Japan Holiday: Kyoto Cooking Class & Tour

The last time Jim and I were in Kyoto was during our honeymoon in February 2015. It was also when I first experienced snow. It fell right as we stepped outside after our cooking class. It’s definitely filed under “core memory” in my brain.

As we had such a wonderful experience then, we wanted to take a Japanese cooking class with the family this time around!

Since we were staying in Osaka, the agency arranged for a van to drive us the whole day for our Kyoto trip. It was about an hour away so we took a nap going there.

The cooking class we attended is called Cooking Sun and I highly recommend it especially for groups!

Dried fish parts

Dried fish (they looked and felt like wood) makes what’s called DASHI. It’s the base used for many soups including miso! According to our teacher, it unlocks umami — the fifth taste. There’s sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami. It’s a kind of brothy, meaty taste.

Bonito flakes are made from the dried fish as well

We started with the tamago or Japanese fried egg. Jim and I learned this when we took our first cooking class so I was pretty confident.

In fact, I was overconfident I kind of burned my egg hehehe. No pictures. Nakakahiya. LEL.

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Preparing the spinach salad dressing
Spinach Samurai draining the spinach
Mixing it in with the dressing
Oh, I didn’t see you there
This is just really how I cook……
Consulting the recipe bec I don’t know what tf I’m doing

Now for sushiii

Nunki helping with the sushi rice. It’s made with rice vinegar!
Look at that cute Japanese girl watching
Papa Gerry and his fans

Leave 3 fingers space on top and 1 finger space at the bottom

Sige lang, girl
Kaya mo yan
Sabi sayo kaya mo yan eh
~*p e r f e c t *~

And I finally learned how to make chicken teriyaki. It’s just soy sauce, sake, and sugar.

We learned how to straighten the shrimp out so it’s ready for tempura

In this photo I’m about to snort some cocaine LOLJK I think that’s baking powder so that the batter will stick to the food
Pinapakialaman nanaman ako ni ate gurl… CHAROT. She was so nice and helpful, okay??
Yay!

OMG I MADE EVERYTHING IN THIS BENTO BOX. Still very proud of myself hehe.

We had a nice lunch with the family upstairs and our bento boxes were soooo filling. Jim’s dad enjoyed so much that he plans to have a night where he prepares the same dishes at home for us! Maybe this weekend!:)

After the wonderful cooking class, it was time to take a trip around Kyoto! I recommend our driver George and our lovely tour guide Keiko! I am not sure how you can book them but George e-mailed me directions to some places (he’s SO helpful) and I have his e-mail address if you’re interested in hiring a driver for your tour in Osaka/Kyoto!

Our first stop was to check out the famous Golden Pavilion

It was originally the retirement villa of the shogun Yoshimitsu until his death in 1408 when it became a zen temple. It burned down several times in history but the most recent one was in 1950 when a monk burned it down and tried to commit suicide right after. He survived and went to jail for seven years before being released for a diagnosed mental illness. Very interesting, I think there’s a book about it. Aha! A quick Google search says it’s called The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima. 4 stars on GoodReads.com! Hmmm maybe it should be one of the books I read this year. Anyway, going back: the pavilion standing today was rebuilt in 1955.

Sweet/terrifying moment
“Humans, stop burning down stuff”
WOW
Oh yeah, we bought Huaraches the day before heehee

Cute little ducks
And a brief sighting of a rare selfie stick
And a fierce orange-red winged creature makes an appearance (lovette)

Our next stop was the Bamboo Forest: ANG DAMING PHOTOS NG BAMBOOS ANG GANDA KASI OKAY

Did anyone ask for a blurry family pic? Well here ya go!
UGH

And then we went to a little shopping district called Kiyomizu-michi. There’s also a temple there but we did not go anymore because Nunki fell asleep in the van and papa Gerry offered to stay with her while the girls looked around for 20 minutes. Our guide Keiko told us about a Ghibli store and I made a beeline for it!

WAHHHHH
Sure hope that sign doesn’t say DON’T TOUCH

Best purchase from our recent Japan trip: a No-Face coin bank ✨ #spiritedaway #ghibli

A photo posted by Saab Magalona-Bacarro (@saabmagalona) on

Matcha soy ice cream!

