Certified AOW diver!

Last weekend, I was in Anilao with several friends for one reason, and one reason only.

To (finally!) get my Advanced Open Water Diver certification!

It was a beautiful weekend for diving, the sea was calm. The current mild. The weather cooperative.


First day, first dive: This was a navigation dive. Using a compass, we should be able to navigate back to our starting point using a left turn square, a right turn square and an equilateral triangle. I enjoyed it actually! It was pretty cool to navigate, but of course, I knew where I was the whole time (in relation to the shore). It would be another matter entirely if you have no bearings at all.


Second dive was the deep dive, the purpose of which is for us to experience “narcosis” in a controlled situation. According to wikipedia, “narcosis while diving is a reversible alteration in consciousness that occurs while diving at depth. It is caused by the anesthetic effect of certain gases at high pressure.” In layman’s terms, it’s a weird, lightheaded feeling one might get while diving in very deep levels. Some people might get a little kooky, some will be too mellow to react. The key to negating narcosis is knowing that you’re experiencing it, and ascending a few feet/meters.

In our case, I might have experienced a slight case of narcosis since I got the last one of my problems incorrect. But seriously, what sicko would make you solve 3×2 multiplication problems at 100ft??

The third and last dive of the day was the night dive. I have to admit I was a teensy bit nervous when they said that we will turn off the lights underwater. But it was truly awesome! Turning off the lights let us the see the bioluminescence of the planktons in the area. Imagine fireflies in a dark, dark night except you were underwater. It was surreal.

The following day, we still had two more dives to complete: the wreck dive and the nitrox dives. And off we went.

IMG_1114 IMG_1124

I had a problem descending during the wreck dive because my left ear wouldn’t equalize. It was really, really painful. I kept ascending a few feet then trying to descend again but still no “pop” in my ear. Thankfully, after a few more instances of trying, I was finally able to equalize and descend.

Daryl Laut is the wreckage of what was once a floating hotel/casino back in the 1980′s that sank when it was struck by lightning. Now only its framework remains. My ears wouldn’t let me penetrate the wreck but some of our companions were able to.


The last dive for our certification was the nitrox dive. Using nitrox allows the diver to descend deeper and for some, it’s a better experience overall. It also utilizes a different dive table though modern dive computers have a setting for nitrox already. PADI also offers an enriched air diver certification for those who want to dive using nitrox on a regular basis.

Kirby’s rock was the site for our last dive and really it’s a fantastic one. A plethora of corals, critters and marine creatures can be found within its depths.

This certification was several years in the making for me. I was certified as an open water diver on Jan 2008. I was supposed to do my advanced certification last year but I found out I was pregnant, so this year it was! Just in time for our trip to Malapascua this weekend (to be featured in a future post).


I am a closet kikay.

One night, while I was undergoing my (sometimes) nightly rituals, I realized something. For a person that professes to be simple, basic and far from being kikay, I had a loooot of said stuff in my room. Hand lotions, moisturizers, bath soaps and salts, hair products, perfumes, oils, and makeup items are situated along my shelves and tabletops, not unlike soldiers waiting to be called into service. Another lightbulb moment: I hardly bought any of them.

kikay loot

It’s not a secret that I am crazy about pasalubongs. I love it. I ask for it, actually, (sometimes verging on the inappropriate). Whenever I hear/read online that a friend or acquaintance is traveling, it’s usually among the first (or last) thing that I’ll mention. Heaven forbid, I forget to remind my friend for my pasalubong.

And admit it, when you’re overseas or on a trip, and you’re thinking of getting something for a female friend/relative/co-worker, the easiest thing that comes to mind (and are relatively safe choices) are body products such as lotions and perfumes. It’s also the go-to gift for bridal showers, birthdays, anniversaries, christmas.. It’s clichéd because it works. I, for one, love getting these as gifts. And I think I’m not alone.  I am a sucker for all these, especially when they come in yummy scents! Personally, I generally go straight for citrusy/minty scents or green tea (never could go wrong with that). But because of gifts, I have been exposed to a variety of scents, textures and products that I might not have known.

So, in short, I would like to thank everyone (relatives, friends, neighbors, companies) that have contributed to my little stash of kikayness. and also.. to keep ’em coming. 🙂

Plan B: Brasas!

Last Saturday, my friends and I went to dinner at Brasas at the Podium. The initial plan was to dine at a buffet but we couldn’t make up the minimum number of people to avail of the promo. :p Nevertheless, Plan B was quite a success.

Having just a vague idea of what Brasas serves (Latin American Street Food), we headed to the top floor of Podium to find out.

When asked what their bestsellers were, the Rice Platter and the Beef Grill Wrap were mentioned. So Ian and I ordered the Beef Grill Wrap and the Chicken Rice Platter.

chicken rice plattergrill beef wrap

The chicken platter rice is made up of strips of char-grilled chicken, yellow rice, a plantain chip with chimichurri sauce. I really enjoyed this dish! The flavor was superb, the chicken moist and the rice was the sticky kind that I LOVE. The sauce was perfect for the dish. I had a taste of the wrap – which is strips of chargrilled beef, roasted bell pepper, sauteed onions in a flour tortilla. It’s served with 2 kinds of sauces – the chipotle sauce and a cheese sauce. Personally, I preferred the chipotle sauce which had an extra kick.


