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Paraluman: Singing Alternative Class

Last October 27, 2016, I was invited to be an instructor in the annual alternative class of the College of Rehabilitation Science (CRS) at the University of Santo Tomas (at the building behind ours, to be exact.) This will be my first ever experience of being an instructor, and I was stoked when the Student Council secretary, Julianne Yabut, invited me! That even though I have a make-up class in my major subject from 3-5pm, I didn’t back out from this event because, hello experience!?

It wasn’t really a grandiose event like a huge workshop on singing, but it is more of a close interaction with a small group. There were 2 batches, the first batch was from 1-2:30 pm, with 3 people. And the next batch was from 3-4:30 pm, with 6 people.

I actually prepared a powerpoint presentation, but since there are only a few people I decided to just do a monolog, and then asked them to sing. I shared my experience in my road to Tawag ng Tanghalan— which almost 3 months passed already and I haven’t done my blog nor my vlog about it. I also shared the rough road prior to being part of the most sought-after noontime televised singing contest. And then, I asked them to sing hoping that I can teach them the breathing, or how to reach certain notes, or if they’re sounding too nasal. But, they are too shy. So, I just jammed with them and talked about everything in this world, and of course, I also did encourage them to join the said contest.

Being at the building of the CRS, it felt like I am in another dimension. It has a total diverse culture compared to what we have in our building. Their hallways seemed like hallways in the hospital, something wide and illuminated, the doors also felt like hospital doors, packed with unique stories for each door. The way people talk is calmer and they always look into your eyes like as if asking about your need.

I don’t know if it’s because they are being molded as health service provider, whereas in our building we are being molded as fighters for justice and against the ill-natured schemes, therefore we are more of the aggressive and defensive type. Or probably I was just overthinking because it’s my first time doing something in their building and not just merely using their facilities.

These are my “students” for batch 1 and batch 2. As much as I wanted to include their names, I am not really good with names. I remember my students from batch 1, but from batch 2 some names are sketchy– gosh I really have to work on that.

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The event finished at around 4:30pm, and after I was given the certificate and the token of appreciation. I already left because I have to meet my friends and ask about the make-up class which I scheduled *rolls eyes* but missed.

Since CRS gave me a 500-worth of Starbucks gift certificate, we continued the plan of eating/drinking/just quality time together. I thought our plan of drinking or eating will no longer push through, but guess where we are? We were at Starbucks Carpark and spent all the gift certificate.

And honestly, I can’t remember the last time I had an insane good laugh.

This is a such a good day, thank you Lord!

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Mini-Reunion: Shutter Cafe (Tomas Morato)

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Exterior of Shutter Cafe

Ultimate facts about me: I am not an “extended-family-oriented” type of person, I am not close with my relatives and I’m, in fact, awkward around them despite being a self-proclaimed confident person. There are a lot of reasons why, but I think the main reason is that most of my relatives resided in Samar– which would take me almost a day if I travel by land, or fortunes if I travel via airplane. So, it’s very seldom for us to go to our province, and sometimes we just wait for them to go here in Manila.

But of all my cousins, Diona is the one I am close with the most because it is in their house where we are staying every time we are in the province. And vice versa when they’re here in Manila. Besides, we only have 3 years age gap, so we’ve seen each other mature from those lame “just because our elbows touched” or “she’s annoying” or “I’m being demanding” or whatever. But one thing’s for sure, currently, we are more of the “best of friends.” yuck 

If my memory serves me right, it has been 2 years since the last time we saw each other. And I seriously heard so many stories I want to talk to her about. Besides, I have been a senior career ambassador– ohyas— so I feel the need to exercise my skills in understanding her needs as a teenager and at the same time I can imbue her with the wisdom I collated from the last 19 years of my existence. #VeryAte

So after finishing our errands for that day, Diona and I went to Shutter Cafe at Tomas Morato.

Upon entering, you will find a Camera store called Shuttermaster Pro. And for a photography and video editing enthusiast, myself, I felt like I am in heaven. And if I am only given with the will to decide buying camera with my own money, dude I might have impulsively bought one there.

