Baguio for the Long Weekend Day 1

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Hello! Back from back-to-back out of town weekends!

I don’t know about you… but I’m feeling 22! Haha sorry, I have to pay homage to Taytay who has a new single out. Going back, I don’t know about you, but it bothers me that my weekends are always decisions between resting and doing something new. Lucky are those who have already found the formula to living their lives without feeling like they’re working to survive. Tell me how you manage as I have yet to finish Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Work Week book. Hoping to get to where you’re at soon.

For now, I shall now write about my Baguio trip 2 weekends ago. Yay!

Pao and I decided to go to Baguio for the August 19 – 21 long weekend. We decided really, really late, like the day before kind of late, so we were left with ordinary bus tickets instead of the deluxe ones and a sketchy hotel instead of a homey one.

Our transportation was not that bad. I missed the wide seats, almost full recline action, and no road stop system that deluxe bus rides offer but for around PHP 500.00 or USD 10.00, we went on board an air-conditioned Victory Liner bus at 5 in the morning and arrived in Baguio 6-7 hours later. Our accommodation, however, is a different story hahaha! We booked the place via Agoda at around PHP 5,000 (USD 100.00) for 2 nights. The pictures on the site showed a place that looked old but decent. Little did we know that it has a “party place” in its premises. And by “party place” I mean a strip club hahaha! Add damp bed covers, bed bugs, and molds here and there and you have a gruesome hotel experience. I think getting through this trip given the room is a perfect example that it doesn’t matter where you are or what you do; what matters is who you’re with. Lol cheese. Pao and I survived our accommodation from hell with just one petty fight over a poisonous insect in the shower hahaha! I will not mention the hotel’s name here, but feel free to message and ask me if you’re heading to Baguio and would want to avoid it.

So what did we do in Baguio?

We ate. A LOT. 

Day 1

We arrived in Baguio after lunch and after checking into our hotel, we went to Camp John Hay to have our first full meal of the day at Choco-late De Batirol. Pao has been there before and he was excited to take me there with the promise of good food and the best Chocolate Batirol. A batirol is actually a kitchen equipment that is used for whisking. In context, Chocolate Batirol is whisked chocolate. It’s a chocolate drink prepared by using the batirol to melt the chocolate until it’s liquid, creamy, and textured goodness that’s perfect for cold days is brought about. Pao’s promise was true – the food in Choco-late De Batirol IS GOOD and their Chocolate Batirol IS THE BEST! Check out what we ordered in pictures.

Choco-late De Batirol FoodOur table spread at Choco-late De Batirol

 

It must be the intense hunger but almost everything we ordered was good! For our main meals, I had Vigan Longganisa which is a breakfast bestseller and Pao had their Dinuguan which is a lunch bestseller. The longganisa was crispy on the outside and chewy inside. It had a touch of sweetness but is dominantly salty and is best paired with spicy garlic vinegar which you can ask from the servers. I do not like eating Dinuguan but it tasted okay for a non-fan. Pao enjoyed it so I think that is testament enough. I like that it’s a bit spicy. It had slices of green chili mmm I love spicy things!

Vigan Longganisa and Dinuguan

For our drinks, I ordered the original Chocolate Batirol and Pao ordered the mint-flavored one. I knew he ordered the mint one because of me because I like mint-flavored chocolate but just didn’t order for myself because I wanted to taste the original one. Sweetie pie. Both our drinks were really, really good. I may be running out of adjectives here but there’s also no better way to put it but that! The texture of our drinks was smooth even though there were cocoa particles that remained in the drink given the whisking process. It was sweet but not too sweet and creamy but not overly creamy. It felt like I was drinking something raw and unprocessed but also something made with effort and care. It was love in a cup. Well, love in two cups hehe.

Bibingka. Tsokolate Ah. Mint Tsokolate Ah.

