October 31, 2008

Casa Goñi

I joined a bazaar for the first time this week. Back in Germany I used to join children flea markets selling my old books and toys to earn a money and buy new ones. Here in Manila, particularly around the Christmas season, which by the way starts as early as September, people join bazaars selling overruns from abroad or products they’ve created themselves. It’s a great venue for small entrepreneurs, well at least that’s what I’ve heard. The bazaar I joined wasn’t well organized and poorly advertised, hence our booth had very few customers and we didn’t make much sales. But that’s another story and if I’d go on with it it’ll turn out to be a rant post. So I’ll switch to a more pleasant topic; one of my favorites actually: Food! 

While desperately waiting for people we could lure into our booth, I discovered the food stalls outside the bazaar. One of the stalls advertised authentic Spanish cuisine, and because I am always in the lookout for European food, I was an easy customer. I ordered Tres Chorizos Paella and finished the dish for lunch. Before dinner, I bought another 2 servings (180P each) and reheated them at home with D. Not quite helping with my plan to get in shape for our beach trip this December but so decadently yummy. Aside from the chorizo bits, the paella had bacon bits in it to give it more flavor. They had delicious looking Paella Negra and Chicken Estofado as well. I ended up spending more on food than i had earned that day...

The owners of Casa Goñi are Spanish (but joked how they don’t even speak it) and sell traditional Spanish cuisine every Sunday at the Legaspi Market. I’ve been to the Saturday market in Salcedo but now I got a reason to visit Legaspi Village soon. 

Casa Goñi
Brgy. San Lorenzo Sunday Market
9AM-2PM Legaspi Carpark
Call Macille or Loubel at 517-8776

October 29, 2008


My sister recently blogged (yes, we are a family of geeks) about how envious she was about my life and the choices I made. In her eyes, I have always fought for what I wanted, despite the hardships, the challenges and the stones that have been thrown on my way. She envies me for the love I found, the home that I’m trying to create in Manila.


(…) My older sister. Seven years older than me, almost eight. When I was still little I was so impressed by her. My parents trusted her completely and for good reasons. I thought she had the perfect relationship, the perfect boyfriend, the perfect friends and the perfect grades. All in all, the perfect life. But as all of us, she experienced setbacks. But funny enough, that just made me look up to her even more. Because she never gave up, always followed through with what she thought was right. She never listened to anyone but herself, not even to my parents. And they can be quite convincing and sometimes they can seem mean, even though I know they love us from the bottom of there heart and want to protect us.

I have always been jealous of her, she had all I ever wanted. And to be honest, she still does. I am the rebel of the family, or at least I used to be. I wanted to go out and party when I wasn't supposed to and I never managed to make a man stick to me for long enough... but my sister found her true love, her soulmate. When you see them together, you just know, this is how it is supposed to be. And I envy her so much, you can't imagine... on my way of finding something at least half as beautiful as what she has, I have gone over a few boyfriends, some of which I am not very proud of.

But I am not the romantic one of the family. It even seems like I am not the one that has family, house with garden and fence, written in her future. I am the career-oriented one. I travel around the world because that's what you do when you are in the hospitality business. I have crazy working hours, and I even do some overtime to impress the boss. I study like crazy, top of my class, because this job is what I want to do. I want to be a business woman. I want to be the general manager of the big hotels of this world. So I look up to my sister, and I envy her, because she has, what I gave up when I started my insanely-expensive hospitality management studies... a steady partner to love. A home. (…)


Ironically enough, I envy her for just the opposite. I gave up the ambitious career dreams I had for something as capricious as love. Don’t get me wrong, I have to regrets regarding my choices, even the wrong ones, as they made me who I am today and because ultimately it made me happy. Life is the sum of all your choices. We are shaped by the decisions we make.

But I look back sometimes and wonder how my life would have been. I see my little sister today, working in a glamorous hotel, meeting all those people I only hear about on TV and I’m jealous. She has all those doors opened in front of her. She can become who ever she wants to be. Life has so much in store for her. Not that mine hasn’t, but I set different priorities… and i got lucky that love didn't disappoint me.

But despite our differences and the distance between us, she and I are alike. We are driven do what we have to do to find happiness.Her post comes at a time in which I’m actually on the verge of change; trying to find my way back to my initial dreams of becoming a successful business woman. So all isn’t black or white. She’ll find her soulmate one day. And I'll stop wondering what if... Most importantly, no matter what, I’ll always be proud of her. She’s my little sister. 

