Friday, January 19, 2018

Tempestuous Mayon

Mayon is tempestuous in nature.

It may appear serene and calm most of the time but when the volcano erupts, it shows how violent and volatile it could be.

Whichever persona it chooses to show, undeniably, it is still beautiful and magnificent.

I was just in Legazpi a few days ago.

The night before I left, the alert level was raised to Level 3 because the tip of the mountain was already glowing.


I called Cebu Pacific to ask if my flight is going to be cancelled. They replied that the flight is not cancelled despite the fact that Mayon could erupt anytime soon according to Philvocs.

I was hesitant to leave the next day but I asked people I know in Legazpi if it was ok to go there.

They were not worried about the situation so I took the 10:55 am flight.  I know it was just a fast flight, not even an hour.  I always close my eyes when I am up in the air because I get dizzy if I look out of the window.

I already heard the wheels dropping down, getting ready to land then suddenly, instead of the plane descending, I heard and felt it accelerate and ascend!

The pilot annouced that he could not land the plane because of poor visibility and bad weather conditions.  He said that he would try to land again.

I looked out the window and all I could see was white smoke, not even white clouds.  No wonder the pilot could not see anything.

Only to find out later on in the news that the mountain spewed ashes again so visibility was almost nil.

It was a little scary. I tightened my seat belt, which I rarely do, and prepared myself for a hard landing. I even prayed!  I know it was difficult for the pilot because we could all "feel" him trying to maneuver and land the aircraft.

The passengers clapped their hands upon touchdown.

Whew! That was just like in the movies!

Janet, the sister of Sherman, picked me up from the airport.  We had lunch in their house in Daraga.  She even cooked crabs for me and bought other food.

Thank you, Janet!

I was in Legazpi to take care of some business matters.  I really did not want to go but I had to.

Sia and I checked in at Hotel St. Ellis.

It was her first time in Legazpi City.

It is near the center.

When I say city center, it means it is near the Ayala Malls and LCC.

I had my favorite ice cream at 1st Colonial Grill in Ayala Malls.

Salabat, Sili and Gabi flavors.

You can choose the degree of spiciness of the sili ice cream, 1,2 or 3.  I just ordered #2.

Spicy Pinangat Na Laing

Lechon Kawali Meal

Hotel St. Ellis is known for their Pili Cheesecake.

I was so glad it was available because in my previous visits, there was no delivery.

Ate asked me to bring home a couple of slices!

On my first night in Legazpi I was not aware that lava flowed from the top of the volcano.

But the following morning, Mayon looked peaceful on our side of the mountain.

The danger zone was in the Camalig and Guinobatan area.

I had lunch at Waway's and ate my favorite Bicol Express.

The sauce is so creamy!  I've always wondered why my version always looks beigey and sometimes brownish.

My cousin said it is because of the alamang they use.

I bought 2 K. white bagoong from the Legazpi Public Market

and sili.

I experimented with Bicol Express when I got home and.....

TADA!!!! It was a success.

White and Creamy Bicol Express

Milk from 2 coconuts, set aside the 1st and 2nd extractions
1/2 K. Kasim, cut into small cubes
1/2 head garlic, chopped
1/2 C. white bagoong, rinsed and drained
1/4 K. Sili pang sigang(deseeded if you do not want it spicy), sliced diagonally

Put the pork, garlic, alamang and the coconut milk from the 2nd extraction in a pot or kawali.  When it boils, immediately lower the heat and simmer until the pork is tender and the oil comes up on top.  Add the sili and coconut milk from the 1st extraction.  Let it boil for a few minutes.

Best eaten with Seafood (fish or shrimp) Sinigang according to my cousin.  Tita Malyne even gave me tips on how to cook food with gata.

I checked out other old familiar eating places.

Family Kitchenette

Back in the days when there was no Max's yet in Legazpi.

Graceland was very popular when it was the only fast food restaurant.  Before Jollibee and McDonalds came to town.

On my last day, I happen to chance upon a small church, St. Jude.

I was so surprised it was airconditioned for such a small church.  I was impressed!

DJC Halo Halo

At first, I thought it only had leche flan, ube halaya, ube ice cream and grated cheese but after mixing it, I saw whole corn kermels, minatamis na langka and small sago.

Then it was time to head back to Manila!!!  I wanted to go home already!  I have concluded my business and I could not wait to leave.  I was afraid the volcano will erupt!

The flight was just delayed by 55 minutes.  No big deal.  I am ok with delays as long as they do not cancel.

Hihihi  I told my friends that my bag was so "busog".

They got confused and asked,  "YOU are busog or your bag???"

My bag is not big but it is not a purse.  One might say it is an overnight bag of sorts.

I have a small pouch which contains my shawl and a small pillow for the back.

Ohhh! I just discovered something!  My back does not hurt when I use the pillow because when there is a pillow for my lower back, it pushes me a bit forward on my seat and then my feet could touch the floor!

I put my Ate's Pili Cheesecake in my bag, as well.


My friends thought I was kidding when I said I bought tasty bread!  I was not!  It is so good because it is very sweet and soft to the point that it will stick to the roof of your mouth!!!

I even made chicken sandwich spread and menudo to eat with the bread!

FC - I have to remember this brand.  I bought it in LCC.

Next time I go back there I will buy several loaves of bread.

My cousin gave me Macaroni Salad for me to take home to Manila.

I had to buy plastic containers for the bagoong.

My snacks!

The other snacks were in the luggage.  I find it so time consuming to eat Pik-Nik! I do not know why Ate and Lisa love it.  I ended up "drinking" Pik-Nik from the carton while I was in the boarding area of the airport.

Bye Bye Mayon!

It looked so calm and serene again as I was leaving Legazpi City.


Snowball was disappointed because there was no pasalubong for her in my luggage.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Dear Diary.....

Dear Diary......

2018 has just started and I am very  happy because I have been spending it with friends, cooking and experimenting with new recipes.

2017 was a busy year for me.  I was busy traveling all year long!

January - Legazpi City
February - Boracay and Hongkong
March - Bangkok
April - Kuala Lumpur
May - Cebu
June - Tokyo and Seoul
July - Bangkok
August - Cebu
September - Hongkong
October - Seoul
November - I was sick
December - Boracay and Bangkok

Whenever I have an upcoming trip, my focus is always on my "eatinerary" and what clothes to bring and the quantity.  I rarely have enough time to spend with my friends.

Usually, I am with them in my travels but no more time to cook and hangout with them at home.

But this year.... I think is the year for just staying at home, cooking and inviting my friends over!

January 4

Ihaw Ihaw

Sherman is home from Japan!  Much to Jing's delight!

Hahahahaha so we asked him to grill liempo for us because he really does it so well.  Thank you, Sherman!

I cooked Sinigang na Shortribs.

I also asked Sherman to grill the pork bbq.

Adiel brought Embutido.   She made it herself.

Cecille brought Banana Cream Pie from Starbucks.

Mona and Corry also joined us for lunch.

January 6

Carrie's 18th Birthday

Carrie is my baking and cooking student.

She just celebrated her birthday last week at The Palms Country Club.

January 7

Farmers Market Day

So sad. My tapa vendor, Gil,  passed away last January 3.  He had flu like symptoms but the cause of death was Leptospirosis.

Tricia and I bought Shabu Shabu balls from Wei Wei Cold Storage.  I invited Babita to have dinner with me last Sunday.

January 8

I cooked French Beans with Ground Pork for lunch.

Nam Prik Ong for dinner with Tricia and Mia.

January 9

Shey and I were in the mood to cook.

My lunch was Mayette's Soyless Chicken and Pork Adobo

and Steamed Shrimps with Wansuy.

Dinner was at Shey's.  Mona could not make it so it was just Tricia, Cat, Shey and I.

Her specialty is Ikea Meatballs!

With Cream Gravy.

Cat brought Chocolate Cake from Polly's and I brought the Lingonberry jam I bought in Ikea.

Tricia brought buttered corn and red rice.

I also brought Mashed Potatoes.

I let them try my "al dente (10 minutes cooking time)" Spaghetti with Italian Meat Sauce.

Hahahaha  I found it too "asim" so I killed it with sugar! Lots and lots of sugar! It was not a hit with the Junkies.

Tricia asked for the recipe. She said she will cook it without sugar.  Ok! Fine! Hihihihi!

Italian Meat Sauce

500 gr. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
150 gr. Del Monte Toato Paste
28 oz. Peeled tomatoes. San Marzano, if possible.  FGM gave it to me.

