Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mailing People Happy

I don't know if it's just me but I can feel the happiness of my friends (who live/study abroad) whenever they receive snail mail. Some of them have told me that they get pretty lonely sometimes. And what's a little snail mail (a few minutes of my time, a few hundred steps to the post office and a few pesos) to make a friend happy? :) I don't expect them to send anything back (I never put a return address haha). I'm just happy when they suddenly PM me via Facebook (or when they announce via Facebook Status) that they're happy to receive mail. Makes the effort worthwhile.

Here are some cards I've sent to friends.

Sent to my AME friend, Red, who's currently studying music in New York. Done with purple Sharpie. I'd send Red another but then he's coming back to the Philippines this October.

Second postcard (no photo of the first) sent to my AME friend Stychen, an exchange student in Tokyo. He's flying home tomorrow!

Also the second postcard I sent to my AME friend Roxy, an exchange student in Oita (Southern part of Japan). I was wondering why she hasn't told me anything about receiving the card... apparently, she was home this September. She's gone back to Japan yesterday so I hope that she sees it soon. 

Sent to my high school friend Karen, who's living in Canada. I bought the postcard at the bookstore in Taipei (the one where I went on a rampage with deco tape haha).

Will be sending to my AME friend/buddy Ali, who's living in Australia. Done with brown felt-tip pen, craft paper, colored paper and a sakura puncher I got from Daiso.

I need to learn how to photograph [postcards] better! That, or I should stop being lazy and install that scanner. =\

Can't wait to have free time so that I can make more handmade cards to send to friends (or even strangers). :) I really miss doing paper-related crafts. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lunch at Yanagi Restaurant, Midas Hotel

Many thanks to couponing, I can afford to treat my family to hotel buffet lunch. :))

Last week, we went to Yanagi Restaurant in Midas Hotel (in Roxas Blvd., right beside the Embassy of Japan).

They didn't have a huge selection of food but whatever they had tasted great!

They had sushi, but no sliced salmon.

Tempura is served from the kitchen (you don't take it from the buffet table but you can ask for as much as you want). They serve it with shrimp and vegetable tempura but you can ask for just shrimp tempura if you don't want the vegetables.

Beef croquette and chicken teriyaki

Sukiyaki was yummy and the beef was super tender!

Dessert: some fruits, coffee jelly and red bean.

It was a great lunch! I'm hands down on customer service (it's a hotel, after all).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Color Added

I bought my second pair of Suelas shoes via Zalora a few weeks ago. I got the first when I was in 5th year college and it lasted only three months... which is not exactly acceptable considering its price tag. One does not simply pay PhP800 for a pair of flats that get totally worn out in three months. Recently, however, I had a 500-peso voucher from Zalora so I thought it'd be justifiable to buy a pair. The soles seem sturdier than they were last time. They're also comfortable and come in half-sizes. I hope this pair will last me longer.

The Zalora shopping experience was great though! It was hassle-free and delivery was really fast. I'm glad that I didn't get addicted to Zalora shopping!

The satchel is from Taiwan. It was surprisingly cheap. I got it for only NTD290 (~PhP440). The quality is not that good but then you get what you pay for. It can be a handbag, a shoulder bag or a backpack. But I love it best as a backpack. I'm not exactly a bag person (I'm a shoes person and I always carry a lot of stuff so I always bring a big backpack) but it doesn't hurt to carry a cute bag every once in a while.

Red, white and blue faux leather and gold hardware... my brother said it looks like a Philippine flag... which reminds me of our model structure for IDEERS 2012 haha. :))

And a cute denim + lace shirt from Shilin nightmarket. I love how it can be dressed up or down. :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

La Dolce Vita

Nah, my life isn't exactly sweet right now (or maybe it depends on the perspective). Anyway, I've got loads of deadlines around the corner. I teach 3 subjects (5 sections). I am enrolled in two MS subjects. I am involved in two components of a research project. Everything's ending this October so imagine the deadlines and the pressure! Anyway, this is not a rant post. I will just share the good stuff I had this week.