They have cameras, camera accessories, photo studio necessities (I’m sorry I don’t know how to call them, but you know those reflectors, and umbrella-like things you can see in photo studios), and even the printer. Everything is beautiful, but I was not able to check on the prices because I was just looking for a Ring Light– while praying that they would have and it’s cheaper– unfortunately, they don’t have.

But!!! To all photography enthusiasts out there. They will be having a photography lesson on the 15th of October this year, and you can go there. I wasn’t able to check other details so I don’t know what time or if it’s paid. But you can check it out because there is a huge feeling in my heart that it’s free. And we like things free.

At the left side of the Shuttermaster Pro, there is a door going to the Shutter Cafe itself. I don’t know if it’s just because it was a little cloudy outside that’s why I perceived the interior environment as something a little gloomy– positively. The lights are dimmed, and the colors of the walls are a little neutral. Some part has a dirty white color, while on the other part it looked like it’s grayish blue (probably because of the lighting as well). The chairs are cozy, and it’s quite heavy you cannot just drag it because you’ll surely be disturbing other people. They also have different ranges of cameras fixed at the shelves, from the oldest antique model style to a more contemporary. The place is small with almost less than 10 tables, which in my opinion would be the right place if you’re studying.

Unfortunately for us, we are there to just catch up so we are lowering our voices the entire time– God knows how hard it was.

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We ordered a Red Sauce Pasta (160) and Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich (165), and they all come together with an Ice Tea. That’s also the main reason why we didn’t try the coffee anymore, or else we’ll be rushing home if you know what I mean. lol 

The White Sauce pasta is also not available, and they also don’t have much variety of cakes which made me disheartened already.

The Red Sauce Pasta has enough serving for a hangry person or 2 persons sharing. It has overwhelmingly generous amount of cheese but when I mixed the sauce it tasted like those sweet spaghettis kiddie parties served. I was expecting for a more salty-Italian style pasta, but I was quite disappointed with it.

The Philly Cheese Streak Sandwich, on the other hand, was  served with an even amount of beef and vegetables. The Beef was tender, and it has Cheese that drips every time you lift the sliced bread. It is also served with Kropek (or what they call the Prawn Crackers), and they just found my spot because I love Kropek so much.

The Ice Tea tasted like a real Ice Tea, I thought it has Alcohol content when I sipped.

So here’s a picture of me and my cousin. She’s leaving for Samar today, and yeah I mean it, I hope she comes back next year with a good news that she’ll be studying here in Manila. I really want to have a confidante even if that means sometimes we’ll annoy the stuff out of each other. — yuck so emotional lol 

So there you have it! If you want to visit a cafe that has good interiors and very placid ambiance. Go to Shutter Cafe! You can find it at 118 Scout Dr. Lazcano Street, Barangay Sacred Heart, Tomas Morato, Quezon City. And check Zomato for any information you need. Hope to hear your experience!

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Calm before the storm: Coffee Project (Abs-Cbn)

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Exterior of Coffee Project

The first time I saw Coffee Project was when I had my audition for Tawag ng Tanghalan sa Showtime. It is one of those Cafes that will make you feel curious about what is inside it. Due to the fact that it is located at the ground level of Wil Tower, and their windows are tinted, it gave me more anticipation of what kind of beauty in stored in it.

So I decided to check out Zomato and I found out that it has a garden-like theme with all the ornaments festooned on the ceilings, and calligraphed quotations on the wall and mirrors. I was totally amazed when I saw the pictures, but I actually thought that it doesn’t have an air conditioner and it would be like a garden that’s natural air sustained.

But I was wrong.

When we entered, we were welcomed by a regulated temperature. It wasn’t that cold that will make you sleep, nor warm that will make you bellow, it’s just enough and conducive for reviewing, studying or catching up with your friends.

