Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Erica's Travels: Club Paradise Part 2

There's a small island across from Club Paradise, about a 15 minute boat ride away, where you can request to have lunch with a group or with your special someone. My date for the few days I was there was my good friend Amanda so we were treated to a private lunch where we were the only ones on the whole island.

Grilled Filipino lunch of fish, liempo and veggies with fresh fruits for dessert

Add captionThe view from the boat on the way to the island

With my lovely friend, on a lovely island, having a lovely time.

It was suggested to us that we also go snorkeling, and at first we were so lazy to, but I'm glad we went and did it. So close to the shore, you will find schools of fish- and I mean thousands at a time, that you can follow around until they decide to leave, you will also spot some stingrays and starfish but watch out for the jellyfish!

See all those fish? And you don't even have to swim far!

I am reminiscing and writing this as I am in still not quite spring Paris, and it's making me miss the tropics so much! In my opinion, Palawan is one of the beach treasures we still have that has developments and resorts, but still seems so untouched. This was only my second time in Coron, but it is definitely at the top of my list, and Club Paradise gives you a good middle ground between rustic and nature-y ( You can do sunrise hikes to the highest point of the island, passing through the small lake where the giant resident monitor lizards live!) and a high end place where you feel like you are being taken care of 247 by the staff.

Love love love this place. Be back next time!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Erica's Travels: Discovery Primea Staycation Part 1

Before I left for Paris, I made sure to take time to enjoy and pamper myself because once school starts for me here, I know it's going to be all work and hustle. After my Palawan trip, I immediately checked into Discovery Primea, where I was again treated ( more like spoiled! ) by the ever thoughtful people behind Discovery Hotels.

I love this! I was greeted with a bouquet of flowers, a platter of "Welcome Home" chocolate and another personalized "FatKitch-SkinnyKitch" platter of sweets! I was supposed to be with Ananda, but she followed the next day, so guess who got first dibs on all of this? Again, I love how Discovery personalizes everything- and this goes for ALL Discovery hotels. Just because I want a break from my real home, doesn't mean I don't want a suite that's just as homey, albeit a little bit more fancy ( Umm, do you do home service for this set up so I can have this every time I come home to Manila?)

One thing I love about this hotel- the pool! Not only does it have a great view, it is also HEATED. Yes, heated! Usually when pools are on higher floors it can get really cold. I should know, my condo's pool is on the 9th floor and I never swim because it's freezing all the time. This pool was at the prefect temperature and I wish I had more time in it. I spent about an hour and a half enjoying it before I had to go up to start on dinner. I invited my parents and some friends over for a small despedida dinner where I was going to cook! For those looking for a home away from home that really feels like home- with a kitchen and all, this is the place for you!

I made mussels with a white wine and thyme sauce, braised beef shank and roast chicken stuffed with blue cheese. Since the rooms don't have an oven, the hotel kitchen was kind enough to roast my chicken downstairs. All this without the pots and pans that I'm used to and in a hotel! Pretty cool right?

Next entry about Discovery Primea, I'll talk more about my favorite thing ever.... food of course! :) Stay tuned!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Erica's Travels: Club Paradise Part 1

Among all the beautiful beaches the Philippines has to offer, I have to say that Palawan is definitely my favorite, and after the first time i went to Coron last year, there's no other beach I would rather go to! When I got the invite to go to Club Paradise, I jumped at the chance, even rearranging my schedule to accommodate the trip just a couple weeks before my move to Paris.

I was not disappointed. First of all, I love the seemingly small but very meaningful gestures of Club Paradise, and ALL Discovery hotels and resorts. I was with my friend Amanda, and when we got into our room, we didn't only have welcome pastries, but also a sign hanging on the wall AND framed photos of us on our bedside tables! When we left, we had a little send off jar of cookies and handwritten notes for each of us! The night before we left, management sent over a small cheese plate and 2 glasses of wine. How's that for great service?

It's a good sized island with a lot of rooms, and when we went, we were told that it was almost fully booked, but honestly, although you see other people, it never seems crowded. In fact, in some of our pictures, it really looks like Amanda and I were the only people on the whole island!

