Sunday, September 21, 2014

Colorless lacks color

A lot of my friends know how fond I am of Haruki Murakami's books so you could imagine how excited I was to get my hands on his latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

The book was about a middle-aged man, Tsukuru who went about looking for his high school best friends to find out why they decided to suddenly abandon and stop being friends with him sixteen years ago. The plot itself is very exciting since it tackled issues of loneliness, hope, self-discovery and friendship.

I got the book the first week it was released and finished it under two weeks. The first chapter sold it for me and I have to admit it was an easy read but as I read more and more of it, I found it... colorless. I was trying to determine why I didn't find the story compelling so I kept reading but it didn't get better for me. There was something missing in it. And I can't put a finger to what it is exactly. I'm thinking maybe something got lost in the translation (it's not by one of my favorite Murakami translators) but I kinda had a feeling that it was rushed. And in a way, it was a bit predictable which is surprising because the thing I love most about Murakami is that he keeps me guessing and the endings are never what I had in mind.

I can't speak badly of Murakami because I love him too much but suffice it to say, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki isn't one of my favorites from him. I am kinda disappointed cause I waited a while for his next book but I hear he's coming out with another one in a few months so I'm excited for that! 

Colorless may not be for me, but I still love you Murakami!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Haler Baler!

Last weekend, I went to Baler with my colleagues. To be honest, I didn't have much expectations about the place, all I knew was that it was a great place for surfing but other than that, I didn't think it would be so special. Well, let me just say, Baler blew me away!

We went to Baler straight from work on a Friday and arrived at around 6 am. I have to admit the road trip was tiring because it is really far and you have to go through Sierra Madre so the road would wind up and down which is scary and a bit dizzying. When we arrived our colleague (who was to host us) laid out our itinerary for the day which included a visit to two waterfalls and surfing in the afternoon!

Mother falls was so beautiful! It is a little tough to get to, that I have to admit, but it was my first waterfalls so I'm not complaining :P The trek can be challenging but for it's a good hike for beginners. A note though, the water is freezing!

We also went to Caunayan walls, which I like calling "baby falls" which is rather pleasant and more laid back. We had lunch by the falls and swam in it after.

After spending half a day at the two waterfalls, we settled down at Sabang surfing beach to try out surfing!

I am so happy to report that I was able to stand up my board after just a few tries! I didn't think I would even learn how to surf but apparently, I'm a fast learner. I may even have found a new sport *squeeeee*

We stayed at AMCO Diguisit beach resort which is about 15-minutes away from Sabang. It's a more laid back area of Baler but the view is just spectacular! It's perfect if you want a more peaceful environment to think and just take in the beauty of nature :) Plus, accommodations at AMCO aren't that expensive too! *wink

I had the most amazing time at Baler and I will be back for sure! Apart from the surfing, I will definitely be back for the suman!!! I am telling you, Baler suman tastes amazing! I only have three words(?) for it: NOM NOM NOM.

Thank you Baler for the amazing time! See you again soon!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top 5 Filipino Restaurants

A few days ago, we were asked by an online site to give our top five restaurants. It was a worldwide community so we decided to take this opportunity to do a little country promotion as well and decided to focus on Filipino restaurants. Since we already got together and compiled a list, we might as well share it with you guys. Here are our picks:

1. Antonio's (Tagaytay City) - Hands down our favorite restaurant in the Philippines. If you've been a follower of our blog, you'd know how many times we've raved about the food at Antonio's. It is one of those restaurants you should take your balikbayan or foreigner friends if you want to show them how good Filipino food can get. We cannot emphasize enough how tasty the food is, add to that the fact that the place itself is beautiful! You can read about our visit to Antonio's at the following links:
 On Roadtrips and Breakfasts , Breakfast at Antonio's ,Easter Idea: Breakfast at Antonio's

2. Bale Dutung (Angeles City, Pampanga) - Bale Dutung is another outstanding Filipino restaurant. What makes it extra special though is that it is owned by one of the best Filipino chefs in the country! In fact, Anthony Bourdain has already visited this restaurant and raved about the good food. When we visit Bale Dutung, we were treated to a 10-course feast which you can read about in detail here.

