Cook Me: Sinigang na Hokkaido

What's a Hokkaido? I bet that is the first question that popped into your heads after reading the title of my new blog post right? Like how did this awesome blogger achieved a feat such as cooking an island in Japan? What kind of mundane sorcery is this? 

Well, young people of the internet, the Hokkaido I am talking (and cooking) about today is actually a canned mackerel from my childhood. There was a time when Mega Sardines, San Marino Tuna, Highlands Corned Beef, were nothing but an idea in some business mans brain. growing up, our shelves (and the nearest sari-sari stores) were filled with Ligo Sardines, Argentina Corned Beef, Maling, and of course, Hokkaido Mackerel. While some of what I mentioned above still exist, it seems like the canned mackerel I grew up eating vanished, forgotten.

Hey stranger!
While grocery shopping a few days ago, I came across San Marinos own canned mackerel. Reading the label was nostalgic and brought memories of my childhood I Have already forgotten. I immediately grabbed two cans and continued shopping with a smile on my face.

Today, I will be sharing a recipe perfect for that canned mackerel. And what better way to cook it than to turn a seemingly ordinary canned food into a delicious Filipino classic: Sinigang (which you all know I love)

Aside from being nostalgic, this recipe with the canned mackerel is perfect for those on a tight budget but still wants a delicious ulam. Perfect for that week before payday.

Here is what we need:
  • Canned Mackerel - any brand will do. I tried looking for the Hokkaido brand but I can't find any.
  • Your choice of Sinian veggies. I went with ginger, gabi, tomatoes, okra, alugbati as that is what's available at the nearby sari-sari store. I would have added radish and string beans. 
  • Sinigang Mix, salt, and pepper to taste.
Here is what you need to do:
  • Saute the ginger. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes and wait for it to cook.
  • Add the gabi as is takes time to cook. Add a cup of water and the sauce of the canned mackerel. Do not include the fish meat yet as it will turn into ground meat after you're done.
  • Once the gabi is cooked, add the okra and your sinigang mix. Lower your fire too to not overcook the okra.
  • Taste and adjust according to your liking. Add te alugbati(or kankong), and the mackerel. Turn off your stove. Let te eat from the pot cook the leaf. The mackerel is already cooked so you don't have to worry about it.
  • And you're done! good job!
Celebrate with a plate of rice, some patis (or ketchup if you're into that) and eat your problems away. Who says you cant enjoy good food without overspending? Douse them with that hot Sinigang ! And who says cooking is complicated? Throw the pot you used to cook the Sinigang at them!

Nostalgic, easy, and budget-friendly. That's about it guys. As always, thank you for visiting my blog. Drop your comments below and let me know ow your dis turned out! 


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Never Not Love You: A JaDine Baptism

I believe it was the great Chandra Gupta Maurya who once said that “whatever you ever you say, someone else already uttered”. And although I’m not the best historian or a quote quonnoissuer (get it?), we can all agree that this is not the best way to open a movie review. But let me again remind of the quote by two legend, icon, star that I follow with so much ardor: this is my show not yours. Let us begin.


Before we begin, let me start by saying that I am not a fan of any love team except for Adobo and Sinigang. I have too much on my plate already to make space for something as trivial as a love team. What I do love is watching movies, watching very good movies. And while the Philippine cinema is a hit and miss when it comes to making movies, we cant deny the fact that love teams can pull the crowd like the moon pulls the tide. The last sentence made no sense, I am clearly rambling here, but please bear with me; I haven't done this in a while.

Going back, I love watching movies regardless of who is/are starring in it. So when my older friends from work invited me to watch Never Not Love You starring one of the countries most controversial love team, JaDine, I said yes. 

Without spoiling the entitled masses, the movie is about a guy and a girl. Fate brought them together (it was stickers that brought them together but yeah) and they fell in love. One is a career driven breadwinner and one is a misunderstood albeit bratty artist (you guess who's who because you don't want to be spoiled right?). They navigate life as professionals, as lovers, and as individuals. And they realized what they really want in life. Exciting right? This is the most detailed synopsis I have ever done in a movie review and I have done a lot so it's saying something. 

Long story short, I love the movie. I freaking love the movie. This is my first JaDine movie, and I have never seen a single episode of their TV series. So this is basically my JaDine baptism, and it is such a good welcome to the fandom. I follow James on Instagram because he is freaking hot and good looking and I want to rent an apartment in his armpits and maybe his nether region. I also follow Nadine because her feed makes me want to elevate my Insta game. They are good as individuals, and as a couple, oh boy! They make me feels things I haven't felt since I wrote 28 poems for a crush in high school.

Jeskelerd (source)
The first few minutes of the movie gave me the kilig I need to forget about being bitter for a day. I was smiling and giggling with their banters. It wasn't forced as I can really see how much they love each other. As the movie progress, and the intensity builds up, so does my emotions. It was so real and raw, the sushi bar is jealous.

