Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Chicken Studio at Lilac, Marikina

Chicken Studio is the result of frantic cramming between friends. What seemed like a nice idea at first suddenly became a rushed-up reality when a very fortunate and timely offer fell on our laps. The heart of Chicken Studio is the chicken (obviously), and the spirit is the studio as it is currently invisible...but maybe in time, there will be one. We honestly don't know when though. In the words of my friend as a retort to one of the complainants about us not serving dessert, "Wag na sila mag tanong kung ba't walang dessert yung Chicken Studio; wala ngang studio yung Chicken Studio, dessert pa!" Initially we had plans of turning the second floor into a photography studio and creative space, but judging by the influx of people plus the work that needs to be done, the project has been delayed.

Slowly though, we are making changes to make things better for the restaurant, our staff, and of course the customer. And for the record, my partners and I have zero experience in the food industry nor had any previous food-related jobs...and this makes everything so much harder. We are doing our best to address the successive problems that arise since we opened our doors...but we're just clueless at times. To better explain our inexperience, we are a combination of an architect, a photographer, a videographer, a graphic artist and an accountant. For the love of food and sharing it, we ventured into the restaurant business. This is the reason why we appreciate insightful inputs to help us grow, not plain hatred from hangry people...which I suppose is unavoidable at times. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Snippets: Chicken Studio

Taken last week, March 19, 2018 in our condo for the product shoot of the food that we'll be selling at our restaurant next month.

The very reason why this blog went on hiatus is because of this new business venture I am pursuing with my brother and three other friends. Years back, when I started this blog I mentioned about pursuing a dream of opening a coffee shop, and it was only late last year when I started preconditioning the universe and my mindset that 2018 is the year I jump from being an artist to being a cook. I'm 29, and Peter Dinklage was 29 when he made that leap of faith of risking a stable job to fulfill an ambition. This is mine. This is step one. It's not a coffee shop by the looks and the name...we won't even sell coffee just yet...but I will be learning how to do things and go about with the food business industry, and this is making everything seem so much closer and real now. 

We will be serving fried chicken wings with a variety of flavors that a friend and I developed for the past months. We will also be serving hamburgers and nachos...which I will also post about after I get hold of the images because we are yet to do another shoot by the end of the week.

For now, this is what's been keeping me busy for the first quarter of my 2018. A good start to everything I had hoped, planned, and worked for. 

Please like our Facebook page for updates: CHICKEN STUDIO

56-D, Lilac Street
Marikina City 1800

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Roundup

This 2017, I can say overall, was a good year for me. Sure, some pitfalls here and there, but looking back, this is the year that I was actually able to check all of my resolutions─AND tick a couple of items off my bucket list. Long-time wishes finally fulfilled this year, and it surprised me even. I guess one of the things that made it happen was grabbing the opportunity when it presented itself, and working hard on making it possible the moment you grab it.

I remember telling myself last year that the moment I watch Coldplay, my year is made. How wonderful it is that it didn't turn out to be the case, it was just the first of many things that made this year extra special. The first month was horrible as one of my closest cousins finally succumbed to cancer, and that broke me quite badly. The rest of quarter was slow, with me just going out on long drives around Negros and draining my bank account even further. I went back to Manila for the concert, and I remember just swearing to stay away from Bacolod the rest of the year because I got so bored and sick of overstaying there for four months. By March I was telling everyone how much I miss Manila. 

The second quarter was spent travelling and enjoying the freedom, plus also going back to the gym with my need to regain some sense of fitness. That didn't last long though, because mid-year I started working and most of everything centered around my new job. A lot of my schedules had to be reconsidered, most of which to had to be cancelled...save for our Japan trip. Year-end, my childhood dream of going to Japan was finally fulfilled, and that was expectedly surreal. Looking back, I can say this year made me even more excited of the next. 2018, I have you planned out─it's a matter of making it happen.

Bacolod's Art District, La Carlota's Pasalamat Festival and Cafe Racer in Dumaguete

My Top 2017 Whatevers

Wow Moment: Biking over the bridge at Katsura River in Arashiyama, Kyoto and seeing the subtle changing colors of the foliage at the end of the bridge. That was the moment it sank in that I was in Japan. That was the Japan I wanted to see, the view that I’ve been dreaming of seeing for as long as I could remember. That was surreal, and I can still remember that smile of disbelief that ran across my face that very moment.

