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Since we are already on the subject of food, I might as well share to you one of the best and nicest gifts I have so far been given this year: Mer-Nel’s Chocolate Cake from my cray clingy czn Haj. :D

She got this before my summer workout and diet came to a peak; which was coincidentally after I got my heart slightly broken by someone she was rooting for me (things turned funnier and more awkward than expected but see, romantic feelings don’t elude me); and also, just in time for my start of finals season stress eating needs. Hence, the thoughtful message scrawled in pink icing. Question: Which movie was the line derived from? Plus pogi/ganda points for those who can answer and proudly say that they were able to watch the whole movie.

Mer-Nel's Cake

Haj tells me this is among the most popular Laguna delicacies. A staple sighting during birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebratory occasions of chocolate aficionados across generations. And I can’t see why not—there’s a rich layer of chocolate that covers the whole thing, a soft and moist chocolate bread that retains consistency even days after, and at the heart of it, a yema filling that nicely puts all these together. I’m thisclose to likening it to Estrel’s famed caramel cake.

I used to believe that the thing about chocolate cakes is that one can only have enough. Really, how can one stand three to more slices of chocolate everything? One bite of Mer-Nel’s and every other thing had to changed for me.

Mer-Nel's Cake

This comes in this old school packaging which I love to bits because I am a sucker for anything that reminds me of my childhood. Surely, if Laoag City has Cokee House’s Black Forest, and Quezon Province has Rodilla’s Yema Cake, another personal favorite introduced to me by my Lucbanin friend Jiru, Laguna has Mer-Nel’s Chocolate Cake. #TeamPromdisMoment

As if the good news is not yet enough, Mer-Nel’s cake are sold at really cheap prices. The smallest sizes, I heard, are available for only about a hundred pesos and some. So whether you are driving around Laguna, or passing through its neighborhood, why not drop by to grab a box or two? Simple pleasures, as they say it.

The day before I went home to Ilocos for my month-long staycation—the longest of its kind in five years—my father and I went down south to try Magnum Manila’s hot meals. In the interest of transparency, I never before had a hankering for any Magnum product.. but a blog post got me at “Pan-seared Salmon” and “Cajun Spiced Chicken Fingers.”

Unfortunately for us, the pop-up store, which will only be open for 12 months, was still on a soft-opening. We resolved to just enjoy what we could, and go back before my flight next month.

Magnum Manila

Red Velvet. The cake was flawlessly moist and smooth, and I’m pretty sure red velvet fanatics should not miss this for their lives. On the other hand, the vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate syrup balanced the strong flavor of the cream cheese. Plus points for the presentation which cannot be justified by my photos.

Magnum Manila

Cookie Dough Skillet. Would have easily become my favorite if only a) it wasn’t too sweet for my life. Good lord, what is it made of? The Kingdom of Saccharine? And, b) if the cookie dough leaned on the chewy-gooey side. Yaak, I sound so whiny, but I’m just being honest you guys. Haha.

Anyway, my father thinks it was, uhm, acceptable. Acceptable enough for him to finish everything when I gave up on it after two or three bites. Okay, four tops. If anything though, the pecan nuts were fun to eat, as it provided another layer of texture and because.. pecan nuts! #Sabaw

Raine

The lighting—or lightning, as we normally say it in Cuties—from where I was seated was glorious.

Magnum Manila

Magnum Manila

Papa even proposed na exchange places daw kami para siya din may magandang pictures. We might have weirded out the family of four dining next to us but.. oh diba, tres cute! Pun originally not intended, haha.

Will blog extensively when we return for their Magnum fondue, cheesecake, etc. 

Magnum Manila

<3

Going somewhere? How about you bring me and my luggage with you? Hmmn..

April

..NAAT!

Anyone who has witnessed the freak show that is my OC-ness would know how much I abhor anything that lacks proper organization. I am wired to have a thing for order, thanks to the long list of things that I have lost as a child. My parents thought that the solution to my incidental mindfulness was to impose a strict system organizing and classifying things such that I will be more keen on details. Thus, making it easier for me to see/realize when something’s wrong or missing. Reasonable, right?

April

Now imagine my joy when I stumbled upon these travel pouches while shopping at Rustan’s for my first trip this summer. It took me almost an hour choosing from their wide selection of bag sizes, shapes and forms. Picking the right color was no brainer for me, but they’re also available in all hues and print imaginable.

Brands from upper left to bottom right, in case you’re wondering: Rustan’s, Gala, DQ Co., Gala. The DQ Co. came from Fullybooked though. And I also have a Gala travel laundry bag in white which wasn’t pictured because it appears #overexposed in this sea of dark blue and black. #TinamadNaMe

To convince you to join me in this craze, might as well show you how they “perform.” Hoho.

April

This bag is equipped with the right amount of pockets that enable me to organize beauty essentials more efficiently. Have I not interchanged the position of my sunblock and body bath cream, I’d say that this has been arranged according to sequence of use.

I have a separate teeny-tiny bag (not pictured) for more beauty hanash, i.e., make up remover, alcohol-free toner, dry shampoo, styling heat protector and hair supplement oil. I am guilty of bringing my whole household except for my kitchen sink even when traveling.. which, on hindsight, makes me believe that I might as well be a backpacker’s nightmare. *cries a little while thinking of future plans*

April

April

Nifty packing system for your footwear! See? Speak not of packing eyesore anymore.

April

And how about this pretty little thing for intimate pieces of clothing? Because we all know how awkward it can get when you open your luggage and the second thing someone notices is your under pants sticking out of what you initially thought was a strategic position to keep it. #TeamBetterSafeThanSorry

image

April

Voila! How my luggage will most probably look for the rest of this summer. Oh look, even my bikinis have their own pouches! Where shall we be heading next?

PS For convenience and documentation purposes, I have decided to employ #soverainemiles for all my travel Instagram posts now. My cousin Haj goes by #hajventures, while Norms opted for something less conventional, as in #nomadnorman. What’s your travel hanashtag?

Not a sponsored post.. although I wouldn’t complain if it was. Haha.

After my 30-day absence, hello gaiz, I’m baaack! Things got terribly crazy because of all the exams I had to prepare for and research papers to finish. But all is well now, especially with this infinite summer! *cough* Four months long *cough* Yiii, now where do we begin our summer posts? Hmmn.

April

How about this: Mario and I are starring in this new “hindie” film directed by Jiru. Norman also plays a cameo role here, so you better watch out for that. “Hindie” because, hindi naman indie masyado o film talaga. Haha. If you promise to stay through with me until the end of this post, you will know why.

April

The film was shot during my first legit night out with friends after all my requirements. Yes, I become such a social leper during finals season.. as if I am not on regular days. Hoho.

We met at Ayala Triangle where we were supposed to eat dinner, picnic style. But since it was pretty late already, most restaurants have taken their last order and we had to move to another place.

April

April

April

Touchy me caught in action! I like touching, holding, and tickling people I am comfortable with. I swear I have to be more selective about this thing but hahaha, it really happens! OR.. I was just annoying Norms about his weight loss. Hmmn.

April

April

April

The idea of coming up with this hindie film came to us quite randomly. We were having our usual dinner conversation when the topic shifted to whose (UP) film thesis would possibly be awarded “Best Thesis” this year. While on it, Brian’s “Sandali, Magpapahangin Lang” was mentioned—interesting film with an equally interesting title, we think.

April

April

Next thing we know, storycon na ng “Wait a Minute, Kapeng Mainit.” Haha.

I believe things would have been double the fun and laughter if Andre and Mots were with us, but they were in Batangas so yaaay! Next time, full house na!

April

Pakipansin their shoes please.

April

Obligatory blurred photo of me. Happens all the time!

April

April

And now.. the main event :)

“Wait a Minute, Kapeng Mainit” a film by Jiru Rada.

Papa

Papa

Papa

Papa

Papa

My father is in town which means that all works are suspended until further notice.

It also means that I will eat everything to my heart’s guilt and desire, because my father is a happy man who believes not in depriving the self of sugar and carb and starch and calories to be happier in the future. Now, he says, is as good a time to be merry as it is tomorrow. So, imagine: there are leftovers for breakfast, buffets for lunch, junk foods for dinner, and if I am luckier, desserts for midnight meal.

He was not always like this. He used to make mental notes of the food that I cannot be fed, duly approved by my mother: candies, gums, street/processed foods, and more. But when I started becoming more like them in terms of maintaining my diet, I noticed a shift in their attitude. Pizza and pasta became staple food groups, too.

There will also be discussions, lots and lots of them, about school, gym, personal hygiene, my hair and the new house (almost) by the sea. Similarly, love is a recurring topic—to me it means all the summer fruits served cold and fresh at home, to my father it means mama and me. We talk about these things the way old people do—honest, rational and sometimes, argumentative.

I was not always like this. I was more of a diligent student and an unwilling daughter. My fear of failing school has made me a woman selfish of time, strict with schedule. Either wholly or partly, I know I am still that woman. But there are exemptions to these rules. For example: that my father is in town.

Hence, all works are suspended until further notice.

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