Travel

Mt. Batulao, a rocky river, Sonya’s Garden & a new pupper!

Dusty paths sprinkled with wildflowers, the fresh chilly air early in the morning and an easy, interesting climb to the peak using feet, hands and ropes- Mt. Batulao was one of the quicker hikes I’ve been on. To be sat by a river, reading a book under the shade of trees after washing the dust off in the cool waters was the perfect, refreshing end to the trek. But to top it all off wasn’t the river or a visit to a flower garden with gorgeous blooms and a bakery.. It’s a new pupper my friends took home from the side of a road.

Starting at the break of dawn, the air is nippy and you pass by doggos, cats, horses, ducks. The sun was already a bit high up as we reached a bit of height.

To the top!


After a while, we came to a fork. And I realised that it’s only now that the real trek starts, lol. Our guide took us on the Old Trail. The new one is supposedly easier.

Some wildflowers:

And another horsie.

This big ol ant carrying a tiny flower.. do ants eat flowers?

Fresh buko juice at some of the 5 stops literally saved me.. because guess who forgot to bring water?

After some rock climbing on a steep side of the mountain, we reached the peak.

Going back down, we went on a different path.. Wonder whose solar panel that is on the side of the trail. Those things are super useful.

Some ropes again going down the other side. Please ignore Vinx’s comments, lol.

All throughout the trek it’s been breezy and windy and sunny at the same time but there were always trees around us. As we reached the more exposed parts of the trail with no trees on either side, the wind was free to whip up the dry soil all around us..

In total, it took us about 2 hrs 45 mins from the start to the peak and 2 hrs going back down the other way. Had lunch back at the 1st check point and more yum buko. The lady there also makes some yummy halohalo and she was ok with us choosing only the ingredients we want (beans be gone). It was perfect as it was very hot by lunchtime.

After that, we dusted off, washed up a little and went to the nearby river to cool off.

Hopping on rocks

And reading by a rushing river.

Next we went to Sonya’s Garden. And there be flowers.

Lots of flowers.


And butterflies..

And pretty doors

While walking around, we saw Sonya herself who told us they have a new place that we should see. They called it (aptly, if not unimaginatively) the Proposal Garden.. at Sonya’s Garden. But nevermind because it’s breathtakingly beautiful inside. There was only one table with two chairs, and a few benches nextled in the flower maze inside. I think they took everything they had that bloomed any shade of pink, purple and red and just stuffed them in there with water features.. the effect is just gorgeous. Although it can probably have uses other than proposals.. special anniversaries for example.


The next time we go back, the Proposal Garden will probably have look more full & wild once the flowers have had time to grow in the space.

This will end with a picture of a pupper going home to a new family.. Meet Baileybaileybailey:

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Recipe

Ochazuke

One of the great side effects of watching food-related shows is learning of new things to try and eat. Ok but maybe not so great when you're binge watching at 3am when there’s nothing you can do..
Read More
Travel

Borawan

One day while browsing stuff, I came across a link about a place called Borawan. It said it's called Borawan because it's got sand like Boracay
Read More

Recent Travels

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Travel

Mt. Batulao, a rocky river, Sonya’s Garden & a new pupper!

Dusty paths sprinkled with wildflowers, the fresh chilly air early in the morning and an easy, interesting climb to the peak using feet, hands and ropes- Mt. Batulao was one of the quicker hikes I’ve been on. To be sat by a river, reading a book under the shade of trees after washing the dust off in the cool waters was the perfect, refreshing end to the trek. But to top it all off wasn’t the river or a visit to a flower garden with gorgeous blooms and a bakery.. It’s a new pupper my friends took home from the side of a road.

Starting at the break of dawn, the air is nippy and you pass by doggos, cats, horses, ducks. The sun was already a bit high up as we reached a bit of height.

To the top!


After a while, we came to a fork. And I realised that it’s only now that the real trek starts, lol. Our guide took us on the Old Trail. The new one is supposedly easier.

Some wildflowers:

And another horsie.