October 27, 2008


Change is inevitable. Or so they say. With all the changes in my life and the still ongoing adjustments of having moved to the other side of the globe, I am not sure I am ready for more changes. I’ve been running ever since I graduated high school. Mostly running away. I ran from law school, I ran from bad boyfriends, I ran from commitment. I left continents to avoid dealing with problems. 

But two years ago, I stopped. I took on the biggest challenge yet: I left against all common sense, against advise from close ones and despite all logic and moved to Manila for someone I knew for barely a few months. What seemed crazy to everyone else back then, made perfect sense to me. Deep inside, for the first time ever, I knew that this was completely right. I wasn’t running away, I had found what I was long searching for. Today, looking back, I realize how much I risked. Leaving friends, family and career behind, for an unsure future both emotionally and financially. Yet, I do not have any regrets, because the return on investment is priceless. I have found what us girls call The One and I am here building our future together. 

With all the craziness of getting used to Manila and feeling lost, I was grateful to find a job that creates a bridge between my French heritage and my new life in the Philippines. Was it the job I envisioned myself in? No. But it felt right then, uncomplicated and somehow familiar. I’ve been in it since the moment I decided that Manila was to become my new home. I have learned a lot, built a professional network and overall made very good friends. 

But change is inevitable. And my rational side knows it. It is time to move on. I have been using this job as a security blanket. I have built my life around D, his friends, his family… But at work, it’s my own little world. It’s the result of my own life I have managed to build here and it feels good. Except that I am stuck and frustrated. Professionally speaking. To make things worse (or better I suppose) providence found me a job opening this week that fits me like a glove. I went to the interview and it went great. And today I got an offer. 

So what do I do now? Do I move on, embrace yet another challenge, another new environment to get use to? Or do I keep myself from growing for the sake of security and convenience? My brain knows what to do. But why is a part of me (somewhere around the stomach area it seems) anxious, unsure and confused? Change is good. Change is necessary. Change is inevitable. Om!

Paris, A taste of India

I didn’t find much about the 10eme arrondissement in my guidebooks. My sister rented a small (and this is an understatement) apartment in the Rue d’Enghien, just by the Metro Bonne-Nouvelle and two stops away from every shopaholics dream: the Galeries Lafayette. So when we went off wandering the streets in the neighborhood, we couldn’t have been more delighted. A stroll away from our temporary home, we found ourselves in a hodgepodge of tailor stores, spice markets, barber shops and restaurants. All having one thing in common: India. 

We were in Passage Brady, a narrow passageway squeezed in between two buildings in a somewhat dodgy area, so narrow than one could easily miss it if it wasn’t for the bustling life, colors and the bizarre mixture of smells of nan bread and incense. Neon signs and persuasive waiters lure you into one of the many little restaurants, all with an extensive menu full of tandooris, curries, vindaloos and the likes. I actually forgot the place with ended up in. The food was good though not memorable and I would choose Swagat (Munich) and Queens (Manila) anytime over this place. But… I suppose there must be a really good place in the passageway and we just weren’t that lucky. Also, if you’re craving for Indian flavors, this Little India is definitely a place worth checking out.

October 21, 2008

Where is home?

Just in time for another of my homesickness waves, two of my favorite bloggers posted entries today on life overseas and how the notion of home becomes a difficult question to answer. Aran from Cannelle et Vanille is back in the U.S. after a trip in her hometown in the Basque country and explains how she feels torn between her roots and her new “home”. Listing several things he misses about the U.S., Paris-resident David Lebovitz wraps it up by saying that despite it all “home” is where you make your morning coffee. 

I have been living and working in Manila for 2 years now and yet, I must admit I have had troubles adjusting. Life in this colorful city is quite different from my Western experience. The stereotypes apply in most cases: traffic is horrendous, tardiness is expected (yes, the famous Filipino time) and environmental awareness is something that has yet to be developed. European breads, cheeses, hams and others are difficult to come by and mostly overpriced. My contractors in my new apartment are causing me constant headaches and I have yet to get used to my gas oven. I get bitten by evil mosquitoes and have a runny nose because of my air-conditioned office.

But just like everything in life, Manila has its good sides too. I can buy mangoes and pineapples without burning a hole in my wallet. At the restaurant, waiters attend to you without making you feel you’re bothering them. I can enjoy lying by the pool or wear open-toe shoes all year long. So instead, of ranting and complaining about flaws and comparing it to other places, I have decided come to peace with Manila and focus on the good things.

