Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘dinner’

Breathing Adventure: Lost In Hong Kong (The Night Life)

Our four-day trip is never complete without seeing Hong Kong’s night life. We tried to fit in our itinerary into one whole day, so we had kept ourselves awake from early morning to midnight. I guess HK will never fail to fascinate me even at night because the city is teeming with life and audacity, as modernity and traditional culture blend well together like oil colors on a lovely, black ivory canvas.

Enjoying Food In Public Places

I’ve already touched down a bit about food in my previous blog about Disneyland. A friend living in HK led us to a good hot pot restaurant called JKJ Pot at Tsim Sha Tsui. I’d recommended this place for groups like ours because you’d never leave this place feeling empty as the food is tasty and satisfying.



The hot pot waiting to be filled with meat balls, cow lungs, lettuce…


…as well as beef and eel.


Top the dinner off with a good bottle of Hong Kong beer.

I was amazed that customers can put their bags in bag racks beneath the table and their coats and hats in cabinets in the restaurant without the fear of losing them. I guess living in Manila made me a bit paranoid and suspicious towards people around me, especially in public places like restaurants. I had to understand by that time that I should never hold on to any apprehension while enjoying a sumptuous dinner in HK.

Temple Street Market

Filipinos love having a bargain and I’m sure this is one of those places they’d love to visit before going home. You can find all sorts of merchandise here like t-shirts and bags, as well as traditional artifacts like ramen bowls and tiny Buddha statues. Souvenir prices are really low but make sure to scout the long road in order to find a better deal.

The Peak

We decided to visit The Peak the following night. Again, the queue for those buying tickets for the tram was too long but locals and tourists alike were willing to wait.

I love how the tram station is littered with memorabilia and historical artifacts. These made the ride more interesting. The best part here is seeing the romantic night view of the city while the tram chugs along the old rails.

Stalls with various merchandise and antiques were also littered around the mall beside the tram station.
Small Madame Tassauds exhibits were also featured in the mall going to The Peak. At least, I had the chance to encounter Bruce Lee for once in my life.

I would have loved to see The Peak but tickets going there were sold at $50. My friends were not ready to spend much on that, so looks like I’d really have to go back to HK next year.

I can’t believe that our HK tour was short…too short to enjoy the whole country. Still, our last day would also be very memorable and awesome. It did not matter if we got back to our guest house late at night again. All we wanted was to make sure we’d have a grand time in our final day in Hong Kong.

​The Magic of Dinner Over Movies (Eleventh Bite): Food Feast At The Carnival

This blog was supposedly written a few weeks ago but it was delayed due to a number of circumstances and loads of procrastination (sorry about that, guys!). But I still find this food hub worth sharing…and returning to again.

Food hubs are becoming popular in the Philippines and the city of Marikina would not miss out on this trend. There are loads of food hubs around the city, but The Carnival is one of the flashiest places to drop by and enjoy.

Brightly lit up, it can be easily spotted beside the road when taking a jeep going to Montalban, Rizal. Flocks of people kept on filling the site because everybody seems excited with what it has to offer. Its festive air and colorful atmosphere have brought thrill to every hungry foodie like me.

Each food stall has its own unique offer, whether it would be shawarma, burgers, sizzling dishes or fried ice-cream. At my first night, I already had my personal favorites. One of them is the Brewskie Pasta Hub.

Each pasta cost around P150 to P200. This creamy, chicken pesto was so good, I nearly cried at its first bite. But because it’s so heavy, I had to bring half of it home for breakfast.

My second favorite would be the Milkshake Lab.

Milkshakes go around P80 to P150, and one is also very heavy because of its abundance in sweet pleasures that overflow from the brim of the cup. This red velvet milkshake nearly knocked me down because it is really,  really tasty.

These two were paired with nachos which would be best shared with friends.

Because I did not have the chance to try the others, looks like I need to comeback. Visiting The Carnival is the perfect wrap up to our Marikina trip. But it seems to be also the perfect prelude to more visits to Marikina.

The Magic of Dinner Over Movies (Seventh Bite): Banchetto Night!

Right after a powerful worship and time with God at the JRev Night last Saturday, all you must do is go home, right? Wrong!

Spend time with friends and…eat!

IMG_20150606_210646It’s very important that we strengthen our fellowship and bond with the friends that we love, don’t we? Besides, this is what the Lord wanted for us to be in: a community! And when we are in a community, there are people who help us with our walk in faith, who will pray for and with us, and who will love us, too.

In the Filipino culture (even in every culture in the world), food is the binding source of relationships. You spend your time together not only talking much, but eating and appreciating together what’s in your plate.

In order to satisfy our cravings, off we went to the banchetto at Araneta Center. In Manila, you can find a lot of banchetto

Isaw (barbecued chicken intestines)

Isaw (barbecued chicken intestines)

food centers especially in the urban areas where workers are highly concentrated. Here, you can find different cuisines at an affordable price.