Around Negros

Coldplay's Head Full of Dreams Concert

Unexpected: Getting to watch LANY perform live. I mean, Coldplay was planned, but I found out about LANY less than a month before their free show, and I wasn’t expecting that I’d get to make it just in the nick of time to watch their performance because I had work that day. It was just meant to be. And the Japan trip was actually also unexpected, but everything just fell into place.

Most Stressful: The whole month of August was just the most tiring time for me this year. I felt like I was being choked by time pressure every day for the whole month. I was so miserably stressed 80% of the time.

Scariest: The bus ride from Sagada to Baguio. It was seriously the scariest road I ever passed through. There was the real risk of the bus just falling off the edge of mountain and us dying all together. It was awful! While my friends were fast asleep through most of the five-hour ride I was wide awake holding onto my seat for dear life. There was no way I could fall asleep seeing where the bus was plying. 

Banaue, Bontoc and Maligcong


La Union, La Trinidad and Baguio

Worst: Waiting and seeing one of my closest cousin die in front of me. That was a horrible horrible thing to watch everything transpire and be so helpless at the situation.

Un-luckiest Moment: Day-trip in Nara, Japan. I got bitten by a deer on the butt. I picked a non-electric bike. Very wrong. We finally found the café we were looking for five minutes after they closed.

Stupidest: There are times when I just am. I blank out and miss the most obvious of details. This one mostly happens at work.

Regretful: Not getting to spend enough time in Japan, especially Kyoto. There is always that regret of cutting the trip short to save on money...only to realize that money can be regained when we get home, but that missed-out possibilities had we stayed longer is much harder to regain.

Most Frustrating: PLDT! Working online and losing your internet access for a week was a real hard and irritating experience. Every time I called the PLDT hotline they tell me that all I can ever do is wait for the technician to be assigned in our area. It was also the time when both my housemates went out for trips, leaving me helpless for several days.

Most Kilig: Hearing the voice of Chris Martin live. Oh-My-God, it melted my heart and weakened my knees. Too much fangirling happened that night.

Proudest Moment: Reaching my savings account to the amount I want it to.

Cutest: Hugging Biscuit, a corgi puppy. Just, pet goals.

Most Fun: Going on long drives alone just to see the landscape scenery around Bacolod and compiling them into short timelapse videos. 

Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon. I've always been curious about that fiesta. It was truly a must-experience sight fiesta.

Wildest: That spontaneous moment when two of my friends and I decided to go to the Mountain Province and explore without much itinerary. It felt like a real adventure. A supposed 4-day trip, we suddenly decided on the trip back to take a detour and extend another day.

Most Challenging: Surviving work. Seriously, there are days when I am mentally challenged to getting the job done.

Magical Moment: The whole concert of Coldplay. It was a dream-come-true, especially when he sang Magic.

Mesmerizing: Watching the sea of clouds from the peak of Mt. Kupapey, and seeing the rice terraces beneath the clouds.

Awe-Inspiring: Manila Fame, seeing how far the quality of local products can compete and fare in the international market.

Best Feeling: Walking along Arashiyama’s Bamboo Grove…it gave me sense of peace and pure joy that very moment.



OMG Moment: Seeing a full bodied apparition of my brother’s doppelganger glide pass in front of me, less than a foot from where I was standing. It didn’t scare me as I imagined myself to react if I saw a ghost. It’s more of when the realization sank in I simply thought to myself, “Oh my God, I think I just saw a ghost.”

Disappointing: Dan Stevens disappointed me so badly when he turned into Prince Adam. Why? He looked wimpy and nothing like that full-chest-bedazzling-princely-turning-of-the-head-to-Belle of Prince Adam on the animated version. 

Best Discovery: Learning how to automatically rename the files in Adobe Illustrator. It was a turning point to naming all my artboards. 

Favorite 2017 Drink: Rosé…I’m trying to transition for beer to wine. Rosé seems like a good start in this effort to learning how to appreciating wines. And fresh buko juice! I try ko drink at least once a week whenever possible as I feel an instant improvement in my system whenever I drink it.

Favorite 2017 Food: I craved a lot of cheese flavored things this year. Cheese pizza! There are only two pizzas I crave for, either margherita or plain cheese pizza. I also found myself eating a lot of chorizo at the latter half of the year. 

Best Thing I Ate: That slice of toro shashimi I ate from Tsukiji market dipped in soy sauce was divine, and Emma Lacson's Chicken Empanada is something I cannot stop myself from eating until there's none left in sight. 

Favorite 2017 Dessert: Pablo’s soft served cheese ice cream. 

