PHOTO DIARY: Travel & Sunset

Timed right, sunsets are one of the most amazing works of nature you could ever catch on camera.

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Browsing through my old travel photos, I realized that I have quite a habit of taking photos of the setting sun. I mean, who doesn’t. Timed right, sunsets are one of the most amazing works of nature you could ever catch on camera and I am glad that I have taken the time to do so, albeit not always on purpose.

I tried to recover as much as I can. Here’s a couple of photos I’ve taken during my beach travels.

Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley – 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Donsol River, Sorsogon - 2015 | Canon EOS M
Donsol River, Sorsogon – 2015 | Canon EOS M
Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte - 2013 | Canon EOS 1000D
Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte – 2013 | Canon EOS 1000D
Samar - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Samar – 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Capul Island, Northern Samar - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Capul Island, Northern Samar – 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Guyam Island, Siargao - 2016 | Fujifilm X30
Guyam Island, Siargao – 2016 | Fujifilm X30

QC Food Festival 2014: The Food, or the Lack Thereof

Unlike in music festivals, there aren’t hipsters here. The horrifying truth is that there’s also not enough food. Food festival my ass.

It was a massacre.

Do you think I should go on with this entry? The first line pretty much summarizes everything and yes, nobody died but I’m willing to bet the money I don’t have that somebody else out there thinks that it is close to what could go down in history as the most food-less food festival.

The anticipation leading up to this day was amazing. For someone who frequented the Maginhawa food spot, I was excited that loads of people will be introduced to this place.

food fest my ass

The food festival (and I will keep on italicizing it until the sarcasm gets old) is a good way to promote this place. I thought that maybe, if more people tried it, the more friends I’d be able to lure with me when I spend my weekends here.

Oh, what a disaster it was.

Yours truly, along with three other friends Anna, Nica, and Cha, went to Maginhawa to experience Quezon City’s idea of a food a festival. It is, after all, the city’s 75th anniversary–and the whole idea of food and people everywhere is both terrifying and exciting. The food festival along Maginhawa is already a brilliant idea in itself.

We arrived around five in the afternoon. The posters say the whole event is from 9AM to 12mn; you’d anticipate that the supply will be enough for what kind of demand it could possibly entail. A whole day of food tripping? That’s my thing.

The Gang.
The Gang.

Needless to say, loads of people came. We were practically among an entire horde of people coming in.  They closed the street from end to end to make way for food stalls and chairs and tables.

It was exciting.

Sights
The Scene

But the excitement only lasted up until the first store we visited whose owner only gave us a sad smile saying, “Ubos na po, eh,” meaning they’ve already ran out of whatever they were selling.

That was sort of funny to me but I took it as a good sign. I mean, it’s not even six yet and you’re already sold out, I mean man, good for you.

The shocker was the next booth we visited said the same thing, as did the next store and the next one after that.

That’s when I started to realize that maybe, most of these stores/food stalls weren’t able to anticipate the amount of people that came.

I mean, come on, it was a lot. Like, seriously, loads of people I know announced via Facebook that they were going–and there are so many of them that I could practically announce a spontaneous reunion and everyone will be present.

When you hear some girl scream, “Oh my God,” it usually means they saw someone from college or high school and believe me, there were a lot of oh my Gods. 

It was a good thing that I was with my super fun friends who made funny of the already-bad situation. We were tired of walking–and most of all we were tired of vendors saying they’ve ran out of stock.

I didn’t mind the walking but it was the shortage that bothered me. It’s a food festival–there should be food available in every turn of my neck but that time, I was certain that even if I did an exorcist-esque 360 head turn, I still won’t find anything to eat.

After an hour and a half of walking and trying not to punch someone in the face, we found a small sisig stall somewhere. Spent P39 on a small meal that passed as dinner–which, okay was good.

We realized we’re right in the middle of the street and maybe, not a lot of people have come in there so we were able to actually buy something.

We started to walk again, heading to one of my favorite places in the area (The Sweet Spot). And the following scene surprised all of us:

IMG_6340
The Legendary Stage.

A stage… facing the building–when the crowd is on the street.

Do you still need me to, like, elaborate why this is wrong on so many levels?

I mean, I get that the one who sponsored the whole live band thing is probably the owner of the restaurants in the building but COME THE EFF ON! Seriously?

We were laughing our asses off when we found a table that we could, finally–after 486465 years, properly sit by and have some more food.

We went inside The Sweet Spot, got some caffeinated drinks and some dessert and then went on with our lives. The only consolation for not being able to try another restaurant because of the people situation was the fact that we had a good time–but that’s mostly because we’re a funny bunch. I almost cried laughing because everything was just so random and funny; and I was saying things like red velvel and wardrobe marfarncshion.

