Birthday 2015

Come -ber months, I already stopped hoping that my birthday this year can beat, be the same, or even come close to last year’s. I just wanted to celebrate the most important day of the year for me. Your birthday may be just a regular day for you, but then again, to each his own.

December 19, I went to Trinoma to meet up with Miko. Then we went to the Church of The Holy Sacrifice in UP Diliman to hear mass. We arrived early, so Miko ate some red isaw, dynamite and hotdogs first at the stall near Mang Larry’s. I didn’t have any because I was still full from the Yellow Cab pepperoni pizza I got from Trinoma.

The simbang gabi was at 8pm and the gospel was about The Visitation. The homily said that we should focus on Jesus being the reason for the season and not material gifts or vacations or other worldly things we now associate with Christmas. I agree. Jesus should be the focus of Christmas. I should be the focus of my birthday. Haha.

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After mass, we went to Good Burger in Maginhawa for dinner. I still wasn’t hungry, so I only had some fries and chicken, while Miko had some healthy burger creation and milk tea from the store beside GB. We talked about work (mostly my career) while eating, so even if I learned lots from his insight, I kinda lost my appetite. Hehe.

We went to Taste of L.A. for my birthday salubong. This was where I also had my salubong last year. I love this old resto in Roces. It has candles and roses and paintings- three things that are on top of my list of favorite things. Instead of wine, I had some whisky. And instead of chocolate lava cake, we had frozen cheesecake. The cheesecake is much much much better than the chocolate cake. Guess what I wished for when it turned 12?

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Dec 20… we went to Galleria to watch Star Wars The Force Awakens. Before that, he hit the gym first and I had my me time at CafĂ© Pascucci. Then we went to Toys R Us to get some gifts for his inaanaks. I saw two Care Bears that look like us. Shempre ako si Funshine Bear.

It was my 2nd time to watch TFA and it was his 1st time to watch a Star Wars movie. His reaction after 2hours and 15minutes of watching?

“Ayoko. Walang Ewoks!!!” 😂

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It took us almost an hour to get to EDSA Shangri La. Terrible traffic! We were definitely hangry by the time we got to HEAT. In fact, I started eating while he was still parking. :P

I enjoyed the food better in HEAT than in Circles (Makati Shangri La), but I liked the ambience of the latter better. The dishes that I loved in HEAT were the maki with lots of bonito flakes, herb crusted cold cuts, meat loaf, crabs in lemon garlic sauce, roasted lamb chops, roasted angus belly, churros, and blueberry mousse. Miko loved all the meats except their sisig. He also liked the mango cheesecake.

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HEAT has an iced tea buffet, and you need to pay an extra 200php to avail. Also 200php for the unlisoda. And for unli wine, add 700php. I had the unli iced tea and my fave was cucumber lemonade.

The cost of Sunday dinner buffet is P2,200 I think. The original plan was to have my birthday/our anniversary dinner at Spiral in Sofitel, but it was okay that it didn’t push through because of the rain and traffic.

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I quickly fell asleep right after Miko brought me home. I woke up with a little sadness because my birthday was over. It was happy, but there was something else I wanted.

I went to MOA to meet up with my bestfriend Donnie and I already had a feeling that he tried to invite our other friends so celebrate my birthday. I also had a feeling that it was only Jan who could make it. And of course, tama ako.

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I was touched that Donnie and Jan took the extra mile to be with me and arrange a surprise to make me happy on my a day after my birthday. Sabi ko nga, kung kilala mo talaga ako nang mabuti, alam mo na gusto ko ng surprise. Hindi kailangang bongga, basta meron. At alam mo dapat na gusto ko ng cake na may masarap na frosting na may candle.

