Commitment


I know that by putting this out here, I am subject to all forms of mockery.  But he who hasn’t sinned cast the first stone, right?

Lately, I do not take the “fat” comments lightly.  I currently have issues (I don’t think all of you can relate to) that may have contributed to my weight gain but I have to admit that we live in a world where people are unforgiving when it comes to weight gain.

My BMI is normal but I am currently 13 lbs overweight.

Per my physiotherapist,  I have to rest till March this year but I don’t think that can wait any longer.  I grew up playing sports and active and I feel that I’ve been dormant for the longest time.  Nonetheless, I’m taking all the necessary precautions.

It’s hard going back to square one but that’s just how it’s going to be.  I was running 15KM before I stopped running last September.  I just signed up for Runkeeper‘s “Beginner Half Marathon to finish” Training Plan.  If I stick to this plan, I should be able to finish my half marathon by end of April.   They have a lot of training plans for your perusal.

I also use the iphone app, “Fitness Pal“, to track my daily calorie intake.  I’ve had it before and I did lose weight.  I’m back to using it again.  Commitment.

I got robbed last September.  My Nike Free Run shoes, running shorts, Nathan hydration belt were taken.  I bought another Nike Free Run shoes but that pair is .5 short of my perfect fit so I got a new one.

I’m starting to get into the “minimalist” type of running.  I originally wanted Skecher’s Go Bionic shoes because I so love the designs and colors but they did not have it here last December so I got myself a New Balance Minimus shoes instead.  (I don’t like shoes with colors other than black, gray and brown but most of the pairs I tried did not stock shoes my size.  Thus, the turquoise color. *sigh*)

With my new pair of NB Minimus shoes, I had to try on different types of socks.   I tried the no-show socks but they left me with wounds on the sides.  *ouch*.  So far, I’m liking my thin Puma socks that are up to my ankles.

The materials of the NB Minimus are too thin that my socks get dirty when they get a little wet.  But that’s what you get when you decide to run almost-barefoot.

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I could bitch about a lot of things here pertaining to my apprehensions to weight loss but that’s not the point here.

The man I ran with during my first 10KM run last January 2012 told me, “Bahalag hinay, basta kanunay“.  It doesn’t matter how slow you run as long as you do it often.  He lost around 40km :).

It would also help a lot if your peers have the same goals as yours.  But then again, it’s all about commitment and it’s hard – easier said than done.

Still, I’m crossing fingers and I’m looking forward to hitting my target weight.

Afterall, the only gain without pain is weight gain.

Cebu Dining: Mae Krua


There are only few entries you’ll find online about Mae Krua. Today, I decided to give it a visit. To my dismay, it took me almost an hour to locate this restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I love to walk before I eat. Thus, the one hour of looking.

I was told that it’s in front of Velez College. The easiest way to locate this is through the Diplomat Hotel; around 150M from Velez Hospital, 50M from Bigfoot, 2 lots away from Diplomat Hotel, right beside City Suites. It’s okay to get lost sometimes. Jeepneys 14D from Ayala, 17C and 04C from Colon are among the others that pass by this area.

This is by far the cheapest Thai resto I’ve been to and gives a little push to Krua Thai and Siam’s flavors. (although I think Siam is more commercial).

My usual favorites: Pad Thai @ Php155.00 and Tomyum Goong @ Php175.00. During this visit, I went for Tomyum Goong Noodle Soup for Php200.00. I didn’t get to finish tge entire serving. Halfway through the bowl, my hyperacidity started to spike lol.

Sourness was just about right and the shrimps and noodles were perfectly cooked.

This is the closest I’ve had to authentic Thai food. And in case you ask, yes, they serve Singha.

I hughly recommend giving Mae Krua a visit. (I still have to give it to Krua Thai for the ambiance). The place is very “discreet” as well. They have wifi, too.

This is my first post via iphone. Please excuse typos and brevity. Will update with photos in a while. 🙂

Mae Krua
80 F. Ramos Street,
Cebu City

Tides, Shangri La Mactan


 

Hello, I am back!

After years of planning to have dinner at Tides, Shangri-la Mactan, it finally got realized.

We took their coaster service from SM Cebu to Shangri-la Mactan. It’s Php100 per person (one way) and you pay at the customer service station upon arrival. All other coasters from other hotels park outside SM Northwing just near Gerry’s Grill.  Taxi fare from SM to Shangri-la and VV will be around Php 230-250 depending on traffic.

Here’s their schedule as of December 30, 2012:

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We arrived earlier than we had originally planned so we had plenty of time to take pictures and feel the sand beneath our feet.  Such an amazing feeling!  But still, it would have been better if we had arrived around 2PM when the sky’s still blue.  A picture of their gazebo could have been perfect with the blue contrast.

The Tides Entrance

Heavenly dessert station

More of the heavenly sight

Anywhere I go, I always “raid” the Japanese Cuisine station first despite serious disobedience from the “Sushi Commandment”, which states that one should avoid indulgence of all-you-can-eat sushi/salmon/tuna/etc at all cost. I understand the rationale behind the “Sushi Commandment” but hey, I do it all for the love of Japanese food :D.