Sans rival (PhP80) from The Chocolate Kiss. ChocKiss is probably the cuplrit of my love for sans rival. I also like ChocKiss because hey have good customer service.

Sun Moon Lake Red Bean Mochi. This is not like the ice cream mochi sold (at ridiculous prices) here in the Philippines. Mochi in Taiwan usually have sweet paste inside. I've gone to Taiwan three times and I've bought a lot of mochi boxes already. But so far, this is the best brand I've ever had. The one I bought in Ximending last January was also great but this one still wins my heart because I love red bean! It's relatively expensive (NTD 60 per box) considering there's only six pieces inside but I think it's worth it.

Finally, ube ice cream + taro mochi at home. Yay!

The Cutest Shirts in the World

...are being sold by a nice old man in Shilin nightmarket. Well, okay, I'm exaggerating by saying "cutest shirts in the world" but Totoro is just too cute!!

I found this shirt on display outside one of the shops in Shilin nightmarket. It's my first time noticing that shop despite having been to Shilin nightmarket a number of times (maybe 5 times?) I knew I had to buy the shirt because 1) it's Totoro 2) the tag says NTD 190 or ~PhP290 and 3) it's not common so there's only a small chance of seeing a person with the same shirt!

Inside the store were more printed shirts in different designs (there's Pokemon and I think One Piece too).

Nice art! And I'm happy that the colors did not fade after washing. :) Ah, I wish I bought more!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tape Lovin'

During the recent trip to Taipei, I discovered a shop near the hotel that sells cute office supplies. When I saw that they had deco tape at affordable prices (NTD26 or ~PhP39), I immediately took a shopping basket and hoarded took everything I liked. Coz I'm seriously in love with deco tape.

How do I use deco tape? I usually put them on my belongings to label them as mine. We have the same [issued] pens in school but when my co-teachers see a pen wrapped in deco tape, they know it's mine hahaha. I put them on folders and envelopes just to give life to otherwise boring office supplies. I also put them on the letters and postcards I send!

Here's my collection now! But I think I might give two away to my friends. The five on the left and the floral pattern on the right are the new ones from Taipei. While the two in the middle and the macaron pattern on the right are older ones from Landmark.

Hmm, now I wish I can find a piano-printed tape. :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Honesty Wins

I just came back from the shaking table competition in Taipei (we competed with universities from Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia and Hong Kong; students were from different countries as well) in which our group had to call the attention of the judges to tell them that our model had failed (because they didn't notice at all).

I've had a number of instances during college where I had to tell my professor "Sir, you misrecorded my score. I'm supposed to have a lower/failing grade." Well, it's the right thing to do. (Plus my conscience can never take it.) Yesterday was quite a similar instance... but it required A LOT MORE COURAGE.

Our goal in the competition is to create a model structure that can withstand an earthquake of 1000 centimeters per second square (a.k.a. gals) and fail at 1050 gals (whether by collapse, excessive displacement, etc.)

Team G-14. Our structure was the first to erect during the model-making day, Saturday, because we prepared almost everything beforehand. We just had to assemble using bolts and nuts.

Structure + poster

Unfortunately, at 950 gals, one of our steel ball bearings spilled out and the judges did not notice at all. The next "round" was about to start and we had to raise our hands and point to the judges the spilled steel ball bearing. Hence, our structure had a design strength of 900 gals. I was initially in denial because I did not exactly see the ball bearing spill out (it might have been from someone else's model structure). But one of my teammates said he did see it. It was sad and I can't even describe the feeling but we had to do the right thing otherwise our conscience will haunt us forever.

So they took out our structure from the shaking table and we took out all the decorations (we couldn't disassemble it totally because we didn't have tools at hand).

Then, this was flashed on the screen. The score computation is a bit complicated to explain so just take it as it is.

4TH PLACE. With that VERY TINY score difference: 0.0024. We were happy that we even reached fourth place (we didn't expect our score to be as much) but at the same time, we were sad, because of that score difference with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM2).

But after a few minutes, this was flashed on the screen.

Turns out, the previously flashed was not up-to-date. We all had to look at the screen a number of times before we could believe it. 3RD PLACE. 3RD PLACE. 3RD PLACE. Apparently, UTM2's base isolation system did not work like it's supposed to so their score decreased significantly.

