grub + travels + perspectives


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

Big Blog Exchange: And the Top 16 bloggers are...

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.

Laura McKellar

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:

Iceland is my Wonderland Part 2

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!

Spontaneity Backfired: Breakfast at MoMo Cafe

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 wo…

SoulPancake Sunday

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 …

Big Blog Exchange: I made it to the Top 100!

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 re…

Weekend Escapade: San Juan, La Union

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 …

Notes To Self #2

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 …

Where I Want To Be: 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 informatio…

DIY Travel: Ilocos

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.