Friday, July 27, 2012

soundtripping: moonfesta by kalafina

it was only yesterday when i first came across the video on nhk. like a fish to the bait, i was lured by the video's animation, and when the chorus came on... ay naku, i was hooked!

what is la carlotta to do then, except to look for the song immediately?

and so, here are the videos. first one is the one i saw on nhk.

Kalafina - Moonfesta [TV Size] from Sandy Stepfhanie on Vimeo.

second video is kalafina's mv. i love its gypsy/medieval/fantasy feel.

Kalafina - moonfesta from Riuki on Vimeo.

guess what band has made it to my playlist?

Sunday, April 22, 2012


arabela cafe came highly recommended as the place to dine in liliw by tahanan ni aling meding's helpful and friendly desk clerks. so what are we to do, but to take their word for it?

the interior of arabela is a delightful sight to behold upon entering. lovely paintings and vintage photos decorate the walls, kitschy items adorn the tables and ice cream counter (you just gotta love the cute stuffed gingerbread doll topper and the carousel!). sorry no photos of them because at this point, we are more interested in the eats that we're going to... well, eat. ;p 

it was love at first bite.

seafood pasta

cute decor. just gotta love that gumball bottle topped with the stuffed snowman. :)

pasta pancetta. pasta with just enough pancetta to fill the palate, and parmesan that doesn't overwhelm the overall flavour. basil gives it a cool contrast to the light saltiness of the dish.

green salad with pecan crusted chicken served with caesar dressing.

four-cheese pizza. nice thin crust pizza with just the right crunch to it. i like cheese, but sometimes it can be overwhelming so i put some hot sauce. arabela's hot sauce (the one pictured with the snowman) has a hint of lime. dee-lish!

the prices are very affordable; they range from 100 to 250 at most. the pasta is good for at least 2 people, and the salad good for 4.


503 rizal st. liliw, laguna
proprietors: bobby and tonet camello
tel. nos: (049) 5632495 / (049) 5730692
closed on mondays except holidays

Saturday, December 31, 2011

southern comfort: the viaje del sol experience

this post kicks off the series of the awesome road trip down south. 

whenever i think of laguna, the hot springs (los baños and pansol), jose rizal's house (calamba), uplb and mount makiling immediately come to mind. i've been to these places many times before, so i felt like there's nowhere else to visit in laguna that's exciting. i mean, yes, there's also paete, the lakes of san pablo, and liliw which i haven't visited yet, but aside from those... um, laguna? honestly i hardly consider going there an "official" out-of-town trip due to its very close proximity to metro manila, and the only thing there that gets me excited is a visit to the dairy at uplb where they sell carabao's milk (i LOVE the chocolate flavor) and kesong puti (fresh white cheese). hoh-kay, before throwing me in the boiling mud pits of mount makiling, please do read on. :)

that kind of ho-hum thinking changed drastically when some friends and i recently went on a road trip to san pablo city with side trips to liliw and tiaong, quezon. little did i know that it was going to be one big culture and food tour which i would be very proud to recommend to everyone. it is just the beginning of this series, but i'll say this right away: near, far, wherever you are... visit laguna!!! 


we arrived at san pablo city 4 1/2 hours earlier than the designated check-in time at our hotel (2pm) and hotel policy being hotel policy, we opted to visit liliw first, a 40-minute drive from san pablo. on the way to liliw though we passed by the underground cemetery in nagcarlan so a short visit there is in order.

the nagcarlan underground cemetery was built by franciscan missionaries in 1845, and in 1896 the rebels of the revolution against the spaniards used this for their meetings. in 1973 the underground cemetery was declared a historical landmark. burials in this cemetery continued up until 1981. 

the gate to the underground cemetery. at the dead smack center of this photo is a small chapel where visitors sign their names on the logbook. the visitors are also given a short, interesting history lesson of the place.  

down once more to the dungeon... err, i mean to the underground cemetery.

just some of the niches above ground. they're very similar to that of paco park in manila.

the underground cemetery is really quite a small place, so the visit was a short one. based on photos i've seen of friends who have been there before, i thought it was big. it turns out that thirty minutes is a long enough visit unless you decide to have lots of photo ops. by the way, this last photo shows just a very tiny sliver of the grounds, but i can assure you with conviction that the whole place is very well-kept. :D


everyone knows that marikina equals good quality footwear. but in laguna there is a town that is also synonymous to shoes, and that is liliw. liliw is a quaint town that is a shoe maven's haven; it has a whole street dedicated to all kinds of footwear, and one will go gaga over the different designs and colors. yours truly didn't buy a pair though. too lazy. heheh. 

