Office Christmas

Christmas is big and very important for Filipinos. Whether you’re an employer or businessman  setting up a business in the Philippines, a lover who’s seriously dating a Filipino, or simply a person interested in foreign culture, you should understand how special this day is for each and every Filipino and their families.

Since Filipinos are family-oriented people, “family” pertains not just to our immediate family but to our friends, badminton/tennis playmates, Church-mates, and officemates so don’t be surprised if each group celebrates Christmas with a huge party!

In my case, I didn’t let anything or anyone hinder me from celebrating Christmas with my family in iCube Group and experienced one of the happiest longest line game in my entire life! Haha. Thanks for the underwears and “Glam Rock” theme!

My favorite Mama Dottie in her winning contribution to her team’s game!

Before the group presentations when everybody’s nervous!
And here are random videos to add fun and twist to the usual party:





Wait til you see our winning video presentation where we played Dora, Doraemon and Unknown girls! Haha. 

And as I kiss everyone goodbye this month, they didn’t let me go without a surprise party! I’ll miss everyone and all the fun but I know I’ll see you somewhere sometime! Thank you and from the bottom of my grateful heart, I wish for you to have a great year!

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Dining in Manila

Since I had a part of some stories published in the holiday issue of Brand Magazine, I decided to expand what I’ve written in the Magazine. Here are some of my top restaurants (which I had so many memorable moments) in Manila that you may want to check out next time you visit the fun Philippines.

Picking up the right restaurant for a first date has a huge impact on whether you’ll have a chance for a second date. A second-time-around “just okay” dinner might not guarantee you forgiveness or second chance.

When in doubt, go for Italian!

Italian restaurants never fail in creating a romantic atmosphere and delivering good food so when you’re on that getting-to-know-you stage and stalking her in instagram and twitter doesn’t give you a hint on what she wants for her first date, don’t hesitate to reserve one of the finest Italian restaurants in the metro!

I like the mystery of moving away from the busy streets of Makati on the way to Carpaccio Ristorante Italiano that leaves an element of surprise for the first visit and gives each other more space for conversation. The aroma, atmosphere and flavours will take you far to Italy together with the ideal service once you step in their premise until you get off! Italy’s national salad, Insalata Caprese is a must try together with Carpaccio di Salmone e Branzino alla Marinara (Salmon and Seabass with tomatoes, garlic, basil, capers and onion in olive oil) and their flavorful risottos and pizzas!

Carpaccio Ristorante Italiano

7431-C Yakal St. San Antonio, Makati City
+63.2.843.7286

For a more accessible Italian restaurant, Paparazziin EDSA Shangri-la is a good choice that defines their culinary philosophy as la dolce vita (the sweet life). The dishes are presented in very modern ways which immerse the palate a very rich experience of authentic Italian cuisine.
Adventurous? Dare to eat differently!



People’s Palace is one of my favourite restaurants in any kind of date. There are some restaurants that I tried and like the first time but are never consistent on the second or third time but People’s Palace is true to its promise to deliver good food and superb service at any time and to anyone. The Thai dishes are authentic and gorgeously presented.


Tip: Try to sit in one of the terrace tables outside and you’ll surely loosen up those awkward moments and comfortably say what you want to say.
People’s Palace
Greenbelt 3, Paseo de Roxas cor Legaspi St.
Ayala Center, Makati City
+63.2.729.2888, +63.2.729.4375

Be extra romantic and try continental cuisine in CAV Wine Shop- Café. I like the unconventional taste of the Sea Urchin Minestrone from their Dining Prix-fixe menu and if you’re a vegetarian, go for an Organic Poussin! I crave for the Roasted Seabass from their Café menu from time to time.

TIP: Let the fun begin! Fully experience CAV Wine Shop- Café by tasting the eclectic selection of wines which the two of you will enjoy in 25ml (tasting), 75ml (half-glass) or 125ml (full glass) through a tasting card that they provide. You never know, your date might be an oenophile or a wine aficionado! But don’t forget to take it easy with the wines, a little kick to your confidence is good but too much might not assure you of a second date! 

CAV Wine Shop-Café
GF The Spa BuildingLot 5 Quadrant 8, City Center
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
+63.2.856.1798

“Bon appetite!” is what I always remember about L’entrecote, a modern Swiss-French Steak & Frites bistro which is probably the Metro’s closest thing to that Manhattan experience everyone is talking about. First time I had the succulent steak and wine, I found myself wondering why the servers smile whenever they serve the food, then I realized that they were saying bon ap-pe-tite and keep their smile after uttering the word, indeed, this good service makes the dining experience notable. Long chat with your date is possible with their endless fresh hand cut fries together with the Steak topped with The Secret Herb Butter Sauce! Try the Original Swiss Fondue or the pan-seared juicy Foie Gras that are so mouth-watering. After a few question-and-answer, try breaking the ice by ordering the flaming dessert with sweet cream and fruit inside, Baked Alaska.


