Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A tourist to home.

Home, Melchor Hall (right)
UP will forever be my second home. I just spent so much time in here that being away for just a few months to a little over a year already gives me that nostalgic vibe whenever I go back. I may have overstayed here in the count of academic years, but there will never be enough time to experience, absorb, and appreciate this beautiful place. :)


Home cooked meal. <3

Meryenda to miss.
My dad Oble photobombing
Went back to UP 2 weeks ago with my officemates. 3 of us went to UP, one from Ateneo, and one lives inside the campus! Super cool that my circle of officemates and I live barely an hour away from each other for easier quick tambays. Hoping this becomes a regular thing. We were in total tourist mode, taking pictures and strolling the place and foodtripping like it was the last day of class. UP Diliman's a sanctuary, really. Never gets old. :)

*all pictures from Kayle.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cupcakes by Cupcake Lab

After almost a quarter of a year, The Cupcake Project's next review finally surfaces. I haven't abandoned this project, no, I am just too lazy to upload. Truth is this one's still from last year's photos! I just write my keywords in a piece of paper and keep it til I finally get the time energy willingness right mood to start transferring them.

For this post, I'll be reviewing 2 cupcakes from 1 shop! :)

The Maker: Cupcake Lab
The variety: Red Velvet
Price: P75
Branch: The Podium

Cupcake Lab is not something I chanced upon at the Podium. I intentionally went here after having googled for a cupcake store that's near our office. I remember that day, the level of my craving for a cupcake was almost annoyingly crazy that I even bothered my officemates to come with me at the Podium. I just bought the minis back then, and I liked them well enough to go back and purchase full sized cupcakes, as shown in this entry.

I have to tell you, Cupcake Lab's Red Velvet IS MOIST. It's dense but not too packed, which is a good texture if you ask me. It's moist enough that it sticks to the teeth and fingers, a little messy to eat as I feel like it's slowly melting. I don't know if that's good or bad but no denying it tastes so good.

It's during these times that I wish Lucas was born a bit earlier. Haha. :D

It has a soft cake, may be too sweet for some or probably just because it's very filling. You know those moments of having too much of something good? Yes. The minis I initially tasted were I guess the perfect size; halfway into eating this full sized version I was ready to give up. But I finished it, of course. The cream cheese is a little sour, with the texture reminding me of childhood icing of cakes.

The size of this can be overwhelming, I recommend you share it with someone. :)

Melts in your mouth: 4.8
Moisture: 4
Packed or Light: halfway, but dense.
Value for Money: 4
Raving? Yes.

Next up, a different kind of cupcake, from the same store.

The variety: Green Tea
Price: P90
Branch: The Podium

The Cupcake Project involves reviewing Red Velvet cupcakes, Peppermint cupcakes, and varieties that are different. Well this one I consider different.

I really like green tea. From drinks to make up and soap ingredients, knowing that what I drink/eat/use is made of/have green tea/ green tea leaves/ green tea extracts give me that reassuring feeling. I don't exactly know where I got this but I'm sure we all have our own theories that back up our ways of life - even if some of them are unexplainable. :) Or maybe this one's just another evidence of my weirdness. I'd prefer that, really. Okay Ghoent, stop.

Back to the cupcake! The frosting of this cupcake is solid, a little sugary-icing in terms of texture and taste. The green leaf is a harder candy. The cupcake at first bite is really moist, with a creamy texture that I really liked. I could taste the green tea there.

Reaching the middle part you'll get to taste (and see) the red bean core. This one's a surprise. It was a bit dry and bitter, and there wasn't enough moisture nor sweetness from the cupcake or frosting to counter it. The cupcake's an acquired taste for sure, and I tell you I love acquired tastes so I will definitely give this a second go in the future. I just hope they made minis for this.

I almost didn't finish the cupcake, to tell you the truth. It was a little crumbly, and not for everyone. I wanted to eat salt after finishing it because there was a gracious serving of red bean that was too much for the cupcake. It's filling, and I give it an A for effort.

Melts in your mouth: 3.5
Moisture: 3
Packed or Light: packed side
Value for Money: 2.7
Raving? Not today.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Look, Lucas.

