In any country, McDonald's is a favorite go-to restaurant. It's a fact, even in Japan. And yesterday, as we were looking for Pichon's toy in Akihabara, we decided to have a quick and filling lunch at Mickey Ds!
The new item on their menu? A strawberry pie, in time for the spring season.
I have a feeling we'll be back in McDonald's really soon.
It was our first night in Tokyo, so we were looking for a big and hearty meal to start off this vacation. Mark suggested this eat-all-you-can Thai buffet at Mango Tree Cafe, and that's where we had our first meal.
Being a huge fan of Thai food, I absolutely enjoyed dinner. They had Pad Thai, Tom Yum, Pad Grapao, and an assortment of thai tea and dessert. We left the restaurant happy, all the way to our tummies.
I wonder what other culinary adventures await us on this trip.
During my conversation with Pichon during the wedding, our topic eventually led us to our common ground - Toys!
We were both huge fans of He-Man, and rabidly collected the action figures. We asked each other if we remembered the first figure we bought from the collection, and I vividly remember who my first figure was.
It was Man-E-Faces!
I lost this toy a long time ago. Heck, I might even have given it to Patrick or Pichon. But I still remember how it looked like, how it felt, and how thrilled I was when I bought this toy in Nova Fontana.
Maybe I'll look for one of these in Japan. Just for old time's sake.
Even before Patrick became a child star, a multi-awarded actor, and a household name, he was - for us - a cousin.
Every summer, they'd go to our house in Morato, or we'd go to their house in Del Monte. There, we'd play a gamut of games, from the classic tag to G.I. Joes. Other times, we'd go to Valle Verde Country Club and go swimming, along with his siblings Pichon and Cheka, as well as their cousins, Shasha and Bunny.
Yesterday, little Icky Boy finally tied the knot, and we were more than happy to witness the union.
What was awesome about the wedding was the fact that I got to see some of my childhood friends and cousins who I haven't seen in decades. That includes John-John, who's now taller than everyone and just goes by the name John.
(John is the tall guy beside me)
I also had a good conversation with Shasha (or Sharmaine in showbiz circles) and had a good laugh over our childhood antics.
It was so much fun reconnecting with people from my childhood that we saw the wedding not as a showbiz wedding (though there were a lot of 90s actors present) but a family affair. An event where we saw our little cousin turn into a man, and starting his new life with his new family.
This year's first domestic destination is Roxas City in Capiz.
I've read about its rustic quality, and rustic places always appeal to me. That's why I was so interested to see what Roxas City had to offer.
Even if I just stayed there overnight, the place didn't disappoint. There were a lot of elements that made it feel like a quiet, provincial town. Some parts actually reminded me of Bicol, which is always good in my book.
First, it had a lot of old houses that they turned into shops.
It follows the old Spanish layout where the town plaza is in the middle and is surrounded by a church, the city hall, and a commercial center.
The statues have a vintage vibe to them. Check out this statue of former President Manuel Roxas.
The city's main bridge is about a block long. But it doesn't keep it from being photogenic.
Old churches. I love them. And they have it here.
There's also a rotunda with a water fountain where all vehicles pass through going to the city.
Roxas City is definitely a place I'd like to explore some more. Too bad I only had a weekend there.
But hey, I'll take that as my cue to come back to Roxas City soon.
The Mass Comm faculty dressed up for the 9th Hildegarde Awards for Women in Media and Communication. This year, we awarded Ditsi Carolino for her work in Documentary and Film, as well as the late Susan Calo-Medina for her work in Travel Time.
I was particularly thrilled when Travel Time won because it was one of the shows that planted that seed of wanderlust in me. My love for travel was largely due to that show.
And it's only fitting that a day after the awards, I'm writing this blog entry as I travel to Roxas City.
This Friday, instead of an old song, an old jingle played in my mind.
One of my favorite commercials of all time is this corporate ad for Philippine Airlines.
Aside from the stunning visuals, what drew me to this was the song. It was nicely written, and wonderfully arranged. Everytime I hear this, I feel proud to be living in the Philippines. Plus, I'm inspired to travel around some more.
Which is very apt because I'm going to Roxas City tomorrow for work.
Time to see the beauty of Capiz come shining through.
Back in the 90s, one of the must-have brands was Girbaud. It was a French brand of apparel and accessories, and one of the first European fast fashion brands to arrive in Manila.
They were known for their revolutionary and innovative designs, particularly with jeans. While Levi's, Wrangler and other denim brands went for simple and classic, Girbaud went for wild and unconventional. Their jeans were either super slim or ultra baggy, and had interesting details like oversized belt loops or denim fringes that went down to the floor.
Another defining characteristic of Girbaud was its price. Back then, it was one of the premium jean brands with some styles running up to P4,000. (That time, a Levi's 501 would be somewhere within the P1,500-P2,000 range.) That made it more coveted, and the brand became a status symbol of sorts.
Last weekend, I dropped by the Girbaud store in SM. It was merely a shadow of its former self. The store wasn't well-stocked, with only a few pieces of apparel and a raggedy collection of wallets and bags. Most of their items were either 50% off or on a Buy 1, Get 1 promo. And the jeans... sadly, there were very few styles available, and the innovative designs I liked about this brand were all gone.
There was one design that I liked, though. I asked for my size, tried it on, and it turned out to be really nice. When I checked out the price, it was less than P1,000. A Girbaud, for less than P1,000. That's how far they are from the Girbaud of the 90s.
Then again, I got a nice pair of Girbaud jeans for a really good price. So, being a shadow of your former self isn't all that bad.
Back in HKG, we had a number of Thai haunts, including our favorite "Thai Auntie apartment" in North Point. Then, there's the former "Great Food Hall" in Pacific Place. (Which later became Lane Crawford.)
In Manila, I've tried some Thai places that I really, really liked. My favorite was the Thai canteen which used to be in U.P., but that closed several years ago.
One place that I've always liked and is still open is Chariya's Authentic Thai canteen. I first tried this many years ago along Jupiter Street, and their Pad Thai was da bomb! It was legit and reminded me of Bangkok each time I ordered it.
The one in Jupiter is closed now, but thankfully they still have a stall in Manila. And since I was craving for Pad Thai today, that's where I ended up eating.