Talking to my office mates who were with me in my US assignment always ends up with reminiscing the things we miss. One time, we started talking about burgers. After that conversation, I realized how much I miss Matt's Bar, SmashBurger and Dave’s Downtown. It was perfect timing though since Boyet and I were planning to have our post-Valentine-cum-anniversary date. Since it was going to be my treat, I took the liberty to choose CBD at the Ayala Triangle Gardens.
The first thing I noticed next to the bright and spacious interior is the use of green things from the CBD sign up to the plates and couches.
Boyet isn’t fond of burgers so he settled for a rice meal instead. Thinly-sliced flavorful beef brisket arrived on our table. The appearance of this dish wasn’t appealing to my eyes but I was surprised when I tasted it. The smoky flavor of the beef and the tasty sauce were not hard to notice.
Our wedding preparations are really keeping us very busy that I didn’t have the time to plan for our 6th anniversary. Boyet then told me two days prior that he has a plan and I just need to go with him. He has one condition though – I should not ask him where we’re going. I was convinced that he’s bringing me to Tagaytay where he proposed but we went to a bus terminal in Monumento where most buses are traveling north. I told him that we are already late if we’re going to the Hot Air Balloon Festival. And then after an hour or so, I noticed a familiar spot. We went out of the bus and traveled a few minutes more via a tricycle. He brought me to a farm in Bulacan where it all started six years ago. With the stress and heartaches of preparing a wedding, he reminded me that things were simpler for us six years ago. He told me that he was afraid to get married and have a family but not until I said yes in that farm on a Saturday night six years ago. :)
We arrived back to Manila just in time for lunch. It was a Saturday before the Valentine’s Day so malls were really crowded. We wanted to just have a simple lunch so I suggested Café Mary Grace. I enjoyed trying it for the first time a year ago so I figured out that it would be even better the second time around. I was still full from my sausage and egg muffin breakfast so I chose to just have salad for lunch. They have a lot to choose from so I asked the waiter their bestseller. He smiled and pointed Grilled Chicken and Oranges with Black Olive Dressing in the menu.
Boyet being a lover of cream-based pasta dishes opted to have Mary Grace Mushroom Cream. The linguini noodles cooked al dente were tossed in cream and flavorful mushrooms. There was a distinct taste which we both could not figure out until we checked the menu for the second time. It was probably from the truffles. :)
Cafe Mary Grace
Level 2 Midtown Wing
Robinsons Place Manila
Being a girl who is only comfortable wearing jeans and shirts, finding the perfect wedding gown was tedious. I probably wore a dress less than ten times in my 27 years of existence so I am not sure if I can nail wearing a wedding gown. Being dumb in fashion, the only designers I know are those who dress up celebrities and it means that I can’t afford them. So the first thing I did was to go to w@w and research. I found out that there are brides who really splurge on their gowns. I know that it is a once in a lifetime event but I don’t want to wear something with a price tag that would probably make my groom leave me. Haha! Some gowns even cost up to a hundred thousand pesos. If I can wear that to sleep or use my dress at work, then I’ll probably consider. So with a budget in my mind, I continued with my search. And I needed to remind myself to stick to my budget. :p
I only have two things in mind for my wedding gown. I want it to be one-shouldered and the skirt to have the “balloon style” (I don’t even know how to call it). I sent inquiries to two designers for quotations of my peg. I was still in the US at that time and the first designer told me that I need to visit their shop before giving me a sketch.
But Gretchen accommodated my request and made not 1 but 6 sketches for me. She just asked me to send her my pictures and I got the sketches in days. She first sent me four sketches. I was supposed to choose Design B but I changed my mind because my office mate Zel chose Gretchen's design for her with the same style of the strap.
Gretchen then told me that she liked the other design and I just couldn’t agree more! I actually forgot the peg I gave her after seeing her sketch. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t the gown I visualized myself wearing. But I know that the design she conceptualized is something that will suit my personality.
I am really tempted to upload the sketch of my gown but I really want it to be a surprise. I don’t think Boyet even remembers how it looks like. I only showed it to a few (and privileged) friends. My bridesmaid Joie agreed that it is really awesome. The design is elegant enough for a formal occasion. But I really feel that the personality of a childlike-shirt-jeans-type-of-girl will definitely reflect in that dress.