Pao also ordered Bibingka, a Filipino cake dessert made from rice. Again, not really a fan of this food. Out of everything we ordered this is probably my least favorite but who I am to judge? Hahaha! All I know is I’ve had better tries of other bibingkas. Pao made a supporting statement by saying it’s missing something. Might I suggest a salted egg? 🙂

After eating, we let the food in our tummies digest by going around Camp John Hay and enjoying the cool air. It’s a bit of a bummer that it was rainy. I’ve never experienced Baguio in perfect weather. This makes me sad. Hopefully, next time! 🙂

Pao wants to make a blogger out of me. The unsure and fearful side of me cannot deal as seen in Exhibit A below.

Pao making me do poses and myself being awkward and uncomfortable. He’s very determined though so maybe in time, I’ll get the hang of it hahaha!

On the other hand…

He has no problem whatsoever hahaha!

How lucky am I to find someone who can make me laugh so much until it hurts? ❤ The pictures are of him feeling he was Jacob Black transforming in the woods. Hahahaha!

FYI, walking around Camp John Hay is no easy feat. It is full of steep uphills and almost uncontrollable-to-walk-down-at-slowly downhills.

We made our way to this area of CJH where there are outlet stores and some restaurants. I think this area is popular. I remember going here before with friends from work. I didn’t imagine doing any shopping in Baguio but I ended up buying a trench coat for myself! Hahaha! Go and look around if you find yourself there, you might end up scoring something cool like I did.

Our best buy though? Matching Philippine Military Academy shirts! Hahaha!

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PMA-ready! Hahaha!

No, we are not the “let’s don matching shirts outside” kind of couple. But if we find it amusing, we feed our amusement. Like what happened when we bought our first “couple shirt” in Taiwan.

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Dao Ming Si and San Cai in Ying De lol

Before leaving CJH, we went to Mile Hi diner for a milkshake. Because we wanted to feel like we’re part of the TV series Riverdale haha! The interiors of the place looked like where we were hoping to be. There was a bar, some stools, booths, records on walls, and of course, a jukebox. We got ourselves a strawberry milkshake and some fries with cheese sauce and bacon, a good afternoon snack for 2.

Mile Hi Diner

Strawberry Milkshake and Fries

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Betty and Jughead, beware of Gemma and Pao ahaha!

We went back to our hotel at around 7:00 PM to rest before going to the night market for dinner.

The next thing we know, it was already 2:00 AM! Hahaha!

We ended up ordering Yellow Cab (THEY DELIVER IN BAGUIO!) and calling for a massage… telling ourselves we’d be disciplined tomorrow and we’ll wake up early to exercise then hear mass.

You could guess how that turned out. Hahaha! Until I write about it though, may you get to experience a good cup of hot chocolate.

Love,

Gemma

 

Drive-by Taco and Southern Dairy

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Way back 2013 or so, I thought of starting a site to be named “Table for Two”. It would be a food blog, because I always ate out with my then boyfriend and that phrase was what we’d normally say when we enter a resto. In the same manner that the relationship did not progress, so did that idea never materialize hahaha! No bitterness, just a comedic opportunity haha!

Fast forward to 2017, when I noticed Pao and I did nothing but eat, the idea of making a food blog came back. Alas, the domain tablefortwo.com (well .blog) is now taken. So we just continued eating, with me taking (horrible) pictures of my food every now and then.

Then around 2 weeks ago, we had dinner with my college best friend Pauline (Pol) who has noticed that our top couple activity is eating. The idea of food blogging came up and I told her about how I had that Table for Two plan way back. Ever so supportive, she said I SHOULD write about our food adventures. We played around the idea of “Table for Three” wherein there would be a friend eating out with us – her being the first guest haha.

I kept that idea on the surface every time I’d eat out, telling myself I’d get started on writing about things I ate in due time. As of 15 minutes ago, it was still on the table. Until I searched for Table for Three on the internet and found that another witty individual already owns it.

Hence, just read about my food encounters under gemmaflorido.com and enjoy! Hahaha!

Kicking things off with my Drive-by Taco and Southern Dairy experience!

I used to rarely go to the South. The “South” basically refers to the southern area of Metro Manila. In distance, I don’t live far from the South. But with Manila traffic, oh boy! There are days when that 20 km drive would take you 3 hours to cover. But since Pao lives in the South, my visits have increased. And Pol who also lives in the South is happy about it because she’d always be the one heading to Makati (where I live).

So as mentioned, a couple of weeks back, we had dinner with Pol. We ate at Drive-by Taco located in Aguirre St. in BF Homes, Paranaque. If you search it online, Aguirre St. is a famous street for eats in the South. It’s known for good restaurants that you can only find in the area.

At Drive-by Taco, we ordered Beef Nachos (for sharing), Chicharones Taco (Pol’s order), Chicharones Burrito (Pao’s order), and Cubano Taco (my order). Best paired with either a bottle of beer or my personal favorite, a cold glass of Coke Zero.

Disclaimer: I’m not the best in taking food photos ahaha! Nonetheless, see as follows. Our orders arrived after just the right length of waiting.

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The Beef Nachos at Php 200.00

Cubano Style Ground Beef Taco at Php 85.00. Chicharones Burrito at Php 245.00. Chicharones Taco at Php 125.00. 

The nachos were okay. Not out of this world but good. Currently thinking where I had the best nachos… and zilch. I like Nachos King lol! But it could use some jalapeno, and the Drive-by Taco nachos has jalapeno so thumbs up for that!

I think if you’ve had La Chinesca, which is another taqueria located in Aguirre St., you’d have a hard time finding a place that serves better. This was what crossed my mind while I was eating my Cubano Taco which I found to be a bit dry (naks fumu-foodie lol). The Chicharones Taco of Pol was really good though! Wish I had gotten the same thing. After trying Pol’s food I proceeded to eat Pao’s burrito because I like the meat and flavor of Chicharones 10x better (OA haha) as to that of the Cubano.

One thing to note is that Drive-by Taco makes their own tortillas. Pol really likes this. 🙂

Overall our meal at Drive-by Taco was good! It’s worth going to especially if you want a laid-back night. Compared to La Chinesca, it has more space. I like that we chose an outside table because the air that night was not so hot. Hence, going al-fresco was perfect.

We craved for something sweet after so the suggestion of the Southerners (hehe) was to go to Southern Dairy. I garnered it’s the only dessert place in Aguirre St. Let me know if there are other places! It was a 3-minute drive away from Drive-by Taco.

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I didn’t get to take a picture of Southern Dairy’s interior but I like the neutral colors and the chalk on blackboard menu they had going. One thing I didn’t like about the furniture they used though are the steel chairs… which have turned rusty. So if you rest your arms on the armrest, you smell of iron after.

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Pizookie at around Php 200.00? I forgot the exact price

We ordered a Pizookie which is a half-baked chocolate chip cookie served on a skillet with ice cream on top, drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce. I sadly didn’t like it. 😦 I tried hard to, but did not. The ice cream was good! But I think half-baked cookies aren’t for me. I can taste the rawness and my tummy had to suffer on behalf of my whole body haha. I definitely won’t come back for a Pizookie haha but I’m up to try other desserts or maybe main menus since they have those too. 🙂

Here are pictures of us at Southern Dairy. Spot Pol giving a look of disgust with our new habit of doing a finger-heart ahaha!

Expect more South resto reviews! Til then –

– Gemma

Manila Ocean Park

The past few months has allowed me to go through plenty of new experiences. Thanks mostly to my partner-in-crime and favorite person Pao who always makes an effort to take me out on dates. 🙂 Giving myself a moment to be cheesy and stop a tear from falling because seriously, he makes it a point to spend time which really gets to my closet-clingy personality ughhh. Haha!