They have divided the place into 4 sections. The first section is the one you’ll see upon entrance, and it is composed of the usual cushion chairs and tables, and a high stool and table facing the windows. The second section is more of a sequestered part and it is at the inner left side of the entrance.

The third section is called the Mezzanine because– of course it is located at the Mezzanine my god– but it’s more of at the hallway. It is composed of couch chairs with mosquito electric trap on the sides that will startle you every time a stupid mosquito gets near or in it. And last but not the least, the fourth section is located inside of the Mezzanine. It has a long table good for 6-8 people, and it’s the most lighted section in the whole cafe.

But swear, anywhere you seat it will all be Instagram-worthy! They really made an effort to conceptualize, and they spent so much time and money in putting all those flowers and calligraphies.

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Sardine Pasta, Penne Carbonara, and Spaghetti Bolognese

The Spaghetti Bolognese (195) tasted like a normal Spaghetti with lots of ground pork/beef in red sauce. I was actually expecting that there would be meatballs like how Sbarro would do it. But, it’s delicious and the serving is huge so it passed my quality control.

For the Penne Carbonara (235), as much as it looked like it’s not supposed to be mixed anymore, you still have to. You’ll find the creaminess of it once you mix it. Believe me. However, I really hope that they would improve using the Penne pasta. I mean, Penne pasta is known for it being a strong independent pasta needing no flavor for its life. lol But you see, it’s a Penne pasta, and as a diner it is our life time wish to taste a Penne pasta according to its flavor– if you know what I mean. Afterall, that is the most expensive Pasta they serve.

Lastly, the Sardine Pasta (210). I have already tasted a Sardines flavorred Pancit Bihon, and when I tasted it I knew in myself that it is a Sardines flavored Pancit Bihon. But for this pasta, I am not really sure if it is just because they are using an imported sardines, and that it didn’t taste like a local sardine. And that is actually a compliment! Despite having that ascerbic taste because it’s my first time tasting a Sardine pasta, since I am a Pasta lover, overall it is still zesty.

For the Drinks, we ordered Sea Caramel Frappe (175), Iced Caramel Macchiato (155), and Green Macha (175).

As I’ve said in my previous post, I always loved Caramel Frappe so once I see it on the menu it is automatically my choice. And thank God, it didn’t disappoint me. In fact, I was taciturn upon sipping is because it is so dulcet it doesn’t need any more words.

For the Iced Caramel Macchiato, it tasted universal. For the Green Macha, I like it too. I like matcha flavored foods that are still sweet and not being so traditional Matcha.

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Krizia, Pammy and I being pretentious

The reason we went here is that we are supposed to study for our preliminary exams together. Well yes of course we served our purpose because our clique is naturally like that.  *fips hair* We don’t believe on other people saying that if you review with your friends then you’ll just end up chatting and not being able to study at all.

But you see, it depends on the person. You can still chitchat, as long as your eyes are reading and your hands are writing. They also have wifi so you can browse your social media accounts, and that is okay as long as your eyes are reading and your other hand is writing. Multi-tasking it is! #VeryTitaReminder

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Yay, just me trying to be a blogger

There you have it, thank you for reading!

 

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Catching Up: Vites n Spices (Sampaloc)

Vites N’ Spice is located beside Jelly Citea. I remember when we passed by this restaurant we were actually debating whether to go here or to Jelly Citea. But since as I’ve said, we are after the interior of the cafe we decided to go to Jelly Citea and just promised ourselves that we are going to eat here next time. And that next time happened days after. And with an additional member, Krizia! *pop the confetti*

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Carbonara Platter

Our first meal is the Carbonara Platter (120). Pammy, Krizia, and I are seriously in love with Carbonaras! It’s always our choice, whenever it’s between Spaghetti and Carbonara. So since there are only 2 choices for Pasta, this is the one we chose. It’s also advisable that you get a platter because you can save more. The platter is good for 2-3 persons depending on the hunger level. And the single order is at 65 pesos, so now you know that when you do the Math you’ll know how much you saved! You’re welcome! *winks*

As I’ve said we are seriously in love with Carbonaras, so we have tasted already most Carbonaras in this world. And this Carbonara is not that of good quality, it tasted like something out of a packed instant Carbonara, and besides it felt like I tasted it already at the restaurant blocks away from here. But considering the price, on-budget-student standard, and hunger level, it’s okay. The noodles are cooked well, and it’s creamy like a Carbonara, but it’s not just something that would make you forget your name.

