Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Take A Bite: Starbucks' Almond Pain Au Chocolat

Four days ago, I was on cloud nine all because of.... bread.

It was not just any kind of bread though, it was Starbucks' Almond Pain Au Chocolat. For your information dear readers, it is pronounced as [pɛ̃ o ʃokola] (listen here) Please bear this in mind. You don't want to say "the almond thingy" when you order this in a bakeshop just like I did.

Its golden, semi-crisp appearance leaves a hint of cinnamon after every bite. It's coated with powdered sugar and topped with almond bits that just makes the pastry more tempting. And it gets better.. Smeared butter swirled with melted semi-sweet chocolate awaits inside and instantly brings you to a state of great happiness. Your next move is just so predictable - to have another bite.

There are a number of coffee shops already established in Dagupan, but still no Starbucks in sight. There were rumors of it having a franchise here but it stayed that way - a plain rumor. I was really craving for it, so when my sister was on her way home from Baguio yesterday, I requested for another sinful piece. She intended to buy me 3 but, unfortunately only one arrived home. There are three branches in Baguio and only one baked heaven piece left among them. The barista informed my sister that it's because they would be changing their set of pastries already. Lucky me, I had the last piece of Baguio. :)

It's such a bummer that Starbucks change their pastries often. Why do they have to change even the best ones? hmm.. I really hope they bring it back. Everyone should be on food could nine like I was. :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What's in my bag?

I've been browsing blogs during my free time and stumbled upon numerous "What's in my bag" posts. In my reading, I learned that there are different reasons for posting such topic. Some say it's an outcome of boredom, some by request and most because they say it's a must-blog post for every blogger. Now, I'm making my own version. My reason? Out of laziness. Haha! Well as you can see, I haven't posted for the last 10 days. I've been busy, tired and sleepy lately but I really want to keep my blog updated so here goes this post!

1. My bag. I bought this bag in Baguio during the Panagbenga Festival. I love it because it's simple, universal and of the right size for me. It's my favorite bag at the moment. :)

For the record, the inside of my bag really looks like this. (I didn't fix this just for the photo. Haha) I make sure everything is placed neatly and orderly. I'm neat freak like that. :)

2. Wallet. My grandmother has been the giver of my wallet ever since I entered college. This is already the third violet wallet I received. :)

Unlike others who place their own photo, family photo or a couple photo in their wallet, I placed Senior Divino Tesoro's photo and my wallet never got empty ever since. I also have a rosary in there. :)

3. Notebook and Pens. I love to doodle and scribble words when I'm bored so I always make sure I have this in my bag. The pens are for signing autographs too! Haha *wishful thinking

4. Hand Cream and Cologne. I hate it when my hands go dry after washing that's why lotion should never be out my bag. My friends tease me with my cologne because it's DOVE. They say I use a deodorant for my cologne! Haha Anyways, I love it because it's in a refreshing cucumber scent and cheap too!

5. Girly Stuff. So there's powder, blush, mirror, lip tint, lipsticks, lip balm and a mirror. If you're wondering why I have my bank book with me, it's because I don't want to misplace it and also my allowance goes straight to the bank :)

6. Book. This is my current read. When I have nothing to do at Mama's office, I read. :)

Here's an overview of all the items in my bag.
That's all for now! Thank you for your time! Toodles! <3

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Holy Week 2012

While others enjoyed the waves of the ocean, drove out of town or flew out of the country for Holy Week, my family and I spent it the only way we do year after year -- at Church. I'm not complaining. To give you a piece of my mind, I really think Holy Week should be spent at church. But I have nothing against those people who choose to go in vacations because maybe they find spiritual renewal that way and, we should respect that.

Holy Week is a time to be reminded of Jesus' life sacrifice for his love for us. A time of sacrifice. I did some sacrifices in the past years. It may be simple, easy, small or won't even make sense for some but, it truly means a lot to me. I still remember the first sacrifice I did -- a week not sleeping with my putchi (pillow). I couldn't sleep without it before but got over it eventually over the years. Another was during high school. I spent a week without a cellphone. It sounds lame now that I'm older, but not then. I itched to get my hands on my phone every single time it beeped. Well this year's sacrifice was different. In times of no scheduled mass in church, my brothers and I took turns staying at the Shrine of Senior Divino Tesoro. His fiesta is fast approaching and, novena sponsors and donations in all forms start to line up. Mrs. Lourdes S. Fernandez, the president of SDT Foundation, also our grandmother, used to receive these donations. She is too old to stay long at the shrine already that's why we volunteered to do it. The task was quite simple so to make it more meaningful, we donated as well - handkerchiefs, key chains and cellphone charms - with the intention of helping in spreading the miracles of Senior Divino Tesoro.

Mass is usually scheduled in the afternoon. We come to church early because a lot of people hear mass during this time. I always get amazed by the number of faithfuls arriving, but not this year. The church wasn't packed like how I expected it to be. We didn't even have a hard time looking for a vacant pew. Is this a sign of Catholics decreasing? Lack of faith? Laziness? Or maybe more opted for a vacation? Well, whatever the reason is, it really caught my attention.