October 20, 2008

The hype of frozen yogurt

I never counted yogurt amongst my favorite desserts. Until recently! When the whole frozen yogurt craze began in Manila, I thought I’ll give it a try. Even though my friend K would always order yogurt ice cream whenever weather in Munich was warm enough to allow it, I never was curious enough to try it and stuck with berry or chocolate flavors. But unfortunately for the ice-cream lover in me, I found it hard to come by a good gelateria around here, so here I was looking for an alternative. 

My first encounter with the new hype was in Mall of Asia. I’ve gotten several press releases and coupons for try-out from the White Hat through my work. I decided to find out what it was all about. I ordered a cup of frozen yogurt with dark chocolate bits and fresh strawberries. The moment the spoon hit my lips I was won over. The sweet, smooth, slightly tangy ice cream, together with the fruitiness of the strawberries and the crunchiness of the chocolate… Aaaahh… it all came together so well! Too bad MOA is so far away. 

During our recent trip in Paris, we strolled through the Marais district and came face to face with My Berry. I had read about Pinkberry in the U.S.A, the source of the frozen yogurt craze and now owned by Starbucks, and this French version looked like it got quite some inspiration from its American brother. The name, the logo, the store design… But I didn’t care; all I wanted was frozen yogurt, despite the chilly wind that day. I had my strawberry-choco mix again, but was slightly disappointed when I got to taste it. My Berry wasn’t too generous on the strawberries and the yogurt wasn’t as smooth as the one in White Hat. But I was happy nonetheless, despite the horrendous typical Paris price.
Back in Manila, I had a meeting in Podium and decided that this was the perfect opportunity to try out Yogurbud afterwards. So far, this is the cheapest place I’ve ever tried. But I was surprised that once I dug into my cup there was more air than frozen yogurt. Plus their fruit toppings were frozen, which was quite annoying. I was back in MOA yesterday, and the White Hat confirmed that this is the place for me when it comes to frozen yogurt. Strawberries are out of season so I had to replace them with kiwi, which wasn’t so bad either. 

On my way to the car, my eye caught a pink and white sign, reminding me strongly of My Berry and Pinkberry. Filipino-owned I love Berries is opening up their first outlet in MOA! So far, I had only heard of it from bazaars and read about it on blogs, claiming it to be as close as Pinkberry as you can get. I can’t wait to try it out. Meanwhile, I’ll be on the search for an ice-cream machine so that I can give in to my guilty pleasure in the comfort of my own walls.

2/F Entertainment Mall
SM Mall of Asia

25, rue Vieille du Temple

3/F Podium Mall

October 17, 2008

Paris, L'As du Falafel

Traveling Europe on a budget is all about knowing to eat in the right places. Paris is known for its tourist traps restaurants (think Rue de la Huchette with its greasy Greek taverns) and overpriced menus. Now some people decide that McDonald’s is the alternative. But have you really traveled all the way to Paris to eat a quarter-pounder with cheese (which by the way is called Royal burger with cheese!)?? 

The golden rule is to avoid any place mentioned in any Paris travel guide. With one exception! L’As du Falafel. World-renowned, and apparently patronized by Lenny Kravitz, this is a place where you get your money’s worth. Rue des Rosiers is in the Marais and is known to be the Jewish district of Paris. There are several other falafel restaurants in the street, but l’As du Falafel indisputably has the longest line of people waiting for a taste of Middle East. 

The few hesitating tourists were quickly convinced by what seems to be the greatest salesman in town, instantly talking them into lining up for what he promised to be the best falafel in town. I felt a little sorry for the establishment across the narrow alley, their salesman enviously staring at the long queue. 

I have never tried falafel before, but I was eager to find out why D was raving about it so enthusiastically. Falafel is basically a fried ball made out of mashed chickpeas. It’s fried hummus. It’s served in pita bread stuffed with crispy cabbage, eggplants, creamy hummus, tahini and harissa sauce. The challenge lies in eating this vegetarian delight. There’s barely space to sit inside and the Rue des Rosiers doesn’t have any benches. 

So what do you do? You tilt your head to the side and take a gargantuan bite into the falafel, hoping that its filling won’t spill out and land on your shirt. Be sure to ask for plenty of napkins as you will definitely need them. We were lucky enough that someone left a utility cart outside his front door a few steps away from l’As du Falafel and we comfortably settle on it, enjoying our lunch. Verdict? 5€ for a decent, vegetarian (healthy?) and truly satisfying lunch, what more can you ask for?