We were all very tired and it was already night time when we got back to Osaka. We decided to just find a restaurant near the hotel for dinner. Osaka is very different from Tokyo in that it’s more difficult to find a place to eat if you’re not from there. Once again, it was hard to find a place for 7 people and we ended up at a Korean barbecue place. They had no English menu and no English speaking staff so I tried my Google Translate app. The funny thing is that the waitress couldn’t understand what I was showing her and then I realized she was Japanese and I was translating Korean phrases!! Haha! Once we figured it out, we just typed in BEEF, CHICKEN, BEER. Hahaha! The food was great.

A few more Japan Holiday blogs to go! Hope you’re having a great 2nd week of the year!!!

♥,
Saab

JAPAN HOLIDAY: Matsusaka Beef in Osaka

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Matsusaka Beef.

We rode a bullet train to Osaka from Tokyo on the 29th and though it was my second time to ride a shinkansen (Japanese for bullet train), it was my first time to ride a “green car.” It’s equivalent to an airplane’s business class. Well, they don’t exactly serve unlimited champagne but it’s fairly nicer than the regular car. There’s more leg room and the chairs are more comfortable.

They even had sockets on the armrest, that’s why I was able to blog while on the train. I didn’t notice if the ordinary car had it. I would recommend it for longer travels like Tokyo to Osaka (4 hours), but if it’s a shorter one like Tokyo to Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort (1.5 hours) the ordinary car is more than fine!

We checked in to our hotel, Sheraton Miyako, and they had this little store called “DRUGS”

Fascinating

The teenagers (TEENAGERS???) stayed on the 11th floor and our rooms looked (and smelled) a little old. Our parents stayed on the 7th floor and their room looked much newer, FYI! On our last night, I found a medium-sized cockroach on our bed. Not kidding. It was a good thing I wasn’t lying down yet. We switched rooms and, in all fairness, the staff was very helpful and walang hanash in moving us. We only had about 3 hours before waking up so we didn’t have any other choice. Overall I wouldn’t recommend the hotel because, well, there was a fucking cockroach on our bed. Thanks, travel agency for your recommendation.😷

Anyway, I didn’t know that was going to happen yet so after checking in, we all went to the famous Shinsaibashi shopping street to — you guessed it — shop!

And I went ahead and caught some Pokémon along the way.

I finally caught Pikachu, btw, and he was wearing a Santa hat huhu.

Cute 8-bit tableware!!

Didn’t have much time before our dinner reservation so I checked with the store owners and luckily, Shinsaibashi would be open on the 31st so we could just go back!

We walked to our restaurant, Matsuzakagyu Yakiniku M which was just a few minutes’ walk.

Our travel agency pre-ordered the set Premium menu for us and it was simply the best dinner I had all year.

I didn’t know this was just the appetizer. It tasted SO GOOD.
More appetizers
Beef sushi!!! It was wonderful!!!
THE MAIN EVENT OMG GUYS IF YOU GO TO OSAKA PLS GO HERE

After dinner we met up with our friend Raf who was also there for the holidays. We recommended our favorite bar, Fanny Mae, where the owner only plays his CD collection. He’s a big Rolling Stones fan and it’s quite obvious when you see the place.

Fanny Mae is the coolest
Jim, me, my enormous holiday cheek, and Raf
Heading out with Raf’s sister and her friends to get Strong Zero at Family Mart hehehe
Japan drunk is the best kind of drunk

We woke up with massive headaches the following day because we were so dehydrated. I think that helped in my 2017 resolution to lessen drinking as much as I can. It really makes me bloated and my productivity is highly affected the following day. My plan is to go cold turkey on beer, and only drink gin, scotch, vodka, or wine maybe once a week or even twice a month! Nothing’s set in stone yet. I may regret posting this on my blog for everyone to see. Hahaha. We’ll see where the year takes me!

♥,
Saab

Eat Girl: Beshies Christmas Dinner at Yuan

Last night I went to Christmas dinner with some of the beshies! We decided to go to Janna & Brent’s newly-opened restaurant called YUAN along Brixton st., Kapitolyo.

It serves yummy Asian fusion cuisine!

DIY SUSHI P350

I would recommend ordering the DIY SUSHI if you’re on a first date or something — makes for a fun activity to bond over. It’s like an arts & crafts project that you can eat.