Nagpa-fireworks pa sila Jan at Donnie para sa akin. May live band pa sa tabi na tumugtog ng Achey Breakey Heart at Nanghihinayang. 😰

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Come December 22, I was already on leave. I went home here in Bataan and the first thing that greeted me in our humble farmhouse was that little brown furry cute puppy! It’s my parents’ birthday gift for me! A labrador mix that I named Toshi. It means alert, intelligent and bright in Japanese. Miko suggested that I name it Potpot. So I decided that should be the nickname. I think the puppy likes his nickname better because he wags his tail nonstop whenever he hears it. 😜

So that’s how I spent my birthday. It may not be as happy as the one in 2014, but it is still my second favorite birthday of all. Thank you to all those who remembered. To those who didn’t, HU U?

// listening to A Second Chance

Valentine’s 2015

It’s my first Valentine’s Day with Miko so excuse the extra cheesy post. :p

He got me pink flowers and oreo-cream cheese cookies from Kitchen Diaries. KiD even got a video of him answering the old school question “What is love?”

VDAY1

I loved that I got pink roses. I LOVE PINK ROSES!!! And the card? It says “I super kaduper love you!” O ha. Super na, kaduper pa! Hahaha! Ang sarap rin nung cookies. Sana kahit hindi Valentine’s bigyan ako ni Mikmik nito. Tsaka rin ng flowers. :p

VDAY2

He picked me up late afternoon and off we went to SMX for the travel expo. Hardcore ang traffic sa Buendia so we listened to covers of pop love songs para maaliw. Astig ang big band version ng I Want It That Way ng Backstreet Boys.

VDAY3

There were a lot of exhibitors in the travel expo, but we only checked out those that have Indonesia, Maldives, Korea, Turkey, and Japan packages.

VDAY4

It’s Miko’s dream to visit Istanbul, dahil yata sa Taken 2. :P I checked out the photos and mukhang masarap ang pagkain doon. Sama na rin ako! Hehe.

VDAY5

We’re planning to go to Tokyo late this year. Too bad the travel expo only gave out deals for the 1st half of the year. ‘Di bale, abang-abang na lang kami ng panalong deal sa June. :D And look, we saw this super awesone robot. Sino siya? Si Philippine Tourism Optimus Prime? :p

VDAY6

After the expo, we walked toward the mall. We were confused why there were so many people near the bay area, eh sa The Arena naman ‘yung concert nila Martin. Pyromusical competition pala! Since we’re already there, we got tickets. They sold gold tickets for 300php each and 500php for VIP.

VDAY7

Watched the fireworks while eating hotdogs and french fries. Italy’s display was good, but I liked Brazil’s better. Miko liked Italy’s pyromusical show more kasi pangmatanda raw ang sounds. They used Unchained Melody, songs from Grease, and I Will Always Love You. Brazil used party sounds. Ah basta, mas gusto ko ‘yung sa Brazil kasi mas malaki at mas mataas ang sabog. Hehe.

VDAY8

Saw this ferris wheel and remembered EK’s Wheel of Fortune. Napag-alaman ko na hindi pa pala nakakapunta sa loob ng Enchanted Kingdom si Miko. Oiiiiy! So sana bago kami mag-Japan, makapag-Sta. Rosa, Laguna muna kani. Hahaha!

VDAY9

It rained so we didn’t wait for the other competitors anymore. We went to Roadhouse for dinner (buffalo wings + sizzling tofu) and drinks (Jack and beer) and jazz and blues. Sakto, The Brat Pack was the band that time and Miko likes them a whole lot. I liked them too, especially when they covered Randy Santiago’s Babaero. They also played Come Together, Superstition, Black Magic Woman, and an Etta James’ song na nakalimutan ko ang title. Their orig songs are pretty kickass too. :)

VDAY10

Here’s my gwapo boyfriend/bestfriend/love of my life/object of my desire/foodie to my takaw singing along to a song I don’t remember. Couldn’t remember because I was busy staring at him. Yiiiiiiiii!

VDAY11

And here’s me wearing the locket he gave me for my birthday and smiling despite having raccoon eyes and a shiny nose because I got to spend Valentine’s with the one I truly love. (Nagwarning ako kanina na extra cheesy post ito ha.)

