Sunset in English Bay, Vancouver

One of the hundred things I love about Vancouver is the sunset in English Bay. It truly  embodies the tagline Super. Natural. British ColumbiaThe spectacle at sunset is warm, golden orange and mystical. Neil and I loved the walks at nightfall. Sit on a bench to watch the world go by.

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I miss Vancouver so bad. I miss the rain, humidity, beautiful people, restaurants, Robson and Denman Street, everything, I just miss every single bits of it. I am so dying to go back. There’s no place like Vancouver.

How to Party Filipino Style

If you’re a woman, be ready to wear your best outfit for the night as your friends are thinking the same thing. You don’t want to be underdressed and not get noticed at all.

Don’t show up in the venue too early or on time. You might end up waiting for hours, getting grumpy, make-up all spoiled and melted. Filipinos are never on time. They love hair-raising arrival and get noticed as they love attention.

Tardiness is usually the woman’s fault because most of Filipino women are “maarte”. Maarte pertains to people, mostly girls, who care too much about certain things, mainly about their looks. Filipino women can spend an hour in the shower and another half beautifying themselves. They have to be flawless from head to toe for the party.

Don’t eat too much for the day if the party is at night time to spare an empty portion of your tummy. Filipinos love to cook and eat. Expect to see the popular Filipino party dishes such as pancit (chowmein), lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls-pork, beef or chicken), skewered red hot dogs, Filipino Style Spaghetti, menudo, kaldereta, adobo, crispy fried chicken, ceviche, rice and a whole lot more. Filipinos prepare more than enough amount of food and it wouldn’t be a Filipino party if the table is not covered with their popular dishes.

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Karaoke machine or Magic Sing is the highlight of the evening. Filipinos love to sing. Sometimes they end up hoarding the microphone for the whole night. They take pleasure in singing too much and fail to think to share to others the microphone. If you like to sing and would like to showcase your voice in the party, make a list of your favourite songs and get the chance to sing right away. Filipinos spend ages just by browsing the songbook.

Games are also common. The popular ones are Newspaper Dance, Trip to Jerusalem, Banana Eating Contest, Charades and a whole lot more. If it’s a field party, the common ones are basagan ng itlog (breaking of eggs), kalamansi sa kutsara, Sack race, flour blowing whistle and Hang ’em

Make sure you’re dressed up really well as the venue will turn into a photo studio after the meal. Picture picture as what they call it. The girls love it. They love posing for the camera. They demand different shots in the same spot with the same pose until they get appeased with how they look in the photo.

In a group picture, make sure you’re always ready for the flash. You might end up seeing your captured grumpy face in Facebook posted by your friends. They don’t really care if you look hideous in the photograph as long as they look stunning and alluring in it.

During the party, men will be babbling about their jobs, sports like boxing and basketball, and sometimes about their recent travels and their wives. Women will retreat into a gossip circle and talk about a scandal of a friend not present in the party. So if you’re invited, attend otherwise you’ll be the subject of tittle-tattle.

Filipinos love to drink. There will always be liquor of any kind. Men loves whisky, brandy and beer while women loves wine and flavoured vodka. Don’t drink too much if you’re not a pro, you’ll end up being the gossip for next day.

If you have a southern Philippines accent, don’t gab too much if you don’t want to be the clown of the night unless you don’t mind. Filipinos tend to switch letter v to b and f to p. It’s a common occurrence in a Filipino conversation. Some members of the circle might take it too rib-tickling and end up rolling on the floor laughing.

If you are the reason of the party, make sure you prepare something to entertain your visitors as they will force you to either sing or dance for them.

Last but not the least, you’ll be bringing doggy bags home for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next day. So make sure to use your biggest purse and have a plastic bag ready. You can bring plastic wares too if you want. If not you’ll end up carrying a paper plate oozing with grease.

Did I forget something?

Guilty Pleasures on Fridays

ImagePizza. Neil and I loves pizza on a Friday night. Why? Because it has everything to palliate our appetite. It is hot, cheezy and crunchy. It has meat, fruits, vegetables and different kinds of cheese which makes it very savoury. Adding a little bit of Franks Red Hot Sauce makes it even better. The combination of flavours makes it taste amazing. We prefer a thin crust pizza rather then the thick one. It’s good in combination with wings and beer. Very satisfying.

