Homecooked: Mushroom Sisig

12922140_10154117519873872_364242964_oThe household’s marketing list always includes oyster mushrooms from the Negros Farmers Weekend Market, a Bacolod-based weekend organic market. I’ve quite made several recipes using this awesome vitamin and minerals-packed ‘shrooms and we will start off with something that’s a favorite dish or appetizer among many Filipinos. It’s SISIG minus the fats!

Ingredients:

1 pack Fresh oyster mushrooms, chopped

2 medium Red onions, chopped

3 tbsp Olive oil

Sea salt

Black pepper

Cayenne pepper

1 tbsp Lite mayonnaise

1 Chili, sliced

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Procedures:

  1. Saute 3/4 of the chopped onions in olive oil until they become translucent.
  2. Add the chopped oyster mushrooms.
  3. Season with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  4. Mix thoroughly until the mushrooms are cooked.
  5. Add the remaining chopped onions.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the mayonnaise.
  7. Garnish with chili.

Now, how simple is that?  Go and grab a bottle or two of your favorite beer and indulge yourself in the happiness that the weekend or weeknights bring!

Do you have other versions to make this crowd’s favorite a guilt-free meal? Share it with us!

-Armie-

Home: Table set up idea – Fresh Farm Produce

20150827_211454It is a totally random thing for me to style our dining table. There is no such thing as planning it out on what day to set it up. Rather, it’s when those nights that a sudden urge hits me to just put things together and create a beautiful creation. it will all start from one piece i which I find interesting in our home then my imagination would revolve around that piece.

For this set up, my focal point was the wooden jeep i bought way back in Baguio CIty. Immediately, I thought of coming up with a farm feel. Think of those early morning walk to your farm, harvest fresh produce, and tuck them on your pick up truck. I played with brown and greens to achieve an earth-y theme.

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So i gathered complementary objects, cut some fresh greens in our garden, and found calamansi in our fridge. The biggest “find” of all are some branches which came from the newly harvested mangoes from my MILs home in Calamba and were given to us. Oh, what an exceptional way to finish the look! The freshly cut off tiny branches percolate a sense of farm living.

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The Details:

  • The truck and the calamansi

Aren’t the calamansi look so lovely at the truck? Their sizes are proportionate to that of the truck creating a perfect scene of miniature harvesting activity.

  • The potted plants

The potted plants radiate an enliven environment  transporting you to a vast plantation fields. It’s a breath of fresh air and serves as the centerpiece. I used some bottles to create diversified heights of the three pots.

  • The chairs

The chair speaks of one thing: relaxation. Think of sitting in one of those comfortable chairs during rustic mornings or splendid afternoons savoring your drinks and looking at your humble backyard or your acres of land. Ah, bring me there, now!

  • The fresh cut greens

To supplement the live plants, I added some fresh greens to finish the entire look.

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We hope you got a bit of inspiration from this post. Share to us your table set up ideas!

-Dahl-

Home: Styling Ideas with Succulents

Like washi tapes, there are endless ways to use succulents in styling your home or any space. It is naturally attractive in a pretty and endearing way. Succulent matches any theme that you can think of, instantly bestows life to a boring area, and a perfect conversation piece!

They come in very handy especially when you want to quickly switch your space’s look and they require least care time making them your go to pieces in styling.

i’ve been collecting succulents for personal use (and we’re selling them, too!) and I compiled some of the styles i did in our home.

Style Inspirations:

  1. At our bedside tableDSC08531IMG_20160226_232632
  2. As an accent of my work spaceDSC08533IMG_20160228_214011
  3. As part of a dining centerpiece20160223_185549 20160327_162353
  4. At our living room’s corner table20160225_105534
  5. At our washroomDSC08527
  6. At our balconyDSC08528

Practically, every corner of our home has been dressed up by succulents! I guess this is a proof of how flexibly pretty these little plants are!. Like, really, aren’t they a joy to utilize as your styling pieces?

How do you style your home? What are your go to pieces? Let us know!

-Dahl-

On the Road: Port Barton and Her Underrated Beauty

image-755dd0c3f0861e3864a367d96f1f02cb7b2baafbca6b3e36cf3dbc37051d480b-VI’m kind of half hearted to share this amazing discovery of Port Barton because I want it to stay as how it is today and would not be taken over by commercialism. Nevertheless, I am spilling the beans in the interest of Philippine tourism and satiate everyone’s wanderlust souls. Responsible travelers, that’s one of the core values for everyone who’s hitting the road.

