Coffee is Life

May 31, 2017 at 10:47 PM | Posted in Food and Dining, Health | Leave a comment
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I have been going to a cardiologist in the past couple of months due to my consistent high blood pressure. The doctor advised me to avoid caffeine since it’s one of the causes of my blood pressure going up. But as an avid coffee drinker, I just can’t give up coffee for life. So I told the doctor that I drink coffee every day. That’s what perks me up in the morning when I wake up. That’s what also keeps me going throughout the day. She then advised me to reduce my coffee intake. And that’s fine by me – for now.

Actually, even before I went to the doctor, I have reduced my coffee intake. No particular reason, except perhaps because in recent months I have been too busy with work that I can survive a day with just two cups of coffee.  But there were times in the past months that I would be too busy that I couldn’t even finish my cup of coffee because I was always on the go. Sounds crazy, right? By the time I’d return for my coffee, it had gone cold.

I’m recently diagnosed as hypertensive. So the doctor’s advise is really workable for me at this time. I’m also taking medicines to control my blood pressure so at least I’m still looking after my health.

A Purr-fect Afternoon

June 15, 2016 at 12:51 AM | Posted in Animals, Food and Dining, Lifestyle | 1 Comment
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Ever since I found out last year that there was finally a cat café in Manila, I was excited to go and visit the place with my friends. I love cats and was always curious about the famous cat cafes in Japan. It’s a good thing though that cat cafes have sprung up in Manila in recent years. Pioneering the cat café in Manila is the Miao Cat Café.

Miao Cat Cafe interior

Miao Cat Café – the name of which is a pun of the word “meow” rather than an actual Chinese name – is located along Congressional Avenue in Quezon City. It took me a long time to visit the place mainly because it’s too far from where I live. And due to conflict of schedules, my friends and I kept postponing our visit to the cafe. But last Monday, my friend Jess and I finally had the time to check it out. She brought along her 8-year-old son with us.

My first impression of Maio Cat Café was that it was simple, practical and cozy. The café’s interiors are decked with pathways, ledges and scratch posts for the cats. Customers have the option to sit at tables with chairs or lounge comfortably on the carpet with throw pillows. There were a couple of loft tables too. Of course, I wasn’t really there for the decors. I was there for the cats.

Miao Cat Cafe entrance                Miao Cat Cafe interior 2

There were about eight or so mixed breed cats inside the café. I spotted a couple of Persian cats and a Maine Coon but I forgot what the others were. Most of the foreign breeds were napping at the time we were there. The only cats that were wide awake and active that time were two local rescued cats and a black Persian. The café has a few policies about the cats. We weren’t supposed to pet and disturb the cats while they’re sleeping.

cat on a piano at Miao Cat Cafe

It was afternoon on a Monday when we visited the place so there was no crowd. In fact, we were the only customers there at that time so we had the place all to ourselves. The food at the café was delicious enough. I especially loved the pink cappuccino frappe I ordered along with the fish and fries.

Weena with orange cat

I was able to pet some of the cats there. From what I could tell, the cats were properly behaved and kept a fair distance from our food. The rescued cats though kept staring at our food and came close enough to sniff at the table. One of them was really friendly that I was surprised when he suddenly plopped on my lap and made himself comfortable.

  Weena, Miko & Jess at Miao Cat Cafe    Weena with cat on lap

Spending the afternoon at the café was worth it. I loved the cats and would have stayed longer to pet them. I don’t have a cat at home because the admin of the condo complex where I live does not permit tenants to have pets. Thanks to Miao Cat Café, I finally had my feline fix even for just a few hours.

Weena with Jess and Miko

pink cappuccino frappe, fish & fries at Miao Cat Cafe   tables at Miao Cat Cafe

My Dubai Experience

September 7, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Posted in Art, Food and Dining, Lifestyle, Shopping, Travel | 1 Comment
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The courtyard at Majlis Gallery

The courtyard at Majlis Gallery

Six months ago, if anyone told me I’d be traveling to Dubai I wouldn’t have believed him. But last August, I found myself packing my bags and heading off to Dubai for a month-long (well, almost) business trip. I’ve never been out of the country so imagine my anxiety just before I left for Dubai. Considering the fact that I’m going there alone for work didn’t lessen my anxiety. But after a few days of staying there, I gradually settled in comfortably.

