Eating Japanese

10Apr08

I was devastated upon finding out that Ajisen Ramen along Libis closed down! Now is there another branch for this? Ajisen’s a fast-food chain with franchises in North America, Australia and around Asia. They serve the best ramen with a winning combination of hand-pulled noodles, secret stock recipe. If you don’t know what you missed, read Lori Baltazar’s entry about this place here: http://www.dessertcomesfirst.com/?p=544

We have to refresh our list then of the best Japanese restos near us in QC… There’s Omakase – one in Eastwood (near Power Punch) and another in Tomas Morato. If payday’s still far and Sugi (Greenhills) is out of your options, this is the best bet to get authentic Japanese food and sumptuous sushi. Omakase, roughly translated, means letting the chef decide or giving your trust to the chef. Try their American Dream fusion sushi- salmon, crab meat and cream cheese J

If your appetite’s really demanding, Zensho’s a great place to get your money’s worth. Unlike Saisaki that overwhelms you with a variety of choices (gone cold), Zensho offers an eat-all-you-can menu. A table is assigned a chef and a Teppanyaki grill where the magic happens. We ate there with B’s family for his birthday dinner and we were burping on our way home. Haha. 600pax all in, you can have your fill of sushi, salmon, oysters, steaks, < lamb >, meats, fish, tempura, sashimi and almost anything.

Chef Roger

Chef Roger showing his moves :p

Writing this just made me realize why I’m gaining weight. But with good restos disappearing all of a sudden, can you blame me for seizing the moment? 😉

Zensho

168 Tomas Morato cor. Roces Ave. Quezon City (Near McDonald’s)

Omakase

-Unit 207 Intrepid Plaza, E. Rodriguez Ave.,Libis, Quezon City

-Scout Rallo corner Tomas Morato

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4 Days is not enough for one to experience the beauty of the Bicol region.

Travelling alone will cost you 2-4 hours depending on which town you’ll move to. We took the Legaspi route and headed for Donsol. Our reservations were in Casa Bianca, which was 3-4 resorts away from the Tourism Office in Dancalan. Not bad for its price, Php1,700 for an air-conditioned room fitting 5; though I deem it best to not recommend it instead. Hehe. Perhaps the best lesson learned here’s that planning is soooo crucial. Haha! Thanks to Ate Agnes, a local and daughter of Amor Farm Beach Resort’s owner, transfer and itinerary arrangements were made easier.

apr 5, 08breakfast at Amor\'sFood’s cheap and yummy at Amor’s (sobrang media mileage na to!) too, no surprise that the Presidential kids Luli and Datu were staying there. Hehe. Chismis. We sampled their version of Sinigang with Buko (young coconut meat), Kinunot, Laing and adobo. Breakfast was served there too, funny that they label hotdogs as sausages. Hehe. Banana pancakes anyone?

Registration and a 10 minute orientation at the Tourism office will prepare you for the whaleshark encounter. Our BIO (butanding interaction officer) was the best! Kuya Apollo carries a whaleshark tattoo on his chest, proof that he’s taken the love for these wondrous animals to another level. The tourism also brought livelihood to this otherwise sleepy town. Of course, since it doesn’t involve capturing and disturbing animals, I’m all ok for this trip.

firefly cruiseThe night before our scheduled encounter, we hopped on 2 boats to cruise along Donsol’s river lined with mangroves and palm trees. The sunset-night activity’s perfect for couples… I’m reminded of 2 scenes. 1 is in a Samurai X episode where Kaoru and Kenshin were with flocking(?) fireflies and 2)anaconda! Hahahaha. Ang ganda. Imagine hundreds of twinkling lights, flying, settling on trees and even your arm! You’ll need a high-tech cam with night vision to catch the view.

our BIOsBy 8 am the next day, we were sailing away, watching the seas grow deeper in blue. Until from a little distance, a black formation was moving to the right. Our BIO signaled us to get ready with our flippers and masks. Without any time to back out, he shouts “sa kanan, talon!” (to the right, jump!). The funny thing is that I don’t swim. Haha! If only to save my life, but I’m sure I looked like a poor paddling dog with fins. Heck! I wouldn’t pass the chance to swim with these creatures. We got around with a total of 10 butandings, the largest ones were 9-10 ft. long. They’re sooooo beautiful. The hard work’s been worth it. By hard work, I mean getting kicked by Americans and shoved by Chinese tourists who are chasing after the same whaleshark. Interaction’s limited to 6 per shark but well, that wasn’t the case. Still, that didn’t prevent us from getting as close as less than a foot away from the gentle giants.

After a quick lunch by 11 am, we headed for Gubat, Sorsogon. A plain mistake because it’s a ghost town. We had a ball laughing at how sorry we are for booking the resort that night. The girls ended up sleeping in the same room as the guys’ because we were freaked out. Hahaha! A word of caution lang, the people in smaller towns are not used to tourist, so be more modest in terms of clothing or how you act. It can get uncomfortable, to be honest. But let’s not go there.. I’d rather skip this part and head for the capping stop: CamSur!

