Toast to Happiness

I love nutella. I like dipping the spoon in and enjoying that lovely jar of happiness while watching a movie, reading a book, editing photos, and the list goes on. It’s the ultimate comfort food and it adds a sweet kick to almost anything! You can spread it on top of a cookie, waffles, toast… Speaking of toast, have you been to Cafe Shibuya?

A very good friend of mine and I met up for lunch yesterday. We passed by Cafe Shibuya, looked at the menu, drooled because of the photos of the food that looked really yummy, and went to a different restaurant after mustering up the courage to walk away because I was craving for soup. After lunch, we were in the mood for dessert and my friend suggested that we go to Cafe Shibuya.

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It is a quaint cafe with a very laidback atmosphere. You can go there and hang out with your friends or if you’re more into spending time alone, you can just sit in one of the chairs and enjoy reading a book. The place is very cozy and the wooden tables and chairs remind you of home, it’s tempting to just stay there the whole day and chill.

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Indeed, there is!
Mason jar lamps. How creative!
Mason jar lamps. How creative!

Cafe Shibuya specializes in savory buttered toasts that are topped with probably a few of your favorite things. They also have Ghirardelli chocolate frappe which is both sinful and delicious. The Nutella toast was a no brainer for me. My eyes stopped scanning the page the moment I saw it on the menu. My friend, on the other  hand, ordered Mango Caramel and it was just as good. The toasts are served with vanilla ice cream which makes it all the more sinful, but who cares about gaining a few pounds (which you can shed anyway) when every bite takes you to heaven? My friend and I found ourselves smiling while munching on our toasts. The toasts are a little crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside.

Nutella Toast
Nutella Toast
Mango Caramel Toast
Mango Caramel Toast
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Nutella toast = instant good vibes. 🙂

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You’ll find Cafe Shibuya at the ground floor of the UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue. They’re open from 10 AM to 10 PM from Sunday to Thursday,  and 10 AM to 12 MN on Fridays and Saturdays. The meals and desserts are affordable, but if you’re on a budget you can always share the meal with a friend. To know more about Cafe Shibuya, like their Facebook page here.

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Photos by Marikit Mateo and Aliya Agbon

Silver Plus One

Last October 24, I added another year to my age. I was excited to celebrate my birthday this year for two reasons: I get to spend time with my family and I get to surf.  🙂

My heart has been overflowing with happiness since two weeks ago. God has showered me with blessings and each day, I woke up wanting to express how grateful I am, but never finding the words worthy enough to show what I really feel. It’s been some time since I felt this way that’s why I was thrilled to welcome my 26th birthday. Too excited, I have to admit. I had a hard time sleeping because I was so happy.

It was nice to wake up to my mother’s very tight hug. She woke me up at around 5:30 in the morning since we had to leave early for Dahican. We stopped by Cafe France for breakfast since she’s been wanting to eat there since the night before. We were lucky because the place wasn’t full and there were parking slots available. The restaurant staff were very accommodating and attentive to our needs; they even greeted me happy birthday. 🙂

It was already 9 in the morning when we left for Dahican. Traffic not permitting, we arrived in Dahican at 2 in the afternoon.  I was looking forward to having an afternoon surf session, but since the waves were too small, I decided to take pictures of the skim boarders. The way they run, skim, flip their boards and ride the waves is like beautiful poetry. How they do it effortlessly is a mystery to me.

And he's only 11.
And he’s only 11.
Bayogyog Aporbo, 2-time champion of the Penang International Skimboarding Competition
Bayogyog Aporbo, 2-time champion of the Penang International Skimboarding Competition

After taking pictures and teaching my brother the basics of surfing, we ate dinner. The number of people in the venue was starting to grow since the Sambuokan Festival competition participants and event guests were starting to arrive. We had the chance to talk to Alantoy who immediately gave us updates on what’s been happening the past few months. It was nice to see him and his brother, Bochok, again. They’re kind of my surf family here in Mindanao. After dinner, we went to bed since we planned on going dolphin watching and surfing the next day.

