winter and turn back to bright orange during spring.


    Photo Credits 1 | 2

    • Rúntur! Okay. You may ask, "What is a Rúntur?" This is the information I gathered in the Internet:

    "The rúntur was devised as weekend entertainment by youth bored during the winter months of near-endless night. The word rúntur translates to “round tour” and that’s just what it is. Teenagers cram into their cars and make laps along the local roads, stopping occasionally at a car park to socialize. 

    In Reykjavik, rúntur is also the name given to the weekend pub crawl, when partiers make their way around town to multiple bars and clubs." (via)
    Sounds like a lot of fun! I'm not big on drinking but I wouldn't mind being in one. Hehe.
    • Ice Cream Day in Hveragerði. This one, I really, really like. It's so cool to have an ice cream day! Hveragerði is little town located between Reykjavik and Selfoss. Families and friends drive to this town every Sunday to avail of free ice cream for everyone. There are some pretty experimental flavors such as Garlic & Blood pudding. Hmm. Very interesting.

    This is already quite a long list and this is just half of what I made! There's a separate one for the cuisines I wanted to try and other activities I want to do, which I will be posting next time. There's just so much to do and to explore in Iceland, how could you not admire it? (Part 2 is up! Please click here.)

    I found this website which was chock full of information about Iceland from other people's perspective: Inspired by Iceland.
    . Saturday, April 06, 2013 .

    Just recently, I went to an impromptu roadtrip/holiday vacation (March 28th until the 31st) with a few friends to Ilocos. Okay, so technically, when you say Ilocos, it means the region composed of the provinces of Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan and La Union. Majority of our stay was spent in the first two though we did pass by both La Union (of course) and Pangasinan (I think. Hehe).

    It was a last minute decision to join my friends because I didn't think my mom would allow me to leave during the Holy Week. When I asked her if I could go, she replied "Oo naman. Malaki ka na." in a non-sarcastic, non-reverse psychological tone that our parents usually use when they mean it the other way around. I was really ecstatic because it's been so long since the last time I had an out of town vacation (Puerto Princesa, Palawan, 2012: here and here). But this trip is different from my Palawan escapade since it's a DIY, budget-friendly roadtrip (itinerary courtesy of Maricris). We hired a vehicle (L-300) for this trip. No prior reservations anywhere and long travel by land! I'm definitely up for an adventure!

    Just a reminder, this post is long and is photo heavy.

    We left Manila around 8 in the evening of Wednesday (March 27) and I was the only person who was able to sleep well during the trip because I haven't had a decent rest since my shift ended that day. I had no recollection of the trip from Manila to Vigan because I was always in between of being completely asleep and half asleep. Hahaha. We made a few stops along the way for our dinner, buy snacks and refreshments, and to rest.

    We arrived at Vigan City early in the morning, about 5:30 AM. The photo on the left is the Calle Crisologo with all the stores still closed. Since some of us were not able to properly sleep during the trip, they checked in at a nearby hostel around Plaza Burgos.

    Maricris, JB, Dianne and I decided to start the day early and had breakfast at RF Aniceto Mansion's cafe.

    This meal costs PhP 100. Unlimited rice but I am saddened that they only served 2 pieces of Longganisang Vigan per plate.
    Plaza Burgos
    St. Paul Cathedral / Vigan Cathedral
    Ilocos Sur Capitol
    Magic Kalesa
    Wood works and crafts
    Sag-sagat Furniture
    Busy street
    Last block of Calle Crisologo
    Syquia Mansion Grand Living Room with a replica oil painting of Spolarium, done by Fernando Amorsolo's assistant
    The Syquia Mansion is owned by President Elpidio Quirino's wife, Dona Alicia Quirino, which houses the late president's memorabilia. The house is indeed huge, and filled with antiques, mirrors and oil paintings. I read here that there were actually peeping holes in the master's bedroom which were used to view visitors at the receiving area. Do they still allow that? Because we missed that. Entrance fee is PhP 20 for adults and PhP 10 for kids.

    Syquia Mansion Porch
    Syquia Mansion Kitchen Window
    Dainty designed floor
    The famous and delicious Vigan Empanada. I want more!
    You can find the Vigan Empanadahan stalls around Plaza Burgos. Due to time constraints (as we have to make it to Laoag before 3 PM), we were not able to visit the Baluarte Open Zoo/Baluarte ni Singson (which was just fine with me) and the Pagburnayan Pottery (I want to visit this place next time).

    Photo by Maricris Elemos/JB Basco
    It was an hour drive from Vigan to Laoag and we headed to Vintar as we are going to stay there. JB has relatives in Vintar and they were kind enough to let us use 2 apartment units during our stay. We rested and slept for the remainder of the day and had a few drinks during the night.