Nadine (source)
What I really loved about the movie is how not cliched it is. We are already littered with poor-rich, lost child, damsel in distress, third party, love-me-im-dying kind of TV series and movies. Never Not Love You is such a breath of fresh air. Sorta like One More Chance. The conflict is the characters themselves which is a hard this to accomplish. Sure, JaDine is far from Bea and John Lloyd (like really, this pair is incomparable), but you have to give to them for daring to go beyond the rom-com, cutesy-cutesy type of a movie.

Never Not Love You made me question my priorities, and I don't have that much. Do I want love? Do I want to excel in my career? Do I want a half Pinoy-half Australian sexy tattoo/graphic artist for a boyfriend? Do I want a my car in black or chrome? Should I do shadows or it's overrated? Kidding aside though, the movie will really make you ask yourself: Who prefers 7-11, when you live in Manila which is littered with food choices?

Lastly, a huge shout out to Antonette Jadaone for yet another awesome movie. That Thing Called Tadhana will always have a special place in my heart, and I fear like Never Not Love You Will do to. Which leaves no space for a love life assuming I will have one, but that's a different story. Maybe Direk Tonet can make it to a movie?

So, if you have time today, or until it is showing in the cinema, please watch Never Not Love You. I know this review is all over the place and makes little to no sense, but the movie is really, really good. I don't write reviews that often, because I don't know how to. But when I do, it's because I like (sometimes I hate with so much conviction) what I saw. Give this movie a chance.


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Tabuelan: Epiphany II

By now, it should be obvious how in love I am with beaches. Funny though, as I am not fond of swimming in the sea. I find it scary that the deeper I go the less I see. What I do love is sitting on the sand, watching the sun set, feeling the breeze, and listing to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. Writing this now, I almost want to leave the office and go to where the land meets the sea. So yeah.

Today's feature is the town of Tabuelan up north. It was my first time visiting that part of Cebu, I am already planning to go back. As always, the sapphire waters, the salty cool breeze, and the fine white sand got me mesmerized. I was so dazed epiphanies started popping out of nowhere.

It's not the years the count

The reason why I was able to visit Tabuelan is because a friend recently had his heart broken. A 9 year old relationship, ended. Just the though of it is shudder inducing enough already. Imagine spending 9 years of your life with someone, then wake up one day and everything is over. As someone who is a bit wary of being in a relationship (though I crave for it), listening to my friend made me question whether I really want to be in one. It made me remember a line from the movie The Love of Siam:

If we can love someone so much how will be able to handle it, the one day when we are separated? And, if being separated is part of life, and you know about separation well, is it possible that we can love someone and never be afraid of losing them? At the same time, I was also wondering, is it possible that we can live our entire life with out loving anyone at all?

Exactly. How?

Empty Walls and Unfinished Business 

One of the sights that really caught my attention (aside from the beach) is the ruins of what seemed to be an unfinished resort. There is something unsettlingly beautiful about the ruins. Imagine looking at empty walls and empty halls, overgrown grass against dirty concrete floors, while the sky changes from crimson sunset to deep blue night. It's sad and beautiful.

I imagine someone looking at his vast property, busy with construction workers eager to finish a passion project. His hopes, sky high as concrete structures slowly rise from the ground. Only to be disappointed, destroyed as his dream gets crushed my an unseen force called life.

While the ruins did remind me of  despair, disappointment, and melancholy, I can't help but feel hopeful. Here I am standing in someone's what-could-have-been, looking at unfinished villas that was once someone's what-if. But the fact that something is still standing despite the overgrown grass painted by time, means something. Hope is not entirely lost. Something can be done. Hope is just hiding between the empty walls of this unfinished business. Just waiting to be found.


I enjoy being with myself as much as I enjoy being in a company. I don't think there is anything wrong with being alone with yourself. I honestly enjoy watching a movie alone, either in my room or in a movie theater. I can eat alone in a resto. There things I'd rather do by myself. There are times that I'd rather be alone. Sometimes, I feel like I've spread my energy all over the place that I need some time alone to recuperate and function properly again. Do you feel the same too?

I wish people could stop generalizing and assuming that you're lonely when you're alone.

Had I been more careful of my alcohol intake, I would have enjoyed the trip more. But I was already drunk and asleep at around 6PM. So our final lesson for today is to never take what you can't handle. Most especially alcoholic beverages.

That's about it guys. I've been trying to finish this blog for the longest time and I can't seem to find the will to. I still have a lot on my drafts and I plan on posting them soon. Hope you're still reading. Have good one!


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#5s: Favorite Shots

No, this has nothing to do with anything alcoholic.