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Wings. Buffalo wings in particular. Neil and I both love the hotness of the buffalo recipe. He makes the wings and he’s so good at it. For all those years we’ve been together and for all those Friday nights we decided to have wings for a treat, he has mastered how to make them perfectly. The best buffalo and barbeque wings I’ve ever tasted was made in The House of Byrne, by Master Chef Neil. Like pizza, wings are best with beer as well. Finger licking good!

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Ice Cold Beer. Not my favourite but Neil’s. He discovered Bud Light just recently. He loves the combination of beer, wings, pizza and boxing.

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Mc Donald’s French Fries and Caramel Sundae. My best loved. I do have a deep affection with this combination. It started when I was studying for Canadian boards. I tried to dip the fries into the Caramel Sundae and oh! La La I never thought it would taste so good. The saltiness and the sweetness of the two blended together in the taste buds, taste like heaven. Sometimes if I feel naughty, I pour my fries into the Sundae cup and mix it with the ice cream. Yummers! It might sound weird or look weird to others, I did not care. Mayonnaise and ketchup mixture is also good.

ImageSalted Caramel Squares. I love this new discovery. I can’t help but think about the goodness of this special brownie from Starbucks on a Friday night or even on Saturdays and Sundays. Tall Skinny Latte and this makes my day. Neil loves it too. The best brownie I’ve ever tasted. My second best guilty pleasure.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes. Whenever we go up to Calgary, I’ve always wanted to have a bite on a red velvet. Though the red velvet they have is not as good as the red velvets in Cupcakes located in English Bay, Vancouver. I am missing that divine icing they have. It’s never the same. Just recently, I discovered that Save-On-Foods makes red velvet cupcakes. We gave it a try one time and we liked it. It wasn’t too bad at all. There you go, red velvet 5 minutes away from our house.

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Marble Slab Ice Cream. When we were still in Vancouver, we used to ignore marble slab. “What? 6 dollars for just a scoop? I will never buy that ridiculously priced ice cream.” Though I was so curious why it so so expensive. One day while Neil is at work, I went to Marble Slab and bought a scoop in a cup. I was so ignorant, I did not know how to order. I just heard one customer ordering vanilla flavour and strawberries on top. I watched how they mold the ice cream into a tile folding the strawberries into it. “Oh, ok maybe that’s what make it so expensive, add-ons.” I ordered green tea flavor and added walnuts into it. I took my first bite and alright it’s not just an ordinary ice cream in the corner. It was very scrumptious, melt-in-the-mouth creamy, yummy special ice cream. Since then I got addicted into it. I was so thankful there’s Marble Slab here in southern prairie land. I love Pistacchio and Black Walnut flavour the best.

It’s always good to give yourselves a treat after a hard day’s at work. It doesn’t have to be Friday all the time. Whenever you feel stressed out or exhausted at anytime of the week, one of these treats would definitely make you feel better. These treats are not very healthy as you can see, that’s why their called guilty pleasures. So always follow the rule of thumb, “Everything in moderation and be responsible.”

How about you? What’s your guilty pleasure?

Photo Credits to the following:
http://www.dinehere.ca
http://www.pinchmysalt.com
http://www.f0o0od.tumblr.com
www.hlntv.com
www.seriouseats.com
http://barberha.com
www.delectablychic.com

http://www.arabnews.com

Typical Pinoy Breakfast

“Mom, what’s for breakfast?”

Filipinos love to eat. We can have five to six meals in a day.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are the three major meals and 2 or 3 snack times in between. We love waking up early in the morning for a pre-breakfast snack. “Pandesal” or sweet buns with white cheese or a sandwiched slice of Dairy Cream butter dipped in a cup of coffee is the usual appy at around 6 o’clock in the morning. The moms usually prepare for the main meal while the rest of the family enjoys the early morning treat. On rainy days, we love going back to bed after a nice and satisfying “pandesal” treat.

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At 7 o’clock, breakfast is already served. School time is early and moms are used to preparing easy-to-cook recipes. The typical Filipino breakfast is usually fried rice and sunny side eggs with any of the basic breakfast favourites such as beef tapa, tocino, fried chicken, sweet sausage or “longganisa”, red Tender Juicy Hotdogs, marinated-deboned-fried milk fish, corned beef with minced potatoes, embutido and salted fish or “tuyo”. Spiced vinegar, banana ketchup, sliced tomatoes and pickled papaya are always good on the side.

