Saturday, December 31, 2016

To The Year That Was 2016

A mandatory year-end post and my 160th post to end 2016.

As you can see, my number of posts declined starting August. This is primarily because I happily found work. Yay! Jomar pointed out that since this is a travel blog I should focus on summarizing the travels I did for the year 2016. Let's see...

January

Officially my first January in Canada! Highlights: I attended a tech event in Downtown Vancouver and it was my first time to see Canada Place at night and the Earth at the lobby of Vancouver Convention Centre West. Therese, Hovey, and I also went to Capilano Suspension Bridge.


February

I started working part-time at BC Place, my first event is Monster Jam 2016. Alyanna also had baking classes at school so we started doing a lot of baking from cookies to muffins. Alyanna is keeping me sane despite all the challenges. Oh and for Valentine's day, I received flowers from Jomar.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

When I stopped following job search advice, I found work!

Immigrating to a new country is never easy. The cultural shock, temperature changes, and being unemployed are just some of the many things one would experience when moving to a new country.

In my case, I immigrated to Canada from the Philippines. Not much cultural shock since the Philippines was heavily influenced by the Americans but the temperature change from hot to cold was something my body still needs adjusting to. The most difficult challenge of all (at least for me) was being unemployed.

First Picture in Canada!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Happy 5th Anniversary Jomar!

To my dearest Jomar,

Announcing to the world and sharing to social media about us isn't our thing. We kept our love privately just between us but since this is our 5th year together as a couple, it deserves a little attention and celebration (and a blog post).


From one of our first #selfie together during a time when it's not even called selfie yet, to our first airplane ride together (GenSan) and to our first trip out of the Philippines together, we've come a looong way. We got older, matured a little bit, and grew up (and looking at the pictures, we did celebrate over food a lot in the last five years!).

First plane ride!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Churros Hunt is Over! The Richmond Night Market Adventure

I don't think people read my blog so I found work in Canada! Yay! To end my first week at work, Therese and Alyanna went to check out the Richmond Night Market.


It was AWESOME! Seriously, you should check it out. The entrance is $3.25 for general admission. What did we enjoy while inside?

The Games - it was Alyanna's first time to try the carnival, you-have-no-chance-of-winning games. Haha! We tried two games, the pop the balloon with dart to get a stuff toy, which we won (Thanks to Alyanna's strong arms). The other game we played was shoot round hoops to bottles, which we failed. It was fun.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Food Trip in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver: Miura Restaurant & Bar

It's my fault.

When I asked my sisters to watch Food Network I never thought they'll like it. We watched an episode of You Gotta Eat Here and they liked it so much that Therese made a blog post about the restaurants that are in Vancouver for us to try.

This is the third restaurant we've tried ever since we started watching You Gotta Eat Here . Miura Restaurant & Bar is located in Main Street near East Broadway Avenue. It's an Asian-inspired restaurant.

Empty Restaurant at 3 in the afternoon on a Wednesday!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Food Trip in East Cambie, Richmond: Lotus Pho Restaurant

After my DD Mau adventure with Therese, my mom, out of nowhere, asked me to have lunch at Lotus Pho Restaurant after church.

Lotus Pho Restaurant is a traditional Vietnamese restaurant. Upon entering, the place is full people. It's the Sunday lunch rush. When we were seated and browsing through the menu, I just know that I'll have Vermicelli Bowl again just to compare it with DD Mau.

Vermicelli Bowl with Grilled Chicken Slices, Fried Roll

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Food Trip in Downtown Vancouver: DD Mau

It's my fault.

When I asked my sisters to watch Food Network I never thought they'll like it. We watched an episode of You Gotta Eat Here and they liked it so much that Therese made a blog post about the restaurants that are in Vancouver for us to try.

After visiting Argo Cafe, we went to DD Mau last July 9. DD Mau is a BÁNH MÌ restaurant. It's a Vietnamese sandwiches place. It's featured in You Gotta Eat Here and we just had to try what John Catucci tried.

DD Mau is less than a 5-minute walk from the Yaletown-Roundhouse SkyTrain Canada Line Station. It's a small place with only a few tables. We took our spot in the bar stool facing the street. Therese ordered two half sandwiches: The Classic and Lemongrass Chicken.

Lemongrass Chicken Sandwich

Meanwhile, I had a Vermicelli Bowl with three meat: Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, BBQ Pork, and Spring Roll.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Food Trip in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver: Argo Cafe

It's my fault.

When I asked my sisters to watch Food Network I never thought they'll like it. We watched an episode of You Gotta Eat Here and Therese wanted to try all the restaurants that it featured and she even made a blog post about it.

To start our "You Gotta Eat Here" food trip, we visited Argo Cafe. It's a small diner located in Ontario Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue.

First impression, the ambiance of the place is exactly that of a diner. Waitresses wearing aprons the way you would expect of a diner based on what you see on the television. It's pretty cool. Therese and I went there at lunch and there's just one available table. I'd like to think it was meant for us.

While deciding what to have, since the only thing we're certain about is the Mexican Poutine, I shared with Therese highlights of my interview few minutes before. Personally, I am uncertain on what to get but end up with the Spaghetti Carbonara. Therese, on the other hand, was dead set on Top Sirloin Steak.

Top Sirloin Steak , mash potatoes & veggies with peppercorn sauce $14.95

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Food Trip in Richmond: Boston Pizza

I keep on saying, Brooklyn Pizza. Okay. There's a pizza chain in the Philippines called Brooklyn Pizza and they serve one of the best chicken wings ever. Here in Canada, there is a Boston Pizza chain and since our family loves pizza, we just need to try it out.

One Friday afternoon, our whole family including my boyfriend Jomar went to McArthurGlen Designer Outlet because Hovey is looking for shoes. Alyanna, on the other hand, is not keen on coming but I told her that a churro cart (Hugo's Churros) is sometimes there. Read on my hunt for churros post.

When we arrived at McArthurGlen, there's no Churros much to Alyanna's disappointment. To negotiate I told her we could have pizza and when we searched for the nearest pizza place I haven't tried (using Foursquare, of course), Boston Pizza at No. 3 Road was the first answer. After Therese and mother was done buying bags, off we go!

I love the ambiance of Boston Pizza! It was sports-themed. I remember watching their TV Superbowl Ad (goooooaaaaaaal!) LOL!


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Where to eat in Vancouver?

Celine's Note: This post is written by my sister, Therese. We've been dieting for two weeks now. Alyanna and I started watching You gotta eat here on Food Network - our reasoning, if we can't eat it, at least, we get to watch it. That's the background on why Therese created this post.

Vancouver is one of the biggest cities in Canada. With a variety of landmarks and a stunning weather, there is not doubt that tourists are lured into visiting this beautiful city. As part of Canada, Vancouver is rich in culture and is consisted of delicacies from all over the world.

Where would you eat in a city that has so much to offer?

Here are the top restaurants in Vancouver:

RestaurantTypeSpecialtyPrice RangeLocationOthers
Argo CafeDinerConqueso, hand cut fries, carbonara, and complimentary soup that comes with every meal$7 - $161836 Ontario StreetCash & Debit Only
Calabash BistroCaribbean BistroSeafood steamer, fry fish, fish duo, fresh seafood curry $18 - $22 428 Carrall StreetLive Music
DDMAU Vietnamese RestaurantBBQ Roasted duck and Crispy roasted pork $4 - $121239 Pacific Blvd
El Camino'sLatin American RestaurantPao de Queijo$12 - $20 3250 Main Street
La MezcaleriaMexican RestaurantPork Belly Maya Al Pibil $14 - $251622 Commercial Drive
La TaqueriaTaco ShopCreate-Your-Own-Taco$2.50 - $32549 Cambie Street
Lucy's Eastside DinerDinerLucy's Triple Threat$8 - $142708 Main StreetOpen 24 hours
Neighbour's RestaurantPizza RestaurantNeighbour's Deluxe$15 - $206493 Victoria Drive
Nuba Natural FoodsLebanese RestaurantLamb Kafta$8 - $16207 West Hastings StreetTake Reservations
Romer's Burger BarBar & GrillMan's Man, Magic Mushroom$8 - $151873 West 4th Avenue
Slickity Jim's Chat n' ChewHipster RestaurantJe Suis Un Petit Canard$9 - $153475 Main Street
The American Cheesesteak CompanyFast Food RestaurantThe Classic Cheesesteak$12 - $14781 Davie Street
The Wallflower Modern DinerDinerBreakfast Poutine$9 - $152420 Main StreetBrunch is served 'til 4
Via Tevere PizzeriaPizza RestaurantQuattro formaggi pizza$8 - $221190 Victoria DriveOpens at 5 pm

Saturday, July 2, 2016

What is Canada Day: A Celebration of Diversity at Steveston Salmon Festival

Celine Note: This is the 150th post in this blog. Yay! I am pleased that it just so happen that my sister, Therese, finally agreed to made a post. She is currently studying at University of British Columbia taking up Arts. She's still deciding whether to take Political Science or Psychology as a major. This piece is her point-of-view from the recently concluded 149th Canada Day.

Due to the recent political upheavals in the US and UK, many citizens of those nations are considering moving to Canada or at least, are joking about it. 

What is so special about Canada? 

Other than the notion that Canadians are polite and friendly, Canada's society is far more advanced than other developed countries. 

RCMP at the Canada Parade
                          
The gap between its society and that of others would only widen since a Liberal government is leading the nation, especially with the ever popular Justin Trudeau. 

Canada has continued to embrace individuality and diversity. It doesn't tolerate prejudices which is evident in the results of the previous election. These are the values that Canada promote.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Canada Day: Food, Sisters, and Event (My First Canada Day!)

Facebook ads is effective. The only reason I learned about the Canada Day celebration is because of the FB ad by the Richmond, BC page. When I saw it, I shared it with Therese so we could make plans for my first Canada Day!

Canada Day High with our flag, shirt, cap, and cupcakes.

What made us decide to go? Food. Specifically, pancake breakfast!


We left home early and arrived at Steveston almost 9:00 am. We walked around to check what food vendors will be available then lined up for our serving of the pancakes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Food Trip in Langley: Olive Garden

One weekend, Alyanna was demanding that we eat at Olive Garden because a YouTuber is promoting the unlimited breadsticks.


Therese and I searched for the closest Olive Garden and there's only one in BC! Only one! We took a 30-minute drive (more than 40 kms) just to eat at Olive Garden located in Langley. The drive was definitely worth it.

Olive Garden Exterior

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Food Trip in Alexandra Road, Richmond: Haroo Korean Homestyle Cuisine

I've been to Korea twice and had a taste of authentic Korean food. Haroo brings the Korean experience in Richmond with its homey ambiance and great food.

Last week, our family celebrated my mom's birthday and father's day. Since my mom has been raving about Dai Jang Kum and how she wants to bring us there to celebrate her birthday, Therese and I searched for the Korean Restaurant with the highest rating in Richmond. My Foursquare and her Yelp app both returned Haroo Korean Homestyle Cuisine.

My parents enjoying the tea

We arrived at Haroo at around 7:30 PM, it was a cloudy day and finding parking space was challenging. Be more patient when coming in the area on a busy weekend, since parking will be a difficult.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Panda Market: Food, Love, and Celebrate

Jomar is heading back to the Philippines soon. :( This is our last date in Canada so we decided to check out the International Summer Night Market, also known as Panda Market. Actually, there are two summer night markets in Richmond, we decided to visit this one because it's closer to home.

Mother with the Panda

We had a great time! Jomar and I had takoyaki and okonomiyaki while my parents enjoyed some fried squid.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

TELUS World of Science: Love and Learning

Of all the dates Jomar and I had been to in Vancouver, this goes to the top two!

TELUS World of Science, BC Place, Rogers Arena, and Grousse Mountain in one 360 photo

My favorite exhibit is the Eureka. You get to learn while playing with the different experiments. Below are some of the pictures inside the Eureka exhibit.

Wheels and Dams experiment

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Vancouver Chinese Garden: Love and Peace

Jomar and I spent the afternoon in the Sun Yat-Sen Park and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. It was our first time to the west side of Downtown Vancouver and there were a lot of homeless people.

Sun Yat-Sen Park
It is a free public park built in a Chinese style, with mostly North American materials. It is connected to the Classical Chinese Garden by a pond.



Thursday, June 2, 2016

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park: Love, Experience, and View

Last Tuesday, Jomar and I spent the day at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. I've been there before but I enjoyed it so much that I had to bring Jomar there as well.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park offers free shuttle service from Downtown Vancouver to Capilano. Check their website for pick-up point and schedule. You may also check Translink or Google Maps for public transportation direction.

Us at the free shuttle bus. Our chosen pick-up point was Canada Place

There are different sections of the park and we enjoyed them all. Starting from the Story Centre and Kiapilano Totem Poles guided tour, we walked our way to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Because of the volume of people walking on the bridge, it was shaking more than the last time I was there.

Guided Tour of the Story Centre and Kia'pilano

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

White Rock Beach and Pier: Food, Family, and View

Our family loves the TV series Psych. We love Shawn and Gus and the relationship they have with each other. After watching the series and browsing YouTube for behind the scenes, interviews, etc., we found out that almost all scenes were shot in British Columbia. Episodes that would feature University of British Columbia, Stanley Park, and Queen Elizabeth Park always made my heart giddy with joy since I've been to those places. To seal our Psych addiction, our family went to White Rock BC where the agency office of Shawn and Gus is located.

White Rock Beach Pier

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Food for the Week: Japanese Curry

I love Japanese Curry! It's my favorite food and curry is my favorite spice. On this week's food highlight, I will share the different Japanese curry restaurants in Vancouver that I have tried.

Sato Japanese Restaurant
Location: 155-8460 Alexandra Rd., Richmond, B.C. Canada
Pork Katsu on Rice costs $12.00

Saboten
Location: #3180 Aberdeen Centre, 4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC V6X 4J7
Tenderloin Katsu Curry

Friday, May 27, 2016

VanDusen Botanical Garden: Love and View

I love botanical gardens! When I was in Singapore, I spent few hours at the Singapore Botanic Garden. It was very relaxing, sitting in benches under the trees, smelling the flowers, and enjoying the cool breeze. It was great!

Now, that I am in Canada, one of my places to visit is the VanDusen Botanical Garden. Last Wednesday, Jomar and I spent 1-5pm walking around the huge land area.

Hello Botanical Garden!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Vancouver Aquarium: Love, Experience, and View

I wish we had more time.

Jomar and I arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium yesterday at around 1:00PM and the aquarium closes at 5:00PM. Apparently, four hours is not enough inside this sanctuary for marine life. The entrance at VanAqua costs $31.00 (plus taxes) per person and since it's a nonprofit organization the money goes to saving and preservation of animal life from the sea, rivers, and lakes.

Vancouver Aquarium

The first section we visited in the aquarium is Discover Rays. We actually touched the back of a live sting ray! It was so cool!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Centennial Beach: Family and View

Today, our family celebrated Victoria Day by having picnic at Centennial Beach. It was our first time to visit a beach in Canada and my first time to have a picnic with Jomar.

Family Picnic with the rest of the Couples of Christ family

My dad cooked the most delicious Filipino adobo for sharing. It was so good that the other family decided to bring some home with them. My mom was really happy because a family brought ginataan, a Filipino sweet dessert she'd been craving for a few weeks now.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Food Trip in Richmond (Steveston Village): The Crab King Restaurant

Right beside the Steveston Fisherman's Wharf, The Crab King Restaurant offers fresh crab and seafood that's delicious but a bit pricey.


We went there at around 5:00 PM yesterday, still a lot early than the dinner crowd. It's more of an afternoon snack after a tiring game of Lazer Tag for my siblings. We were celebrating Alyanna's birthday. These are the food we had:

Crispy Battered Prawns and Chips

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Food for the Week: Peri Peri Chicken

The first time I tried Peri-Peri Chicken I had to Google search what it is and where it's from.
"Piri-piri chicken is a spicy dish with roots in both Africa and Portugal." - www.epicurious.com
Below are the Peri-Peri Chicken I have tried so far.

Gostoso Piri Piri Chicken
at Kapitolyo, Pasig, Philippines

Eduardo's Peri Peri
at SM Light Mall, Mandaluyong Philippines

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Food Trip in Vancouver (Fairview): Marble Slab Creamery

I will tell you a little secret. Ever since I was in high school, I've always dreamt of having the Dairy Queen ice cream cake Kitkat flavor. Well, I've never got one. So for mother's day this year, my siblings and I purchased an ice cream cake from Marble Slab Creamery. It was so delicious! I wanted to cry.

Chocolate Swiss Ice Cream Cake from Marble Slab Creamery

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Food for the Week: Burger

I have come to realize that I do my best to post something new once a week. Since I didn't try any exciting restaurants this week or visit any cool place, I will highlight one food that people seems to love so much: Burgers!

From fast food joints to high-end restaurants burger is a menu item that seems to always be there. Below are some of the burgers I have tried over the last six months in Lower Mainland BC.

Bacon Cheeseburger
Five Guys at 635 Robson Street Downtown Vancouver

The Legendary
White Spot at Bridgeport, Richmond

Old Style Bacon Cheddar
Fatburger at 111 Dunsmuir Street Downtown Vancouver

Saturday, April 16, 2016

4 Reasons Why I Love Foursquare

Happy Foursquare Day! It's 4.16.16 and my first check-in was 5 years ago so Happy 5th Anniversary Foursquare! :)

I went to an interview for an IT company few years back and they asked me which social media I use on a daily basis, my answer was Facebook, Foursquare, and Google+. They asked, you don't use Twitter? I have a Twitter account but I rarely use it. The manager told me, "you're weird" because I use Foursquare but not Twitter.

In this blogpost, I will list down 4 reasons why I love and use Foursquare and Swarm.

1. Personal Travel History
Every time I check-in, I create a history of where I have been. This blog is a longer version of that history but Foursquare and Swarm is the detailed version. I could easily check what I did on August 4, 2011 or any other date after April 16, 2011.

2. Privacy
I came to a point when I thought sharing on Facebook about where I am or my food and travel photo is too much. I mean, I don't want to flood my friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and other people who follows me with unnecessary things. That's when Swarm comes in. I only have 13 friends in Foursquare compared to the more than 800 in Facebook and I usually remove Foursquare friends who don't use it anymore. So all my activities are shared there like food photos, 140-character story, and friends I am with.

1,326 Photos and 13 Friends

Hunt for Churros

My sisters have been craving for churros for awhile now. In the Philippines, Taco Bell offers Churros with chocolate dip that they love. Thus, my hunt for Churros in Metro Vancouver begins.

I was in Downtown Vancouver yesterday and decided I could spend the afternoon searching for Churros. According to Foursquare (my trusted and fave application), I could go to Tacofino Cantina, a food truck along Howe Street since it's the closest to my location yesterday. I walked 10 minutes and asked if they have Churros available. It was out of stock! The guy suggested I go to their main restaurant at Gastown but I am too lazy to walk all the way there.

Last week, I also went to Cambie Village to search for churros. The only restaurant there that offers churros is Las Tortas and it's also out of stock.

Going back to yesterday, I remember Therese saying that Cineplex sells churros so I searched for the nearest Cineplex and the Scotiabank Theatre is a 6-minute walk. I also did a quick Google search for the food stalls to make sure that they actually sell churros.

I searched the menu of OutTakes Backstage Bistro and yes, they sell churros! I started my walk going to the Theatre in high spirit, excited that at last I will be able to bring churros to my sisters. Alas, upon arriving at the Theatre, I won't be able to buy snacks because you have to have a movie ticket to access the snacks area. Ugh.

Screenshot of the Mini Churros from the OutTakes menu online

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Food Trip in Vancouver (Mount Pleasant): Sweetery Cafe

As part of my goal to network in Vancouver and learn something new, I attended a meetup, "Donuts and Coffee and Pics, oh my!". The meetup is basically on how to be better at taking food photos. I took hundred of food photos over the years and I thought that I could learn more about angles and lighting.

Sweetery Cafe offers great pastries and coffee. Of all the sweets and bread we've had, my personal fave is the chicken strips and waffles. Amazing! Below are some of the pictures, I took applying what I have learned today.



Saturday, April 2, 2016

Stanley Park: Sisters and Event

The Sakura Illumination is a free event organized by Stuart Ward & Ben Z Cooper from Hfour (http://hfour.ca/). The goal is to have an unobstructed views of illuminated sakura ideal for photography and picnicking in the spring evening under the cherry blossoms.

Therese and I arrived there at 5:00 PM and ate the sandwiches she prepared as we settled in the blanket she have. It was our first time to picnic so it was a fun sister bonding.

First photo of Stanley Park

Japanese-Canadian War Memorial

Here's our little picnic with the best view of the tree with lanterns.

Sakura and Lanterns

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Queen Elizabeth Park: Family, Experience, and View

Since I am new to Canada, it's also my first to experience Spring so I am excited to see how the environment will change because of the changes in the season. Therese was so excited about the Sakura Illumination but for weather reasons they moved it to April 1. So sad.

Nonetheless, our family decided to visit the park to see Spring colors come back to life! Sadly, not all flowers are in full bloom yet but we did have some great photos to take with us. More importantly, we had some family quality time.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Food Trip in Richmond (West Cambie): Cactus Club

Happy birthday Therese! =)

We had dinner earlier today to celebrate the birthday of my dearest sister Therese. She chose Cactus Club to celebrate her birthday because we haven't tried eating there. She made the 6PM reservation and thank God, she did! For a Wednesday evening, the place was packed. We all ordered what we wanted and had dinner.

Appetizer for Everyone: Beef Carpaccio

I had Pesto Chicken Quesadilla

Monday, March 21, 2016

Food Trip in Vancouver (Mount Pleasant): Menya Japanese Noodle

It was a rainy early evening as I walk towards the Hootsuite office for a meetup. I was searching online Foursquare for good places to have dinner after the event is over. The app showed all restaurants within my vicinity and one of the suggestions is Menya Japanese Noodle. Since it was raining, it only made sense for me to have a bowl of ramen and gyoza.

8-pc Gyoza

Tantanmen Ramen

I entered the place and saw quite a number of Japanese men, women, and children eating here so it must have been good, authentic even, for it to attract so many Japanese. I ordered Tantanmen Ramen and Gyoza for my dinner.

The ramen was really good! I enjoyed my warm Ramen bowl while it's raining outside. I am so happy.