Explore the world with You

I'm Jean Lanie Profugo. I'm a follower of Christ and I love to blog about anything under the sun.

" I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. " Psalm 9:1

Posts tagged with ‘explore the world with you’

Asian Square Restaurant and Lounge, Siem Reap, Cambodia

What I appreciate about our tour just like what I’ve said on my previous blog  is the perks to try Cambodia’s local cuisine at a different fine dining restaurant at Siem Reap. As a welcome dinner, the tour took us at Asian Square Restaurant & Lounge, only few minutes from our hotel. Said to be located in the heart of the Siem Reap town closed to the pub street, especially within 3 minutes walking distance to Night Market. I didn’t notice it the night when we had our dinner but learned it on the latter when I did my research.

imageimageimageAsian Square restaurant is one of the most unique set up design along with a mixture of Khmer modern art style. You can see this statue once you entered their place. 

imageYou would notice tourists from different country almost everywhere especially in every restaurant which only proves that tourism is the biggest source of income of this country.

We had our early dinner at 6pm. It’s only 5pm the Philippines. 

imageNot really familiar with their food butI tried my best to learn about their food by tasting and reading.  

They served a 4-course Khmer set meal for us. Said in Wikipedia, Khmer cuisine or, more generally, Cambodian cuisine, is one of the world’s oldest living cuisines. With an emphasis on simplicity, freshness, seasonality and regionalism, Cambodian food has won praise for its elegant and understated use of spice; its harmonious arrangement of contrasting flavours, textures and temperatures within the meal rather than a single dish; and its thoughtful and, at times, extravagant presentation of dishes with plenty of herbs, leaves, pickles, dipping sauces, edible flowers and other garnishes and condiments.

imagePounded Green Papaya Salad

Taste like Atchara with peanuts in the Philippines. I noticed that they love peanuts that much that you would normally see it in almost every dish. 

imagePumpkin Soup

With a hint of a curry but I don’t know how I will define it. 

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Grilled Marinated Pork Chop with Stir-Fried Mixed Vegetable, Pan-seared Fish Fillet with Khmer Spice and Mushroom Amok in Banana Leave with Steamed Jasmine Rice

As Amok as popular Khmer dish, refers to mushroom or fish steamed in a savoury coconut-based curry in banana leaves. I’ve tried my best to enjoy it since I’m not a fan of curry. Their dish is almost similar to what we have tried in Vietnam somehow with a hint of Filipino native food. 

imageThey have Buko Juice too! 

imageFresh Fruit Salad

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Not Sour and Sweet Calamansi Juice that made my brother look like this:

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imageHe’s sooo high as always!

imageimageimageimageI’m not really good in taking photos during at night. Huhu!

imageI normally ask for cake specially during birthdays but they don’t have cake in their menu. :( It’s my dad’s birthday. Guess, they celebrate birthday in a different way. Haha!

imageEnjoyed our stay and the food though I wasn’t able to finish everything. I’m still adjusting with their food, I guess. I love how this kind restaurant gives us a casual atmosphere where we can enjoy the natural breeze from the surroundings of the tropical garden. Wasn’t able to explore the whole restaurant. We went to the spa to have a massage to prepare us for the long tour the next day. 

(Source: jeanprofugo)

Siem Reap, Cambodia 2014

This year’s plan was to explore the famous Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. Siem Reap, literally means the “Defeat of Siam”, is the most prosperous region of contemporary Cambodia. I became intrigued to know that Angkor Wat is the primary reason why more than 50% of international tourists visit Cambodia. If you visit the place, you would notice that Cambodians are proud of their ancient monument and even put it on the Cambodian flag and as part of every buildings design. ‘Temple is everywhere.” almost literally.

imageFor the first time my family was impressed with our hotel. Checked in at Tara Angkor Hotel felt relaxing after our short flight from Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap. With one hour late from Philippines time (the same time in Vietnam), we had the luxury of time to sleep and do what we want to do. We can go to the gym, spa and pool also. I was surprised to know that local hotels are pretty good.

imageWhat impressed me also is the fine-dining experience from different newly-opened restaurants in the city. We got chance experience local cuisine elegantly and in a modern way as part of our itinerary. A heartwarming welcome from Cambodians. Swear, I’ll try my best to blog those soon.

On the next day before tour, we got our pass to explore the temples. Make sure you keep it safe otherwise, you won’t be able to enter. A three-day pass to explore the Angkor temples costs US $40. A single-day pass is available for US $20 or a week-long pass can be purchased for US $60. Shorts and sleeveless is not allowed too so make sure you wear proper and comfortable clothes.

imageimageimageThe Angkor ruins stretch over more than 248 square miles (400 square kilometers) so expect to tour and walk all day. Despite the magnificence of what is considered to be the largest religious monument on earth, people were crawling around the ruins like ants, posing for pictures, and generally just getting in the way. I couldn’t imagine the crowd during peak season. September is their rainy season. It would be too risky for you to travel in this season. You might end up staying inside the hotel if it rained. It didn’t rained during our stay and we are really grateful for that.

imageDue to unpredictable weather, we went to Angkor Wat first. As the largest religious monument in the world, we bathed in the sun for almost three hours to explore its beauty. The outer wall encloses 820,000 square meters of inscriptions, monuments, terraces, galleries, towers, courtyards, and pavilions, and is surrounded by a 190m-wide moat forming a complex measuring 1.5km by 1.3km. The mother of all temples is famous not only for its size and importance; however, but the complexity and detail of the astonishing and endless bas-relief sculptures as well. - Over 1 square kilometer of them. It’s truly a site to behold, and my photos are not enough to capture its beauty!

imageWords cannot describe Angkor Wat. Its scope, its grandeur and the quality of the preservation are incredible. It was a place I had always dreamt of visiting, and I was not disappointed at all except the fact that we are so tired - it indeed exceeded my expectations. They say it’s more beautiful during sunset and sunrise. I may be exhausted from walking and bathing under the sun but my eyes are happy, definitely happy. It’s always different when you travel because you’re learning at the same time.

imageIf you would complain a lot about the heat, you would not enjoy your stay in Siem Reap.

imageI wished to visit the third level of the temple but look how steep the stairs is. Pau took a beautiful photo above using Go Pro. Amazing view, isn’t?

imageThe Angkor temple Ta Prohm - famous for the large vines that strangle the ruins - was used as the set for the hit movie Tomb Raider. Unfortunately, some of the iconic trees growing through the ruins at Ta Prohm have to be removed to preserve the temple from further collapse.

imageSome areas of the temple are impassable and others are accessible only by narrow dark passages. They were trying to restore some ruined temple when we visited.

We refreshed and had lunch at a local restaurant right after Ta Phrom Temple.

imageThe Angkor Thom is a Khmer complex with several temples, towers, pyramid-like structures, and important historical monuments inside. Well-known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. The most visited among them is the Bayon Temple (Prasat Bayon) which is situated at the center of the complex. Bayon features four-faced crowns and towers, which, according to historians, resembles a lot with King Jayavarman VII.

imageThe front side of Bayon doesn’t look impressive from afar. My parents and some of my siblings decided to rest inside the bus. But as we slowly approached the walkway, a three-dimensional world comes alive before my eyes. Bayon is made up of multi-level stairs (though not as high as Angkor Wat’s), a maze of sculptures and features humongous intricate face carvings that is simply a sight to behold.

imageI am captivated by Bayon’s complexity of design and left me wondering how these Khmers were able to create this with very ancient tools. Just amazing and memorable. I’d say they missed this beauty! Regardless of how tired you can get from never ending walk, Bayon is a temple NOT TO BE MISSED!

imageWent straight to the hotel due to exhaustion. Slept for a few minutes and had dinner at a local buffet restaurant while watching traditional Cambodian dance. Traditional Khmer dance is better described as ‘dance-drama’ it is not merely dance but also meant to convey a story or message. There are four main modern genres of traditional Khmer dance: Classical Dance, Fishing Dance, Folk Dance and Apsara Dance.

imageIt has been a tradition since the earliest days of tourism in the 19th century to treat visitors to Siem Reap with an Apsara dance performance. Practice is I think what makes the Apsara dancers so precise in their movements. They were dancing so gracefully.

imageOn our third day, we visited Stone Carving shops and Silk Farm that made me love scarf more. 

imageWe went to Tonle Sap Lake. Honestly, there is not much to see at all. The only good thing about our tour was being on the water in our private boat. The lake is so huge and scary, it feels like your looking into the ocean. We enjoyed our stay more in the night market.

imageTo cap off our amazing Siem Reap experience, we celebrated my parent’s birthday at one of the local fine dining restaurants before our tour. Cambodia is really beautiful. It’s worth visiting! Looking forward to next year’s travel.

(Source: jeanprofugo)

Vietnam 2014

Coming back to work after a 5 day vacation is some kind of abyss no matter how much you love your job. My body wants to lay down all day. Actually, I don’t even want to blog. 

We went to Vietnam and Cambodia with the whole family to celebrate my parent’s anniversary and birthday. Yup, you read it right. We celebrate these occasions for a week. Plus, it’s my sister-in-law’s birthday next week. So there you go, busiest and loudest month ever.

I am in charge in planning the trip for the family every year. Basically, I get to choose what place, what time, when our family travel will. I also choose what hotel, itinerary and anything related to the trip. So if they want to complain, I’ll hear them out. Hahaha! I thought of travelling, mainly because I love travelling. My family loves it too, of course! My father wished to travel at least 10 countries per year. He says he don’t want to travel when he’s old already. We find it cliché also to celebrate these occasions at a fine dining restaurant and hotel. 

Little did we know that we took a history class when we explore Ho Chi Minh City. We realized that it’s easier to learn history class when you travel and saw it in person. Sounds boring, huh? But it’s interesting, I promise! Vietnamese gained my respect after the tour.

Oh by the way, Vietnam time is one hour late from the Philippines.

As I’ve learned from the tour, Ho Chi Minh is one the largest city in Vietnam. If in Philippines, jeepney is the most popular transportation, In Vietnam, its motorcycle.

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They say that vacation in Vietnam is not complete without a tour to Cu Chi Tunnels. The tunnels were used by Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous guerrilla fighters. The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped achieve ultimate military success.

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Well, I took a lot of research in this year’s travel. Lol! You see, I wore a dress and didn’t expect that we’ll tour inside the tunnel ourselves. (Don’t make the same thing I did!) That won’t stop me anyway. I still tried to hide in this small tunnel like a Viet Cong. I was scared at first and asked our tour guide how many soldiers died inside the tunnel. Haha! I was reassured that they only built this tunnel for tour purposes only. Immediately, went inside and hide and went out happy! Haha!

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We even crawled inside this tunnel. They have been widened it to accommodate the tourists but even crawling through the short stretches set up for tourists can be highly claustrophobic. Of course, my parents did not tried it.

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The atmosphere at the tunnels resembles that of a bizarre war based theme park. You can even hear real M16 and AK47 at the background while listening to the tour guide. We won’t miss the chance to try this one.

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They ate this for 15 years. Just this, no rice, no other food. I cannot imagine the fear, trauma, hunger, hurt every soldier has gotten into during the war. Quite an experience! They’ll definitely let you experience what they have experienced.

Went on a quick buffet lunch somewhere at the local restaurant.

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Reunification Hall (Formerly Presidential Palace)

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Notre Dame Cathedral

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The War Remnants Museum documents the costs of the war and everything inside it was heartbreaking. You’ll see the before and after effect of the war.

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Outside the building is a range of American military hardware that had been captured or abandoned, much of it handed over to the South Vietnamese regime. There’s F-111 fighter-bomber jet, Chinook helicopters, tanks, more planes, and a display of unexploded weaponry.

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We cruised on Saigon River by Indochina while enjoying the live music performance for dinner. Oh, I forgot to mention that we’re actually part of the band. Lol!

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My parents enjoying the cruise. Happy Anniversary!

If you would ask me if I’ll visit Ho Chi Minh again, with my kids, iI think. I’ll visit Hanoi for another experience. Nevertheless, it was indeed a fun experience.

(Source: jeanprofugo)

Ramen Nagi!

It was an exciting cooking day. I still had some of those inevitable gutter moments and that magical moment in the kitchen. Nevertheless, I was able to do a regular Saturday agenda with our friends. Catching up and discussing how the stock was made that I’ve learned in the class in our favorite make-your-own pizza restaurant, we all craved to try the highly acclaimed best ramen in town, Ramen Nagi.

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On quest to find the best ramen in the country, we went to Sm Aura with the expectation to beat our love for Tonkutsu Tsukemen of Yoshuken. Pau and Danish are a big fan of ramen and Cachet and I were left with no choice but to eat the same food as what they are eating. Kidding! Women love ramen too!

I really appreciate Japanese restaurant with environment like this one. There was still a long queue just like Yoshuken. Number 8 in the list, we have to wait for 20-30 minutes to be seated so we strolled to buy some time. The ambiance makes you feel that you’re in Japan. No, I haven’t been to Japan yet. Soon! 

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Upon showing you your seats, you’ll be given this Omotenashi checklist which will define how your ramen experience will turn out. It’s the only ramen house that I’ve tried where you can customize your own ramen from its flavors and spice, as well as getting the chance to add extra toppings of your choice. Unfortunately, I had a busted taste buds for almost two weeks already. I can’t taste food well when I’m sick. Could you imagine me being sick on the first day of my cooking class? That’s worst.  

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An authentic ramen house won’t allow take out. They say that if you want to take out, you can buy instant noodles instead. 

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Men are busy modifying their most awaited ramen. 

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While the women are copying from each other. Haha! I said mind your own business when they presented you this. 

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Nope, this one is scripted! Haha! Feeling serious with our ramen. 

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I’m back to food blogging, finally! Picture, picture! 

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Not very audacious in trying new food, Pau and I tried Original King (Butao), award-winning tonkotsu pork-broth prepared in the traditional method, mouth-wateringly rich, fresh and aromatic; special handcrafted noodles and classic Nagi pork chashu. We both prefer a super hard noodle. And while I said I was famished when we sat down, I still wasn’t able to finish half my bowl! I force feed myself. I put my expectation that high or maybe I’m still sick, I guess. Haha!

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Adventurous Danish and Cachet had the Black King (Kuroo) which looked scarily delicious. Fragrant blackened garlic and calamari ink in a silky broth with succulent chashu; finished with a ball of minced pork, black sesame and Nagi spices that is irresistibly complex. You’d have to be extremely careful to not splatter black soup on your clothes. Good thing they are wearing black but the waiter still gave them white apron. 

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It was the first time I saw Gyoza served on a sizzling plate. I was actually expecting a little different but uhm, it’s pretty normal. I still prefer Yoshuken’s though.  

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Ramen Friends. Faith Goal? To try ramen in Japan together. :D

I make it a point to try different dishes to expand my knowledge on food though planning to take a different class for Japanese cuisine especially ramen. Well, if you knew your husband-to-be, friends and family love ramen would you not make your own version of it at home? 

I’m excited to blog my own recipe of Ramen! 

(Source: jeanprofugo)

Chase your dream!

If you are a frequent reader of mine, you probably know how much I love eating, exploring and blogging about food way back when I have the ample time to do so. Waited for years, I finally took a bold step to pursue something that I really want to do. I have always been in love in cooking and eating. In fact, I always dream of having my own restaurant during my college days. This desire has never once changed even after I graduated as an accountant. I love my current job anyway. 

I asked myself, “Am I too old to pursue my dreams?”But what does it feels like doing something you really like?” Probably, people like me don’t purse their dreams for the following reasons:

1. The dream seems impossible.

2. You have failed to persevere and lack patience.

3. You think you’re not good enough.

4. You’re too old to try.

5. You allowed fear to you back.

Then I realized that I don’t want to live a life full of regrets. I’m not saying that we should go after every desire we have. However, if you believe that it really is the desire that God has placed on your heart, then it’s probably there for a reason. Dreams are meant to be pursued! Don’t just throw it away. Instead, give it God. He will show you if it’s your calling, something you should pursue. If the desire just will not go away and you feel like it’s time to pursue it, then ask God to open the right doors in His timing.  

