5 Creative Planners You Need in Your Life

5 Creative Planners You Need in Your Life

I know its almost the end of the year and a new year is coming right up.

For me, this is a crucial time to look for pretty planner notebooks that will fit my lifestyle for the next year.

If you are anything like me, you'll be scouring the market for anything planner or notebook related to finding the specific style that you most prefer. Worst case, you'll be buying everything but still end up feeling like you don't have the proper one.

As I'm figuring out what to use for the next year, why don't you join me in my search and let's dabble into some cute, exciting, pretty and practical planning/journaling tools? Here is the list of planners that made my choosing extra difficult because I simply need them all in my life. What do you think?

Photo Screencaptured from www.erincondren.com.

1. Eric Condren LifePlanner -  It's a highly-customizable planner that provides lots of space for the creative individual. On their site, they provide an area where you can order a Life Planner with your own customized version or you can choose to get the default one for the year. You can add a selection of  accessories to your purchase to make it more personalized - with stickers and pens and such. It comes in a coil-form bound in platinum, gold, rose gold, or black. From its front page to its weekly layout, from color theme to  calendar options you can personalize this planner to suit your own style. The only drawback is its price. It could start from $55 - something around P2655.43 - which is already pretty expensive for a planner, especially if you're just starting out in the planning community. But, you know, a girl can dream!! The reason why this tops my list is because I just couldn't get enough  of the fact that there are so many ways to decorate this planner. Go search 'Plan with Me' on Youtube and you'll know what I'm talking about.

5 Creative Planners You Need in Your Life
Photo ScreenCaptured from www.passionplanner.com
2. Passion Planner - This planner is all about finding, pursuing and focusing on your passion for life. The pages start with explaining how to use and maximize the planner - starting with figuring out what your goals, in general, would be, to breaking down those goals into workable tasks, to putting down those tasks into a specific week and day to be more actionable into reality. They provide free printables of the planner pages every year that you can download and print at the comfort of your own home provided that you share it on your own social media sites. Which is a good plus! Because that's one of the reasons I got attracted to this planner in the first place. If this kind of planner existed when I was undergoing my own post-grad dilemma, my life would have been totally different. So I totally recommend this to millennials who are still at a loss of what to do with their life. Learn more about the Benefits of Passion Planner here. Price range is from 24.99 and up.

5 Creative Planners You Need in Your Life
Photo ScreenCaptured from www.websterspages.com
3. Webster's Pages Planner - Another colorful planner that is more specific in its categories compared to the Eric Condren Life Planner. Its categories include 'Write it Down' ( a space to write random things to do and stuff just to free the mind), 'Memory Keeping' (the place of monthly to-do's, photo motivation, quotes and things you just want to be reminded of), 'Lists to Love' (for daily menu, shopping lists, to-do lists and such), and 'Staying Inspired' (a special space to write down your inspiration or weekly motivational quotes/sayings to keep you going ). I find this planner pretty compact and practical in its categories and really handy for day to day activities. Besides, it's really girly to have in hand too. Price starts at $54.99. I found a store in SM Aura that carries this brand and hopefully they would restock for 2017 version.

5 Creative Planners You Need in Your Life
Photo ScreenCaptured from www.ilovebdj.com
4. Belle De Jour Planner - This one is a classic A5 planner that comes in either Smyth-bound or Spiral-bound. The first planner that got me into the colorful planning scheme, this community has grown drastically over the past few years. It's Philippine-based and perfect for those Pinays starting out in the planning world. It's contents - which includes a monthly spread, weekly spreads in horizontal format and some special pages on the front -  are pretty basic compared to the first 3 planners I've mentioned but they have been changing the way it feels every year. It's very handy but pretty small if you have tons of things going on in your life. The good thing, though, its considerably cheaper than the first 3 - which starts from P580 and up.

5 Creative Planners You Need in Your Life
Photo SceenCaptured from www.bulletjournal.com
5. Bullet Journaling - Also called BuJo to planner fanatics. Now, if you're like me who can't seem to find the right planner every year and every day, Bullet Journaling might be the thing for you. You start out with a plain notebook and you create your own sections, categories and even your own monthly and weekly spreads if necessary. It's highly-customizable and incredibly cheap to start with - all you needs is a notebook and a pen. Got it? If you want to know more about how Bullet Journaling works, watch their intro video here.