LAKSA TANTANMEN P320 – Fresh ramen noodles, laksa broth, schmaltz, tare, fish cake, lobster balls, prawns, bean sprouts, kafir

The Laksa Tantanmen is full of flavor – I think everybody ordered a bowl each. The serving is also quite generous.

MATCHA DREAM – very delicious vodka-based cocktail!
KANI CREAM KOROKE P320 – Kani cream croquettes, house tonkatsu sauce, jap mayo, slaw, sesame dressing
YELLOW CHICKEN RICE P300 – Steam annato chicken, ginger java rice
XO sauce, ginger oil, dark soy, turmeric soup
SPICY EDAMAME P220 – Stir fried Edamame, spicy garlic miso sauce
X.O. TONKATSU MALING FRIES P320 – Tonkatsu MaLing Fries, house X.O. sauce, house tonkatsu sauce, jap mayo, slaw, sesame dressing

It was a great dinner, thanks to the girls and their boys for being amazing company as well.

Lo & RobbieGar
Brent & Janna – congrats!!
Rob & Maxx
Cutesy patootsie
Landian part 1
Landian part 2

Megan wasn’t around because we’re not friends anymore. ECHOS LANG!! She was on her way home from hosting the Miss World pageant in the States! Wish she could have been there!!

We message each other throughout the day but we really should get together more often! I just enjoy hearing about the things that make them happy. From landing big projects to buying sneakers at a steal, these girls are truly blessed because of their positivity. Love love love.

Have a Beshy Christmas!🎄

♥,
Saab

Four Days in Paris: Day 4

Isha and I only had two main agendas for our last day in Paris: to visit the Monnaie de Paris and to have lunch with our friend Barbi Chan!

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Monnaie de Paris was recommended by Mich Dulce who showed us some photos from the current exhibit. Maurizio Cattelan is an Italian artist born in 1960. If art is supposed to evoke emotion, then Cattelan definitely succeeds in his shocking displays.

Novecento, 1997 & Untitled, 2007
Novecento, 1997 & Untitled, 2007
La Nona Ora, 1999
La Nona Ora, 1999

La Nona Ora is among Cattelan’s most well-known works. The realistic wax statue of Pope John Paul II crushed by a meteorite forms part of an elaborate theatrical tableau. The stricken Pope, dressed in formal ecclesiastical gowns, and holding on to his ferule, lies prostrate on a broad, red carpet covering the whole Salon d’Honneur. Named for the time when Christ died on the cross, the dramatic image of physical suffering is a powerful vision, symbol of his duty and the burden that he weighs on his shoulders. The Pope is one of many authority figures that Cattelan has targeted in his practice, and the artist denies that La Nona Ora is specifically anti-Catholic. The papal figure is also the one of the father, and today Cattelan can “say that the pope is linked to (his) dad, the father figure, but the work didn’t come up that way. Initially my idea was closer to that which had brought me to explore safety deposit boxes, that is to say, to stage the contrast between power and vulnerability.” — Monnaie de Paris

Mini-Me, 1999
Mini-Me, 1999
Untitled, 2007
Untitled, 2007

“The non-traditional canine family structure is far more acceptable today than ever before.” — Inez and Vinoodh, Photographers

Untitled, 2001
Untitled, 2001

Though the mise-en-scène suggests that a burglary is afoot, the details are ambiguous: is Cattelan planning a theft or is he simply seeking a more direct relationship with the art by circumventing the institution’s structured viewing? In the latter interpretation, he offers visitors a fantasy of alternate access points, creating a surreptitious channel between what is outside and inside the exhibition and encouraging viewers to look with fresh eyes. Alternately, Cattelan self-consciously cast himself as an outsider, thief, or impostor amid established art history. This interpretation resonates with the recurring theme of anxiety in his work, illustrating the character who fell into the art world by chance. — Monnaie de Paris

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Charlie Don't Surf, 1997
Charlie Don’t Surf, 1997

