Back Stateside

That was the shortest week ever… but we’re happy to get that week off. We are now back stateside. There is a delay on our way to Tampa. We went through rough air on our way from Japan to the US. The airline automatically moved our connecting flight to a later flight. From a 1 and half hour layover in Detroit, we will be here for 5 hours. Missing everyone from back home!! We will see each other again soon. Hopefully the wait won’t be as long as the last time. For the ones that we didn’t get to see, we’re very sorry. We had very limited time. I didn’t announce my arrival since I wanted to make time for our very large family. Thank you to our family and relatives who took the time and travelled from faraway places, some by plane and some by bus. We truly appreciate you coming to see us and making it a small reunion. For other relatives who weren’t able to make it, we will do this again soon. But by then I know how we should plan it. Chris and I had a great time and wished that we could stay longer. But we had to. Now that we are back, we are already making plans of coming back. So, just don’t be surprise if you see us, or just me, back in Durian City soon, for a visit. We love you all and miss you all already. It was not an easy ride to the airport. As we got further and further away from the house, it made me very emotional. The flight from Davao to Manila was incredibly difficult. But we don’t want to be sad. We should be happy that we were able to spend time together. The beauty of technology is, we can see each other on a regular basis. So, we shouldn’t be sad. I see now that posting on facebook and my blog will help with that. I will try to post as much as I can from now on. ūüôā I will update again later.

ASL 05.11.2018 (Detroit Airport, Michigan)

Hula Hoop Dance

My friend, Courtney doing  her Hula Hoop dance.
She’s really good at it.¬† ¬†She makes it look so easy!!
When I tried it myself, I could barely keep the Hula Hoop spinning around my waist.
I can also see this as a good work out.  But I think I will stick to Zumba instead.

St. Petersburg, FL
April 14, 2018

Hello Spring!

grasshopper flower-9

Hello Spring! ¬†Although I didn’t appreciate all the pollens you have placed on my car. ¬†Not to mention, my allergies acting up for weeks! ¬†I still welcome you, Spring Time!

I love seeing the flowers blooming.  The vibrant green leaves on every tree and bush in the garden, just so beautiful!

It’s been a year since you’ve been here. ¬†I can say that there’s a difference in the air this year. ¬†Is it because things look a lot better than my year before or the year before that? ¬† Oh Spring, were you this beautiful 2 years ago? ¬†That time, I was in recovery. ¬†That felt like a long time ago. ¬†I remember wishing how time should just fast forward to the future and let me look back in the past and say, “wow, that really happened? I really went through that?” ¬†I’m still in disbelief. ¬†But now, I can proudly say, “I’m a fighter. I survived.”

Hello Spring! ¬†Did you think I was going to be defeated? ¬†Did you not see I was meant to rise and bloom again? ¬†Now, I’m blooming like a flower after a winter chill. ¬† Yes, Spring! ¬†We meet again. ¬†I have become a warrior of teal, pink and purple with a butterfly seal on my shield. ¬†Did you not hear of my victory? ¬†You must have! ¬†It was a beautiful victory.

Hello again Spring! ¬†May this be a good Spring time. ¬†ūüôā


ThyCa Warrior

An Absolutely Sarap Find in Tallahassee, FL

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A few months ago, we celebrated Thanksgiving Day weekend with the family in Tallahassee, Florida.  A family member had mentioned that a Filipino restaurant had opened in the area and that we should try it out.  We have had our disappointments before in trying out different Filipino restaurants around Florida.  Many of them were very generic, to say the least.  Eating at some of those places felt like being in a relationship that is not working out but you refuse to admit it and still try to make it work.  Nevertheless, we still decided to try this new place out.

We were heading out of Tallahassee after checking out of the hotel.  It was close to noon so we thought of grabbing some lunch before heading out.  We remembered about the newly opened Filipino restaurant that someone had told us.  We searched for it on the internet and found the address.  We were still skeptic and really kept our expectations very low.

We arrived at¬†Real Sarap¬†and asked them first if we can dine outside with our dog. ¬† They said it was fine. ¬†Looking at the menu, there were just so many good dish to choose from. ¬†But since were still going to have to drive back to Tampa, we decided to keep our order small so we won’t have a food coma.

Real Sarap is a restaurant featuring Filipino Home-style Cooking.  Sarap means delicious or tasty in Filipino / Tagalog.  Saying delicious in Tagalog is masarap, and Real Sarap really lived up to its name.  The food was delicious!

We ordered pork barbecue, pork¬†adobo, and¬†lumpiang shanghai (spring rolls). ¬†They were all delicious! ¬†But I love the pork barbecue the most. ¬†It was marinated well, which made the meat really tender and the flavor was spot on. ¬†The price of the food is not bad at all. ¬†It’s not cheap, but it’s not expensive either. ¬†We will definitely be eating there again when we visit Tallahassee in the near future.

