Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Best of Vietnamese Kitchen that is Bawai's

Tagaytay is merely a two-hour drive from my place, but I don't seem to get tired of its charm. I have hundreds of stories and fun memories, and I think I'm all too familiar with the city from the numerous visits with my family, my Sweetie and my girlfriends. I don't understand exactly why, but it's been a tradition for the whole Villanueva clan to troop to Tagaytay whenever we have a balikbayan relative, or to simply fill our tummies with authentic Bulalo matched with fried Tawilis. Simple joys.

Speaking of food, I not-so-recently discovered another hidden treasure of Tagaytay. This time, I indulged in Vietnamese cuisine, which honestly used to be one of my least favorites. Used to be I say, because soon as the authentic Vietnamese food touched my palate from this unassuming vacation house-turned-resto that is Bawai's, my views shifted and I'm convinced what I probably didn't like were the commercialized Vietnamese restaurants in Manila.

It's a bit of a drive in the inner barangays of Tagaytay City to reach Bawai's, and it's best to call in advance and place orders because Bawai's makes it a point to offer only fresh, authentic Vietnamese food (we were informed their ingredients are sent all the way from Vietnam!), and Bawai, or grandma in Vietnamese, herself cooks and prepares the food for the guests. 

Bawai is a kind Vietnamese lady married to Mr. Virgilio Tatlonghari, a war veteran, whom we had the pleasure of meeting. Since the restaurant rarely gets crowded because of the reservation rule, the owners take time to entertain their visitors and even share glimpses of their lives during the war, and how they've decided to stay in the Philippines in 1970s, and now retire in Tagaytay. Lovely couple! =)

Goi Cuon or Vietnamese Fresh Lumpia - fresh noodles, shrimp, pork and veggies wrapped in Vietnamese rice paper, served with special peanut sauce.

Chao Tom or Prawn in Sugar Cane Skewer

Shrimp and Bamboo Shoots Salad

Tom Rang Mae or Prawn in Tamarind. This is absolutely good!

That's a frozen smile while trying to prevent my tummy from betraying how much I ate that day!

Price is not bad at all, about 400-600 per head for a full course meal, and a good helping of giant prawns! If vegetable dishes are this good, being a pescetarian won't be so hard after all.

I highly recommend Bawai's. The long drive and muddy tires are all well worth it. =) Give them a call and surprise your loved ones on your next Tagaytay weekend getaway.

PS: Don't miss their sweet patis!

Bawai's Vietnamese Kitchen

Hernandez Street, Purok 5, Bucal, Silang, Cavite
0920 972 2924 
Operating Hours 
Friday: 5am-8am and 11am-2am
Saturday and Sunday: 5am-9am and 11am-2am

Feverish but still blogging from the Nook,

Saturday, September 22, 2012

OOTD: Wash Day Wednesday a.k.a. Feeling Colegiala

Since my good friend and constant banter buddy Marky (Hello Mr. Gutierrez!) played critic to the outfits I donned this week, and since he teased me all day long calling me "tagapagmana ng kumpanya" (company heiress) with my Tuesday outfit of black high-waist skirt, black sleeveless blouse and leopard print jacket, I decided to wear the complete opposite come Wednesday. If I looked like a company shareholder and/or a matapobreng donya on Tuesday, I sure can pull off a giggly girl's outfit on Wednesday! 

While I'm not the first person you'll take to wear a blue-pink ensemble, if only to base it from the number of  double takes (from awe or disgust I'm not sure! HAHA)  and kind words I received, then it's safe to say that I nailed the colegiala look that day. As if that's not enough, the kind manang cleaning the airport bathroom that afternoon exclaimed in a true Pinay fashion "ang sexy naman ni ma'am!" (you're so sexy ma'am). She then asked me how old I am, and told me I look so much younger than 27. Let's just say looking younger than my age is not something I hear everyday.

