Dog-friendly San Luis Obispo

I didn’t want to be lazy and wanted to start my year right that’s why I am posting my first blog post for the year.

Because we didn’t have international travel plans for the Christmas Holidays of 2016, we thought it would be fun to have a spontaneous trip out of town with our adopted dog, Lily.  We adopted Lily from Irvine Animal Shelter back in April 29, 2016.  Since then, she has changed our family 360 degrees.

It’s about a 4-5 hour drive from our home to San Luis Obispo.  I researched online and found out that SLO is truly a pet-friendly tourist destination.  This is our second time in SLO, Morro Bay was our first destination back in Spring Break of 2015.

This was Lily’s first family vacation.  As a 3rd -chance adopted dog, I think Lily is one lucky pet.

Old Porte Beach, Leash-free Dog Beach
Lily met some new friends at Avila Valley Barn

Lily at Laguna Lake Park, SLO

Lily watching her first sunset at Eldwayen Ocean Park

Lily and her Alpha
Stations of the Cross at Mission of Santa Barbara
Lily at the Old Mission of Santa Barbara

Balikbayan Filipino Street Food at Centris Weekend Market

2014 was the year I feasted my eyes with local Filipino food at the Centris Weekend Market in Quezon City, Manila.  This is a place where my sister would go every early Sunday morning to get her produce and ready-cooked Filipino food for a simple weekend treat.

It was a super humid day but I forgot about my sweaty nape and back, just by staring at all the local delicacies and fresh Filipino vegetable varieties.

Without a doubt, I had to have my Taho (soybean pudding with brown sugar syrup and sago pearls), my cheese and ube (yam) flavored Sorbetes (local Pinoy “dirty” street ice cream — it’s NOT dirty, it’s just the way Filipinos got used to calling it), my coffee Barako (fresh local Batangas coffee) and my Lumpiang Sariwa/Ubod (Vegetable egg rolls from the heart of Banana palms wrapped in crepe, served with sweet sauce infused with fresh minced garlic and ground roasted peanuts).

This is a must-see, a must-visit and a must-experience place to go to for all the Balikbayans going to Quezon City.


Mamang Sorbetero. Order your ice cream on a cup, a cake cone or a bun!! Yes, a BUN!


Arurusip (seaweed) and Manila Clams


Local Roasted Cashew nuts
Wild Pig and Deer Tapas (Dried or Cured Meat)
Sugar-Apple or Atis in Filipino… Childhood memories eating this for snack.
Variety of Dried & Smoked Fish
Ready to eat deep fried snack varieties (Fish, Pork belly, Ukoy, etc)
Heart-attack in a tray (Deep fried Pork skin and fat)
Exotic roasted Calf
My favorite Filipino Pork Barbecue in a Stick!! A must eat for everyone.
Fried here, fried there, fried everywhere!!! Time to eat! Great with Spicy vinegar dipping sauce.

Smokey grilled fish


Duk bokki (Spicy rice cakes 떡볶이)

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Also known as Tteokbokki, this is a popular Korean snack food.  I first tasted this from the to-go counter at a local Korean Supermarket.  My husband likes this a lot and because it’s so easy to make, we prefer making our own than buying from the store.

Here’s my easy recipe:


Rice Cake (Tubes), Green Onions, Fish Cake, Red Bell Peppers, Hot Pepper Paste, Dried Anchovy, Sugar, Sesame Oil and Water

Prepare your ingredients: Wash the rice cakes in cold water and separate the tubes into individual pieces. Slice the fish cakes, green onions and mince the bell pepper.

In a shallow pan, add 3-4 cups of cold water and add 5-10 large pieces of dried anchovies depending on your taste(making sure to remove the heads and intestines).  Cover your pan and boil for a couple of minutes over medium high heat.  Remove the anchovies and add the rice cakes, 5 Tbsp. of hot pepper paste and 1 Tbsp. of sugar.  Mix and simmer for 1 minute.

Add the remaining ingredients, bell peppers, fish cakes and green onions.  Keep cooking and stir until the spicy sauce thickens.  Before serving, add a dash of sesame oil.  Serve warm!!  Perfect snack, appetizer, or meal.  Enjoy!!!

tsim sha tsui alley (hong kong)

tsim sha tsui alley
Originally uploaded by doyd74

A break from cooking. This photo was taken by me during my first trip to Hong Kong last December 2009 with my family. It was a 7-day side trip to Hong Kong, after visiting Manila for the holidays.

To me, Hong Kong is full of character that needs to be experienced by any person who craves the extraordinary culture of the East. I wanted to capture an image of Hong Kong that will remind me of the “feel” I had when I was there experiencing the country.

The high-rise Hong Kong apartments captured my attention. Just like in Japan (my dream country to visit someday), I like the idea that people can live in small homes because they have to accustom their lifestyle to what resources they have.

My photo shows the busy street along the alley of Tsim Sha Tsui but atop the commercial ground are the quiet homes of Hongkongese. The gloomy and chilly mood during winter time makes it over-the-top for me.

I think I really left my heart… not in San Francisco – but in Hong Kong.



My husband and I were very fortunate to see the island again.  It’s been almost 11 years ago since we’ve been there.  It changed a lot in terms of infrastructure but the people, the spirit of traditional Filipino tropical island hospitality and simplicity and the beauty and wonder of the island still remains.

Bok and I waited for sunset on our second night on the island. We watched the sail boats pass by the horizon as the sun mirrors across the ocean.  At that same moment, I felt happy.  Happy to see that I am with the same person whom I saw this same sunset years ago.

How time flies.  I am happy I have captured this backdrop of Boracay and with Bok as my main subject, it made this my favorite shot during our vacation back home.