Romantic Judie

Two Weeks

It’s been two weeks and nothing significant has happened;
In a way, I see it as slow,
Then I realized it is because I subscribed to the validity of an experience
By how fast it is unfolding.

On the other hand, each day a part of me is getting afraid
That something this good will lose its steam
So please, let us not get all excited and worked up.

Two weeks.
When I look at it as a slow progression, a daily ping-pong of
Good mornings, good nights, and
A hearty debate on comics universes and pop culture references,
I just think, and I consider it hard
That the last one started, escalated, then fizzled in just two weeks.
So, this one is different, and perhaps good. Better.

Then when I think how it’s starting to get too good
I  calm down and step back.
I engage very consistently but shield more of me.
That is possible.

Because frankly, sometimes I still associate a face
And that this, all of this, is the engagement I have long wanted to get
Now I am getting it, and more.
But the only thing is
It’s a different face.

Two weeks.
In a few days it will be three. Then it will be a month.
Then two. Hopefully three and more.
I always say ride it out, don’t fight it.
It applies not just to things I wanted to get over with.
It applies to experiences where I have to give opportunities
For its legs to develop and its roots to grow.

It’s been two weeks.

Citizen Judie

The Big Holiday Catch Up

It’s that time of the year when we find ourselves cramping our schedule with get-togethers. In a way I view it as a blessing having friends from different sets of interests and from different times in my life. The bonds forged is still there and in some groups, new people were added to the mix to nourish the relationship. It is funny that we have 11 months in one year to do this yet we all find the necessity and push to finally do it when December comes. It doesn’t matter that it’s a hectic month to begin with – less workdays therefore more work to squeeze within business days, horrendous holiday traffic jam, gift-shopping – yet we still do it on an annual basis: furiously find common dates and mutually convenient locations to finally hangout even just for a short time. I wonder if friends ever said to each other, “Next year, let us not do it this way! Let us plan way ahead!” and actually went with that plan. Maybe it did happen to others but certainly not in my groups. I still love all of them so I really don’t mind at all. Regardless if my sleep has shortened to less than six hours a night which the mid-thirties in me really struggles with already.

img_9634One other thing I noticed is how delayed Christmas gift shopping for friends and godchildren was, not just with me but with many of my close friends. Is it the schedule? Finances? Both? Much like shopping for back to school supplies, we cannot entirely presume that people do last –minute shopping because they don’t plan well or they like to procrastinate. Sometimes – or in this economy, most times – it could be because the capacity to buy comes around the same time as well. As Miss Universe said, teach yourself the silver lining in this situation; the desire to give is still alive!

However, we really cannot discount the convenience of planning for it months ahead. I know someone who takes advantage of mall sales to buy gifts in toy stores, way before December. A toy or two, and before you know it, you have your godchildren covered, gifts-wise. It may also help to do the same when you travel. Last year we went to Guam for a long weekend and found great items at reasonable prices in Macy’s and GPO mostly for kids aka godchildren and young nieces and nephews. That was November; so by the time December came we only had to buy for a few adult friends. So yeah, planning and timing are key.

When you find yourself minding the same kind of “happy dilemma”, that is good! Sharing your presence and your affection through gifts are sufficient manifestations of generosity. You may not be able to meet everyone or give everyone gifts because you have limitations (and frankly you really do not have to) but when you are in the midst of this December holiday craziness, then perhaps that is good enough. Happy holidays, everyone!

Food Lover Judie

Nice to Meat You: Adobo Sunrise, Stir-Fried Beef and Charsiew

I love meat. Fried, grilled (charred even), steamed, wrapped in pretentious edible paper, drowned in sour soup…you name it. I lean towards pork than beef most of the time. When presented with a choice, I’m getting both though.

This year I came across these dishes and I found myself coming back to them when cravings hit.

First is Early Bird Breakfast Club‘s Adobo Sunrise (P295). I’m glad it’s not called adobo flakes because when I see it I expect crunchy and flaky then when served, it’s not only not dry but chewy…it’s disappointing. This Adobo Sunrise dish has shreds of very tasty pork adobo. I like my adobo sour so this one endeared itself to me immediately. If you don’t like sour adobo, then this may not be for you. It’s one cup of meat with runny sunny side up egg and a generous serving of garlic rice. I was overwhelmed when I saw the amount of rice the first time I ordered it but by the end of the meal, they disappeared with the adobo anyway. This is always my go-to order when I visit Early Bird.

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Adobo Sunrise!
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with better color

Next is Lugang Cafe‘s Stir-Fried Beef with Chili Peppers (P320). My bestfried and I first tried it November of last year when Lugang opened in Rob Place Manila, and it has been a staple each time we visited. The contrast of the taste — salty, spicy, sweet — and the tenderness of the beef strips make me crave for rice. My only beef though (hahaha) is that the serving size is too small. That small pot right there is shallow. It’s the cheapskate in me, I guess. Plus I think beef is generally pricier?

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This next dish I only tried once but I didn’t forget it. I visited the new Podium and found their food hall The Corner Market to eat with my book club. I was looking for an ulam to pair with my organic rice (yeahhh) and found Char Express. This char siew is so good for its price tag (P138)! The meat was soft and so was the fat. The sweet glaze was just amazing. I’d gladly move closer to the Podium to have this more regularly.

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Browsing my phone for more meaty goodness. Will share some more later.

For now, nice to meat you all. (Pinipilit talaga. LOL)

Food Lover Judie

Wakey Wakey Pancakey: Peanut Butter Banana and Ricotta Cheese Pancakes!