Meeting Gretchen for the first time was a delight. I remember reading her blog and how she managed to shift from one career to another (I actually envy her hahaha). For someone with such courage to make a decision as bold as that, I know that what she’s doing right now is born out of her passion and dedication. And I know that these reflect in her works.
More than being talented, she is really a nice person. We didn’t have a car the first time we met last October so she asked her helper to get us a cab. While waiting, we talked and she even gave us suggestions on wedding suppliers. She told me to go back on January for the measurement. And I got a word from her a few days ago that my mock dress is now ready for first fitting.
So in less than four months, Gretchen will get to transform a childlike-shirt-jeans-type-of-girl to a sophisticated bride. :)
I got the idea from The Manila Girl to use Copyscape. I watched and read its tutorials and tried it as soon as I understood what it’s for. I tried it out of sheer boredom. I wasn’t expecting to get any results because I don’t think I am in the position to be “copied”. But I was surprised when I got a hit. According to Copyscape, a certain blogger copied the contents of a post I wrote last May in support of Richard Gordon. I didn’t know what to feel when I saw the site and read MY work. I know that I am almost a year late to react but I didn’t know the existence of the said blog until I used Copyscape.
I remember people leaving me messages and comments asking permission if they could repost that blog entry. And with the numerous amounts of inquiries, I decided to update that post saying that it is okay to share it. I told myself that maybe the blogger just misunderstood it. But then again, responsible bloggers put credits in materials they use that do not belong to them.
He wasn’t the first person to post that entry. I saw that post in other blogs and forums. The difference is, they properly acknowledged me and my site. He didn’t. It took me three days to organize my thoughts and write that post. While that blogger probably spent three seconds to copy and publish my work. He did not even put my blog’s link or at least a “written by” in his post. It was as if he wrote that himself.
I saw the blogger’s Facebook page and found out that we have a common friend. I asked my friend Dianne if she could relay my message to the blogger. I am not mad. But my friends who learned about this incident are really furious. They know how much I love writing and how I spend time keeping up my blog. They said (and I know) that it is considered plagiarism. I am upset and I feel disrespected. It was as if somebody robbed me of something I worked hard for. But then again, I am still giving the blogger the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the blogger was just as passionate as I was to help Gordon win the presidential election that he forgot to put my name and that of my site in his blog post.
I know that I am not the first blogger to experience this. I remember reading a story from another blogger that she found out that her entry was published in a newspaper without her consent. I am not claiming to be original. I shifted into food blogging because I was inspired when I read Between Bites. I read other food blogs and try the restaurants they tried. But I make sure that I write my OWN opinions. Even if I don’t need to, I ask Kriska’s permission out of courtesy when I want to copy a widget that I saw from her blog. There may be times that I failed to put my source when I use an image in my posts or forgot to quote someone else’s words. But as far as I can remember, I have never copied someone else’s work.
Blogging for years made me know other bloggers and even gave me the chance to meet new friends. And now is not the time for me to make enemies. What’s done is done. So for now, I’ll just wait for his explanation.
I know some of you may think that I am making a big deal out of it. I know I am not a well-known blogger. I don’t make a living out of writing so I didn’t lose a single centavo with what he did. But I am the type of person who stands up for what I believe is right. It’s easy for me to just let it pass since it has almost been a year since the blogger posted that entry. But I want this to be a lesson to all bloggers and those who aspire to be one. We need to be mindful of everything we post online. And yes, let’s respect other bloggers and site owners by giving them the credits they deserve.
Give credit where credit is due.
Update: I also sent a private message to the blogger. He explained that it was just an honest mistake. So there, case closed. Happy blogging! ;)
Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry. But it is a different case when you’re in Greenbelt.
We were meeting another supplier that night. Boyet and I were not particularly craving for something so we just decided to try out Haiku. The place wasn’t crowded so it was the best choice to have a meeting.
First to arrive on our table was a bowl of hot miso soup. I am not a fan of miso soup but I think Haiku’s is decent enough. I apologize for the poor shots. The person we were meeting arrived while the food was being served. I got conscious. :p
I was more forgiving with the Assorted Seafood. It tastes better but the serving was small for its cost.