Highlight of the night was our Mariah Carey discussion–and that’s saying something ’cause we should be talking about the damn food festival.

We tried to fool ourselves into trying to do some more but eventually resigned for the day at 11PM. I asked my friends what their verdict was and I think, the long and uncomfortable silence that followed pretty much summarized it.

Quezon City “Food Festival” was a complete and utter failure.

I wouldn’t  say it was a waste of time because I had fun with my friends–but we were having fun at the expense of the whole event being a joke.

There weren’t enough food stalls for a crowd of about 2, 000 or more–and who are we going to blame for this?

Certainly not the people who thought that the word festival meant there’s a festive thing somewhere; and certainly not the people who thought that when you say day-long food festival there’d actually be enough food for a day.

Writing this blog, I’m still rolling my eyes at how ironic it was.

Sure, it’s a first time thing but hey, don’t make promises you can’t fulfill and certainly DO NOT say it’s a festival when it’s really just a small lineup of food stalls, with owners secretly wishing no one would throw a fit because we all know what hunger and frustration do to people. And good news, no one got hurt–probably just feelings, but that’s a story for another day.

If they’re planning to make this an annual event, let’s just hope that next year, the organizers would run analytics on the likes and retweets because hey, that usually means all those people are planning to go and maybe we could use this to anticipate the crowd and warn the vendors about the shit-ton of people looking for something to eat.

I mean, damn.

Pictures to mask the fact that we are tired and hungry.
Pictures to mask the fact that we are tired and hungry.

We ended up spending the night at my house because hey, my home may not be as festive but at least I have enough supply for the demand.

Food festival my ass.

TMC: #3 The Sweet Spot

By now, you should already know that I suck at this whole thing. This post is about a couple of months late but yeah, whatever.

Moving on.

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It’s us again.
I’m a sucker for cozy coffee shops–not just because I live and die with caffeine but also because it fascinates me in some weird way. It has been kind of a difficult feat for me to find a place that passes all of my standards regarding ambiance, theme, and the taste of their coffee.

That’s what interested me about The Sweet Spot. It’s one of the most popular places down Maginhawa Street so, it’s no surprise that I encouraged my friends to visit this place right after our fateful experience at Gayuma ni Maria.

Since I’m already blogging this from what my not-so-sharp memory could help me with, I can only try and give you something here.

We arrived there late in the afternoon. The place isn’t packed, save for a couple of people who already look familiar with the place. I also remember seeing a bunch of first-timers and I only knew that because they were taking pictures of the place.

The place is perfect for people who want to sit and do some reading whether it is for academic or just casual reading. The place is about serene enough for concentrating on work or school–which is cool actually, and I guess that’s sort of the perk when you’re not Starbucks.

The only thing I could complain about is the music. The place could use some coffee shop tunes we could easily find on Spotify because a coffee shop is not a place for Demi Lovato. But that’s a story for another day.

The Sweet Spot 1

Drinks 2

 

Overall, the place looks nice. The loft-style cafe is a perfect chill place for catching up and studying.

2014-06-26_05.21.07_1_20140819182336563[1]
From the balcony.
2014-06-26_05.19.05_1[1]
The reading area/counter.
Overall satisfaction: cool!

The Sweet Spot: check!

Gayuma Check

 

View the masterpost of The Maginhawa Chronicles.

 

TMC: #2 Gayuma ni Maria

If you’re into trying something new, this is the place to be.

So, Gayuma Ni Maria (translation: Maria’s Love Potion) wasn’t exactly the second place I visited in Maginhawa. I’ve already visited The Sweet Spot and Fruili Trattoria prior to this but I haven’t tasted much of what they offer so, I decided to save those posts for some other day.

Anyway.

I, along with two of my friends, visited this place mostly because we’ve all heard such rave reviews about it. Even my officemates told me to visit this place and try this cake called, Beats Sex Any Day. I never made it a habit to check out any restaurant’s menu online so, I my interest piqued when I heard the names they call their dishes. It’s interesting and maybe, that’s why we picked this place.

collage
Top photo: myself and Michelle, a friend I haven’t seen in two years; Bottom photo: all three of us; Khreane, a regular guest in this series of foodrip

We came in and the place is almost empty save for about four people who are seated in twos; obviously, given the name itself, the place is designed for couples. But then again, who cares?