  - There are tons of planners/journals in the market today, and choosing which one fits you best could be pretty expensive. I found that the best way to get a glimpse of a specific planner you're looking for is to go watch 'Plan with Me' videos on Youtube. You will notice how YouTubers will open their specific planner and decorate them with fancy stickers or doodle on them with artsy designs. From there, you would see how the planner would look like and feel if it works for you as well. Additionally, try searching for 'unboxing' videos as well (e.g. 'Kikki K Unboxing', 'Unboxing my Eric Condren Life Planner'). Those keywords might be useful too.

- If you reside in the Philippines and you find that most of the planners are US-based, and can be pretty pricey if you do shipping internationally, try joining a planner community like Planner Community Philippines (PCPH) in Facebook where you can interact with other planner addicts who might want to sell or trade their planners they want to destash. It's an interactive community where you can meet crazy creative and awesome people who lovingly share their planner decors for everyone's inspiration. They also have giveaways now and then - perfect for if you're really active in the community.

- One of the local blogs that I follow for Philippine-based planner sticker shops and all-things-about-paper and journaling is a start-up blog by Rej, whom I met in PCPH a while back. It's called  The Paper Junkie, where she blogs about anything planner related and some tips and tricks to do it fun and creatively.

- If you run out of gift ideas for friends and families this Christmas, perhaps a planner or two can help solve your problem. Easy-peasy!!

So, after reading all of this, what are your thoughts about planners and papers and such? Hopefully, this inspires you to go on with your own search for a planning tool that you can use all throughout your wonderful life!

A Glimpse of Jim Thompson Factory Sales Outlet

A Glimpse of Jim Thompson Factory Sales Outlet

As you might have noticed, I'm really all over fabrics right now for my growing fabric addiction.

I didn't know Jim Thompson at first, but my companions thought it would be cool to visit its factory outlet since we were already in Thailand.

Good thing we did. Since it was only after we visited when I realized Jim Thompson is really a big deal there!

Well if you don't know who Jim Thompson is - he was an American businessman who helped revitalized the Thai silk industry in Thailand.  He was so successful in doing so that he eventually helped a lot of poor Thai people out of poverty. Unfortunately, he mysteriously disappeared in 1967 with no clue at all. Nevertheless, the Thai industry remained on its peak and has become part of the Thai culture, while Jim Thompson was considered a hero to the local people.

Jim Thompson have many retail stores on his name scattered all over Thailand and in the whole world. His name became the standard of high-end fabrics, starting from the time Thai silk was used for the Rodgers and Hammerstein Musical, The Kind and I. He has a foundation under his name, his house was turned into a museum and to make it more accessible to the public, they even opened up factory sales outlets for their expensive fabrics!

It's all over Thailand but we went into the one in  Sukhumvit Soi 93. It has five storeys with the fifth floor containing a cozy cafe. Each floor contains different items for sale.

Even though it's a factory outlet, they were still really nice and formal so taking photos or videos were completely forbidden. We did sneak in some snapshots here and there to show you guys how it looks like.
A Glimpse of Jim Thompson Factory Sales Outlet

A Glimpse of Jim Thompson Factory Sales Outlet

A Glimpse of Jim Thompson Factory Sales Outlet

Jim Thompson Factory Sales Outlet is at 153 Soi Sukhumvit 93, Bangchak,Phakanong, Bangkok 10260
Tel: 02-332-6530-4, 02-742-4601-3 Ext 11-13
Fax: 02-333-0954
Opening hours: 09.00 am. - 06.00 pm.

Shopping at ChinaWorld Fabric Outlet

Shopping at ChinaWorld Fabric Outlet
Apparently, there are more to Thailand than sweet fruits and cheap goods.

I didn't know that fabrics could be so cheap there as well!

When we decided to visit China World, I thought it would be another store with rows of outdated fabric prints or something like Mood, which only holds expensive designer fabrics.

Well, I was wrong.

Shopping at ChinaWorld Fabric Outlet
ChinaWorld is Situated along Phahurat Market (Little India) in Bangkok. Why it's called ChinaWorld is because it's in the borderline of Little India and China Town. It's even more confusing since there were more Indians inside when were there than Chinese. That's according to few other blogs I've read on the net.