Cooking the above mentioned favourites is a piece of cake, effortless. It’s just about heating a frying pan,  a tablespoon of canola oil and fry any of the dishes in 5-10 minutes.

ImageTapsilog means “Tapa + Sinangag + Itlog” (marinated tenderloin beef tips fried to perfection, garlic fried rice and sunny side eggs). Pampanga’s Best is a good brand for processed breakfast goodies or if you want you can make your own beef tapa as well. Tapa are slices of beef flank or tenderloin cut into thin strips marinated for 12 hours with a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, salt, lime and black pepper. It’s almost similar to beef jerky. The meat soaks all the flavours after immersion.

ImageTocilog means Tocino + Sinangag + Itlog”. Tocino is cured slices of pork shoulder blades that has a sweet taste. They are available in Filipino Stores as well but I prefer making it myself to avoid nitrites in our meal. I use the Mamasitas Tocino Marinade Mix, it makes my life easier. I sometimes add more sugar to the mixture to make it even tastier. It’s lovely with vinegar and soy sauce.

ImageLongsilog means “Longganisa + Sinangag + Itlog”. Longganisa came from the Spanish word Longaniza which pertains to a spicy pork sausage. Well, I don’t know how to make this one. It’s a bit complicated for me and Neil. It can be bought from a wet market in the Philippines and is also available in Filipino Stores. Longganisa is made up of ground pork mixed with minced garlic, sugar, black pepper, vinegar and salt. The combined ingredients are pushed into a hog casing and tied in knots at even intervals. Some are called “Skinless Longganisa” which are molded and without the sausage skin. They make different flavours such as sweet, garlicky, spicy and regular.

ImageCornsilog means Corned Beef + Sinangag + Itlog.”  We add diced potatoes and lots of onions to it. Sometimes we add a tablespoonful of soy sauce and brown sugar to make it more enjoyable.

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 Bangsilog means “Bangus + Sinangag + Itlog”. The Bangus also known as Milk Fish is scaled and cut into a butterfly form and marinated for hours with a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, black or white pepper and chopped garlic. After marinading for hours, it is fried until crispy. It’s one of my favourite. Pancake House serves the best Bangsilog, pricey but worth it.

ImageHotsilog means Hot Dog + Sinangag + Itlog”. The famous red Tender Juicy Hotdog in the Philippines is the best hotdog I’ve ever tasted. They have the brown ones as well with cheese in it and it was just divine. Any brand of hotdog would do to have Hotsilog for breakfast. This is the easiest one to prepare. It’s best when you have UFC Banana Ketchup on the side.

The other types of Silogs are : Chiksilog (fried chicken), Embusilog (embutido – sausage like) and Litsilog (lechon kawali), Spamsilog (spam), Dangsilog (with “Danggit” or rabbitfish) and Chosilog (chorizo).

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Aside from “Silogs”, Filipino’s also likes porridge. It’s not the oatmeal one but the sweet chocolate rice porridge. We call it Champorado. We have acquired it from the Mexican traders who stayed in our country in the early years. It is made by boiling a special kind of mucilaginous rice with cocoa powder or Milo (popular chocolate drink in the Philippines) which gives a chocolatey color. We usually add milk and sugar to make it taste sweeter and yummier. Some would add Tuyo or salted dried fish which contrasts the sweet taste of Champorado making it more enjoyable.

Filipinos love to have coffee as well with the breakfast and fruits are served after the meal.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for Filipinos. A heavy breakfast gives us energy to get through the summons ahead. A good breakfast gives brain power.

Pinoy breakfast is one of the world’s best. Simple buy delicious and satisfying.

One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.” 
― Robert A. Heinlein, Friday

Photo credits to the following :

http://kuboresto.com/, http://www.islakulinarya.blogspot.com, http://www.yelp.com, http://www.flicker.com, www.bubblenews.com, http://www.angsarap.nethttp://www.mommyandmatt.blogspot.com

