My Favorite Summer Treat

I scream, you scream we all scream for “Gelato”! Haha! If you want to beat the summer heat, you should try a scoop of gelato. I am sure you will not regret forgetting your strict diet plan for a moment like this.

As most of you know, “gelato” is an Italian-style ice cream. While the ice cream is made of cream, the gelato is made of milk. But don’t get me wrong, since gelatos are churned less than ice creams, they tend to taste creamier and richer because of the much denser texture.

You should go to La Casa Gelato if you want the ultimate gelato experience in Vancouver. They are open 7 days a week and serves 238 flavors! Yup, 238! You can even try every single flavor for free! Unbelievable, right?

Whenever my family and I go to La Casa Gelato, especially in the summer, the store is always jam-packed. You will mostly see people who are having a hard time deciding which flavor they want, and I admit I am one of them. It is definitely hard to choose if you have 238 options. But one thing I noticed was that I always tend to get the pistachio flavor. Maybe because it was the first gelato flavor I ever tasted, and to me, it was like “love at first taste”.

Pistachio and Creme Brûlée Gelato
Creme Brûlée and Pistachio flavored gelato
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Mango Pistachio and Tiramisu Cheesecake flavored gelato

How about you? What’s your favorite treat this summer?

 

First Solo Travel in the Emerald City

Did you know that Seattle is known to be “The Emerald City” because of its lush greenery that surrounds it? It is also called the “Rain City” because it always rains there.

I decided to go to Seattle for my first solo travel via Greyhound bus from Vancouver last March 2016. Although I stayed at my aunt’s apartment, she gave me the freedom to explore the city by myself because she needed to work. It was a liberating feeling for me. For 3D2N, I felt so free and so proud of myself because I was brave enough to travel alone in a place I had never been before.

I was greeted by “good mornings” and “hellos” by strangers when I walked around downtown Seattle. Their warm smiles made me giddy and it made me forget that I was travelling alone.

You are not visiting Seattle if you don’t go and see the Public Market Center, so I did! They sell a variety of things, from fresh seafood to vegetables to pastries; they’ve got it all. I had a yummy chicken burrito for lunch in one of their stores.

There were a lot of entertainers – musicians and dancers, just around the corner. I was so happy to see performers like them in high spirits. They did entertain me and the rest of the crowd.

I could say that it was a perfect time to visit Seattle back then because they were having their “Annual Sakura-Con”. I had never seen a lot of cosplayers like that in real life! They were all so cute and I enjoyed guessing who they were portraying.

I know I should have tried Seattle’s Best Coffee, but I went to Starbucks instead because it was close and they have free wifi! Who would say “no” to free wifi when you are travelling? Not me, obviously! However, they got my name wrong! It was the most hilarious name I got from Starbucks!

One of the most memorable moments I had was when I watched the movie Miracles From Heaven staring Jennifer Garner alone. I was literally alone because I was the only one inside the cinema for the whole duration of the movie. I was scared at first, but when I started weeping because of the intense scene, I had already forgotten that I was the only living soul in the room.

I had fun in Seattle and did not regret that I chose that city for my first solo travel. I felt safe and I did not have a hard time going from point A to point B. I would definitely recommend Seattle for first time solo travellers!

On a sidenote, September of that year, I went back to visit Seattle with my family and friends.  And I could not believe that I was there 6 months ago – alone.

Sushi Madness

Sushi Pizza. Sushi Burrito. Sushi Burger. You name it, we have it!

There is at least one sushi joint on every block here in Vancouver. And did you know that most of these sushi joints are not actually managed by Japanese? A number of these places are owned by either Koreans or Chinese and sometimes you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Vancouverites would agree when I say that sushi is an inexpensive but filling food that you could easily get wherever you may be. Although I have not yet tried the ones I’ve mentioned at the top, I know that I would love and enjoy eating them the same way.