“I’m from the same generation as Maurizio Cattelan and, like him, I experienced an extremely coercive educational system with corporal punishment at its core. ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child.’ Teachers used to hit pupils every day: it was a common practice. When I was about 7 or 8, one of my classmates spat in the face of a teacher who had just hit him. This astonished us. We were on the side of power, and subscribed to the idea that the system could use violence to educate us. The teacher was just as surprised and shocked as we were. He took the necessary steps to have this boy removed from the school. Before his expulsion, the boy had been called in with his parents to make his apologies to the teacher in front of the whole class – which he refused to do when he arrived. It was unbelievable. So unsettling that I don’t even remember talking about it with the other pupils. We never saw our classmate again and I forgot his name. The teacher was called Mr. Le Soir. It wasn’t until years later that I understood that this child’s action had been heroic. He alone among us was not paralyzed in the face of power and violence. When I looked at Charlie Don’t Surf, this childhood memory naturally came back to me. In my memory, the boy became like Charlie, a small being who zealously refuses to bow down to the omnipotence of the order which nails him to the spot. I can’t be against Charlie Don’t Surf, I am against with him.” — Thomas Lenthal, Creative Director

Untitled, 2007
Untitled, 2007

Like a hunting trophy in reverse, the untitled work is also the antithesis of the typically heroic equestrian monument familiar to art history. Cattelan’s horse appears to have attempted a valiant leap, only to have been thwarted by the thick wall. Neither striking a spectacular pose nor making a successful escape from the exhibition, he is stuck in the liminal space in-between. Likewise, the horse seems suspended between life and death, his decapitation suggested but hidden from view. — Monnaie de Paris

All, 2007
All, 2007

“Marble does not hide” As a man, and all the more as a man of government, before All by Maurizio Cattelan, I can only feel dismay at those nine lives cut short, witness to the migrants’ tragedy, about which our generation will inevitablybe called to account by those to come. Marble does not hide, marble preserves. And art that narrates reality is not a provocation or an irreverence but a warning about what must be done. — Dario Franceschini, Ministry of culture and tourism of the Italian government

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We, 2011
We, 2011

It’s a double self-portrait of the artist in bed with himself that relies on scale shifts, doubling, and theatrical presentation to present a surreal, psychological depiction. Wearing tailored suits and well-made but scuffed shoes, the similar, but not identical three-foot-tall likenesses lie on a small wooden bed covered with delicately embroidered bedding. Without touching, they stare blankly into space. The waxen quality of the faces is eerily lifeless, suggesting that the bodies are lying in wake. — Monnaie de Paris

Reminds me of the Death Cab for Cutie song, "Brothers on a Hotel Bed"
Reminds me of the Death Cab for Cutie song, “Brothers on a Hotel Bed”
Untitled, 2000
Untitled, 2000

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“Everything I do has an autobiographical resonance, but I can’t control it.” – Maurizio Cattelan

Him, 2001
Him, 2001

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An encounter with Him unravels as a carefully orchestrated sequence of recognition. Approaching from behind, the viewer sees the figure of a boy kneeling at the back of the gallery. Neatly dressed in a gray tweed jacket and britches, his hair dutifully combed down and his hands clasped in prayer, the diminutive form presents a model of submission of piety. But the instinctive feeling of tenderness engendered by the figure is dramatically overturned the moment his face is seen, revealing the unmistakable visage of Adolf Hitler. The sight of one of History’s most reviled figures reduced to the scale of a vulnerable child and posed in an attitude of apparent contrition sets up a tacit confrontation with the Catholic doctrine of absolution. — Monnaie de Paris

Untitled (Gérard), 1999
Untitled (Gérard), 1999

“Comedians manipulate and make fun of reality. Whereas I actually think that reality is far more provocative than my art.” – Maurizio Cattelan

One of my best trips to the museum! I really enjoyed reading all the written interpretations by different people from different fields. Time flew and we rushed to Le Servan to meet with Barbi.

Barbi looking so excited to see us! I was too since I hadn't seen her in YEARS!
Barbi looking so excited to see us! I was too since I hadn’t seen her in YEARS!
Sorry for the low-resolution, I'd already packed away my camera by this time. Used my phone for this one!
Sorry for the low-resolution, I’d already packed away my camera by this time. Used my phone for this one!

Le Servan’s chef, Ms. Levha, was born in Manila but raised in Paris. She describes her dishes as, “traditional French cuisine with a little Asian twist.”

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Deeelish!
Deeelish!
Heading back to the hotel
Heading back to the hotel

Isha caught an earlier flight and Barbi stayed to keep me company while I waited for my ride to the airport. We talked about her fabulous life in Paris with her husband and cute new baby. It was great catching up!

