One of my Favorites in Italy

So late last October to early November, I went with my parents (and sister and brother-in-law) to Europe. We went to Norway, Germany and Italy, but we spent most of our time in Italy. In Italy we spent most of our time in Rome and on our last day there, we went to Parco degli Acquedotti.

It’s a public park that’s near a residential area, a cinema and even a train station so I suppose to the people there it’s not a big deal anymore. We saw some picnic tables and people who were jogging, too. Just like you would see at a regular park. Except, it’s not a regular park. It has some of the most beautiful aqueducts in existence.

I didn’t even know what aqueducts were until we got to Rome and my friend J, who is an architect, told me that I should find them. I don’t think they’re something that most tourists normally include in their itinerary. In fact, we didn’t see any other tourists when we were there, which I guess is a good thing because we felt like we had the park all to ourselves, but also kind of a shame, because that meant that so many people miss seeing it. And when we went there it was almost sunset so the aqueducts were bathed in light.

Nowadays, because of how far camera technology has come and how easy the Internet makes it to see amazing photography, it’s hard to find a place that is still breathtaking even after you’ve seen a version of it under perfect lighting conditions in ultra-high definition on a big screen. But Parco degli Acquedotti, is almost otherworldly.

I only wish we could’ve spent more time there.


Looking for Pie in Tagaytay

I read somewhere on the Internet that the Puzzle Mansion’s coconut cream pie was “the best buko pie”. Because I want to dispute everything (don’t we all?) and firmly believe that Lety’s Buko Pie is the best buko pie ever, I asked my friend R to come with me to Tagaytay City. She agreed, and then we figured that since we were already going to Tagaytay, we may as well eat Bulalo and do other Tagaytay things like, buy pineapples.

We met up at Festival Mall to take the shuttle that takes you straight to Tagaytay City. It’s outside the mall entrance/exit that’s near Goldilocks and it costs only P75 per person. I must say, it’s the most convenient way to commute to Tagaytay City if you’re from the south (I don’t mean Cavite/Laguna, of course). The only problem is that you have to wait for the shuttle to be filled before it leaves. We waited for about an hour so I’d say that it’s not the best option if you’re on a schedule. Still quite convenient, though. :)

We arrived at Tagaytay an hour after the van we were on left Festival Mall. We got off at the rotunda and crossed the street to ride the jeep. Our first stop was Green ATS Bulalohan. It’s along the Aguinaldo Highway, but make sure to take the jeep that’s going to Nasugbu because the other ones turn right somewhere before you reach the area (R and I learned this the hard way, unfortunately.) Anyway, here’s a link to Google Maps:


We ordered their special bulalo (for 2), 2 cups of rice and 2 bottles of soft drinks. It cost us around P250 each, which I think is reasonable. Especially because we had this to look at as we ate:

Taal volcano and lake


Tagaytay wasn’t as cool as we expected, but the breeze was still nice and sunny days make the best pictures. :) I’ve seen this view about a hundred times what with Tagaytay being relatively close to where I live, but I still love it. Because it’s beautiful! Diba? :D

Anyway, after eating bulalo, we were in the condition to have some dessert so that’s when we went to the Puzzle Mansion. We had to walk just a little bit from Green ATS Bulalohan to get to the corner where you take the tricycle to Puzzle Mansion from. A tricycle and (very) short jeepney ride later, we were at the Puzzle Mansion. It costs P100 each to see the gallery/museum, so we just went straight to the restaurant. It’s not that I’m not interested in puzzles, I just really really wanted to try the coconut cream pie at this point. :P

R and I tried a slice each first. It’s P50 per slice and P350 a box (8 slices). And we had iced coffee, too. Iced coffee isn’t in the menu, but you can request to have the brewed coffee served iced. The people in the restaurant were really nice. :) And the coffee was really good, too. :) And the main event? Really, really, really good. :D


My craving, nay curiosity, was satisfied. The coconut cream pie isn’t just delicious, it’s also quite different from anything I’ve tasted. I do have to say this, though: It’s not the best buko pie ever, because it’s not buko pie! Simple as that!