Good Morning Sunshine

good morning sunshine

Mornings are inspiring, exciting, stimulating. Though we have different attitude upon waking up, it’s always good to greet the morning with a smile rather than a cranky face. I must admit that on a weekday, I find it hard to get off my comfy bed even if I slept like a baby. I love to stay for a bit and snooze for a little while. The thought of going to work stresses me out but it’s just about getting ready. When I’m at work everything seemed normal. I used to not like mornings before but I now realized mornings are not too bad at all. I remember when I was still in my mom and dad’s care, my mother would woke me up saying, “Wake up my dear, it’s a beautiful morning.” She wanted me to join her for a cup of coffee with my dad. They would talk about their plans for the day while I enjoy dipping the sweet buns in my cup of joe. She would tell me that rising up early is good for the mind and body. Whenever I get up kinda grumpy, I always remind myself to smile and think about how beautiful the morning was, that I am still alive, that I am lucky to be still breathing, that I am loved.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” Marcus Aurelius

Rising early in the morning gives me more time to do my turf as well. It’s always better than waking up late and staying up late. The longer the day for me, the better.

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Our attitude on a daybreak reveals our nature. Bestir ourselves to a wonderful kick-start and we’ll admit that every single day gives us unexpected supernatural occurences that brings happiness to our lives.

We are fortunate each morning that we wake up breathing and witness the fascinating charm of the rising sun, hear the birds singing, enjoy the scent of a lovely breakfast, the aroma of brewed coffee, the hot shower that streams onto our body touching our soul, the smile and the early morning hug, the touch of gentle morning breeze on our face. We might have lenghty and cloudy bygones but with just one smile and it will make the whole day better.

“May your joys be as bright as the morning, and your sorrows merely be shadows that fade in the sunlight of love. May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet, enough trials to keep you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to keep you.” -Irish Blessings

“Every morning when I get up, the first thing I decide is: What do I want? Misery? Blissfulness? What am I going to choose today? And it happens that I always choose blissfulness. It is my choice, it is my life.”-Abdullah

 

 

Quotations courtesy of http://quotations.about.com.

Photo credits to http://www.bubblenews.com & 1ms.net

Remembering my Late Best Friend, Doc

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My chinese brother in law gave as one of the yellow labrador puppies they have at home. If I’m not mistaken, they have seven or eight lab puppies. They named the other seven after Snow White’s seven dwarves and the youngest one Doc. He gave us Doc as a gift. My sister, my parents and I were so delighted. We never had a pure bred labrador before and we thought it would be a challenge but fun raising Doc.

On his first day in our flat, he was very quite and tamed. I watch him while he was laying down on a piece of rag in the corner near our bed. My parents and my sister went for grocery shopping for 2 hours. Doc and I took a nap while waiting for the goodies to arrive. After getting a bit of a shut-eye, they finally made it to home. My mom opened the bag of sweets and we munched on it while Doc is asleep. He woke up when I lost a grip on the spoon and tumbled near his spot. His eyes dawdling, yawning and eventually he got up and walked beside my chair. My mom was sitting beside me holding a piece of Gardenia Bread. At her surprise Doc took a bite on the bread and he did not stop munching on it until finally my mom let it go. “Thank goodness Doc wanted something.” She was so excited to give Doc another piece of bread and swiftly she was bleeding after a snap. She was bit. I can’t explain how my mom looked like that moment. She looks like she’s getting so hot under the collar. The grim, the glare, she’s loosing it. Waterworks turned on, she whimpered, howled for hours. She was so flustered with the incident. My dad, my sister and I did not know how to comfort her. She blamed everyone, she was fuming at the site of Doc. She wanted him gone but a part of her can’t really do what her infuriated state tell her. When she stopped sobbing, we rushed her to the hospital for anti-rabies immunization. Slowly, she felt a lot better, safer. When we got home we found Doc sitting in the corner gloomy eyes dawdling. Apologetic eyes. I felt bad for him that moment.

We woke up on a nice sunny Sunday morning. My mom cooking, my dad sitting on the couch, my sister still snuffling. I saw Doc an the same piece of rag yawning, stretching his little stiff legs. I came to him and gave him a big hug. I carried and gave him to my mom. My mom smiled and gave Doc a big, warm hug. They’re back to being friends again. My dad, and I were so delighted. They went back to the province with Doc. My mom would tell me stories about how fun to be with Doc. His clumsiness, his sweetness, his cuteness, how my dad trained him to catch a ball, how he recoiled from taking baths, how thundering his bark was. I was getting so thrilled to seeing him again after a few months of us being apart. Until the day has come, I had to go home to devote myself to studying for Canadian boards. I was so enlivened to see Doc and my parents again. After six hours of travel, I finally had a glimpse of Doc.