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Double N Burger

We ordered Double N Burger (105), and it was so big I was able to divide it into 6 bite sizes. The reason why we ordered it? The color. It’s nice to see black-bunned burgers, isn’t it? It felt exotic and a total game changer. Regarding the taste, it tasted like those normal burgers in a good way. It is with beef, lettuce, onions, and other ingredients that comprise a usual burger. Cannot say more.

It was just the color of the bun that makes it extra special.

Now you understand why you should never be a racist. (lol trying hard to connect this blog post to something relevant lol)

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White forest and Strawberry Oreo Flare

We ordered 3 Frappuccinos. White Forest (70), Oreo Madness (70), and Strawberry Oreo Flare (70). But the Oreo Madness was not able to make it to the picture because it was having its own photo shoot– if you know what I mean.

I ordered White Forest because I believed that it will be sweet enough like Caramel Frappuccino because that’s my favorite. In fact, every time I go to any cafes, if there’s a Caramel Frappuccino, I stop searching and settle for it!–Can someone make me their Caramel Frappuccino–Then, here comes the White Forest, I almost winced when I took a sip. It was so sweet, but since the other foods we’re eating are salty, it’s okay! And besides, I like sweet frappuccinos, so who am I to say no?

For Pammy, she ordered Strawberry Oreo Flare. But for some unknown reason, we were surprised when we saw that it wasn’t color reddish pink like how a Strawberry shake looks like. So she was subtly fuming telling us that it’s impossible for it to be a Strawberry Oreo Flare and it’s a mistake because it has the same color with the Oreo Madness, Krizia ordered. But Pammy being Pammy, we told her to taste it first.– She continued sipping like nothing happened.

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Waffle: Caramel and Oreo Nutella

Lastly, for our “dessert”– as if our frappuccinos are not sweet enough– we ordered Waffles. It was supposed to be 1 flavor for 2 waffles, but since we are the only customer that time. When I asked if it’s possible to have different flavors, they agreed. So that’s my tip to anyone planning to dine here. Ask.

No actually, not only here, but to anywhere you’re planning to eat. Always ask if some things are possible, after all, it’s the good service that they are working on.

Just the trio, sending thanks for reading!

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Food for the mind: Reader’s Cafe (UST)

As everyone knows, I have a huge affection for aesthetic cafes. It’s actually my own petty excuse that “I need to study and I need to be in a cafe.” I mean, I can study at home, I actually have no problem studying at home. But being able to go to cafes, sit there, and contemplate about my life is just calming.

It’s like every time I’m sitting in a cafe, watching people, smelling the aroma of coffee beans, and listening to music I can barely hear, I feel like everything is moving fast track and I’m the only one at a pause– well you know how this looks like in a movie aren’t you? I feel a whole less stressed even though I am supposed to have an enormous amount of stress. Thanks, priorities, and procrastination!

In fact, I listed 37 uniquely designed cafes/restaurants around Manila and Quezon City. And even though, I am not promising to finish them all before 2016 ends, I’m still hoping that I could go to as many as I can.

But for this day, I didn’t cross out any on that list because this is one of the cafes inside the university I am attending. It’s called, Reader’s Cafe. It is situated on the ground floor of the Miguel de Benavides Library.

University of Santo Tomas (UST), actually has several cafes aside from Figaro (the one inside the Clinical Division), Starbucks, Coffee Avenue, and Seattle’s Best that are all at the Carpark. There are also “local” coffee shops that are being run by the CTHM (Tourism) college. These cafes are going to be where some CTHM students are going to have their practicum/On the Job Training (OJT). The “local” coffee shops that I know are the ones at the Library and at the TARC building.

