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This is a personal blog. You'll find all sorts of things about me here, from stories of my mundane everyday life to my adventures on different parts of the world. I especially love going to cafes, taking pictures of them, and talking about them. :)

Thanks for dropping by!
♥ Irene

▶ All photos belong to me unless otherwise stated. Please do not take without permission, thank you!

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Home sweet? home
Saturday, February 22, 2014 | 1 comments
I am still updating this blog!

After I left Taipei, my blog experienced a major identity crisis and I wasn't sure what I wanted to write in it anymore. I was supposed to stay in taipei, well, longer than 6 months. But because of visa problems, I couldn't land a job within the time frame I'd given myself and I was offered business opportunities back here in the Philippines, so I decided to head home.

Last hot pot session with Emily, Ji Hoon & Byung Jun. ; u ;

A few days before my flight home, my friend Akane, told me she needed to leave Taipei because of her visa. She was scheduled to go back to Japan in a week, but her 3 months landing visa is expiring. So I invited her to come to the Philippines with me! The flights weren't too pricey and she had free lodging this way! ;) My Chinese teacher wanted to tag along too. She was so excited she bought a ticket as soon as she decided she wanted to go. However, I never imagined Taiwan passports needed visa to enter the Philippines, so on the day of our flight, my teacher (along with her husband) couldn't get past the check-in. My teacher looked so sad, and I felt so stupid. :( Thankfully, Japanese passports didn't require any of that and Akane was able to enter the Philippines without any trouble.

Akane + my favorite cap!

I always tell my friends there isn't much to do in Manila. Aside from malls, and not so expensive food. So when they're here, I don't really know where else to take them. Akane told me she wanted to go to the beach to swim, so I tried to arrange a trip to Subic, but because of a recent typhoon, a few roads were destroyed, making the ride to subic longer than it should (instead of the usual 3 hours).

We decided to swim in our tiny lap pool instead. We drank wine and talked about her love life and how mine was still very much non-existent. haha! I brought her to tiangge, where she spent most of her time here. She wanted to buy fake watches and bags. She chose a bag for her mom and a watch for her sister and another one for herself. She was really good at haggling prices, I didn't need to say much. I was only there to translate. She decided prices for herself. The sales ladies would complain at first, but then give-in later on.

And of course, the obligatory Gerry's Grill lunch.
4 days later, it was time for her to go back to Taiwan. :( I felt that her trip could have been more fulfilling but because of the lack of time and bad weather, we weren't able to do as much. I told her I'd make it up to her and bring her to the best beaches next time she comes to visit!

It was only after she'd left when I started feeling reality sink in. My stay in Taiwan was one of the best experiences of my life, and it was over just like that. I guess that's another reason why I couldn't bring myself to update my blog. I didn't want to push my Taiwan entries down. Haha! Before I knew it, I was back at my dad's office, once again adjusting to the everyday office life. I was also busy preparing for the "business opportunities" I was talking about. Because it might cause a lot of problems, I won't specify what exactly it is-- but if you're a close friend, then you probably already know. ;)

October is my most & least favorite month. Least because I grow older during this time of the year, and most favorite because: H A L L O W E E N.

I love halloween! I love it when I see children dressed up, trick or treating outside the neighborhood. I love the thrill of horror movies and stories. And, if money would only permit, I would really love to set-up an extravagant horror themed photo shoot with friends & family!

For this Halloween, my sister arranged a small Halloween party for us and our friends! We didn't have funds to spend for costumes so we just had to do with what we had.

Mae Anne brought Halloween cupcakes and it tastes as good as it looks! I think I devoured 3 within 30 mins. omnomnom!

Chuchu and I tried to make Okonomiyaki. It was instant and we still screwed it up. Haha! To our defense, not only were the instructions in Japanese, it didn't specify how much water to add in, so we had to estimate. It still tasted great, imo, just the consistency/texture was all wrong. :))

Our Marilena neighbors, Mikka, Michole & Mikkei, brought crispy creme! Because we were too full with Mae Anne's cupcakes, we had this for breakfast the next day instead.

We also had pizza, from Arlene and Birdie, then homemade chicken & baked mac by Yap (our house chef?? haha). After dinner, we watched Conjuring, played board games then told horror stories before bed. 

At around mid-November, Janel came home from the States after 5!! years! She stayed (in asia) for half a month, but we were only able to hang out on her last week, because she went to Singapore with her mom. But that was perfect, because my friend from Taiwan, Kana, was coming to visit on Janel's last week as well!

Kana bought me a lot of stuff from Japan and Taiwan. Mixed in there are gifts from Jihoon. :)

I invited Janel to tag along to bring Kana to Intramuros. We toured the vicinity riding a kalesa at first, but I eventually felt so bad for the horse so I urged both of them to walk instead haha.


When we'd finally gotten to the last segment of Kana's tour, it started to rain. We rested for a bit in a tiny restaurant and met with this super interesting Japanese speaking tour guide. She laid out a bird's eye view map of the entire place and gave Kana a quick explanation for each area. Then she told us her life in Japan, and why she had to come back to the Philippines. Then she told us ghost (and also apparently true) stories of Intramuros. When we were done, the rain hadn't let up so we decided to head back.

We brought her to see the light show in Ayala triangle.