Because of the Sambuokan Festival in Mati, all of the hotels were fully booked. Good thing we were able to rent a tent from the Amihan Boys. They set up the tent near the shore which was a good thing. I liked falling asleep to ocean’s lullaby and waking up to the same song. When I opened our tent the next morning, I was speechless. See, this was waiting for us outside:

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Early morning peelers.
Boys in the city jog for miles while Amihan boys skim for hours.
Boys in the city jog for miles while boys in Dahican skim for hours.

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Langlang, sister of Bayogyog. She's only fifteen years old.
Langlang, sister of Bayogyog. She’s only fifteen years old.

I had my share of stoke that morning too! At 9 AM that morning, after looking for dolphins, our boat stopped at a spot that had glassy waist-high waves. Two of the Amihan Boys were there to assist and they were nice enough to give tips that helped me improve my ride. They also taught my brother how to surf. Both of us were stoked!

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Birthday surf from a different angle.
Sibs. :)
Sibs. 🙂
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Long ride ❤
My brother's first ride. ;)
My brother’s first ride. 😉

My brother and I had our own share of cuts from that morning’s session but we were still stoked. The water was so clear, we could see the corals, fishes,  and sea urchins (unfortunately) underneath. The waves were perfect and the best part was, we had it all to ourselves.

Birthday cut.
Birthday cut.

We stayed at the Amihan Boy’s cottage in the afternoon because our tent was hotter than a sauna. We met new people there, including the youngest of the Plaza siblings: Juan. Some of the younger Amihan boys were there too and they were all smiles as they told us their stories. Some of them came from really difficult situations and according to them, skim boarding helped them cope. It was really good to hear how surfing and skim boarding helped change their lives.

Later that afternoon, Langlang and Jovic taught me how to skim. They said it’s a lot more difficult that surfing but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. I really appreciate that they took some time off their skim session just to teach me. I was really moved. I didn’t really do well because I was scared of falling. The board hit me twice and I’m sporting two new bruises on my left leg, but it’s okay. I want to learn how to skim and seeing how it’s done, I know that I will have more scars and bruises.

(c) Bane Agbon
(c) Bane Agbon
With Langlang. (c) Bane Agbon
With Langlang. (c) Bane Agbon

I’m still stoked from my 26th birthday celebration. It was simple, but it was very meaningful. I got to spend it with my family while doing what I love the most. To those who remembered my birthday and took time to send their birthday greetings, thank you so much. My heart is overflowing with happiness and gratitude. ❤

Another Rainy Day

I love the rain. I love waking up to a room with just the right amount of darkness. I enjoy listening to the sound of raindrops falling gently on the rooftop, as if making sure it doesn’t disturb anyone as it makes its landing. I like how all of a sudden my room feels so cold, making it impossible for me to fight the urge to just snuggle my pillows and go back to sleep.

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I was on my way to work this morning when I noticed how radiant the colors of the plants in the garden are. The droplets of water resting on the petals and leaves were like glitters that made them glow, even with the little amount of sun.

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It’s always nice to take some time off our busy schedules and allow ourselves to be wowed by the beautiful things that have been there all along, waiting to be noticed. I found comfort while twisting and stretching my limbs to get good angles; it’s been a while since I’ve done that.

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When I saw how the photos turned out, my heart was really happy.  It’s as if the plants were telling me to stop worrying too much because everything will be fine. I guess when you allow yourself to listen to what God or what the universe wants to tell you, the message is heard with so much clarity that it travels from your ears to your mind and heart.

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Most of us are too scared to take a break because we think about the money that we’ll lose. What we don’t realize is that we gain so much and we give so much to ourselves just by taking some time off our daily routine. We say we live only once. The beauty around us will only live once, too.

-Canon 550D. Lens 18-135mm. ISO 100-200-