This big ol ant carrying a tiny flower.. do ants eat flowers?

Fresh buko juice at some of the 5 stops literally saved me.. because guess who forgot to bring water?

After some rock climbing on a steep side of the mountain, we reached the peak.

Going back down, we went on a different path.. Wonder whose solar panel that is on the side of the trail. Those things are super useful.

Some ropes again going down the other side. Please ignore Vinx’s comments, lol.

All throughout the trek it’s been breezy and windy and sunny at the same time but there were always trees around us. As we reached the more exposed parts of the trail with no trees on either side, the wind was free to whip up the dry soil all around us..

In total, it took us about 2 hrs 45 mins from the start to the peak and 2 hrs going back down the other way. Had lunch back at the 1st check point and more yum buko. The lady there also makes some yummy halohalo and she was ok with us choosing only the ingredients we want (beans be gone). It was perfect as it was very hot by lunchtime.

After that, we dusted off, washed up a little and went to the nearby river to cool off.

Hopping on rocks

And reading by a rushing river.

Next we went to Sonya’s Garden. And there be flowers.

Lots of flowers.


And butterflies..

And pretty doors

While walking around, we saw Sonya herself who told us they have a new place that we should see. They called it (aptly, if not unimaginatively) the Proposal Garden.. at Sonya’s Garden. But nevermind because it’s breathtakingly beautiful inside. There was only one table with two chairs, and a few benches nextled in the flower maze inside. I think they took everything they had that bloomed any shade of pink, purple and red and just stuffed them in there with water features.. the effect is just gorgeous. Although it can probably have uses other than proposals.. special anniversaries for example.


The next time we go back, the Proposal Garden will probably have look more full & wild once the flowers have had time to grow in the space.

This will end with a picture of a pupper going home to a new family.. Meet Baileybaileybailey:

Read More
Recipe

Ochazuke

One of the great side effects of watching food-related shows is learning of new things to try and eat. Ok but maybe not so great when it’s 3am and there’s nothing you can do about any craving. Scroll straight to the Recipe.

Bruce and I started watching this show called Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories about a diner in Tokyo that opens from midnight to early morning. It has only 4 items on its menu but you can try ordering anything you want. As long as Master has the ingredients, he will make it for you. Each episode has one classic/nostalgic Japanese food item in focus, and a character whose story somehow relates to this food. At the end of each episode, there’s a short and sweet instruction for preparing the dish in focus.

It’s such a simple yet amazing character-driven series that always leaves me feeling pleasant and cheery or thoughtful after each episode. An episode takes less than 30mins. We went through the Netflix Season 1 episodes in no time and it was mildly depressing when we finished it. Then he found 3 more Seasons (not on Netflix) from when the show first started playing in Japan in 2009, original title: Shinya Shokudo.

So one of the episodes from the Season 1 (Shinya Shokudo, 2009) is called Ochazuke.

Tarako ochazuke

Ochazuke is one of the most basic Japanese dishes which is rice in a bowl with green tea or dashi broth poured over it. You can add toppings like salmon or tuna.. really any topping you want.

The episode is about these 3 girlfriends who like ochazuke but have different favourite toppings: tarako (salted fish roe), umeboshi (pickled salt plums) and shake (salmon). I’m with salmon girl, for sure.

I made some today. It’s a super easy and quick light meal or snack.

I used these, no idea what they’re called as, usually, I just randomly take stuff from shelves in Japanese groceries to try out.

Ochazuke

INGREDIENTS
1 serving fish (fresh, leftover, canned)
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup green tea or
1/2 cup dashi broth (1/2 cup dashi stock, 1 tsp mirin, 1 tsp soysauce)
Toppings

Ochazuke is a quick & simple comfort food. You can use leftovers or prepare everything fresh. You can use anything from canned tuna to grilled salmon or broiled eel. It’s great for a quick snack or light meal.

1 Rice. Make rice or use leftover rice. Once cooked, place about a cup of steaming hot rice in a bowl.

2You can choose either green tea or dashi broth. If using green tea, just pour it hot over the rice.

