Dining

Sugbo Mercado: The Definitive Guide to the New Normal

“Where to, next?”

I looked to my new acquaintance Emerson for actual literal guidance after placing my order for a Tom Yum (“As spicy as you can make it!”) at Dee Soi 40, which had opened recently.

It was a dreary October day and Emerson was my dream guy for that afternoon because of his ability to make decisions regarding something that has always rendered many a girl (and yes, guys too) indecisive when dining out: “What do I want to eat?” This is especially happenstance in Sugbo Mercado where there are currently 42 tenants—not only are there too many choices, but there are too many good choices.

Fashion, People

Susanne Verallo: State of the Artesana

Susanne Verallo

Susanne Verallo made the first move.

The first time we met each other, just a little over two years to this day, was at the opening of Go Lokal in Ayala Center Cebu, a concept store for up-and-coming Filipino entrepreneurs to showcase their products. I was looking at a display of minaudières and was fascinated with their iridescent detail under the harsh shop lights when someone approached me.

“Hello,” her voice was soft-spoken and polite. “I’m Susanne Verallo.”

The name immediately rang a bell—after all, it was proudly displayed next to the statement bags that had so caught my attention.

We shook hands and made small talk about her products, particularly about how the minaudières on display were among her last. She explained that they take too much effort and generate a lot of waste to make, and will be shifting her focus to jewelry instead.

Dining

Still Got the Blu’s: Radisson Blu Cebu

Photo: Radisson Blu Cebu/Facebook

I continue to be fascinated with how establishments are adapting in these strange, unprecedented times. There are so many things to consider now, all the same but different as well—full face shield, or half? Contact tracing in several mall outlets, but not to the entrance of the mall itself? Is border control even still a thing?

So many inconsistencies, it’s comforting to know one thing that remained constant: Radisson Blu Cebu. After a few months of being closed because of the pandemic, this beautiful city hotel with the best beds ever recently reopened their doors. They did so in epic fashion as well, with the excitement-inducing drone shots of their room windows counting down the days.

It was such a delight to finally be back, yet it’s striking how the hotel’s once-bustling lobby is eerily quiet, though not any less welcoming. Radisson Blu Cebu is SGS-certified and follows a 20-step hygiene protocol that includes social distancing measures, implementing hand hygiene stations around the property, and increased frequency in cleaning and disinfection. 

Dining

We All Deserve a Good Drink This Year, and Cicada Gets It

Item no. 48 on things-I-will-never-take-for-granted-again-after-quarantine: A craft cocktail.

No one come at me for how far down it is on my list. Being able to freely leave the house, having work, hugging people, spending time with friends, watching movies in theaters, not having to put on face masks, and wearing lipstick all have to go somewhere.

A craft cocktail never even crossed my mind, perfectly content as I was to have my alcohol content in the form of a Rum Coke I can easily fix myself. One part rum to three parts Coca-Cola, and I’ll even add a lemon garnish if I’m feeling fancy.

I’m not bitter. Also, I don’t have bitters—which is why my drinks at home are rudimentary at best.

But with the shitshow that is 2020, we really do deserve a good drink, and thankfully Cicada by Circa 1900 gets it.

Dining, Journal

Some Sense of Normalcy: Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Well, it only took 160 days since the pandemic outbreak, but I finally went out for purely leisure reasons for the first time today.

It is kind of hard to turn down lunch at Hai Shin Lou, not when there’s peppercorn squid at stake.

(And also an actual meal in which I don’t have to do the dishes, let’s be real.)

Throughout the quarantine period, I’ve been doing the sensible thing and staying home as much as possible, not that I had much reason to go out if you don’t count my rapidly dwindling mental health. Milk tea deliveries and video calls became the norm, and suddenly five months have passed and we’re halfway through the year already.

Dining

I Donut Know What to Do Without Milk Cheese Donuts

In the latest edition of what’s everyone going crazy about these days, I skipped gardening and hopped straight on the Milk Cheese Donuts bandwagon.

I donut have any regrets.

For a lot of people, this is a nostalgic treat—a pastry sprinkled with milk. Not for me though, as I’ve only heard about it because of my FOMO and my shameless propensity to jump on any hype.

Beauty

It’s Do or DIY

Everyone who knows me is well-aware of the fact I love to change my hair around every now and then. From jet black to platinum blonde and every color in between, name a color, I’ve tried it… well, perhaps except for an intentional orange. It also applies to haircuts, though that’s a little more limiting.

Then the quarantine period came and stayed, and all of a sudden it’s been five months since I last stepped into a salon, much more actually do something with my hair. In fact, I think it’s in the healthiest condition it’s been in ever since I first went blonde, but that came at the expense of my mental health, which apparently is intrinsically linked to what I do with my hair (who knew?).

Dining, Journal

Oh, For Goodness’ Bake

It used to be that whenever I needed to get out of my head, I’d lie in bed for hours, phone on silent with the screen facing down while I stared up at the ceiling if I wasn’t lost in a book.

Then 2020 happened, and that was basically life every single day for the past five months. What was a sanctuary to keep me sane is now breeding ground for a plethora of mental issues, new and recurring alike brought to you by extreme isolation, everyday anxiety about life on hold, the lack of sunlight, and probably the fact that I haven’t done anything new to my hair in a long time.

Mostly I get by—and, really, I can only say that because I’ve been feeling so devoid of emotion I actually haven’t had a breakdown in months. So my days have been divvied up between just lying in bed and being absolutely useless at worst, and just lying in bed doing absolutely useless stuff at best.

(I’d start calling myself a robot, but I think that’s an insult to them—at least they have purpose.)