We became the best of friends. I did walk and play with him every morning and I did serve him food three times a day. We had lots of fun together. He would sit beside me while I’m studying and he would be my charmer when I’m stupefied. He was such a sweet yellow labrador. My best buddy.

I did not want to say goodbye but I had to. I had to leave to further my studies in North America. Parting time is always the hardest part. I only had memories but I have all the memories, the better attitude alright. So I braved stepping on a foreign land and survived. My mom would tell me stories about their daily life in the province and just like before the highlights of the story would be Doc. He was growing fast, he’s getting stronger, he’s getting heavier. My dad can’t carry him anymore and my mom would have to drag him for a bath. I was so untroubled hearing nice stories from my mother until one day she signified a sad truth. “My dear, Doc is gone.” I answered back, “What do you mean gone mom?” He’s gone, dead, departed, deceased.” After hearing all those synonymous utterance, stillness, quietude of that very moment filled my room, my being, my head. My heart, my body was shaking. My mom was crying. Tears fell down my cheeks, cried my eyes out. I’m severely broken. My heart stopped for a bit. “My Doc is gone, my Doc is gone.” After an hour of shedding tears, I finally had the courage to ask my mom how did it happen.

“Internal bleeding my dear child. He broke his concrete bowl one time and I had to replace it with something. Though before things happened, your dad and I noticed distinct changes in his usual habits. The playful Doc suddenly began to spend most of his time sleeping. He suffered from depression a month after you left. We only had the plastic bowl that time and I did not think he would munch on it that night I replaced his concrete bowl. The next day, he came to me moaning, crying in pain. I saw blood dripping from his bottom. I rushed to check the bowl and it was all ripped off. I am sorry my dear, it was all my fault.”

I almost can’t breathe when I heard the story. I can’t held my mom responsible for it. I love her and I knew she loved him as much as I do. I know it has been a tough time for Doc after I left. My parents were always busy and they can hardly find a quiet time and play with Doc. It was an accident, a twist of fate. I wept for weeks, my heart was broken. I cried some nights.

It has been more 4 years and I can’t seem to forget. Doc was my best friend. He helped me achieve my dreams. He was amazing. Every time I remember, I can feel him suffering and it hurts. I know Doc is in a better place now. I know he wanted me to move on and so I did. Neil and I are planning to adopt a new one and share the love I had for him. I will always remember Doc in my dreams. I know we’ll meet again somewhere over the rainbow bridge.

Down in the Dumps

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I stare at the bright screen, browse and press the raised little black squares.

Searching for nothing, glaring at a distance,

Goggling at the space between the screen and my baby blues.

Tilting the head left and right, eyes moving sluggardly.

Everything seemed dreary, the head is sore and numb.

Worries came flashing, neck getting stiff,

Breathing heavily, sore back.

It’s happening again.

I did not want this to come but it just happens sometimes.

I did my best to avoid it but the stronger it becomes.

When I let myself go with the flow sometimes I feel better

But when the day is over, it’s back to where it came from.

I feel lethargic when this happens to me. I wanted to be excited

And get out off bed early but I don’t have the energy.

It felt like I’m dragging myself in order to get off.

I wanted to be enthusiastic but I just can’t seem to do.

I’m fighting the vapors but my body kept still.

I apologize I feel this way, it was never your fault at all.

This heavy-hearted feeling consumed my entire being.

I wanted to fly high, be cheerful and overjoyed

But this distressing feeling is truly pulling me down.

I was hoping this would end soon as I wanted to experience life.

I miss the cheerful lady I know it’s hiding inside.

You seemed upset about it but please do understand.

Please don’t get tired my baby as I’m striving hard to get back

To my old-self so happy and always so glad.

I wanted to get out of the dumps please tell me what to do.

Though I know how to start it,

I still need your help it’s true.

Don’t judge me when I tell you, I just need you to be there.

As this unhappy feeling will soon leave my mind and heart bare.

My dear just please be patient, I will be back in no time.

We’ll have those blissful moments back not just worth a dime.

We’ll walk on clouds on top of the world, we’ll be in the seventh heaven

So just stay put and don’t despair, I will be fine, I’ll see the light.

Just give me time don’t rush me and everything is gonna be alright.

by: PharmacistOnTheRocks