The reason why it's more popular among other textile shop in this area is because, along the streets of Phahurat Market where there are more textile sellers scattered all around, it's the building that is more  foreigner friendly with its air conditioned building and accommodating sellers. It's 6 stories tall with the 6th-floor containing wedding dress gallery and a mini supermarket - which is totally convenient since shopping for long period of time could really make you hungry and make your little legs really numb.

Shopping at ChinaWorld Fabric Outlet
Another reason would be the fact that they have incredibly good deals with their bolts and bolts of fabric. Their prices range from 65 bhatt per yard to 100 bhatt. and up. It's surprising for me to find 7 yards for 100 bhatt, as well, for outdated fabric prints. Which is totally AMAZING!!!! No wonder clothes and other apparels have always been so cheap there!

If given another chance, I would totally go back here and buy more fabrics.

Shopping at ChinaWorld Fabric Outlet
Shopping at ChinaWorld Fabric Outlet
ChinaWorld is located at  677 Chakphet Rd, Khwaeng Wang Burapha Phirom, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand.

Opens at 9:00 am to 8:00 pm. Monday to Sunday.

Find ChnaWorld here:

Bangkok: City Night Lights

I know I've been absent for a couple of weeks.

For some reason, I still find it hard to get back on track after coming back from a certain trip.

But the reason for my absence is because my sister and I went to Bangkok, Thailand with a couple of our church friends.

It's rare that we were allowed to go out of the country by ourselves so when that time comes, we are ecstatic! You know the feeling...

Anyway, since I'm back home, it's time to get back to work and share everything we have done there.

We mostly shopped and dined there, tried out the different fruits that are definitely sweeter compared to the fruits we have here.

We also checked out some cool fabric stores in the area, which definitely made our head swirling because of all the materials you could choose from. And to top it all off, they were all so cheap!!

But one of the things that captured my admiration there were the dazzling city night lights that Bangkok has to offer.

I know there are tons of cities in the world that offer a more alluring sight.

But Bangkok, for me, has this unique vibe in it that simply stands out. It's quiet noise was soft in the ears. Not like the boisterous loud sounds that would hurt the eardrums. The people were friendly although mostly were foreigners but the locals were equally warm and hospitable enough. Despite the language barrier, I believe, these characteristics have been relevant to the growth of Bangkok.

Regardless of the sweet fruits and cheap goods that I could get here, this is one of the cities that I look forward to seeing again.

Event: 37th Manila International Book Fair

My old-time favorite bookstore had its largest place at the venue.
Clearly, I've been hiding under a rock.

Manila International Book Fair has been happening for 37 years, and this is the first time I've heard and been to it.

This has been crazy!!

When I entered the place at SMX Convention Center, here in SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City, I couldn't breathe. All the things that I loved growing up were there. Books of all kinds were everywhere. There were novelty items sold too. Pens, notebooks, art supplies from different books stores were there as well.

Good news is, it's still open until tomorrow, Sept. 18, 2016, 8:00pm. I really wish I'd known about this a long time ago!

What more can a self-professed book hoarder do?

Of course, as much as I promised myself that I would never ever buy anything from the fair, it totally didn't happen. I did buy a few after realizing that 20% off on the books that I wanted was too much to ignore.

Really! Low prices for books are hard to come by, so if you're a book-lover like me, what else is there to do?

So...a new promise to myself has occurred.

I will never again buy books until the next #MIBF next year. Let's see how that goes.
Rows of bookstores and publishers I've never heard off were all lined up here. 
Really, this many books could make a book-lover really breathless. 
I snapped a photo of this because I never thought Grolier still exist. Apparently, it still does. 
Of course, when you're tired or simply have no money anymore to buy books, make it a reason to just sit down and actually read.
More rows of academic books and novelty items.

After hours of walking around the huge place, I finally decided to succumb to my inner child. 
Truly, I'm gonna wait and save up for the book fair next year!

3 Reasons Why I Ditched OTC Anti-Histamines for Fresh Foods

3 Reasons Why I Ditched OTC Anti-Histamines for Fresh Foods
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional of any sort. Things I say here are based on my own experiences and my own research for my own benefit. I'm simply sharing here the things that work for me. Please do your own research for anything that may work for you. I do not advice on self-medication so please always consult your own specialist or physician before doing any changes in your diet.

Ever since I could remember, I've been prone to allergies and it just happened to become worse as I grew older. I became familiar with over-the-counter antihistamine, like Claritin, Benadryl,CoAltria and such, to the point that I became dependent on it every time I get allergies. I secretly began talking them like actual vitamins!

When I talk about allergies, those are the sneezing, the teary-eyed moment, the itchy, runny nose, the explainable headache, and sometimes, the itchy throat for unknown reasons. It could be a lot worse for someone else, but so far these have been my chronic illness for a long time now. 

Allergic Rhinitis (hay fever) as they call it, is a general ailment that even until now has no medicinal cure. For us who suffer this recurring illness, it has become a habit to always reach for fast-healing OTC antihistamine with hopes that the symptoms will never come back again. 

When I did my research on the effects of OTC antihistamines on the body, I initially came up with none. Perhaps because, at that time, there were little to no research done on the topic. However, I came across an article stating that "antihistamines reduce or block histamines in the body but it may also kill or inhibit the release of Diamine Oxidase (DAO) in the body - the chemical that breaks down histamine to reduce allergy-like symptoms "

Whether this argument has any basis or none, it still alerted me to the fact that anti-histamines still have side-effects. The newer or second generation antihistamines may have lower side-effects than the older or first-generation ones, but one couldn't be any more careful

So here's some of the reasons why I decided to quit taking OTC Antihistamines as long as my body could handle the symptoms.
  1. To Avoid Dependency on the Medication. Obviously, we now live in a face-paced world. We want quick relief of any pain we feel to continue the most important things that we are doing. I, for one, used to be like that. I used to always reach out to antihistamines to get rid of my symptoms quickly. I realize later on that I was being depended on the medication so heavily that, like I said, it almost became one of my vitamins. Our body can only take so much medication and side-effects vary from people to people. Simply said, it's better to make fresh food be our medicine than suffer side-effects for OTC medications in the long run.
  2. To Allow My Body to Heal Itself. Generally speaking, any medications disrupts the ability of the body to heal itself. Instead, we are taking additional chemicals into our body that may or may not have any beneficial effect. For me, as I did my research on alternative cure on my allergies, I found out that there are tons of food that I already have in the kitchen that can help lower or eliminate my symptoms altogether. Some work as quickly as an OTC antihistamine and some don't, but mostly they are all beneficial to the decrease of histamine in the body, for stabilizing the mast cell or for reducing inflammation in the body.
  3. To Reduce Expenses. Basically, switching from medicines to healthy foods could eliminate some unnecessary expenses that we make on a daily basis. Why? Because OTC antihistamines or any OTC medication for this matter can only be effective for so long. You cannot guarantee that it will cure you to the core and that you will never have the ailment in the future again. Aside from that, purchasing OTC antihistamines could be a bit pricey depending on the severity of your case or the kind of medication you need - whether you take capsules, nasal sprays/drops, or any allergy relieving devices. If you think about it, investing your money on healthy fresh foods for treating allergy-like symptoms, like hayfever (allergic rhinitis) have more long-term benefits to the body and have various healing effects. You can reduce the symptoms by being mindful of what you eat than spending a whole lot of money on 'fast-cure' and ending up getting worse in the end. There are lists available already that can help us identify which food to avoid and which ones to take. There are also some who already provided some list of antihistamine rich foods that you can use as replacement for OTC medications. So next time you eat, be mindful of every food you put in your body. You might think the food you're eating is healthy, but for people who suffer excessive histamine in the body, some foods could wreck havoc on the system. 
As you might have noticed. this is my general overview on the topic. Nowadays, histamine-related research has grown tremendously over the past decade.It has become so extensive that fighting off the allergy-like symptom could almost be treated by simply eating the right food and correcting some habits that destroy our body's natural processes. It's a very interesting study and you might be surprised that this tiny chemical in our body could be the very cause of our common illnesses.

I'll be doing more posts with regards to allergic rhinitis, histamine, and body-healing foods later on. But if you have any questions right now, please do let me know so I could add that to the list of my research.

Links provided above are good references that I found along my research from people who I deemed reliable based on similar experiences and have done extensive research on the topic. You can also use them as the a starting point for your own research.

How to get away with Burping in Public

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC
Here's a funny story.

It was a bright happy day when we did our walk around Washington DC back on our US Trip last year.

We stopped in front of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, to get some snacks while waiting for its opening hour.

 I didn't eat much. Just a few bites of chips and sandwich and I was good.

