Cafe George :Review

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The place is perfect for a quick hearty lunch and chit chat.

 I used to like big restaurants and a lot of people. Maybe it comes with age but I fancy quieter restaurants nowadays. The place is pretty quiet and definitely the best place to meet your business partners. Actually I find the place quite ‘laysho’ in gay lingo..coz’ when we got in I saw a lot of ‘chinoys’-considered high class in Cebu. I even saw a friend of a popular jeweler . They were occupying the private section of the restaurant. The kind of people you see in the lifestyle section of our local paper. And so I thought the food is expensive until I got hold of the menu. Their food prices range from 250++ definitely reasonable.

I did not order this food but most people in the restaurant had this as their starter. I would definitely order this next time. 

We had Caesar’s Salad (👍👍👍) as our starter. It’s kind of a family habit everytime we eat out. 😄

Spicy Tuna Oil Pasta (not exactly its name..i forgot) 👍👍

Pan Seared Tanguige (fish of the day) 👍👍👍👍👍

Jambalaya Chicken and Sausage

👍👍

Choco Banana Oreo 👍👍👍

The restaurant’s Chocolate Decadence  👍👍👍👍 actually won  ‘Best of Cebu: Dessert. So we couldn’t miss tasting it.

It was so good that I  forgot to take a photo. :):):)  

Owy’s Feel:👍👍👍👍 I will eat there again.

Seeing Double

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Have you watched a movie and found the actors and actresses familiar? Most people would think they are the same person but sometimes that’s not always the case.

I once watched Confessions of a Shopaholic and found the actress really pretty. Then I remember seeing the actress before in a fantasy film – Enchanted. I got interested and checked her other movies but then what I found out surprised me. They are two different people! But why do they look like they are sisters, more of like twins!

That’s what inspired me to come up with this list. Please do comment if you have additional list. 😉
1. Amy Adams and Isla Fisher
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2. Emma Stone and Mila Kunis
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3. Claire Danes and Anna Paquin
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And this definitely blew my mind away! Can you guess who’s who?

4. Ryan Guzman and Theo James
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….I also included local Filipino Celebrities who have their Hollywood counterparts.

5. Iza Calzado and Jordana Brewster
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6. Sarah Lahbati and Miranda Kerr
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I am sure there are more! I will surely update this list 😄
I need your help too.
Comment below

10 things you need to know before visiting hanoi vietnam

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Staying in Hanoi for some reasonable number of years, I’ve been one of the refuge of all the Whys and How comes of my friends who just came in either to work or travel here. It’s quite funny for me to hear the same stories of culture differences and the likes. I’ve got used to almost all of these and so I don’t mind giving advice and sharing my own experience.

All of the things I’m about to share are based on my own experience. Some tourists and immigrants may have other opinions and I respect all of those.

I’ll only talk about Hanoi since I haven’t been to all provinces here in Vietnam.

1. VEGGIES EVERYWHERE

Every food has vegetables. 🥬Vietnamese people are health conscious individuals. It’s already part of their system to include vegetables in every meal. I don’t mind seeing pieces of green leafy somethings on my plate but there was a time when I ordered carbonara in an Italian restaurant. I was so surprised to see cucumber slices on the pasta.

I was kind of disappointed, guessing that the taste would be different from the usual carbonara.  Thankfully,  the taste was no different.

2. NO PLACE FOR TURTLES

If you are a laggard, you’d better not take a bus  here or you’ll end up falling from the bus before you can properly get off. The bus driver,won’t wait for you to properly get off. It’s the same thing as in getting on the bus.

3. EXCUSE ME

I was in a supermarket on a Saturday night and as expected there are a lot of weekend shoppers. As I was  deciding on what shampoo to use for my frizzy hair, I felt someone’s hand on my hip and at the same time I was shoved off from my position. Ready to punch that rude person,  I turned around and saw an elderly woman trying to reach for a shampoo on the upper shelves. Instead of getting annoyed, I took pity on the old lady and helped her get the product.