About halfway from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, there is a quite town of Port Barton. It is a quaint town but home to true blooded foreign travelers. It is an understated destination probably because it is overshadowed by the more popular El Nido town. The road leading to Port Barton isn’t fully cemented (yet) which makes it an off the beaten track destination.

Port Barton captivated our hearts the moment we stepped out of our van. The organic feel of the community, the warm welcome of the locals, and the alluring shoreline are just some of the obvious reasons why we promptly loved the island. It’s a sanctuary for travelers who traverse the globe to immerse themselves with the community. Heck, there’s even a book exchange in one of the cafes!image-2e50ce86cf40ec0891b3091995d4be9cd6b2a7d34a5a5c9501a66844793f66f4-V

Think of a slow morning grind, taking an early walk by the village, and finally taking your hearty breakfast by the shore. Ah, such is a simple yet very ‘wowfulfilling travel life. No wonder why foreigners flocked into this charming island!

The nearby islands are worth every “wow” and “grabe” that you utter, It’s your kind of steady beach bumming with all the beautiful sights handed over to your very eyes. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Attractions:

  • Luli (Lulubog Lilitaw) Islandimage-feca8dc2c18468c7828dc682137f0698b73f54140d1d505f4a8eb8ce707698fe-V
  • Paradise Islandimage-167e7144bfa8f57cd3ca6ce24b1f8c889c6a029f26350ac7a5d2ad21afd7c60b-V
  • German IslandFB_IMG_1459470957736
  • Exotic Islandimage-7069c2949b643ede077c6fa453300a9f54ac803621513a762d1043d5ce62b76f-V
  • Aquarium (for snorkel)image-abd7a2730b77b35ea79d7a6e58df8264913e2f4fbc178ebbbe1671710bda7c83-V                                                          Captured from the surface of the water!

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Yes, this stellar experience is tucked in my memory book for life!

Here are the things to consider when planning your trip to Port Barton:

Considerations:

  1. Unlike with El Nido, I reckon a beachfront accommodation is a good option. As I mentioned, the shoreline is spectacular and there is not much crowd wandering along the beach. Among the resorts, I’ve seen Summer Homes and Ausan which exhibits a good impression. Please do note that I have not stayed here (screw late inquiries and bookings!) so I do not vouch for them.
  2. However, there are other inns as well in the community which is equally charming and one of which is owned by Nanay Nelly. it’s a detached cabin exuding a provincial feel! This is where we stayed for Php 1,500 a night – comfortably fits 4 but balcony can be used to sleep in another 2 pax. This is highly recommended!
  3. Bring a book! There is no greater feeling of spending an afternoon by the shore with a book in your one hand, and a beer on the other!
  4. Sunset watching is a must. Oh, I had one of the best sunset memories in Port Barton!
  5. Island camp is possible in Port Barton. We stayed in German island but please note that there iis no fresh water source here. If you aren’t comfortable, it is best to stay at the mainland.
  6. NOT RECOMMENDED: Going to El Nido via motorized bangka. This is not a popular route but given how adventurous our group is, we dived into this idea. Not only it is more expensive but it will take you 6 solid hours to reach El Nido. Land trip will only take about 2-3 hours.image-bffecb07a0f4768addf7a8727f87b23e51858394e7d6a088baec68c40e7afcc8-V

Suggested Itinerary:

Day 1:

  1. Arrival at Puerto Princesa, head straight to Port Barton at the terminal
  2. Spend the rest of the day by the beach front with you mat, book, and beer. Talk to the locals while waiting for the sunset.

Day 2:

  1. Go for an entire day of island hopping. You may have your tours arranged in your hotel or book it separately. We had ours with Kuya Jojo. Spend more time at German island. The hammocks are to die for (but please be cautious of small insects that may lurk your entire body!).

Day 3:

  1. Make your way to Long Beach in San Vicente, the longest white sand shoreline in Asia.
  2. Travel back to Puerto Princesa or head straight to El Nido

So, are you packing your bags, yet? :) Let us know how your Port Barton vacation goes!

P.S. Credit to Levy Bajamundi (@tapsiturbi) for the photos. 

-Dahl-

Homecooked: Veggie Quesadilla

12899478_10154108777623872_1786165972_oI have always loved eating Mexican foods but they’re quite loaded with calories. Think about all the cheese and meat that’s in every meal. Sinful, right? So while I can forego the liabilities of eating a regular quesadilla, I can’t let go of the satisfying  and savory mixture folded in a tortilla. 

So it got me thinking, why not whip up something that is healthier but still bursting with flavors? No meat, no problem as the avocado in this recipe is packed with all the healthy protein that our body needs. Yes, there’s so much protein source other than our animal friends!

Here’s an easy-to-prepare healthy quesadilla. Happy preps friends and tell us what you think of this recipe.

Ingredients:

3 pieces 8″ wheat tortilla

4 red onions, sliced

2 cups spinach

1 small avocado, sliced

1/4 cup olive oil                                          

Cheese (optional if you’re on a non-dairy diet)

Salt and pepper

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Procedures:

1. Pour the oil in a large pan.

2. Put the sliced onions and cook while stirring occasionally. The heat should be low so that the onion slices will be caramelized at the same time. Season with salt and black pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.

3. On the same pan, put the spinach until it’s fairly wilted and has a bolder green color. Remove the spinach from the pan and set aside.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and wipe off any excess oil.

5. Using the same pan under low fire, place one tortilla.

6. Grate some cheese on top of the tortilla and wait until you will notice that it is melting. (This step is optional if you’re not adding cheese into this recipe.)

7. On the lower half portion of your tortilla spread the caramelized onions, spinach and avocado.

8. Fold over the quesadilla into half. Turn on the other side. Remove from heat and slice into 4.

9. Repeat steps 5-9 until you’re done. Serve hot. You may serve it with your favorite salsa

Happy eating!

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On the Road: El Nido And Why You Should Go

El NIdo is every Filipino’s bragging rights and there is definitely a compelling reason why in recent years, it always tops the list of the world’s number one island. Why is it so, you ask?

While any wonderful island can claim white sands, turquoise waters, and sunny tropical weather, El Nido gives you more reasons than that and let me tell you:

  1. The majestic limestone formations make it like a “walled” island, rendering it to be astounding and unique.DSC08323The mighty “walls” surrounding the Big Lagoon
  2. The islands are not the typical ones, you need to “work” for it to get a glimpse of their beauty. One must paddle up to see both small and big lagoons, you need to peak into a small hole that’s only suitable for one person to be engulfed in the beauty of secret lagoon and secret beach, and you have to swim in deep waters to land in hidden beach and Cadlao lagoon.Kayaking through Small LagoonKayaking though the Small Lagoon
  3. While flocked by tourists, El Nido offers raw and spontaneous feel of an island lifeDSC08250One of the many raw sights in El Nido
  4. Just as you thought the last island that you visited was the best, the next one will leave you, once again, in chief wonderment! Each island has its own character that you can clearly place them side by side in your memory lane.DSC08492

A common notion with El Nido is that it is an expensive getaway probably because it has been popularized by El Nido Resorts, a chain of luxury resorts owned by the Ayalas. However, while it is indeed relatively expensive than other Philippine destination, it is not one that will put a hole on your pockets. To give you a perspective, we spent about Php 9000, exclusive of plane ride, and inclusive of our 3 day stay at Port Barton (more of this another captivating destination on my next post).

Hitting El Nido is a must, and here are some of the tips that I can share based on our experience:

  • Ride the van at the terminal, not at the airport as fare is generally cheaper there

You can do this by hiring a tricycle (usually costs Php 120 good for 3-4 persons) and head to the terminal.

  • Always ask for Filipino rate

We did not know of this until we rode a van going to El Nido. Our driver from Recaro bus voluntarily said we are getting a hundred bucks off our trip. We also got a discount with our accommodation. Note though that not all establishments may have this but it pays to ask. Also, please be discreet especially when there are foreigners nearby so as to avoid an awkward situation among you, the vendor, and the foreigner.

  • Beach front is not a necessity in El Nido town proper

It may be a perfect idea of waking up to a beach front view but we feel that this is unnecessary in El Nido. For one, the beach front is not as astounding as the islands, there are trashes in the shores, and it is just relatively busy that it takes away the calmness that you are looking for in a beach front.

  • Corong corong town is a better option for accommodation

Corong corong is a stone throw’s away from town proper and it is way more peaceful. Accommodations are relatively cheaper here. Arguably, the beach front is also better here than in the town proper. If you you’ll die without a beachfront view, then this is a good alternative to search for an inn or resort that’s facing the beach.

