California spring


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Another gorgeous spring day in Northern California. We are so blessed to be living in this beautiful Golden State.

I started my 4th of July decorations early as I was inspired by these vibrant flowers we picked up from Whole Foods Market today.

Summer and spring home decoration


After looking for an outdoor coffee table, we had a hearty Eggs Benedict brunch. How was your Sunday?

Home decorating tips


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One Kings LaneHow was your long weekend? I hope you all had a great Memorial Day. Today, I went online to check One Kings Lane since their recruiter keeps emailing me about engineering jobs. I wanted to find out more about the company and check to see if it’s worth pursuing once I’m ready. Well, let’s just say I found more than I was looking for! The way I look at it, we need to touch up on our home decorations anyway.. I found these great deals that would really look good in our house, some of them were originally $110 and I got them for $11. No brainer really.

The only thing I dislike is that you can only put a maximum of 5 items in your shopping cart and you have only 9 minutes to purchase them. I guess because the inventory is limited. Also, without using a search filter, the pages are quite slow because of the amount of contents and scrolling through them in my browser is a pain. You’re better off searching for an item, e.g. “pillow” even though there is a Pillow category. Using a search keyword allows to filter by color, price, etc. whereas clicking on the category does not.

Sales are also limited events so if you find what you’re looking for, you should just go for it. I got the 5 gorgeous items pictured above for $130. Amazing in my book!

International House Of lords


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Aptly inspired by the highly popular Game of Thrones, today’s post revisits some of my favorite noble houses around the world. By the way, I love the plots and twists of GoT but not so much the scandalous nudity and highly degenerate morals but that’s fine because we’re all adults here. I guess it’s another element that makes it so enticing and intriguing because it combines everything that makes us all human. The medieval lessons of backstabbing and clamoring for the throne is still present in modern times. Don’t believe me? Just look at corporate America. Check out this article about Career Lessons that can be learned from GoT. There’s so much truth to it.

No better way to start this than with the paragon of royal societies, England. [Click the picture for larger view]

Kensington Palace London

 Kensington Palace, London, England

Buckingham Palace London 2

Buckingham Palace, London

Windsor Castle England

Windsor Castle, England

Casa Batllo Barcelona

Casa Batllo, Barcelona Spain, one of Gaudi’s masterpieces

Versailles France

Versailles, France

Palazzo Vecchio Florence

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Palazzo Pitti Florence

Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy


Boboli Gardens, Palazzo Piti, Florence Italy

Villa Vignamaggio Tuscany

Villa Vignamaggio, Tuscany, Italy

Himeji Castle JapanHimeji Castle, Japan

Himeji Castle Japan 2

Himeji Castle, Japan

Pasta with scallop in creamy sauce


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Happy Tuesday! Please enjoy this pasta recipe I cooked for dinner+lunch the other day. So yum. This goes into our family’s favorite recipe vault.

Pasta with scallop4

Pasta with scallop


Wide egg noodles
3/4 up to 1 lb. scallop (I prefer the small ones)
Petite green peas
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp water
Scallion (green onions)
Mediterranean sea salt

Pasta with scallop3Pasta with scallop2

1. Cook noodles in a large pot until almost al dente. While this is cooking, steam the frozen green peas. You can do them together in the same pot but I prefer to separate the boiling and the steaming.

2. While noodles cook, pat scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat butter in a skillet until foam subsides, then add scallop. Stir until scallops are cooked.

3. Add wine to skillet and boil for about 2 minutes. Stir in water and cream and boil for another 3-5 minutes. You may choose to proportionally increase water, cream and wine for more sauce. Add scallion and season with salt and pepper.

4. While noodles cook, sauté mushroom until ready.

5. Drain water from the noodles and mix the noodles, sauce, mushroom and peas. Season according to taste.

Credit: I took this recipe from and made it personal by adding mushroom and slightly altering some of the ingredients.



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mother and child

To all the beautiful and selfless mothers around the world especially mine who’s an angel of God and an enthusiast of mischievous daughters like me..

Mama, you’re a valiant soul

I saw your pained smile at the corner of my eyes as you bid me goodbye. Half smiling, half sobbing but holding it together despite the protest in your eyes and your wailing heart. The cause of your heartache? Her obstinate child, barely 13 years of age, is pursuing this ludicrous idea of attending high school at the capital where chaos is the name of the game. At 13, without a nurturing mother by her side when she gets sick or to defend her when she’s being bullied. To even the field, to better her chances of getting admitted to a reputable university, hardly achievable if she was to remain in their small town. This, according to her daughter. Mother, she acquiesced to such quest despite the grief and terror it caused her. It was just the beginning of the many trailblazing pursuits her fearless and sometimes foolish child would embark on.

Mama, you’re a tireless warrior

Captain America couldn’t hold a candle to you. I knew you were tired but you seemed to be inured to this abject poverty. Your calloused hands bare telltale signs of a hard life. I saw you labor day in and day out, your eyes getting worse by the hour. But alas, who has the money to consult a doctor? It was a lucky day if you made $5 despite the arduous process of sewing those clothes hour by hour, minute by minute. Yet you plodded along, eyes fixated on one goal. You took breaks by preparing meals that you cooked by building fire using coconut husks, gasoline and wood. For fun you washed clothes manually: fetched water out of the ground, washed and rinsed by hand (blankets and sheets included) and then line dried them. Whites are to be bleached using starch, a process I won’t even delve into right now. And when finally it was time to go to bed to rest your weary body you wound down by ironing clothes. Your aide was one of  those heavy irons that use live coals. Yes, the ones you see only in museums. How did you manage to prevent the ashes from spilling over our white uniforms? Talent it seems.