Our first day, we went straight to the beach after a hearty lunch before a sunset cruise. We were totally surprised when we realized the cruise was just for us! How romantic HAHA! Usually, guests can sign up for this and it's a  good way to make friends with other people on the island. It was great having the boat all to ourselves and Coron always offers stunning sunsets. You will not be disappointed!

 When we got back to the island, we had a few more drinks while watching the resident bats fly off into the sunset to hunt for food. They usually come back around 6 am or so. It's definitely a sight to see! It's almost unreal.

 More on this crazy beautiful island in my next Club Paradise Post :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Shipping Cart: A new way to shop abroad Part 3

It's my last Shipping Cart delivery before I leave for France and I'm super excited. Since I will be living alone, I can't ask anyone to hold my phone or camera to take videos for the make up and cooking tutorials I plan to do so I went and ordered myself a bunch of cool toys for my phone. I got myself a phone tripod, a set of different lens attachments, a Holga filter attachment, and a selfie ring flash attachment. I bought a few other items as well and now I'm just waiting for them to be delivered to my Shipping Cart account so I can ship them over.

I like how I can view my storage easily and I know exactly which items are already ready to be shipped. They usually send me an email first saying that the item was received and it takes 3 business days for it to be transferred to my storage. When everything is already there, all I need to do is click "Ship it" et voila! it's with me usually w/n a week or so.

And just to make sure you are getting the correct item, Shipping Cart allows you to view the item stored as well. Above is my tripod Yay!

Another feature I appreciate a lot is this- You can click on the items you currently have in your storage and check how much your shipping costs are. Plus an estimated time of arrival if you ship on that day.

I CAN'T WAIT to get my stuff!!!!

Instagram: lbcshippingcart

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

KASBAH BORACAY: A Fresh take on Moroccan Food

Honey-spiced Aubergine Twirls

Baked Aubergines

Most of you have probably been to Kasbah a long time ago, but if you've forgotten about this little restaurant tucked away in Station 1, it's about time you go back because you are in for a treat via a new look and a brand spankin' new menu. Above is one of my favorite warm mezzes ( their version of tapas or small plates) It's sticky, it's sweet and it's spicy all at once and it will definitely change your mind about eggplants being boring and tasteless. For a little more heat and if you are slightly hungrier, you can opt for the Baked Aubergines stuffed with couscous and breadcrumbs. This was hard to stop eating!

Gambas Morocain

Creamy Seafood Tagine

Do you love seafood? If so, you will absolutely die when you try these two dishes. First is the Gambas Morocain, prawns in garlic chermoula sauce over a fern salad. Don't forget to add a squeeze of lemon for that extra zing. The second one is my favorite dish in the entire menu- Creamy Seafood Tagine. It was love at first bite for me because of Chef Gene dela Cruz' put one of my favorite, and not very commonly used ingredient- fennel! We had to ask for extra bread to sop up all the extra sauce. I swear, if I wasn't in my thirties and/ or had no shame, I would have asked for a straw to drink the rest of it. Thankfully, I was too full to embarrass myself but I can't say what will happen next time I eat this!

Harissa-spiced Chicken Wings

Lamb with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, hummus and a chermoula-harissa yogurt on pita

For those who can't live without their meat, here are some of the choices ( aside from the brochettes if you are really hungry!) The harissa gives new life to everyone's favorite chicken wings. So easy to eat- so forget the knife and fork and use your hands! Don't forget to lick your fingers after! These lamb wraps are like little soft tacos with spicy lamb and a creamy yogurt sauce. I was stuffed beyond belief at this point but I wish I wasn't because I could have had more. This is a great middle of the day snack to share ( or to eat on your own if super hungry!)

If you haven't been to Kasbah in awhile, run don't walk because the new menu will tickle your tastebuds and make your tummy super happy. I had to take a nap after and I missed dinner. But of course, if you are a normal human being who doesn't stuff herself to oblivion, you will be able to enjoy the rest of your day after :)

Kasbah is located at Station 1 in Boracay. Call (036) 288-4790 for reservations.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


This is always something I end up making when I buy cherry tomatoes- mostly because I can't resist buying them (they are so cute!) but I end up buying so much and don't have enough time to cook that they usually turn into sauce at the tail end of their lives. Here's a super simple pomodoro recipe. I use this not only for pasta but also when I make baked eggs or even pizza!