TIP: Have a leap of faith! Sometimes, they serve free house wine if you’re lucky!

L’entrecote
Burgos Circle, Forbes Town Centre
Unit A Belagio 2, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
+63.2.856.4858

Steak and Wine? That’s the expertise of Bistecca. Aside from the sophisticated ambiance, Bistecca only serves USDA certified beef and aside from their juicy steaks, they serve lobsters too!

TIP: Try their house sauces that will definitely satisfy your cravings!­

Bistecca
122 Joya, Rockwell Makati City, Metro Manila Philippines
+63.2.403.5231
Tired of the traditional izakaya ambiance among Japanese restaurants? Why not sophisticatedly eat healthy food in Hanaichi Japanese Restaurant? I like the quality of service together with the commitment of its chef to continuous improvement by personally greeting and having chitchat with guests from time to time.


Hanaichi Japanese Restaurant

The Luxe Residences, 28th St.
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
+63.2.556.0070


Toki Japanese Fusion & Fine Dining makes me feel like I’m dining in Japan with its high-standard Japanese service. Though I really like their set menu, a la carte orders might help you start talking about the next date since they have perfect sharing portions. 



Toki Japanese Fusion & Fine Dining
2ndLevel, 32nd and 5th Bldg.
32ndSt. and 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
+63.2.856.7295
Like what Julia Child says, “Life itself is a proper binge,” so enjoy each bite and have a taste of life! And remember, good food needs a good company.

(Photos are from Google Images)

Hello FUN!


I just turned 26.
I don’t want to talk about it. 
Joke. The truth is I can’t stop talking about it but since I feel like thoughts are cluttered here in my personal space, I needed to organize and formalize a new space for my unconventional fashion + travel stories. Of course there’ll be some little things about beauty and wellness in it! 



What am I wearing on my birthday? Find out more here: http://aymisayra.tumblr.com

I felt so loved and I would like to thank you for making my special “I-am-old-I-panic” day wonderful.

OKAY, FINE.
Here’s the glimpse on my special day:


When the clock struck 12, I received a small cake with lots of huge candles and a special box from a person with small eyes. I miss my dad too much cause he has always been the first person to greet me right before it strikes 12 cause he couldn’t stay awake anymore at 11pm of the 18th! Haha. 

Oh! That reminds me of spreading the info about a wonderful family and how you can help their dad win the battle against cancer, here’s the link from my friend, Benj.


Wishing for more wonderful and fun years!

Just like last year…





The planner that keeps me sane.

My love affair with Belle de Jour Planner started in 2009 when I was looking for a planner that will suit my lifestyle as a young professional who was so in need of  a beautiful space to write all my thoughts! I found some posts in my blog when I was talking about the cover of my BDJ Planner  in 2010 and when I used the yearly goal planner

And since the BDJ Fair is less than 2 weeks away, here’s my photo with the beautiful bellas I met in BDJ Fair in 2010! Seems like it was just yesterday! I remember we met in a game then we all had our hairs curled! Haha. 


This is your chance to learn, explore, and meet beautiful people too! See you at the SM MOA Music Hall on October 14, from 10am to 10pm!


3 weeks cover photo2

Aside from their interesting line-up of guest speakers and fun activities, I’m super excited to check out the latest editions of the BDJ Power Planner, Navi: Your Lifestyle Navigator, and their newest babies — the everything is possible planner and newest edition of the BDJ FMN notebooks! 

The best part is: They will all be available at the fair for 20% off! 😀


Belle de Jour Power Planner

The Belle de Jour (BDJ) Power Planner is especially made for the Pinay fashionista achiever.The term Belle de Jour (bel duh zhoor’) is French fashion lingo for Ït”girl and we have redefined it to mean the modern day renaissance woman who dares to achieve her goals, lives herdream life, makes a difference in her community, all while doing everything in great style.

All pages reflect the uniqueness of the BDJ Girl. The BDJ Poer Planner includes time-management principles to help BDJ Girls manage their life better, articles and affirmations to inspire them to live life to the fullest and over Php20,000 worth of coupons – to remind them of work-life balance.


NAVI: Your Life Navigator

Who wouldn’t want to see the world? Inspired by the traveler who embraces uncertainty, NAVI: Your Life Navigator, reminds us about the importance of going places and belonging in those places. On their fourth year, NAVI 2013 encourages us to ask the important questions and to be aptient with getting answers, while still keeping our life goals in check. With its low-key travel- themed design, inspiring travel articles, and plenty of space for notes every week, NAVI 2013 is the must-have planner for men and women who want to keep moving forward in life.


EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE

Imagine what you would do every day if you tell yourself that everything is possible? everything is possible is about simplifying life by creating concrete goals and breaking them down into achievable steps. Pick from our inspiring quotes to use as your mantra, and maximize our much-loved time management-based layout to help you be mindful of anything, big or small, as a real possibility. With its minimalist clean design, everything is possible is the planner for anyone itching for a fresh start.