My groupmates and I were jumping, squealing and screaming in happiness. We went back to our failed model structure and took photos happily.

Our bare structure

And here's the fruit of our hardwork, all the sleepless nights, holidays, weekends and late nights spent working in school and importantly, HONESTY.

Our base isolation system last Thursday.

Steel ball bearings housed in bottle caps. One (or two) of the bottle caps were sheared off so the ball bearings spilled out

Notice the cup of water? If after 400 gals, the water is still above the line, we get bonus points. And we did, thanks to our floor isolation system! I think this made us win.

All smiles. It's honestly difficult to win this competition because most of the other schools have great facilities (e.g. shaking tables, waterjet cutters for precision cutting, etc.). :)

However, fate decided to play a trick on me. I lost my two-week old phone on our way to the airport. It's just a low-end Android phone that came free with my postpaid line but it's still such a waste. I'm still disappointed with what happened but I don't feel THAT bad. I'm just happy that it wasn't my passport.

Aside from winning third place, I also learned a lot from the presentations of the postgraduate teams. Team G-18, the other team from UP, also placed 4th and won special awards! Congratulations. UP FIGHT!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I like underrated things. Bistrio Cafe along Maginhawa Street, located near Friuli and Crazy Katsu, is no exception.

I first discovered the place in February 2011 when Friuli was too full and my friends and I were too hungry to wait.

I'd say the place is like a cross-breed between an eatery and a restaurant. It's really nice! Food is cheap. You can have a meal for PhP50 to PhP70. Food is home-cooked and they only cook it right after you order.

I was there around 3 weeks ago when I was looking for dinner and I suddenly found myself in Maginhawa Street.

panna cotta

They serve everything in pretty chinaware.

That one on the left is a pitcher

The vintage mug-turned-tissue-holder made of steel reminds me of my late grandparents (my dad's parents) and their house.

That window leads to the kitchen. But notice the pretty tabletop. Form and function, indeed.

Some pretty display.

And more display. The candle holder is for sale.

Most furniture are made of wood but they also have some made of steel. The table looks like an old sewing machine case.

They also have a small bookshop (you can rent or buy second-hand books) right inside the shop. I don't check it out much but you can!

The food is good although not exactly special nor is it a place that you'd travel far just to try. But if you're around the neighborhood, craving home-cooked food or if you have foreign friends, Bistrio Cafe is a bet. They have sinigang, caldereta, adobo, etc. (mostly dishes served at home). I had actually planned on bringing my SC2012 foreign friend to this place but that was August 7, 2012 (during the monsoon disaster) and the shop was closed.

Perhaps what draws me to this place is mostly the ambiance. The price you pay is just similar to a normal carenderia/eatery but Bistrio Cafe is obviously prettier. There's never a lot of people so it's quiet (or rather I can bring my friends here and be all talkative) and the place is very artsy. Plus, the servers are kind!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Maginhawa Food Trip Holiday

The past week has been terribly busy. We're flying to Taipei on September 12 for the shaking table competition so we're preparing like crazy these days. I don't even have time to treat myself to good food but oh well... Here are some photos from two Tuesdays ago (the holiday). My friends and I went to Maginhawa Street for some catching up and food tripping. (We love food!)

We went to Burger Project for late lunch (I really enjoyed the food last time I ate there with my new friends from The University of Texas). I had a tofu patty in a sesame seed bun, mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella. Surprisingly, I love the tofu patty! Unfortunately, they close at 3pm that day (it was their anniversary) so we had to leave. Anyway, next time, I will try the Angus beef patty!

We proceeded to Dainee's, another milk tea and coffee shop along Maginhawa Street.

And finally, we went to Leona's Art Restaurant for dinner. It's not along Maginhawa Street but along the quiet side of Magiting Street. And it's called an "art restaurant" for a reason...

We ordered some pizza...

and I ordered a hotdog eggplant.

That week, I was supposed to be cutting down calories (because SC2012 made me eat a lot) but so much for diet when I'm with my friends. :))