Then we rendezvoused with Tin and had dinner.
We spent Kana's last day buying souvenirs for our friends back in Taiwan, then food for their family in Hokkaido. I let her drink more mango juice and let her eat more Filipino food! She was really fun to go around with. Although she doesn't say much, she was down for everything and anything! I miss her a lot. :(

A week after Kana left, The family (minus Denise) and I went to Bohol to attend a wedding. I don't personally know the couple, but my dad is business partners with the bride's dad. He is a famous person in Bohol, he owns the only mall in Bohol and owns the resort we were going to stay at. It's my first time visiting Bohol, and I heard really bad earthquake hit it recently, so I didn't know what to expect-- But Bohol is plenty beautiful! At least the beaches and most tourists spots are! A lot of houses & historical churches, especially those along the fault line, remained collapsed and unattended. :(

This is the beach view of the resort where the Wedding is going to be held. It's also where's we're sleeping for the duration of our stay.

We woke up early the day after the wedding to go dolphin watching. I've never seen wild dolphins before so I was really excited! We set out at 4am, rode off to a certain spot in the ocean, and waited on our boat for a few hours. The guide said the dolphins came out at about 7-9 in the morning because they didn't like too much sun.

This was shot at about 5am. Such pretty!

When a "few" hours passed by, and we still hadn't seen any dolphins, we started getting worried that we might not be able to see any after all. We were told beforehand that it sometimes happens that dolphins end up not showing up.

The sun was slowly rising and our hopes of seeing dolphins grew thin. But at least, as a consolation prize, we got to see the sun rise, on a boat in the middle of nowhere.

First time I'd seen one tbh. :)

Soon, it was getting really hot, and the parents had started to complain, so we decided to head back. :(
We were so disheartened and tired from the long wait and boat ride that everyone remained quiet for a while, until, unexpectedly, the guide spoke and said, "Ma'am, Sir, if you look straight ahead, you'll see the dolphins have arrived!" And there they were!!

We couldn't get too close because the boat might injure them.

There were so many of them!

This was the nearest we could manage!

After dolphin watching, we went into the city to do more sightseeing.

This was once a church, I think, that had been destroyed from the earthquake.

 For lunch, we rode on another boat that cruised us along the Loboc river while we ate.

This was the end of the river cruise.

On our way back, we stopped beside another boat that had Bohol natives performing and dancing for tourists and passersby.

Next, we went to a tarsier preservation area.

They were so tiny and precious!! Then I learned they were highly suicidal. That's why there are so little of them left. :(

Random Spiduuur!

For our last stop for the day, we went to see the chocolate hills. The oldies were too tired to walk so it was just me and my siblings. The viewing deck was also destroyed by the earthquake, so it was pretty dangerous to be up there. But as long as you're careful, I guess!

We don't have anything touristy to do and see here in Manila, so looking at wonders like these make me realize how the Philippines can be amazing too!

Before I end  this already long and overdue post, because it's already become a tradition that I write about a cafe in every blog entry, I will write about one of my favorite cafes here in Manila.

I ate here for the first time after my Taiwan trip. Cronuts had been a recent fad, and I heard Wildflour had the best.

They had all sorts of pastries. It was hard to decide what I wanted to get while I was there.

But of course, cronuts. They were pretty sweet, but within my allowed sweetness range. I love their strawberry and dulce de leche flavor, the others are just okay.

I've been to Wildflour a couple of times after my first visit, and what I'm not too happy about is that, they're always out of the flavor I want.

Other than pastries, they have really good food too. So far I've tried their kimchi rice and seafood squid ink pasta. Both, of which, I found really really scrumptious!

And I'm done! Thanks for reading!

好丘 & a sunday market
Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | 0 comments
Every Sunday, one of the streets around Xinyi District, holds a simple market (...called Simple Market) that sells a lot of useless but very cute, and sometimes handmade, items. From bags to accessories to tableware to plants, I found myself wanting to buy a lot of things as my friend and I strolled from one stall to another.

Not only were there shops, there was also a small origami event for children to participate in!

I wanted so much to buy some!! But I don't think I can bring these to the Philippines. :c

My friend, Shino! She's the one who invited me to come with her here. I'm so glad I came!

Eyeball earrings! I regret not buying a pair. :c

SUPER CUTE MUGS! But they were pretty expensiveee, about 750 NTD. I already have a lot of mugs back home, so I don't really need one, but every time I see this picture, the urge of wanting to go back and buy myself one gets stronger! ; o ;

There were performances by these two as well. I love the girl's voice, it was a bit cutesy but relaxing and laid-back.

Ah, I wanted some of these too..!!

It wasn't a big market, but my Shino and I took our time looking through merchandise so when we felt really tired when we finished looking through everything. We decided to take a break in a cafe right beside the market area.

The cafe is called Hao Cho (Good Cho's in English).

Upon entering, we found ourselves inside a homey loft room. I'm not sure what this room was for but it had books of doodles of children?? placed all over the place.

Further inside, we were once again surrounded by merchandise of tea, books, stationary, and more!

Haha, these were really funny.

The place had a lot of random stuff for sale, not sure if these are too. :))

Further FURTHER in, you finally arrive at the actual cafe!

This place was famous for their bagels so I had to try some! This is their most basic set, a bagel and 2 different kinds of cheese to go with it. Aside from this though, I ordered their banana bagel and assorted cheese bagel(this is different from the one I ordered. This has the cheese inside!) for take-out as well!

I will definitely come back here before I leave! <3