Mama, you’re shameless

Despite attending public schools and being an academic scholar throughout college, money was always short. After all, food, commute, books and computer rentals aren’t free. The funds that you and dad pooled weren’t enough to sustain my meager college life so you went around town borrowing, sometimes begging for money from anybody and everybody willing to help out or wanting to make money through interest. I tried to do my part by eating only once or twice a day but for a growing teen with mental drills to conquer every day, ranging from Integral Calculus to Theory of Automata, it is not really sustainable nor healthy. But life left me with no choice for I couldn’t let you scrounge for more than what was needed. For years to come, the smell of Dunkin’ Donuts from the alley that led to my university hunted me. Its smell permeated through my nostrils down to my soul as I trudged along the streets, delusional with hunger and livid that I couldn’t afford a donut for a quarter. It was a constant and a poignant reminder of our poverty. Imagine my disappointment when I finally made it to California. Where is my Dunkin’ Donuts and what is this Krispy Kreme!? Apparently, you need to fly east for this. Dunkin’ Donuts eludes me to this day.

Mama, your mercy is infinite

Your forgiveness is unending, unbound even by my most mischievous act . When I led a crew of two to harvest nearly all your precious green mangoes, picked severely out of harvest season, I swore I would never be pardoned. Overcame with guilt after realizing the gravity of our acts, we hid for hours after twilight despite knowing that your voice was already hoarse from calling our names. When you finally found us, I was imagining father’s leather belt or sturdy slippers would hit us soon enough. Instead, mother she chose mercy, at least on the two of us. Ever the practical one and not wanting to let the fruits of her labor go to waste, she forced the rest of the family to eat our loot. I could see the rage in their eyes. Mother was the only one standing between us and our murder. They were hungry for revenge and I couldn’t blame them. I knew it was sour, not from eating it myself but from the wretched expression on their faces. I could almost feel their pain while their faces contorted in discomfort as they chew the cursed fruits.

Thank you for loving us, our dearest mama! Our inay, we love you. You are heaven-sent. I knew God loves me for He sent His best angel to raise and nurture me. Advance happy mother’s day to all the amazing mothers of the world, especially to mine! Thank you for your altruistic sacrifices.

Sacred grounds


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Traveling and experiencing the beautiful and vibrant albeit very varied cultures of the world is one of the most rewarding pursuits of my life. I have been quite blessed to be able to visit some of the most gorgeous places on this planet, man-made and natural. What I found during these journeys is that while we are all so different, at the primal level, we are actually quite homogeneous. One such commonality is that most people worship a higher being, a deity of some sort. For today’s blog, I put together a photo collection of my visit to some of the world’s most sacred grounds.


Japan is probably my favorite Asian destination. Among other things, I love the near perfect east-west harmony of this country. It is enigmatic and fascinating, a land full of oxymoron – the very contradiction within itself is as interesting as the culture and the people. 

[Click on picture for a bigger view]

Kinkakuji temple Japan

Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Golden Pavilion temple Kyoto

Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Byodo-in temple garden Japan

Byodo-in Temple, Japan

Byodo-in temple Japan

Byodo-in Temple, Japan


Italy is probably my favorite European destination to date. It’s rivaled only by Spain and Barcelona. I love everything about it: food, fashion, culture, arts and the people. I’ve been fortunate to visit Rome, Amalfi Coast, Capri, Florence, Cinque Terre, Pisa and Tuscany. To complete my Italian bucket list, I just need to visit Lake Como, Venice and Milan.

Il Duomo di Firenze Santa Maria del Fiore Florence Italy

 Il Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore) , Florence, Italy

Piazza della Signora Florence Italy

Piazza della Signora, Florence, Italy

Basilica of Santa Croce Florence Italy

Santa Maria Croce, Florence, Italy


Our first visit to France (Paris) was almost disastrous. My extremely high expectations were met only by a somewhat banal reality. It was like I was set up on a blind date with Brad Pitt but somehow Jack Black showed up. Perhaps it was also the length of time we spent there. I should give it a second try in the future. I’m sure a visit to Provence and Nice will change my initial impression.


Visiting Espanya is akin to meeting the mother I always knew I had – a mother I thought we all hate. However, I realized how she is so much like me and I love her. We speak the same language, we love the same food, we have the same warmth, we love the beach and life. Barcelona is one of my favorite cities. She is the very glorified vision of Manila had Philippines remained a province of Spain. Looking at her is like taking a peek at Manila’s golden age. She’s beautiful, full of life, laughter, culture and grace. We are both hopeless romantics and passionate about a lot of things in life. 

La Sagrada Familia Barcelona Spain

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

La sagrada familia interior Barcelona Spain

 La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Catedral de Barcelona Spain

Catedral de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain


Of all my trips around the world this is one I will never forget for I have been dreaming about this since the day I was conceived. Jerusalem, if I forget you may my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.

“Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic”

Western Wall Hakotel Jerusalem Israel

Western Wall (Hakotel), Jerusalem, Israel

Christian church Mount Olives Jerusalem

 A church on Mount Olives overlooking the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel

Mount of Beatitudes Galilee Israel

Mount of Beatitudes, Galilee, Israel

Russian Orthodox church Mount Olives Jerusalem

 Russian Orthodox church, Mount Olives, Jerusalem


Turkey sits at the crossroads of East and West. Both cultures’ influence on Turkey is visible at every turn. It’s European and Middle Eastern, traditional and modern all at the same time. For this reason and more, I love this country!

Blue Mosque Istanbul Turkey

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sofia Istanbul Turkey

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey