grub + travels + perspectives

El Nido Adventures: Nacpan and Calitang Twin Beaches

(Backtrack: First day at El Nido and the Tour B adventure)
(Backtrack: El Nido Adventure Part Two - Tour C)
(Backtrack: El Nido Adventures Part Three - Tour A)

As if the beautiful islands and lagoons weren't enough, we ended our El Nido trip the most splendid way possible: spending a day at Nacpan.

After our hearty lunch at Angel Wish, we were whisked off to the off beaten path leading to Barangay Bucana, where our accommodation, Where 2 Next, is located. Getting there took us about an hour, maybe an hour and 10 minutes tops. Our tricycle even got stuck in the mud because it's been raining the entire week in El Nido. I was really excited reaching the twin beaches because it's said to be breathtaking and still unspoiled.

We arrived at Where 2 Next and was greeted by one of the owners/manager, Vicky. Yes, this is the same Where 2 Next in Manila, but instead of a hostel, they provide camping grounds for their guests. The Nacpan branch, at the time of our visit, was still new. In fact, there's still some construction on going when we got there. We really didn't mind though. They only accept guests who made reservations via hostelworld.com, and I think that's how Ian found out about them. Vicky even told us we were the first Filipino guests of the camp! Camping during our last 2 days in El Nido? Perfect!

Weekend Movies #9

This week, it's half new movies and half old ones!

1. Dark Places. It was a movie with Charlize Theron in it and was based from Gillian Flynn's book with the same title, and yet I've never really heard about the film until I saw a link from a blog. There wasn't so much buzz or exposure about the existence of this film. I'm surprised it was not hyped given the 2 points I mentioned above. So was it a good film? Yes, it was not that bad. It's decent to watch but I found the story trudging at one point and overall, it's not that memorable. I thought there was a bit of miscast too. (ยต)

2. Far From The Madding Crowd. Only reason I bothered watching this: Carey Mulligan. I've never read the classic novel by Thomas Hardy (shame) nor watched the first adaptation of it. The cinematography was great! I loved seeing the beautiful, lush English countryside, but the protagonist of the film, Bathsheba Everdene (Mulligan) took forever to make the right decision regarding the matters of the heart. She's established that she's a woman who values her independence and declined many wedding proposals but fell in love with the person people told her to stay away from. Oh well, it happens to the best of us, I guess. Hahaha. I wished there was more of Juno Temple's character, too. Her importance in the film appeared too limited.

Loops & Links

One These new behind the scene photos of Harley Quinn inking a man's arm, and the sign that reads "Harley's Tattoo Parlour." Jay Hernandez also posted other photos from the set.
TwoThis video of Batdad and his son, Ben. Super cute and funny! (I would love to put the video here but …

Friday's 10 Happy Things #4

I'm just so happy that the third busiest time of the year at work is coming to a close! I was able to catch up on my writing deadlines and now have time here. I just became aware of the fact that Friday's 10 Happy Things is on it's 18th week but I'm just on my 4th entry! Hahaha. Oh…

Bedroom Inspiration: Life In Mono(chrome)

During the past few arduous weeks at work, there were only 2 things that I look forward to at the end of the a tiring day to destress: reading manga and browsing Etsy for bedroom fixtures. Around 3 or so months ago, I moved to a condominium in Taguig with a friend, and it being the first time that…

Academy of Pastry & Bakery Arts Philippines

I love desserts. I love pastries. Every meal is never complete without something sweet to end it. Whenever there's a new cupcake/eclair/macaron spot in town, I'm there. My blog sidebar can attest to that. I like to try out the newest dessert craze in town: cronuts, cupcakes topped with macarons, milk and cookie shots, salted caramel everything, and all that jazz, but I will never pass up the chance for goodies like quiches, canolis, pies and empanadas. Pastries, both sweet and savory, are something I love. 

But my passion for pastries end there. I don't know if you could even call it that because my so-called eagerness never really reached the point where I actually thought of making the desserts myself or where I actually researched the science behind the baking. When I got the opportunity to cover the opening of Academy of Pastry & Bakery Arts last August 5, I figured maybe this is some sort of omen that it's about time to venture to into the world of baking.

The Academy of Pastry & Bakery Arts Philippines is under the flagship of the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia and is co-founded by world-renowned chef and MOF (2000) recipient, Jean-Francois Arnaud. I honestly had no idea how prestigious the award is until I looked it up and saw this article on Facebook. You're basically King of Pastry when you receive that award.

Chef Jean has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants and hotels and has participated and won numerous awards in artistic pastry, chocolate showpieces, and sugar arts competitions. His recipes have appeared in top pastry publications around the world like the Thuries Gastronomie Magazine and he has also participated in salon de chocolate, creating chocolate dresses for fashion shows. He has also served as Technical Director of the Ecole Nationale Superieure dela Patisserie (ENSP), which is recognized as the best pastry school in France. He came to Malaysia in 2009 to serve as international consultant for brands like Fonterra, Haagen-Dazs, Club Med group, and the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia. Wow. That just speaks volumes for this institute!

Being the first ones to arrive, we were given the chance to meet some of the in-house instructors of the academy. The first pastry chef we met was Jess Chiam Ko Seen--one of the Executive Pastry Chefs at the academy. He was busy finishing the desserts on the table but was very accommodating to answer all our queries regarding the length of preparation for the desserts. Ironically, most of the fillings of the desserts take the shortest amount of time to prepare. It's the decorations (that perfect chocolate shaving, the little golden leaves or tiny butterflies on your dessert) that take a week or two to make.

Pastry Chef Tan Wei Loon, Assistant Pastry Chef Tay Chee Siang and Assistant Pastry Chef Chong Ko Wai

This Week's Recap // 9

Hello! I just realized it's almost mid-August and I haven't posted anything here yet! It was (and still is) an extremely busy month for me at work, all the extra time I have, I devote to sleeping and reading manga to relieve stress until I fall asleep. Hehe. (I've finished Hirunaka no …