L’As du Falafel
34, Rue des Rosiers
Tel : +33 1 4887 6360
Metro : St.-Paul

October 16, 2008


I feel blah. You know that yucky feeling that you can't properly describe? The way it makes you feel demoralized, passionless, ... well blah! Coming home after a trip abroad is like waking up from a dream. Back at NAIA airport, standing by the baggage claim, reality snapped back and my mood instantly shifted somewhere between melancholy and grief. I knew when I left that I’ll eventually had to come. This time I didn’t extend my stay the way I used to so many times before. I knew that after 24 days of carefree fun, away from responsibilities, tight schedules and predictable routines, I would have to face everyday life again.

Work is a dread these days. My frame of mind is fluctuating somewhere between apathy and aggression. I catch myself daydreaming about the places I’ve seen, the places I wanted to see but didn’t have the time to and the places I’m planning on seeing next. My diagnosis is clear. I have an acute homecoming depression. I suppose that my condition is worsen by the fact that I have a predisposition for itchy feet.  

Aargh! This is so frustrating. I wake up on the morning happy after a good night’s sleep. I’m passed the jetlag insomnia phase. But then I realize that I have to get ready for yet another day of ordinariness, slipping back into “normality”, worrying about traffic, difficult clients, moody superiors, overdue laundry and an empty fridge. So what do I do now? I figured, after some research on reverse culture shock, homecoming blues and the likes that the only solution was to drop the past regret, stop the future anticipation and focus on the present. 

Easier said than done. As usual. The past is easier to let go. But the future is stubborn. My head constantly updates the list on the places I want to travel. Egypt, Greek islands, safari in Africa, Angkor Wat, China, Palawan, Bali… the list goes on and on. I finally get what the present is for. Those never-ending days at the office, the rat race… for one, the time spent “home” is what pays for the trips. I have yet to find a gold donkey. And most of all, the mundane life at home is what causes the excitement and exoticism of traveling. So while I ponder on those thoughts, here are, in random order, the places that trigger my wanderlust.

October 14, 2008

Barcelona, La Boquería and La Fonda part 2

Aside from Gaudí and Las Ramblas, Barcelona is also well known for its legendary and delightful El Mercat de La Boquería. It’s a popular market in the middle of the city center, right by Las Ramblas. We wandered around enjoying the visually charming displays of fresh fruits and vegetables, letting all our senses take in the overload on sound, colors and aromas. The market is a must-see and despite the hoards of tourists it gives a unique Spanish feel. Of course after much walking and contemplating, hunger set in. We wanted to try out El Quim but the place was crowded and it would have been impossible for us to find 4 seats at the tiny bar. 

So we sat down at one of the various places around La Boquería. What a mistake! The place was a total rip-off and we left as soon as the waiter informed us that a simple seafood paella would cost each of us 15€. But where should we go instead? The day before, when the receptionist from Market Hotel recommended us La Fonda, I wanted to google some reviews about it and accidently stumbled upon another restaurant called La Fonda, which apparently had nothing to do with the former.

La Fonda Escudellers was just a five-minute walk from La Boquería and despite the warnings on the net about long queues, we were lucky to be seated right away. We ordered seafood and mixed paella (12€ and good for 3-4 persons!), fideua (like paella but with noodles), several tapas (croquettes, calamares…) and a goat cheese salad with pine nuts. Overall, food was delicious and affordable (60€ for 4 persons and plenty of left-overs). The setting is nice and the service friendly. I’m glad we left the tourist trap and settled for some good quality food that was wallet friendly as well!

La Fonda
Passatge Escudellers 10
Tel: +34 933 017515
Subway station: Liceu or Drassanes