1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried oregano
2 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1/3 C. white sugar or put as much or as little as you like.

Saute ground beef in a pot until slightly brown in color.

Add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the tomato paste and the whole peeled tomatoes.

Season with salt, pepper, basil, oregano and sugar.

Simmer over low heat for 2 hours.  Stir every 20 minutes.

After dinner, Cat, Shey and I went to Cat's new bar, Wantusawa Oyster Bar, on Felipe St., Poblacion Makati.

It was a little late already so we just had Tofu and Crispy Tawilis with The Botanist.

January 10

I invited Jing, Mayette and Jon over to help me eat the spaghetti with Italian Meat Sauce.

I still had leftover pizza dough in the fridge.

I just bought Ragu Pizza Sauce and Mozzarella cheese so we can have pizza for lunch.

My mistake was I put the dough on a piece of baking paper.  It got stuck on the paper!

Good thing Jing brought a baguette and we used it to make pizza.

Mayette and Jon brought ham and pan de sal.

I had dinner with my Perlas ng Silangan group! FGM Cindy, Vinnie and Tita Mench!

We wanted to eat at Korean Garden but parking was full so we ended up eating dinner at Meylin.

Papa tim


Hot and Sour soup

Pancit Canton

Yangchow Fried Rice

Oyster Omelette

Seafood Noodle soup

Fresh Lumpia

January 11


I wanted to redeem myself from my failed pizza experiment the day before.

I bought an Italian flour in Market Place.

Mona asked me if we were going to make "jeje" picha.  I replied, NOOOO! We are going to use Farina Tripo "00"!

Experiment for the day:

Pizza Napoletana


2 C. Farina Tripo 00 flour
1/2 t. salt
3/4 C. water
1 t. instant dried yeast
1/4 t. sugar

Follow the procedure from the Pizza From Scratch post.

Pizza Sauce

14 oz. can Whole peeled tomatoes
1 t.salt
1 t.sugar
Basil leaves, a few pieces.

Put all ingredients in a bowl.  Use a stick blender to crush the tomatoes.  Set aside.

Roll and flatten the dough out.

Put on top of a greased baking pan.  Prick all over with a fork.  Half- bake for a few minutes until the dough is a bit golden.

Spread pizza sauce on the crust, top with shredded mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves.

Put on top of a pizza stone in a pre-heated 450 degree oven.

Bake until the cheese is bubbly.

I think I have redeemed myself!

Wantusawa Oyster Bar

Shey, Cat and I went back to Wantusawa Oyster Bar with Mona!

The oysters are flown in everyday from Aklan.

Loved it! I had 6 raw oysters

Baked Oysters with Miso Sauce

Fried Oysters with a special sauce.

Shey tried the Grilled Prawns Laksa.

And Crispy Tawilis for everybody.

Beside Wantusawa is EBI 10.  It is a tempura place!  I ordered 2 small shrimp tempura and it was not small at all!

It had lacy batter coating so light it was like Okoy.

(I ate again at Ebi 10 today, January 13 and the batter was not light anymore.  I wonder what happened?)

We also tried the stuffed mushrooms.

January 12

Boracay's Choriburger

I bought the longanisa in Boracay last December. It was my pasalubong for the Junkies but only had time to cook it for them today.


Thin crust pizza with ham.

Pizza with shrimps, anchovies, mushrooms and garlic.



1/4 K. lean ground pork
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 pcs. tomatoes, chopped
2 T. Del Monte tomato paste
1 small red pepper, chopped
60 gr. riasins
1 C. water
1 Knorr beef cube
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. Thai fish sauce
1/2 t. msg
1/2 t. salt
1 pc. potato, cubed
1 pc. carrot, cubed
peas, optional

Saute the pork in a pan until oil comes out.

Add the onion and garlic.  Cook until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the tomatoes and red pepper.  Cook until the tomatoes are mushy.

Add the tomato paste.  Continue sauteing for a few minutes then add the water and the rest of the seasonings.

Then add the potato and carrot.  Cook until the potato is soft.

Adjust the taste to your own liking.

Mona and I loved it!

I had a full week entertaining friends, cooking and experimenting.

Hopefully, I will come up with more recipes I can share with all of you.


Snowball was pampered by our guests and she was in heaven.

Lucky spoiled Snowy!