If that wasn't enough to make my day as bright as my candy-colored outfit, I don't know what else can! :D

Top from Chic Tees
Skirt from Alphaland tiangge
Wedge shoes from SM Parisian
Accessories Bijoux Terner

From the Nook,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ALERT: Go Crazy Over Aria Pizza

1. Guests who order any pizza flavor from Aria Cucina Italiana Bonifacio High Street Central between 3pm to 6pm, from Mondays to Thursdays during the promo is entitled to a 20% discount.
2. Discount is applicable to pizza order(s) ONLY and not the total bill.
3. Valid for both dine-in and takeout orders. 
Promo runs from September 10 - October 31, 2012.

That's over a month of going crazy over Pizza! Now I wonder when will Aria have a Makati branch? Soon please!
Happy Thursday. :D 

Product Review: L'Oreal UV Perfect BB Max

In case you haven't noticed, my last few entries feature unsolicited advice, bubble thoughts or things I'm too-happy-to-shut-up-about. I have more things to share with you in the coming weeks, but I'm on self imposed embargo for the adventures to come. Meanwhile, I'll give this nook a healthy kick of vanity with a review on one of the many BB creams available in the Philippine market today. Okay, it certainly is a bandwagon effect, but seeing kutis porselana Koreans in every other street of the Metro, we can't help but believe that BB creams do work. After all, BB cream is hailed as the Korean celebrities' secret to their impeccable skin (though it was really in Germany where the first BB cream was developed to help heal and protect the skin after medical procedures.) Nonetheless, there's no stopping BB creams from taking the Asian market by storm. 

I've used a few BB creams before, and I like how it can be an all-in-one solution to most, if not all, of girls' skin concerns. It heals, nourishes and protects the skin in one go.

Available at leading stores for Php 595.00 (30ml). I got mine from PCX in Alabang Town Center.

L'Oreal UV Perfect BB Max promises 10-in-1 results including fairer skin, less visible pores and blemishes, faded dark spots and more youthful, glowing skin. And as it name suggests, it also has maximum protection from UVA PA+++ and UVB, proud and mighty with its SPF50. 50 is more than good enough for me, in fact, the only higher SPF product I've ever used was the VMV Armada Sunblock Sport (SPF 75).

On to my notes:

  • All in one product that addresses two of my utmost skin concerns: COVERAGE and PROTECTION.  I can skip sunblock and liquid foundation. How convenient can my morning get? Hurray!
  • SPF 50 
  • Feels smooth on the skin and very easy to apply. No tugging needed.
  • Helps correct skin discoloration
  • It does give me fairer, more glowing skin, and it stays the whole day! 
  • Priced reasonably  and widely available 

  • Limited coverage, might be a little to sheer for some - although just right for me
  • Looks ash-y upon application, doesn't match yellow undertones. I correct this using powder foundation that will counter the ash tones
  • Tends to make my skin oilier, which is not surprising. Put anything oil-based on my skin and it'll shine like a superstar! Haha.

To be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of BB creams, for the lone reason of its uncanny ability to moisturize induce oil, making my skin shinier, and that's a sad thing. I'm guessing some BB Cream afficionados may get disappointed with its limited coverage, but for girls looking for lighter alternatives, this is a good shot. Go ahead and look for it in your favorite beauty stores.


L'Oreal UV Perfect BB Max 
Maybelline Clearsmooth Foundation 
 Ever Bilena Eyebrow Pencil
Seri Asia Blush in Summer 
Maybelline Colorsentational in Angel Rose 

While it did not conceal pimple marks perfectly, it's hard not to notice the glow and dewy effect it has on my face whenever I use it. Agree or not? I can take a blow. :P 

Happy Thursday, loves!