Favorite 2017 Restaurant: Alab, Hey Handsome, Motorino



Unforgettable Meals: At Hakko Raphael’s in Nara, Japan. We actually only ate a slice of cheesecake and a cup of coffee. But it’s not just the meal, rather, it’s the lasting impression and memory made during that meal. Our dinner at Van Gogh is Bipolar was also one of the more memorable meals I had this year. It was interesting. A dinner at Hey Handsome ignited my taste buds, and it helped me taste food again. Their Fried Egg dish was seriously addicting. And how can I forget the first time I ate nga-nga at Maligcong? 

Favorite 2017 Hang Out: SM Aura’s food hall. It’s not really my favorite, but I found myself staying there a lot whenever I had to wait for the 12:15pm mass at Pedro Calungsod Chapel.

Favorite 2017 Songs (Not necessarily new songs, just the tracks I listened to most this year): Tila by Clara Benin, Burnout by Dancel-Danao-Dumas, Magic by Coldplay, Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay, Saan Man by Alessandra de Rossi, Awit ng Paghahangad, LANY Pink Skies, Jess Glynne Take Me Home, OneRepublic If I Lose Myself

Favorite 2017 Movies: Sakaling Hindi Makarating...it was the first movie I saw this year and I loved that it's a pinoy movie done in a way that's not made with a mainstream formula; Beauty and the Beast Live Action...because OMG Beauty and the Beast is my favorite classic Disney movie and seeing Emma Watson take on the role of my favorite Disney princess brought emotionally-happy tears to my eyes; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales...because Pirates of the Caribbean is my favorite adventure movie and I'm biased to just loving all of their movie releases.

Various food that I found memorable eating this year.

Random whatevers that happened this year. I was so inspired with making a quick fanart of Beauty and the Beast that I made a 20-minute doodle after watching the movie.

Will Be Most Missed in 2017: The places I went to...because it'll be many years before I can return to some of then. 

Achievement Unlocked this 2017:
  1.  Seeing a ghost
  2.  Reaching my savings account goals
  3. Actually checking all my 2017 goals, and more!
  4. Seeing the rice terraces up close.
  5.  Stepping foot on Japan soil.
  6. Getting into the habit of fixing my bed first thing in the morning.
  7. Going on our first official family trip abroad.
  8. Drive up the mountains and go on solo road trips.
  9. Finding a job.
  10. Watching Coldplay and LANY in concert.

2017 Realization: I think I know what I want to do for the next several years of my life now. I finally think it’s time I do what I’ve been telling myself “not yet” for the longest time. At some point this year, I found myself the urge to push through with it, as if my gut and fate is telling me that “it’s time.”

Lesson Learned for 2017: A lot can happen in a year, and it can suddenly shift mid-way.

2018 Bucket List:
  1. Next stop, Taiwan.
  2. Pursue my long-time plan of starting a food business and expanding my product line for Teacup Ideas.
  3. Go on a solo adventure.
  4. Be awesome by the time I turn 30.
  5. Refocus on my health and fitness.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rushing Through Kyoto and Arashiyama

What can I say about Kyoto the city? Well, I have not seen enough of it to give a real impression except of a few firsts. The memory that really stood out was the regret of not staying long enough to take in the sights. We arrived in Kyoto late in the afternoon via Shinkasnen from Tokyo, and we went directly to Tofukuji Station in hopes of checking in our Airbnb so that by 3pm we could start exploring the city. That was the tricky part─finding the exact place in a location that's not that easily locatable with a GPS. For almost an hour we were going in circles. We were got close to the pinned location, but then we were either standing on the opposite street that we cannot cross because of a wall or we kept walking to a direction that looked completely different on the map; it was so frustrating that at some point we told the rest of our family to wait in one spot and we'd come fetch them the moment we find the house. Because really, it was sad to watch us haul our huge bags on the streets back and forth.  This led us to ask a few locals and experience what a lot of tourists had been claiming─how willing people are, to go out of their way and help lost-clueless tourists like ourselves. A girl walked us all the way to the police station and talk to the officer when she didn't know where it was. Surprisingly the police also didn't know where that street was because he was using this old area map...and so the girl assisted us to asking around and never left us until we stood at the door of our Airbnb. The whole thing must've took more than thirty minutes...precious time and effort that I'm sure not everyone is willing to do for strangers. I truly appreciated us getting lost even if that incident caused my mother to complain about how scared she got the whole time we stayed in Kyoto, because that gave me a first-hand experience of how well-meaning and valued courtesy is to the Japanese.  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Recipe: Strawberry Lavender and Poppy Seeds Shortcake

Taken last October 29, 2017...just a few weeks ago during a friend's birthday celebration. This was the most decent shot of the three taken by my brother to be posted on his IG stories. We barely got to take any photos of the food because were rushing to fetch our aunt that day. It's a funny story actually...we were buying groceries the night before the party when our matriarch called, telling us that she wanted my brother and I to accompany her to visit a wake. She's one of the people I we can't say no to...so what happened on my friend's birthday, we left them on their own at our place to accommodate our aunt. Long story short, we were the last to arrive for the party that we supposedly were hosting. The guests were left to entertain and feed themselves while we were away. 

