Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Make A Difference This Holiday Season!

Are you in or travelling to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam this holiday season? One of the best things to do to share the love this Christmas is to visit the Orphanage for the disabled in Binh Thanh District. You can share your blessings by donating your old clothes or toys; give grocery goods like rice, noodles, milk, oil, etc; or simply just interact with the children there.

Get involved by embracing this act and you will surely make a lot of underprivileged children happy!

153 Xo Viet Nhge Tinh
Ward 17, Binh Thanh District
Ho Chi Minh City

''Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.''
                                                                                    - Hamilton Wright Mabie

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mactan Island Hopping

My husband loves Mactan Island Hopping! So every time we're in Cebu, we always try to spare a day to do this enjoyable escapade.

A whole day trip filled with amusement, Mactan Island Hopping is definitely for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

There are many places in Mactan where you could hire a local boat to visit different small islands and sanctuaries. If you're staying at a resort in Mactan, perhaps they could even arrange it for you. But the most popular place to rent the local boats is the port beside Mรถvenpick Hotel. The rates vary depending on the size of the boat and if food is included but the price normally starts from 50USD.

During our recent Cebu trip, we went out island hoping twice! First, we hired a small boat with 4 crew, went around different islands and sanctuaries outside Mactan. The second trip was with the resort, Plantation Bay, visiting only a sanctuary.

The local boat for Island Hopping.

Natural Pearls!

The Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary.

Our crew cooking our lunch. ;)

The crew busy preparing our wonderful meal. It was fresh and really tasty!

The first island we visited! Though we never really stayed long at this island but it was so peaceful here.

Uninhabited island! What a paradise! :)

Plantation Bay

On our way to the sanctuary.

Huge Coral Castle.

The staff brought lots of bread for us to feed the fish in the sanctuary.

School of fish.

These two were very curious!


What at lovely marine sanctuary!

The Sanctuary!

The Sanctuary!

The Sanctuary!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hop On Hop Off London

When we visited London, we didn't have enough time to see all of the city's gorgeous attractions. So the easiest way to for us to see London without the hustle and bustle is The Hop on Hop Off Bus. For only £30 (per person), you will get to see the city's biggest attractions like The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, London Eye, British Museum, Palace of Westminster, St. Paul's Cathedral and a lot more plus a free River Thames Cruise. The Bus tour also provides earphones for tourists to listen to the history and story behind every attraction and sites.

First Stop: The Tower Bridge and Tower of London

View of Tower Bridge and The Tower of London.

The Tower of London, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home of the Crown Jewels of England.

Built in 1886, The Tower Bridge has become an iconic symbol of London.

View of River Thames from The Tower Bridge.

Second Stop: St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral is the second largest church in United Kingdom. It is an Anglican Cathedral, where Prince Charles and Princes Diana got married. The dome of St. Paul's Cathedral is among the highest in the world.

Third Stop: The Shard

The tallest building in London and the fourth tallest building in Europe- The Shard or Shard of Glass is a 95-story skyscraper. 

Fourth Stop: The London Eye

Also known as the Millennium Wheel, the London Eyes is a giant Ferris wheel with a structure of 135 meters tall and has a diameter of 120 meters. It is currently Europe's tallest Ferris wheel.

Fifth Stop: Big Ben, Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, Buckingham Palace

Big Ben, the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster, holds the second largest four-faced chiming clock in the world.

Westminster Abbey is one of the most notable religious buildings in the United Kingdom and has been the traditional place of coronation and burial site for British monarchs.

The lovely St. James Park.

Home of Queen Elizabeth II, located in the city of Westminster, Buckingham palace is the London residence and principal workplace of the reigning monarch of United Kingdom.

The Changing of Guard at Buckingham Palace.

Seventh Stop: Harrods

Located in Knightsbridge, Harrods is a famous upscale department store in London.

Eighth Stop: Kensington and Notting Hill

The Churchill Arms is definitely a must-visit pub in London. Built in 1750, it is one of the oldest pubs in England.

Ninth Stop: The National Gallery

The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the city of Westminster. It is one of the most visited art museums in the world.

So these were the attractions we hopped off! :)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

What's Your Scary Story?

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Who or what are you portraying today? If you ask me, I wanted to be a sexy policewoman this year! I have my costume ready and was already planning where to go and party but sadly I'm still sick so I'm stuck at home with my boring cough medicine beside me. Well, the least I can do tonight is actually watch scary movies.

Well how about story telling time? I don't really believe in supernatural or ghosts but let me share to you a mysterious experience when my husband and I stayed at this castle hotel in Pisa, Italy.