just some of the numerous shoe stores. 

shoes, sandals, espadrilles, etc, etc.

bags!!! and of course slippers and sandals. 

it was a nice surprise to see that old houses still abound in liliw, which reminded me of taal town in batangas where a lot of the bahay-na-bato still stands proud and graceful. while some houses are solely for family use, a lot of the businesses in others are conducted on the ground floor of the house; the proprietors live on the second floor.

i call this the sans rival house. this is in front of arabela, the cafe where we had lunch. 

a beautifully maintained house. 

if only we had more time i would make all of us walk around town checking out more of the beautiful old houses. bwahahaha~!


oh. here's a very useful tip when going on a road trip: if you are riding a car and you and your companions are not sure how to get to your destination, it is always best to ask the locals. don't be too proud to ask for directions shy. compared to most city folks, people in the provinces are generally friendlier and more helpful especially when giving directions to hapless travelers. amazingly, even if majority of the directions went like "derecho lang kayo" (just go straight) and "tapos kanan sa x na kanto" (then turn right at the x corner), we got to all our destinations with very little problem.


thanks L for letting me use your photos (paco park-like niches, shoes and bags photos)

next up: our lodging, and a gastronomic tour of the south. what are they? stay tuned. ;)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

cooking with la carlotta: stuffed chili lumpia

with the valkyrie away for a couple of months, the reins of domestic diva-ing conveniently fell into my hands (in a manner of speaking. heheh.). of course the thing i enjoyed most was the cooking part because it gave me a chance to use my rusty skills in cooking as well as use up some of the creative juices that have been stored in hundreds of bottles already. :P

one of the dishes that i was able to cook so far was the stuffed chili lumpia. i picked it up from some friends who have made it and i tweaked the stuffing a bit using the ingredients that i have in the refrigerator. well, that's one fun thing about cooking, you can experiment with ingredients any way you like. for sure my ingredients for the stuffing will be different the next time i try this. here's my recipe:

20-30 pcs small lumpia wrapper
20-30 green chilis (the kind we use for sinigang)

1 medium onion, minced
1 head of garlic, minced
500g ground pork
1C grated carrots
250g grated cheese
salt and pepper to taste (i used about only 2tsp of salt here because the cheese already adds flavor to the mix)


saute onion and garlic in a little oil, then add the ground pork. cook for about 20 minutes, then set aside to cool.

while the pork is cooking, wash the chilies and chop off the stems. then slit each chili lengthwise on one side and scrape off the seeds. you can actually leave the stems on though if you like something to hold on to, as this dish can also be a finger food.

add the carrots to the cooled minced pork

then add the cheese and mix thoroughly.

place one chili on a piece of lumpia wrapper, then stuff the chili with the ground pork mix. you can stuff the chilies with as much stuffing as you like, but not too much that the spring roll would be too fat and might even lessen the kick of the chili. brush all sides of the wrapper with egg whites as you roll each chili.

when wrapping a chili with the stem still on, leave it poking out of the wrapper. not only will there be something for you to hold on to while eating it, it also adds to its aesthetic appeal. :D but as for my version, i cut the stems off just because. haha.

fry in hot oil until golden brown, then let drain on paper towels.

serve and enjoy!!! :D

Friday, September 09, 2011

soundtripping: para sa tao (by humanfolk)

beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.
- martin luther

the quote above by martin luther sums up my opinion of this wonderful piece by humanfolk. it is all i can say about this quality filipino music because up until now i am at a loss for words as to how i should describe how i very much appreciate this kind of music.

and so, just hit play and enjoy!

yea i know i haven't blogged for the longest time. it's because my blogging mojo has left me and i don't know when i'll be able to return to blogging full-time. this song however simply refused to leave me alone and why should it, it's one of the most beautiful songs i've ever heard and i'd like to share it to everyone. :)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

la carlotta's top trips for 2010

2010 was a year that i've been blessed to go travelling once more. from day trips to overnighters to the leisurely ones as well as the flash trippings, each and every one of them definitely made my year memorable. as one can well see, majority of these trips are undocumented in this blog save for a couple. and so, here is the complete list of my trippings in and out of manila for 2010. :)

philippine national railway. the very first flash day trip of the year. because my friend f and i were already in the tutuban area, we thought of riding the new air-conditioned pnr train from tutuban main terminal to bicutan station, then from bicutan to pasay road station just for the heck of it. :) this huge engine in front of the tutuban terminal once rumbled through the manila-dagupan line, which was the first railway line opened by the pnr in 1892.

avenida rizal on a rare traffic-less day. this is a drive-by shoot from a taxi. this day is also made memorable after spending some time at the really old isetann carriedo. i wouldn't be surprised if the people there are wearing bell-bottom jeans and psychedelic tops. lol.

taal, batangas. in the photo is the st. martin de tours basilica or simply known as the taal basilica. it is the largest church in asia that was built in 1575, destroyed by the eruption of taal volcano in 1754 and was subsequently rebuilt in its present location in 1755. it was destroyed again in 1849 by an earthquake and it took another 9 years to reconstruct it (1856-1865). wow. i am glad that it still stands strong to this day. the architecture, the aisle, floor tiles, crypt, chandeliers, and even the ceiling are a sight to behold. (click here and here for more of my taal trippings)

munting buhangin, nasugbu, batangas. first beach tripping of the year. haven't suntanned as much as i wanted but what matters is that i was finally able to step on sand, sand, sand and hear the gentle crash of the waves, waves, waves. no matter that this was during holy week and the beach was crowded with city mice. :)

camaya resort, bataan (may). second beach trip of the year. not only did i get a nice tan, but had a really good time nature-tripping. and oh, it was my first time to ride a banana boat too. thanks to kaps for the invite :)

the trip to baguio was one of the overnight flash trips i took with friends. the first day was actually quite relaxing. we visited several wood carving shops along asin road, and further down the road we went on to bencab museum, where the photo above was taken. it was an honor to meet the painter bencab himself and even have a photo taken with him and his dog :) still further down we dropped by peter pinder's place. peter pinder is another artist whose specialty is fiberglass art. it was the second day that was very flashy made by the Amazing Two-Hour Baguio Tourist Rush that ended with a bang courtesy of the Great Twenty-Minute Baguio Palengke Dash. ;)

iba, zambales (june). tagged along with a friend to a pastor's seminar for two days. this was taken on the beach on our first day there and my friend and i were fortunate to chance upon the fishermen getting ready for the night's fishing. also, this trip was one full of blessings that made it really memorable. awesome views, great roads, and even something as simple as an instant one-on-one talk during a stormy night can do wonders to one's spirit.

goin' bananas! found this huge clump of bananas on the trail during a climb to peak 2 in mt. makiling last july. it was a day climb which took my friends and i a grand total of 13 hours to get to the peak and back to the station, what with the rain, the fallen tree trunks from a recent typhoon, and a couple of hysterical newbies paranoid of all the limatiks that abound in the mountain that time of year. guess who's one of those hysterical, paranoid newbies? ;p suffice to say, it was a very funny and memorable climb that, thank God, didn't scare me off mountains for life. hehehe.

coron, palawan! i was able to visit this amazing place once more literally after ten years. so much has changed in this corner of paradise, but it has still retained its natural beauty and charm which makes me want to return for yet another visit. i don't think i'll ever grow tired of palawan. (click here for the palawan entry)

and that's it for my top trips for 2010. here's to more travels for you and yours truly this 2011. cheers! :)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

soundtripping: she & him

it's been so long since i posted a soundtripping post. so folks, here's another really great indie band i've just stumbled upon today: she & him, consisting of zooey deschanel and m. ward.

if the name zooey deschanel rings a bell, it's because she's also an actress. she starred (and sang) in the movies elf and yes man. she and m. ward met on the set of the go-getter, where they sang a duet that was played at the end credits of the movie (zooey also acted in the said movie). afterwards zooey sent demos of her music to ward, who, after listening to them, contacted her and said that he wanted to record her songs properly. that's when the band she & him was formed. (source: wikipedia)

words just fail me in describing just how awesome she & him's music is, so i'll just let you hit the play button and hear for yourself. here are two of my favorites.

from the very moment i heard the first few notes of this song the first time, it immediately made me smile. :-)

this is the first song of she & him that i listened to. it has a 60's vibe to it, and the beat just makes you bop your head to the music.

there are lots more of their songs that i've already grown to love. well, what else can i say? this band just made it to my permanent playlist. :-)

fb friends, click here and here to watch the vids :)