1/2 kilo cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable stock
fresh thyme, chopped
fresh basil, chiffonade
5 cloves garlic
1 red onion
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbs olive oil

How to:

Saute onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil
Add salt and pepper and thyme
Add cherry tomatoes and saute for a few minutes
Add tomato sauce and broth and simmer
When sauce is reduced, add basil

Serve over pasta with feta cheese!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Shipping Cart: A New Way to Shop Abroad Part 2

As promised, my Shipping Cart package was delivered on time! They told me anytime between December 24-end of the month, so I was delighted that it came on the early end of the promised delivery time- mostly because I had a couple of things in the box that were Christmas presents for my daughter!

Everything comes neatly packed and there is a piece of paper that has a list of everything that was delivered. For 13 items, my delivery fee was a little less than P4,000.

Got myself a few things like this black blazer and a Herschel Supply Co. weekend bag for all the trips I plan to take before I leave for Paris!

I placed another order on December 31 from Urban Outfitters and I am waiting for it to be delivered to my assigned Shipping Cart address and account. Once it arrives, I will be notified and I can have it shipped over. Again, I really LOVE that I no longer need to go to the post office to pick up ordered from overseas. The delivery guy went straight to my condo lobby,asked me to sign a few things and I was free to go up and enjoy my new stuff. Easy Peasy :)

Instagram feed: @lbcshippingcart

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Love Letters: 16

Since Dane wrote a letter to her 16 year old self, I'm posting a letter I wrote to MY 16 year old self a couple years ago. :) Happy new Year Everyone! To 2016 and beyond!

Hi Aycs!

It's me, your super un-cool future self, at least based on your expectations and image of coolness at sixteen years old. I am twice your age and a year old right now and boy, have I been through a lot-YOU will go through a lot. Currently, I'm living in a three bedroom apartment with my boyfriend and my 8 year old daughter (Yes, you will have a daughter. Papa kept telling you to be safe, be careful, and even if you did listen, you weren't careful enough!-Anyway, she is a blessing and you will love her. Don't be scared!) but between then and now, a whole other lifetime took place. I don't even know where to begin.

Right now, your permanent state of mind is "Fuck the World", you feel no affiliation to anyone or anything, except your boyfriend and the few friends that are cool enough to be part of your life (equally troubled, by the looks of it) Interestingly enough, you will never like anything that is too ordinary or normal, so even when you snap out of this horrible way of viewing society, you will always gravitate to  people who, similarly, have the same deep rooted desire to be different and set themselves apart from the rest of the world, but in the future, it's to be unique and find your life purpose, and not just to hate everything, just because.

The way you view the world at this age is also very telling of the kind of guys you are going to be attracted to for the next few years. You don't need to apologize to me, I know where you were at. I just wish I was there for you from 16-26 so I could keep you out of trouble. The battle scars those years left still hurt on occasion, specially with one particular guy, whose own issues ran so deep, it's like he almost didn't have a choice but to dump it on you. He projected all his problems on you and made it seem like you were the crazy one. He treated you like dirt, called you dramatic when you cried and was so ice cold sometimes, you would find yourself apologizing for things that were HIS fault and for speaking your mind. I wish I could have taken your hand and run as far away as possible from there. You will become adamant about saying exactly what you feel after you leave this person, and you won't let anyone stifle you or leave you out to dry, at least not without a lot of noise.

You feel like the "bad" kid in your family right now. You know, the one always getting in trouble and never getting anything right. You play it off like you are some crazy rebel chick, but you are 16, and anyone 10 years older or more will know that all of these little antics you pull are part of a big cry for help. Mom and Papa knew that, so they found you someone you could talk to. Listen, you will think of yourself as this disappointing child way into your older years. I wish I could have told you at some point to stop blaming yourself and get passed the guilt, but it's something I shouldn't impose on you. You're a kid, after all. It's something though, that has never fully gone away, but really should. There are moments I find myself so angry I can't talk properly. Mom and I still don't know how to properly fight to this day. I think that whenever we start arguing, I morph back into YOU, but with the sound mind of a 30 + year old. When Mom starts pushing my buttons though, you, in all your childish glory, will eventually come out. I'm 33 now. I need to let go of you. I need to stop trying to please my parents. I am my own person. If they don't agree with my views, whether on marriage or religion or whatever else, well, tough on them. I can't go back to being you anymore every single time.

Everything you did from where you are at now to ten or so years later have made me come to the conclusion that:

- I can't make decisions. I'm always making the wrong ones.
-I cry too often, too easily. I'm too sensitive and emotional.
-It takes me a long time to let go of things and transitions and changes really take their toll on me.
-I can't commit to anything. It's too scary. Mostly because I'm such a bad judge of character and always end up with the wrong people.

Reading all of these right now, I realize, you know what I WAS a bad judge of character, I WAS indecisive, I WAS afraid to commit to anything, and you know what, there is nothing wrong with crying or being emotional (note: not emo)

But that isn't me anymore. I am not you anymore. I am not even my 20 year old self or my 29 year old self anymore. I CAN make decisions, It just takes me a long time, but once I have made them, I don't look back. I have no regrets. I still do cry often. I AM sensitive and emotional, but what's wrong with that? It's not being dramatic. I feel things- very strongly in fact, whether joy or pain, sadness or excitement. I'm not a stoic, and never will be. I can't hide how I feel, that is something that probably will never go away, but now, I realize that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

It takes me forever to let go...of places, people, experiences, but that's only because there is no such thing as half-assed for me. It's 100% or forget about it, so when things go wrong and people expect you to move on with lightning speed, well, I can't. I give a lot of myself in every relationship, situation, whatever, so it takes awhile to get it all back. I analyze to death, overthink, go back and forth over and over, but once I'm done, I am SO done. No looking back. I need to be kinder to myself. I am not crazy.

Lastly, I CAN commit. I have a million tattoos and a little girl, I don't see how much more committed I can be. This just goes hand in hand with my decision making- I need time. The more I am forced to, the less appealing it is to me.

So, 16. Here's the thing. I still have your smile, that mischievous glint in your eye, your crazy ideas, your taste in music and your presence, but if you survived through your issues, it's about time I get over them too. I haven't changed at all, and yet I've changed so much. Does that even make sense? So, what you say, 16? We're good right?

I never told you this, but I love you. You are awesome. Your life will be a crazy roller coaster ride of emotions, sometimes you'll be cruising, others you will be frantic, but you wouldn't have it any other way.

Chin up, little girl. I gotchu.

"Do not lose you”, and other things I wish I could have told my 16 year-old self

Don’t listen to them. You are not what they think of you.

You are not a burden, you are wanted, appreciated, loved - maybe not by those who you expect to accept you, but by those who chose to fall in love with your soul.

Be gentle with yourself, it is all you have.

Do not lose you. And if you do, find yourself. You are hiding behind emotional landmines, torrential rainstorms, waiting to be found. But don’t ask others to save you. They are busy saving themselves.

Speak freely, and without hesitation. Somebody should be telling you how much your voice is worth. Don’t quiet down. Listen, but listen also to yourself.

Breathe. The pain will remain, but over time your tears will dry faster. It is okay if you need time to heal, it is okay if you are a mess.. and stay a mess.. for a while. You have to know that that is okay. Do not rush your process. Breathe.

Trust your unfolding. Life, and people and society and expectations will try to mold you into a human being that no longer resembles you. Do not give in. You are you for a million and one reasons.

Be kind, even when they are unkind to you. You are not the one losing this battle. Your scars will light your way at night and teach you things others will never fathom. Learn. Even if you are tired.

Walk away from things. You need very little in life to survive – do not be held down by things you falsely think are vital to your being. If they no longer serve their purpose of contributing to your happiness, well-being or education, walk away. Do not offer up your time to things devoid of value to your soul.

Rest your mind amid the noise. Allow yourself to see clearly, even when things are running amok around you. Slow your mind down. Ease into your thinking. Decipher your emotions. Your anxiety does not own the rights to your peace-of-mind.

Love yourself first. You have nothing to offer the world when you do not see the beauty of the undying pitter-patter in the way your own heart beats for itself. You are not selfish, you are not self-absorbed. You are a fragile, furious, and free being, eyes full of silent thunder, hair wildly whipping in the weather changes, and heart bruised, battered and beautiful. Do not wait for happiness to come to you. It is already within you, in places you had forgotten you hid it, the day you decided to protect your little heart.

Monday, December 21, 2015

#ERICATRAVELS The Henry Hotel, Cebu

I've stayed at The Henry in Cebu several times in the past couple years and each experience has been great. I am always on the look out for more interesting and fun places to stay at and The Henry delivers on that front. 

First of all, I love how the floors are all varnished concrete, and even entering the lobby, you immediately get a taste of what to expect in the rest of the hotel. It has quirky decor and knick knacks that creates a sense of Organized Confusion, and I mean that in a very good way. It's almost like entering your cool friend's apartment, which makes you comfortable and at home right away.

Another thing I like is that the rooms are all different, so in the 3 times I have stayed at The Henry, I have never stayed in a room that looked like the last, which makes it quite exciting because aside from the size of the room, you never really know what you are going to get!

I'm also really into the graffiti on the walls. I'm big on street art and I love how it feels like a very posh warehouse that has been turned into a living space. Rica's, the restaurant adjacent to the hotel, has decent food and super cool decor. Think oversized tables and chairs and an extension to the industrial chic of the hotel.

Their pool isn't too big, but it's a nice cozy spot for guests. I find myself having breakfast outdoors when I'm there, as I don't have the luxury of doing so in Manila. Location-wise, I feel it is close enough to get to where I usually need to go, plus there are two really good restaurants just a stone's throw away- my fave French Bistro- TYMAD and an authentic Italian spot called Antica Osteria. 

I'm leaving for Paris in a little over two months, and I'm hoping to be able to go back to Cebu before I leave. Will definitely spend half my stay here again and the other half in Mactan. IF I come back after my studios, I'm considering moving to Cebu. Love this city! :)

    Address: Paseo Saturnino, Cebu City, Cebu

Monday, December 14, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Huevos Rotos con Chistorra

As much as I like experimenting in the kitchen, I love simple, easy to make dishes. The thing is with me is that I can't just leave things as is, I need to put my own twist on it all the time, to brighten up the dish or to simply just update a classic.

Huevos Rotos is as simple as it can get, with ingredients being as simple as just fried potatoes and an over-easy egg, broken on top of them. A lot of the time in Spain, jamon or chorizo is also tossed in and it's a great meal with just some crusty bread.

My version has all of that, and then some. Here's what I did the other day when I wanted quick and easy comfort food.


3 medium sized potatoes, cubed (leave the skin on!)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
2 eggs
100 grams chistorra ( I got mine at Salcedo Market)
A drizzle of sour cream
1 tsp olive oil
few sprigs of fresh oregano
A cup of red wine ( I used bordeaux)
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Zest of one lime

How to:

  • Shallow Fry potatoes until crispy, about 10 minutes. Set aside
  • Saute onions and garlic, season to taste. Add chistorra.
  • Add oregano and sugar.
  • Add wine, 1/2 cup at a time, to deglaze
  • Remove from heat when all wine has evaporated.
  • Cook 2 eggs, over easy, set aside.
  • To assemble, Add fries to the chistorra and toss lightly. Add the two eggs on top, drizzle with sour cream and sprinkle with lime zest. Serve with crusty bread if you want :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Shipping Cart: A new way to shop abroad

OK, so we all love looking at international shopping sites, but it's always been such a hassle to buy things because a lot of them require a US address, and unless you have a relative or friend who regularly goes back and forth between here and the States, it might be a long wait before you actually get what you order online.

