Monday, December 30, 2013

Obsession du jour: Diptyque candles

So what am I obsessed with this time? One word: Diptyque.

Diptyque is like the Chanel of perfumed candles. I used to hear about the Diptyque Baies candles but I never thought I would be able to own a Diptyque candle at this point in my life. To my surprise (and delight), my boss gave me my first Diptyque candle for Christmas.

I got the Diptyque Orange Chai which as the name implies, smells like oranges. But because it is made by Diptyque, the orange scent isn't the only thing you can smell. I can't describe it well, so allow me to let Diptyque describe the scent: Orange Chai Envelops you in spices, sweet but not sugary, it evokes the round warmth of an orange, followed by the freshness of cardamom, rising up exotically like the blend of tea known as Chai. Touches of quince, cinnamon and ginger lead us into a world of winter flavours.

I've been lighting it everyday nd I'm almost halfway through because I love its scent so much, I don't care if it doesn't last long. I just want to be able to enjoy it. In Manila, Diptyque can be found in Rockwell and I hear the candles goes for around Php3,500 each. Pretty steep price. I don't think I could buy this for myself because that would be like literally burning cash but I will always be pinning for this and would love anyone who would get me these candle for any occasion!

I am excited to get rich so I can have a house perfumed with Diptyque candles and scents. Really, the brand is not overrated because it LIVES UP to its reputation and when you have a product that is so well made, it makes every cent you spend on it worth it :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Red and Green

Merry Christmas everyone!!! How's your December so far? Mine has been really crazy. I kept jumping from one activity to another, I hardly have any time to rest. The past week however, I have done nothing but bake. Yup, you read that right, bake.

You already know that I have a homebakery, well last week I partnered with a good friend of mine and brought the business to a new level. For this season, we focused on our best sellers, the red velvet and green tea crinkles with cream cheese filling. It's very basic, but it's very festive and really perfect for this season! We've done nothing but fill orders for the past week, I am literally begging for sleep.

Our home bakery, Da'Nininja, focuses on just two things-- red velvet and green tea. We have red velvet and green tea cupcakes and red velvet and green tea crinkles. We'll be introducing a few more red velvet and green tea varieties in the next weeks and I am really excited for that!

Hope your December has been awesome so far! Sorry for the lack of updates, we didn't even get to do a gift guide this year :(

Happy holidays everyone! Thank you for sticking with us throughout 2013! Have a great celebration!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Obsession du jour: Skorts

I've recently developed an obsession for skorts. To illustrate, allow me to show  me the recent occasions I've worn skorts:

At Marcia Adams' Tagaytay:
White polo: from Bangkok, White skort with arrow head print: Apartment8Clothing, White gladiator shoes: Aldo
I opted to go all white for this look. It's just a bit sad that my skirt is a size too big for me-- which is my fault because I was in a hurry to fit it that I wore it over my shorts. So stupid. Add to that the fact that it is made of silk, the skort kept sliding down my hips. I really would have to have this altered. Ugh.

Work "field trip" at Pampanga:
Basic white shirt: Uniqlo, Navy blue skort: Plains & Prints
Skorts are really versatile and relatively "safe". I like that I was able to wear it to a work-related trip because it still looked formal and yet casual at the same time.

At Singapore:
Grey top: Bench, Camouflage skort - Plains & Prints
You can also wear it on a trip! Love how you can dress it up or down depending on your mood. Since it's made of silky fabric, it is very cool on the skin and you can do a lot of activities without it constricting your movement. Very comfortable indeed!

I am obviously obsessing over skorts. The weird thing is, I'm not yet done! I still feel like I haven't found the perfect skort for me (the length is wrong, it's too big, the color is wrong, etc.) So you could definitely expect to see me buy more skorts in the future-- until I find the perfect one or until this crazy obsession dies a quiet death.

Advance Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Taste of Tuscany in Tagaytay

A week ago, we visited Marcia Adams' restaurant in Tagaytay. The place is so beautiful, one would feel he/she is in Italy. The place is just so lovely, it makes for the perfect place to take beautiful photographs. So instead of the usual blog entries about its food and whatnots, allow me to do a photo blog on our trip instead.

Wallet damage: Php 4,500.00 for a group of 4.

For more information, visit Marcia Adams' Facebook page at

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bloggers of the Week!

Quick post! Price Panda just named us one of their bloggers for the week!

We share this week with blogger Jackie Go of Go Jackie Go :)

Thank you so much Price Panda for the feature! A little something to brighten up our day :)

Check out the feature here and while you're at it, you may want to check out the site as well. Price Panda is the leading price comparison site in the country and is a great place to get some gift item ideas!

Again, thank you Price Panda!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Filipino Culinary Pride: Bale Dutung

On our office team building-slash-field trip, we went to visit Chef Claude Tayag's restaurant in Pampanga, Bale Dutung.

Dining in Bale Dutung is a special experience. Not just because Chef Claude Tayag is one of the best chefs in the country but also because you can't get in without a reservation. They only cater to groups so it's not one of those places you go to on a whim. The reason for this is that it is a gastronomic experience that incorporates food, history and culture in one sit down meal.
The 12-course meal (including drinks and dessert) is curated by Chef Claude's wife, Mary Ann. It is a 4-hour meal where they take you through ten amazing dishes which is complemented by 3 different drinks that appear at a seemingly well-orchestrated schedule. The whole experience is like a symphony-- a theatrical performance, truly an art form in itself.