October 12, 2008

Barcelona, Pasa Pasa Restaurant

We spent 3 nights in Barcelona. I can’t believe we spent 2 of them having dinner in Pasa Pasa. Recommended by Fe, who works at Market Hotel, this joint seems to be the meeting point of the Filipino community. Simple setting with all the Pinoy cuisine favorites and of course TFC on tv. Craving for some comfort food, we had lechon kawali (very crispy), siopao (no comparison to home but ok nonetheless), BBQ (yummy) and soup (weirdly tasted a bit like pizza). Turns out that Danny, the brother of Fe and owner of the restaurant is also an avid mountainbiker and D quickly found a new buddy in him. The following day we met up with the culinary dreamteam and ironically after eating the exquisite dishes from Michelin star chefs for the past days, they were craving simple Asian cuisine. We sat down in a Chinese restaurant just off the Ramblas. One look in the menu was enough to tell us how overpriced the place was (think 2€ for one dumpling) and there we were, once again, walking back to the Raval district to Pasa Pasa. This time around, we were even invited to join the usual crowd in the back room for some beer and karaoke, but we chose to stay in front in the restaurant and give in to some more Pinoy classics. This proves once again, that no matter where you are, you can’t forget your roots. Even on the far end of the globe, one always looks for a slice of home.

October 11, 2008

Barcelona the conventional way

After 4 days of endless walking in Paris, I was exhausted and the least motivated to continue our sightseeing marathon in Spain. We opted for the Bus Turistic today, although I am not usually a fan of tour bus tourism. We walked to the nearest stop and paid our day pass (20€ each) and got into the bus. The tour was to last 5 hours if you do the whole route and don’t even get out at any stop and we decided to maximize our ticket and did almost all of it. We only took a quick break at the park Guell. Although it was meant to be a hop-on, hop-off kinda thing, we mostly stayed on the open-roof deck of the bus and decided to visit the places we liked by foot later on in the trip. The tour was a welcome change from the endless kilometers of using up my Gola’s soles.

So if you’re tired like we were or it’s your first time in Barcelona and you only have limited time, then this is definitely for you. Buses are clean, there’s one every 5-10 minutes, you can listen to informative comments via the headphones provided (in several languages), the tour brings you to all the visit-worthy sites in Barcelona and you even get a coupon book with discounts to museums and the likes. It’s not the classiest nor most cosmopolicious way to discover the city, but in our case it was a no-brainer.

October 10, 2008


I’m sorry I couldn’t help it. Here’s a rant on current issues. You betcha’ that this woman is driving me mad. Sarah Palin is on the way to becoming Vice-President of the United States. Where is this supposed to lead? Now I don’t get to vote in the U.S., but with the phenomenon of globalization, shouldn’t all citizen of the world be concerned with what is happening in the country that gave us the Iraq War and a recent global financial crisis? 

I respect that each individual has different political opinions and should make an educated decision on whether to vote Democrat or Republican. But… And this is the part that is making me pull my hair. How can someone in their right mind, consider placing their vote with McCain when it implies that Sarah “JoeSixPack” Palin is to become Vice-President??? I mean this woman has the potential to become the next U.S. president should old McCain not make it through his term. This woman can’t even pronounce Eye-Raq and Eye-Ran properly! But let’s not be too quick to judge her. After all she has all the competencies to advise maverick McCain on matters of foreign policy for example. Come on, she can see Russia from her front porch! She’s delusional. 

During a recent interview with Couric on why she only gotten a passport last year and if it was revealing her lack of interest in the world, Palin replied: “I’m not one of those who maybe came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents get them a passport, and give them a backpack and say ‘Go off and travel the world’. No, I’ve worked all my life, in fact I’ve usually had 2 jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of, I guess, that culture. The way that I have understood the world is through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world.”

Ha, but they did send her to community college in Hawaii, the U.S. state with the highest cost of living in the country. Plus who is she to judge travelers. Not everyone gets their travel expenses paid by the mommy bank. Most young people who have been around the globe worked hard for it, often saving up for it through several side jobs. This madwoman is supposed to comprehend the global challenges we’re facing? How can she? When you are abroad, you gain new perspectives and broader intellectual understandings. The experiences you have when you meet new cultures and their people cannot be replaced by TV or books. Yes, theory is important. But, especially in her position, shouldn’t she practice what she preaches. Her discourse is always about patriotism, but how can she not be proud of her country? It’s the only one she’s ever known. Aaargh! She annoys me in so many ways. 