From the Nook,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What I Learned Today #4

Sure it is. You can make coffee and not drink it, cook pancakes and go for cereals, or change your serious trousers to puffy skirt right before you leave your house. It's okay. It's legal. Changing your mind is not infringement, it's not a sin, nor a sign of weak character. It should not mean amending a bad decision - who's there to tell it's bad at all? You can change your mind, and recalibrate your plans. It's like getting from a point of having a good decision, to an even better, more explosive one. You don't fear change, you challenge it, you conquer it. You adapt as necessary. And if you don't fit the bill, by all means, create your own.That's what separates good people from legendary ones.

I changed my mind numerous times today, I drove 15 minutes to get a sundae, but decided I'd go for flavored yoghurt. I planned to drown in a cocktail of my own thoughts and Arctic Melon but and here I am, sober, typing in haste for a book I'm yet to finish. 

I've made bold plans and changed my mind, and that's perfectly okay.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review: Spa Friday at SeriAsia

The stars aligned themselves for me last Friday. Thanks to my ever supportive boss, J, and teammate, P, this girl was able to take a day off to get a well-deserved massage at SeriAsia in Alphaland Mall, Makati. It was supposed to be just myself, but I have more than enough vouchers so I tagged along my BF and we decided to make it a "make-it-up to your mom Friday". Both of us have this unique love-hate relationship with our mothers, but we love them dearly anyways (I hope the feeling is mutual!). =D 

So here's a mini review of my latest spa indulgence. Hurray for massage, moms and Fridays! 

Reception area

The massage room with bright orange curtains and matching lanterns

Little did I know that SeriAsia also offers a variety of products, from thermal oils to supplements and even coffee!

Sans makeup and so ready to get an hour of  "deads to the world" 

  • Friendly, patient staff. I called to reserve and called at least four times more because I kept on changing my mind. Rose, the manager, was so patient with me, constantly texting me to confirm and remind. I don't think I'll be as patient with me if I were in her shoes!
  • House Oils. SeriAsia only uses their house oils which are developed and patented for them. Goodbye to generic Eucalyptus of Lavander essence that you can easily get in the groceries. I love their thermal or self-heating oil for the whole body, and even more their vital oil, the aromatic oil they use for the face. It smells like fresh greenfields, wood and mint. Heaven!
  • Clean, fresh-smelling linens. Seriously, I enjoyed digging my face into the massage bed and just thought of chocolates, wines and apples. =)
  • Massage. We all got the Water Element Massage, which is their version of Swedish. It was good and holistic and lasted well more than an hour. I slipped in and out of dreamland under the therapist's expert hands. Not the best I've ever had, but one of the really good ones.
  • Coffee, tea or wheatgrass? After the massage, we were offered to stay a bit more and enjoy their very own coffee, tea and wheatgrass. I love it that everything they use in SeriAsia are exclusively theirs. It makes the experience more unique and special and sets them apart from spa houses that grows everywhere. 

  • Location. Sadly, the Alphaland Mall in Makati is very inconvenient for people bringing their own cars. You have to take a u-turn in EDSA to get to Pasong Tamo where their parking entrance is. We were caught in traffic for more than an hour. Commuters on the other hand should be very pleased because Alphaland is connected to the MRT station. I think I should try their branch in SummitRidge, Tagaytay next time. =) 
  • They can really use more space. The massage rooms are a little too small, divided only by thick curtains. I have personal space issues, and so this is quite a concern. 
  • Because rooms were only divided by curtains, we can hear conversations in the reception area. A big No No for Spa. 

It was generally a pleasant experience sans the noise. But my mom liked their massage so it's still a win. I'm really keen on trying out their Summit Ridge branch when I go to Tagaytay, but mind that their prices there are also doubled. 

Here are their price list for the Alphaland branch and for more information, please visit their website:

Have you tried SeriAsia? How was your experience with them? 

PS: Big thanks to the very nice and pretty lady, Ms. Valerie Tan, I won the vouchers from her FB page. Follow her also on twitter: @missvalerietan

From the Nook, 

Friday, September 14, 2012

DIY: How the Bedside Table Fixed My Life

I'm not exaggerating. The dinkiness of my room vis-à-vis the amount of beauty products, books and whatnots that I've accumulated over the years increasingly annoys me. Things continue to pile up and I just have to do something about it, lest I won't have enough space to sleep on my bed.  So I trooped to the mall in search of a solution that can finally organize my life. Prior to being consumed by the corporate world, I was shrewd at doing DIYs. So I put on my handyman hat once again and put an end to the mess that irks my OC self to death.

The mess that greets annoys me in the morning
and a few more under my bed
and it continues next door

If you have the same problem, here's what you need to do. 

1. Go to the nearest SM Mall and get yourself a collapsible cabinet. Boy, they really got everything! In all shapes and sizes, and at really affordable prices, too. I got this for only Php 999.00. I'll paint this white or green when I have the time.
2. Get some tools (Phillips-head screwdriver) or a handy Swiss Knife and screw the panels together. You can't go wrong because one, it's darn simple, and two, they still provide a manual despite being darn simple! :D
3. Group your things together and decide which goes to which shelf. The bottom shelf contains fresh toiletries, sealed beauty products and my cash box. I like putting things in compartments, BTW.
4. The middle shelf contains my current reads, scented oil burners and candles, daily-use makeup brushes and remote controls.
5. The topmost contains my daily necessities like hair and facial products, body creams, face mirror and makeup. 

Voila! Simple, neat and life-saving for the OC population of the world. :D

 Are you as anally retentive as I am? How do you manage simple mess like this? I'm curious to know!

From the Nook, 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Insecurities and What Have You


Every so often, I hear interesting topics on the radio. Not surprising though, DJs nowadays are expected to be more vocal and engaging with their listeners, and playing good old music are secondary. The popular FM radio programs are often opinionated, liberal and even graphic. Such is Boys Night Out, featuring DJs Slick Rick, Sam Y G and Tony Toni. The naughty trio often talks about love, relationships, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus stuff, and of course - sex. I am not a big fan, but I have to admit that they have impeccable talent to lure you into a topic and just never let you go.

With the boys a few weeks back

Over dinner, my boyfriend (who's a BNO listener), told me something interesting about last night's episode. He said the trio asked their female listeners to call and answer the question: WHAT ARE YOU INSECURE ABOUT? I assumed that girls would often be insecure about weight, breast size, waist and hip line. Surprisingly, he told me that a lot of callers actually complain about their height - which I find a bit weird. Anyways, he then smiled mischievously and directed the question to me. It took me a few seconds to answer, because humility aside, I think I'm a fairly confident person (perfect ba kamo? Haha!). Of course I'm not saying I'm perfect, far far from being one. But I'm rarely insecure because I choose not to ponder on things that I don't have, but rather leverage on aspects where I know I'm truly blessed. On exceptionally difficult times when I'm feeling unworthy, I take a step back and look at things from a different perspective. 

Choice and Perspective. Two powerful tools that can keep us sane. Choice is an inherent blessing, so use it. Choose what will make you happy, choose to be with people who matters, choose to live your life according to your own account, choose to be comfortable in your own skin, and if all else fails, look at things and people and happenings from a different angle and perspective. Get in someone else's shoes. It may not give you solutions, but it can give you a fresh view, put you on neutral grounds, and help you find a new beginning making yourself more resilient, more confident.

But in the spirit of fun and inevitable reality, I'm spilling my insecurity beans and like to point out that I wish I have a flawless face and a flatter tummy. But everything else, my chunky puckers, my R18-worthy hips and bottom (LOL), my too prominent cheekbones, my monolids, I can just shrug them off and live imperfectly perfect.

How about you, is there something you're insecure about physically? Nothing to be ashamed of, we're humans, not robots. We can be flawed and still do the greatest of things, yeah? Fire away!