I talk about saving up in my last post and now we have me here, ready to tell you more about the very first gadget that I bought.

Gadget. What a weird word. Doesn't really roll off the tongue quite smoothly. So to be consistent with the financial shizz I talked about previously, let's call this one, an investment. LOL yun lang pala.

Everyone, meet mi new camera, LUCAS! :)

"Hello hello hello!!", he says back.

Could someone "crave" for something nonfood? No? Sure? I did. Haha. I have long been researching for the best place to buy Canon's Powershot S100 (after weeks of reading research for my camera requirements lol). You know me, I research. I saw a few places through that offer this 21k-worth of camera (Canon price) for only P12.7k - 15k, all of them seemingly legit. But that required cash payment and since I didn't have that much (money, or courage) to let go in one sitting, I let the obsession pass.

But what do you do when you spot this camera at SM Appliance center, at 30% OFF?? What? What do you do?? You buy it, that's what! 21k down to 14.7k. Wows. I asked for itay to ~kindly swipe his card for me~ hihihi. And I pay him in installments. The discount only holds for cash or straight card purchases. Staggered payments would only merit 20%off, so there. This comes with a 4GB mem card and a hard case Case Logic for free. Yeyyyyy tears.

The salesperson tells me the sale is exclusive to SM Appliance center (I believe him because I check cyberzone ALWAYS), and there are only 5units left of this (as of Feb. 10) in all their SM branches. The sale is because of the release of S110. Can you feel my happiness? Can you? Can youuuuu?

Anyway, here are my test shots, after playing with the filters etc. The camera also has manual mode settings for focal length, shutter speed, and that aperture shizz that I am yet to study, so these shots are all under automode. Whooo haha well enough for me.

All unedited, uncropped, but resized and watermarked:

Color Accent filter

Nostalgic filter
Miniature filter
Monochrome - Black and White filter


Monochrome - Sepia filter
Color Accent filter

Toy Camera filter


Love all of them! There are other filters that I didn't show here, didn't have the time yet to fully play with the features. These are all raw, and not bad for that. I'd probably adjust the contrast and brightness of some if I were to tweak it, just to suit my taste in love for colors - and because my laptop settings are very different from my camera's display. These shots actually look more washed out when transferred to my other laptop. All the same, I am really happy with this purchase! :) :) :)


Oh hey wait, how'd you spend Valentine's day? :) I spent it with some of my officemates, had dinner and of course dessert! Below are my very first food shots from that dinner! All also unedited, uncropped, but resized and watermarked.

Banana Almond Crepe

Blueberry Cheesecake

Mango Parfait

We ate at McDo for dinner because we wanted to spend more for dessert. Haha! So we ate at Tokyo Cafe for these. Not bad! Big servings, and delish. I wanted to eat cake but my lent sacrifice is to abstain from cake/cupcake/donuts/fudgee bar haha aka any bread that's sweet. I declared Pan de Manila's Ensaymada and Pesto bread etc as the borderline, meaning they are allowed. And I'll also be abstaining from milk tea. Huhuhu things I love, goodluck. So I had the crepe for Valentine's! :)


Weeee goodbye to my noisy, grainy shots (especially for indoor and lowlight photos -- my first camera requirement!) now! Hopefully Lucas will help me document life just a little better. Haha!

Btw, I named the camera Lucas because first, I want it to be a guy. Representative of its compact and classic design (I hope that doesn't sound sexist.). And two: because of brother's suggestion. I was asking him of his UFC characters' names, and some of them were: Shinji Rodriguez, Frank Coleman, Jack Carron, Gerard Slade, Max Mitchell, Lucas Griffin etc. I stopped him at Lucas, because I really liked its ring. Brother then tells me Lucas is his best online record player. Pshhh. SOLD!


Sooo, have a happy weekend! :)

"Let's take a picture! From what perspective would you like to see the world today?" - Lucas, my camera.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

An idiom realized: Part 2

Money talks, the hobby, and to pay it forward.

Now for the second half of my post, let's see the more concrete things I've done this January to make me say I've started 2013 with a bang!.