And no, I don’t like wasabi. The gari does magic in its own little way.

And obviously, I can’t get enough of these wonders so I got back for more.

So far, all the other buffets I’ve been to do not serve Thai/Indian food. Here, they serve amazing curry! Best prawn curry ever! I don’t know where I could get this elsewhere.  If you like Biryani, they have that, too.

Complimentary coffee.  Tea is another option but I don’t know which tea they serve.  Here, I got cappuccino.

View from our table.  Of course, we had to pause in between plates.   I just set up the tripod there and clicked on the shutter button without even looking at the viewfinder lol.

Some of the pictures I took upon arrival.  Lucky I got the chance to take a picture of the pinkish sunset sky.

We stayed around after dinner and took some more pics.  This one is from one of the bars in Shangri-la, Mactan.

Unfortunately, I don’t have decent pictures from the Chi Spa area.  Super lovely!  You should check it out as well.

This place is my personal favorite.  Better than Cafe Marco (Marco polo).  It’s always good to be away from the city from time to time.

Buffet rate at Tides, Shangri-la as of December 30, 2012 is Php1288++ per person (that should be around Php1900 per person excluding drinks).  I highly recommend making reservations in advance since they tend to get full.

Cebu Dining: Firozian Indian Tea House


Please excuse my lousy photos.  Butitoy has been acting up lately plus I can’t bear its weight with my current back problem plus it’s rainy season.  All of these were taken using my iphone.

As I may have mentioned on my previous post,  I’m not really a fan of Indian food.  But offtentimes, when I get to dine in one Indian restaurant, it always turns out to be surprising.

Take the case of my dining experience in Firozian Indian Tea House.  I am not familiar with their Indian menu (or any Indian food for that matter) but I asked the waitress for her suggestions.  She didn’t let my expectations down.  Indeed, I found their food really tasty.

My partner in crime, Jepuni, got Chinni Chicken and Lassi with rose extract for himself.  It was really tasty but I only took one bite because it was spicy.

Chinni Chicken

I had Chicken Masala with Rotti and Crème brûlée iced tea.  I asked them to go mild on the spices.  Trust me, the chicken meat was so tender and the taste was really rich in curry flavor.   They suggested that it’s best with beer but I don’t really drink beer.  I thought that my Crème brûlée went perfect with my dish.

Their rotti is the best I’ve had by far.  It wasn’t oily like the ones I’ve tried before.  Too bad, they ran out of curry dip that time.

Chicken Masala with Rotti

We also ordered Durum and Kebab wrap but we didn’t get to eat them.  We were too full.

By the look of this picture, I think Jepuni enjoyed the Indian setting.  Although small, it was still pretty cozy.

Jepuni enjoying the “Indian” feel of the restaurant

Firozian Indian Tea House is located along Don Avila St, fronting the famous Tagala and Angel’s Burger.  If the location isn’t familiar to you, you can drop off the corner of Cebu Doctor’s Hospital and Uno, then walk straight till you see Angel’s Burger.

I believe that they are true to their claim of serving authentic Indian Food.  Afterall, the owner is Indian and he and his staff were very nice.

You may read a very detailed article about Firozian Indian Tea House here.

(I’ll try my best to update this entry with their price list.)

Boracay Accomodation: Ole Boracay


After reading some glowing reviews, we decided to give Ole a try.  Ole has three rooms: O, L and E on the second floor of their restaurant.   This is, by the way, just right at the heart of D’Mall Plaza.

The location is perfect, but…

Everything else is just extremely horrible.

We arrived at around 7pm and it was raining really hard.   We asked one of the waitresses for assistance but she never came back.   After painfully waiting for a couple of minutes, we asked another waitress again who obviously got annoyed by our persistent inquiry.

In case you’re wondering, that’s the door leading upstairs.  And yes, they blatantly put a table less than a foot away from the door.  I’m very petite but I could hardly pass through the door!  We had to ask a couple of diners to move their table for a while for us to pass through.

And this is their hallway.   I could never fathom the very existence of these trash along / in the hallway.  And what happened to the lights?

Imagine our despair when we got into our room and was told that they had not fixed our room!  Isn’t that the very reason hotels impose check-out time?  

The girl in skimpy outfit (their uniform) wasn’t so amazed at the fact that she HAD to fix the room.  And yes, I have here a picture to prove that she’s even texting.

I’m not sure if it’s clear in this picture but there was constant dripping through the roof from the rain.  There’s most definitely a leak somewhere and made the bathroom floor wet the entire time.

After closer inspection, we found cigarette ashes and, believe it or not, skid marks on the bowl (purposely left out in this pic).  Disgusting!

We asked them to clean the bathroom again but we weren’t satisfied.  That was the end of it.  We moved to a different hotel the next day.

