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My January 2015 Shopping

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I have celebrated the beginning of the year 2015 by checking out the different sales from my favorite stores.  I love the beginning of the year because most of my favorite stores go on sale (trying to get rid of the inventory that wasn't sold during the holiday season).  I am not a shopaholic - far from it.  I am a sensible shopper which is why I feel that waiting at the end of the season is the best time to get some of the basics.

Blue-Green jacket from Zara - on sale for 200 RMB ( or 2,600 Philippine Pesos )

One of the stores that I check out first is Zara.  I'm actually thankful that this time,  I had a business trip to Kuala Lumpur - so I didn't have to battle it out with all the boys of Manila to check out Zara's goods.  I skipped the dress shirts section ( I have one too many of those from online shopping at Express for men ).  I immediately went to the coats and jackets.  Why people in KL will buy coats and jackets I will never understand - the city's temperature - any time of the year is - hot!  But I guess - if they were to travel - they will need jackets ( or like us Pinoys - they can wear them inside their air conditioned offices ).

This is a Faux Leather jacket - colored blue green.  I checked out other colors to describe it - I found Ultramarine, Turquoise.  I'm gay but I've always been deficient in identifying the colors outside of those found in the rainbow.  This jacket has a snug fit - just the way I like it.  My blue leather jacket that I got from Wilson's leather - I think is a bit too big.  So although I like wearing the blue jacket - I think like - most of my shirts - it would have to be altered to fit my new body (the one I got after I lost so much weight last year) .

Blue-Green Faux Leather jacket from Zara - 200 RMB

When I got back to Manila from KL- ( before climbing the mountains to go home to Baguio ),  I checked out my other favorite store - Uniqlo.  There is a Uniqlo store in KL but I found that their price is higher than Manila.  They post the prices of the merchandise in all countries - and after conversion - the Philippines price is lower so I decided till I get back to the Philippines to do my Uniqlo shopping.  Anyways - Uniqlo is fast becoming my go-to store for jeans.  I am now very comfortable in wearing slim-fit jeans - and my Uniqlo size varies from 28 to 30.  I know that it's vanity sizing - but I don't care.  They look great when I wear my favorite shoes ( the blue chucks that I'm wearing in this picture ).

Slim-Fit Black jeans from Uniqlo - 990 Pesos

Before you accuse me for just checking out international chains exclusively - I will have to describe the t-shirt that I'm wearing.  It's from Folded & Hung.  It's a Filipino owned chain.  I buy almost exclusively from them when it comes to polo shirts.  I don't buy regular price.  I wait till they go on sale.  So this shirt that I'm wearing is just 450 pesos ( when they typically go from 750 to even a thousand pesos ).

Shirt from Folded & Hung - 450 Pesos

I actually bought a lot more than these items  and I will try to show the other merchs that I got in another post.  Note that I've also done a little bit of closet cleaning to make space for the new clothes. Some of the t-shirts that I wore with a horrible size of Extra Large - I gave away.  Looking at all of those clothes - I exclaimed - how did I let myself grow that big?!?!?

That's all I have for now.  BTW - I truly apologize for not writing as often as I should.   I will not make an excuse - I had time to write - but I didn't find any inspiration to write.   Although looking at this blog post - it isn't so inspired - but I guess it's a start.  I hope to write a lot more often this year.

I'd like to hear from y'all.  Why don't you share what you've been up to this first month of the year in 2015?  Have you been shopping like me?  What are your best buys?

Ozark Diner

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I discovered a really great diner near our place.  The name of the diner is Ozark Diner - and it's really just within my neighborhood.  It had been raining for the past couple of weeks - and today's the first day that the sun is out --- so I decided to just walk to Ozark.  For the uninitiated - it can be tough - because - it's all uphill from the main road ( Bakakeng ) to the restaurant.  That's actually part of my plan - burn as much calories before my Sunday lunch --- so I don't feel as guilty even it is my cheat day.

Grilled Pork Chop, Biscuit with Gravy, Mac and Cheese

I love Ozark -- I don't hide it from the owners - Kevin and Albert.  Google - Ozark - so you can find out a little bit more information from where Kevin and Albert got its name.  Come back - after reading about it.  Ok?

Open Kitchen - I choose to sit by the bar - so I can see and smell all the other dishes :)

Now that you have googled Ozark - let me ask you - what kind of food do you think they serve?  Correct - Southern food ( not South American --- but Southern --- and no - it's not called SAWDERN --- you must pronounce it as SADHERN --- all together now - SADHERN ).

My Pork Chop being Prepped

The place is busy --- and that's a really good sign for the business because they have not even launched yet.  They are still on SOFT-OPENING mode.  If you're like me --- that would have driven you away like the plague.  I don't like giving an establishment my money - who uses soft opening as an excuse for bad service.   Thing is --- with Ozark - you get really good service (fast and good food).  They're staff are still on training ( kitchen, waiting, and everyone else ) - but you wouldn't notice it because Albert and Kevin makes sure you get the service that you deserve as a paying customer.   