"According to a recent poll, 61% of people surveyed said they would rather see Sarah Palin in a bikini than Pamela Anderson. Although 99% said they would rather see Pamela Anderson as vice president." --Jay Leno 

Barcelona, Market Hotel

We seem to have a hand on picking hotels with Filipino staff. After Amsterdam 2 years ago, we now find ourselves in Barcelona’s Market Hotel. A block away from the Gran Via where the airport shuttle conveniently dropped us off, this quaint little hotel is hidden in a little alley, but nonetheless easy to find. At the reception D spotted a Filipina employee right away and she soon after gave him the address of the next Pinoy restaurant in town; of course owned by her brother. We soon realized that most of the staff was indeed from the Philippines and that the hotel even had a branch in Sorsogon (trip planned next April!), the hometown of the owner’s wife. After some chitchat we sat down in the hotel restaurant while waiting for our room to be ready. The gorgeous dining area, kept in white with black and gold accents, serves a daily lunch menu for less than 10€. After having read several positive reviews about it, and being tired from yet another early morning, we gladly accepted the opportunity to test the Mediterranean food right where we were, instead of wandering around for a spot to grab a bite. On the menu for D were mixed salad with tuna and bistek a la plancha with potatoes. I had a delicious cream of leeks and duck with soy reduction and vegetables. Finally we both gave in to some sinful turron ice cream. We enjoyed our first meal of the day (no time for breakfast on our way from Paris) and noticed that the restaurant filled up quickly with a diverse crowd of tourists and locals alike. So far, so good.
Our room was another pleasant surprise. Spacious, with modern Asian style, a large bed with cotton sheets and free Wifi; I couldn’t have asked for more. And yet, I got more. The best shower ever! I read about it on Tripadvisor and thought it was exaggerated to rate a hotel according to their showers, but I was wrong. After 4 days in a tiny Parisian bathroom, this black tile bathroom with wonderfully relaxing rainshower was a dream come true. Aside from a walk-in closet, this type of shower will be a must have on my the-day-i-own-a-house list. No longer hungry, freshened up and rested after the obligatory Spanish siesta, we are now ready to explore the city. Barcelona here we come!

Market Hotel
Passatge de Sant Antoni Abad 10
Tel: +34 934 242965

October 8, 2008


Quaint is my new favorite word. And it totally applies to this little town called Fontainebleau. D and I went there on a day trip, actually more of half a day, during our stay in beautiful Paris. Most people come here because of the royal château and we indeed caught a short glimpse of it, but we were really here to visit the campus of INSEAD. If everything goes well (keep your fingers crossed), this could be our new address starting next September. Although I’m still a bit confused on whether I should get all psyched about moving back to Europe or be troubled that I have finally settled down in Manila and may not be ready for another drastic change. Oh well, that’s a whole other story. And the future is still uncertain anyhow.

So there we are in Fontainebleau after a 35 minutes train ride from the Gare de Lyon in Paris. From the train station we take the bus to the university grounds which lie on the outskirts of the town. The campus is not comparable to the vast US colleges. It’s rather small and we quickly toured the premises. The buildings are mostly modern glass structures that are the antonym of quaint. But I suppose an elite business school can’t be charming. After the official tour and all the question-answer over and done with, we got to use our free lunch coupons in the cafeteria. And in all fairness, having studied in 4 different universities and eaten in several others, this is the best school canteen I’ve ever been to! At least I know that if D studies in INSEAD, I can always talk myself out of cooking for us and eat here.

We walked back into town, had a photo op in front of the famous castle and got a feel of the Fontainebleau. Coming from Manila where most of the historical architecture has been destroyed, we felt transported in some place in the 18th and 19th century. Old buildings, small cafes and very old ladies populate the streets. It’s cute and very picturesque. The epitome of quaint and it does remind me quite a bit of Passau. I can imagine myself living here, for a bit at least. An urban girl like me can’t stay away from the bustling city life for too long. Although, Paris is just a train ride away… Enough daydreaming. Although I must admit that I long to celebrate a white Christmas again.

October 7, 2008

The war against fat

A woman cannot go to Paris without at least stopping by Sephora. On this ordinary day, in this haven of all things beauty, I found a new ally against the century-old war against fat. This is my first anti-fat cream ever. Now I wouldn’t say I’m fat, but my unhealthy lifestyle (yes, I have been meaning to go to the gym but -fill in with some lame excuse-.) and I assume my poor genetics, have had their effect on my thighs. You all know what I mean. Those rebellious dimples were procreating until today.Back from Sephora, I opened my jar of FatGirlSlim (no kidding this is really the product’s name!) and smeared on some of the miracle potion on the warzone while “massaging it firmly to maximize effects”. It smells like medicine with a hint of mint, definitely not offensive, but not very pleasing either. The texture is a bit slimy and it takes a while for my skin to absorb, so that I had to make it a point to use it after showering and run around my place half-naked for a while. None of my neighbors complained so far. I am not sure if it’s my wild imagination, but even D noticed a slight change in my flab jiggles. It’s definitely not because I managed to hit the treadmill (which reminds me I should though). Conclusion: Bliss’ FatGirlSlim must work somehow. The packaging says it contains QuSome-encapsulated caffeine molecules. Fancy. So far I think I found my new partner in crime and it’s worth every penny (2900 pennies to be exact or 29$ for those who aren’t in good terms with math). I’ll have to give it a few more weeks before I can write that I’m all toned, firm and smooth. But the war is on!


October 6, 2008

Paris, Touristy river cruise

I admit it, it was a stupid idea of mine to insist to do this tour on this particular night. Last time I was in Paris and did this it was July and France was in the middle of a heat wave. Now, despite the extreme polarlike temperature, I wanted both my sister and D to experience it. After all not only is Paris the city of love, but it is also the city of lights. Most monuments are lit at night and their splendor becomes even more obvious. The best way to discover the beauty of it, is by taking a boat ride on the Seine. Everytime I’m in Paris, I treat myself to a tour on the Vedettes du Pont-Neuf. Yes, it is a bit corny and yes it is definitely touristy, but… so what?! I even found out that you can even print out a voucher for a 2Euro discount on their website (www.vedettesdupontneuf.com). Talk about bargain traveller...

The tour starts at the Ile-de-la-Cite, right under the Pont-Neuf and goes all the way to the Eiffel Tower, passing by the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, Pantheon and many more and then back around the Ile-Saint-Louis, by Notre-Dame and back to the dock at Pont-Neuf, all while a friendly guide gives you a bit of trivia on what you see. It’s an hour tour during which you see many of Paris’ famous landmarks lit in the dark night. Just make sure, that unlike us, you don’t take the tour when it’s 8 degrees and windy. I was wearing open toe shoes and was seriously concerned my toes would fall off!

October 3, 2008

Paris, Picnic by the Eiffel Tower

Yet another tip I got from David Lebovitz site. It wasn’t the hottest day in Paris, but I thought it would be good enough for a typical picnic. We got off the Invalides, where the setup for yesterday’s mass with the Pope was still being deconstructed and walked around the Napoleonic Monument. After some tourist like picture taking, we made our way to the Rue Cler.

It’s a small pedestrian street that serves as a market with its several fruit and vegetable stalls, boulangeries and butchers. We bought ourselves fresh baguette sandwiches, cherry tomatoes, some freshly picked raspberries and of course éclairs and walked towards the Champs de Mars. We sat down amidst the other Parisians and tourists enjoying what would be the few last warm sunrays of the year and contemplated the majestic view on the Eiffel Tower. If you’re in Paris, take time off from the constant walking and hardcore sightseeing.

Sit down, eat some crunchy French bread you picked up from a small bakery and take pleasure in people watching or simply gazing at the sky (or the Eiffel Tower in our case). I enjoy it even the more so because this is one of the things I can’t do in Manila and I miss about Europe. That’s what my vacation is also all about; indulge in the things I left behind when I moved to the Philippines…

October 2, 2008

Forever incomplete

Is it true that you also want what you can’t get? I try hard to focus of loving what I have and appreciate the things in my life that are great. But I catch myself always wanting more. Although I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad philosophy. After all if you stop wanting, then you’re probably dead. But why is it that I torture myself with wanting what isn't possible?? When I used to live in Munich, I craved for tropical weather, beaches and exotic foods. Now I live in a country close to the equator, with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and the most diverse cuisine you can possibly imagine. And silly me wants snow for Christmas, architectural delights, knödel (potato dumpling), pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) and chocolate éclairs (puff pastry). During the past few weeks of vacation back in Europe I realized how much I was missing foods and things that I use to take for granted but that now, living far away from them, fill my heart and stomach with joy and enchantment. So I gave in, and soaked in all the European flavors I possibly could, wallowed in the Old World atmosphere and relished the distinct taste of foie gras, fresh croissants, crispy baguette, bubbly orangina, sweet spezi, sticky knödel and what not… But, and here comes the irony, after 3 weeks in Europe, I was craving for a siopao. Oh well, I guess it’s just the curse of being a cosmopolite. I will never be fully in touch with any of my cultural backgrounds. And i'll always miss a certain part of me. Enough drama though. I'm happy to be back in Manila.


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