 

 

 

“Photogenic”.  Heavily advertised.  I do not understand the raves and high ratings.  I would not recommend this because of extremely poor and blatantly rude service.  I don’t ever want to stay here again.

My recommended places to stay in Boracay:  Gemtalk Suites and Green Toucan.

Check out my restaurant review here (from a different trip).

 

Chicago, Illinois: Part 2


Read Chicago, Illinois Part I entry here.

•UNITED CENTER

I’m not an NBA fan (or used to) but who doesn’t know Michael Jordan?  If you’re already in Chicago, why not give United Center a visit?  It’s probably like going to Hollywood and not giving the Walk of Fame a visit.

Note:  It could have been waaay better if there had been a game that day.  There’s nothing I wouldn’t give just so I could watch NBA game live.

• NAVY PIER

A little bit crowded here.  One time we were there, there was an ongoing graduation program.  Imagine our struggle finding a parking area.  But I’m pretty sure that the kids will enjoy this place.

The place is full of colors.  Mostly reds and yellows.

You can also opt to take the boat rides/cruises if you wish to have a scenic view along Lake Michigan.  Best during nighttime.

There was even a time when we walked (the entire day) from Navy Pier to the city and back to Navy Pier.  Good thing I wore my most comfortable sneakers and my feet never hurt a little.  I was ecstatic!

Sadly, my friends aren’t used to walking so , uhmmm, they started complaining within an hour from the time we started walking.

• WICKER PARK (LOL)

I can’t even believe that I’m putting it up here.  But what the heck, right? LOL

I am a self-confessed Josh Hartnett super fan.  I love him a loooottt that I even wish to end up with someone doe-eyed. LOL.  Ahhh, those eyes! to-die-for!  If you haven’t seen the movie, Wicker Park, you should check it out.

And just to give it the benefit of the doubt, we gave it a visit.

SPOILER ALERT!!! There’s nothing to see there! LOL  Except probably for the fact that I got pictures to show of me with “Wicker Park” on the background.  Ok, ok.  I hope you still accept me for my shallowness.

• HARPO STUDIOS

Oprah’s home.  Oprah’s network.  Oprah’s everything.

Pretty much self-explanatory.  (or mostly from friends’ requests). LOL

Brrr, I almost froze to death during this visit!

• Lake Michigan / Columbia Yacht Club

This is by far my favorite place in Chicago.  You see, I’m such a water baby and would always choose the waters over night clubs.

I could sit here all day and just watch the passers-by.  Or I could jog here.  Or I could just sit here with a good book to read the entire day.

This should be near the Millenium Park which I mentioned in my previous entry.

• OTHERS

Walk around the city and you’ll enjoy it a lot.  It won’t hurt if you get lost for a while.  You’ll always find your way back.  Just ask around.  Generally, people are friendly.

Parking could be a bit painful if you’re not familiar with the place (like us).  In any case, there are a lot of parking areas available.  Make sure you do your research before coming to Chicago and take note of the parking place (strategically) nearest your destination.

Food:  There are a lot of options here.  Try out their deep-dish pizza.  Chicago is famous for it.

Tax: around 7-10%.  I can’t be sure.  I’m sorry.

I hope to be back there someday.  I’ll most probably do the same thing over and over again.

Portrait Photography: Charlie and Honey


I’ve said here before that I struggle with portrait photography. It’s probably that I have loved landscape photography since time immemorial.  But then I am always thankful for opportunities that come my way.  And I say “yes!” every time I’m asked.  Not that I’m expecting anything in return but it’s one thing I’ve always wanted to learn. (How can I say “no” to new things anyway?).

I’ve started “testing the water” with portrait shots just very recently.

With portrait photography, I am most challenged with playing with my camera settings.  Unlike landscape photography,  I like my colors crisp, vivid and sharp.  I can’t have those in portraits (or I don’t like them that way.  I love them soft).  In portrait photography, the settings change for just about every angle you’re shooting and that would probably mean changing your settings every second of the day (I’m new to this).  Most of all, I am very conscious of how my subjects feel: are they okay?  are they comfortable?  do they need a break? etc…

One thing in taking portrait shots though: I love them candid!  haha

Here are a couple of shots I took during Charlie and Honey’s prenup.

I’ve known Charlie for quite sometime now.   He’s the one who introduced me to this!  It’s Charlie who invited me to Kim’s debut photoshoot, my first portrait session.

Trivia: Charlie and Honey are getting married for the second time! 😀

And they’re making a coffee table book!  Ain’t that sweet? 😀

One minute it was cloudy.

And then the sun came back.

They were both very natural, candid and charming.  Charlie has done a lot of prenup shoots before and he’s already (probably) used to this.  This time, he’s smiling for the camera.

It was a very fun shoot with laughter behind the scene.  Just between us who have known each other for some time now.  No awkwardness.  Nothing stiff.

To Charlie and Honey, I wish you both a happy ever after. 😀

As for me, I’m left with a lot of things to learn.  First, with my camera settings.  Next, post processing. *sighs*.  Baby steps.

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