I am one of those who eat pancakes not just for breakfast so I consider it a treat each time I go to a place that serves all-day breakfast in the menu. Of the ones I tried this year, these two are the standouts:

I first tried The Kismet Cafe and Wellness Market‘s peanut butter banana pancakes last Holy Week and I instantly liked it. This small vegan restaurant in Kalayaan Avenue in Poblacion may have limited offerings in the menu but the serving size and taste definitely do not disappoint. 

This stack of pancake (P195) was so filling that it took me a long time to finish them. There’s generous peanut butter in between. I didn’t know much about vegan butter which was slathered generously on top but it made a difference, too. The syrup wasn’t too chokingly sweet. It paired well with their brewed coffee. 

The Kismet Cafe and Wellness Market is located at the ground floor of MBA Building, 5022 P. Burgos Street Corner Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City. They are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Sunday. 

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This stack of ricotta cheese pancakes (P420) from Little Flour blew me away when I tasted it, and my only regret that time was that it wasn’t my order. It’s very fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth great; the berry compote and mango bits on top added to the flair. I have always been partial to anything with cheese and this one really delivered.

Little Flour is Wildflour Cafe + Bakery‘s kinda little sibling in BGC and I assume this pancake is also available in Wildflour locations. 

Little Flour is located at the ground floor of World Plaza Building, 4th Avenue corner 31st Street, Bonifacio Global City. They are open from 6 a.m. to around 2 a.m. They serve all-day breakfast!

Do you like pancakes, too? What pancakes could you recommend?

Citizen Judie · Reflective Judie

Neurotic

The man I currently like so much just told me I am the most neurotic person he has ever known. It may have been in jest, I don’t know. We were in the middle of what I consider a light and chill conversation so I didn’t think he meant it in a pejorative manner. I should be offended, and I was, but only for a bit. I took it to mean I was overanxious and oversensitive (he also told me this, remember?). If he meant it differently than that, I really don’t care because really, what can I do? Disagree and throw back something equally offensive? Fifteen years ago I may have fired back immediately. But nah.

It is hard enough to encapsulate the feelings I contend with on a daily basis, so I refrain (sometimes, unsuccessfully) from reacting defensively whenever words like that get thrown in my face. Sometimes when I have processed it fully, a part of me questions the level of self-respect I have. Do I really just allow people to trample me like that? I mean not just in the instance above; there were incidents in the past where friends have nudged me to stand up for myself and have the dignity to say something or walk away. To be honest, unless it’s blatantly a gross violation, I can be dense and…meh. I just hope it really isn’t reflective of how much I value myself as a person. I would like to think I value myself highly, sometimes a lot that I have this innate ability to make everything about me (one of my guy bestfriends can attest to this!), but it may be healthy to reevaluate this stance once in a while.

Citizen Judie · Judie Everywhere · Traveling Judie

More Honolulu Goodness – Part 3

Halfway through my short trip and I can say I already got the hang of it — I was waking up on island time, my body and the weather already reached an understanding, and I was raring to tick off items in my to-do and to-visit list.

DAY ONE-5

Woke up early on a Monday to go to Diamond Head! The experience is detailed here.

When I returned to Waikiki, I bought lunch at Steak Shack.

28ccba2f-b1a4-43ef-9a32-137a640315f3Steak Shack is a small food stand facing the beach at the Fort DeRussy Beach Park. They serve all-day steak plates — as low as $8 for a hefty meal. I bought a 10-oz steak plate to go which came with a generous serving of rice and salad. Didn’t manage to take a photo because I demolished it as soon as I went back to the room. I was so hungry after the trail hike and remembered I barely had anything for breakfast. I liked the steak plate moreso because I excessively put ranch dressing in it. I paid $14 I think for the entire thing. You can view photos contributed by tourists on TripAdvisor if you want to see how they look like.

I rested almost the whole afternoon and booked my tour ticket for Pearl Harbor that I planned to take on my last full day on the island. A little after sunset I took a short bus ride to Ward Village to check it out.

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When I got there I was surprised by how freakishly quiet it was. It was a Monday and I was expecting there would at least be people from work seeing that there were office spaces within the complex. It’s almost empty. But seeing that two shops (!!!) were right by the pedestrian lane across Ala Moana Boulevard, I spent more than hour in both shops, officially breaking my self-imposed rule to not go shopping in discount stores on this trip. #noregrets

I rode the wrong bus going back and I found myself in Ala Moana Center again. Decided to just grab dinner there and walk around a few minutes more before heading back. I had lots of steps per my pedometer and been to a Hawaii tourist spot so it was a good day.

DAY ONE-6

It was the chillest of all my days with practically nothing planned. I went out of the room a little after 9 am to get breakfast. I was in the mood for laksa but since I got there I haven’t seen (or probably I managed to stay away from) any restaurant possibly serving such so I was open to eating anything. On my way to Royal Hawaiian Center to participate in a free outdoor hula class, I found one soup kiosk in its food hall.

I decided not to join the hula class after breakfast. I walked around the center and proceeded to the beachfront of Hilton Hawaiian Village for a mid-morning soak.

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This is a bronze statue of Princess Bernice Pauahi, the great-granddaughter of Kamehameha I, Hawaii’s first monarch.

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Not a fan of rubber in general (let’s not start LOL) but hey these stuff…interesting.

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Pinoy sorbetes represent!

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This was an unplanned shot while I was getting a tan and I flipped my huge body with my phone in hand.

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Since I liked Funko Pops, it’s not weird for me to travel with one so I can shoot it instead of myself.

As I am doing this update I realize how lousy my photos were. Totally not representative at all of how amazing each nook and corner of Waikiki are. You know what that tells me? There’s always another time to go back and make up for it. But let us reserve that plan in another blog post.

I was still full from the big bowl of laksa I had so after staying at the beach for almost two hours, I went to Target and Ross in Ala Moana Center to finally buy bilins and pasalubong for the people back home. I scored quite a few freebies that added to my pasalubong list thanks to Fil-Am aunties manning many stores, particularly in Honolulu Cookie Company!

DAY ONE-7

That’s my tweet when I woke up that day! My big to-do then was Pearl Harbor then cocktails at sunset. That’s it. So after a quick breakfast I took a bus from Hobron Lane going to Pearl Harbor.

The entire Pearl Harbor tour including my travel time to and back took me almost five hours. I left the stuff from the tour, freshened up a bit, and rushed to the other end of Waikiki Beach to catch my last sunset on that trip.

I settled in Royal Hawaiian Hotel and ordered their classic mai tai with taro chips and hummus. The price was steep for me but considering the location and #treatyoself nga di ba, it’s worth it. It was only one drink but I was tipsy kaagad so I walked it off back to the apartment.

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Will always carry a torch for Manila’s sunset but this one was pretty amazing, too.

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After last-minute packing, I made sure that my last night in Honolulu, at least for this first time, was fun and crazy interesting. And it was. The next day it was mostly about the straight flight back to Manila.

Overall, ahhh, it will take me a while to get over Hawaii. When you get a chance, please do visit the island. Make memories, make ’em darn good ones. The island is worth it.

Mahalo, Hawaii!!! Until next time!

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Judie Everywhere · Traveling Judie

Diamond Head Day Hike!

On my fifth day in Honolulu, on a Monday morning no less, I started the day hiking the crater of Diamond Head. It is a very common must-do for tourists because of its proximity to Waikiki and that it’s a short trek for such an amazing view.

From Waikiki I took Bus #23 plying the Hawaii Kai – Sea Life Park route. I went down at the 18th Avenue + Diamond Head Road stop after about 20 minutes and right there at the opposite end of the crosswalk was the Diamond Head entrance.

diamond head entrance

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This is not yet the official entrance to Diamond Head. The concrete trail has a very clear path that even if you arrive by foot, you won’t be lost. It is common for cars or shuttles/buses to pass you by. After a semi-steep walk of about 5 minutes, you will reach the Kahala lookout.

The next two photos are views from the Kahala Lookout. You can continue walking but for me who did not have any warmup before this, the lookout was a perfect excuse to catch my breath (tipong 5 minutes semi-uphill pa lang yun ha; way to go, Juday).

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When you are ready to begin your Diamond Head trek, you’ll see this tunnel leading further to the main entrance. Corregidor feels!

going to the main entrance - diamond head

After the tunnel, there’s the small ticket station where you can pay the entrance fee of $1. It’s also where a few foods stalls, souvenir shops, restrooms, and visitor’s center are.

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Beautiful. This is at the foot of the trail. If you look closely you can make out the ridges at the top. That’s the actual trail. It’s not that high.

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One more shot about 10 minutes into hiking. You can see more clearly the trail at the top.

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Now this is something very noticeable when you reach a certain altitude in Diamond Head: STAIRS! Lots of them!

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Yup, more stairs! But this is just one way, there’s a separate way going down.

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Did I mention stairs??? This one is the last one to reach the “summit”. There’s an alternate trail at the side which was what I took going up. I took this stairs going down.

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Almost there!

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Hello, Waikiki!

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A famous landscape shot from the crater.

My verdict of Diamond Head? It is relatively easy and if you have time to spare, give it a try! The bus ride from Waikiki took 20 minutes, the entire trek from the entry point to the summit/top of the crater took me 45 minutes, photo/video-taking included. Take note that I was not fast. As I said I barely had physical preparation and was really walking slowly on my way up. Gee, there were kids and elderly people (mostly Japanese) who were overtaking me!

At the visitor’s center, you can avail the audio tour if you wish. I saw there were docents, too. But the hike’s relatively easy to follow and can be absolutely explored alone.

Aside from the view, there’s a structure which used to be the fire control station where you can explore for free. It involved crouching to fit and walk inside so I passed on it. There’s also an option to have a personalized certificate made stating you made it on top of Diamond Head. I heard it was $12 each.

For the essentials, as common short dayhikes require, have your sunblock and hydration ready. Wear comfortable shoes. It can be windy at the top so hold on to articles of clothing that could be easily swept away like caps/hats and shawls. It may be best to go there when it opens at 6 a.m. so it won’t be too harsh on the skin. I got there a little after 11 a.m. so it’s really very hot already. Or maybe go in the afternoon? Although the park accepts visitors until 6 p.m., permission to hike ends at 4:30 p.m. so plan your visit accordingly.

It took me a shorter time going down mainly because I wasn’t taking photos anymore. Overall, I enjoyed that morning, and if ever I would travel with someone who has not been there, I’d be glad to accompany him or her. After Diamond Head though, I wish to visit other volcanic craters in Oahu like Koko Head and the Punchbowl Crater, and of course the infamous Ha’iku Stairs or Stairway to Heaven!

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Judie Everywhere · Traveling Judie

That Honolulu Trip – Part 2

Aaaand my island adventures continue. Note that I am writing this nine months after they happened. The nostalgia and the longing bite me hard. I really should have finished writing this sooner, as in as soon as I was flying back home.

DAY ONE-3

Still not waking up early, and a part of me kind of regretted a huge chunk of the morning wasted. But what can I do, I was on vacation, so forcing myself’s way below my list talaga.

After breakfast I felt like going to the beach again for a mid-morning soak, so I took the bus (yay, finally) and stepped off the stop nearest to the Duke Kahanamoku Statue. It was a bit on the other end of the shore where I baked myself burnt the previous day. Maiba naman. Not sure if it’s because it’s a Saturday but more people were on the beach. It was surreal seeing different people enjoying themselves under the sun. No drama intended but the feeling na you’re traveling solo but you’re not alone…that kind of feels.

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From Target the previous day: Quaker rice crispies (flavored ampao, in short LOL), some pretzels, and blueberries. Then cranberry juice! This is something I would not spend time buying and putting together back home but as they say, necessity is the mother of all inventions.

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Told you, nice view.

After an hour at the beach I walked to Food Pantry in Kuhio Avenue to buy more essentials, and oddly enough unti-unting pasalubong, and also grabbed lunch from HI-Steaks.

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HI-Steaks ranks high on Yelp and compared to similar restaurants in the area, they serve very affordable yet hefty meals. After buying groceries, I bought my lunch to-go.

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This is their original steak and BBQ chicken combo ($11 more or less). I opted for the chimichurri sauce which I was given generously. Look at that brown rice and greens to complete the ensemble! If I wasn’t in a hurry to make it to my next stop, I would have taken my time with it.

In the afternoon it surprisingly rained, lakas makasira ng sleeveless romper outfit because of the lamigin me. However I still went ahead to Leonard’s Bakery to try their malasadas.

From the nearest bus station from my apartment I took Bus #13 and got off in front of Leonard’s. Other buses like #1 and #9 also have dropoffs near Leonard’s but not as near as #13’s, so that’s something to consider. Other people, such as the guy I met while there (aka who chuckled while I was hilariously Boomerang-ing my malasadas), actually walked to the bakery from Waikiki Beach! Going back to Waikiki, take the same bus number at the station in front of Safeway in Kapahulu which was a block away from Leonard’s.

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Anyway, malasadas. It is basically deep-fried dough sprinkled with granulated sugar. Think bicho-bicho back home. Leonard’s offers other varieties like the cinnamon-sprinkled ones, and some coated with li hing or Chinese dried plum. They have malasada puffs with filling, too. I tried their original and cinnamon-sprinkled bread. They’re okay. I mean, it’s soft on the inside and it was still warm when I got my order so it’s good. I ordered a lot for one so I ended up eating it for breakfast and merienda the next day.

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I accidentally deleted the photos of my Leonard’s trip save for my IG stories so all I got now our screenshots. See, parang tinapay lang na may asukal di ba?

It started raining again on my way back to Waikiki so I just hit the mall and went to B&N again. Still didn’t do a lot but I was happy with my day.

DAY ONE-4

Finally, I was able to wake up early enough to enjoy the first half of the day. I spent it inside the room to enjoy my breakfast with a view. Cannot complain.

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Leftover malasadas, cranberry juice, and a banana. If you know me well enough, you can tell this was very new to me.

I walked a few blocks around the area and began to feel feverish. I knew it was days of wonky sleeping and getting rained on. I rested until late afternoon and walked to find a place to eat rice. You know that very Pinoy feeling na you need to eat something before taking your meds and “eat something” means kanin and ulam? So off I went walking along the shore. It was a very good afternoon. 

I made a premature left turn going to the Royal Hawaiian Center and found Pau Hana Market. It’s a small lot with food trucks. I heard it’s closed now. I hope they just moved elsewhere. I planned on getting the famous garlic shrimp but they weren’t ready and I was hungry. I chose Hoaloha’s fried chicken meal of the day.

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Chicken, lots of carbs, fruits. For a hungry stomach it was quite a feast. The beer-battered taste of the chicken was ordinary. The fresh pineapple juice was a delight. I shelled about $30 for this late meal. I devoured it while i placed a quick video call to my mom and watched about half an episode of Hawaii Five-O. Hihihi, “for the feels”.

I walked a lot to make up for the heavy meal. Before I knew it it’s dark outside so i just went back to the room to rest some more. I was reviewing my photos and I was convinced I didn’t take plenty of shots for a tourist. But you know what, I still remember them all in my head. I don’t know how much longer I can retain them in but right now they’re all vivid. The place really made a mark in me.

Three more days to go!

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Judie Everywhere · Traveling Judie

Hawaii, Why, Why (Why Not) – Part 1

That’s got to be one of the most forced titles ever. But hey, let us still talk about it. Because why not?

One of my bestfriends is traveling to Honolulu in a few weeks and I cannot help but envy that she’s going, so I am pushing her way all suggestions that I possibly can so I can live vicariously through her in the meantime.

At this point I would like to write about a few things I did while on the amazing island. Granted, part of what made it amazing were a few experiences that are too personal, but man, taking that away, the trip was still many levels of awesome.

What did I do while in Honolulu?

DAY ONE

As I mentioned in my first round-up, I got to Honolulu mid-morning of Thursday, after 10 hours of a smooth and uneventful flight (the best kind) from Manila.

I rented an Airbnb room and my host allowed me to check in as soon as I arrived in the building before lunch. I wasn’t jetlagged, wasn’t sleepy, but suddenly very hungry and the creature of habit in me walked to Ala Moana Center to eat.

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Taken at the Ala Wai Canal on the way to Ala Moana Center. There were buses from my airbnb to the mall but I chose to walk because per the map it was a simple inverted L route ergo very easy to follow. Took me longer but it was worth it. I was there barely an hour pa lang but I felt that I was gonna like it and boy, I was right.

