Perfect Weekend

Weekend relaxation has become few and far between for me, what with work interfering almost 90% of the time that when my boss told me to go on leave, I knew I had to grab it. 
Friday was spa day for me – got to explore the spa at our condo and try their peppermint foot spa. It was good and my feet felt cool for hours after – even after the four-hour videoke with my team (well, the other half of my team, since I now have an extended team at the office). The videoke almost didn’t push through since I forgot to make reservations earlier and only remembered it three hours before the event. Good thing, Platinum at Polaris isn’t as popular as it used to be and I ended up getting the room for twenty, fifteen minutes before our meeting time. 😛
Platinum is actually my choice of videoke, if money weren’t such a big factor – they have better songs, better acoustics, bigger rooms, and well, better service. Except that it’s about a third more expensive than the nearby Music 21, since you pay an hourly room rate and must order a certain amount of food and drinks, unlike the latter where you can get a package for ten with food and drinks for only Php 3,000!
Anyway, was a bit disappointed though, as some of the songs I used to sing there are gone – must be of copyright infringement. Even the music videos featuring supermodels are gone (no more Heidi Klum-pre baby). 
Still, good company more than made up for my missing repertoire. 😛
Saturday was family day. Ipe and I decided to take the little kiddo to Avilon Zoo – it’s one of the most convenient hang outs for us as it’s less than 15 minutes away. Plus, it’s a covered zoo, and not too crowded so it gets additional points for us. It’s quite small too, so you can go back and forth your favorite animals without getting blisters – they have tigers (including a white one), bear, gibbons, lots of birds, fish, snakes, goat, sheep, rabbits, fish, tortoise, turtles, eagle owls, donkeys, horses, puma, lion… I even summoned enough nerve to carry a snake around my shoulders. It big, heavy and slippery!!!
Joey and I enjoyed feeding the carps, tortoise and the rabbits, but I think his favorite are the rabbits – we bought carrots (the zoo sells  fresh veggies and other animal feed for a minimal amount) and he gets into this box while the rabbits gather round him. It’s cute and Joey kept saying, “Mom, look! I’m a farmer!”
Later, went to the waxing station to have my eyebrows done (it’s one of those things I have learned to “outsource” since I can never get the hang of it) Ipe and I met up with his highschool barkada for a super late dinner at Kirin, and what do you know, another videoke sesh, this time at Music 21. Feasted on chili chicken, hakao, and steamed fish. Seriously, the chili chicken felt more like chili with a bit of chicken – we had to dig through the red chili before finding the chicken bits. 
Sunday was spent lounging around the house with the little boy – reading a new book bought the previous day at Fully Booked, and watching Cars for the nth time. 
Now, if only all weekends could be like this. But that’s wishful thinking. Oh well.

Daily Fashion: Denim Love

Denim shirtdress used as top, Landmark; shorts, Maldita; sandals, Pill at The Ramp; bag, Aranaz
The lighting’s a bit off (taken outside our unit) and hubby hasn’t mastered the art of taking photos yet, so forgive the crappy photo. 
Oh, and it’s 3am (sheepish grin here) and I just got back from a night out with my team. 😛

All Bottled Up

Floral cologne from Crabtree and Evelyn, Php 1,700
 I’m not a big fan of perfumes – I am extremely allergic and one whiff of the wrong perfume can send me in a sneezing fit that can render me useless the entire day. But I am loving this right now. Was supposed to get rosewater scent but they only sell it in sets and I don’t really need gels, creams, and whatchamacallit. Hubby says I smell like a prusisyon – which is just the way I like it. 🙂

Tagaytay Weekend Get-away

What with all the stress lately, hubby decided to take me for a weekend off in Tagaytay (yeah, loser me works on weekends now) to de-stress. Given though that hubby isn’t good with the planning thing, it was my job to ensure all bookings and reservations are done as I don’t want my me-time ruined by mundane issues. 🙂
I usually dislike driving up to Tagaytay because of the weekend crowd but surprisingly, there was hardly any traffic, even in the city itself, and we were there in less than an hour. But I’d still avoid it on long weekends and holidays – as there is only one major road, all cars pile up. 
Number one on the agenda: Lunch! I’ve never been to Antonio’s, partly because a couple of people had warned me of the price and some have told me the food wasn’t worth it; but since they opened the smaller-scale and affordable Antonio’s Grill, I knew I had to go there  first before I decide whether to try Antonio’s itself and find out if all the hype is true.
Sinampalukang Manok (Php 415, good for 2-3)
We ordered the Sinampalukang Manok and Liempo. Now,I have been wanting to cook sinampalukang manok since forever but I can’t find fresh tamarind leaves so I was very eager to try this dish. But, while it was good, I can’t help feeling disappointed – I have a high standard for this dish as I’ve tasted heavenly sinampalukang manok cooked by my papa and it was nowhere near it.
Liempo (Php 255, good for 2-3)
The liempo though, could have tasted a lot better. For a place being run by the same guy who is famed for his grilled food, it was a big disappointment. I found the liempo too oily and fatty, although it was a visual treat. 
So what’s my verdict for Antonio’s Grill? Undecided. Since it was our first time here, I want to try it again in the future – they serve Filipino food and there are a lot more I want to try on their menu. Besides, it can’t have gotten its reputation in the first place if it was no good so I think it deserves a chance to redeem itself in my taste buds.
After lunch, we headed to my favorite retreat this side of town – Sonya’s Garden. I promise, I can live there just smelling the garden full of bright flowers in full bloom and herbs and vegetables growing freely everywhere. The place itself is the main draw – if a fairy tale could be bottled in a fragrance, it would have smelled like Sonya’s.  And I love that the garden doesn’t look contrived – it’s like Sonya just threw seeds around, not bothering to think what kind of flowers they are as long as they grow.  And the result is just picture perfect. The fact that the place serves a mean salad and adobo is just a bonus.
Little treats like this fountain are strewn along the walkways
Anyway, our agenda for this visit is not the food but to pamper ourselves.
Foot Spa area
my hideous feet soaked in warm water with dalandan
Hubby slept through the entire process while I spent the first half examining the bowl of flowers floating around in rosewater in front of me:
I slept halfway through the massage. 😛 It was very good, and I loved the oil they used (can you guys tell by now that I am enamored by this place?). After the massage, we were served delicious hot tea (I can’t recall the leaves right now though).
It’s only now that I discovered they also sell rosewater spray – I have always been a fan of roses, even as a child and if you’ve been to our house, you’d know it almost always smells like roses. So, naturally, I bought some to take home with me. 🙂
The biggest and prettiest yellow gumamela I have ever seen
pantomine duo outside Pancake and Starbucks
Oh, and on the way back to our room, we stopped to have comfort food for dinner – Pancake House. Now, this place has been by go-to shelter when under a barrage of issues back at my old company and it still brings back those moments. We almost missed it though, as the sign is blasted and could not be seen from the highway. Good thing we were set on eating here (well, this trip was to de-stress and Pancake House reminds me of just that so it was imperative that we eat here).
After that, it was time to snooze off. Or in my case, I ended up curled in bed, reading a good book. We stayed at Jessar Apartments. Now, we have been loyal customers of this apartelle – it’s cheap but doesn’t compromise on service and facilities. The rooms are very clean with a queen sized bed (you can have an additional mattress for extra charge since the room is quite big), have hot water and toiletries, cable TV, free wifi, and free breakfast for two – all for Php 1,600 a night.
A relaxing day which I can’t wait to do again. I’d say, mission accomplished!

Mom, I can do it all by myself!

Time really flies. 
A few weeks ago, Joey and I were at the Kids’ section of Fully Booked. Before, he would ask for my help when he wants to look at some books.  As I was watching from behind a shelf, I saw him try to reach a book the the topmost ledge, realize that he couldn’t reach it, and proceed to get a little chair:
And often, when I try to help him, he tells me: Mom, I can do it all by myself!

I was happy and sad at the same time. Happy, that he is growing up to be a resourceful little boy and sad because soon, he will outgrow my hugs and kisses. 

TGIS: Agave and Cafe Via Mare

Celebrated our friend’s birthday at Cafe Via Mare two Saturdays ago:
fresh lumpia
tortang talong – my all time favorite!
good ole’ Tapsilog
another must eat for me: oysters (or mussels if they have)
We all came from UST that Saturday and we were walking aimlessly around Morato so we decided to just go in the first place that wasn’t full and got the birthday boy to treat us to an impromptu birthday dinner. Too bad we ended up at this place because the food isn’t all that great. 😦 But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the treat!
Last Saturday, we were all craving something different (meaning, not our usual haunts) so we headed to Agave for some Mexican food.
nachos galore
sampler, which was more than enough to feed three hungry guys and one girl
I must say though, that all this food tripping with the guys is making me downright fat as Ipe had pointed out. That and the fact that work-related stress is driving me nuts – even more nuts than I was before, unfortunately. I really need to eat properly and hit the gym, otherwise, I’d be hitting 130 lbs before I know it.

TGIS: Zao

my bottomless Jasmine iced tea
Pigging out on Saturdays is becoming a regular thing and with good food, good company and my favorite Starbucks drink later, I must say, I like! 😛

We were supposed to hit Mamou at Serendra last night but as all our outings are spontaneous, none of us made reservations and we ended up next door at Zao.
And as this night, there were five of us instead of the usual four suspects (three guys and moi), we ordered a feast, authentic Vietnamese food being one my absolute favorites. 
  

crispy spring rolls
One of my friends and I both love spring rolls and we couldn’t decide if one order would be good enough for the two of us so we ordered two to be on the safe side. Turned out to be a good decision because the rolls were a hit.










Next is the pomelo salad. Honestly, I don’t like the fruit, but since I tried pomelo salad at another resto, I’ve been hooked. I still don’t eat it by itself, though.I like this version with the onions and vinegar – makes the pomelo the star as it offers you a sweet alternative to the tangy and sour taste of the sauce.



As for the main course:
Zao bowl

chicken rice
lemongrass chicken
Saigon fried rice
We all wanted soup which is why we ordered the Zao bowl, but realized too late that it wasn’t soup at all; so to appease our friend, we agreed to get the Zao Pho to end our meal, which was big enough to feed four guys and a girl.
The price was not so bad – our tab came at around Php 2,600. The bestsellers of the night were the spring rolls and the lemongrass chicken.  However, while the food was okay, I must say it doesn’t come anywhere near authentic. Three of us in the table have all been to Vietnam and we all agree that Zao’s offerings don’t come anywhere near the taste of  the local food in Ho Chi Minh. So I was mildly disappointed. Still, if you’re just after good food, I won’t mind dining here again.

Cats in Manila

I have to hand it to Lea Salonga – she is really a great singer. She doesn’t have the biggest voice or hits the highest notes but she gave me goosebumps and made me cry the entire time she was singing . 
Got to watch Cats last Friday (orchestra tickets part of hubby’s birthday gift to me). It runs till mid of August so I recommend that you guys try to catch it if tickets are still available.