So I did despite the fact that I am getting married in the next few months. Perfect timing I should say. It encourages me more to take Culinary Arts as part of my preparation for marriage life. My husband won’t find any more reason not to eat at home. Haha! I feel so blessed having the opportunity to slip it through my tight schedule. It will also serve as my stepping stone as my husband and I prepare for our dream restaurant. Quite difficult to start for now, now that we are still investing for the house and wedding and other stuff necessary to start a marriage life.

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I took a short class at Enderun Colleges. To be honest, I was kind of intimidated and scared to enter school again. But I seriously want to learn!

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Classroom looks like this. 

On our first day, we discussed the basic of the basic. We learned to make different kind of stock for 8hrs while standing. It was very tiring but it was worth it! I love how the chef discussed the science behind culinary arts and how he disclosed trade secrets from his own experience and restaurants. I love it how we are trained to prepare a world class fine dining food regardless of how we will apply what we have learned and will learn.

I was very excited during the entire class that I constantly iMessaged my fiancé. I send him photos of my achievement. I’m very excited to try it at home especially on my own kitchen.

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Bonus for today: We will learn how to prepare a modern Filipino Cuisine, Kare-Kare Ravioli. Quite weird when I saw the recipe but I changed my mind when the chef taught us how to make it. If we don’t make it right we don’t have lunch today.

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The face of the excited yet hungry girls. It’s already 3pm and we haven’t eaten our lunch. Lesson learned: Always eat your breakfast!

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Feeling expert while preparing. Haha! I only use my iPhone for photos. 

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Tada! Here’s my own version of Kare-Kare Ravioli. I’ll blog about the recipe and even my own recipe soon.

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What even more surprising is we have learned how to prepare my Crab Bisque. No wonder it is sooooo expensive.

My fiancé asked me if I’m happy and answered him with all convictions. I am definitely happy! It’s been awhile since I felt so alive doing something that I really want. I hope with all my heart as you read this, you will begin the journey to turn your dream into a reality just like what I am experiencing. Why?

1. You’ve always wanted to do this. You’ve always wanted to follow your dream, right? Pursue it! Don’t live a life full of regrets.

2. Your joy and happiness will become contagious. You will smile more. Look at my picture, it shows, right? :D Happines to the highest level! 

3. You’ll experience things you never could have imagined.

4. The food will taste better. You read it right. When you step toward your dream, you will feel more alive and you will better appreciate the beauty life has to offer. So, yes! Even the food tastes better.

5. Every day you will learn new things.

6. Life will become beautiful and more.

7. You will experience more of His Grace as you journey the life of uncertainty yet full of excitement and surprises.

So take action in pursuing your dream. Don’t look at the fears, the obstacles, and the probability of succeeding. Don’t just leave it in your closet. Instead, focus on the goal ahead. It might take a while to reach the goal, but once you take your first step, you’re already on your way and your journey has begun.

I have learned that if it is God’s time, then don’t listen to those who might say you’re too young or too old to pursue your dream. Everyone starts somewhere, at some point. There is no age limit to the gifts that God has given us. Listen to what He’s telling you, not the voice of the world. And if you do, in fact, feel like now is the time to pursue this dream—then go for it! It is never too early or too late to pursue your dream.

Your prayer, passion, and perseverance will eventually pay off. Focus on the size of your passion and the size of your God. Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged because of yourself or anyone else. No one has ever been rewarded for quitting or never even beginning. Step out in faith, knowing that God will be with you through it all.

So go and live a life of your dreams! 

Sowing Generously

It’s amazing how this season elevates our faith and even challenge us more to become a blessing. With the overwhelming expenses for the preparation of our wedding and our house, sometimes it feels like, “I’ll give my share next week”, sometimes “I think I’ll pass this month”. You sometimes feel like you wanted to cling more on to your money when you stare at your budget schedule. Tough times. *sigh


I staggered on this verse last night, “Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God. Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they’ll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need.  Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!” 2 Corinthians 9:6-15, The Message

The equation about blessing is different to God compare to this world. The world teaches us to be selfish and cling on to the riches of the world so you will gain more. But the challenging part on God’s way is to give and you will be blessed. Understanding it would be difficult if you won’t align your heart to His.  

I remember it once when a close friend told us that she’ll go out for 10days mission at Hong Kong / Cambodia. She was looking for partners who will support her to the mission. I was already fabricating sugar coated excuses in my head, “the expenses for house and wedding… blah blah blah…” when a bank informed me about the status of our housing loan. “Oh, there is no way we can be able to pay that sort of amount every month”, my fiancé told me. I agreed. There is no way we can pay that. 

A friend once again informed us about the status of her mission. We felt the need to support her not because we were burdened about the house and the wedding and so fort but because we felt that God is calling us to give. It was hard to agree to this while looking on our budget list but God outdid our expectations. The moment God saw our heart’s desire to support her, I received a message about our house. God answered our prayer when we asked for provision. God knows we can’t but He provided in a way that we cannot imagine.

When God wants to bless you, He’ll open doors of opportunity to become a blessing to other people. When we bless others, He will take care of our needs.

We haven’t give the money to our friend yet God blessed us. He just saw our hearts, honored our desire, He provided and took care of our needs. Amazing God is He! I am amazed how He used the people around us as a media to bless us. 

I saw Rick Warren’s post about Laws of God’s blessing, was encouraged and I felt the need to share it:

1. Our blessings should flow to others.

The Bible teaches us that we are blessed not just so that we can feel good, not just so we can be happy and comfortable, but so that we will bless others. God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2, “I will bless you … and you will be a blessing” (NIV). This is the first law of blessing: It must flow outwardly.

How do you bless others? By serving a need, whether it is physical or emotional support, financial help, or practical advice. “Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand” (Philippians 1:4 MSG).

2. When we bless others, God takes care of our needs.

God promises that if we will concentrate on blessing others, he’ll take care of our needs. There’s almost nothing that God won’t do for the person who really wants to help other people. In fact, God guarantees this blessing. In Luke 18, Jesus says, “I guarantee this. Anyone who gives up anything for the kingdom of God will certainly receive many times more in this life and will receive eternal life in the next world to come.”

When you care about helping other people, God assumes responsibility for your problems. And that’s a real blessing, for he’s much better at handling your difficulties than you are.

3. Our blessings to others will come back on us.

The more you bless other people and the more you help others, the more God blesses your life. Luke 6:38 tells us, “Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back — given back with bonus and blessing” (MSG). You cannot out-give God. The more you try to bless other people in the world around you, the more God says, “I’m going to pour blessings out on you. We’ll play a little game here. Let’s see who will win. Let’s see who can give the most. The more you bless others, the more I’m going to bless you in return.”

4. The more we’re blessed by God, the more he expects us to help others.

Jesus said it this way in Luke 12: “Much is required from the person to whom much is given; much more is required from the person to whom much more is given” (GNT). We are blessed to be a blessing.

(Source: jeanprofugo)

4th Anniversary at Caviar

Four years and some change ago, I started this blog. It’s morphed from a space to a place where I can share my food review, relationships, my spiritual life, My God and a few heartfelt moments along the way.

I have always found solace in writing things down. Over the last 4 years, I’ve shared how “explore the world with You” means as I journey this sweet life with my boyfriend together with God who orchestrate everything. It was done to leave my thoughts in a place that I could easily revisit. I was startlingly getting emotional as I revisit my blog. Time indeed flies so fast as cliche as it may sound. Questions in mind like “what would it be like if God did not allowed these things to happen in my life?”, “what’s on my mind at this very moment if this did not happened?”, “Where would I be without Him?”, “Am I happy like what I am right now?”  lead me to tears as I felt the unpretentious gratitude in my heart. Every single second was indeed amazing… Life is so gooooood! Yeah, I’m really blessed with everything. 

And here I am trying to write my last anniversary date blog.  This day carries pretty important memories for us and I would always remember how it all began. So much feels…

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Celebrated on the day itself at Caviar Restaurant & Champagne Bar.. We were glad to know that a fine dining restaurant like this can be found in Alabang. There’s no need for us to travel far anymore to celebrate and we don’t have to schedule it during weekends since it’s so accessible! 

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A romantic ambiance and living room area complete with fireplace welcomed us as we enter the place. Over there is the Champagne Bar. When you turn left to the door, you’ll find the garden area. It was raining so we decided to sit on the couch. 

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Jaime, our server for the night, who took care of us last night introduced every details in the menu which we really appreciate. 

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He came back and present this ridiculously huge cut of cowboy steak good for 4-6 persons. There’s no way we can eat this alone. I guess we’ll come back and bring our reinforcements. This steak is soooooo inviting! We’ll definitely try this one. 

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He even greeted us with a complimentary sparkling wine to celebrate our anniversary. What can you expect from a Champagne bar? 

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Pau would always initiate to take this time to give glory to God for this special milestone and that’s what I love about him. 

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One of the servers came by with the complimentary house bread basket that had a selection of phyllo flatbread, a nice sourdough, and brown bread rolls. Everything is baked fresh in the kitchen and is served with an olive oil dip with a touch of balsamic vinegar, creamy butter, and green olives. I love bread and I would always ask for refill whenever they ask me. 

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I would love to try all these! I’m sure my best friend would love to try this too! 

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Served to jumpstart the night! 

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Bisque de Homard, poached Lobster Meat and Truffle Oil served in a different manner. Jamie poured the soup in front of us and even whipped out his whipped out his humongous pepper mill to season our soup. It was entertaining! I was using 50mm that time so I wasn’t able to take a photo. 

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To cleanse our palate before our main course, Jamie served us a small scoop of Sorbet with a balsamic reduction. I could taste a sweet langka and hints of lemon in my tiny glass. It tickles in my mouth. This was a very happy intermission before the main entrées.

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Steak sauces

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This time we skipped the appetizer and upgraded the 28 Days Dry Aged Bone in Rib-Eye for surf and turf. You just need to add P850.00 for upgrade. I say this is the best decision that we’ve made. 

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Now who doesn’t want a Lobster and Steak anyway? The combination was the best!!! We were laughing at each other because we don’t have space left for dessert. It’s the first time ever in history. We love sweets but we cannot eat anymore this time. 

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Jamie brought another two complimentary glasses of Limincello. I asked the alcohol percent this time since I am getting sleepy already and he said 30%. We’re not a wine person and if I managed to finish a glass of it, I would ask Pau to take me home immediately. I might fall asleep in an instant. Haha!

We wanted to cancel our movie date, Hercules, after the dinner but didn’t make it on time so we watched it anyway. We fell asleep in the movie house. Haha! 

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We toured around the restaurant. Later then I found out that Sir Frank, the owner and chef, prepared our food himself.

Picture taking behind the wines. Everything from the restaurant was also designed by Sir Frank. 

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These four years have been beautiful and grace-filled; a blessing and a challenge. Who would have thought that we are about to get married in almost four months? All in all, I’d say that we’ve fared pretty well, partner. We’ve been through a lot and experienced His grace and we will experience more of His in the next chapter.

I look forward to our first anniversary. This time, not a fine dining anymore but travel. :D Happy Anniversary! 

(Source: jeanprofugo)

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

- Isaiah 43:19 

Isaiah 43 is a promise to the Israelites living in captivity in Babylon that God will redeem them, return them to their homeland and restore them. It’s layered with reassuring words and confidence building phrases telling them that they are not alone or forgotten. And just as it spoke to the literal, physical and spiritual condition of the Israelites at that particular time, it also prophetically echoed into the future, of the time when Christ would come to redeem and restore all who would call upon Him.

But the promise goes beyond just restoring the people to their former glory. God promised that He was going to do so much more. Not just redeem, or rebuild, but create brand new - new strength, new hope, new dreams… God is creative and He never stops creating. When He redeems you and restores you, it’s never to bring you back to a stage or a place where you used to be - to realise some nostalgic dream - He rebuilds you so that He can give you something new and take you above and beyond where you were yesterday. To fulfil those dreams and hopes you’ve nurtured in your heart and never dared thought possible…

He is about to do something new… He always is. In fact, He weaves His plan and love into our lives with grace and consistency every moment of every day… and if we look in the right direction, we may just catch a glimpse of God at work.

The thing here is that you have to follow God out of bondage, into freedom and onto the new - which can often be the scariest thing of all. We do get comfortable in what we know and ‘how we’ve always done things’… and to head into new territory takes courage, resilience and determination. But you can do it! God has already begun your tomorrow, you just have to follow Him into it. Let go of your fears, embrace change, step out in faith.

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT) “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him

(Source: jeanprofugo)

Unforgettable memories. Irreplaceable memories.

I remember the first time we visited Cent, Pau’s best friend, at the hospital. I was speechless. I couldn’t contain my emotions and cannot bear how hard he’s been suffering on a plain white bed in the ICU. Pau thought of the best way for his best friend and his family – to pray. Honestly, our hearts were crushed that we can’t do nothing but to cry out to God for help.

He was playing basketball and his head directly hit the floor as he fell from a bad jump ball. He was rushed in the hospital and later they found out that he cannot remember anyone nor anything at all. His dad miserably narrated everything while waiting for our chance to enter the ICU.

As for me, the scariest and one of the saddest feeling is not to remember anything. Though, we believe that in time he will soon recover (he’s okay now!). I’m scared of losing and forgetting not just the happy times but also the sad times. I’m scared of not remembering my family, fiancé, friends, my loved ones. I don’t wanna forget…

Sounds like a typical Korean novella. But I woke up and realized that it’s really possible to happen in real life. 

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On our second visit, he remembered Pau but couldn’t remember my name. Thank God for his fast recovery. Pau was really worried. I am too. I was surprised how he recalled his date with his girlfriend at Tagaytay and mentioned “The Domaine” more than twice. He still remember that we got engaged there and told us that he wants to go there. Pau couldn’t forget it so he decided to celebrate his birthday here. 

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Oh, the crew still remember us and warmly welcomed us. I remember the time we got engaged here. Time really flies so fast. I’m getting married in a few months. 

We were very happy for Cent’s fast recovery. The talk was about the accident and the proposal and anything under the sun. Of course, basketball is always present. 

We tried the 3-set course but this time is different. Sad to say that I failed to check the menu but that’s alright, I’ve blogged it already.  

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This is the salad that I tried for appetizer. 

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Mussels for appetizer for Cent and Pau.

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Risotto just like in The Fault in our Stars.

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Main course for Pau.

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I ordered Lemon Tart for dessert but I couldn’t eat it because it’s too sour for dessert. The waiter noticed that I did not eat my dessert so he replaced it with Dark chocolate mouse with coconut biscuit for free. I said that it’s alright but he insisted. I really love their service! :)

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God has His own reasons for allowing things to happen. We may not be able to understand it now, but we will definitely would, in time. In His perfect time. But despite every tragic accident, we are secured that even though we don’t understand what’s happening, we know that God is always in control and He knows what He is doing. In time, He will reveal the reasons for everything.

Just like what Pau said, everything that happened to Cent will be part of his testimony. With that, we are blessed to celebrate this special milestone of his life. Cheers to another year of your life! 

No matter what happened, no matter how life tries to make us forget the things and the person that are precious to us, it just can’t. Those irreplaceable memories that no matter how we are forced to forget it, we cannot just forget it. 

(Source: jeanprofugo)

Vertical Horizon in Manila 2014

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If you’ve been reading my blog devotedly, you know that I love concert. I love Paramore. I love Franco. I love Urbandub. Can you find something in common? They all gonna blow your eardrums when you watch them live. 

My brother, I mean my older brother. is one of the people who influenced me with the music that I listen to. From Incubus to Red Hot Chilli Pepper, to Coldplay to to Lifehouse to Jason Mraz to Vertical Horizon to Third Eye Blind. Name it! Given a chance, I would definitely want to watch them live. 90’s music is way better than the music nowadays. If you’re a kid from the 90’s, you know what I mean.

To find out that Vertical Horizon is back in Manila, we instantly booked for ticket. It’s our first time to watch at Newport Performing Arts Theater. It was beautiful here and you would still appreciate the concert even if you’re not sitting in the VIP seat.

Vertical Horizon’s concert reminds me of my high school memories. It felt like I traveled in the past for almost 2 hours. I used to relate much to their songs and writings. 

When I heard them sing “Best I ever Had” which is my all time favorite, my night is complete. 

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(Source: jeanprofugo)