Because of the MNC sales skills, we traded our 2 standard rooms for an executive and very exclusive villa and saved ourselves Php4000 more! Villa Del Rey Villas have their own pool. Only one family was staying there so it’s technically ours, haha! The custom bed and zen/Asian inspired interiors of our villa spreads to its personal yard and porch. There’s even an outdoor tub for us to enjoy. Way cool! :p

our own pool!entryporchbedroomtub

Food in CWC (CamSur WaterSports Complex) is reasonable also. Prices similar to Manila’s Dencio’s or Gerry’s. The best part of course is the wakeboarding! But waiiit… since we’re beginners, we have to start with kneeboards first. Sounds wimpy but your body will object. The ge-force left our muscles sore til days after. CamSur’s a good place to stay in too, only 30 minutes away is a white beach and an hour more will lead you to the Caramoan Peninsula. Sadly, it’s closed to the public because Survivor Italy’s using it as their cast-away island. Kewl. By the end of this year, a new lagoon in CWC will open: a bigger one using a speedboat to pull its riders instead of cables.

boardskneeboardingCWC

Okay, so there were some hits and miss but the trip generally rocked!

I have contacts for those of you who’d the same itinerary.

Dali! Whaleshark season’s only until May. If not, CWC’s always a good choice to stay in 😉

Some notes:

-Agnes Amor, Amor Farm Beach Resort- 09176941687

-ask for Kuya Apollo as you BIO J

-Whaleshark interaction- Php3550/boat. Max of 7

-snorkel gear @ Php150/set

-van rentals vary depending on distance, but contact service vans with a route to get a cheaper rate rather than the typical for-hire ones

-Firefly cruise @ Php1100/boat J max of 5 people

-great beaches are in Matnog (tip of Sorsogon), Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte

-For divers, try the Manta Bowl. Jump off is at Donsol too

For more photos, visit my multiply album: http://appsie.multiply.com/photos/album/80/bumi-Bicol_with_the_Hard_Core_


am baaack!

08Apr08

I can’t be more excited to blog about our Donsol-Sorsogon-CamSur vacation over the last 4 days. I can go on and on about seeing whalesharks and dolphins, kneeboarding, pigging out plus eating Laing and Bicol Express for 4 days straight. But it’s back to reality for me!

I used 2 rolls for my Holga and hundreds of images are stored in my digicam. waaaah! best trip to start the year. The company of “butandings” aka Hard Core Friends made it all the more enjoyable. We’ll definitely go back for some real wakeboarding then.

Til tomorrow or the day after, for now, it’s back to my tasks.

Btw, the new WordPress interface rocks! kudos to the WP devt team. hoorah!

To the Butandings, Kota Kinabalu, watch out for us!


gone Berlitz

03Apr08

I’m finally attending language school 🙂 Yeay! another tick in my to-do list for the year.

Technically, this will be my 4th language if we count Nihongo which I took up in college for a year. We got until the intermediate level then 4th year StraMa (thesis) came and I wasn’t able to continue. In fairness, Jap’s easier to learn than Mandarin. The pronunciation’s kinder for beginners. I still have my old books and my friends in Japan can always send me resources so I can study on my own.

Now comes the challenge- learning Mandarin using the Berlitz Method. Started by Maximilian Berlitz, this approach to foreign language study’s being used for more than a hundred now. How different is it? For starters, it’s a total nosebleed. Not entirely, but it gives that impression! haha. That’s a no-translation class and your Lao shi speaks to you only in the language you’re studying. Of course, there’s the study materials like book and cd but this set-up forces you to stop translating and eventually pattern your thought based on the target language. Isn’t this how we learn to speak in the first place? That’s their rationale. Lao shi points at things, colors, numbers for you to get what she’s saying at first. Half an hour later, we were mimicking her tone and pronunciation already as well as answering questions 🙂 how effective!

I’ve read reviews that Berlitz might not make you so fluent but this is the perfect jump point i think. Before you can do basic presentation in a business set-up, you should pass level 3 first. Each level’s 15 hrs. long. Instead of concentrating on writing (though pin yin is used), you learn the logic of sentence patterns on your own. Another plus is the small class size. We’re limited to 3 students in a class to maximize the experience. Hehe, we’re a happy bunch- Apple, Carry and Christina.

I’ll be getting my Chinese name tonight. hehe. I’ll let you in on that after.

Then Friday to Monday, I’ll be out of town with B and our Monde friends. Will be posting photos and entries for sure.

Cheerios!

Berlitz/Edu-Care: 5th Level of Shangri-La,


rubik’sThe Rubik’s Cube

Office, train, shuttle, coffee shops- everywhere you go, people have either of these three things with them: a mobile phone, a PSP and most recently, a Rubik’s cube!

In my workplace alone, the IMD boys and designers/developers on the next lot are crazy about solving this 3d puzzle. The fascination simply won’t die, as news published last week showed that 300 Million cubes were sold in 3 decades. It’s safe to say that China-made ones weren’t counted in this figure.

One of my classmates in grade school got so frustrated with not matching all the sides, he turned to desperation… We saw him peeling the stickers off and rearranging them instead. yikes.

Thanks to the internet, unlocking this “mystery” is not as hard as before. The fastest record time for solving it is 9.18 seconds (i can eat a doughnut faster though!). If you’re on the run to snatch the Fastest Solver title from this guy, try visiting these sites for practice and tips:

http://www.schubart.net/rc/ –> Rubik’s Cube Java applet

http://jeays.net/rubiks.htm –> How to Solve the Rubik’s cube

http://peter.stillhq.com/jasmine/rubikscubesolution.html Beginner’s solution to solving the Rubik’s cube

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Math_p023.shtml Fastest way to solve a Rubik’s cube


How to videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsQIoPyfQzM

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/388633/how_to_solve_a_rubiks_cube_pt_1/

And if you’re really passionate about speed cubing, why not join:

Philippine Cubers Association
World Cube Association

And remember… Geek is the new black! Why else will this be so popular? :p