Parallel Worlds

There is a theory about parallel worlds, where with every decision you make, a new parallel world is created. For example, there is a world where in you decided to  take a different route to work rather than the usual ones  you take. There is a parallel world created when you decided to wear the pink dress to work, instead of the white one.

When faced with two or more choices in life, I sometimes wonder what would happen if I chose option A rather than option B. Would I be happier? Would my  life me better? Will it make my day bright, or will it make my day bad?

I would like to think there’s a world where I chose the other option instead of what I chose now. And sometimes, it made me think, maybe that option is better that what I have right now. Maybe, if I chose the one that I didn’t choose in the first place, the outcome wouldn’t be like this.

Although I feel like I’m not contented with the way my life is going, I find solace with the thought that there is another world/dimension/space where I chose a different path. Maybe there’s another world where I’m enjoying my life when I decided to choose the job offer to  another company months ago. Maybe there’s another world where I am happy with my life should I not accepted the promotion years ago. Maybe there’s a world where my mom is still alive.

I guess these thoughts are coming from regrets – regrets of letting go, of trying to stay in the comfort zone, of wanting to take all the opportunities. Of course, there will always be regrets in life. And we will always wonder, what would have happened in my life should I chose the other option.

Maybe that’s why there’s theories like this.

Choco Diaries: My Favorite Choco Candies

Who doesn’t love chocolates? Unless, of course, if one is allergic to it. I admit, I’m a chocoholic. It’s may go-to food when I’m hungry, when I’m stressed and when I need to stay awake.

Over the years, there are brands or types of chocolates that I have come to love. Most of them are the ones that I include in my grocery shopping list, others are the ones that I request from friends who go abroad. Here are some of my faves.

Cloud 9

This has been my favorite ever since I was young. It is a classic. It was my companion during sleepless nights during my finals. The combination of chocolate and nougat made this chewy concoction a hit for me.

Image grabbed from topten.ph

Big Bang 

Not the K-pop boyband. Big Bang is as classic as Cloud 9. It’s like Cloud 9, except that instead of peanuts, you’ll get rice crispies. Recently, they added a new twist to this chocolate, and they now have a blueberry and cheese flavor.

New find #bigbang #bluberryandcheese

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Dutch Treat

This is the chocolate that doesn’t break my budget. At Php 30 (well, at least here in Montalban), you can buy a pack of 12. It has the kind of sweet that kids would love. I love how the krispies makes this a little crunchy.

Peborit #chocodiaries #foodgram #foodgrammerph

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Dual Choco

What I like about this chocolate is the surprise inside – it’s peanut butter (me thinks)! This is like the small and cheap version of Reese’s. This chocolate reminds me of the candies I used to buy in the mall back in 2005-2006, where they set the price by weight.

Dual choco #chocodiaries #keisieats #foodgram

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Caramilk

Ahhh… the gooeyness goodie that is Caramilk. I always always buy a bar of this whenever I stop by the grocery store to buy dinner. Caramilk is life for me. I love that when I take a bite of this rich and milky chocolate, golden sweet caramel oozes out of this treasure. I sure hope my friend would bring me back some a couple of this when he comes home from Canada.

Rolo

If Cadbury gas Caramilk, Nestle has Rolo. One of the chocolates that made me sane during my stint in Canada. It’s like Caramilk – inside is the golden delicious caramel that drips down when you bite it. If you make me choose between the two, I will choose both.

Dont mind the Reese’s bar

Rolo not only comes in bar, it also comes in time round candies like below. Still, it’s filled with caramel.

Mini rolo #chocodiaries #sonyxperiac3 #xperiagraphy #xperiatography

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Meiji Choco Baby

Let’s go Japanese this time. Choco Baby is one of those Meiji chocolates I really like. These babies come in tiny bits, and you can’t help but take a bite after another. Soon after, you’ll find yourself with an empty box (?). Seems like the smiley face on this chocolate candy has a hint of caramel.

It's been a long time since I had one of this baby #chocobaby #chocodiaries

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Venus

Honestly, when I first saw this in 7-11, I thought this chocolate is expensive. But I was wrong. It was very affordable! The one I got, which is Toffee flavor, has a toffee or caramel inside the milky chocolate sqaures. It’s like Rolo, but cheaper. They have other flavors too, which I have yet to try.

Been wanting to buy this one but I thought it was expensive #chocodiaries #foodonmybed

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Meiji Apollo

These little chocolate cones come in blueberry and strawberry, but I guess the most common here is the strawberry. What I love about this is that it’s not that sweet, and it tastes more of strawberry than chocolate. You know life is good when you open a box of this, and you smell the scent of this strawberry-infused chocolate.

In threes #meijiapollo #chocodiaries

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Choco Power

Another 7-11 find. This is rather difficult to eat. It’s like melted chocolate inside the tube, and you need to push it to the top (like what you do with a toothpaste), and then suck the chocolate. The difficult part is when there’s a few more choco liquid remaining inside, but you can’t push it to come out. Still, one of the good chocolates I found.

Dark choco version of chocolate power… like thus one better #chocodiaries

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Aero and Cadbury Bubbly

It’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. No, just kidding. It’s hard on the outside, but soft inside, just like me. I love sinking my teeth into the bubbly inside of this chocolate. It is light, crumbly and velvety. However, Cadbury has the richer chocolate and less crumbly. What I like about Aero though is it’s different flavors. Just like the strawberry flavor below.

Flat Tops and Curly Tops

I seriously have no idea what’s the difference between the two. They both tastes the same. Maybe it’s because flat tops is flat and curly tops has a curly swirl on top? Still, this is a childhood favorite. If I want pure and decadent milk chocolate, without any add-ons like nougat, nuts or rice crisps, I go for this one.

Image from tsikot.com

Image from topten.ph

There are a lot more chocolates that I love, but I’ll discuss it on another day. How about you, what’s your favorite chocolate candy?

Coffee Shop Saturday: Kopi Roti

Back when I was working in Makati, when I needed an iced coffee fix and I don’t have money to buy Starbucks coffee, my go to place is Kopi Roti. It’s just a stone’s throw away from my office – all I have to do is just cross the street.

What I liked about Kopi Roti is that their drinks are very affordable. It has that kick that could make me awake throughout the day. Their food is affordable as well, that’s why most of the time, I prefer to buy here than the other expensive  coffee shops.

Sadly, when I moved to another company, I was not able to got to buy nor taste their coffees again. Having an acid reflux made it difficult for me as well. Although there are a few branches of Kopi Roti near my previous place, I wasn’t able to visit it because I don’t always have the time.

I realized that their Tomas Morato shop is near the building where I pay my house amortization is. And so, I decided to pay it a visit and get a taste of my favorites.

I  ordered their Set B1 Meal, which is coffee and kaya toast. I changed the coffee to Iced Choco, since I need to sleep when I get home. Aside from that, I also ordered their french toast, with a side of kaya jam and butter. I wanted to order kaya puff, but unfortunately, it was not available during that time.

I've been craving for this for five years now #kopiroti #kayatoast #frenchtoast #kayajam #keisieats #foodgrammerph #foodgram

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The taste is the same as I remembered it. The french toast is soft and fluffy. I love the kaya jam so  much. It has the right amount of sweetness. It does pair well with their french toast. I remember asking the staff a few years back  if they sell the kaya jam, but unfortunately, they don’t. In case they do, I’d probably be buying a jar of it.

French toast with kaya jam #keisieats #foodgrammerph #foodgram

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The kaya toast, on the other hand is on the borderline of soft and crispy. The combination of the toasted bread, butter and kaya jam is superb. Although some of the slices has more butter than kaya jam, nevertheless, I enjoyed the toast.

I've been craving for this for five years now #kopiroti #kayatoast #frenchtoast #kayajam #keisieats #foodgrammerph #foodgram

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The iced choco capped  off my meal. It just has the right taste  of chocolate, and it’s a good way to cool off.

#keisieats #foodgram #foodgrammerph

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Overall, I enjoyed my meal here. I feel so nostalgic as I tasted the food, as it took me back to my 20s, when I was starting in the IT industry after a career shift. Kopi Roti gives you a good taste of Singaporean coffee, and some of  its food without having to break a bank.

My Splice Of Life: About “Saving Francesca”

It was February 2008, a week before I will start in my new company. Nanay and I went to Marikina Riverbanks to get something I could use in my new office. In one of the far corners of the store we went to, I found the book “Saving Francesca”.

I read the summary at the back of the book, and since I am writing an almost similar plot where a girl get transferred to an all-boys school, I decided to buy to make it as my reference.

The story about Francesca Spinelli, who narrates it in her own view. She just started Year 11 in Saint Sebastian’s, which is an all-boys school that started to accept girls that school year. As a new school year starts, she had to deal with things happening in her life – new school, trying to make new friends, feeling left out since her friends went to another school, falling in love, and her mother’s depression.

What affected her and her family most is her mother’s depression. Suddenly, she found herself getting support from her new friends during these times. She is stuck in the middle – trying to be an adult and a child at the same time. Frankie is used to hearing her mother’s words of wisdom and encouragement (or butting in to her life and telling her what to do) almost everyday, and with her being like a ghost in the house, she suddenly felt lost.

Frankie had to face her world on her own. She became friends with some of the Stella girls who also goes to Saint Sebastian’s – Tara the feminist, Siobhan the flirt,  and Justine the shy and quiet girl. She also found an unlikely friendship from Thomas, music lover, Jimmy the stoner, and Will, the Year 12 guy who will become her love interest in the story.

I found myself unable to put down the book the moment I read the first chapter. I have read the whole book over and over again. I love how the author depicts high school in a more real sense. While others may candy-coat high school stories, Melina Marchetta writes how high school really is. Every words and lines are unforgettable. There are linesin the story that I sometime read over and over again, especially when I feel sad. Whenever feel so down, I just go and reread this book to cheer me up.

I love how Frankie’s character developed in the story. She had no  idea what she wants to do with her life yet. She is in a stage where she is finding her place and her identity. She struggles to conform with what her old friends want her to be, instead of what she really is, just to  be accepted by them. In the end, she let lose and began to be herself. When before, she needed to be saved by others, her resolute at the end of the story is that it’s only her that can save herself.

At the time I was reading this, I can relate to it since there’s a big change in my life. I see myself in Frankie, uncertain of things to come. I love this book so much, but sadly, it got lost. Not sure if it got flooded, or it simply got lost during moving to our house. Still this is one of my favorite books.

And since I love quoting this book, below are my favorite lines.

“Comfort zones are overrated. They make you lazy”

“Do you think people have noticed that I’m around?”
“I notice it when you’re not. Does that count?

“I think we’re made up of all these different pieces and every time someone goes, you’re left with less of yourself.”

“Do something that scares you everyday.”

“I want to be an adjective again. But I’m a noun.
A nothing. A nobody. A no one.”

“Memory is a funny thing. It tricks you into believing that you’ve forgotten important moments, and then when you’re raking your brain for a bit of information that might make sense of something else, it taps you on the head and says, “Remember when you told me to put that memory in the green rubbish bin? Well, I didn’t, I put it in the black recycling tub, and it’s coming your way again.”

“I think I’m a bit in love with these girls. They make me feel giddy. Like I haven’t a care in the world. Like I’m fearless.
Like I used to be.”

“When I grow up, I’m going to be my mother.”

“You’re my rock.”

“I didn’t even know who I w as here, so what made me think that I’d know who I was over there?”

“You go and shake your foundations, Will. I think it’s about time I saved myself.”

 

~~~ Heading grabbed from hypable.com

Reset

“I’d go back to the moment it all fell apart and I’d start there.”

– The Piper’s Son

Maybe, what I needed is a reset. Maybe, what I needed is to start from where it all ended. Maybe, I needed to change my way from where my world began to crumble.

There were regrets. A lot of it. As much as I try to correct my mistakes, it only makes things worse. It only make things more complicated. So while correcting the mistakes is one obvious option, when your paper already has a lot of erasures, is it only logical to tear that paper out, put on a new and clean one and start over?

They say bad decisions make good stories. Mine is a combination of both – a good decision with a bad ending, a bad decision that made it for the better. But somehow, I ended up not being happy of the outcome of what I did. When you don’t like what you’re doing anymore, the only left thing to do is to stop it.

“Stay when you’re  happy, leave when you’re not.” I can count on my fingers how many times I tried to leave, to run away from everything. I always tell myself, this isn’t meant for me, but still end up doing the job. I’m not sure if the problem is with me, or with the circumstances I am in. Maybe it’s the latter. But then again, maybe it’s me.

So here I am, stopping to do a reset. It’s a time to clear my mind from things I want and don’t want, to separate my dreams and aspirations from my happiness, to make just a clean slate. I’m doing a reset to see what matters most to me. To do what I used to be happy doing.

Although, I’m not sure what will happen if this reset won’t work. At this stage, maybe it’s too early to tell. Maybe, if this reset won’t work, I just have to start from the scratch once again.

 

Payday Lunch: Slammin’ Mini Burger + Omakase + Carousel Creamery

After the hot air balloon fiesta, my best friend asked me if I wanted to watch a movie the day before Valentine’s day. And since I am on vacation leave, I agreed. We planned it as our Valentine’s day, since we both don’t have dates for that day.

We met at the Promenade in Greenhills. Since she message she will be late, I decided to get something to eat first since I didn’t have any breakfast. I chanced upon Slammin’ Mini Burger. I’ve been seeing them in Instagram before, and I’ve been wanting to get some of their burgers.

I ordered Bacon N’ Mushroom, Fries with cheesy dip and blue lemonade.

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I was ready to buy more food in case it didn’t satisfy my hunger, but I was surprised that I got full. The burgers were very filling, and it didn’t feel small at all! I wish all burgers are like this.

After the movies, we met her daughter, and decided to have early dinner at Italiani’s. However, we were not able to find it. We settled to have dinner at Omakase instead.

What caught my eyes were the big Japanese dolls installed on the walls. The place has a kawaii vibe in it.

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Kawaii doll

I’m not a fan of sushis and makis, however, there are some Japanese food that I really like. The only sushi I got to enjoy was the one from Kingsway Sushi in Canada. We ordered the Seafood Crepe Salad, JSC Platter, and okonomiyaki.

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Seafood Crepe Salad

I really enjoyed the salad. I like the texture of the tuna, crab, squid and shrimp. It’s very creamy, and the tuna tastes fresh. The serving is just right for the three of us, and it’s very filling.

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Okononmiyaki

Our next order is the okonomiyaki. To be honest, I only ordered this because I’ve been seeing this in Japanese movies and J-doramas. This is the part I got full. I only had one slice, and before I know it, I only have a few room in my tummy. It has an eggy, pancakey texture, and the taste is exactly how I imagined it to be – not sweet, and not too savory. It’s just right for my picky tongue. I didn’t manage to finsh a second slice of this, though.

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JRS Platter

Now, this one got us all really full. Although I don’t like sushi, I did quite enjoy the maki in this platter. I’m not a fan of their mayo sauce, as I feel it made the sushi much sweeter.

After we had our dinner, we decided to have dessert somewhere near. We wanted to have cake or ice cream, as we already had coffee before we watched a movie. We were supposed to go to Conti’s, but we found Carousel Creamery just outside Promenade.

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Just a portion of their many ice cream flavors

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It’s hard to choose from their 101 unique flavors, and ordering which ones we like is a big challenge for the three of us. We settled on 2 orders of Triple. Finally, we decided on the flavor of ice cream that we wanted to try.

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My best friend ordered Red Velvet and Mango Speculoos, her daughter ordered S’mores Wine and Chocolate Cookie Dough, and I ordered Maple & Bacon and Cherry Cheescake