I am vegetarian so my menu varied a bit from what they had. I am so grateful for Chef Claude though for being so accommodating and making sure that even if I had a tofu/vegetable version of the dishes he served, I still didn't miss out on the taste. For purposes of of this post, I'll post first the photo of the "original" dish followed by the vegetarian version. I shall post the food items in the same order they were served.

Drink 1: Dalandan-Salabat Juice

My favorite drink! What makes this special is that it has muscovado ice which is basically muscovado sugar that's diluted and frozen. It is so good! Didn't want to finish this drink off. It was too good!

Appetizer: Crackers with pesto, aligue and buro
I only tasted the pesto which is also also really good. But I hear the aligue + pesto combination was super!

Dish 1: Ensaladang Pako
I am already a big fan of pako so this was a no brainer for me. For those who is familiar with pako, it's actually a fern. What used to be a poor man's ingredient is now seen as one of the more expensive greens in the market today. I personally only know three restaurants that carry pako in their menu (and the restaurants are even under the same chain). The interesting thing abotu this salad is that it has quail eggs when I'm normally used to having pako with salted egg. The quail eggs however was an excellent choice because the vinaigrette tasted perfectly with the boiled egg.

Dish 2: Piniritong Lumpiang Ubod sa Claude '9 Oriental Sauce
 Wow. Just wow. If you think lumpia is common, you've obviously never tasted Chef Claude's version! OMG. I tell you were all having a "commercial" moment with this dish! No one spoke, there was only sounds-- "mmmmmmm" "aaaaaaaaah" "oooooh". Each of us putting our best "commercial-worthy" reaction.

Dish 3: Inasal na Manok at Claude '9 Talangka Sushi

My version, which was inasal tofu was beyond words. I couldn't believe I was eating inasal again! It tasted like inasal! I loved it sooooo much! This is one of my favorites! I couldn't stop raving about it. So good! Best inasal everrr.

Dish 4: Adobong Pugo

Honestly my colleagues didn't even want to eat this at first because the quail looked so pitiful on that plate. But after taking their first bite, they forgot they pitied the bird and devoured it mouthfuls. Me on the other hand got a tofu adobo, which again blew me away! It's been so long since I tasted adobo done this way. It's very traditional-- with the laurel leaves and sourness of the vinegar. The pandesal was equally delicious! It was our favorite because it was so good! 

Dish 5: Hito at balo-balo sushi

My vegetarian version looks a little sad but it's not as boring as you'd think. It's actually sushi with egg. Can't quite tell what it is but it's definitely not just rice.

Dish 6: Fried lechon flakes binalot sa tortilla at Claude '9 oriental sauce (Lechon Taco)

For this dish, we had to get up and fill our own tacos, buffet style. My version of the lechon was fried tofu strips and I also had a special sauce which is a version of Chef Claude's oriental sauce less the anchovy. This is another amazing dish! Everyone was gushing over this and was already planning to get seconds while still on their first bite.

Dish 7: Bulanglang Kapampangan na may tiyan ng bangus, ulang at tadyang ng baboy

This is supposed to be the "main dish" but of course at this point we were already so full that all of them seemed like the main dish. This one is interesting because the soup is poured in front of you. I had purely vegetables of course but I hear that the seafood and other animal products in the dish were superb!
Dish 8: Begucan Tenga ng Babi at Ensaladang Talong

The two photos look almost the same but mine is a tofu version. This is another favorite! The tofu sat on top of a slice of salted egg and grilled eggplant. It so phenomenal! I couldn't believe I was eating eggplant. It tasted so different. The flavor was just elevated. I have no words.

Dish 9: Kare-kareng Laman Dagat

This, my friends is the reason why Chef Claude Tayag is one of the best in the country. Thiiiiiissssss. OMG. Super good! I've never had kare-kare done this way! It's no wonder everyone's raving about it. 

Dish 10: Paradiso

My utmost favorite! Paradiso!!! It's pastillas, ube and macapuno on a bed of carabao's milk brulee. Pair it with coffee with carabao's milk and man I tell you, you will reach food nirvana! This is where the "commercial" moments were elevated 10 times. I had no words for this. I couldn't even think straight. It was too good! Truly unique. It's one of those things that you would have to try to understand because words will not be enough-- and I'm not just saying that. I really am left speechless.
I understand now why there are hammocks in Bale Dutung-- food coma after that 10-course meal!
Thank you so much Chef Claude Tayag and Ms. Mary Ann for being such gracious hosts! I personally am touched that you prepared vegetarian versions of everything. I also love that Mary Ann approached me and said that they wanted me to not feel left out so they made vegetarian versions of everything so I could experience what the others are experiencing. Thank you, thank you for being amazing hosts! What an experience! I feel even more prouder now of Filipino cuisine! Cheers to culinary diplomacy! Cheers to Filipino food! And most of all, cheers to the Chef!

For more information on Bale Dutung, visit their website at 

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