In no particular order, below are some names of sushi places that I’ve been to or want to go to:

  • Tojo’s – 1133 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6H 1G1
    • $$$$
    • Japanese-owned
    • Famous for its Omakase (“leave it up to us”) dinners
  • Pokerrito – 558 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1Y1
    • $$
    • Popular for “build-your-own-base”
    • Offers Sushi Burrito
  • Wild Sushi – 4288 Dunbar St, Vancouver, BC V6S 2G1
    • $$
    • Clean place
    • Offers Lunch Specials
  • Hapa Izakaya – 909 W Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2G8
    • $$$
    • Offers modern fusion Japanese tapas
    • Awarded Best Izakaya: Golden Plates 2016
  • Japanese Bistro Hatzu – 1175 Davie Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 1N2
    • $$
    • Formerly known as Sushi Bella
    • Offers Sushi Pizza & Gyu Sushi Burger

Most of these photos are posted on my Instagram food account: @thepigleteats. Feel free to follow me for more food photos!

Four Seasons

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to experience 4 different seasons in one year?

Growing up, I was only able to experience 2 seasons; either crazy rainy days or humid sunny days. The Philippines is known to only have 2 seasons: the wet and dry season. This is actually tiresome since you always need to use an umbrella whenever it’s raining or even when it’s just sunny. Yes, you heard it right! Most Filipinos use umbrellas to hide from the sun, only because we do not want to get darker skin tone.

It was Autumn 2014 when my family and I moved to Vancouver, Canada and I was so excited to finally experience 4 different seasons in one year. Moving to a city with one of the best climates in Canada was just perfect; not too hot and not too cold.

I waited the whole year round just to capture these 4 scenes; autumn, winter, spring, and summer. And it feels so great to finally share these photos with the whole world!

Want to know what’s my favorite season/s? Check out my About page here.

Our Mighty Prayer Warrior

She taught me how to pray to God and how to love the unfortunate. The reason behind my charitable heart and unwavering humility. She always spoil me with great things no matter how simple they are. I am truly blessed and honoured to be one of her grandchildren. Thank you “LOLA” for your unconditional love and support. Happiest birthday to you! I sincerely pray for your good health. I love and miss you very much! (PS We will still visit Italy to see the Pope.) 😘❤🎂🎊🎁🎉 #tbt #grandma

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The Day She Became A Mother

Four years ago, I was deeply inspired to write an autobiography. And since today is Mother’s day, I wanted to share part of what I wrote especially because the first chapter was when my mom became a mother to me, her first born.

Chapter I – Illuminating, 1990

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother never. A mother is something absolutely new.” – Rajneesh

On the 20th day of September 1990 at 2:30 in the afternoon, my mom was being prepared for the operating room at the old building of Lucena United Doctors Hospital due to a cesarean operation. Even though she knew that a long needle would be injected for her spinal anesthesia, she was never afraid for she was praying the rosary the whole time. My grandmother Leody was there and my dad was near my mom, though he isn’t the typical husband who would be nervous about everything.

My mom could vividly recall when she was being brought inside a very cold operating room. Doctor Nimfa Aparte and midwife Daryl Agnes attend my mom’s cesarean delivery while Doctor Sylvia Molina was my pediatrician. At around 3:00pm, she could feel that I was being pulled away from her body because she sensed that her abdomen was slowly becoming lighter. Thirty minutes had passed, I cried! My mom was so happy to hear me cry because she knew I was alive. Her mind was so clear and her eyes were focused at the big clock.

She was talking to herself, “Yes! It only took thirty minutes for them to take you away from my belly.”

Soon the nurse showed my whole face, drenched in blood and still I was hysterically crying. My mom could feel that I would be a brave child because of the way I cried, intense but not screechy.

She felt so relieved that I came into this world when she was already prepared to be a mother. When my mom saw my chubby face, she also knew that I would be a happy child, a picture of courage envelopes me. She reminded herself that I would be named Daniel, which means the brave little one.

When the nurse returned me inside the nursery, my mom dozed off to sleep because of the twilight anesthesia. When she woke up, my grandmother Leody and my dad were at her bedside. She wasn’t able to go to the nursery that time since she was prohibited to make any movements because of her stitches.

Since day one, I was bottle-fed with Similac with Iron; they witnessed my first smile inside the hospital’s nursery. After four days, they saw my first turnover.

I was welcomed to the Christian world on November 17th of the same year. I, who was named as Danielle Louise. The name Danielle came from my mom’s favorite author, Danielle Steel. Since my grandmother required all her grandchildren to be named after a saint, my mom decided to give me a second name, Louise, which was inspired by my mom’s college’s patron saint, St. Louise De Marillac.

Mother's Day 2015
Mother’s Day 2015

Happy mother’s day mom, you are the greatest!