Financial Projections

Soooo January 2013 is also the month where I finally made an effort to be aware of my financial movements. I am a semi-careless spender, and it just hit me that the time has come for me to think long term.

January 16: Unit Investment Trust Funds

With the help of an officemate (as is explanations and all, thanks Josh!), I finally signed up for BDO's PFIF (Peso Fixed Income Fund).

From their website:

Investment Objective:
The Fund aims to provide a high level of income with preservation of capital and maintenance of liquidity by investing in a combination of short to long-term fixed-income securities.
I've enabled the auto-debiting of a specific amount every 15th and 30th of the month from my account just so I know I'm putting my money somewhere. The PFIF is intended for investors of moderate risk appetite. When I took the test, I scored somewhere to the range of moderately aggressive risk appetite, actually. But since I'm only starting, I think this one's my best bet. There's risk of losing, but there's better chance of gaining also. I'd prefer to be more adventurous like stocks and all, but officemate said that [according to a finance seminar he attended endorsed to him by our CFO] it's not advisable to invest in our PSE now since local stocks are overvalued. It's Korea and China stocks that are more booming now, if you're into that.

Well just to share, in layman's terms what I do: (thanks to my financial adviser Josh haha. I'm an idiot at finance stuff.)

I auto-debit to BDO an amount per month. When the total amount of that reaches P10,000, the bank will give me a certificate signifying that I joined the BDO-PFIF and that I have invested P10,000. This certificate's just more of a formality though, since the bank has already been investing my money from the first time I auto-debitted (? lol forgive my english) an amount.

So for example: I auto-debit 1k per month. On the 10th month, I expect a certificate because I've reached 10k already. I may actually receive a certificate of P10,100 if my money has already earned throughout that 10 months. On an opposite case, I may need to wait another cutoff if my total falls short, say P9,950 because I lost some in the previous investments.

There's a holding period of 30 days after I get that P10,000 total, so I can't touch it yet. Only after 30 days can I start withdrawing or depositing more or moving my money anytime. But to quote BDO-PFIF, "In order to minimize risks and maximize earning potential, participants/trustors are recommended to stay invested in the Fund for at least three (3) years." And since I am compliant, I intend to do that. Lolz.

January 30: Imay's 12% return

Imay has this business (previously in the mining exploration industry but now for his transportation business in Compostella Valley) where he's open for investments. The return is guaranteed 12% every 4 months, compounded. I've deposited a couple of thousands last year but just my extra, but this year I intend to do it regularly. Let me show you how I did last year:

I invested P2,000 last July 2012, and another P2,000 last August 2012. In November 2012, my July-P2,000 became P2,240. And last December 2012, my August-P2000 became P2,240.
On March 2013, my July-P2,000 will be P2,508.8, and my August-P2,000 will be the same amount by April 2013. Not bad for something passive - I almost forgot that I invested these amounts!
I've resumed this auto-debitting for 2013 every 15th and 30th monthly. There are no papers with this etc, I just know Imay so this is a very personal investment. I wouldn't recommend this kind of investment if you do not know the person you are giving your money to, and if you do not know his/her business.

January 2013: Paluwagan 101

Lastly for my financial track. When was the last time you joined a paluwagan? As a kid, I never did. But then again I didn't have money as a kid so I had no idea what a paluwagan is. Itay however has invited me and my sister to join theirs in the office, just to encourage us to save and get a lumpsum by November. The amount isn't too big so I decided to join, and I look forward to getting the whole pot by November - in time for the 13th month!

Hobby Bit

Now a contrast to my saving up scheme from above, I found another thing to spend on! Haha!

January 27: Signed Up

Thanks to Claire, I now have a new collection! Wait no that's wrong. I now have a collection period. I've always liked a lot of cute stuff, but hasn't really pursued anything. When I was a kid, I joined the Stamp Club at school, but somehow lost my stamp book (and never recovered lol. Low EQ kid). In college, I was into different types of papers (card stocks and printed papers from scrapbooking shops). Found them to be a waste to just store but didn't find anything specific to use them on, thus the birth of my notebook business. I sold everything I made but wasn't able to sustain it since doing everything handmade demanded a lot of time.

Anyway, to today. I signed up last January 27 to as per Claire's recommendation. Cool concept! Claire's Postcard Weekly posts just had really pretty cards and I was missing art a lot. I've always been fascinated by weird twisted visuals so I saw a lot of potential and fun in looking for postcards that are pretty weird. Also, the idea of getting postcards in the mail, stamped and all, is just too exciting to pass up!

January 31: First 5

I sent out the first five postcards for last Thursday. It was the first time I sent anything via snail mail, so it was exciting! Really lucky that our office is located just a building away from the post office in Ortigas. I had no idea that sending a postcard was that affordable. I sent 3 postcards to Germany, 1 to The Netherlands, and 1 to Hongkong. All of them cost only P14 each, so my total was just at P70! I am so reviving snail mails and postcards. Now the tiny problem - how to get people's addresses?

Paying it Forward

The love's gotta be returned.

January 4: The World Vision

I've always had this World Vision pamphlet with me ever since 2010. They are a group that helps bring children to school, with just a P600 monthly pledge from its sponsors. I've long wanted to sign up, and finally this 2013 I did. I made my first pledge this January 4, via BPI online bank transfer. My "student" is Shane Sultones, a very cute 9 year old girl. I look forward to this long term relationship with her, and will really take care of this to ensure her education. I'll definitely write to her via snail mail too! :P Can't wait!

I'm very blessed with this beautiful January to start my 2013. I surely am hoping that the rest of the year be just as blessed.

I hope you guys had a good start too! :)

"Life is about moments - don't wait for them, create them."

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

An idiom realized: Part 1

I think it's cool that I got to experience an idiom the legit way. You know, the whole "Start the year with a bang!" thing. I love it, January! <3 I'm dividing this post into 2 parts, first with the happenings, and the next part with financial shizz (yeah finally some finance direction in my life!).

I kicked off this year pretty much with just that Yes Man in me. I was everywhere (excuse my use of words, I am using them loosely and relative to my ~past my-parents-are-super-strict custom.)!

Events aka random happenings

January 3: Imay in Manila

A close orgmate went home to the Philippines from a work assignment in Malaysia and our group of friends was of course present to welcome him.

We are all orgmates from PSME (Pisme, Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers - UP), and even though I later on shifted out of ME into another engineering track, I can say that these group of people are my closest UP friends. Super fun to have ME friends, I tell you. Everyone's super gago! (Yes please excuse mi linguahe).

January 5: Thesis Group Reunited

I am one of the (very few) people who got to do thesis with a group. Most did their own individually, or with a partner, but hardly with 2 other people. (now that I try to recall, I can't think of any other thesis group aside from ours!)

Anyway, I am lucky that I got to do thesis with Kumi and Vince. We may have had our moments of misunderstanding (aka silent treatment inisan hahaha) but we sure did make a good team. Both of them are now working in province areas (Plant work) so scheduling a get together isn't as easy. Good thing we got to do lunch this time!

January 5-6: First overnight of the year

Right after our lunch tambay I went straight to Muntinlupa for an overnight with my Pisme friends. Imay was set to fly back to Malaysia within the month (he doesn't know when, the company loves to surprise him. lol), and this time for good. We were spending every minute possible with him because he had limited vacation leaves for when he is permanently deployed in Malaysia. Plenty of kwento, a few drinks, and even badminton and a movie the following day. Sulit na sulit!

January 9: 24th

It was a friend's 24th birthday, again part of the Pisme group, and she decided to invite us last minute for dinner at her place in Taguig. I'd usually think twice before I go for these last minute invites because one: I'm your modern Cinderella, two: Taguig is like a province to me. I'm from Marikina/Antipolo! Three: We've previously set a dinner for the following day for Imay's final despedida, so my parents may not like the ~spacing of my lakads. And four: well not as big of a factor, but January 9 is a Wednesday, meaning I have work the following day. My Yes Man prevailed though because well, it is her birthday!

I got her kikay stuff, of course (well not "of course" but more "just because"). My favorite Maybelline Magnum Volum Express mascara and Lory's conditioner (although I just switched and currently trying out TRESemme) because she said she doesn't use any (conditioner). That is UNacceptable! Haha. I think using a conditioner is a must. Thank you. Lol.

January 10: Last Supper

So this is it. We found out that Imay's flight to Malaysia is set on January 13. Of course we had to have our last dinner together. Spent the night eating, playing at Timezone, and playing Exhaust at Starbucks. Exhaust is also known as Categories, where a category is given and each person gives an example, until everything is exhausted - wherewhich the last man standing wins. I won the category of Colors!! :D My winning color, Auburn (my current hair color)! Yey! Haha.

January 12: Surprise!

Weeeelll I guess we are possessive friends. Haha. Our group decided it would be fun to surprise Imay one last time, on the eve of his flight. I was actually not sure if I could come on this one because I got home really late from Thursday's renegade (around 1:30am I think. Exhaust is a fun game!!) and itay wasn't exactly happy. So friday I nervously asked for his permission for another overnight, and explained to him that it's a surprise despedida. He was surprisingly okay with it and even suggested a place at Megamall where we can buy personalized stuff for Imay as parting gift! Me = relieved. Yeyeyey!

My friend and I (the one who just celebrated her birthday) then spent the whole afternoon of the 12th looking for gifts for Imay. We settled for a cap (because he loves them), a short sleeved polo (because he never buys one for himself), a nice belt (because he needs one), and a framed collage of his face and ours. HAHA. We even bought balloons and food and his favorite desserts, because we love him that much. It was a tiring afternoon but his reaction was just priceless. :) We got to nap for about 30mins before we left for his flight scheduled at 6am.

Imay wearing the polo and belt! Hahaha.
Imay's one of my heroes. He's just so down to earth, puts everyone before him, a true inspiration and leader, totally deserving of all the blessings he's been receiving. I'm thinking of dedicating a post to him to inspire others also but, well, we'll see. Haha.

January 16: MTs and Charlie

Our group of Management Trainees finally got to reunite this time! We've parted ways since May of 2012 and have had a few drinks every now and then, but the 9 of us never really hanged out complete. This time we (almost!!!) did, save for Lyn who wasn't able to come. :( 8 out of 9 attendees, I'll take it. :) We ate at Charlie's for dinner, yum!

The others had to leave after, but a few of us stayed for drinks at Central. Us who stayed are actually my very first legit drinking buddies! Our group that I like to call the "Katipunan Boys" (excluding me, of course) is my very first set of ~regular drinking buds. We used to drink almost every other week, on weekdays, at Cantina in Katipunan. Too bad that one closed down. This was very reminiscent of all our drinks together. Fun night indeed!

January 19-23: Ati-atihan and Boracay 2013!

First time for me to watch Ati-atihan! Inay is from Aklan, and we've visited Aklan a few times since I was a kid during Summer. I never got to watch Ati-atihan though because it's held every January, awkwardly positioned after Christmas Vacation where all pending requirements are usually due. Anyway, this year we got to schedule things so yey for that!

After Ati-atihan we went to Boracay for an overnight relaxation. I just went to Boracay last September with officemates, and now I'm back with family. A very welcome vacation! I don't think I'll ever get tired of the beach. It's just a place where appreciation can't end. There's the sand, the water, the sunset, the people, the lifestyle. Fitting for my January. :) January 23 is also Itay's birthday, so when we got back at Manila we celebrated his 51st by having dinner out. Pig out week, you could imagine!

January 30: BFFs Meet

Finally I got to meet up again with my closest friends ever, Flo and Dren. They were my classmates when I spent my first year college at UST before I transferred to UP. We only had that 1 year as foundation but friendships really aren't just about the time people spend together, but I'd say that instant jive of wavelengths. We still meet every now and then (and always update through email) and this time we had to meet because Dren was assigned in the US to work for 6 months! Another despedida! Food and stories and updates, as always.

Parang gradpic lang kung maka-postura!

I love these two people. I'm not really the type who labels friendships and all but if I'd have to answer a slam book for my "BFFs:", it would be these two. <3

Next up, some new info on finance for the dumb (aka me).
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