Check out their menu:

Real Sarap at Tallahasee, FL   11/25/18
Ainee Photography

Hot Sour Soup for Sunday Lunch

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Chris, my husband,¬†decided to cook some¬†Pork Sinigang for lunch. ¬†He’s really good at cooking it. ¬†¬†Ehem!¬†*clears throat* ¬†It’s my recipe of course! *wink*

Pork Sinigang, also known as Pork Tamarind Soup, is a Filipino dish. ¬†It’s usually compared with¬†Thai dish,¬†Tom Yum / Hot & Sour soup. ¬†The¬†Pork Sinigang¬†is a sour soup but definitely not spicy. ¬† It’s good to eat with lots of rice, by letting the rice soaked with the¬†sinigang soup. ¬†The¬†Sinigang is also good cooked with shrimp instead of pork. ¬† There is also fish¬†sinigang, which they normally use¬†bangus (Milk Fish). ¬†Mmmm…¬†My mouth is salivating just thinking about it. ¬†Going to go ahead and finish eating my bowl of¬†sinigang. ¬†*burp*

Pork Sinigang 04/01/18

Sick Days Nourishment

I have been sick for a few days this past week. ¬†These are just some of my go to nourishments when I’m sick. ¬† Rehydrating myself with some gatorade and taking some egg flower soup with crab and corn. ¬† This Knorr egg flower soup / egg drop soup is very tasty. ¬†I usually go for the¬†Crab & Corn¬†flavor. ¬†It’s pretty easy to make – just add one egg! ¬†I also cooked some¬†Chicken Tinola¬†(Filipino Chicken Soup). ¬†Chicken Tinola¬†is one of my main “go-to” when I’m sick. ¬†I usually cook it with a lot of ginger too. ¬†So it’s good for the throat. ¬†I’ll take photos of Chicken Tinola the next time I make it.

Photos РAinee Photography  03/27/18

Spaghetti with Hotdogs


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Hubby was craving for some good spaghetti, Filipino style. ¬†So I cooked some of our family’s version of spaghetti.

You’ve probably heard of the Filipino Version of Spaghetti.¬† Most common things people will probably say are, “It’s sweet” “It has hotdogs!” ¬†“They are oddly delicious!”

Although some put banana ketchup on their spaghetti sauce, for our version we don’t. ¬†But you can always add the banana ketchup as a toppings, if you are really craving for that flavor.

Spaghetti with Hotdogs 03.23.2018

Pinakbet, a Filipino Dish

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Pinakbet or pakbet is a Filipino dish made with several dishes sauteed together for a very nice savory meal.

This version of this pinakbet or pakbet only has the following ingredients:  pumpkin, string beans, bitter melon, vegetable oil, garlic oil, chicken bullion, soy sauce, salt and pepper.

Normally this dish would have shrimp paste or meat.  It should also have some eggplant and okra.  But I made some renditions today because these were the only ingredients I had in the fridge.  Although, I did have some shrimp paste, but my husband is not very fond of it.  So I had to make do without it for now.  I will post a recipe of this dish soon.  For now, I hope  you find these photos delectable.

Pinakbet 03/17/18


Bitter Melon Scrambled Omelette

Growing up my parents didn’t force us to eat broccoli.¬† Instead, they forced my brothers and I to eat ampalaya¬†(Tagalog word for bitter melon).¬†¬†Compared to bitter melon, eating a broccoli would be like eating chocolates. My brothers and I really hated it growing up.¬† But surprisingly when you grow up, you tend to crave for things that you’ve eaten when you were a kid.

I have only made this once before.¬† I don’t remember if my husband ate it.¬† This time, he actually tried it and finished a whole serving himself.¬† I was so happy that he finished it!

I think what helped in making it less bitter is because we squeezed it with water and salt before cooking it.  It tasted really delicious.  We finished it all before the rice was even cooked.

Want to try out cooking this bitter melon recipe?

Here’s our version of Bitter Melon Scrambled Omelette



Eggs (2) 
Bitter Melon / Ampalaya (0.5 lbs or 2 regular pieces) 
Tomato (2 one inch diameter tomatoes) 
Garlic (1 clove) – or –¬† (substitute:¬† a teaspoon of garlic oil)
Chicken Bullion (optional)


  1. Cut bitter melon in half – like when you’re chopping a log – have stand upright or laying – whichever way that will help you slice it in half
  2. Remove the seeds using spoon scraping all of of the seed and dry spongy type texture
  3. Once seeds have been removed you can now start half moon cut the bitter melon.  When cutting you need to cut it really thin. But not too thin that it would look like it was shaved cheese.  I would say about no thicker than 0.25 centimeters
    After chopping / cutting, the bitter melon should be shaped like a rainbow (not kidding!)
  4. Place chopped bitter melon in a bowl – a salad bowl would work nicely for this
    Add 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of iodized salt
    Using your hands mix the bitter melon with water and salt while trying to squeeze the bitter melon.  Doing this, will help in decreasing the bitter taste of the vegetable.  I would say to try to do this until the vegetable look a bit thinner than when you originally cut it.  Then, drain water.
  5. Heat up the pan with vegetable oil and stir fry the chopped garlic
    Then the bitter melon about 5 minutes or until it changes color and starts to get limp – keep the pan in high heat
  6. Add the tomato (rough chopped)
  7. (OPTIONAL)   Add chicken bullion (half a cube or a teaspoon) with 1/4 cup of water and stir, still in high heat, let water evaporate
  8. Beat eggs in separate bowl and add in the pan, scramble the eggs until cooked
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste and ready to serve on a plate

This dish is usually eaten as a side with the rice.
Next time, I’ll try to take pictures of the prep work.
Let me know how yours tasted like.

Bitter Melon Scrambled Omelette – 03.17.18