I’m not even sure if it can be called a pie in the first place because by definition, a pie is “a food that consists of meat, vegetables, or fruit cooked inside a case of pastry or below a layer of it.” Inside or below, it clearly states, and the fruit in this case is above a layer of pastry (crust) and below a layer of cream. As well, pies are traditionally hot, and this must be served cold. If you were going to compare it to something, I’d say it should be compared to cheesecake. Or, fine, key lime pie. Except that those are tart, and this is sweet and creamy.

Well, semantics has always been a tricky thing. But I still think “best buko pie” is such a misrepresentation of this. Either way, it tastes great, and I’d say worth the trip!

After we finished eating the slices we ordered, we got a box each to take home. Outside the Puzzle Mansion, before reaching the highway, there were some ladies selling pineapples and because it almost wouldn’t have been a Tagaytay trip if we didn’t get any, R and I bought 2 large pineapples each. (Also, our mothers asked us to buy pineapples. Oh, mothers. :P)

Before heading back to Manila, we wanted to pass by Bag of Beans, supposedly just to buy some coffee beans or raisin bread, but we ended up indulging ourselves and having breakfast for (early) dinner. :D


eggs benedict, signature coffee, country breakfast

Yum yum yum. We would go home with our stomachs thicker and wallets thinner, but I have no regrets. I mean, look at that bacon. #nuffsaid ;)

We managed to catch the last trip of the van back to Alabang and arrived at Festival Mall just a few minutes before 9 p.m. A few minutes after 9 p.m., I found myself getting a hair spa at David’s Salon. But that’s another story. I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

Part of his soul

“When I first came to Winterfell, I was hurt whenever Ned went to the godswood to sit beneath his heart tree. Part of his soul was in that tree, I knew, a part I would never share. Yet without that part, I soon realized, he would not have been Ned.”

- Catelyn, A Song of Ice and Fire Book Three: A Storm of Swords



Last Saturday, I met up with these people whom I collectively call “my high school friends”, but I’ve actually known some of them since I was 6. If there’s anything I’m happy about living in this suburb-type part of Metro Manila, it’s that when I was growing up, it really had this small-town feel to it, that everyone knew everyone and your classmates from first grade were still your classmates until your senior year of high school. We all don’t see each other often anymore, what with us being “grown ups” and all, but occasionally we still set aside some time to get together and play Super Mario.

Okay, we did many other things like eat spaghetti, sing songs as J and K played the guitar, gossip about our high school batchmates and mock our own successes/failures in life, but I would say that I’m proudest of the fact that we finished an entire game of Super Mario on my friend L’s Wii in one night. Or maybe that’s not a feat at all (for real gamers) but I’m happy about the experience anyway.

I always like seeing my high school friends because I think I really lucked out when it comes to the high school friends lottery. I met people in college and at work and they told me all sorts of horror stories about their high school experiences, so I’m relieved that during my high school, I just met the best people ever. I’m completely comfortable with my high school friends. They’ve never judged anyone based on his/her job, his/her romantic relationship/s, and everyone is really really funny. Like, really.

It’s difficult to put into words how I feel when I meet them, really. But I asked my friend J once about it and he used a Harry Potter quote to explain to me how he felt:

While you can still call home the place where your mother’s blood dwells, there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort. He shed her blood, but it lives on in you and her sister. Her blood became your refuge. You need return there only once a year, but as long as you can still call it home, there he cannot hurt you.

- Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“We need to return to a place we call home so we’re not hurt by the harmful elements in this world. Even if it’s just once a year,” he explained. He said that our high school group, because within it we felt like we really belonged, was what he considered was his home, at least in terms of friendship.

I agree. Though I’ve met many great people after high school, that my high school friends are my oldest friends, every time I see them does give me the feeling of returning home.