One of the things I look forward to during this week are the stalls that stand beside the church. Sotanghon, pancit and halo-halo awaits after mass. For dessert/appetizer, nothing beats the super affordable hotcakes. (Look for Ate Vicky if you want your cakes hot from the pan) And of course, the star of every fete in Calasiao - PUTO - was found in every corner. It should never be missed out!

Like most families, Visita Iglesia is also a tradition we never fail to do. It's a Catholic practice where you visit 7 different churches to pray. Here are photos of the churches we went to:

Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag in Manaoag, Pangasinan
Sts Peter and Paul Parish Church in Calasiao, Pangasinan
The Holy Family Church in Sta Barbara, Pangasinan
Sto. Tomas De Aquino Parish in Mangaldan, Pangasinan
St Joseph Church in Mapandan, Pangasinan
St John Cathedral in Dagupan, Pangasinan
It really doesn't matter where or how we spend Holy Week. What matters is that in whatever we do, we bear Jesus in our minds and hearts.

I hope you also had a meaningful Holy Week. :D

Photo Sources:
What's Up Dagupan
   -- Sto Tomas De Aquino Parish
   -- Sts Peter and Paul Parish
   -- Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag
St Joseph Church

PS. I failed to look for a photo of the 6th church we went to in Bonuan, Pangasinan.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Christening is certainly one of the essential events in a person’s life. It’s the foremost celebration every Christian should have. On March 29, 2012, we welcomed my favorite (and only) niece to the Christian world. She was baptized as Kelice Chantel Fernandez Parkhurst. The short and intimate ceremony was held at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church in Calasiao, Pangasinan. Being a Godparent truly bears tough responsibilities. It is one’s duty to guide the godchild on the spiritual aspect of life and, should always set a good example for the child to emulate. This obligation was entrusted to me and, I’m greatly honored to be one.
Lunch followed at Arestogracia Grill located also in Calasiao. The feeling of ease and comfort occupied me as I entered and was greeted with courteous crew. The place has a cozy ambiance which added up that vibe of belongingness. Like most events, food is always the most-awaited part. We were served with one of the most tender pork barbecues I’ve ever tasted, moist chicken grilled to perfection, the always-present pancit (noodles), irresistible crustaceans in butter sauce and their best seller fried catfish. This restaurant have been overlooked by us since it opened but, after our good and satisfied experience, it surely won’t be ignored anymore.
Until my next post! Toodles! :D

It's more FUN in Dagupan!

It’s already the 4th month of the year and this means that the sun will be at it’s peak again! April surely is the season of jam-packed beaches, bikinis, light clothing, eye catching fedora hats and more! In a nutshell — SUMMER! Also, this month marks the start of one of the biggest and most-awaited festivals in the Philippines – The Bangus Festival in Dagupan City.
This annual hoopla is celebrated and visited by thousands of people from different parts of the country. As a result to this fete, the city became one of the tourist destinations in Northern Luzon. The City of Dagupan continues to improve in providing various places for fun, leisure, entertainment, food and even relaxation.
My friends and I recently experienced what Dagupan can offer at first hand. Here are the places we went to:
If you’re up to an adventure that you surely won’t forget, then Leisure Coast Resort Zipline located in Bonuan, is the place to be! The First ever Zipline in the city had it’s soft opening just recently. This is the newest addition to their wide array of services.
It’s already my second encounter riding a zipline but, it surely felt like the first as  I was standing 80ft above the ground and ready to be launched. The beginning is always the tough part but, once you’re out there in the open with a beautiful view in sight and calming wind on your face, I suggest you let go and just savor the moment. After it you will surely realize that it was nothing but a piece of cake and you start to crave for more. Leisure Coast Resort Zipline  will have it’s grand opening on the 15th of this month and will surely satisfy your craving for more fun and excitement!
80 feet!
Just let go!
If there’s a list of restaurants that serve the best and freshest seafood in Dagupan,Matutina’s Restaurant which is also located in Bonuan, will be one on top of that list. They serve ocean creatures cooked to perfection in delicious and savory sauces. If I’m not mistaken, our former President, Mrs Gloria Arroyo, claimed Matutina’s as one of her favorite restaurants. Up until now, they continue to provide food that will appease every customer’s hunger.
Shrimp in Butter Sauce
Bangus Dagupan
My friends and I needed to slow down after that nerve wracking adventure and sumptuous meal, so we decided to try the most talked about Dawel River Cruise. The place greets you with big and colorful Dagupan Bangus sculptures that certainly catches every one’s attention. The ride lasts about 30 minutes and we got to see the bountiful mangroves that line the waterways and be mesmerized by the serenity of the river. With the growing and uncontrollable pollution in our country, we should experience and savor the beauty of our nature while it lasts.
Fishing for the best Bangus in the world!:D
I hope this post could serve as a guide to people/tourists who plan to visit the Bangus Capital of the Philippines.
PS. For information and updates on the upcoming events and contests this Bangus Festival 2012, visit What's Up DagupanI would also like to thank them for giving me a free Zipline ride! :D