But then, it happened.

I burped. And it was loud.

Bad thing was, we were not alone. Someone was there and heard it.

If I were in the Philippines, burping would be totally normal. Although we all know that it's really bad manners, to some folks here, it's a sign of gratitude tò the server/host that the food you just eat was perfectly good and filling.

But we were in the US. And Washington DC to be exact. Where there were foreigners everywhere.
Well, I was able to cover my mouth and say excuse me to the stranger who heard me. And fortunately enough, the kind lady just laughed at me, although she was just as surprised as I was.

That opened a short exchange of conversation between her and me. She asked where we are from and what we were doing there.

And to be honest, I wasn't that embarrassed at all.

But eventually, I did realize a few things about manners in a foreign country.

  • Do Not Burp Out Loud in a Washington DC Park. Or in any other foreign country for this matter. I can't stress this enough. Keep burping out loud in your home if you can help it. As simple as burping can be, this could ultimately lead to utter embarrassment if not handled properly. Train yourself to be discreet when it comes to burping. Don't be like me.

  • But if you did, cover your mouth and say 'sorry' or 'excuse me' immediately! It's not hard, actually. Just a little practice and you could say those words right after you burped. If all things come to worst, hide or cover your face with something. People will know you're embarrassed with yourself and that you didn't really mean it.

  • Or you could do what I did, just smile and apologize. As simple as that, you could totally get away with it. 

  • You could also gain a friend. You never know. Someone else could totally relate. 

  • ..or maybe just open a small convo with a stranger. Yes. Smiling and apologizing for a common mistake lightens the air when you're in a difficult situation. 

  • And you'd be happy you handled it with grace. Yup. It's that wonderful freeing feeling, not only because you finally burped, but also because you got over an embarrassing moment in a perfectly normal way. 

So that's one of my funny, embarrassing stories. Do you have any suggestions on how to get away with a certain embarrassing moment like this? Share it on the discussion below! I would so love to know!

4 Unexpectedly Unique Beauties found in Sabtang Batanes

View of Ivana Port from San Jose de Ivana Church
If you've never traveled before, you would never expect such a beautiful, tranquil place in the Philippines. But since Pinas is an island made of tiny islands, some of which have only been traversed by extreme adventure seekers, its no wonder that this special place still holds the title of total tranquility.

Continuing the story of our trip in Batanes, here's my take on Sabtang Island, Batanes and beholding the 4 unexpectedly unique Beauties I found in this grandeur island.

  • > Values-themed Cafe/Stores. - If Batan Island has the Honesty Coffee Shop, Sabtang Island welcomes all tourist to its Conscience Cafe & Souvenir Shop. Aren't they all well-themed? 

  • > Well-Maintained Historical Churches/Chapels. - While I know there are tons of churches in the whole of Batanes. Sabtang prides itself of its own churches as well. Here are some of the ones that really captured my eyes as we journeyed along. Notice how they are all well-maintained and clean to the look? It just goes without saying that the locals here have a respect for their own religion. 

San Vicente Ferrer Church
St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel

Sta. Rosa de Lima Chapel in Sabtang Batanes
Sta. Rosa de Lima Chapel
  • > The Admirable Effort that Went Behind the Building of the Stone-houses. I don't know how to emphasize this a lot better. But the stone-houses in this island, particularly, still mesmerises me. It's even made unique once you hear the story of how they used to make this houses in the olden days. I'm sure your chosen tour guide will gladly relay that to you.  

Beside the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel chapel is this old beaterio, an old priest's house. A perfect picturesque view for any occasions! 
Remember this scene from Yeng Constantino's hit MTV song, Ikaw? Yup, I've always wondered where that place was. Now I know. Its even prettier in person.
  • > Breath-taking Scenic Cliff Views - I now believe that remote islands offer the best and tranquil view of the ocean side. Photos and videos really doesn't do any justice to the beautiful creature God has made. You really have to feel the wind blowing against your face and whiff the scent of the ocean beneath to really appreciate these exquisite views.

I know there are tons more of beautiful things to notice in this island, and I would so love to know them all! Please do leave me a comment below to let me know if you found some more! 

Poetry: The Greatest Love I Ever Know

From www.Unsplash.com

There have been many times that I come across individuals like me, who grew up in the local 'Christian' church, but eventually drifted apart because of various reasons. It may be because of work, family situations, but most of the time, they say because they feel left out.

I often wonder why. A church is supposed to be a place of encouragement and motivation. It should be a place where people learn Biblical Standards and be blessed by each others' testimonies.

Instead, I feel like it has become a place of high-minded individuals who act holier-than-thou all the time. Or maybe it has become filled with people who are negative and judgmental to others who are not in the know of the principles and standards that they practice.

If you're someone who thinks like this happens in your church, well, you're not alone. I often felt that negative attack of the devil in my head too. So I ask myself that maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just imagining that they are like that and perhaps they really want the best for me.

And with this kind of thinking, I often end up feeling confused, alone and frustrated in life.

Then reality hit me. What is it that I'm looking for in a church? To whom am I really looking, the people that gathers or the One who leads them all? Where's my attention going, to some senseless emotional blabbing or to the Word of God being preached? What's more important to me, securing my own emotions so I won't get hurt or accepting the truth from the Bible and be matured?

This poem was written during a time like this. To remind myself that it is not in this world where my real joy lies, but to the One who sacrificed it all for me.

The Greatest Love I Ever Know
Jan. 18, 2015
Have you ever felt alone
Not knowing where to go
Have you ever felt down
Always feeling so blue

Know that there is Someone
Who suffered more that you
Sacrificing His life
So we could start anew

He suffered so much there
On the Cross of Calvary
His blood He shed for us
And that's enough, you see

So what'er the worries
how painful it may be
He knows how you're feeling
And He can set you free

I , too, have felt that way
I've no one to lean to
Always feeling so grey
Always feeling so blue

But when I came to see
What He has done for me
I believed He's enough
From sin to set me free

Jesus suffered so much there
On the Cross of Calvary
The blood He shed for me
And that's enough I see

So what'er my worries
How painful it may be
He cares how I feel
And He has set me free

I've done nothing good
To be worthy of You
Your love is just so strong
That's all I ever knew

Your mercy still grows
The greatest love I ever know.

You think Shanghai has dirty foods? Think again!

 Haagen-Dazs's Beautiful Dessert Creations, in Shanghai China
Haagen-Dazs's Beautiful Dessert Creations, in Shanghai China
Contrary to the statements that China is a dirty place to live in, we did find some great tasting foods that will actually bring you back home in one piece.

It was a chilly month when we went there back in 2014 so some foods might not be available during summer. But looking through the food photos that I've found during our stay there, makes me what to go back there all over again - just for these mouth-watering foods.

Being a first timer, here are the select foods that I've found really interesting to look at and equally good to the taste that everyone who wants to visit Shanghai, China, should definitely try!

From Street Sellers to Small Food-Stalls

You might think eating street foods in China is not a good idea, after all the negative feedback we hear in the news or social media shares. Well, you're definitely not alone in that thinking. But as my sister and I were walking down a street going to Yuyuan Garden, we found this interesting thing-in-a-skewer that we absolutely had to try. Because who wouldn't? Look at it!
Tanghulu (Caramelized Chinese Hawthorn in a skewer)
Tanghulu (Caramelized Chinese Hawthorn in a skewer)
Tanghulu (Caramelized Chinese Hawthorn in a skewer)
Tanghulu (Caramelized Chinese Hawthorn in a skewer)
This one is generally called Tanghulu (bingtanghulu), which is basically a delicious treat made from caramelized fruit stuffed into bamboo sticks about 20cm long and is considered a real delicacy for the little ones. Sold on the street especially in tourist areas like the hutongs (alleys) in Beijing's Wangfujing area (one of the most famous avenues in the capital of China), the tanghulu are made by covering the fruit with a layer of hardened sugar that is obtained by immersing the skewer in sugar syrup. But of course there are other variants of the preparations, one of which includes a second chocolate coating, or sesame seeds. In the traditional version, the fruit with the skewer was that of the Chinese hawthorn, but recently vendors have adapted to the tastes of Western tourists, even by using tomatoes, mandarins, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple chunks, bananas, kiwi and grapes, sometimes mixing in the same skewer different types of fruit.(1) And the taste? Definitely satisfying! No wonder its popular among kids!