  • Go for a night of beach camping!

Want an unobstructed view of the mighty limestones, crystal clear waters, and purest sands in the morning but do not have the means to stay in Miniloc or Lagen? Then beach camp is the answer! In Papaya island, there is a fresh water source that makes your stay “bearable”. Also, you can ask your tour guide to lend you with cooking and eating utensils. Just brign your own tents, though. There is a tour as well but it will cost you much higher than doing it DIY.

DSC08441Where we spent our night by the beach

  • Tours A and C are the best options when you have limited time

The bests of El Nido are on this tour. You got to kayak to see small and big lagoons, make your way through a small hole to get to secret lagoon and beach, and you have to swim to reach hidden beach and cadlao lagoon! On the other side, if you want a more chill vibe, then you may opt for tour B as it is more of a beach bumming (as what you usually do in other island hopping.

It can be overwhelming to arrange your tours but let me give you an idea and some suggestions on how to plan for it.

  1. Have at least a 4 days, 3 nights trip in which the first and last day is dedicated to travel time. El Nido is 5 hours away from Puerto Princesa so you need to take it into account. If you have spare time, make it 3 full days of tours with Tour A first, followed by Tour C, then finally Tour B. Tour B as mentioned is more of chill in the islands with not much physical activities so make it as your last stop.
  2. For transportation, we rode via Recaro Transport It is generally okay and as expected in a sharing set up, the van is packed with tourists. If you want to splurge in a private van, it can cost you around Php 5,000.
  3. I recommend Novies Tourist Inn in Corong Corong for accomodation – Php 3,500 for 6 pax with a spacious room and private toilet. It has verandas too! Again, they can give it for Php 2,500 depending on the season so don’t forget to ask! However, if you really insist on getting an accommodatin in El Nido town proper, you may want to check out Rico’s Inn, Rossana’s Pension, or El Nido Garden Resort. By far, they have the best looking resorts that we’ve seen while walking through the stretch of El Nido beachfront.
  4. For the tours, we got Lagoon Tours which relatively offers the lowest rate (Php 1,000 per day). However, do not fret too much on looking for the cheapest ones as all the tours are regularized, hence, it does not come in too far fetch in terms of pricing.
  5. If you plan to spend a night camping by the beach, I strongly recommend Papaya island. Hands down to the view, the water, and the sand!

So there you go! i hope I tickled your fancies and gets you packing your bags to hit this paradise! Happy Travel!

DSC08400DSC08504P.S. For more photos and stories of our El Nido travel, please follow my personal account in IG @dahlgrenjoy and search for hashtag #cozyexplorersxelnido.

*All photos are owned by Levy Bajamundi (@tapsiturbi).

-Dahl-

Welcome-Simple-Greeting-Image

Welcome!

My love for words lingers into my system since the moment I learned to read them. I love stringing in words together to encapsulate my thoughts in a most creative way. Writing is my first love, and though I do not pursue this side of my so-called talent, I know deep in my heart that it will always be my greatest love.

I have been into so many attempts to build my little space in the internet but my impatient persona comes in and breaks my love affair with blogging. Who reads it anyway? Why do I need to put so much effort in piecing my thoughts when most of the time it is incoherent? The heck of good photos… the list goes on and on.

Then I realize I was not doing it for myself, instead, I was doing it with an ambitious mind to hit the pinnacle of blogging success. Oh the mind of a youngster…

Here comes friends who have been your core group for quite some time and the idea of pouring all our ideas and hearts’ desires into one space crossed our private chat amidst our usual petty talks. With the three of us in different fields of interest (only food unites us), we reckon, why not create a sort of lifestyle blog that tackles the normal lives of normal people and draw inspiration from one another? And yes, there is no pressure at all to make it a perfect blog. We aren’t the best writers, nor the best photographers, but what we can offer is realness… and wit (we will try).

And so, Chubby Tree was born. Please meet the three chubby ladies behind this blog:

Armie loves make ups and anything to do with good food.

Bambi has the heart for public service and is best with gardening.

I, Dahlgren, is drawn on home styling and travel.

And the three of us are good at anything, but a master of nothing. Ha ha ha.

Three different ladies, one little blog. Come and let’s create a community that celebrates life everyday!

-dahl-