Ala Moana Center is said to be largest open-air shopping center in the world (not too clear on the ‘largest’ and ‘open-air’ bits because from a Pinoy window shopper’s point of view. . .using MOA or SM North or SM Cebu as references. . .anyway, irrelevant). I could have taken the bus but I opted to walk so I can familiarize myself with the area. If you have traveled with me to any U.S. location you will know that my default first food is always orange chicken-honey walnut shrimp-white rice from Panda Express.

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Tourist comfort food, for the win. I have had this same combo each time I touched down any U.S. city. When not very hungry days later, I take away the shrimp, but really, when all else doesn’t cut it, my palate always goes back to Panda Express. Tignan natin when they open here in Manila if it’s gonna be the same.

As this mall is huge I went around, shopped a few, and settled at, well, you guessed it…Barnes & Noble. Alam mo yun, I knew I just arrived and had seven days to go but #priorities and #addiction, so yeah. Two hours went by too fast and with a plan to catch my first sunset in Waikiki, I left B&N with quite a few loot, then I headed to Target for my essentials.

As a solo traveler who has ‘starvation’ among her top fears in life, I always troop to the nearest supermarket or grocery because you’re surely saving money on food this way. Grocery shopping is fun for me, too, and one more cheap thrill which we don’t have yet: self-checkout.

The island of Oahu in general is survivable for non-drivers like me because they have an efficient transport system. With plenty of bus routes it could get confusing though, so one tip I have is to download the transportation app (if available), bus map, or anything related to it, and of course connect to Maps to know how to get to your destination without losing time.

With my bookish time and grocery time — both times well-spent — I missed the sunset. I still walked (and walked and I mean walked) both in the dim light by the shore (only those with restaurants fronting the beach were well-lit) with muni-muni in between, to the people-filled Kalakaua Avenue.

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This was around 8 pm already. I missed the sunset and the fireworks display by Hilton Hawaiian Village every Friday. It wasn’t as crowded for a Friday. I took a leisurely walk para sulit ang mga pinaplano ko nang kainin that night.

I walked back to the apartment which was a good 15-minute walk along Kalakaua Avenue. It was ok, felt safe, there were people from work, tourists, and joggers sharing the sidewalk with me so it was good. I ordered food to-go from Tony Roma’s because it was conveniently in the way. I cannot feel my feet when I got back to my apartment but it was really fun for a first day!

DAY ONE-2

I woke up at 11 am because my body clock was still adjusting. I had breakfast in the room and walked the strip of Ala Moana Boulevard to reach Olive and Oliver.

Olive & Oliver is a small coffee bar and boutique that serves coffee to-go. Their coffee drinks are classic and no-frills; they come in artsy cups like the ones above. If you search for recommended coffee places in Waikiki, they usually made the list so I was glad it was on my walking route when going to the beach.

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Ah, Waikiki. There’s also the Diamond Head crater making this canvas more beautiful. The waves were a bit rough the afternoon I came but it was also warm and sunny so it wasn’t as scary. I failed to capture a panoramic video. I did it without a camera though and until now I feel it as if I was still there. Ang drama ano, but really, that’s how it affected me when I was there. Dahil yata mahal pamasahe kaya ninamnam ko ng bongga. Chos.

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The other side. You can see the Ala Moana area and Hilton Hawaiian Village. This photo remains my wallpaper until today. Didn’t capture the beauty of Waikiki Beach, I swear.

It was a bright and sunny day so I took lots of photos para sa obligatory IG na ganyan, then I sprawled in front of Fort deRussy for my first taste of Waikiki beach.

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I stayed until I was able to witness the sunset.

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On the way back to my apartment, the classic black and white stripes lured me in. This was a very busy street and the shop was easy to miss but I didn’t. Bought a few essentials (essentials daw o). Meron pala sila sa Ala Moana Center which I missed the day before.

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On my way back to my apartment (ang tibay di ba, hindi pa ako nag-bubus ulit), I went to Maguro Brothers, a popular hole in the wall that serves delicious poke bowls. They open from 5 pm to until after midnight. They are situated unassumingly along Lewers Street, so much so that I passed it the first time. In my tired and nervous English I managed to throw in the “It’s my birthday!” card (though it was a day after, what a hustler) so the guy at the counter smiled and added more spicy mayonnaise, which if you also know me enough, something that I like my food to be swimming in. It was a big win for me.

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So yeah, back in the room, with amazing view of Manoa, was my happy dinner. You can see my leftover chips and artichoke dip from the night before. My room doesn’t have a TV which wasn’t a big deal to me. The wifi was strong so I just watched Def Comedy Jam 25 on iFlix and some Parks and Recreation episodes. Simple forms of happiness, I tell you.

A day and a half, done! See the next post for days three to seven!

Related posts:

 

Citizen Judie · Traveling Judie

Shoestring Adventures (A Teaser)

I am off to a different continent with one of my bestfriends in a few days. To say that I have prepared for this well won’t be true. I may write about the trip upon our return, and I’m sure highlights will be in my Instagram stories, but at this point  I’m practically not ready in many aspects. The only thing good to go is myself; as in the body and the willingness to explore.  Maybe for now that would suffice.

I may feel that it’s really happening when I’m almost there. One of the first phrases I need to learn and will probably use particularly when dining is “No onions, please” but in Spanish. I’ll then take it from there.

Romantic Judie

An Effective StopGap

I had time today to sit down and attempt stringing words together but came up with this new short one instead of finishing at least five entries that are 80% complete.

I want to write for myself again. I was the best reader I had and that worked years back and affecting people was only incidental. It was still the best kind, imho.