This next one, has become my all time favorite among the foods I've tasted in Shanghai, China.  Xiaolongbao is a type of steamed bun (baozi) from the Jiangnan region of China, especially associated with Shanghai and Wuxi. It is traditionally prepared in xiaolong, small bamboo steaming baskets, which give them their name. (2) For me, it taste absolutely heavenly, especially when you're hungry. Not to mention the fact that they are so cute! This one in particular was taken when we were in the corner streets of Yuyuan Garden. I've tried several other xiaolongbao in different stores and restaurants, even in Nanxiang Old Street, which is said to be the home of the original xiaolongbao, but for some reasons, this one specifically has become my special favorite.
Xiaolongbao at Yuyuan Garden
Xiaolongbao at Yuyuan Garden
Xiaolongbao at Yuyuan Garden. Aren't they cute??

Now, while we were walking around a town, I had this sudden urge to try an authentic Chinese Siopao - or what the locals call Baozi. Basically a steamed bun with fillings, this version was stuffed with vegetables and tofu. We didn't know, back then, that there are lots of fillings available for a baozi, but fortunately enough, we had this one. Although it was not the delicious meaty-filling I'm used to back in the Philippines, this one was a good try. Be careful though, they say that some fillings they have may never be pleasant to foreign taste buds.
Baozi, or Stuffed Steamed Bun
If you're feeling thirsty after all those carbs, why not try to grab a drink and freshen up a bit? Feeling a bit more crazy, though? Try this. Nothing special though. It's just an ordinary juice in a blood-bank form container.

From Cafes to full blown Restaurants.
I was surprise to see that of most cafes in Shanghai were cozy, inviting and equally tasteful to try. These were the ones that we went to and tried. Shanghai, being a city and a tourist destination in itself, its no wonder that these cafes and restaurants are tourist friendly when it comes to food selections, despite the strong language barrier that they have there.
Baker & Spice, Shanghai China

Baker & Spice, Shanghai China

Baker & Spice, Shanghai China

Amokka Café - Shanghai, China

  • Cafe de Volcan. Located at Xuhui, Shanghai, China. One of their special treats was that they will give you a sample bit-size cookie for every coffee you buy. www.cafevolcan.com
    Cafe de Volcan - Shanghai, China

    Cafe de Volcan - Shanghai, China

  • Momi Cafe - The branch that we tried was the one in Qibao Old Street. Its a concept cafe that has a 'time-travel' theme, in which you can address a mail to yourself or someone else, put a mailing date sometime in the future, and when that date comes, they will mail it to the recipient. It's a cute concept, and now I regret that I didn't avail of their services! 
    Momi Cafe - Shanghai, China

    Momi Cafe - Shanghai, China

  • Dagu Rice Noodles - An Asian restaurant in a mall somewhere in Nanjing Road . We were treated by a friend here so that we could try some rice noodles and be full for lunch. And, being a probinsyana, I was amazed that they let us take the glass bottles to-go with us. I mean, that's going to be pretty expensive on their side if every customer does that! 

  • Shanghai First Food Hall. If you're still not satisfied, and still feeling a bit more food-adventurous, try this. They have huge selection of food for almost every kind of foodie out there. It was a bit too heavy for us, but we did get one item though. Located at Nanjing East Road. Click here for TripAdvisor Reviews.

    Yup! This was what we got. Just so, you know, we could say we bought something there. 
A bundle of Herbs and More!
Of course, what is a trip to China without catching a whiff of its herbs? It's definitely a wonder to me how much herbs this country produces. There so many to choose from that I think, even a whole month would not be enough to memorize all of its usage! If you prefer to buy by bulk, they say its cheaper to go to the market to get it. And if you're a tourist with no knowledge of any Chinese language or dialect, and is looking for a specific type of herb you need - just like we did - I suggest you go with someone you know  who is local and who is familiar with herbs - or risk getting stuck with local sellers hard-selling some kind of herb you don't even recognize! The easiest option, though, is getting one on a popular mall. There are plenty of them to choose from there already - and it's a lot safer.

As you can see, we definitely had been through a lot of food stores, but, of course, there were plenty more that we didn't know of. Surely, Shanghai could be a place for a foodie-wannabe. 

Disclaimer: I don't claim to be a certified foodie. This post is based my own experiences and is not, in any way, an accurate list to base scientific researches upon.

1 http://www.globeholidays.net/Asia/China/Peking/Peking_City/Beijing_Tanghulu1.htm
2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiaolongbao

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