Much Love,

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gratitude List: Road Trips, Sexy Cars & Feeling like a Freshman

Time to flip my mini notebook's pages and dig up my Gratitude List. Cheers to a wet Sunday and sharing life in pictures. 

  • Road Trip & Beach Getaway with the Friday Night Club 

Friday Night Club: Kyle, Chard, Nikko, Cille, I & Jepoy. We miss Dave, May & Aquino.

Game over. Time to go home faces.

Any interaction with nature is good for the body. In the very few long weekends that we have, all I want to do is pack my weekender bag and get out of the city smog. A few SMS with my Friday Night group and we're off for a roadtrip to Tagaytay and Nasugbu Batangas for the recent three-day break. We're missing three of our members who are currently residing abroad. =(

  • My new Team Awesome 

I thought moving to a new team will be hard, but God really has the best plan. I'm now with a team of not only brilliant workers, but really awesomely weird people. Plus, no more drama, my old team is just seated on the next pod!

  • Tale of the PR slaves

In my several years of working in PR, it's my first time to have an event for four days straight. We staged a booth in the 4th Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) and co-facilitated a Fun Rally going to Thunderbird in Rizal. My legs are giving up on my by the third day, but what's adrenaline for? Congrats and good job, team awesome! We totally owned PIMS! =)

  • Girlfriends and WhatsApp
Thanks for the photo, BFF!

I'm guilty of acting like a hermit and taking a rain check so many times this year. I finally had the chance to see my girls again last Friday, and as always, it turned out to be an awesome night. We've talked about grown up things and major changes in our lives, that I can't help but be proud of my girls (okay, myself included) for being brave and for living our lives the way we want it.

PS: Thank goodness for WhatsApp for bridging BB and iPhone, we're in touch 24/7!

  • Feeling like a Freshman again
Feeling first year college! Cindz, Phine with baby Paige, Arah & I

Super good friend, Arghie, who also calls me Cruella! He's my very first friend in college and I love this guy to bits!
Reunion with my college friends after six long years. The moment I stepped in (of course I'm late!), it all felt just like college, and we still know each other very well! Proves my theory that everyone in FB is a stalker, yeah? =)

I'm excited for what this coming week has to offer. Happy Sunday! 

Much Love, 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

What I Learned Today: #3

Making a living is not making a life. The corporate world is giant bowl of stress, fears and insecurities that it gets very easy to be consumed by deadlines, KPIs and proving our worth until that next Performance Appraisal. We spend years and years of our lives trying to make a difference, working hard to change the game, to make a name for ourselves that we sometimes forget what really matters.

Some years ago, I went through a spiritual seminar where the facilitator asked us to write down the things that are non-negotiable and to keep it close to us. Non-negotiables are things you value and will not give up for anything. Ambitious as I am, my list contained worldly things like five-star career, beefed-up bank accounts and yearly vacations abroad.  As I stare on my list further, I scribbled the reasons why I wanted them so bad. I work my ass off for a stellar career to make my parents proud, I want a huge savings account so I have money to pay the house, treat my family to fancy dinners and Holiday gifts, pay for their medical insurances and morbid as it sounds, leave some money to them if and when I die. A yearly vacation may be the closest thing I want for myself. I want this and that, but I want them for a reason. And those reasons have names, and faces and hearts that I care for dearly. 

So the next time you (and I) get stressed, consumed, mad and anxious about work, take a break and think about the things that really matter, the reasons for all the hard work and mental/physical fatigue you endure everyday. People, family and friends, they are the ones who will care for you after office hours or long after your retirement. Sorry to say this but give it a few months after your resignation/retirement and your workmates will forget about, move on with their daily tasks as how it's supposed to be. 

So yes to making a living, but work should not be your entire life, and if you think it is, then I'm inviting you out for coffee. I promise I'm fun. =D

PS: Thank you to GG, J, JB & P for wonderful conversations. Niefertiti!

Much Love on first day of September,