Since I cannot completely do it because I’m still minding something (kalandian-related ano pa ba), I realized something: looking back gives me an odd form of a stopgap to distract me from my emotional mess.

img_7028I realized even in my Twitter threads that I drive back to how I was in love with someone a decade ago. It was catastrophic at best but maybe, I have been subconsciously referring to it to tell myself that see, that’s one of the most painful I’ve experienced, and also the closest brush to a very beautiful (albeit mean and harsh) kind of feelings, and I got through it. So this one, compared to that, this one was pfft; not even in the same league because there was nothing and let us mention the fact that it’s not proper, shall we?

So yeah, use the previous emotional calamity to prove that I do get over these things. Some took time, some took one giant ‘get out of my life’ boulder dropped in my head (which was deserved mga 40% because I was mean and bitchy and immature), some went away naturally. Different methods but they all arrived at the same kind of closure. I just have to find the best one that would work now.

At the moment I feel it’s really reliving that phase that works. Long periods of silence and weekends trigger me greatly but now I know better than wallow. Sometimes it is healthy looking back to get that big push to move forward. I’m getting there. A little more patience, self.

Romantic Judie

I ride it out, I write it out.

I am still at it.

Each time I feel that writing about it, writing to him, is not doing it anymore, I hunker down and write some more.

I have thousands of words about the things I feel. They are cramped in pages of narrative, as if I’m talking to him even though I know I am not brave in sending them his way.

The power of my words acts like a regulator — I can write the most demeaning things to condition myself that nothing could hurt me more than this. It’s like a nasty form of relapse. Instead of sweating, shaking, rocking myself back and forth, I write the saddest, neediest, most hurtful lines. Three pages or 1200 words later, whichever comes first, I find myself feeling better.

And it’s with the least amount of gore. No lives bothered from far away. No emotions stirred other than mine.

It’s bound to hurt again and when it does, I pick up myself and start typing again.

I will do it until it no longer hurts, until it does not make sense to wallow anymore. But until that day comes, I will keep pouring out my emotions because at this rate, that’s all that I can do.

Citizen Judie · Reflective Judie

Days

There are days when all is good and steady, that despite the inconvenience and substitutions, you make do with what you have, and days end better than it started; it does not hurt as much, it does not make you feel you lost a lot of time and opportunities; it’s good.

Then there are days when it just hits you how come you are still here, why is there that lump in your throat from the things you want to say but can’t, want to express and let someone feel but there’s that void, days when you sit down, stare, and stay put, and you just let the tears flow in the dead of the night, knowing fully well the same things will still be the same when the sun rises, if not worse.

Life is a daily battle of choosing which armor to use to get you through the day. Some days it’s the easier choice to flow without effort, and some days it is cathartic to snap. I’ve been most times the latter and before the words of wisdom and advice come, please know that I know all of that. I do. And thank you. No battle is ever the same.

Food Lover Judie · Romantic Judie

Quirk

I once told someone I enjoy my red pasta with black coffee and, yes, I know it’s weird. “No, it’s not weird,” he said. “It’s very weird.”

I also like my truffle fries with latte. I am set in my ways to do away with little preferences like this so I pray to find someone who will embrace me and my quirks. 💖 I have more, and they are part of what makes me interesting.

Now this sounds like an informal ad. Takers?

Citizen Judie · Romantic Judie

Back in the Day

Of all the drafts I prepared, written and otherwise, I am publishing this one out of an inspiration from my friend Ida’s tweet earlier today.

She was right when she said more people are going back to blogging on a more personal approach nowadays. I remember the times when I wrote anything and everything and the concept of oversharing was the very core of blogging. I did not evolve into becoming a blogger whom lots of people read and followed, but that kind of sharing eventually lost steam with me anyway. I blogged profusely and more coherently a decade ago when the people I wanted to get my thoughts to were actually reading them. I tried to keep it alive but I don’t know, if it was maturity or a change in platform preference, or whatever but it did die.

The good thing about it is it can always be revived.

The practice was indeed therapeutic. I wrote because I wanted to. I think I was the best audience I had. Writing saved me many times. It’s not always online! And oh, the man I recently had feelings for bore the brunt of that inclination to write, and write, and write. “Holy shit, that took a long time to read,” he once said. And to think I was not even on a roll in that slew of Viber messages. Amateur. 😉

And taking off from that, yes, I am nursing a broken heart. When people comment on how much weight I lost and ask me what I did, my default joke of a reply is, “I’m falling apart.” But of course it is belittling genuine breakdowns, including mine if you think about it. So no, it’s not ENTIRELY because of that, but I’ve been watching what I eat because of a recent Biggest Loser contest in the office (where I did not win) and because I’m borderline hypertensive already. The best part about losing a few pounds is having old clothes fit again, and not having to buy new ones or wear the same ones over and over. But on the downside, and this is coming from someone who has been overweight all her life, is that I lost my ass. My chest, too. Which made me think, was it all side and back fats all along? Me no like! The part about the butt pissed me a bit. Maybe that’s a good reason to go back to the gym and do butt-firming workouts. I really detest how flat it looks now. Wow, this paragraph is mostly about my ass.

Right now, aside from firming up my now-flat ass, I try to keep myself busy. Healthy distraction is key. I am not ready (and never will be, I guess) to completely tell once again what happened (as my journal is already witness to my most recent non-love story, pages bleeding from feelings), but suffice to say, making myself occupied will work in my favor. Why? Because idleness leads to reliving moments and could have beens, and frankly, I confessed to one of my bestfriends I am at that stage where I wanted to turn back time so I can do better, in hopes that the outcome would be different. She told me I was stupid, of course.

