Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Dreamland Cafe, Lipa City

                                                   First entry for 2017 Yay! 

It's a first for me to write something about the cafe scene in the Philippines, well, because I am working in Singapore and I only come home once a year(lol). But when I am back here, I don't really explore cafes that much. I prefer staying at home with the family or have some R & R with my closest friends.

Thanks to my high school buddy who suggested that we catch up on each other's lives while dining in, in this quiet and artsy cafe just across De La Salle, Lipa ---- Dreamland Arts and Crafts Cafe. 

At first glance, no one would suspect that it is a cafe. The exterior looks like a normal house. According to my friend, it really was a house converted into a coffee shop so that actually explained everything.

And so we found our way in the cafe and I was surprised to see a bohemian-inspired interior---complete with fairy lights, floor seating arrangement with low tables and lots of dream catchers!

The ambiance definitely gave off a laid-back vibe, a place where you can slowly sip a warm cup of coffee or fruity beverages while engaging in endless conversation with your friends.

Aside from eating, you can also draw or paint if you want to. If you are on the confident side, you can even sing in front of the cafes customers! All you need to do is to inform the staffs and they will arrange everything for you!

I'd give this place 8/10 rating for its ambiance alone. I can't really say much about the food since we did not order much but you can still check out what we ordered below! The Avocado Yogurt Shake was nice, not overly sweet but the avocado taste isn't that strong either. My friend ordered a Mango Yogurt Shake but she wasn't very happy, she said she can't really taste the mango in it. The thin mojos were crispy and the dip was really good too! We were pretty happy with our Cheesy Hashbrown Inna Cup, it tasted like lasagna!

We ordered 3 drinks and 2 snacks in all and we paid 660 php($13-$16 USD). I think the pricing is fair and just right for the amount of food they serve. 

We went on a weekday afternoon, around 1 pm so it was really quiet and there wasn't much people in the cafe. I do recommend this cafe if you want a chill place to hang out with a group of friends. Oh and if you love dream catchers, you'd definitely dig this cafe.

Dreamland Arts and Crafts Cafe
149 Yakal Street
Lipa, Batangas, Philippines
Opening Hours: 10AM - 10PM
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/DreamlandLipa/

Sunday, 6 November 2016


Hi everyone! 
Work has been hectic for me, I believe a teacher's schedule always is tbh. 
But I am much busier than usual because my class will be graduating next week!
So you can just imagine the amount of deadlines I need to meet, not to mention rehearsals and last minute changes. It is really challenging to handle a graduating class, it's really stressful and suck the life out of me. 

I've been having pimple break-outs too! Probably because of everything work related T___T. I am not sure if you will notice in the photos but I actually have a band-aid/plaster on my chin because of 2 huge pimple scars there. I just can't look at it and not feel insecure lol.

So going out today and just slowly take life in felt really refreshing.

On another note, today's outfit are pieces from great local brands!
Loving my unique top from Modparade 
and gorgeous pleated skirt from All Would Envy

Do you guys have any suggestion on healing pimple scars? My pimples left black/grey-ish discoloration on my skin and I just want to cry T__________T.

Thank you!

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Workshop Cafe

The Workshop Cafe

This cafe is actually our third cafe for that day. It was not easy to find as there were no signs or banner, at least a visible one, around the area. Luckily, a man saw us and I guess it was pretty obvious that we were looking for something or the cafe must've been really popular for tourists so he asked "Workshop cafe?". You can just imagine our overjoyed reply of "YES" to the man, then he pointed at an building in front of us, level 3 he said. 

We had to climb up an old but beautiful staircase to reach the cafe. When I first stepped in, it was like a I stepped in a lab! Clear flasks placed in rows greeted us except that they put coffee in there and not chemicals. First impression: Coffee brewing here is a serious business! 

Although I really do love coffee, I am not knowledgeable about the process at all. We had no idea how the menu works so we had the barista in charge of us explain it and also, give us a clue on what is the best seller.

The barista said that the unique point of their shop is that customers can choose the beans and method of brewing for their coffee. I chose a Chemex pour and Son's Farm beans (I am not really sure how to use the terms so correct me if I'm wrong).

The menu explains each brewing methods of Immersion and Pour Over. It also describes tastes of the beans so we at least had an idea on what we're getting at. I opted for a light, smooth and sweet finish for both brewing method and beans.

They served the coffee in a flask, and a small cup. I must say, it wasn't love at first sip. In fact, I doubted whether I'll be able to finish it all. I gave it another try, added a packet of sugar and it tasted better, 3rd sip and then 4th until I drank it all. The taste improves in every sip, I almost ordered for another cup but we had been drinking coffee all day so I had to restrain myself.

All in all, I recommend this cafe to those who loves coffee in its purest form. No syrup, milk or artificial flavors. Just pure, elegantly brewed coffee. 

address: 3/F p. q. 1, 27 Ngô Đức Kế, Bến Nghé, Ho Chi Minh City
opening hours: 8 AM - 9 PM
Savoury crepe stuffed with mushroom and topped with melted cheese. It was perfect!
Staircase was too pretty, we just had to snap photos

La Rotonde

After Gac Hoa cafe, we hailed another cab and headed to La Rotonde, The location is much easier to find compared to the other cafes we've been to. Below are the only photos we had at the cafe because apparently they charge 300 VND(around $13-$14) if we want to take pictures using my camera. We kinda just lost the enthusiasm to take any picture after that because well, uhm, we find the idea totally ridiculous. Anyway, we ordered affogato and cheese cake, the taste was okay, nothing extra ordinary. 