There are some companies that offer US postal addresses for customers to use, which is the same as what Shipping Cart does, but the seemingly small, but actually large difference is this- they deliver straight to your doorstep, instead of you having to go to the post office ( where, let's face it, you sometimes end up paying SO much in taxes, it makes it not even worth it anymore)
So, my first purchase is on it's way- I ordered a bunch of stuff for me and Ananda on Amazon, so it's taking awhile for all of them to be shipped to my US address that was provided by Shipping Cart. But once it's all there, I can pay the shipping fee and it will be delivered to me in about 10 days ( it gives an estimate in your account)

I've been getting emails every time they receive any packages for me and it is put in my storage until I'm ready to have it shipped over. At the moment, I'm only waiting for 2 more things to arrive and I can finally have my goodies sent over to my house already.

Here are a couple things in my storage right now just waiting to be shipped:

Loving this Herschel Supply Co. Black and Brown Duffel bag. Perfect for weekend trips and as a carry on!

I got both this black blazer and a white version too! Want. them. NOW!

Will post another blog entry with my purchases after they arrive, and possibly with another purchase I plan to make. I'm thinking maybe accessories this time? Wait and see!

Instagram feed: @lbcshippingcart

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Erica's Kitchen: Angel Hair Pasta with Anchovy and Smoked Clams

People sometimes ask me how I come up with my recipes, and to be honest, sometimes it's purely out of necessity. For instance, it's time for me to make a grocery run and I have nada in my pantry except a few random things, I create something out of what I have- which is exactly what I did with this dish.

Last Thursday, my cousin was coming over for steak, but I wanted to make something else because I had just had steak the night before. I wanted pasta but realized I didn't really have that many ingredients in my kitchen anymore. So, I found a can of anchovies, a can of smoked clams that I usually use to make dip, a lemon that needed to be used ASAP, some angel hair pasta, a couple tomatoes and a handful of basil.

C'est Parfait. All I needed was some garlic and onions and voila, my happy meal :)


1 can anchovies
1 can smoked clams
zest of one lemon
juice of half a lemon
5 cloves of garlic ( or more!), chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
tomatoes, chopped
basil, chiffonade
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

It's so easy I won't even put a proper " How to'

Sautee garlic and onions in olive oil, throw in anchovies and smoked clams. Add
some salt and pepper. Throw in cooked pasta noodles and toss in the sauce with some lemon juice. Add tomatoes and basil, top with lemon zest and you are good to go!

Monday, November 16, 2015


Unlike my blog partner Erica, I am no expert in makeup. But bear with me while I attempt my most simplified Pretty Pop look, as I got challenged by NIVEA to do. And since I am in the city at the moment, what better way to cheer up a dreadful day sitting in traffic, but with a bright baby pink lip?

I also got to try the new NIVEA facial cleansing wipes, which I have to say, prove really useful in creating this look, as it is completely unavoidable that we will all make mistakes, especially while attempting a tricolor eye color. I'm a huge fan of these facial wipes, because they have just the right amount of cleansing product on them, and I am always in a hurry, even on normal days, and after long nights out, so I always always always make sure I have a stash of these wipes ready.

Thank you NIVEA for sending me a box of makeup to play with, and for helping me overcome my fear of creating my first ever video blog. Make sure you guys check out their facial cleansing wipes, and also my new favorite, the exfoliating wipes, which make your cleansing and nourishing routine easy and hassle-free to maintain.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Best Face Revealed: The Nivea Make Up Challenge

Being a beauty editor for most of my career, I am no stranger to make up! And now that I am Editor-in-Chief of, I am even more immersed in beauty than ever before.

I realized that as I get older, the more I stick to a particular look, and although I am happy with my signature lined eyes and nude lips, make up is meant to be fun so it's good to switch it up once in awhile. NIVEA gave me the perfect opportunity to do so when they challenged me to recreate Cara Delevingne's ROCK ROYALTY look. It was totally outside of my make up comfort zone ( Hello Bright Pink Lip!) but I think I managed to get it right- but not without a few mistakes along the way. I totally hate having to use an oil based make up remover whenever I mess up while applying makeup, so NIVEA's Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes are a godsend. It wipes off beauty boo boo's in a flash without ruining your look.

I got a box of make up with my wipes- basically everything I needed to recreate the look they assigned to me. Click on the video to watch me go from barefaced to Rock Royalty. Aaaahhh, the power of make up!