Work-wise, my experience while I was in Dubai wasn’t that fantastic. There was so much work to do that I was always stressed out. I barely had time to eat. I was exhausted by the end of each day. My only consolation were the weekends when I got the chance to see the sights and explore the city.

XVA Art Hotel & Cafe

XVA Art Hotel & Cafe

mint & lemon juice with quinoia & zucchini kofta at XVA

mint & lemon juice with quinoia & zucchini kofta at XVA

Speaking of the city, my visit in Dubai came in an inopportune time. It’s the middle of summer there so the weather is scorchingly hot and humid. But being an excited traveler that I was and eager to explore, I bored the heat and traipsed my way to the Dubai Museum and the art galleries.

I had such a fun time at the art galleries in Al Fahidi (formerly known as Bastakiya). The art pieces from various and international artists were just amazing! Of course I’m talking about the art exhibits in Majlis Gallery and XVA Art Hotel and Cafe – two of the most popular art galleries in Dubai.

dhow boat

Weena aboard the dhow boat

me aboard a dhow boat at night

I also had the chance to try some of the local cuisines. Some I liked, some I didn’t. I particularly loved the kibbeh, kofta, falafel, and the hummus dip. But I absolutely fell in love with their famous mint lemonade (or mint and lemon juice)! It’s what I usually order every time I dined out.

Weena & Uncle Sanny on dinner cruise

My uncle who was based in Bahrain came to visit me on my third week and we explored the rest of the city together. We had a dinner cruise aboard a dhow boat and sailed along the Dubai Creek.

Weena_At the Top

And of course, my visit to Dubai wouldn’t be complete without going to the city’s two most recognizable attractions – the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab. The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world, standing at 828 meters high and having over 160 stories. It’s also the same building that Tom Cruise scaled in the movie, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

Weena in At the Top, Burj Khalifa

me at the observation deck in Burj Khalifa

Weena in Burj Khalifa observation deck

Weena & Uncle Sanny inside Burj Khalifa

My uncle and I were able to go inside Burj Khalifa and got to see the spectacular views from the 124th and 125th floors of the building – the observation deck At the Top. True enough, the elevators were super fast! I think it took us only a minute or two to reach the 124th floor.

Weena at Dubai Mall overlooking Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa at night

Burj Khalifa at night

Weena with Burj Khalifa at nightBut perhaps to the general public, the most recognizable icon of Dubai is the Burj Al Arab – the world-famous building in the shape of a sail. Unfortunately though, my uncle and I weren’t able to go inside Burj Al Arab. Because you’re only allowed to go in if you have a reservation in one of the building’s restaurants. And to dine in one of the restaurants there was too expensive! So my uncle and I just contented ourselves with taking photos of the building while we were at the Jumeirah Open Beach. The beach was within the vicinity of Burj Al Arab and has a perfect view of the building.

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

Weena with Burj Al Arab in background

We also visited the popular souks in Deira, particularly the spice and gold souks. The spice souk had rows and rows of different spices in splashes of vibrant colors. It’s simply visually stunning. Various teas and nuts were also on display. I had the chance to visit the textile and garment souk in Al Fahidi before my uncle arrived in Dubai. There were so much to buy there – from local and traditional clothes, pashminas, parasols, to bags, shoes, rugs, and souvenir items.

Weena in spice souk in Deira

me at the spice souk in Deira

textile souk in Al Fahidi

textile souk in Al Fahidi

But while the souks offer shoppers great bargains, the two biggest malls in Dubai provide the wealthy with the most high-end stores that they could find. The Dubai Mall, which is adjacent to the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, is one of the largest malls in the world and boasts of having a collection of global brand names – from Armani, Dior, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, to Versace, Christian Louboutin, Ermenegildo Zegna, and many others. My uncle and I practically got lost while we were inside the mall.