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Mango Speculoos, S’mores Wine and Chocolate Cookie Dough

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Cherry Cheesecake, Red Velvet, Maple and Bacon

The ice creams were flavorful. It tastes exactly as what it’s named after. I liked the Maple and Bacon, because it tastes like pure maple syrup. The Cherry Cheesecake is filled with chunky cherries, and I could taste the cherry liqueur. There is really wine in S’mores Wine. We love how sweet and chunky the Mango Speculoos, and the Chocolate Cookie Dough tastes like the batter of the chocolate chip cookie.

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Banana Cinnamon, Baileys, Toffee Vanilla

We craved for more, so we ordered three more scoops of ice cream. Banana Cinnamon was too sweet. There is a kick of alcohol in Baileys. And the Toffee Vanilla was a surprise, as the combination of toffee and vanilla was just right.

We were very full and satisfied by the end of the night. We enjoyed our pre-valentines date. Who says you need a special someone to be happy on hearts day? All that matters to me is good food, and company of my best friend.

Weekend With Balloons

A month  ago, I was tagged by my best friend in a travel agency’s post. The post is about their offer for the upcoming Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.Since I’ve always wanted to attend that even because of the good things I’m hearing about it, as well as the beautiful photos I’ve seen from the previous years, I asked her if she wants to go and she said yes. I started to make arrangements, buying tickets online and coordinating with my friends. The six of us (me, my best friend, her daughter, our other high school friend and her husband and kid), went to the event. We were all so excited to see the hot air balloon.

We decided to go on the last day of the event, which  is a Sunday. We left Manila at 1:30 AM, and arrived at Clark by 3 AM. We were surprised by the swarm of people at the entrance.

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At the entrance

We got inside at around 5 AM. However, it wasn’t that easy to get in. The queue was slow, and there were people pushing us. There were some people who went back to go to another line. Me and my best friend got separated from our group, and we found ourselves being pushed to another  line, which is for tickets. I almost fell on the ground when someone pushed me, good thing I was able to balance myself.

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Once we got inside, my best friend lined up to the portalets, while my other friend decided to buy some food. I waited for my best friend, and while waiting, I got to see the early exhibition of the paragliders. It was almost daybreak when the program started, and we got a glimpse of the balloons.

I wasn’t able to take much pictures because there were a lot of people  on the event ground, and I was too tired from standing and walking for almost 4 hours. I couldn’t even get in front to take a closer look at the balloons. After taking a few pictures, I decided to rest. Luckily, my best friend found a seat inside the snack test, so we just sat there while watching the balloons while we ate breakfast.

Sorry for the crappy pictures.

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We decided to go to our next destination at 7 AM. However, if there is a traffic going inside the event early that morning, the human traffic going outside was terrible. There’s only one gate for the entrance and the exit. We weren’t able to get to the parking lot right away, and had to stand at the exit for 2 hours. The problem is, there is a bottleneck near the parking lot. There were more people going inside, and the pathway is too, and to think there’s only one entry and exit point.

We got to the parking lot by 9 AM, but we were only able to exit the lot by 11:30 because, again, a lot of cars were leaving. We were too tired to go to our next destination, so we decided to have lunch at Yu Ganne, which serves unlimited Sam Gyup Sal. I’m not a fan of Korean food, but hey, it’s unlimited meat.

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After our lunch, we went to Duty Free to buy some chocolates, then we headed home.

It wasn’t really a good experience, but my eyes feasted with the sight of hot air balloons. I wished that the organizers did organize the event on the last day. There should have been a different gate for the entrance and the exit, so that there won’t be any hassle in going and out of the event.

They said that this is the last hot air balloon fiesta, but it’s not true. There will still be another next year, as per our sources, only it will be more organized (wait, what?) as this year, they only got a month to prepare. I’m not sure if the rumor  surfaced because the owner of the venue has other plans to use it.

Will  I be going to the next hot air balloon fiesta? I think I’ll pass, unless it becomes really organized. Although there was a lot of hassle that day, I did enjoy spending the whole day with my friends.