So anyway, my brother and I had been planning to bake this almond and poppy seeds muffin for quite some time now, but we always found ourselves cancelling the bake last minute. Our constant dilemma about baking something that's fit for a dozen has always been, "how will we consume the whole thing?" Weeks passed and the mix just kept still in the pantry. Slowly I found myself finding the ingredients I wanted to add that'll make the muffin extra special. I had the vision in my head, until finally, the perfect opportunity arrived just when I have gathered all that I needed. Fate has declared, and it shall be done.

This is actually the first time, in a very long time...years really...that I found myself baking again. The last time I baked something that's well thought of was when I actually made the Mixed Whatevers Bread Pudding for a recipe blog entry in 2014. This time it was a little special; I was baking it as a birthday cake for a friend. Actually, it's a muffin that was baked in a cake pan so it's shaped as a cake. And well...unfortunately it came out of the oven burnt because I was distracted with making other dishes that day, still in the end I'm glad the birthday boy liked it. I liked it as well. The taste is refreshing and hearty, a combination of good flavors. I'm sharing the recipe because it's something that's a little more interesting in terms of the blending of flavors. I'm actually a fan of poppy seeds, but it took me years of search before I finally found one...in an imported muffin mix box. One of the muffins I enjoyed eating years back was the lemon and poppy seed one, but was eventually phased-out...and that was the last of my favorite muffin.

Don't judge me, the base muffin came from a pre-mixed box...but the twist comes in the frosting and the added ingredients that accumulated in my head after weeks of delay.

Frosting Recipe:
8 oz. Cream cheese block
200g Cream cheese spread
1 stick Salted Butter
3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 drops Lemon Essence 
Lemon Zest

Just mix them all together until smooth and creamy, adjusting the sugar according to preference. The turn out will actually be a little flat because of the cream cheese spread that easily melts...so if you don't want it soft, you can use another cream cheese block for a firmer frosting.

Muffin Recipe:

1 box of Betty Crocker's Almond Poppy Seeds Muffin Mix
    ...I think they require an egg and oil to be added to the mix
1 tsp. Lavender Extract
3 drops Lemon Essence
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
Fresh Strawberries

Mix according to the box's direction plus the added ingredients and bake...making sure not to burn it like I did. Assemble the cake by cutting it in half crosswise and filling it in between with the frosting and slices of strawberries, topping it off as creatively as you can and dust it with powdered sugar if the strawberries are sour.

A month ago I came into a realization in a form of a dream...a voice called out to me and said that I should go into a food business. That it's about time I pursue something that I love and share what I can beyond my own circle. I've been stopping myself from going into a food business because of so many doubts even if people had been telling me for as long as I could remember that I should go give it a try...but I guess deep down I had always been waiting for a sign to tell me if and when I should start. I felt that gut inkling churning in my stomach after I woke up from that dream...I think I got my go signal. It's all a matter of time and preparation. The vision is in my head, I'm gathering the ingredients now...it's all about meeting the perfect opportunity by the time I have gathered all that I need. My heart is set. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Scary Stuff: Part 3

Here we go, another year has passed and most of everything being featured on TV and online is either horror or anything related to it. Time for some scary stories from my real-life experiences or first-hand stories of friends who experienced the paranormal. This year, I'll share three stories, two of which happened to me this year while one was told by an officemate years back that I never shook off from my memory because it was a good-horrible experience to share.

Here are links to the first two parts of this annual series I started in 2015.
Scary Stuff: Part 1
Scary Stuff: Part 2

Tracing the Scent of Cigarette 

I'll start with my most recent experience, one so fresh that I can still distinctly remember the smell as a went out of my room one morning. It actually happened a few days ago, just last week. I'm off from work on Mondays, so I usually wake up twice, first from my routine waking time that takes less than five minutes for me to use the toilet then go back to sleep, then wake up the second time at a more reasonable hour. The first was at 7am; I got up to use the bathroom and saw that my brother has already left for work, so, alone again. Meh. I went back to bed, closed the door and just before I could go back to sleep felt like someone entered the the condo as I heard some movements from behind the door. I assumed it was our friend who stays over to sleep with us arriving from an evening shift. So, I slept again and woke up two hours after. I got up and opened the door and could just smell that burning scent of a newly puffed up smoke from a strong cigarette wafting the whole unit. I thought our friend decided to smoke inside and throw the cigarette butt in our bathroom trash because I traced the smell coming from the bathroom, but the smell filled the air from my brother's room all the way to the dining area.

I rolled my eyes; not cool. We don't allow smoking inside as my brother and I don't smoke, so I immediately assumed it was our friend who dropped by to pick up his things that morning and puffing a stick and throwing it in the trash before heading out because no one was there when I went out of my room. I waited the rest of the day to tell our friend off about smoking inside, but he didn't arrive until the next day. The moment he opened the door, I had to ask, "Did you drop by yesterday and lit a cigarette inside?" To which he was quick to answer with a perplexed expression, "No, I didn't go here yesterday." My eyes sort-of widened saying, "Really? Because the unit smelled like cigarette smoke when I woke up yesterday." Well...he really didn't know what to say after my claim. I do believe him, because he recently quit smoking and shifted his habit to vaping, using only watermelon and strawberry juices to his puffing habits. After a few seconds he said, "Maybe it came from outside, someone might have passed by while smoking." I wearily replied with a, "Yeah, maybe." But of course, the doors and windows are closed and locked that time, and we live on the fourth floor. 

New Building Elevator Nightmare

This story was actually told by an ex-officemate during my advertising agency days. Now, to those not aware, ad agencies have one of the most toxic working hours that usually ends between 10pm - 2am, some even until 5am due to very tight ungodly deadlines. This happened back in 2011, when our company decided to vacate our old office to transfer to the newly constructed One Corporate Center building in Ortigas. The building was so new, we were one of the first few companies to occupy one of the the floors. Several of the floors were still under construction. I know this for a fact because there are days when I'd stop by an uninhabited floor, whenever I need some time and space outside of my cubicle. These floors were usually just a pile of hollow blocks and construction materials, and never did I spot construction workers in any of these unfinished floors at one time. 

One morning I saw some of my officemates huddle in a circle with one of the account executives looking flustered. I didn't really bother at first but decided to ask him what happened when the crowed dispersed. He stared at me with gaping eyes and said, "I went down for a smoke break last night because we were trying to finish a presentation for a pitch. I think it was around 11pm, and as I went back up to the office my elevator suddenly stopped on the 14th floor, when the doors opened it was pitch black. I was alone in the elevator and I repeatedly pressed close as I stood in one corner, but the door wouldn't close. I can't go out of the floor because there was nothing there, so I just faced the wall and waited for the door to close. After what seemed like forever, it did close and was able to reach the office." That sent chills down my spine knowing that I was usually one of the last to leave the office, so much so that I get to lock the office at times. I said, "Maybe you pressed the floor why it stopped or something." He answered, "No, I'm pretty sure I only pressed our floor because I was alone on the ground floor when I entered. It had to be pressed from the fourteenth floor elevator button outside for it to stop there." I kept on, "Maybe someone was playing a prank on you on that floor. You know, they'd press the floor then hide to scare you." But he insisted, "Not possible. I went to the fourteenth floor this morning and found the place to be bare and empty, no construction going on, nothing. And here's the twist...we don't have a 13th floor in this building, so 14th is considered the 13th." 

I couldn't stop myself and dared him that we go check it out. He took me there and I found his words to be true. No 13th floor, and the 14th floor was just an empty unfinished space. No construction on going for and workers to work on. It was just a bare floor with unpainted cement walls and exposed wiring with no bulbs whatsoever. I turned to him and asked one last time, "So what did you do in the elevator while this was happening?" He replied with a flustered expression, "Nothing! There was nothing I could do. The doors weren't closing and I'd rather stay inside the elevator than exit to this floor. I just pretended to be brave and wished the doors would shut at every press. That really shook me." Yeah, I'd be shaken too if that happened to me. I'm glad it didn't, up to the day I packed my stuff out of that building. As another officemate with a third eye would attest, there are spirits roaming in our floor. We'd know when she's seeing them because she would suddenly stress out or fall quietly uneasy. So a new building does not guarantee a paranormal-free experience, not even on the 29th floor.