3. Pamana (Tagaytay City) - Honest to goodness Filipino food, that is all we ask, right? Well Pamana has that and more! This quaint restaurant in Tagaytay is an easy favorite because the place is beautiful and the food especially so! Read about our visits here and here.

4. Abe's - Abe's is just one of the restaurants in the LJC group that we like. It is known for downright good Filipino food. I dine in the restaurant a lot of times and never have I been disappointed. It's one of those places that you can count on for Filipino comfort food. My favorite however is still the Sikreto ni Maria. For some reason though, we haven't written about it much in the blog (probably because it doesn't need more publicity than it already has) but you may check out our feature on this lovely dessert: Sikreto ni Maria

5. Crisostomo (Quezon City) - I remember dining at Crisostomo with Sophia's family. The restaurant reminds me of Abe's with its amazing Filipino food and ambiance. The cool thing about Crisostomo (and its siblings from the Florabel group) is that they are able to incorporate traditional Filipino cuisine and make it modern. The result is a gastronomical experience that will leave you (craving) and proud of Filipino food.
photo credit:
photo credit:
So there goes our top picks! There are so much more restaurants we would love to add to the list but we'd like to keep the list (in a way) exclusive. Here's to the best Filipino restaurants! And here's to making Filipino cuisine known all around the world! :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

MUSIKAL!: The Best of Filipino Musical Theater

I love musicals. It is one of my favorite forms of art because it is like a cauldron in which other forms of art are mixed in-- there's dance, theater, music, literature, and lighting/stage/costume design. I enjoy it a lot because it engages my senses in many different ways.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to catch Musikal! at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Musikal! is showcase of 21 original Filipno musicals, staged in celebration of the Cultural Center of the Philippines' 45th Anniversary. It showed excerpts of popular Filipino musicals that includes Himala, Zsa Zsa Zaturnah, Rama Hari, Katy, Rak of Aegis, Caredivas, Magsimula Ka, Maxie, and Rock Supremo among others.

The entire show was like walking through memory lane for me. So much memories! I grew up watching a lot of shows at the CCP and with every exceprt, it was like I was taken back to that day I first saw that same scene. It was so beautiful!

I cannot congratulate CCP enough for staging such a great show! I am not exaggerating when I say I was teary-eyed so many times. The talent present on that stage was just overwhelming. I am so PROUD to be Filipino and to see how amazing our artists are. World-class talent indeed! You all deserve my respect, applause, admiration, and unending gratitude for being so passionate in your craft. Congratulations! And thank you. A thousand times over, THANK YOU.

Let me leave you one of my favorite songs from Rock Supremo:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Get your party on at Neverland Manila

I admit, it was only fairly recent that I got into Electronic Dance Music. But it came to me like the plague--strong and all at once. I've had this fever for about two years now and I've always wanted to watch an EDM concert live. Of course, the ultimate goal is to fly to Belgium for Tomorrowland but while I'm still gathering the funds for that trip, I'm grateful that EDM artists are starting to visit Manila more and giving us the chance to experience (or even just get a glimpse of) that sort of Festival.

photo credit:
photo credit:
Well to all fellow EDM enthusiasts, I have two words for you: Neverland. Manila.

Set at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds on October 3, Neverland Manila brings in some of the topnotch DJs in the world such as Afrojack, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Knife Party, and Ferry Corsten. Complemented with impressive effects and a gathering of the country's most dynamic audience, it will surely be a music festival to remember.

I am personally excited for the festival! I can't tell you enough how obsessed I am about Afrojack's Ten Feet Tall. Such an amazing song! And I just know it would be so much better live!

INSTAGRAM and TWITTER: @neverlandmanila

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