Triple Celebration


Saturday, the fourth of August, was my birthday and the first Saturday I was spending time with Ericke in my three years as a Los Angeles resident (I officially became an Angeleno the day after my birthday in 2015. I’ve been working all weekends since I found a job, and I just got my best gift ever. Nothing tops the taste of weekend… cheers to life, love and family!

Literally stopped and smelled the roses.


Nothing better than The Ivy in Beverly Hills for my birthday brunch with Ericke. Still in mourning black, yet feeling the freshness of life without my father — celebrating the full and long life he had, and my new existence with a guardian angel who I believe was instrumental in the unpredicted new normal week for me.



Ericke brought me to Glossier, and we took photos at the Canyon Room. As we were strolling along the chic Melrose Place, we hatched a new project.


Never one to back out from challenges, I was pretty stoked but anxious to claim the initial funding for a more purposeful pursuit, my actual birthday present from Ericke which we got from Blick. Praying for an abundance of energy and an overload of inspiration. Hello, heaven!


My mom and I had an AYCE dinner date in the evening. It felt good to be home.

Sunday night was reserved for my sister Nikko and Ed. They brought me to one of LA’s finest, Redbird in the downtown. The restaurant used to be a rectory.


I’ve been craving for foie gras for years and I got one on rhubarb jam with crisp and light as air lychees. Hurrah to the lifting of the foie gras ban in California! We also had hamachi with teasing kumquat, calamansi and coconut cream fraiche, beef tartare with egg yolk jam, perfectly seared scallops on a bed of oxtail orzo and peas, squid ink bucatini in uni butter (the burst of flavors hits you after a while, literally orgasmic), and halibut with charred corn, potato cream and unexpected chicharon (fried pork rinds).

Food here, by Chef Neal Fraser, is all about a masterfully crafted singleness of various elements, textures and flavors. I have nothing unpleasant to say about the honest “degustacion” treat.


A universal tradition… not one, but two cakes — Vietnamese coffee and not your basic banana cake.


Birthday wishes do come true… chase them.


Family Time in Rancho Mirage


Rancho Mirage is in the Palm Springs area of California. It’s my only brother John’s city. My sister-in-law Marichi and yaya Tata we’re cooking a Filipino fiesta, complete with bellychon to celebrate my nephew Jonathan’s birthday. So mom and pop, my sister Nikko and I drove two hours to the desert. Dropped by the Cabazon outlets where it was super hot.

Through the car windowPalm SpringsRancho Mirage

I was seeing my brother’s gorgeous home for the first time. His old house was also at Rancho Mirage. That was where I spent brief vacations twice, once with the kids and another with the husband.

DSC_4028Birthday CakeJonathan and MargeDSC_4051Baked BellychonDSC_4055Kare-kare

Food was so good, especially the kare-kare with ox tail and lechon (inspired by their brother-in-law Oliver’s recipe). And the piña colada cake they got from Tony Bahama was pure paradise. Jonathan and I blew a red velvet cake. Talk about making another wish.

The gathering was beautiful though brief. Family photos have become so rare, like it took decades before another good ones.

DSC_4071Birthday CakePancitDSC_4052Dr. John Lo and familyFamilySiblingsThree GenerationsPopsieDSC_4034DSC_4115Palm Springs Sunset
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Wish I May, Wish I Might

Urban PalmBirthday Cake

Friends know my notoriety for celebrating birthdays soberly. But what people don’t know is that, year in, year out, I’ve secretly wished for a cake.

On my birthday yesterday, I got a daintily decorated pandan chiffon by Justine of Malate from my sisters-in-law. We celebrated at my brother-in-law’s house. We brought home-cooked birthday misua and fruit salad, crab foo yong from my caterer friend, Joan, and the fragrantly appetizing bellychon I ordered from Chef James. I like it low-key and intimate for now ‘coz next year’s is going to be phenomenal, promise!

Birthday Cake collageBourbon St.BellychonPicture 110collageThe TansCouch
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