Seeing My Brother's Doppelganger  

This is probably the ultimate dream of a curious soul, seeing a full bodied apparition in front of your face, just to validate that the stories are true. For years and years, from my childhood down to this day, I have always wondered what spirits look like, and if those who describe them are accurate in their telling. This year...about three months ago, I finally saw one, and it confirmed so much of the details being told by friends.

I woke up at 8am that morning with a bladder that's about to burst. I opened my door and immediately saw my brother pass in front of my face in a rush going to his room. A second after I saw our friend right behind him also about to head into my brother's room. He stopped and was shocked at my expression, we stared at each other and turned our heads to see the door of my brother's room swing as if someone had just entered as it was pushed then pulled back. I saw my brother go behind the door. I thought he forgot something and was rushing to pick it up before heading to the office as he was wearing his white polo. I turned back to our friend Andrew and asked, "You and my brother arrived together?" He gave me a most baffled expression, "No...I arrived alone. Your brother's not here." I was just as baffled, "But I saw you walking in a rush right after him. You arrived with a friend then?" He said, "No, seriously I didn't arrive with anyone, I came alone." I interrogated pointing to my brother's room, "Then who's behind that door?" He went to the room to check behind the door, "There's no one here!" I blurted, "But you did see the door move, right?" He agreed, "Yeah, but I didn't see anyone." I also agreed, but differently, "I also saw the door move, but I saw someone go behind it." Well...at this point we both got scared of our conversation, but I really had to pee.

I took my thoughts inside the bathroom, figuring out what might have just happened. I kept repeating in my head what I saw...only to realize that maybe it wasn't really my brother that I saw. I took to detail what I saw...I saw a figure of what I thought was my brother. He had the same haircut, and my brother had the same crisp white polo. I saw his side profile, the ears I could remember...but the face had no distinction...it was smudged out as most have described when seeing ghosts. I could see the partition between his polo and his black slacks...but I didn't see his feet, and his movement in that split second of seeing him rushing, there was no striding action of the legs...it was like he just glided pass me. And that last frame when I saw him go behind the door, there was no actual pulling and pushing of the door, it's like he just moved to the side and went behind it without turning in any other direction. All that, plus the fact that several of my friends have experienced seeing other friends who are actually not present here at that given time, three of them actually also claiming to have seen me crouching out of my room and moving to the refrigerator while I was asleep sort of proves that maybe there is a doppelganger in our midst. 

So, what does it feel like to finally see a full bodied apparition? More than scared, I was amazed and curious at what I saw. Especially now that I experienced first-hand seeing what they describe as "ghosts" is actually what I saw is nothing less than extraordinary. So when people ask me, "Do you believe in ghosts?" I can easily claim, "Yes, even before I saw one myself, I already believed."

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Snippets: Post Birthday Celebration

Taken last August 27, 2017. Today marks the first month of my final year of being in my twenties; next year I will no longer be able to say that "I'm twenty something." This year I had a pre-celebration with two of my high school barkadas and my brother, simply because I really miss people; and a post-celebration with new friends I met just over a year ago, because I felt like I at least needed to celebrate my last year as a twen-ager (I claim that word─I thought of it just now.) I am yet to celebrate with another set of friends to be able to say I celebrated my birthday. On the day of my birthday itself, it was a solo occasion as I attended the 6am mass alone, and spent the day toiling on several workloads, that I was no longer in the mood to celebrate at the end of it.

I wasn't in the zone that day, so I was not able to cook as tasty as I wanted it to for some reason. I felt something off with the taste. I was so stressed that time, I assume. There was so much struggle to cope up with, but my brother kept on bugging me to celebrate. SO, FINE! 

I cooked five dishes and baked dessert that day. A supposed lunch, we ended up eating at 5pm...because I told them to arrive late because the food will also be cooked late. My friends helped make some of the dishes, but our food theme was Korean-international-fusion, hence there were some Korean dishes, as well as non-Korean ones. My brother made the pretend-Sicilian salad, a friend grilled the porterhouse steaks, while I cooked the beef stir-fry thing, fettuccine pasta ragu using the porterhouse meat as the sauce base, samgyupsal, japchae, some kind of Korean stew using the Ifugao-smoked-pork etag as my meat base, and a tray of orange-essence-infused brownies. Our drinks were a combination of flavored soju, red wine, tequila, and rosé. We finished eight bottles that night.

It was a good day to celebrate, even if I was tired at the end of it. 

I actually posted this same photo on my Instagram with the caption, "Sometimes I think people celebrate birthdays to feed hungry friends." Yes, I thought of that quote, so I also claim it.