Then it was time to go home!!

Even after an amazing trip, I have to admit I was looking forward to going home to Jim & Joey!

Bisous,
Saab

Eat Girl: Tokyo Tokyo’s Mt. Katsu Sumo Meal

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!”

As true as the famous Christmas carol may be, it neglects to inform us that it’s also the most hectic time of the year. Everybody’s rushing everywhere – mostly to malls to check off names off their lists. When we waste so much time stuck in horrid traffic, we also panic about not having enough of it for actual Christmas shopping. Let me share something my mother always tells me: “No matter how busy, you should NEVER skip a meal.”

Let me set the scene for you: you’ve conquered the metaphorical mountain that is EDSA and you’ve figuratively moved mountains to get your little sister the best gift. After all that hard work, you should be ready to EAT a mountain. Head on over to the nearest Tokyo Tokyo because they’ll have the perfect meal waiting for you. Celebrate your completely checked off list with the Mt. Katsu Sumo Meal.

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The Mt. Katsu Sumo Meal comes with the newest addition to their menu, the Mt. Katsu, 4 pieces of prawn tempura, two bowls of unlimited steamed rice and two glasses of red iced tea for only P375.

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What exactly is the Mt. Katsu? It’s a heap of their best-selling (and my personal fave) Big Chicken Katsu topped with teriyaki sauce, onion rings, and Japanese mayo. Doesn’t it look like a Christmas tree? Kinda? Haha!

The Mt. Katsu Sumo Meal is meant to be a meal for two but the servings are so generous that some people split it three-ways at times.

“Wish Jim were here to help me finish all of this!”
“Wish Jim were here to help me finish all of this!”
But deep inside gustong ubusin lahat LELZ
But deep inside gustong ubusin lahat LELZ

If you’re a light-eater and the whole meal is a bit too much for you, you can enjoy the Mt. Katsu on its own with a side of rice for only P189. You can also choose the bento meal option with a drink and sides for only P244.

This Christmas season, I’ll be skiing down a mountain in Japan for the first time in my life. I can’t tell you how excited I am to experience that!! In the meantime, I’ll be conquering the Mt. Katsu Sumo Meal right here at home. If you decide to do the same thing, don’t forget to share it with a loved one (or two!). It’s the most wonderful time of the year after all. :)

♥,
Saab

FOUR DAYS IN PARIS: DAY 2

(Read about Day 1 here)

Our second day in Paris started with a quick stop for tea at a cozy crafts shop along Rue Deguerry called Klin D’oeil. Everything in that place was so pretty, I just clicked away on my camera.

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Klin D'oeil means Wink of the Eye
Klin D’oeil means Wink of the Eye

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Hehehe
Hehehe

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One part of the shop was transformed into a Dove gallery so we could look at some products offered exclusively in other countries.

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You KNOW there's nothing in that mug. Hahaha I was assigned an "I HEART NEW YORK" mug so I thought I'd grab this one for photos.😂
You KNOW there’s nothing in that mug. Hahaha I was assigned an “I HEART NEW YORK” mug so I thought I’d grab this one for photos.😂

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Japan is the only country that carries a facial care line by Dove. Jealous!!
Japan is the only country that carries a facial care line by Dove. Jealous!!
They gave us a care package!!
They gave us a care package!!
I got a personalized notebook!! Huhu <3
I got a personalized notebook!! Huhu <3

Then we all went to lunch down the street at a lovely restaurant called Tannat.

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Crunchy mushroom with beschamel sauce and pink cauliflower. It was divine.
Crunchy mushroom with beschamel sauce and pink cauliflower. It was divine.

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We split up into smaller groups and ours walked back to Klin D’oeil for a briefing with Dove Global’s VP, Sophie Galvani. She reminded us what Dove is all about. She showed us some campaign videos from the past and although I’d seen some of them in the past, it still struck a chord with me. I got a little emotional and I want to share these empowering videos with you in case you haven’t seen them yet. Get your tissues ready, girls.

Not a lot of women believe themselves to be beautiful.

Dove’s social mission is to ensure that the next generation grows up with a positive relationship with the way they look and help them reach their full potential.

When they choose women to be part of their campaigns, they choose women who have beautiful personalities emenating from within.