We were driving around Tuscany so we arrived at this villa hotel late in the evening. The big iron gates were already locked so we have to call the reception to enter the premises. Since it was very late, the receptionists have also left but gave us the security code to enter. We drove in, parked our car near the villa and decided to check first the inside before we bring in our things. While walking towards the villa, we noticed the lights in one of the rooms on the third floor were on and the window opened so we're happy to know that we're not the only guests. The inside was really fancy and beautifully decorated, the reception left us a map to our room and after how many attempts of pushing the walls around, we finally found our ''secret'' room located behind the living room wall. There were two hidden rooms behind and our room was exquisite. My husband and I went back outside to take our stuffs in and I observed the light in the room upstairs were already off and the window closed so I assumed that the other guests might have already been sleeping.

We were in our room when we heard this really weird noise like a chair being dragged back and forth. It was frightening so we weren't able to sleep. My husband doesn't believe in ghosts but he was convinced that we should go back to our car and sleep there instead. It was 3 am, the noise didn't stop and we were very scared so I opened the window to check where the sound comes from and it was actually from the outside. Every time a car passes by, the weird sound comes so we thought it was nothing relevant. We felt so relieved then slept like a log.

Breakfast time, we were quite alone in the breakfast hall and we met the owner of the villa so we asked if the other guests have left early. His reply was ''Oh, you two were the only guests here tonight.''

What's your story?

Photo from the hotel website.

Photo from the hotel website.

Photo from the hotel website.

At the balcony of the Villa. :)

Lovely ceiling details.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Saigon Cooking Class by Hua Tuc

As I sometimes post recipes about my experimental dishes, I love being in the kitchen! Every time I travel, I would always like to try the local dish. If it's something exotic or bizarre, I try to find an alternative like made of vegetables or seafood instead of something else. And when I get back home, I would recreate the dish with the help of online recipes or simply the cookbook I purchased during that trip.

If you are travelling to destinations with palatable cuisine, I suggest you enroll yourself even just for a day culinary class. It's also fun to shop for some spices that are difficult to find in your local supermarket. 

Two weeks ago, I signed- up for one day cooking class with a three-course menu for only 35 USD at Saigon Cooking Class by Hua Tuc. Aside from the fun experience and making new friends, I learned to create authentic Vietnamese dishes. 

Alone but excited to go in and learn!

Saigon Cooking Class is situated on the second floor of a historical building at an old Opium Refinery in Ho Chi Minh City. The place is very cozy and very full of history.

First Dish: The appetizer ingredients!

Whoa la! Very yummy Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls! :) After we made this dish, we all sat down and enjoyed our creation! lol

The Second Dish: Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken.

The secret to this jagged and creative cutting is in the knife! ;)

Time for me to mix the salad with some Asian sauce! A little different but impressive taste.

Here it is, Salad with Grilled Chicken.

The Last and Final Dish: Fried Rice. I have shared here on my blog on how to make fried rice but this one is different. And as I have said on my post before, Fried Rice is very easy to make. Just mix everything and fry!

I love how they presented our work place, clean and precise.

Here is the tricky part of this special Vietnamese Lotus Fried Rice. Have to wrap it on Lotus Leaf then cut the middle to have like a flower presentation. Very, very creative!

Our master chef teaching us how to cut the Leaf. Looks easy but it's very difficult. You must wrap it tight enough for the rice to stick and not to fall apart. 

My creation! I love how it is presented. Really learned something new here.

After savouring our creation, we were given this dessert (Sorbet) made from exotic Passion fruit.

After the cooking class, everybody will receive this cook book/recipes of the dishes you made.

If you love Vietnamese cuisine, I will share to you the recipe of one of my favorite Vietnamese appetizer- Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls. 

Hope you enjoy!

Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Ingredients- Serves 12 rolls.
400 g prawns (about 20 prawns)
240 g rice noodle
12 thick rice papers or more in case if you break some
12 green ettuce leaves cut into "Julienne"
40 g fresh Basil
40 g fresh Mint
100 g Bean Sprouts (remove the yellow part)
1 bunch Chive cut into lengths
Peanut Sauce for dipping

Prepare The Prawns
In a saucepan bring water to a boil with a pinch of salt.
Add prawns and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until orange.
Remove from pan and let it cool.
Peel and cut in 2 parts.
Set Aside

Wrap and Roll
1) To make the fresh rolls briefly dip a rice paper in a bowl of water until soft or just wet a little bit the rice paper with your fingers.
2) Remove and place on a dry surface and smoothing it with your fingers.
3) Place the lettuce Julienne onto the rice paper with a bit of rice noodles and top with some basil, mint and bean sprouts.
4) Add 2 to 3 pieces of prawns then fold 2 sides parallel and roll up tightly, press to seal with a little bit of water.

Serve Spring rolls with peanut sauce. :)