The Sili Labuyo Chocolate Cheesecake - that's Candied Sili on Top

Pulled Pork, With Biscuit and Kale as Side Dishes

I know - I know - you're here to know if you should check out Ozark for the food.  The answer is a resounding yes from this queen.   If you want to eat - comfort food - that most of what the Southern food delivers - then you're in for a treat.

Those are the heavenly biscuits being prepped

Beautiful Biscuits

For me --- what I was really looking forward to is their biscuit - with gravy.  It's one breakfast food that I like eating when I'm in the US.  I have not seen them in the Philippines --- so discovering this in Ozark - makes me beyond happy.   

Ozark Benedict

The other specialty of the restaurant ( I'll talk about the main dishes that I tried - but you need to know this so you can leave room for dessert ).  Their Cheesecakes.  Here you will be able to try Durian Cheesecake, Dark Beer Cheesecake, ginger wasabi Cheesecake,  and others.  But their best seller - is the Siling Labuyo Chocolate Cheesecake - Yummeeeh.

Meat Loaf - with Macaroni and Cheese and Cole Slaw

Now for the mains.  The dishes I tried so far - the Ozark Benedict ( which is their take on the Eggs benedict ),  the Grilled Pork Chop ( this pork chop is juicy and thick - the way the southern folks like it ),  and Good old meat loaf ( this is comfort that really delivers ).  Side dishes that are equally interesting and good ( the ones that I tried so far ): Macaroni and Cheese,  Their Kale with Smoked Pata bits ( this is healthy food -- Kale and fat is a good combination ),  French fries, and of course the biscuits.

Ginger and Wasabi Cheesecake

If you are planning a trip to Baguio anytime soon ---- or if you are from the city of Pines - go ahead and google the place --- you can find them on Google maps.  They are on Bareng Drive --- that's next to the Saint Louis Mary Heights campus.   They don't have signage yet - but look for the red door.   I am sure - you will enjoy it.  They are open 10 am to 10 pm daily.  They can be busy --- so be early ( or late - so you don't hit the lunch crowd ).   Oh - one more thing - they are priced really well.  How do I know they are priced well?  Most of their patrons are local - and in Baguio - we don't pay an arm and a leg for food.  If you are from the lowlands ( ahem - Manila ) - this is one restaurant that hopefully convinces you that you don't have to pay a premium to find good food.

No signage yet - look for the Red Door - Diner below

Look for them in Google Maps.  Street is Bareng Drive

For more information on Ozark - visit their Facebook page at:

San Juan Surf Resort

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When I moved to Baguio,  some of my colleagues talked about one of their hobbies - surfing.   They said that they picked it up since the San Juan Surf school is just an hour away from Baguio.  On weekends - they can drive down to La Union in the morning --- and by lunch time - they start driving home.  That sounded interesting - and I've been fixing to check it out but never really did.  Finally this year,  my best friend, dad, the dogs and I were able to check it out.

Yey!  Stand up like a boss.

Easy to find - google maps is spot on the location of the resort.  Urbiztondo

San Juan is now known in the Philippines ( and internationally ) as a surf spot.  Going there in May is good for beginners like me --- but it's not that exciting for actual surfers.   The waves that we caught were mostly less than two feet ( if at all ).   The best time to visit for good sizable waves is in July - onwards - although that can really be a challenge because that's also our monsoon season.  But hey - why worry about having the rain soak you when you're already swimming right?

The local kids

I call her the little mermaid.  She's sad that she has a fish tail instead of human legs.

Surfing - like any new skill - is easy for me to learn.  On my third attempt - I was able to get up.  Some people go through a whole hour lesson and not succeed in getting up.   Thing is - I wasn't very graceful and when I finally learned the skill - I started thinking about what I'm doing.  That doesn't help me any - I realized that my instincts are much better than my cognitive ideas when it comes to learning new things.   So after that successful attempt - I fell many times --- but in the end before my one hour lesson ended - I was able to get up and do it with grace.

I met a celebrity - River the Lab Ret"River".  He surfs like the humans.

I asked for another photo with him he said yes - as long as he still gets to look out to the sea.

The surf resort is dog friendly.  The three babies don't like the beach though.  Plus - I need to make them wear shoes next time because the sand is really hot.   Char Siew does not like wearing shoes.  So this is not his favorite place - shoes and water does not really give him good feelings.

Not much waves - so most of the time - we were just waiting.

Surfing is not an easy skill to learn. 

All in all - our excursion to the San Juan surf resort was a great experience.   I paid 700 pesos for the lessons and I paid 500 for the surf board.  They also lend you a rash guard.  If you are on an extended trip to Baguio - I recommend checking out La Union - I'm sure you'd find it a refreshing break from the mountain breeze.  I surely did --- but I must say I can only take those extremely high temperature for half a day.  By early afternoon - I was looking forward to going back home.

The resort looks nice.  Next time - I plan to stay overnight.

Had a blast - I want to go back - hopefully won't have to wait for 2 more years.