Travel: Japan Visa – Approved!

i’m excited!!! thank you lord! i got my passport today from the japanese embassy with approved 15day single entry tourist visa to japan. yehey! now, at least i have something to look forward to for next month. as you all know, july is my favorite month because it’s my birthmonth and i see to it that every birthday is a memorable one. last year, i went to macau and jump at the world’s highest bungy.

i’m not really planning to go to japan. i’m supposed to attend a cousin’s wedding in the US but unfortunately denied a visa since i don’t have strong ties here in singapore. and so, i made a back-up plan. since it’s been months already since i had my last solo trip and i feel that i deserve a much-needed break from all these corporate slavery and toxic workload, i pursued my planned vacation leave and decided to go somewhere else.

applying for a japan tourist visa is a breeze. unlike in manila where you need to submit lots of documents and no guarantee of an approved visa, here in singapore as long as you give the complete requirements, the approved visa will be available within 3 working days.

i went to the japanese embassy at 8:30 am and get my number slip at the entrance. when my number flashed on the screen, i went to the designated window and submitted my requirements. it didn’t took them long to check my documents because within 5 minutes time, they gave me a paper slip with the claim details and told me to go back after 3 days.

the requirements:

  1. duly accomplished form

  2. passport picture

  3. photocopy of round trip ticket showing returning flight to sg

  4. original passport

  5. photocopy of pass/work permit

  6. photocopy of bank statements and passbook with latest 1-2 months transaction

i badly need a vacation after feeling so overwork … and sad because of people leaving our team. am i going to be the last girl standing?! sniff

Thai Night

there is always something special about finding great food in hidden places. it’s like discovering a secret that only a few people knows. one day while husband and i were strolling along new brighton area, we happen to pass by a simple thai dine and take away place tuck in an alley at a mini mall near the beach. by the looks of it, it can only hold 10 people at a time. i would guess that the thai lady and her kiwi partner runs the place. they are a nice and friendly couple who always welcome us with a smile whenever we ate at their place.

one thing i like about the place is that the owners are very hands-on in that the lady always gets the orders, then she goes inside the kitchen to cook the food while her partner is manning the cashier booth. the guy serves the food and from time to time, checks on the customers how the food was. i don’t remember seeing a third staff working with them. i just feel that the mere presence of the thai lady is more than enough to prove that the food we are about to eat is an authentic home cooked thai food! hehe!

our secret thai place

our secret thai place

smile before lamon

smile before the attack

smiling, posing and chewing in between. multitasking at its finest.

smiling, posing and chewing. multitasking at its finest.

omg, pad thai!

omg, pad thai!

green curry chicken

green curry chicken

chicken satay in peanut sauce

chicken satay in peanut sauce

if we want chinese food, we go to bensons. for japanese food, samurai bowl is the default. if we crave for indian food, there’s always kinara. and if we want thai food, we just go to spicy thai dine and take away place. :)

Food Tasting at K by Cunanan

few more days to go! as the days come closer, i feel more anxious and my palms and armpits are sweating like crazy…or maybe because PAGASA declared that it’s now officially summer. i am nervous. i was telling a friend that thinking about the wedding is something like preparing for a speech in front of the class and my heart starts beating faster than usual. ugh. i can’t wait for the day that it’s all over and our lives will come back to normal. we can travel again, spend our precious money on petrol for road trip than paying a bunch of suppliers, i can read books again and most of all…i can cut my hair pixie short!

if there’s one good thing about wedding planning, it’s about food tasting. after all, they said that you can’t eat on your wedding day so make the most out of the food tasting sessions.

the other day, i brought my mother with me during the food tasting at the caterer’s place. we got kbyc because they serve really good food and got styling with a class. we went to their place at greenmeadows around 10am. upon arrival, Nina our AE welcome us and have us seated at one of the tables in the room. their food tasting area is big because i assume this will be their main place for couples who wish to have their food tasting sessions. we are the very 1st to arrive because it’s our first and last meeting so we are an hour earlier.

i was really overwhelmed by the amount of food they served us. for 2 persons doing a x2 food tasting, it’s too plenty that we can’t finish everything. first, they served us the red iced tea then the food for the cocktails. i love my AE for exceeding expectations. prior to the meeting, i just emailed her my 1st and 2nd options but during the food tasting, they even serve those food that’s not included in my choices. :)

drinks

red iced tea

cocktails1

cocktails from l-r: grilled cheese and tomato soup shots, bruschetta roasted eggplant with peppers and feta, crackers with smoked tanigue and horse radish, hoisin chicken wrap

i initially chose bruschetta with roasted eggplant and crackers and the crackers with smoked tanigue but find them too small. the grilled cheese and tomato soup shot is yummy but my mother find the cheese ‘nakakaumay’. taste and size wise, i love the hoisin chicken wrap. i’m fan of wrap foods because i always order them at mcdonalds in new zealand.

next, they served the soups. i’m choosing between roasted corn and squash soup. me and my mom have different taste in foods, she didn’t like the roasted corn soup because she finds the taste weird, ‘anak parang may chinese yun lasa’. but i like it more than the squash soup because the squash soup is not delicious at all when it’s cold unlike this one which has a long-lasting taste be it hot or cold. i initially thought it’s just like a knorr soup but it’s different, there’s some grainy bits of corn, pepper, spice and other stuff in it which makes it very interesting. so yes to roasted corn soup. :)

i thought we’re done with cocktails until they served us the second batch. omg fiesta! crostini with ratatouille is just ok. my mom likes the cheese and chorizo balls with pimiento aioli, which i agree. but the winner in size and taste is the chicken tortilla with arangula and caramelized onions and pandesal bruschetta with adobo flakes. both are very very yummy and not too small. husband and i wants everybody full because personally, we’re both patay-gutom eaters and we feel very sad if food is nakakabitin (so no to sosy small servings). LOL! also, they don’t serve breads during the food tasting because it’s just a normal bread with assorted dippings. skip that for the actual event.

cocktails2

cocktails batch 2 from l-r: crostini with ratatouille, cheese and chorizo croquettas with pimiento aioli, chicken on crisp tortilla with arungula and caramelized onions, pandesal bruschetta with adobo flakes mango salsa and kesong puti

next, salads. i easily devoured the insalata caprese with walnuts and vinaigrette so wasn’t able to take a photo. it’s my first and only choice because i love refreshing garden salads. the orange and walnuts are very tasty. insalata caprese is the unanimous choice for me and my mother. they even gave us the barbecue chicken salad as bonus to taste, which is also yummy.

salad1

salad: barbecue chicken salad

next, chicken dishes. this is it, the mains just started! seeing all these food makes me now excited on the wedding day. they served us 2 different dishes, again another exceeding expectation from kbyc. i just asked for supreme of chicken with herb cream sauce but they also gave me the other chicken dish which is japanese rolled chicken in leeks and cheese with teriyaki glaze. i like both but chose the supreme herb chicken in cream sauce so i have one cream based dish. i love cream based dish, that’s why i’m fat. hehe!

chicken1

japanese rolled chicken in cheese and leeks with teriyaki glaze

chicken2

supreme chicken in herb cream sauce

next, they served all the beef, fish, pork, seafood and pasta dish. ohmygulay. i didn’t expect they will serve this many food. just looking at all the food makes me dizzy.

beef1

slow cooked beef in ponzu sauce, truffle oil and onion rings

pork1

baby back ribs with corn

rice1

carrot rice

seafood1

honey nut prawns

seafood2

prawn thermidore

pasta1

seafood linguine with tomatoes, capers and basil

fish1

seared sesame crusted salmon, wasabi mashed potatoes and balsamic syrup

hinde na kami makahinga ni mother sa kabusugan at dami ng foods. my mom and i were full from the soup, salad and cocktails, we barely touch the mains, tingi na lang. the slow cooked beef in ponzu sauce and truffle oil reminds me of asado, sweet with a bit of citrusy flavor and the beef is tender. of course, the carrot rice which kbyc is known for is really very good. for the seafood dish, they gave us the honey nut prawns and prawn thermidore. i like the prawn thermidore because it’s creamy with some mushroom inside similar to chicken-ala-king but mom likes the honey nut prawns better. i just badly want the prawn thermidore for the reason that i already ate the honey nut prawns in a friend’s event so would like to eat something different. but i love my mom and let her win this time since i already chose the soup dish earlier. we didn’t get the baby back ribs as we both find it spicy, probably too much barbecue dressing or cumin so we ditched the pork dish. anyway, lechon will be serve so there’s still pork for pork lovers. :) for pasta, the seafood pasta linguine with basil and capers is good but salty. i just asked them to lessen the saltiness and it’s still good to serve. lastly for the fish dish, we get the seared sesame crusted salmon with mashed potatoes and balsamic syrup. me and my husband love to eat salmon, whether it’s salmon don or sushi salmon. this is an upgrade because this is our personal favorite and something we like to share with guests on our special day.

our AE then started discussing with us the details for the reception look, going through the contract, etc. it took us 4.5 hours to finish everything. it’s a breeze talking to her because i don’t have to mention the things i want. she did her assignment before the meeting by reviewing the pegs i sent her and all the things i’d like to include in my reception look, she mentioned them all to me. anyway, i trust her completely and i know she will be my wedding guardian angel to prettify everything.

to cap of the meeting, they gave us the desserts. one is the banoffee cups and the white chocolate cake. i chose the banofee cups while replaced the white chocolate cake with mixed fruits for the oldies. i forgot to take photos before eating the dessert, so sorry for the messy spoon. hehe.

desserts1

banoffee cups and white chocolate cake

nothing ever excites us on the wedding other than the food. and the thought that once all these brouhaha is over, we can go back to our normal lives and move on.