My only consolation with this dinner was the Sake Skin Maki. I am a little biased since I love maki. The fried salmon skin in the middle added crunch and flavor.
Although I loved the restaurant’s interior and its serene ambiance, their food is just so-so and a bit pricey too. I just felt that I could have gotten a lot more with what I paid for in other restaurants. Their service wasn’t bad but there were instances when there was no wait staff in sight to attend to our needs.
Haiku Japanese Restaurant
Level 2 Greenbelt 3
Ayala Center, Makati City
If looking for a caterer was hard, finding our wedding photographer was even harder. I remember spending hours searching online. Some of my friends tried suggesting but I always end up telling them that I already saw the photographer’s portfolio. If you’ve been or just getting married, you’ll probably understand that a bride needs the “this is it” feeling in deciding who to get.
My search continued while I was in the US. I spent hours at night with just Google as my company. All the links have turned from blue to red (or is it violet?) and that really made me frustrated. Fortunately, Boyet managed to keep his cool even if I kept on turning down his suggestions.
I narrowed my choices to three. Boyet didn’t like one of the choices even if it was the cheapest. That was a first! Haha! I sent an email inquiry to the remaining two. The first replied but we were turned off when she stopped responding to our inquiries. And so we were down to one, THE ONE!
I first heard of him while I was walking along the streets of St. Paul talking to my office mate who is also getting married this year.
Me: May photographer na kayo?
Him: Oo meron na.
Him: Baka si Pat Dy.
Me: Wow sosyal! Sige iyo na si Pat Dy! Haha!
Him: Try mo si Ian Santillan.
Sorry Ian, but it was the first time I heard of you. Haha. It made me realize that I was using the wrong keywords in Google.
People say that we must invest in our photos. Everything will be gone but the photos will stay to remind us of that special day.
I am no expert in photography but I really want our pictures to look as natural as possible. Too much photoshop is a no-no. But more than the actual “look” of a picture, capturing a spontaneous moment is more important for us. We don’t want our pictures to look staged. Because if that’s the case, I would just bring my tripod and put my DLSR on timer mode and shout “1-2-3 cheese” on our wedding day. That would probably save us a lot of money. I want a photographer with a perfect timing, someone who has an eye for the unspoken emotions of his subjects.
The first thing I did when I got home that night was search for Ian’s works. I was on Skype with Boyet that night and told him to check Ian’s site. We both checked the slide show of photos and there was one picture that caught our attention. It was a photo of a crying woman with a tear falling from her eye. It’s easy for photographers to instruct his subjects to smile at the count of three. But it’s impossible to say “Ok, 1, 2, 3 cry… hold that tear for me!” That photo convinced us that he is really talented. I know you're curious. So go to his site and see for yourself. :)
We met him as soon as I got back from the US. He showed us more of his works and we got more convinced that we made the right choice. He asked our preferences. I told him that more than focusing on the details of the wedding, I want real emotions to be captured. It is a wedding day but I don’t want too much cheesiness showing in our pictures. And yes, wacky shots are very much welcomed! Hihi! :)
He’s such a nice guy, unassuming of the great talent he has. He even helped us find a videographer that would suit our budget. He was our first male supplier so I wasn’t surprised at all that he is Boyet’s favorite. But I think I have a hint why. I’ll just keep it to myself. Hehe! :p
We are just four months away from our wedding day. Our pre-nuptial pictorial is even closer (Oops, I still don’t have a concept in mind). I am so used to being behind the camera as the official photographer on all our out-of-town trips. So I don’t know what will be the outcome if I become one of the subjects. And Boyet only knows one pose! So there, let’s just all wish Ian good luck! Nyaha! :)
I learned a very important lesson this day. As all other couples join the VDAY rush, I shared a simple takeout dinner and stayed at home while watching The Baker King with my soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. I initially whined and asked him why he stopped giving me flowers. He said, “E sabi mo dati ayaw mo ng bulaklak.” Ok fine, I lost. Girls are licensed to change their minds after all!