Your Hair, Your Choice

Okay, wipe away those tears of joy. Do you feel more beautiful now? I really do hope so!!💙

Dove is not just all talk. They have a self-esteem progam that has 20 million young people reached across 138 countries. They’ve been educating children about self-esteem since 2004 and I think that’s very important especially in today’s digital world where we keep comparing ourselves to everyone we see on Instagram. I’m just very proud to be an ambassador for such an amazing brand.

To further their point about being unique, we made some DIY pins for ourselves! We were taught by Helene and Julien of heju.fr – pls check out their DIY blog UGH IT’S SO PRETTY.

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Here’s my pin:

Made a DIY pin back in Paris with the help of Helene and Julien of @hejublog 💙

A photo posted by Saab Magalona-Bacarro (@saabmagalona) on

Afterwards, we went to a couple of jewelry designers to get some personalized pieces!

First stop was Alice Hubert’s shop.

Alice Hubert
Alice Hubert

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It was really inspiring to hear her talk about her humble beginnings. It was as if she was born to do this.

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Loooooooooook <3<3
Loooooooooook <3<3

Jeweller number 2: OMBRE + CLAIRE

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This was what I made hehe
This was what I made hehe

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And then it was time to go to dinner, we did a bit of sightseeing on the way!

In English: Hangover
In English: Hangover
Obligatory
Obligatory
Le Louvre by night
Le Louvre by night

Dinner was at this super chic place called Chez Simone. It’s a yoga and boxing studio by day and restaurant by night. I KNOW, RIGHT??? Super cool.

I should get that S sign for my wall
I should get that S sign for my wall

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It was the highlight of my 2nd day because I really bonded with the rest of the girls that night! It was so fun talking about our own countries and all the silly things from back home.

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That’s it for day 2!! Stay tuned for day 3 :)

♥,
Saab

Four Days in Paris: Day 1

The Global team of Dove invited women from all over the world to experience their first ever Dove Pop-Up Store in Paris. “Why Paris?” some of us asked. “Because it’s the capital of beauty,” they answered. There’s no denying that. Here’s a photo journal of my first day in Paris. It was a free day for us. I checked into my room at Hotel Providence. It was a beautiful boutique hotel and no two rooms looked the same. It was in theme with Dove’s key message that everybody’s beauty is unique.

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This mini-bar was made especially for the hotel.
This mini-bar was made especially for the hotel.

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PEG!!
PEG!!

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On the first day, I met Isha Andaya-Valles – editor-in-chief of Preview Magazine. She was the only other Filipina in the group so naturally, we bonded. We freshened up and headed out to lunch with some of our friends who lived in Paris.

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I wonder where you can get nice things?
I wonder where you can get nice things?
Hey, moe!
Hey, moe!

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Isha
Isha

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CHEESE
CHEESE

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We got lost looking for the restaurant. Apparently, we passed it thrice and hadn’t noticed it at all.

The sign was so tiny and semi-camouflaged!
The sign was so tiny and semi-camouflaged!

Semilla was recommended by our friend Erica Paredes. She’s been taking cooking classes in Paris for over a year now.

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Hehehe!
Hehehe!
I shared my mushroom pasta with Isha
I shared my mushroom pasta with Isha
And she shared her scallops with me
And she shared her scallops with me
Lemon tart looking like Meringue Lights
Lemon tart looking like Meringue Lights
Mich Dulce also joined us for lunch!
Mich Dulce also joined us for lunch!

After a delicious meal and tons of chikahan, we said goodbye to Erica. Mich walked us to Monnaie de Paris, a museum that she highly recommended. The line was crazy long so we walked to The Louvre instead because Isha hadn’t been.

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Di kami ready haha
Di kami ready haha

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I don’t know what we were thinking because, of course, the line was even longer for The Louvre. It was alright because at least we got to take photos hehe

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We went around the Tuilerie gardens instead. It was so cold so we were about to get some coffee when we saw a sign for hot wine. It tasted delicious, like hot spiced sangria.

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Walked around some more with Isha towards the Centre Pompidou which we both had never experienced.

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Giant meringue omg
Giant meringue omg
Cutie pie doggy
Cutie pie doggy
Heyyy that's not how you spell Saab haha
Heyyy that’s not how you spell Saab haha

But before entering the museum, Mich told us to meet her at Miznon – a very hip gourmet restaurant that serves pita sandwiches and more.

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Sweet kamote! Not very photogenic haha but this was deeeeelish!
Sweet kamote! Not very photogenic haha but this was deeeeelish!

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This was the best ratatouille I'd ever tasted in my whole life. Not kidding. Grabe siya.
This was the best ratatouille I’d ever tasted in my whole life. Not kidding. Grabe siya.
Who knew cauliflower could be this good??? It's boiled, grilled then drizzled in olive oil.
Who knew cauliflower could be this good??? It’s boiled, grilled then drizzled in olive oil.

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Make sure to check it out when you’re there, it’s right beside the famous L’As du Fallafel. We said goodnight to Mich before heading to Centre Pompidou where we were not allowed to take photos (sadly) but we got in for free! I guess because it was a Sunday?

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Being in the midst of works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, et al was very humbling, to say the least. It was mind-blowing, to say the least.

I snuck a picture with my phone because I am truly Pinoy lelz
I snuck a picture with my phone because I am truly Pinoy lelz

By the time the museum closed at 9PM, both Isha and I were dead-tired. We took an Uber back to our hotel and passed out. We were very tired but also very excited for the days to come! Check back tomorrow for Day 2 of my four days in Paris:)

P.S. The not-so-great photos were just taken with our phones in case you were wondering!!

♥,
Saab

Jim’s Bara-Bara Pasta

In almost two years of being married, I’ve been learning how to cook – slowly but surely. And when I say slowly, I mean S-L-O-W-L-Y. I’ve tried following recipes but I’m such a perfectionist that it takes me all day to make one meal. Chopping onions could take me half an hour. Cooking is just not my thing. Eating: that’s what my thing is.

Thanks to my wonderful Jim for continuing to fight, clueless he may be, against gender stereotypes and gladly taking on the role of our family’s cook.

We went to his parents’ house last Sunday and we (read: he) cooked dinner for the family. I asked him what he was making and he kept saying basta. He always surprises me with whatever concoction he comes up with. He NEVER follows a recipe, he always goes rogue. But he’s got a lot of heart and most of the time that’s what you need that to make a good dish.

So I present to you, his Bara-Bara Pasta. The Tagalog term bara-bara, in English, means anything goes. I tried researching its etymology but it kept leading me to just bara (clogged) so I stopped Googling, afraid I’d run into nasty images. Jeez, I shouldn’t be talking about this right before showing you photos of food. But I already did. So.

Mr Cheese
Mr Cheese
Lotsa spinach
Lotsa spinach
Heat your pan until it's as hot as yo girl
Heat your pan until it’s as hot as yo girl
Have your mom remind you that you should wear an apron in her kitchen
Have your mom remind you that you should wear an apron in her kitchen
Onion and garlic: "make gisa" lelz
Onion and garlic: “make gisa” lelz
BUTTERRR
BUTTERRR

If you have some white wine lying around, get some for your pasta but not before having a little sip

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Shrimp bathed in white wine
Shrimp bathed in white wine
"I'll just take photos and cheer you on"
“I’ll just take photos and cheer you on,” she said before she sipped her wine and took a selfie

Jim likes to cook while listening to fun music. Very much like in the movie, Chef. The soundtrack of that movie is amazing, right? Here’s the playlist on Spotify in case you want to cook while it’s playing in the background.

Cubed chicken breast: peppered (white and black) and salted.
Cubed chicken breast: peppered (white and black) and salted.

Just add everything together

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Olive oil
Olive oil
Add chicken
Add chicken
Add shrimp
Add shrimp
Add a little vodka (???) hahaha
Add a little vodka (???) hahaha
Cook your penne pasta
Cook your penne pasta
Taste to make sure it's perfect
Taste to make sure it’s perfect
Take a photo of your wife pretending she made it
Take a photo of your wife pretending she made it
Mix with different kinds of your favorite cheese and serve
Mix with different kinds of your favorite cheese and serve

Sorry, we can’t give you measurements of each ingredient but hopefully you can try and recreate it through the photos. If not, just get yourself a man who can cook with a whole lot of heart.

♥,
Saab

Cup Fiction: A Café Library Dream Come To Life

I can’t believe I’m an entrepreneur now, I can’t even pronounce entrepreneur.