Taking you back 5 months to our date in Manila Ocean Park. Pao has dropped “You want to go to Manila Ocean Park?” several times and I’d always respond “Mmm pwede” (Yeah sure, we could) with very little enthusiasm hihi. It wasn’t until my sister and her husband went there and returned all abuzz that I really thought of going.

I don’t know why for some reason back then, I didn’t think Manila Ocean Park (MOP) was the shiznit. Because it is! If you haven’t been, GO! Just go! Go to their website – here’s a link https://www.manilaoceanpark.com/ – and book it.

So on a hot March day, we went to MOP. The tickets I bought online were promo tickets of packaged attractions. The ones I got were called the Marine Voyage Promo at around Php 995.00 a head which allows access to most of the attractions already. At the entrance, we got our ticket tags, a map of the place, and a schedule of the attractions. We arrived at the park mid-afternoon already so we hit a tiny bump fitting into the schedule. I think it’s best if you go at around 12 noon if not the whole day to cover the attractions.

First stop for us was the Sharks and Ray Encounter. It was crowded around the edges of the aquarium where the trainer guiding the Manta Rays were. You’d have to wait a bit until someone decides they already had their share of petting the Ray then it’s your turn. But it’s a pretty polite area overall hehe. I thought it would be smelly but it wasn’t! And the aquarium looked pretty clean to me. I also remember asking the trainer about the animals being bred in captivity, I can’t quite recall his response but I remember it being satisfactory – like no animal cruelty of sorts.

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I got to touch a Manta Ray! Its skin felt of smooth leather. The Manta Ray is a peaceful specie, sans (for me) the flapping of its fins which when it happens I am reminded of Steve Irwin. 😦 The only sharks were nurse sharks… I don’t know what I was expecting haha! We spent around 15-30 minutes in Sharks and Rays Encounter before exiting.

Our next stop was the Oceanarium. This was my favorite! 🙂 So many fishes!!! I’ve never been so amused by them! Except for the shark, of which I’ve had some level of fascination. It also helped that (as I discovered that day) Pao was a geek on the topic. He doesn’t even look at the signs to know what kind of fish is in the aquarium. He was like a walking Childcraft, carrying his own info on Barracudas or Blue Tangs ahaha!

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The following are few of my favorites in my favorite attraction hehe. Sadly, I don’t remember what most were called. 😦

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This tank full of ancient looking fishes. I swear an episode of The Wild Thornberries illustrated that big one right there

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These fishes which look like worms sticking out of the sand. I thought there must have been a mistake but my walking encyclopedia told me they were fishes.

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Sharks in their embryos. Freaking cool!

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This angry-looking fish who’s too cute to be taken seriously.

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This area inside the Oceanarium which I didn’t even get to take proper pictures of but which I thought was breathtaking. You enter the area and you’ll see wide-glassed aquariums, around 3 of them! It was really nice.

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And this part. This picture I got online, credits to the owner. It was so cool to walk through it!

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One of the divers inside took time to say hello! 🙂 I was so annoyed at one park-goer who was screaming at the diver to take a picture with her after we took a picture as if he was an attraction. What a rude weirdo lol!

After the Oceanarium we caught the Sea Lion Show which was very entertaining! The seals were too cute and they really put on a show for us. We stayed after the show to get our picture taken with the seal.

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I used to think it was a waste of money to spend on photo souvenirs but Pao changed me to think differently – he likes memories and values ways to keep them tangible. You should see our growing collection of printed photos from Timezone booths to Taipei 101 shots.

The other areas we visited were the World of Creepy Crawlies where I squirmed and where we got told off (albeit nicely) after flashing the light on the scorpions accidentally (oops), and the Jellies Exhibit which wasn’t as interesting but was nice all the same.

We also went to visit the Penguins thinking we could touch and feed them but you can only look. And we said no to the Fish Spa ahahaha!

We ended our trip to Manila Ocean Park with a lights and sounds show free for all goers. Unfortunately can’t locate my videos, or maybe I took them via IG stories but the show was good! There were some parts that were a bit weird like singing hologram bugs but the My Heart Will Go On part, and I’m a Celine Dion AND Titanic fan, is more than enough!

After MOP, Pao treated me to dinner at Bayleaf Intramuros where we had a buffet feast with the Manila skyline as our backdrop. We ended our very long day with tired legs but full stomachs and even very fuller hearts.

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Until my next sharing! 🙂

– Gemma

Serving Posts

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Backtracking my entries, I realized I’d always write here when I feel some form of heaviness. I was told that writing helps cure heavy feelings and after applying it to myself I can say it really does. I’d write an entry and feel better. And after another entry I’m cured haha! I’m kidding! Although it may look like it because I would be post-less after that.

I’d like to write some more, and this blog is always at the back of my head, but I’d find myself always thinking of my motive why I’d write again. I read one site that says to begin “blogging” you must find your niche, your passion, a hole in the market… and well, I don’t think I have those locked down haha! But, most writing 101 tips would say that above all, you should write for yourself. And that I think I can really relate to now.

Back in college, I kept planners. I’d write tasks in them, reminders, and what I didn’t know back then would be my favorite – snippets of how my day went. Example – “Zaide with Pol. What a day! Left phone. Celery’s for lunch. ACTBAS quiz.”  – basically where I went that day, what I ate, things I did. They are, in hindsight, one of the best things I decided to do. Through those strings of one liners I remembered days I would probably not be able to recall, or at least not in detail, and it made me happy.

But I fell out of consistency post college and continually fell out of it each time I started again and thus plenty of memories may never be relived. This makes me sad because despite awkward moments and lower than low days, there are a lot I would like be reminded of. So, I think this is my new motivation. I’d write to remember. Also, since this is public, to share and maybe spark connections that would make fuller lives. And if through this I’d find my niche or my passion or what not then it would be more than what I asked for.

Serving more posts after this!

– Gemma


Picture from: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/neon-open-sign/?lp=true

Jacob is here!

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I am officially a tita (aunt)! Woot!

You guysss! My nephew, Jacob, is too cute!!! It’s so hard to be at work when I could be at the hospital instead huhuhu! All I want to do is stare at his face – asleep or awake, calm or crying (little cutie bawls so loudly).

I can hardly wait until he’s less fragile and we can go gigil (a Filipino term without a precise translation but can loosely be described as that indescribable urge to pinch something) on him.

Looking forward to a baby-smelling home, some sleepless nights, but definitely plenty of sunny days ahead!

P.S. Reserving the first few photo and video posts opportunity for my ate and kuya (sister and brother-in-law). After that, my feed may drown of him. 🙂

Outlet

Not to resume blog writing on a pessimistic note but…

Yesterday was one of those days again.

Just a couple of weeks back I was feeling refreshed and optimistic after taking a sick leave from work. I had been organizing events here and there which left me drained and too lethargic to be productive. But after that day of rest, reading the latest Harry Potter book in one sitting, and basically doing whatever I pleased at home, I was in my go-getter, career-driven, let’s-do-this mode.

That lasted 2 weeks. And yesterday was one of those days again. The kind where you want to quit your job then you question yourself what you’d rather be doing only to hear a mess of answers in your head. Where you’d question yourself about what you’re good at doing because you feel that’s the right way to start. Or what you feel you want to do… because what you want to do and what you’re good at doing may be entirely different… because you know, life doesn’t always equip everyone with the skills, innate ability, or sheer luck to do what they “love” to do.

Such chaos in my head! I’m kidding. Well, I’m not. But I am reminded of people with heavier baggage and I immediately think my reaction is probably too much. Then I contradict this statement by thinking I should not always be relating my experiences to others. This prevents full awareness of one’s feelings and emotions, which may lead to a prolonged disheveled psyche, which may ultimately culminate to an outburst.

I rest my case. Haha!

Ahhh writing is good. Writing all that feels good. I am glad.