Christmas Date Night

four days to go before christmas! i’m very excited to go home and celebrate it with my family and friends!!! filipinos are very festive when it comes to holidays and spending my last four years away from home, made me realized that i can’t compare the filipino christmas to anywhere else in the world. the back to back christmas parties, reunions, get together, traffic and so much foooooood — it’s only in the philippines! :)

since i’ll be away from husband this christmas, we decided to do it in advance. this our first christmas together as husband and wife but then i have to go home and do some wedding errands so he has to stay here in christchurch. i don’t think he’ll be too sad when i’m away because he will have lots of time playing ps3 at home – haha!!!

aside from the throngs of people doing the last-minute shopping, everything else seems to be ordinary here in chch. so for us to somehow feel the christmas vibe, we always attend the simbang gabi daily at 7 pm and so far we haven’t missed a session.

after our simbang gabi last night, we had our dinner at Spagalimis Italian Pizzeria. we went italian this time to make it special because we’re fully loaded with chinese, korean, japanese and indian food binge these past few days.

when we entered the restaurant, i noticed that the place is dimly lighted and i said, “beh, masyado naman pang romantic date ang aura…madilim!”. i ordered our food right away because we are very very hungry as usual. lol.

for the starter, we ordered bruschetta. THIS IS THE MOST ‘SULIT’ BRUSCHETTA I TASTED IN MY LIFE! the serving is large fully loaded with toppings and already filled my stomach to the brim. we had 1 each and split the last one in half because, we love each other so much. haha!

yummy bruschetta

yummy bruschetta

for the pizza, we ordered a medium salmon pizza in cream cheese with lemon zest. it’s also very good and tasty. we both liked it so much because of the cream cheese on top. the pizza looks small for its size but i no longer complained once i tasted it, because it’s very delicious and yummy. all superlatives.

salmon pizza with cream cheese and lemon zest

salmon pizza with cream cheese and lemon zest

for the pasta, we had one each. his is a salmon in cream pesto while i got a chicken ravioli in cream pesto as well. since we’re full from the bruschetta and pizza, we barely touched our pasta so had requested for it to be pack for take away.

chicken ravioli in pesto cream

chicken ravioli in pesto cream

salmon pasta in pesto cream

salmon pasta in pesto cream

our very simple christmas dinner may not be as grand as the parties in manila (to be honest i kind of miss that too), but we’re happy to have at least celebrated it together in the most simple and peaceful way we can. and of course, we’ll definitely go back to this place again! sarap eh.

food trip is date night

food trip is date night

Foodtrip: Alvarado Mexican Cantina

my flatmate organized a lunch date today and invited me along with her friend. ate becky, the oldest among us, has been here in nz for a while and her husband is a kiwi. meanwhile, aggie my pinay housemate, is like my older sister. i always tag along with her when she goes to the gym because she gives me free passes. of course, who doesn’t want free passes!?

since aggie suggested chinese the first time, she let me decide which cuisine to try this month. i suggested we go for mexican. not that i’m craving for mexican food though. it just so happened that while inside ate becky’s car, i saw a mexican resto and i said “how about mexican?” i’m not yet familiar with the places around chch so i let them decide on where to eat.

we went to alvarado mexican cantina restaurant at their new place at stevens street. after the massive quake in chch, all affected restaurants moved to new places around the city. upon arrival, a friendly staff greeted us and ushered us to the table nearest the fireplace. i forgot to ask where she came from but i assume she’s mexican based from her looks and accent. then while we’re about to leave the restaurant, ate becky said ‘muchas gracias’ and ‘hasta la vista’ and the staff replied in a cool string of spanish and i am ‘the-no-hablo-español’ girl feeling giddy because 1) i met a mexican & 2) i heard someone speak spanish in life. ok. i want to learn spanish and i want to go to mexico, pronto!

mexican

mexican
mexican
mexicanalvarado mexican cantina

i ordered burritos and it has garden salad and fries on the sides. the burritos was ok but nothing special. i think the most delicious burrito i’ve tried was the one in sm megamall foodcourt.

burritosburritos

my friends ordered quesadilla and fajitas each.

quesadilla

fajitasfajitas and quesadilla

for dessert, we ordered churros and caramel flan for sharing. the churros would have been better if there’s a dipping bowl for the chocolate. as for the caramel flan, it’s just leche flan.

churros

caramelflanchurros and flan

the place is good too, ambiance is relaxing and everything is colorful. it’s just a bit dark inside probably it’s the lighting. apart from that, everything is ok. if you want a simple, quiet and comfortable place to dine out, this is a nice place to try.

mexican

mexican

mexican

mexicanmexican and colorful

for next month, they want to try japanese.

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