The place is dim; I guess they’re going for the romantic vibe but my eyes are really bad without glasses so, I kinda didn’t like it. There are paper cutouts of hearts anywhere and I was secretly gagging but then again, that’s just me. The place is actually kind of nice, you know, if you’re into that.

Anyway.

We sat at the booth and we were given the menu after about five minutes of being there. And I would be pissed under normal circumstances but yeah, I was in a good mood so, yeah. It was worth the wait though because once we were handed the menu, we all started laughing.

It’s interesting to read food names like Unrequited Love, Secret Lovers, Undress Me, and No Boyfriend Since Birth.

It’s right then did I realize that, really, this place is really popular for its concept alone. It’s brilliant, I think, and at the same time really entertaining–which only led us to spending about 10 minutes just discussing the menu. [Follow these links to view the menu: 1, 2]

The highlight though is this meal called Tunay na Pagibig (True Love). Never in my life did I ever saw this coming. I mean, I’ve always joked about ordering love from a restaurant as if it’s that easy but shit got real the moment Michelle said, “Isa nga pong Tunay na Pagibig.”

I laughed so hard, I almost cried. Unfortunately, True Love wasn’t available that day. So yeah, it blows. See, you will never find true love in restaurants. I’m actually a bit disappointed because kidding aside, the dish seems kinda promising:

DSC_1030_20140623195157022
True Love

So, yeah, since Tunay na Pagibig is not available, we’re all gonna have to settle somehow. (I love how this post has so much pun, by the way.)

Me on Top
Me on Top
Afternoon Delight
Afternoon Delight
Lumpiang Excited
Lumpiang Excited

Well, the pasta was good but the rest was just… okay.

We then ordered cakes and we tried getting this cake everyone talks about. Unfortunately, Beats Sex Any Day cake is not available as well. So, there you go: you don’t have true love and you have nothing better than sex. Can’t help but just shrug.

Pavlova; Red Velvet
Pavlova; Red Velvet

Overall, the experience was fun, hilarious even. I guess, this place is best visited by couples on a date. It’s definitely not a place that will be thoroughly enjoyed by friends who haven’t seen each other in two years. The food was just… okay. I just can’t believe we didn’t get to try the meals everyone was talking about and granted we came in on an afternoon but you best sellers always gotta be ready, right?

If you’re into trying something new, this is the place to be. They have a section where you can look at sex toys… so…. yeah.

2014-06-21 11.59.40 1

But for other things like fast service and overall ambiance, I’d say just don’t expect much.

I’d give the place a 2.5 out of 5 stars. I would’ve given it a 2 but like I said, I was in a good mood so there’s the  bonus points. Heh.

Overall satisfaction: uhm, cool.

Gayuma ni Maria: check!

View the masterpost of The Maginhawa Chronicles.

GNM Check

The Maginhawa Chronicles: #1 – Leona Art Restaurant

And so, the journey begins.

About a couple of weeks ago (because this blog post is late as heck), I invited my bestfriends to try a new restaurant with me. Thus, The Maginhawa Chronicles. Click here to know whatever the hell I am saying.

First stop: Leona Art Restaurant

See, this is the moment I realized that my favorite cuisine is Italian, mainly because–in the wise words of my personal hero April Ludgate:

Pizza is knowledge.

So, yes, it’s only logical that our first stop is this Italian place.

We got there about eight in the evening and in effort to speed things up, Leona Art Restaurant isn’t hard to find mostly because my friends are the best human maps in town. I’d be lost without them and that pun, my friend, is genius.

The place, in fairness, lived up to its name. It is indeed artsy and so Italian that it actually makes a good place for small-group reunions and date nights. Because I was so hungry, I didn’t have the motivation to take pictures of the place. Here’s a photo of my friends and I that’ll at least give you an idea of how the place looks like:

The bangs don’t lie.

There’s Anna, Dennis, Nica, and yours truly.

What’s impressive about Leona though is that it took them less than 10 minutes to serve our food. We ordered three kinds of pizza, one serving of pasta, three glasses of rootbeer float, and a glass of milkshake.

rootbeer float; pesto

3-cheese; pepperoni; garlic something-somthing pizza

The judgment? Five stars of five. Or six of five. Or 11 of 10.

It is that good.

It’s also very affordable because I remember having trouble breathing because I ate quite a lot and I only chipped in less than P200 (that’s about less than $4). They have this promo where you can order two kinds of pizza and get one for free.

Must try: the pepperoni pizza and the MILKSHAKE–that one thing I didn’t get the chance to take a photo of. Sorry! Rookie mistake!

Overall satisfaction: superb!

Leona Art Restaurant: check!

Check out:
The Maginhawa Chronicles Masterpost