The first order to arrive was actually my friend Lyn’s. She ordered Patacones for the table which are plantain chips with smoked pulled pork, tomato salsa and cheese on top. These were amazing. We literally inhaled it as soon as it came. Best to eat them while hot, because once left to cool, the plantain chips becomes a bit hard.

beef rice platterpulledpork

The beef rice platter was exactly the same as the chicken one with tender juicy beef strips as its main ingredients. We also ordered the pulled pork sandwich which was good as well. The queso sauce was perfect with the accompanying french fries.

Pastel de choclopuercoasado

The Pastel de Choclo was, and i quote, “a Latin American version of shepherd’s pie” using corn mash instead of mashed potato. This was a lovely surprise and I really liked it. (Too bad it wasn’t my order so I made do with a quick and delightful taste. 🙂 Thanks Charo!) Puerco Asado is a dish of slow roasted, very tender pork belly and a veeerryy crispy & crunchy pork skin. I could literally hear Cho eat it!

Verdict: A very successful night of eating out. Good food, affordable and reasonable prices and good company. I’ll definitely be back. 🙂

The Gift of MisisPi

While I’m at home, trying to recover from all the fun I had during the holidays, let me wax poetic about a gift we got from one of our Ninangs (from the wedding).

It came prettily wrapped in a brown box with gold ribbon and a leaf ornament. It certainly piqued our interest regarding its contents… presenting MisisPi’s Oatmeal Cookies.Image

Not being aware of the product, we were pleasantly surprised by how good it was! It was crunchy while not being overly dry and very delicious! Each bite invites you to take more and more until you find yourself reaching for the next cookie. ImageAs you can see, we’re halfway through the first bundle of oatmeal cookies.. and we just got the gift last night. :p

You can find more information about MisisPi, her cookies and other products through http://www.misispi.com. It’s where I got the first pic actually since the hubby and I totally forgot to take a picture of the packaging in our haste to discover what lies within. 🙂

The four months that was

Whew. That was quite a sabbatical. Been sometime since I last posted anything.

A lot has happened since August.

Wedding preparations. Prenup. Phantom of the Opera Manila happened.

Got married, went on my honeymoon and I turned 30 all on the same month. 🙂

Lately, I’ve been adjusting (fairly well, I think) to married life and trying to figure out where to go from here. A lot of things are up in the air right now.. but hopefully things’ll get clearer. And soon.

It’s the holidays now. And according to the Mayans, the world should have ended. I think. What timezone were they in anyway? Obviously, the world didn’t end and we’re still here chugging along.

ImageFour days ’til Christmas! I wish you and yours a Happy Holidays and a Blessed New Year! Cheers!

Food Post Monday

The fiancé arrived yesterday and brought a ton of goodies back with him. Mostly not for me though. :p But along with a few trinkets that he picked up during his trip, he did bring a few food items that he managed to squirrel away.

First up, madeleines!

perfect with coffee!

He also brought home some cheese..

cheese overload!

While running errands, we stopped by the weekend market at Eastwood Mall and picked up this white chocolate chip cookie (Php 120).  I’ve been craving chocolate chip cookies the whole time we were being barraged by the rains. This hit the spot perfectly!

yummy yummy cookies!

And lastly, a food experiment. (Really, I was just sick of eggs and tuna for breakfast. :p) I really want to get better at cooking (and at my current cooking level, there’s really nowhere to go but up. haha, can’t get any worse. :p)

Without further ado, I present my tuna in oyster sauce dish.

perfect with crackers!

I wasn’t really following any recipe.. mostly a hodgepodge of ingredients and spices that I had on hand.

What you’ll need:

1 can Century Tuna Hot and Spicy (better if you use tuna in water – so that no competing flavors are present)

1/4 small onion, finely diced

1/4 garlic, finely diced

oyster sauce (use sparingly, at your discretion)

canola oil (but other types of oil should work too)

ginger powder, cumin powder, white pepper

1. Sauté the garlic and onion in oil. Be careful not to burn the garlic (there’s a fine line between the browned and burnt garlic.. browned tastes awesome, burnt not so much.)

2. Add the tuna (minus its oil or water) and the oyster sauce. The oyster sauce should be used sparingly. Better if you add it a few at a time.

3. Add the spices. The oyster sauce should provide enough sodium for the dish (the one I used was actually low sodium but had enough (of it) to complete the dish.)

Surprisingly, it was very good. It would’ve been great with rice but I made do with 1 pack of Skyflakes. Yum!

Après moi, le déluge

Dear Rain (and Mother Nature),

I get it. You’re pissed. But I hope that we can let bygones be bygones and your wrath starts to taper off. I mean, it’s been what? 3 weeks of continuous rainfall? Aren’t you tired? Get some rest. Seriously. We won’t mind. At All.

après moi, le déluge – after me, comes the flood.

So true, since 90% of Manila is currently flooded. And the rain still keeps on pouring.