Condo Living

November 20, 2015 at 11:49 PM | Posted in Lifestyle | 4 Comments

I finally moved to a condo with my sister. I must say, it’s a nice feeling to have a place of our own. And we’re not even renting it. We got a loan from the bank and bought this condo unit that my aunt’s friend was selling. It was on the market for a reasonable price, fully furnished and still in mint condition. It was a bargain deal so we eventually bought it.

Living room in my condo

The only disadvantage of the condo is that it is located in Pasig City, which is far from Makati City – the place where we used to live and where we currently work. But so far, it was the most affordable home we could find. We tried looking for condos within Makati, Mandaluyong and even Taguig but most of them were really expensive. And those that were cheap were too small for us. It would be like living in a shoebox.

Anyway, my sister and I just moved in the condo this week. Prior to the move, there was a lot of packing, cleaning and sorting out of old stuff. I didn’t realize how much clothes I had! Then when we moved in, there was more cleaning and unpacking to do and organizing our stuff. Thank goodness it’s all done now. There’s a gym within the condo complex and the swimming pool is big, but I haven’t tried using them yet.

Now we’re adjusting to this new place, especially the city. We’ve lived in Pasig before but that was so many years ago and it was in a different area. I still have difficulty finding my way around this new place. I feel like a fish out of water. But I know I’ll eventually get used to it. It’s just a matter of time before I can make myself feel really at home.

View of my dining area and living room

View of my dining area and living room

Me and the City

October 30, 2015 at 11:05 PM | Posted in Lifestyle, Musings | Leave a comment
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I’m slowly conditioning myself to the fact that I will be leaving my apartment and moving to a new condo by next month with my sister. And while I’m so glad that my sister and I finally have a place of our own, I couldn’t help but feel sad about leaving. I’ve lived in Makati City for over ten years now and to move to another city will definitely be a jolt for me. I loved living in this city because it’s only minutes away from the central business district and the vibrant nightlife. Yes I know the city is known for its horrendous traffic, but then again so is everywhere. This is the Philippines after all.

A peek at Ayala Triangle Park in Makati

A peek at Ayala Triangle Park in Makati

But Makati is sort of a comfort zone for me. Somehow it doesn’t feel as crowded as Quezon City or any other city in Manila for that matter. I’ve gotten used to the hustle and bustle of Makati and its ever-changing city landscape. Shops have come and gone. New malls have sprung up. Parks have changed. But I can still live with that. That’s how it goes in the big city.

I think I’m going to miss my trips to Ayala Triangle Park where I used to jog at night. I’m going to miss seeing the skyscrapers along Ayala Avenue in the morning on my way to work. I will miss the malls I frequent on weekends, and I will definitely miss the restaurants and coffee shops I usually go to.

But certain things need to be sacrificed. A decision had to be made. And it’s all been done. Next month I will be adjusting to a new life in a new city. I’m crossing my fingers that all will turn out well.

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.

Home for the Holidays

November 5, 2013 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Lifestyle, Travel | Leave a comment
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view of Mt. Mayon from the car

view of Mayon volcano from the car

So my recent trip to my hometown in Bicol just ended. It was a flurry of activities the whole time I was there. The road trip with my sister and cousin was nice and comfortable despite the fact that we had to travel at 2:00 AM for the long journey. I hadn’t any sleep the night before the trip because I’m usually a night owl. I was wide awake for most of the journey and enjoyed the stillness of the early morning, breezing through the empty streets of Manila and passing by mountains and rice fields. My cousin was the one driving so my sister and I were able to relax throughout the trip. But I was nursing a headache by the time we got to Camarines Sur at around 9:00 AM due to the lack of sleep. By noon, we finally arrived home in Albay. We were greeted by the pleasant sight of our newly renovated ancestral home, which was divided into several units to accommodate six families.

Weena's road trip to Bicol

This is me during the road trip

The succeeding days were spent shopping with my mom, sister and aunt for things needed at the house, bingeing on food I hadn’t eaten in a long while (including Bicolano dishes), and preparing the unit of the house where my uncle was due to settle in. I was also able to meet with my old college buddies, although two of them couldn’t join us due to conflict of schedule. But I had such a great time with my college buddies and I spent Halloween with them reminiscing our good times together back when we were at the university.

Weena, Cielo & Ails

My college buddies and I at Embarcadero de Legazpi

My uncle and aunt arrived from Manila just in time for All Saints’ Day. So we had a small family reunion there at the house. It’s a tradition in our family to make food offerings to our dead relatives during All Saints’ Day, and I was able to witness it again after a long time.

My sister and I also helped our uncle settle into his new home when he arrived. It was the first time he saw the renovated house after he suffered a stroke and he was so pleased on how well the renovation turned out. We filled his unit with stuff he needed and my younger brother who looks after him also helped organized his things. There are still a few things in my uncle’s unit that need fixing, but all in all he was already quite settled there when my sister and I left for our trip back to Manila.

Weena with Mt. Mayon viewMe at the bay side of Embarcadero de Legazpi

I felt a little sad when my sister and I finally left the province to head back to Manila. I will miss it for sure. What I love the most about my hometown is its rustic and pastoral setting including its laidback atmosphere that Manila obviously lack. I can see myself retiring there eventually.

Our house in AlbayOur house

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