Anyway, I guess this is enough ‘welcome post for the nth time’ for me. Brace yourselves (or not), the emotional oversharer is at it again.

How have you been?

Citizen Judie · Reflective Judie

In the Most Unlikely of Places

I wrote this two weeks ago. The vacation’s over but the sentiments remain.

img_1923I am in the middle of an island vacation as I write this. I made a firm realization that I feel my most confident self when I am at the beach. This is a body image issue which I have struggled with for years; and really, throwback photos have a way of telling you how much you allowed to let yourself go. But instead of feeling ashamed that my arms are thick, my tummy protrudes more prominently than my size 36 breasts, and my belly overflows (as in umaahon, if you may relate to the struggle) from my bikini, I have not felt happier and more secure than when I’m in my swimsuit, sprawled in the sand getting a tan. I figured it must not be entirely the beach; perhaps it is the power emanating from stripping myself and letting my skin show — not in a perverted manner, but the feeling of displaying this is all I have, and this is enough; I am enough.

Beyond the body positive thoughts, I am lucky to be timely reminded that I can be very hard on myself. Last year was a challenging year for me which made me start touching base with my complacency and worth. It has been hard, you know? But where it’s a concern to be attended to and fixed, simple as that, I find myself agonizing over it and why it happened to me and all the self-pity thoughts which do not really help me at all.

People change and are afforded opportunities to do so every single day. I believe I have long earned that opportunity but sometimes I still feel I cannot catch a break. Maybe I have not really fully caught one yet…and it is okay. Someone once told me some people surprisingly have it easier and some are meant to fall in line, sometimes for a longer period that you cannot even see the end of it. It’s a reality of life but it does come with plenty of perks, too. Even while waiting in line.

A few weekends ago a friend messaged me to let me know how she admires how self-assured and confident I am. I can only remember a group conversation days prior where we talked about hopes for this year and what we were thankful for last year. At any rate, I needed that message and it came at the right time. My heart was so full.

I wrote on the first page of my 2018 planner that I am not afraid anymore. I believe it’s fear that really holds me back. Of coming to terms with things I lost and can never get back, of thinking if I move my feet I will be left with nothing and it is not an option as a responsible adult, of not leaving my comfort zone because nothing and no one wanted me anyway. If I let go of that fear, the worst thing than can happen to me is nothing I have not experienced yet. The cycle of fear has long overstayed and it’s time to break out of it already.

Right now I am still on vacation which greatly helps me steady myself and regain my balance. This is going to be short and definitely sweet but when I go back home, I will start looking more seriously at what’s out there. Better things are there outside of my comfort zone, perhaps in the most unlikely places. Until I start looking, I’ll never know.

10:45 p.m.
21 January 2018
Hilton Hawaiian Village

Citizen Judie · Commuter Judie · Judie Everywhere · Traveling Judie

Life is short, go to Hawaii!

I just came back from an amazing Honolulu trip! I was there for seven full days. I planned it six weeks before my departure date which left me with a few expensive options but overall it was worth it. Besides, any travel I make in January will always be worth the damage to the pocket. For this one I even left on the afternoon of my birthday and arrived in Honolulu mid-morning, still on my birthday!

For this post I want to share my travel tips and activities should you wish to visit Honolulu (which you definitely must, it’s so amazing!)

Getting there: Going to Hawaii, sigh, isn’t cheap. If you are for comfort and duration, Philippine Airlines offers the shortest flight to Honolulu and back. It takes less than 10 hours going there and less than 11 hours going back, and more importantly, it’s a straight flight. I left in January which is still the tailend of the peak season so the lowest I got it for was still around $1,200, travel tax included. Ang mahal nya, actually, pero well, birthday trip!

From the airport to your hotel/hostel/Airbnb: Shuttle services, if you do not have a host or you did not avail your hotel’s pickup option, are very much available as soon as you step out of the airport. So far, I noticed there’s SpeediShuttle and Roberts Hawaii Express Shuttle. I took Roberts Hawaii Express Shuttle going to my rented condo unit. These shuttle services accept card payments only so make sure you have your debit or credit cards handy. I paid $16 for the 30-minute trip. I learned from the shuttle driver (a beautiful half-Filipina, half-Hawaiian named Danielle!) that Roberts Hawaii also owns the building I stayed at, so it’s a convenient dropoff.

Going to the airport for my departure, I availed SpeediShuttle’s service. I booked a reservation the night before I left. It costs $15.48 which is also charged to your card. When you choose a pickup time, consider the time of your flight and expect that there will be other pickups other than you which could extend your travel time to the airport. For this trip though, the driver took the backroads and in 20 minutes, I was dropped off at the PAL checkin gate. So kanya-kanyang diskarte din ang mga drivers but it’s always safe to allow more time.

Of course if you are with a group and you can comfortably fit inside a car, you can take a taxi or an Uber. They also have Lyft, too. The bus is also an option.

Accommodations: I booked a lovely studio apartment through Airbnb. It won’t be visible in the listing but you will discover that many of the Waikiki units, whether studio apartments, rooms, or couches, are within the Hawaiian Monarch Hotel. It’s a property that was converted into half-condo units, half-hotel and many condo owners rented theirs out. My host lives in the same unit — we share one main door, and there are two keycard-activated doors after; one is her residence and one is the studio space she rents out.

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Look at this cute and cozy place! The wooden design and fixtures provided a unique and homey touch. It has no kitchen but there’s a microwave, a mini-ref, and lots of dining utensils. The bathroom is also very clean and has clean towels and bathroom products for you to use. The host also has beach bags and beach towels in the closet. Super homey! And don’t get me started on the view. That right there by the window is not a painting!