Although stalls here were not as many as those in Ortigas or Makati, it’s appreciative to find a lot of street food here. I can assure you that they are clean and well handled.



So what can we find here? As usual, there’s the isaw or the barbecued chicken intestines, crablets, kwek-kwek or quail eggs coated with flour and my favorite: cheese sticks.

Cheese sticks! Only P30 per cup. <3

Cheese sticks! Only P30 per cup. ❤

For about P30 per cup for these treats, it was enough to kill off the hunger.

These are your typical Pinoy street food that you can buy in places like this. Hmm…I just wonder why there’s no balut?

But the best is finding friends in the banchetto. While my friend and I were looking for a place to sit, there were another group of friends who called me. Instant seat for both of us and an instant reunion with old friends.

Usually banchettos in Manila go overnight. I am not just sure if this one in Araneta goes until midnight or beyond midnight. But staying until 10 pm is not bad for me as long as there is still a bus trip going home.

If it were not too late in the evening, all of us would have stayed longer and enjoyed the night with more food, and more reunions.

Perhaps, it would happen in another banchetto night. 🙂

Banchetto in Araneta Center

Banchetto in Araneta Center

The Magic of Dinner Over Movies (Fourth Bite): Spaghetti and Sundaes as Stress Debriefer

I was suppose to publish this the week after my birthday. It happened exactly February 6. It’s almost a month after but I guess it’s still worth sharing 🙂
Spaghetti and sundae as stress debriefer...even if the sundae has already melted!

Spaghetti and sundae as stress debriefer…even if the sundae has already melted!

Again, I’ve arrived at the point where I couldn’t think much. This is the week when the work load and pressure go way beyond your head. Such is also the time that I don’t want to talk to anyone and wished to be sleeping soundly on my bed. If only the hands of time has rocket turbo to end this assignment for once and for all.

Then one of your friends texted she would be coming for a visit.
Truth is, I was irritated because I thought she had come at the wrong time. Still, she arrived while I kept on hustling around against a deadline. With my hands full, I felt so miserable to leave her there waiting for me. Until, she offered me snacks.
Aw…I just realized she wanted to share her time to celebrate my birthday.

An attempted "selfie" with Lans

An attempted “selfie” with Lans

I just remembered how I lamented for receiving no gift on my very birthday. Then, here comes my dear friend Lans to spend her time with me.
Spaghetti and sundae wouldn’t be so bad at all. The sad news is how the sundae couldn’t wait while I go to and fro the editing and news room.
As the night darkens, my friend waited, along with our meal.
Stopping for a while, I sat down with her at the waiting area and shared with her a few laughs. Setting aside my frustrations at my job, we would look back at good memories when we were at our former job.
"Mirror selfie" anyone? :)

“Mirror selfie” anyone? 🙂

It’s not as grand as the dinners I had with my other friends before, but I guess her time and her visit meant more than the simple dinner we shared. Never mind the dull waiting area or the small space where we were eating. This time was like a refreshing break in my almost breaking point.

It’s one of the gifts that I’d really be grateful and I’ll forever cherish.
My work may go like a useless rat race but I couldn’t turn away a simple visit.
And her spaghetti and sundae is also a plus. 🙂

The Magic of Dinner Over Movies (Second Bite)

“How are you, Rhema?” April asked as we waited for our orders in one of our favorite restaurants.

I have waited for this moment. These awesome dinners that bind us together.

This time, we were not complete, as it used to be. So many changes have occurred these past months individually, and we have missed heart-to-heart talks outside work. For most days, we’d go separately at the end of the day. I myself try to catch up my beauty rest, for I have been too exhausted by staying up late after work.

But most of the time, I felt quite lonely. My body refreshed but my soul drained. Maybe, simply I had no one to talk with after stressful encounters by the day.

But this Friday, I stayed quite long in the newsroom even after the taping. Oh, yes, just like those good ol’ days.

And all of us left the office altogether. But that’s not the end of the episode.

April, Shiela, and I soon found each other sitting in that memorable hang-out. We missed our other friends, as they had other commitments that night.

When our pastas were placed on our table, I continued talking that I was being OK at work and all those “normal” encounters in the office.

"Shiela, taping's over! The Friday mode is on!" :D

“Shiela, taping’s over! The Friday mode is on!” 😀

April prompted me to be more detailed…more on “heart issues” she said. I smiled, trying to patch up pieces from long forgotten episodes and qualms on another person who had been linked to me, and how I learned that I should not hope too much on these cases. Then April and Shiela shared their thoughts, their feelings, and their hearts.

Once again, we were being ourselves. No talk of politics and hard core issues. Just love and friendship.

And these are the things I always look forward to. To be with the people to love me as I am.

Somehow, I felt we rekindled friendship. There’s no reporter, no PA, no researcher at that time. It was just us. All that was laid down was really ourselves. I slowed down eating, so to spend more time with these two precious people, even though time was too short. Once again, I got to know them more, and they got to know me, too.