3 If using dashi broth, make dashi broth by heating about a cup of hot water and dissolving 1 tsp of dashi powder. Add the mirin and soysauce. Pour about 1/2 cup of this into the rice in the bowl.

4 Add any combination of toppings. Flake your fish of choice over the rice and sprinkle in some nori, and puffed crunchy rice. Use any furikake you want. Just be careful to not use too much or it can get too salty. You can use other things like a different seared fish, or an umeboshi or even canned tuna.. serious!

Inhale! Itadakimasu~!

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Beauty & Skincare

Purple & Pink Hair

I’ve always wanted to try a crazy hair colour and last year I finally did it. I knew it’d require a different kind of maintenance. I lucked out in finding a good shampoo that preserved my colour for as long as it did. I didn’t really take photos to track my hair, so some of these photos will be a bit random. Also, it looks way better IRL, photos can’t quite capture how the colours are.

Doing the deed

I went to Azta Salon in Alabang Town Center with my friend Li-J. She was going for a glamorous long, ashy colour with highlights. This is us before anything happened:

I didn’t want my entire head to be a solid new colour, just some colours mixed in with my actual hair so I asked them to do streaks of 2 colours. It all had to be bleached first and then each streak has to be coloured and foiled again. It took about 5 hours total. A lot of foil was used..

The stylist curled my hair. I don’t think it looks good curled the way they did, but anyway here’s how we looked immediately after. Oh I went to do circuit training immediately after getting my hair coloured. Which, isn’t really advisable, because gym=sweat=salt which isn’t great for hair colour.

Maintenance & colour transformation through time

So this is how it looked on the same day, when I got home and my sister braided it. And then after 1 shampoo.

The salon was recommending I use the Bed Head Dumb Blonde purple shampoo because I have some purple streaks.. But I was worried it would change my pink streaks. So I went to Healthy Options and found this sulfate free shampoo (Alba Botanica Colorific Plumeria Hawaiian Shampoo & Conditioner) which is good for coloured hair. It’s colourless, smells amazing and I think it helped in making my hair colour last for as long as it did. I still did my normal routine of shampooing only my scalp and conditioning only the strands.

It looks best in natural light. Not direct sunlight either. Think bright cloudy day. This is how it looked after 2 days outdoor and in a car, using flash.

After 1 month and 2 months, respectively. The purple has started to lighten and blend in more with the pinks.

After 3 months

After about 5 months the top outside streaks (the ones exposed to sunlight) of purple have faded to a greyish tone and the top outer pinks have turned peach-ish. Underneath though, the layers inside still have pink and purple streaks. Some streaks have turned greenish, too. Which is weird, but it looked great mixed with the grey, blonde, peach, purple and pinks! Very mermaidy!

A lady at the church sat down with me to talk about my hair. Like, she took time out of her life to talk to me about my hair because she wanted to know how many colours were in it and just to say how much she liked it.

6 months

After 1 beach trip (more sun bleaching)

7 months

8 months, no more pinks or purples. It’s mostly blonde, white, grey, brassy tones and some blue-greens.

And now (about 10 months after) it’s like this. I had a cut and the layers revealed more of the colours hiding underneath.

I was thrilled about how the colours changed gradually. Originally, only 2 colours were used for my hair but it looked like a subdued otherworldly rainbow of colours after some months. Up until this week I still get compliments on my hair, eventhough I had just left the colour to fade naturally. It wasn’t that difficult to maintain. Nothing changed in my usual routine except for the type of shampoo used. I don’t really use heat to style my hair, it usually just air dries and I don’t even use a comb at all. I did shampoo less frequently during the first week though, to keep the colour in there.

When I went back to the salon, they told me that they don’t use the brand of hair colour they used on me anymore because they got complaints from clients whose colours faded after 2 weeks. So I think the shampoo really helped, because mine lasted for months and months. It probably also helped I don’t use heat (blow driers, hair straighteners etc).

I think I’d do it again.

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Travel

Borawan

One day while browsing stuff, I came across a link about a place called Borawan. It said it’s called Borawan because it’s got sand like Boracay and limestone cliff formations like Palawan. So Boracay + Palawan = Borawan. Sold!

Night Before

We booked an Airbnb in Makati the night before the drive so we can all be at one place and leave early. The place we found was a great location, it was very clean and the host was nice.

Getting There

Several guides we read said it takes about 4-5 hours drive from Manila to get to Borawan. There are other ways to get there, but we went on a roadtrip (Vinx driving). You can’t really get lost anymore now, with Google Maps on every phone. Google says it takes less than 4 hours, but with stops for food and to buy things, it’s safe to say that it takes about 4hrs.

We made a wrong turn. Lol. My fault. I knew we were supposed to take a boat from Padre Burgos to get to Borawan beach itself but I saw a route outlined on Google Maps and so we thought we were being so clever. That instead of going all the way around to the other side (Padre Burgos) and get on a boat, we can just go through Pagbilao Grande Island and drive to Pagbilao Chica Island all the way to Borawan beach.

We got as far as Pagbilao Chica Island but the road just disappeared when trying to cross to the other side of the island. It was a really pretty route though. Through bridges, limestone formations, grasslands, lots of animals and doggos and goats. But yeah, we had to turn around, and go do the original plan.

So we hopped on a boat and went on our way to Borawan.

The Beach

Ok so, first impressions:

  • Ahhh at last we’re here..
  • It’s pretty, secluded and quite empty. No other tents when we got there at 9am.
  • The sand isn’t Boracay sand. It’s not powder fine, but made of larger, coarse sand, with big and medium pieces of corals. You will need water shoes to swim, but if you’re careful I guess you can go barefoot. 2 friends out of the 5 of us got cuts from the corals so..
  • Beach guard is friendly and smiley, he gave us the best spot- in between limestones. Big scary gun he has though.. :/ Lol.

You will be asked to pay an entrance fee and another fee depending on what you’re going to do for accommodation. No hotels or BnBs here. You can rent tents or use your own. We had my huge tent so we only paid tent a tent space fee of P250 for a large tent and the entrance fee of P220 per person for an overnight stay.

Pitching our tent, the boatmen helped us. It didn’t have directions. It was used only once by my brother. When I asked him, he said it just requires patience and a bit of IQ. LOL OK THANKS. We figured it out pretty quickly because the rods were colour-coded as were the parts of the tent they were supposed to go on.

After the tent was pitched, we cooked our lunch. This is no glamping trip at all. We were gonna do everything ourselves. The boatmen left and will come back for us to go island hopping in the afternoon.

Island Hopping

So there are 2 other beaches apart from the main Borawan beach. Each one has its own entrance fees. Dampalitan beach is undeveloped. The person there charged us P80 each. I saw no one else these except a few locals walking on the beach. It’s just a white sand beach with a slightly submerged spitbar of rocks that extends a ways out to the sea from the beach. It’s pretty and quiet. Can’t really swim here though as the shallows are covered with dead corals. Just so much dead coral. It’s pretty sad.

Kuwebang Lampas is another beach we visited. It has a cave that you can swim through if it’s high tide or wade through when tide is low. The water here when we were there was quite murky. It was the most crowded out of all the beaches we went to. The cave is vandalised with names and other words scratched on the rocks. We were going to walk further around on the other side but a couple told us they saw an electric eel. So.. nah ees ok we good. We just stayed at the mouth of the cave. There’s also an entrance fee but I don’t know how much because no one approached us when we went there.

It took about 5 hours to get there, including the boat trip from the town. It was fun. But what we did was too tiring. We all agreed we shouldn’t have cooked, too. We didn’t really have a lot of time to be lazy. The stars at night were really something, though. You can’t really see that much stars in the city. I don’t think we will come back though. I think Borawan is good for a one-time visit just to see what it’s about. It’s getting more crowded and along with the crowds, the beaches are getting less pristine. It’s definitely worth a visit just to get away from the city and bum around on a quiet beach.

Goodbyes are better with a doggo butt butt<3

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