But tonight, I got a rose. I am not sure if he just did it to pacify me. Nyaha! Guys, there are girls who are not fond of flowers. Believe me, I am one of them. But it doesn’t mean that they won’t appreciate if they receive one.
So as I was looking at the long stemmed rose, I had a light bulb moment. I never liked fitting in and going with the flow. I have always wanted to stand out from the crowd. So as all other girls take pride in holding their bouquet of flowers, I take pride of the love and loyalty of my man. As all other couples flock the crowded restaurants, we chose to be away from the hustle and bustle of the Valentine rush. Because years from now, I won’t even remember the color of the rose, or how many times he missed to give me one. But I’ll definitely remember the quiet moments we spent together. When the storm of married life strikes us, I’ll definitely remember these calming times. It’s the simple things and not the extravagant dates that will make me smile when I look back years from now.
Girls may brag that they got the most expensive gift this Valentine’s day. While I will go to sleep tonight and thank God for making my wish come true. :)
Baby - gifts, especially flowers are still very much welcomed. :p
I have been pestering Boyet to let us try Arya. He kept on declining because he didn’t like their food when he tried it with his office mates. But since I wasn’t feeling well after my first HPV vaccine shot, he gave in to my request. I am not a big fan of Middle Eastern food but I was very willing to give it a try that day. Unfortunately, Boyet was not as enthusiastic as I was because he hates foods with strong smell and flavors.
We enjoyed a glass of refreshing lemonade. Boyet said it’s too acidic but it was just right for me.
It would have been a perfect experience if Boyet just enjoyed the food as much as I did. To add to his dismay, he found an additional PHP20 on our bill. The waiter told him that it was for the Basmati rice he ordered with the Geymeh. The waiter earlier emphasized that we needed to pay PHP20 if I upgraded my bread to rice but he failed to mention it to Boyet. And we vividly remember that the menu says “served with Basmati/Jasmine rice”. But the waiter pointed out that the menu also says that there is a “rice adjustment”. I hope that they make that note a little larger because there was also another customer who argued with the wait staff and disputed the additional charges when he settled his bill.
Seriously, Arya really needs to update their menu and remove the misleading phrase “served with” and insert the necessary adjustments.
Arya Persian Restaurant
Level 2 Midtown Wing
Robinsons Place Manila
Studies show that cervical cancer is closely linked to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. I am glad that cervical cancer awareness is dramatically increasing. With local celebrities joining hands with the medical community, women now know that cervical cancer can be prevented by HPV vaccination.
I was setting aside getting a vaccine for the longest time. But my mom convinced me that I should do it before getting married. I finally found the time to go back to my OB/GYN to get the vaccine. After more than four hours of waiting, she explained to me that there are currently two vaccines available in the market. The cheaper one protects against two HPV types. She said that she is recommending this to older patients since it gives more protection against cervical cancer. She told me that if money is not an issue, I’d rather get the more expensive one since it gives protection against 2 other HPV types which cause genital warts.
I didn’t see how long the syringe was. She just told me that it would really hurt. I told her I'm fine with that because I’m pretty sure that undergoing chemotherapy is more painful. She advised that my arm may feel a little heavier and that I may not be able to do certain activities like badminton and bowling. I was told to come back on March for my second shot and then on July for the last.
Other than getting my first shot, I was really curious if the vaccine really comes with that cute pink adhesive bandage or if it’s just for advertisement purposes.
I now took the first step. So I am now encouraging all my female readers to take the same step. Or if you know someone who needs to do the same, let them know. As Pia Magalona asked, “If you could stop cancer from touching your family, wouldn’t you?”
We met another supplier last week and went straight to dinner afterwards. I didn’t have a specific restaurant in mind but Boyet was craving for hot soup. We went to the second level of Greenbelt 3 and went up to the third floor until we finally settled to the last restaurant in sight. I am not sure if it has long been there but it was my first time to see it.
Blackbeard’s Seafood Island comes from the Red Crab Group of Restaurants. We scanned the menu board outside and Boyet saw that they are serving papaitan. I was hesitant to go inside since the restaurant was packed. But he convinced me saying that a lot of people flocking the place only shows that they must be serving good food.