The next day I related the supermarket incident to my Vietnamese colleague. She said it is natural to get shoved off in crowded places without saying excuse. They think that people in crowded places are all busy so it is expected that  you’ll get bumped or even shoved off by others. Shoving other people out your way isn’t rude at all.

We’ll, I still have to get used to that. 😅

4. SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

It wouldn’t hurt to learn a couple of Vietnamese phrases, specially if you are planning to stay longer. I would advice to first learn how they say their numbers and the phrase how much, in their language.

No matter how long you stay in the country , it is ineludible that you’ll make purchases for your daily needs. It is very helpful to learn those words and phrases as not to get ripped off which is common in local supermarkets around the globe.

5. BREAD ON THE STREETS

Don’t be surprised if you see sticks of bread or better known as Baguettes sold along the streets, despite exhaust emitted by passing vehicles. It’s probably very surprising but I’m sure you’ll get used to it.

6. I’ll HAND it to you

Not sure on what to eat for breakfast in a foreign country, I took a trip to a nearby bakeshop.

After pinpointing a pastry from the display, the shop assistant took it with his bare hands and  put it in a plastic bag.

“Oh my! Does he expect me to eat that  after  grabbing it with his hands?” I thought to myself. I found out later that it’s a usual sight to see sellers (some street shops ) use their hands to pick up bread, even ice cubes.

7. FRIENDLY or NOSEY

Vietnamese people are quite friendly. Two complete strangers in a bus stop can have a long friendly conversation.

A friend of mine was in her hostel room with her door slightly open, when a lady from the the room beside her entered and iniated a friendly conversation. My friend was dumbfounded!

One time, I took a two hour bus trip to visit my friend. I prepared earphones and  reading materials to keep me busy throughout the trip. Suddenly the person beside, tapped me and started a conversation. I hoped I understood what she was saying but I got a few hints after she showed the stuffs she bought from somewhere. I wasn’t annoyed. I was amused.

8. KNOCK KNOCK

Better lock your doors, if you don’t want anyone barging in.

How do you react when school staff suddenly barged in your classroom in the middle of a class?

Answer: Smile and tell her to knock next time.

9. DOGS in the market

Like some other Asian nations, Vietnamese people eat dogs, not all though.  Some of my students say that eating dog meat is an option.

If the sight of a dog carcass grosses you out then stay away from meat markets.

10. AM I IN A TOILET?

In some small eateries, it’s quite a sight to see table napkins on the floor, making it look like a toilet with no bins.

Well in fact there are trash bins just below the table. You just have to pop it into the trash bin, it won’t take 2 seconds. I just don’t understand why some people  still throw it outside the bin.

These are some of the things you need to know before going around Hanoi. It’ll be fun to experience them first hand.

Other than the things above, Hanoi is a very safe place to travel. As I mentioned, the people are friendly and quite approachable, you just have to use your sign language skills if you don’t know any Vietnamese phrases.

There are a lot of places to visit, a lot of food to eat  and more things to experience

Enjoy your trip to the City of Lakes.

Ninh Binh City, Vietnam

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This is my third post for today! WHEEE! I made a record!

I got nothing to do for today so I decided to share my adventure in Ninh Binh.

If you want to go on a two day trip with a cheap budget and sure to have a good time, just follow what my two friends and I did! It’s all worth the effort! You’ll surely love it! Take my advice on that!

Exactly a year ago, my colleagues and I decided to go on a two-day trip away from the noisy and busy Hanoi.

First, we got on a bus going to Nam Dinh at a bus station in My Dinh, Hanoi. It took us three hours from Hanoi to Nam Dinh City.

Upon arrival we left our bags in another friend’s flat. But if you don’t know anyone in the city, you can find a Hotel nearby. There are small, cheap but comfortable hotels. Vietnamese people call them ” khách sạn” pronounced as /kaksan/. You just have to show your passports or a residence visa if you have one.

Then we had lunch at “Big C”- a supermarket her in Nam Dinh. Since, the trip is exhausting and it definitely makes you hungry, a fast food would be a good choice. I recommend trying an ice cold “nuoc mia“-sugarcane juice. It’s totally refreshing.

Right after lunch, we went around the supermarket to buy stuffs for our day trip the next day. I would recommend to buy the following:

1.  a bottled water (one for each person)

2. a biscuit or something to munch on

3. a wide brimmed hat

4. sunblock (a must if you don’t want to go back to the city soot black)

5. comfortable shoes and clothes if you don’t have one

After all the shopping, it’s time for some relaxing time so we got our teeth cleaned in a humble dental clinic in Truong Chinh St.. It’s very cheap about 50, 000 VND. But don’t expect a super white teeth after, you got what’s worth your pay. (wink)

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Not far from the dental clinic, there is another supermarket (apologies for not remembering the name) . But surely you can’t miss it if you ask. The people are really approachable.

On the top floor of the supermarket, there are bump cars.

It’s time to let out that inner child in you! Time to ride bump cars!

Guess what?

I did just that! It really feels good! ^^

And on the same floor, you’ve got to try their 5D movie theater which movies’ only last for ten minutes. The chairs will just shake you a bit, but it isn’t that bad! ^^

Third thing to do for the day is to reward yourself with a sumptuous meal after releasing some endorphins. LOL

There’s only one Korean Restaurant in the City. We  know  the owner, he is  one accommodating guy. The “samgyupsal” – grilled meat is just so filling!

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Back to the room……..sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep~

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Day 2

We rode the bus going to Ninh Binh City at 6 in the morning.

It takes about an hour from Nam Dinh City.

When we got to the place, we got on a small boat which will cruise you around the river and through the small caves and back.

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The cruise will take about 3 hours. There’ll be some Pagoda/Temple’s to visit along the way.

You have to be prepared to climb long steps to enjoy the place.

Be sure to buy scorched rice which is a specialty of Ninh Binh City. It’s crunchy and savory. It’ll be a good gift to friends when you get back in the city.

For lunch, you have to ride a taxi and ask the driver to take you to a nearby restaurant, about 5 minutes from the river. It is owned by a local family. It’s actually a house, where they use an extra space for the restaurant.

You’ll be given a menu but I suggest ordering the honey chicken they got. I find it really tasty and it suits foreign taste buds, if you are not used to Vietnamese food yet.

The owner of the restaurant is really accommodating, and they offered to let us take a nap in a spare room they got next to their house for free. 😄

After the relaxing nap, it’s time to get our bodies moving and prepare to climb the hundred steps going to the biggest Buddhist temple in Vietnam.The Bai Dinh Temple is one great temple. On the way to temple, you’ve got to climb a hundred steps and along the stairs are giant Buddha statues. There are about 500 of them.

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After visiting the temple, it’s time to treat yourself with the favorite dessert of Vietnamese people – ice cream.You can get one in the city center. I just love Vietnamese ice cream! It’s not too sweet but it’s got that  kick in it!

From the city center, you can hail a taxi or a bus to Nam Dinh City.

We got to Nam Dinh at half past eight. It was so tiring but really worth the walk not to mention the climb. ^^

For dinner, it’s good to enjoy “Bun Cha”- the very famous rice noodle of Vietnam. There is one in Truong Chinh St.

The best way to end the day is a relaxing bath in the hotel.^^

Day 3

Time to go back to the capital. You can catch a bus at Nam Dinh Bus Station. There is a sign board that says Hanoi in front of the bus.

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If you decide to do the trip, leave me a comment, I’ll be glad to help.

green moon

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I was visiting my elementary school for an internship.

The place seemed like the time where I left it 20 years ago.

As I entered the gate, I noticed that there weren’t a lot of students inside. I wondered if it was vacation season.

I knocked on the faculty room and met two former teachers in elementary. One was sitting behind the table to the right of the door. Above her table is a glass panel overlooking outside the office.  There was a small opening on the glass enough for people to put their hands into. Maybe it is used for the handing out cash payments or if anyone comes to visit and pays the tuition. I wasn’t sure, maybe it was for that purpose. I realized the place was used as a classroom for grade one back then. They reconstructed it to look like a small office.

As I’ve said there are two people in the room, the other one was lying on the sofa just right in front of the door which when opened would show the long sofa, like the ones in those hospital clinics. The teacher was lying on the long sofa, both feet towards the door, as if she knew that I was coming .

She gave me a warm welcome and offered me to take a seat at a table that seemed nowhere before but is now just next to the sofa.

Someone came and opened the door, it was my former classmate in elementary . We went to the same university but I never bothered being close with her then. She was in a different class in the university. Her name is Cefe.

We both greeted each other awkwardly, but at the back of my head I was relieved to find someone of my age.

The teacher offered us food, but there weren’t any packed stuffs to serve us.

Cefe was bold enough to go through a small garden at the back of the office and opened some closed pots along a line of other pots. I realized there is a small eatery just behind the office. But I hesitated saying that I didn’t bring money to pay for the food.

Later, I realized that I was eating with Cefe in the same table. I was hungry after all.

My colleagues from a previous English Center came and told me they just want to hang out in a pool nearby the eatery. At this moment, Cefe is out of sight. I wondered if she left and continued the internship.

‘ Why are you here? Don’t you have classes today?”, I asked my former colleagues.

They said it was Saturday and there is no need for them to go to school. That explains why there weren’t a lot of students.

Few hours later my friends were having a good time  swimming while I was alone in the corner watching them. I couldn’t swim well like the rest.

” Marj, you should teach Ella how to swim”, my thought s were interrupted with a comment from my former colleague.

” Yeah, we can practice in the sports center in the city.”, I added, feeling happy that someone sympathizes with me.

Marj, a colleague, agreed to teach me but asked me to show what kind of swimming skills I got.

I quickly jumped to the pool and showed my beginner swimming skills. I swam noisily. I use my feet to paddle and move across the pool. It was hard for me to use my arms.

I enjoyed the swimming pool splurge and didn’t notice the time. When I got out of the water, the place was empty. I realized everybody already left.

I went out of the glass door but then realized it was an entrance to another street. I found my friends waiting outside with their motorbikes, while I had to close the sliding door and lock the glass one after that.

They zoomed out of the place and I was left on foot, for I don’t have any motorbike. I didn’t get one since I don’t know how to drive.

But for some reason, I wasn’t angry, upset or anything. I was just happily walking on my way home. Then I noticed someone very familiar.

He’s a boyfriend of my colleague. A Japanese guy who came to visit to see his girlfriend. He was from a vacation, I thought.

‘ How’s Sarah?”, he got surprised hearing the question and realized that it was me.

We talked for sometime but it ended when we had to take different routes home.

When I reached the subdivision, I noticed something was wrong.

“OH MY GOD!’ I exclaimed when I saw the streets overturned. One thing’s in my mind. Tsunami! It’s the end.

People were running around me. They were all in panic. At thatgreen moon moment, all I think about is my family. Were they able to survive?

I rushed to my house, running towards the squirm of people in different directions.

When I’m about to reach the corner, I saw fire across the road. It burned the cemented road. I looked out and tried to find what caused the fire.

I saw people ducking. They seem to be looking above.

I saw a familiar but scary sight. It’s like the one written in the books. The revelation is true.

I didn’t know it would actually come to this. The end of mankind is indeed happening.

What I saw   above the dark skies is the moon with a golden streak across it. It was terrifyingly beautiful. The streak was like that of Saturn.

I was very frightened!
I noticed that the streak changes it’s length. It gets longer when it’s ready to strike an attack.

The fear was inexplainable. I couldn’t bear the sight of people running to God knows where, just to save their lives. Tears running down my cheeks. I thought of my family.

My mobile phone rang. It was my sister. Her voice was calm.

” Are you still in the house? What are you doing? You got to go out of there. We got to move somewhere far! Out of there now!”

Just then, somebody running towards me collapse. He was hit. I looked up. It was the moon. It turned green. They call it ‘The Crazy Moon”.

Like in a computer game, it releases out something, different in every hit.

Gas fumes everywhere, the people are still in panic. I witnessed a lot of people getting hit by the moon. They all collapsed in front of me. I found myself hiding behind the bush, trying to avoid the moon hovering above the street.