FORGET-ME-NOT

The BDJ Forget-Me-Not line is the ultimate companion to the BDJ Planner. Purchase one or all of these handy pads separately for the endless things you need to write down.


CREATE/INSPIRE

Take a moment to write things down and never let a brilliant idea go to waste, this is your perfect idea pad.



DARE/ACHIEVE

Start with a clear agenda, organize your thoughts and assign tasks easily with DARE/ACHIEVE, your go-to pad for meetings.


SAVE/DO

Keep your cash in control and be on top of your tasks with SAVE/DO, your dual=purpose pad for tracking cash and to-dos.


Check out the newest releases of the Belle de Jour team at the 2012 BDJ Fair: Limitless! at the SM MOA Music Hall on October 12 with their discounted Fair Prices! Are you Bellas excited? I sure am! 🙂


Know more about the different BDJ Fair activities and sign up details here: http://on.fb.me/SNFueP
Like them on Facebook: facebook.com/BelledeJourPlanner
Follow them on Twitter: @BDJBuzz
Visit their website: www.belledejourpowerplanner.com

Vanity & Savings

So, the photo above is our savings! Yohoo! But as you can see, I’m not suppose to use it for shoes or dress, it says “FOR TRAVEL ONLY” and it’s not even mine alone, Taku put some 10 & 5 peso coins there for the past months! 

We got a total of 3,500 pesos! I thought we have 6,000 already 😦 but I’m wondering where could we go with this! 
Anyway, since I always keep in mind “to save” and I don’t usually buy things that are not “the basic,” here’s something that I do when mixing and matching with what I have:

This is my headband. I put white ribbon in it and made it a necklace. Yey!


Since this necklace is in my closet for so long (given to me by a gorgeous friend, Rochelle) and I’ve found a nice white top, I worn it and took a photo cause I want to remember when Taku looked at it 4 times trying not to laugh. Then he sent me a message during lunch saying “How’s your curse working?” I swear he’s so not into fashion!


But just last week, I had fun having Avocado foot mask with Taku (Korean experience)! Haha.


Look how the guy liked it! Probably, we’ll do this again cause my feet got a bit softer. 
(You can buy this pack from Watson’s)

Monchhichi is off to Great Places!

It’s funny that whenever I check the stats of my blog, one of the mostly visited post is Monchhichi’s New Home. I expect that my serious posts will score the highest but I can imagine how many more people were charmed by this cute fella worldwide! Since most of my friends miss her in my bag and my stories on how Taku compares me with Monchhichi, here’s some of her photos while she wanders with us.

This was taken at Bonifacio High Street in BGC when we were goofing around before my bag with most of our valuable things were stolen. Here’s the story and video about that learning experience.



Monchhichi wandered a lot in 2011: Singapore, Boracay, Palawan, Bali, Japan and LA. I am very petite but sometimes I wish I am just as her size so it’s easy for me to fit in the luggage or better for Taku to be same with her size so I can put him in my pocket so it’s always a sun-shiny day! haha.

I don’t intend to collect all Monchhichi items that I see in stores (as if there are many in Manila!) since I try to live with less and basic things to save more and maximize the use of everything but I opt to keep those which are really cute, small and useful.

But I am keeping my Monchhichi from Kyoto!

Not just because it’s so cute but also because it was given to me by a good friend, Eri, who always bring me Monchhichi omiyage whenever she goes back from Osaka (most of the time the yummy Monchhichi candies!) but my heart skipped when she surprised me with this one:

“There are three monchhichis in the photo!” -Taku

And as we keep the kid in us, reach for our dreams and meet wonderful people along the way, let’s remember what Dr. Seuss have said (I’d like to remind my sister Charmaine about this wonderful passages cause I believe she’ll go more places!):
Congratulations! Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
Oh! The places you’ll go!
You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.
So…
be your name Bauxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day! 
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
*this is an excerpt from the book Oh! the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

Emergency Shoes & DigiCam!


Okay, I had so much fun at Canon Night as Canon Philippines celebrated 15 wonderful and successful years in the Philippines! I had so much fun having good food, being in the beautiful Sofitel Plaza, meeting people and talking about business, wine and Filipino culture which was a very good therapy for me since I was feeling so weird lately and have delayed reaction with Dad’s passing. Well, according to the psychologist, I’m still normal. haha. And it was very nostalgic to see an AA Battery-powered digital camera! It brought back my college memories! 🙂

Funny, another thing, since I couldn’t stop talking about my ’emergency shoes’ and I couldn’t take a good photo of it with its add-on emergency bag, i just vlogged it. Mhe, your the person in my mind. haha. Here’s Katie’s Facebook Account and for each pair, it’s only for 599Php! I just couldn’t stop talking about it and my buddy who listens to me all the time is in a business trip! hay naku. 😦 

(What’s naughty in tagalog? I think I said ‘Im a naughty girl’ haha. My dad’s gonna be mad if he’ll hear that! haha)