Although I have been once hanging out at the one located at the TARC building, due to the lack of cake options there, I preferred the one at the library or the Reader’s Cafe. Even though they have a “1 hour only stay” policy.

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Red Velvet and Mango Mousse

Our top one favorite is the Red Velvet Cake (60) because it’s far better than its price. Red Velvet cakes outside usually costs more than 100 because of the dewy controlled sweetness. But for this, it tastes a little near the quality of those expensive Red Velvet cakes! And it’s only 60 pesos! How beautiful is that!?

The other cake we ordered was the Mango Mousse, and I just liked it because it’s Mango with a Mousse. Do I have to elaborate that more? However, when we tasted it the Mango top coat, didn’t taste like it’s Mango. It’s like a Mango-food-colored gelatin. I’m disappointed.

Guess, it’s always going to be Red Velvet Cake.

Unless, they improve their pastries.

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Destress: Jelly Citea (Sampaloc)

We are on those days of the month,

wherein we are chasing not pavements,

but deadlines.

Adding more fuel to the fire, sometimes, we tend to be surrounded by people who doesn’t know the urgency between the letters “D E A D L I N E”– which I suppose is the reason why group works tend to be a whole lot stressful than working individually. In other words, it is totally defeating the purpose of “group work.”

Anway, since we are already done with our parts on the group project. Pammy and I, Zomato-ed cafes around UST and we found this cute cafe stationed few streets away from UST.   thumb_img_0574_1024

Jelly Citea is one of those cafes that made an effort in distinguishing itself from other cafes. Using the limited space, they constructed 3 wooden double decks separated by 2 ladders, on its left. Each deck has a small table and 2 cushions that you can sit on, which I super loved because it’s similar to those in the Korean Dramas! #yaykdramaland ♥︎

We took the first upper deck, and honestly, the space felt confined because I’m so close to the ceiling. That, even if I’m just 5’2 I still had to lower my head while kneeling down. That, if I am claustrophobic, I might have problems with it. For the width, it is most likely for 2-3 persons only. But you can have 4 if you’re clingy to each other. lol 

The table that we had was not that cute, unlike the one on upper deck next to us. For us, it was like it’s undone because the plywood was not yet even painted. That’s why despite the good lighting I wasn’t able to make use of the table– as you can see on the following pictures.

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Lasagna Rolls

We were not really hungry that time, and Pammy was just supporting my blogging hobby that’s why she accompanied me. Besides, the top reason why we ate here was because of the comfort of interiors of the cafe. We ordered

We ordered Lasagna Rolls (129), Chocolate Moist cake (110), Matcha Milkshake (119), and Wintermelon Milk Tea (75). [*~Prices are to be updated.~*]

Lasagna Rolls is one their specialties. I am not a fan of Lasagna because I tend to feel like it’s too cheesy. But, this will definitely be on my top list. Per plate, it has 2 rolls of Lasagna. It is covered with something that tasted like red sauce (the one on Spaghetti) and a white sauce (the one on Carbonara). And having that combination is just absurdly awesome. The Lasagne (or the Lasagna noodles) tasted like it was delicately done. That once you bite it, it won’t stick to your hard palate and it will just smoothly go down your throat with your lips curved into a smile because this is just so good to be true.

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For the Milk Tea, we ordered Wintermelon because that’s what we normally take. It’s the play safe milk tea because it’s not that sweet that would make you want to go home (if you know what I mean) lol. On the other hand literally, is the Matcha Milkshake. Unfortunately, it didn’t taste like it’s Matcha, it tasted like Pandan. It made me sad especially I love Matcha so much.

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And the most awaited part… The dessert! This is a Chocolate Moist Cake, and the chocolate filling really served our taste buds right. It was mouthwatering, even though the filling is chocolate, the bread is chocolate, the top coat is chocolate, and there is also a piece of chocolate, it didn’t make us feel like we’re fed up with the sweetness.

This cafe is definitely on the list to come back to.