It all began one night when Jim and I bumped into our college friends, Pao and Tia. It was just a few days before Tia popped out their baby boy Noah. They said they wanted to do something with their space along White Plains and asked if we would be interested in partnering with them. We said yes and the months went by very quickly!

Pao, Jim, and I took a 2-week barista class from EDSA Beverage Design Group. Tia had just given birth and couldn’t have coffee so she sat this one out!

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We even took an exam in the end!
We even took an exam in the end!

We started drinking doing research and development for our menu

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Decided to skip hiring an interior designer and did everything ourselves

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We interviewed people, hired a staff and did a kitchen test. A kitchen test is when you invite a handful of friends to order anything off the menu so the staff can time the process and see what needs adjustments. We also took the opportunity to cut down our menu items.

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Only a few items made the cut and we’ve been up and running for exactly a month today. We’re still on soft opening, still ironing out some kinks, but so far the reviews have been great!

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I’m handling marketing and so far we’ve been featured on these sites:

clickthecity
Photo: ClickTheCity.com

“Cup Fiction: For The Love of Coffee, Books and Comfort Food” ClickTheCity.com

esquire
Photo: Esquiremag.ph

“We found the perfect coffee shop for creatives” Esquiremag.com

Photo: Janna Tee
Photo: Janna Tee

“Here’s Why We’re Excited to Visit Saab Magalona’s Newly Opened Cafe Library” Preview.ph

Photo: laurenlearns.com
Photo: laurenlearns.com

“5 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT CUP FICTION” LaurenLearns.com

To those who have dropped by and sent us a shout out on social media: thank you SO much for helping spread the word about our little café. We get to see all the tagged photos and reviews and we really appreciate it. Our operations aren’t at 100% yet but we will get there with your help and comments :)

For the rest of you: when are you coming over?✨ It’s at 141 Katipunan ave, Brgy St. Ignatius, QC! Follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) @cupfictionph 😘

♥,
Saab

Osaka: A Photo Diary

Some shots from our trip to Osaka last month

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Jim and I landed in Osaka pretty late at night, met up with our friend Kyle who got there a couple of days earlier and the four of us had a very late dinner along Shinsaibashi. I can’t remember what the place is called but it’s open until pretty late and we ate there twice.

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Checked in at our AIRBNB which was just a few blocks away

Photo from Airbnb
Photo from Airbnb

It was a cozy apartment but big enough for 4 people. Our other friend Enzo stayed for 2 nights. Great location, too. Click here if you wanna check it out.

The next day we set out to go around Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori

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Shinsaibashi
Shinsaibashi-suji
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Passed by a pet shop and had to drop by
Passed by a pet shop and had to drop by
Would have taken more photos but they said it wasn't allowed huhu
Would have taken more photos but they said it wasn’t allowed huhu
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle

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Best place to buy sneakers! There's a ton of ABC MART branches around Japan.
Best place to buy sneakers! There’s a ton of ABC MART branches around Japan.

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A lot of tourists use the Glico Man as a spot for meet ups. "Let's meet by the Glico Man!" It's right by the bridge to Dotonbori
A lot of tourists use the Glico Man as a spot for meet ups. “Let’s meet by the Glico Man!” It’s right by the bridge to Dotonbori
Dotonbori is where you must go to eat!!
Dotonbori is where you must go to eat!!

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We had conveyor belt sushi, of course.

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We also ate at Ichiran twice while we were there. Wild talaga ramen dun, friends.
We also ate at Ichiran twice while we were there. Wild talaga ramen dun, friends.

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sup fam
sup fam

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My love
My love

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Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle

The famed Pablo cheesecakes — SO YUMMY

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Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle
Photo by Kyle

Funniest thing while I was trying on a sweater from Puma, they asked me to wear this bag over my head so my makeup wouldn’t transfer onto their clothes. I was also asked to take off my shoes before entering the dressing room

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I no longer have photos of the following days because Kyle borrowed my memory card. He shot a music video for Cheats and I promise you, it’s worth it. Can’t wait for you guys to see it!! I also thought we weren’t allowed to bring cameras to Summer Sonic. Turns out they don’t check your bags at all. My tip if you’re going to the music festival next year: bring your own booze and line up early for the bathrooms because you may spend 40 minutes in line! Oh, and don’t forget to wear sunblock!! RADIOHEAD WAS FIIIIRE.

♥,
Saab