I got home too late that Friday night but I did not mind (and so did my mom :P). This night had me feeling fulfilled. I’m looking forward for another dinner and for sure that would be very soon! 😀

Living out Christ in Christmas

If you could come and visit our house hours before Christmas, you might think of it first as pathetic: no Christmas tree, no nativity scene, not even Santa and his reindeer or a lone snowman adored the house. All we had were a few bells paired with a few shiny garlands that we did not remove from last year.

Unlike most families today, we did not cook much. With the house filled with only two souls, my mom and I, we wouldn’t do much for ourselves.

And yet the holiday music brightens the whole space.

Turning to facebook friends, I tried to greet the world one by one, and hoping I have brought a holiday cheer to those I’ve greeted (and an ounce of remembrance to this little soul).

And yet, I felt satisfied. No decor, no gift, no lavish feast did it. It’s the very love that brought a Savior to this earth. The epitome of heaven’s glory sent down to die in our places. The King who thought of nothing but you and me.

Christmas should never be brought up because of tradition. It was never there from the beginning of earth. But the very reason for its celebration has always celebrated the very existence we are.

I remembered the Christmas parties the past few days. There were a lot of laughter and noise, gifts and raffles, dance and song numbers that made them livelier. And as I now sit quietly in my room, I realized it’s so much different. None of these things were in our house now…but that’s not the reason to moan and covet for a grander party.

Should we be brought back to the moment the Savior was born, it was very dire…even more pathetic than our almost decor-less house. Instead of dining with family and good wine, Jesus came into this earth surrounded with animals. It sure was an unlikely state of being born, but none of them whined. His birth was a joy in itself to his parents and to the world.

The parties are just temporary and sadly are a cover up to the real joy made for us. I’m not against them, but on the moment we depend on them to be our source of celebrating. Taking Christ away from Christmas is never Christmas at all.  The material things that we garner from these parties will fade away. But the Lord and His love for us is steadfast and new forever.

And so I’m glad for the very reason for Christmas. This is one reason we feel joy…Jesus is the joy of the world itself. His coming is an indication of His love for us. And we should always remember how He loved us, though we can never measure it out.

I wouldn’t worry with having no visitors at this point in time. His presence alone is the One Thing we’ve always wanted to be with. It’s more than having ten kings visiting your home to dine at our noche buena. As I wait for my mom to cook our little dinner, I am thankful and hopeful. Christmas never changed. Most of all, Christ never changed. He fills us up. He draws us near to His heart. He shows His love and grace to the two humble souls of this little house.

The Magic of Dinner Over Movies (First Bite)

I love eating. I’d choose dinner over movies. A plateful of baked penne or a 14-inch three cheese pizza is a real treat after a day’s work. But the real catch here is the people I dine with and the friendship we build over food.

Dinner has not been my habit until lately. It has become an outlet after work. Once when the camera lights dim and the taping wraps up, we’d go together to look for a good place to eat. A friend of mine told me that food is a good comforter after a stressful day. But once we take seats, that’s when the magic happen. We become ourselves, we express our hearts, and share each other’s thoughts and desires. Food has this magic that binds us together. It’s not only how it tastes that makes us alive – it’s the moment we share together in this dinner time.

It is over these dinners where habits and a part of ourselves are being revealed.

You’d guess who’s the slow eater and the raging consumer (take me for that…*hungry grin* “Can I take a small bite of your burger??” *big bite*).

Memories suddenly pop-up over one’s food (like “Oh, my Mom used to make lumpia rolls like yours but with cheese sticks inside. Can I see if these have cheese sticks? Thanks!” *big bite*).

It is also at these dinners that we release our feelings and comfort one another (like releasing frustrations, *frowning while cutting the chicken* “They shouldn’t have done that. We need support. If not, I’d faint with anger.” *giant munch*)

And this is where we practice our talents as food critics (“These nachos are good except that it needs more crunch. Now, how how does your chicken parmigiana taste? Let me have a try.” *spoonful bite*).

My friends and I got to know more each other every dinner time. We’d cry, rant, and scream over food. But the best part is our laughter mixed with the rich aroma of the restaurant. Once dinner is done, our stress is gone, and our bonding renewed.

I believe that food has been given to us not only to satisfy our stomachs but also our social being. It’s never fun to eat alone, unless we really need it. But as food is meant to be shared with another, the time spent in eating should also be a time of sharing one another. It’s no wonder I’d sometimes feel bad or empty when no one eats with me at home or outside. When we share not only our food but our time and hearts to the ones we cherish, it is not only our physical bodies that have been replenished but also our emotional selves being renewed.

It’s a natural thing to look for food buddies and be someone else’s food buddies for there’s another Food Buddy who lovingly made us as we are. I’ll share that in our next bite… 😉

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