Halfway through collage, I begged my mother for a professional camera. Partly, because I genuinely need it (buhay Mass Comm), and the other part is just me being a straight up brat; I want things, and I have to get it. It just so happened that during those hard times of barely passing a subject and barely meeting those damned deadlines, a camera is what I want.

My mother is not an easy person to convince. While I am armed with a powerpoint presentation and a 20 page dissertation on why I should have a DSLR, it was also my birth month. It was a long process, a battle, even.  Long story short, two weeks after my birthday, I got a Nikon D5100 fresh from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

From then on, I was a photography god! People will approach me to have their photoshoots. My friends will borrow my camera to do their video thesis. I go to mall wearing my camera even though I'm not taking any photos. My memory card is full of either bokeh or macro shots. Everyday, I upload photos of either a flower or the sky. I felt like this is the field I am born to pursue. I even joined a Google photography contest because why not? I have a DLSR, I hold it appropriately (by the lens), and I am well versed with some techniques (bokeh, macro, silhouette). I am untouchable. I also failed to win.

Sadly, someone stole my beloved camera (who I fondly call 'Pepe') and my dream of being a photographer left with it. So to further hurt my feelings, I dig under (lain sad mu-dig above sa?) my hard drive and looked for some shots I did using my Pepe. Aside from being an amazing photographer, I also happen to be generous, so I am sharing with you today  five of my most favourite shots. Enjoy!

That classic sunset silhouette, taken at the back of my aunt's house. I happen to think that sunsets, along with flowers, are always the first subject of a person with a brand new camera. Its the millennial equivalent is a selfie. Even today, I am still fond of taking photographs of sunsets in various variety ( he he he).

I like silhouettes. To me, it's a reminder to not always focus on what's in front of you. The picture shows the outline of a branch, but the beauty of this picture lies on what's behind it. It may be blurred, nevertheless, beautiful. Same can be applied to our everyday lives; there's beauty in the the background.

Trees are also a common subject of a budding photographer. Who could resist the lush greens and that strong brown wood? It becomes even more breathtaking if the tree is flowering! Oh what a treat for a would-be-photographer.

This shot was taken in Bantayan a few summers before. It was a lone tree along the road which somehow made me feel sad. As much as I am accustomed to isolation and solitude, it's not a feeling I welcome warmly. But just like this tree here, we have to learn how to cope up with solitude and refuse to be burdened with it. Be like this tree: alone, but still standing strong.

This shot was taken in Tagaytay City, in one of their more famous parks. I remember this vividly as I was having a good time with my college friends. I remember planking was still a thing back then, and we did it in a field of grass surrounded by other visitors. Those we're good times. Good, happy times.

Don't you find kites ironic? They can fly high, but remain grounded. They can only fly as high as the strings attached to them. I think I relate to this shot and subject because of my love for permanence. These kites prove that you can still soar, fly high, see the beauty around you, even if you just do it from where you stand. 

I remember how I took this shot. I learned by back on this tree and looked up. I was mesmerized by how the its branch network (?) was able to create such obscure, albeit beautiful, pattern. It also reminded of how my thought process works. So I took this shot.

We were always taught that leaves are an essential part of a plant. Leaves are necessary for photosynthesis to produce energy from light. Leaves also absorb carbon dioxide and produces oxygen. So I was puzzled and amazed how this tree is still standing despite the lack of leaves. I think this further justifies the importance of perseverance.

There's not enough words to express how much I love this random shot. I was walking along a deserted road when I noticed this barbed wire fence with a plant sort of hugging it. I found it inspiring how something as imposing as a barbed wire is hugged by a fragile plant.

There moments when wee feel like we are the most unlovable person alive. So much so that we tend to keep everyone out to prevent ourselves from being too attached. Looking at this picture reminds me of how love is, and will always be unconditional. It doesn't really if you have built an imposing facade, or a strong personality. Love can, and will always find a way to hug you back.

Aaaand that's about it guys. I hope you enjoyed my favorite shots as much as I did. These are not the most amazing and breathtaking photos. I know; it's very basic even. But the stories behind them and the realizations I had will always make these the best photos of all time.


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It's Been A While

It's been a while since someone made sense
of what goes on inside my head
and understood
that I may be complicated
but never unlovable

It's been a while since someone exerted real effort
to tear down my walls
and understood 
that I built the walls high and firm
to keep me safe
and not to keep everyone out

It's been a while since someone told me
that the scars life gave me
never made me less of a person
and that I am beautiful on my own

It's been a while since someone reminded me
that the only standards I should meet
are those that I laid out myself
and not by someone else
That it's perfectly okay if I don't fit
a certain type, a certain size
a certain colour, a certain gender
because there is beauty in diversity

It's been a while since someone assured me
that it's perfectly fine to dwell on my sadness
That it's okay to be a beautiful mess
That my feelings are as valid as everyone else's

It's been a while since someone tried
It's been a while since someone
And quite frankly
I'm a bit tired waiting for one


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