VDAY12

Our celebration was far from being as extravagant and intricate as other couples’. In fact, it’s almost just as simple and laid-back, yet fun-filled and food-filled as our other dates, but isn’t it supposed to feel like Valentine’s every time when you’re with the right person? Doesn’t matter how you celebrate it, as long as you’re both happy. I know we were. We ARE.

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So cheers to travel plans, painting the sky with colors, listening to great music, eating a lot, and making dreams come true! Cheers to love and life! I hope your Valentine’s was as happy as ours!

// listening to The Brat Pack – Babaero

Yabu – SM Mall of Asia

After eating some real bad katsu, I made it up to my tastebuds by eating at Yabu. I didn’t pass up the opportunity when my highschool bff Cindy asked if I wanted to eat there for brunchienda. That’s of course, breakfast/lunch/merienda because we’re odd (pauso haha) like that. YABUdabadoo! :p

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The service was noticeably fast and friendly. Thanks to Jeff who was the waitstaff assigned to our table.  He first gave us sesame seeds to crush as we waited for our chosen katsu dishes. I took a picture of it because it seems like everyone who eats here MUST have this ritual Instagrammed. Aminin mo! Noong nag-Yabu ka, may picture ka rin nung sesame seeds! :p

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Their menu promises they prepare everything meticulously: from using Koshihikari, the finest japanese rice, to knowing the exact second of lifting the pork from the bubbling oil. Yabu obviously takes katsu seriously that they have managed to popularize this sesame-crushing ritual. Well, they wouldn’t be called the House of Katsu for nothing.

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Next to arrive were the appetizers (195php for two bowls). We had the Superior Potato and Egg Salad and Lidako Salad. The former is chunks of potato and egg with Japanese mayo-mustard dressing. The latter is baby octopus in sweet-savory sauce with cucumber. I wish I also ordered some Layu sauce (chili garlic) to spice up the octopus some more.

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Cindy had Salmon Katsu (475php) – chunks of salmon, coated in panko and deep-fried to medium well. I had the Rosu Katsu (315php) – 3/4 inch-thick (porkloin), with a trimming of  fat. Both were served with unlimited Japanese rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles, unlimited cabbage, and a bowl of fruit (pineapple and watermelon).

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I didn’t take advantage of the unli-rice (trying to de-puff my chipmunk cheeks) but had lots of cabbage. Among their 3 dressings- Goma, Shoyu, and Wasabi, Goma is my fave. Their tonkatsu sauce was the perfect sweet-savory made more terrific with the crushed sesame seeds.

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And what about the katsu itself? I LOVED IT. I absolutely loved it! I finished it down to the last morsel of panko-breadcrumb. My Rosu was crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. It wasn’t greasy at all too like other cheap versions. And just like that, Yabu’s katsu is now my favorite katsu. <3

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Cindy also liked her Salmon Katsu. She finished her set quicker than I did mine. Ang takaw, grabe. :p I’m probably trying the salmon next. Other katsu kinds they offer are chicken, black tiger prawn, oyster, menchi (minced meat of beef and pork), and they even have veggie katsu of silken tofu, onion rings, eggplant, bell peppers, potatoes and carrots.

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We didn’t get to try their Mochi Ice Cream because we went for UCC’s Oreo Coffee Cake instead. Still, my Yabu experience was excellent from start to finish. I ticked WOWs and VERY GOODs in the comment card they gave us. I really wish they’ll have a branch in Harbor Point as well so I can have my Dad try this too. My father lived in Japan for several years and I think he’d like Yabu as much I did.

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Yabu: House of Katsu
2/F SM Mall of Asia, Main Mall Atrium, South Arcade, Pacific Dr
Manila Bay Reclamation Area, Pasay
(02) 511-7202

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Website: http://www.yabu.ph/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/yabuhouseofkatsu
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/YabuPH
Other branches: SM Megamall, Southmall, North Edsa, Aura, Robinsons Magnolia and ATC.

// listening to Sum 41 – Into Deep