They offer local cuisines, mostly Ilocano dishes. I have always wanted to travel up north so eating at Blackbeard’s Seafood Island was probably the next best thing for now.
There was Bagoong Rice in the menu but thought that its saltiness might overpower the rest of the dishes so we settled for the Shrimp Fried Rice instead.
The papaitan was so sinful so I got their pinakbet to balance the guilt. Large chunks of vegetables were cooked in bagoong. This dish looks so simple but one addition of a key ingredient made it taste extraordinary. I wasn’t sure if it was pork cheeks or skin with layers of fat. Who says that eating vegetables is boring? :p
My two maids of honor Erlie and Aubrey, along with Aubrey’s friend A.M. accompanied us in going to Dangwa in search for a florist. After all the horror and blunders, we left the place empty-handed. We were about to go home when Aubrey noticed that Boyet was stalling while staring somewhere.
Boyet: Ano uwi na kayo?
Aubrey: Oo punta kaming Angono.
Erlie: Ako uwi na.
Boyet: Ayaw nyo mag merienda?
Aubrey: Wushu! Gusto mo lang pumasok dito e.
Aubrey: Ako din e! Tara!
They went inside without even asking the rest of us if we wanted to eat there. Nyaha! It was different from the usual restaurants I’ve been to. For one, they have a mousetrap placed on the left side of the wall. Good news: the mousetrap was empty. Or is it more of a bad news?
Don’t get me wrong. I eat street foods (kwek-kwek in Intramuros is my favorite) and I’ve eaten in a karinderya before. But seeing a mousetrap was far beyond my imagination. Though I must admit that it was also hilarious! :p
We were all served with a small bowl of soup while waiting for our orders. I was still recovering from seeing a mousetrap so I was a little hesitant in trying the soup. But that was the best free soup I’ve ever tasted. Everybody agreed that it was really delicious. I just hope it’s not because of Mickey Mouse. :p
A plate of pancit canton was then served to us a few minutes after. I have always favored pancit canton over pancit bihon. And when my dad cooks it at home, I always request him to leave some sauce because I don’t like eating dry pancit canton. Luckily, Noodle King’s pancit has all the elements I want – salty sauce and perfectly-cooked noodles.
I was expecting Boyet to order pares or mami but he got tokwa’t baboy instead. For those who are not familiar, tokwa’t baboy is fried tofu with pork meat though some use pork skin, snout and ears. It usually comes with vinegar and soy sauce. But Noodle King’s dip has a hint of sweetness.
Minus their bizarre pest control , our impromptu merienda was really enjoyable. It was also affordable because Boyet and I only paid less than PHP100.
NOODLE KING PARES MAMI HOUSE
1533 Dimasalang Street,
Sta. Cruz, Manila
It was once again time for my Annual Physical Examination. I skipped one last year so I made sure to make it this year. I wasn’t allowed to eat fish, read meat, citrus fruits and certain kinds of vegetables for three days. And I had to go on fasting the day before my APE. I was in Healthway Shangri-La before 7 in the morning and finished all the procedures before 10. I was really excited to try out new restaurants but Shangri-La does not open until 11. Strolling inside a dark mall with shops closed and air-conditioner turned off is really creepy so we decided to go to Robinson’s Manila since we were also planning to check out the hotels along Roxas Blvd. for our pre-wedding preparations.
We spotted Bistro Ravioli at the second level which used to be a bakeshop. I’ve been to a lot of restaurants but I have never tried eating ravioli so I was really keen at the idea of trying it that day. Boyet had lunch at Bistro Ravioli before with Joie, Jeff and Aubrey when they went to a bridal fair when I was in the US.
I wanted to have a bowl of hot soup to warm my stomach after the fasting but they don’t serve soups. I settled for a cup of cappuccino instead while Boyet opted for a glass of red tea.
Boyet got their Corned Beef Ravioli while I had their Italian Sausage Ravioli in Romesco Sauce. It was my first time to eat ravioli so I am far from being an expert. But I must say that my first try was really good though I like mine more because of the chili flakes on top. Or is it only because it was my first meal after fasting? :p
Level 2 Midtown Wing
Robinsons Place Manila