My favorite part of this unit is the view. I can never get enough of it. It is directly facing Ala Wai Canal and being on the 35th floor, it gets an amazing view of Manoa. I was also treated to plenty of rainbow sightings (which I was told are quite often in the island) because of its location.

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View from the room at daytime. I don’t get scared of heights but this one made me a bit woozy.

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View at nighttime. Very therapeutic.

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The first morning I woke up early enough. That’s not a canvas, that’s a real view!

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The building was at the corner of Niu and Ala Wai so when you go down the street, this is easily what you can snap. Ah, the memories of it just by typing this.

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One more rainbow view after it rained. Love.

Let me know if you want to get this same accommodation and I’ll point you to this listing. 🙂 The host is very easy to talk to and very accommodating.

I walked around a lot while there and checked the location of the hotels and apartments and their distance from the beach. While I really liked Hawaiian Monarch’s location (from there you can walk to the convention center, Ross (ahem), Target (ahem ulit), a bit far but still doable – Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx (yaaay) and the huge Ala Moana Center!), it is at the far end of the beach kung walking ang pag-uusapan. I spent 15-20 minutes walking just to go back. I could have taken the bus, sure, but overall, malayo siya if you speak of the beach. I enjoyed walking a lot though.

If your priority is to be near the beach front, consider the ones along the shore — from the Kahanamoku beachfront of Hilton Hawaiian Village to the end of the Waikiki Wall (a long beachfront stretch which would take you 30 minutes by foot; I tried it!). The parallel streets adjacent to Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues are great locations and perhaps a bit less expensive than the 5-star ones. What’s better is it’s also near the main strip where they have all the shops and food places.

Going aroundTheBus! It is their main commuter transport service which is efficient, if I may say. You can buy passes for unlimited rides for different durations or just pay $2.75 per way — the bus does not give change so always bring an exact amount. This is where I disposed of all my coins!

Before you start your day, think of your activities and check if they will require bus rides. If you need more than 2 bus rides, whether short or long ones, consider buying a day pass para sulit, kesa $2.75 ng $2.75. I did that when I when I went to Diamond Head and to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center; both entailed two rather long round trips and still left me with a pass to ride a bus to and from my errands for the day.

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There also bikes for rent but I didn’t bother checking it out. They are operated by Biki so if you are into biking, you can check out their rates, locations, and covered routes.img_1162

I also took an Uber twice and it’s efficient. Mahal lang rate nila, or maybe because I’m thinking in Philippine pesos; my ride ranged from $7 to $9 for two very short distances. But then again, birthday trip!

I spent majority of my time walking. Google Maps proved to be a very helpful friend. I downloaded an offline map of Honolulu so it was easier for me to navigate. Even with the bus routes, it’s very informative; of course if you access its offline version it will not give you the real-time schedule of the buses arriving, but you’ll still be fine.

Other notes: I did not stay long enough but the place was pretty safe for me. The sidewalks are wide and pedestrian-friendly. Their pedestrian crossings are plenty and accessible. Depending on the time of the year, it can get chilly at night so if you are sensitive to the breeze (aka lamigin like me), better to bring anything to cover you up when you walk. I brought tank tops and sleeveless sundresses which were suitable during the day but when nighttime came, I felt chilly. It probably contributed to my feeling ill on my 3rd day of vacation.

Hawaii is 18 hours behind the Philippines. Expect your body clock to act up after a few days, unless you’re the kind who adjust easily (lucky you!).

Unless you have mapped food places to get your meals from, it helps to go to Target or Food Pantry to buy groceries to save. Stock up and just refill your water, buy fruits, bread and spreads, juices, and other daily nourishment essentials.

I stayed mostly in Waikiki so people from different countries and persuasions abound. It’s very exciting to see. Connect and talk to them when you can! The residents there are very friendly, too. At least the ones I encountered; I was lucky there’s no untoward incident at all. And hey, it’s Hawaii, so expect a lot of Pinoys!

I’ll be sharing my experiences about the spots I went to in the next posts. For now in case it’s not getting across as I intended, I fell in love with Hawaii! I am definitely going back. You should, too. I promise, it’s worth it.

Related posts:

Citizen Judie · Employee Judie

Brake to Break

I came from one full week of vacation leave from work and it was a good one. Someone even commented at work earlier that I look rested. Partida pa yan, I look like a strawberry 🍓 after my skin tags electrocautery. LOL!

I forgot about this week-long leave if not for our amazing admin who reminded me that there was an approved form signed back in September. Sure, I had errands planned and my dad’s death anniversary fell on the same period, but I even thought of going back to the office for a day or two because “I had no plans”. Well, turns out, “no plan” is a good plan. I had time to simply rest, stare at the ceiling, and think about anything. I didn’t even sleep longer; if anything, I was confident staying up so late, but I guess it’s the overall feeling of not going to your routine when the sun rises that made the difference.

I once opened up to my supervisor about what I feel sometimes, and it didn’t take long for us to reconcile that it’s a classic sign of burnout. In order not to go to that dark place, or have your energies completely sucked out of you, it’s always best to step back and rest. Sure, one week of break with daily errands won’t be enough, but pulling back is a good way to recharge.

I am back to my regular work routine and will be amongst the taong-bahay this month. I think I’m all set. I cannot wait for this year to be over. To me it has been a mash up of worst and best events in my life but I’ll save the histrionics and lengthy introspection for my yearend post.<<
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