There were a lot of tourists in the cafe though, I'm not really sure why.   The place was nice for an afternoon chill but I could spend it on another cafe and it wouldn't make any difference.

address: 77 Hàm Nghi, Nguyễn Thái Bình, 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
opening hours: 7 AM 0 11:30 PM

Monday, 12 September 2016

Gac Hoa Cafe, Vietnam

Gac Hoa Cafe

This cafe is hidden in a small alley. And when I say hidden, I mean literally, if we were not intentionally looking for it, we wouldn't have guessed that it was the cafe. In fact, we still had to ask the people around the area to find that it was just in front of us lol. It is cleverly located above a flower shop managed by the same owner so it was understandable that the whole cafe was decked with pastel colored and fragrant flowers. These flowers were freshly picked and arranged everyday. We came around lunch time and they were just starting to place new flowers in the shop and there were very few customers in the cafe.

There was not much variety on their menu so don't come here if you want something heavy to eat, although it was to be expected on such a small cafe. We ordered rose tea and rose cake, coconut smoothie and a vanilla latte. Unfortunately,  the rose cake was not available so we just settled for drinks. I am very picky when it comes to coffee but I was satisfied with how my vanilla latte tasted; it was creamy, not too sweet and light bitterness. 

This cafe is ridiculously photogenic, definitely instagrammable, we couldn't stop snapping photos! The space was small but each corner has something worth the snap and the lighting was perfectly romantic.

There is also an outdoor space located at the rooftop of the cafe with a rustic garden theme. We didn't hang out there though because the weather was warm and humid.

I can't tell you much about how to get there but it was 40 mins - 1 hour ride, depending from the traffic, from our hotel(Vien Dong Hotel). We took a cab and just flashed the address to the driver and walked our way to the cafe using GPS.

The space is smaller than how it looked in the pictures but I would still recommend this place for the ambiance, quiet surrounding, fragrant flowers and good coffee!

Address: 92/17 Phạm Ngọc Thạch, 3, Vietnam
Opening hours: 7 AM - 10 PM

Cafes in Vietnam open really early lol.

Forgot to snap a photo before gulping down my Vanilla latte + Rose tea
Stair access to the cafe
Flower shop just below the cafe

Happy 3 friends
We also visited 2 more cafes: The Workshop Cafe and La Rotonde, I will make a separate entry for that soon^^.
If you want to see clips of the cafe, do check out my vlog about my short trip to Vietnam: 


Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Reunification Palace

This year, we had our annual staff retreat in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. 

It was a 4D3N trip but being in a company trip meant we can't go anywhere we wanted to. The first 2 days were spent visiting international schools(I'm a teacher FYI) and pre - planned meals with everyone. Only on the 3rd day of our stay did we get the chance to explore the city on our own. 

Rather than going for the traditional tours aka Mekong River cruise and Cu Chi Tunnels, my friends and I all agreed to go for cafe hopping instead, which I will talk about on a separate post: 

click belowe for links"

Gac Hoa Cafe
To be completely honest, I did not expect a lot from this trip. I blame the people around me for feeding my mind with not-so-good thoughts about Vietnam(eg. bad traffic, snatchers, nothing much to explore on etc). Although the traffic part was quite true, it wasn't that bad, I've seen far worse traffic jam and I believe it was a still better situation in Ho Chi Minh. 

The streets were lively. The park opposite our hotel were full of people, young and old, playing street games, badminton, walking their pets or simply sitting on a bench. There were lots of vendors at the sidewalks where you can buy coconut juice(YESSSSS), fruits and all kinds of stuff. There were plenty of quirky shops and pretty cafes; like we can find 3-4 different in each corner of Ho Chi Minh, I am not even kidding.

Oh and yeah, there were motorbikes EVERYWHERE, if only I pursued learning to ride one when my dad was trying to teach me, I would have rented a motorbike and joined the fun lol.
Generally speaking, Vietnam was definitely a lot better than what people around me seemed to think. In fact, I liked it. I liked its clean but vibrant streets with lots of vendors selling food I've never seen before or local crafts. I liked all the fairy lights and LED flashing at each corner and seriously, I LOVED it most that coffee was within reach everywhere I go.

So here are the few places we've been to from our short but satisfying trip!

Reunification Palace
It was previously known as the Independence Palace but was renamed Reunification Palace after a completed negotiation between the communist in North and South Vietnam. It one of the must see architecture site and tourist attraction in Ho Chi Minh.

Address: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia street, Ben Thanh, district 1, Ho Chi Minh 
Opening hours: 7.30-11am and 1-4pm

Central Post Office
Our guide gave us only 15 minutes to explore this area including Notre Dame and I was not feeling well at that time so we just passed on exploring inside and had a rest at a nearby cafe instead.

Address: 2 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, tp. Hồ Chí Minh, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Opening hours: 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral
1, Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh at Night
We went to a night market nearby our hotel called Ben Than Market. There were plenty of local goods you can buy to bring your family and friends back home some souvenirs. 

TIP: bargain all you can! Prices can literally drop to half of its 'original' cost. There were also lots of local street food sold at the sidewalks. The one pictured below was my favorite! Sticky rice with different flavors topped with coconut milk and flakes! I was not able to capture how the night market looks like because I was too engrossed taking a video lol. I will share with you the link of all the clips I've taken from our trip at the end of this post!


Vien Dong Hotel

Good location! Walking distance to the night market, plenty of nearby cafes, malls, 24 hour shops and bakery. Loved the minimalist room interior, abundance of white color combined with pastel paintings. Small bathroom bathroom but has bathtub(hooray).

Thin walls, I can hear and totally understand the conversation of the people staying in the room next to ours. Bed kept on moving. No swimming pool(for those who wanted a dip after a long day).

St. Dist. 1, 275A Phạm Ngũ Lão, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

link of vlog(if that's what you call it) of our short trip including the cafes we visited below: