I Don't Want to Ride My Bicycle

After our descent from Mt. Marami, we went to a house nearby to wash up. It always feels great taking a bath after hours of trekking on a hot sunny day. After a quick bath, I took some time to rest, enjoy the feeling of being squeaky clean while checking out the neighborhood.

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon, and I noticed this little boy, the son of the owner of the house where we were washing up. Aljur seemed bored riding his bike, plus it was really hot outside, so he went under a shade, flipped his bike over and cranked its pedal which made the rear wheel spin.

As he was spinning the wheel fast, I found myself amazed and smiling as I remember myself doing the same thing as a child. But what amazed me the most was knowing that some kids still actually do this even in this age when games are mostly digital. Enjoyment, old-school style!

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare

Because I love Plants vs. Zombies, I am here to share something to the other fans of the game, although I am a bit late because this was announced a few days ago.

PopCap and EA will release a new Plants vs. Zombies game, coming exclusively first to Xbox One and Xbox 360 on February 25, 2014 --- Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare. The game is totally different from the PvZ and PvZ2 games because, this time, it is going to be an online shooter game. Based on the video (see after the jump), you can choose sides: plants or zombies.

If you ask me, joining the zombie side looks fun!

For more information, videos and how to pre-order the game, go to www.pvzgardenwarfare.com

Remembering Some of My Favorite Studio 23 Shows

I did not know, until I came across Bianca Gonzalez's blog post, that Studio 23 is going off air. In her blog post, she was reminscing her YSpeak days.

Back in college, I used to watch lot of TV shows on Studio 23 because its shows were different from the other free-to-air channels. YSpeak was one of my favorite shows. I instantly loved the show's format because it was youth-empowering. It talked about sex, politics, friendship and even showbiz. YSpeak made me realize that Bianca Gonzalez is such an admirable person. Anyway, even when I entered adulthood, YSpeak was still a favorite, although I did not get to watch it as often as I used to.

My other favorite show at Studio 23 was Digital Tour, a tech TV show that used to air on Sundays. It was originally hosted by Iya Yotoko and Carlo Ledesma (I unexpectedly met him at a WOD night class in CrossFit MNL Alabang). Carlo eventually left the show and Iya became the mainstay host. Iya's other co-hosts were Chunchi Soler, JC Gonzalez (Bianca's big brother),  Manu Sandejas (Agot Isidro's husband) and Archie Alemania (Mickey Ferriols' husband). Manu and Archie became Iya's long-time co-hosts, until the show went off air. The show featured gadgets, technology, Internet stuff and digital lifestyle, and because there were no other shows like it back then, on the other free-to-air channels, I instantly fell in love with it.

I know that at some point in time Studio 23 will have to go off air, but I did not expect that it will be that soon. Although I do not watch TV shows at Studio 23 often (and even shows at the other free-to-air channels) and  even though I'm already at my 30s, saying good-bye to Studio 23 is like saying good-bye to another part of me, the youth in me.

Bale Dutung

On the first week of January, my friends and I went to Angeles City, Pampanga to attend our friend's wedding at Bale Dutung. The place was inside a quiet village - Villa Gloria Subdivision. Bale Dutung, apparently, was a house made of wood and its interiors were made of wood as well. Despite the hot weather on the day, the nice ambiance around the place gave me homey feeling.

I enjoyed everything about that place because it is located in Pampanga (I consider it as my second home), wonderful customer service, and their scrumptious authentic Kampampangan dishes.

We had a full course meal and it was hosted by the lovely Mary Ann. She and her husband Claude owns the restaurant. Mary Ann even went to each table to personally explain each dish, so we can have a better appreciation of the flavors. She even told the stories behind some of the dishes. Being part Kapampangan and having tried my Lola's cooking since I was a child, I thought I already knew a lot about their dishes, so this certainly became a delightful eating experience for me.

Dalandan juice. Ligaya table.

They served us the Lechon Menu. The refreshments, dalandan juice and salabat juice, were served first. The dalandan juice was served in a glass, while the salabat juice was served in a pitcher, which means you can refill it to heart's content. Then we had non-Lechon dishes: the Ensaladang Pak├┤ (fiddle head fern salad), Piniritong Lumpiang Ubod sa Claude'9 Oriental Sauce (fried all vegetable spring roll with lemon coriander Thai basil sauce), Inasal na Manok at Claude'9 Talangka Sushi (BBQ chicken wings with lemon grass marinade and crab fat sushi), and Hito at Balo-balo Sushi (cat fish sushi).

The piniritong lumpiang ubod was my favorite appetizer in the menu because I love lumpiang ubod, and the sauce just made it extra delicious!
Pritong Lumpiang Ubod sa Claude'9 Oriental Sauce

The (taba ng) talangka sushi was really something new to my taste. It was my first time to try a food that is a fusion of Japanese and Kampampangan. Amazing, right? The inasal na manok was delicious too.
Inasal na Manok at Claude'9 Talangka Sushi

I remember Mary Ann saying, "Don't give up yet," as the lechon dishes were served. The lechon dishes were: Balat ng Lechon at Liver Sauce (crispy roast pork skin), Fried Lechon Flakes binalot sa Tortilla at Claude'9 Oriental Sauce (crispy roast pork flakes on a tortilla), Sinigang na Lechon (pork meat in sour soup), Inihaw na Tadyang na Lechon at Ensaladang Talong (grilled pork ribs with eggplant salad), and Sisig Ulo ng Lechon (pig's cheeks with onion and liver sauce).
Fried Lechon Flakes binalot sa Tortilla

This was my favorite part of the menu. I lechon skin was so crispy and it felt like 7th heaven by the time I sinked my teeth in its juicy fat trimmings.
Balat ng Lechon
A matchbox-sized brown rice wrapped in banana leaves

The sinigang na lechon tasted like kare-kare. Yes, there is bagoong for this too.
Sinigang na Lechon

When it was time for dessert, the host announced that we now can get a cup of Sinaunang Kape (coffee) or Tsaang Pandan (tea). While my friends at our table were getting their coffee and tea, I was still busy finishing my sisig. Moments later, they began serving Paradiso (dessert of yam, coconut, egg yolk in water buffalo milk). After finishing my sisig, I waited for them to serve me Paradiso, but I noticed that the servers kept passing me by. So, I called one of the servers and asked for a serving of it. Then, I learned that I had to get a cup of coffee or tea first before they serve me the dessert that I have been anticipating. And when I finally got to try their signature dessert, I thought it was certainly a heavenly treat and it was not even too sweet.

At Bale Dutung, they do not have air-conditioning units, but they have huge industrial fans with mist sprayers to keep you refreshed on a hot weather. At the end of the course meal, they provided frozen towels. Aaahhhh..... so cool!
A frozen towel

I am really glad I got to try these foods for free. If you're into a gastronomic adventure, I highly recommend going out of town on a weekend to try Bale Dutung's menu.

To know more about Bale Dutung, go to http://baledutung.com

Keep Calm and Get a New Backpack

After getting my haircut this Sunday at ATC, I decided to stay in the mall for a bit, look around, and get myself a new backpack. I rarely buy bags, but when I do, I make sure that I really need it.

I think the last time I bought a bag was on December at CMG. I was shopping for a nice bag as a gift for my mother's birthday. It was also my first time to shop for a women's handbag, and picking a nice women's bag was tough. The bags were really expensive too, considering their sizes. I would not mind spending 3,000 pesos if I was looking for a big backpack, but I think these handbags were just too small to be very expensive. But then again, I am not a woman, so I don't know really have the right to rant about handbags.

Anyway, back to my story, I think it was really time to replace my almost 2-year old Conquer backpack. So, I went to one of my favorite bag stores --- Bratpack. So many eye candies (still talking about bags), but I was having a hard time deciding what to get because I was feeling thrifty. I left the store to rid myself of misery and went to somewhere else where everything is budget-friendly --- Artwork.

The backpacks at Artwork were just as amazing as the ones I've seen in Bratpack, but only much cheaper. Their packs can also come as nice gift ideas. And since, I am feeling "summery" these days, I got myself a pack that gives me that "summer feel", anticipating the summer months.

And I can’t wait to see, what my buddies all think of me.
Just imagine how much cooler I’ll be in summer.

-In Summer by Olaf the Snowman, (Disney's) Frozen