Weena at Dubai Mall

me outside Dubai Mall

Another mall we visited was the Mall of the Emirates. It’s a bit smaller than Dubai Mall but also holds the same global brands. I actually prefer the interior design and architecture of Mall of the Emirates than the Dubai Mall mainly because of the former’s use of traditional, Islamic architecture, which I find really gorgeous.

My friends and coworkers kept telling me that I’m really lucky to have been given the opportunity to visit Dubai. I guess they’re right. Work aside, my experience in Dubai was one that I will never forget.

My So-called Coffee Addiction

December 15, 2013 at 5:11 PM | Posted in Food and Dining, Lifestyle | Leave a comment
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People know me as a coffee drinker. I admit I cannot go out of the house without having a cup of coffee. I usually drink two to three cups of coffee a day – four tops if I really need a serious perk up. I normally take it with cream and sugar but if I’m really sleepy, I drink black coffee. I don’t really see it as an addiction, but some people do. I’m usually surprised every time people regard me as a coffee addict.

a cup of cappuccino

a cup of cappuccino

My colleagues at work are usually the ones who tell me of my so-called coffee addiction. They stare at me with amazement whenever they see me having my second or third cup of coffee. They said it’s bad for me and all. Well hey, I never make comments about their smoking habits. I don’t tell them that smoking is bad and that they should quit. To each his own.

Some people love to smoke while others love to drink. Well I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I only drink alcohol once in a while. Coffee is my thing. And that’s something they can’t take away from me.

I like my coffee hot and cold.

I like my coffee hot and cold.

One Time in Work Camp

March 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM | Posted in Food and Dining, Travel | 1 Comment
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When I was a kid, I was a member of the Girl Scouts like every other schoolgirl back then. I became a part of it not by choice but as mandated by the school (or was it by the government? I forgot.) I barely remember what I did as a Girl Scout. All I could remember was that there was this instance when we had to go camping. I really wanted to join and experience what it’s like to sleep in a tent and cook in firewood. But unfortunately my parents didn’t allow me to. So I was kind of jealous when all the other kids at school gushed about their experiences when they went camping.

Growing up I always wanted to try camping but never had the opportunity – until just last week. My boss decided that we go camping over the weekend at Camp Benjamin. It was actually sort of a business trip mixed with pleasure. It would just be an overnight thing – my colleagues and I staying at the camp for one night.

So last Friday after office hours, my colleagues and I traveled to Ilaya in Alfonso, Cavite where Camp Benjamin was located. It was a little more than two hours of travel and by the time we arrived at the camp, it was already almost 10:00pm – and freezing cold! We were pleased to find out that we were the only guests at the camp that night. We had a late dinner at the camp’s Mon’s Restaurant after which we headed to the camp site where our tents were already set up. I excitedly picked my tent of choice and was delighted to find that the tent looked cozy enough. Each of the individual tent was equipped with a mattress, blanket, towel, and a battery-powered lamp. The bathroom and shower stalls were located not far off the camp site.

After settling in, my colleagues and I gathered around a bonfire specially prepared for us by the camp’s friendly staff. However, our plan to roast hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire got hindered by the fact that it was scorching hot. So we ended up just drinking and munching on chips. My boss retired early for the night while my officemates and I stayed up until the wee hours of the next morning.

I slept soundly inside my cozy tent and was woken up by the sounds of crowing roosters from the nearby farm the next day. It was so refreshing to wake up to the sounds of nature and breathe in fresh air. A trickle of guests arrived at the camp by mid-morning. Most of them were employees of big companies visiting the camp for team-building activities. Not surprising since the camp also offers facilities for team building such as an obstacle course, water slide, and a zip line.

Our morning was spent  exploring the camp and taking pictures. By noon, we met our business partner who toured us around the massive camp. We talked business the rest of the afternoon. The day ended with us trying the zip line. It was my second time to go zip lining and I must say that it still gave me the jitters! I went all weak-kneed when I was done. We left shortly after that and headed back to Manila.

We were exhausted by the time we came back to Manila but it was all worth it. I had such a great time at the camp and I want to go back there and go camping again.

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