Then I saw familiar faces. I saw my brother. They were standing in front of the store, I mentioned earlier when I was talking to them on the phone. I told them to meet me there. I ran towards them and grabbed my father’s hand.

I told them to run as fast as they could and duck when they see the moon.

Then the green moon was right above us. It was small, the size of a basketball.  It seemed to purposely hit our family. I was going crazy, I had to think of a better solution, then it released something.

Somebody was surely hit.

It was too late. It was my dad. He was hit at the back of his neck.

It was some kind of round green liquid. It melted and released gas. My dad was chocking. He passed out. I was furious. I was scared. I wanted to die there and then. What should I do to save him?

I screamed! ” Water! Give me water”!

The neighbor was fast enough to offer water.  In no second, I poured it right to where the wound is.

Dad? DAD?! DAD wake up!!!!

Cough. Cough.

He was fine!

We continued running.

Then I woke up. It was long messed up dream. Everything was so vivid, I scrambled to where my laptop was and write every single part of this dream.

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Hanoi Diaries 1

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Happy New Year everyone!!

I haven’t done a lot of writing lately. I’m having trouble with net connection since I moved to my new room.

Yes. New Year, New room, quite  fit for a new start.

I’m staying in  a flat alone, yes a bit lonely for the beginning of the year. I’m still in Hanoi but quite far from the city center and I have to travel for 40 minutes by car or ‘xeom’- a motorbike for hire.

I did a lot of organizing of this and that for the last few days. Boy! I’m glad that I’m back in front of my laptop again and typing this post. WHEEEEE!!!~

Anyway, after my daily routine ;wake up (at noon ^^)-eat lunch-have a class-go back to my room, I decided to go for a walk since I’m not very familiar with the town yet.

Supposedly, I was trying to find a fruit stand for my midnight munch but most stores are closed but it was still late 8. Most stores in Hanoi close early at night. I already mentioned that before in some of my reposts from blogger.

Going back to the story, I went quite far and found a lady  fanning a corn on a grill. I’ve been craving for grilled corns since I came here, but my friends advised not to buy one because they usually sell it outside with all the smog from the thousands of motorbikes and cars that pass ever minute. Nevertheless I bought one and I think there isn’t much pollution in this part of town so, it may be a little cleaner than the ones in the city center.

Then I asked her to give me one piece in their language, which I really gave my best effort so she will think I’m Vietnamese (to avoid being ripped off; few vendors do that to foreigners) but I guessed it didn’t work and asked if I’m from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city).

I explained that I’m from the Philippines and couldn’t understand much, then she got excited and started asking questions in Vietnamese. I don’t know why they do that, even though I say ‘keum-hyeo’ which means I don’t understand. It happened many times and I got a way to make them stop, by nodding my way out and thanking them for what I bought. Fortunately, I was given my exact change.

On my way back home, I realized that I overlooked a small fruit stand at the corner. I was so happy to find one and decided to check on some apples. The vendor was an old man, he looked haggard. At first I was scared to buy because he started saying somethings and then laugh but then again I thought I was lucky enough that there is  an open fruit store.

The fruits, especially some of the apples he was selling were soiled but were still good enough so I bought two. I handed 50 VND to him and he’s supposed to give me 32 VND for a change. But he gave me 0ne 20 VND and three 10 VND bills. So I explained that I gave him 50, then he said sorry and gave me two 10 VND bills,  70 VND in all.  He was apologizing. I was so confused and annoyed.

I showed him again the the 50 bill on his hand, the one I gave him, and pointed that he gave me 70 VND. He’s expression changed and he was saying sorry repeatedly.But he gave me another 10 VND , two 2 VND  and other bills.

That moment  I felt pity. I feel so sorry for him. I got 32 VND from the money he gave me and handed the rest, thanked him and said goodbye. He looked at the money I gave him and maybe from that moment he realized that he gave me extra. He SMILED. I could never forget that smile. A genuine one. He thanked me like how he apologized repeatedly awhile ago.

I feel happy to see his smile.

I feel guilty for thinking that all vendors are bad and they rip off every foreign customer.

I hope he won’t get cheated by chance takers out there. That’s some realization for the start of 2013. ^^

God Bless us all!