I love Februarys. Even though I still dread my existence, I celebrate my birth month with much anticipation. Pero sobrang bilis ng February. Tipong after January 365, 2023, February 1, 2023 tapos March 1, 2023 na agad. Haha. Siyempre, I’m posting this a month after my birthday because it got busy by the end of the month. Hehe.
Seattle’s Best Favorites to Start the Month
I started my February with my favorites from Seattle’s Best, my go-to international cafe. I switched from Starbucks and Tim Hortons to Seattle’s not only because I would want to support a business that gets the least involvement with corrupt politicians but also because their pastries are so good with their coffee. I mean, when I go to a cafe, I just don’t drink coffee; I also order food. And their pastries are chef’s kisses, a wonder for the sweet tooth! It would be tempting to order them all, but it wouldn’t be a good idea unless you’re ten in a group so you could share at least a slice or two of one kind of pastry.
Their raspberry mocha kiss is sweet, though, so if you don’t like sweet for your coffee, I wouldn’t recommend it. (I’m okay with both brewed and lattes, by the way. I prepared brewed during an extremely jam-packed day and then others for a normal grind.)
Family Dinner Treat to Start My Birthday Week
A weekend before my birthday itself, I treated my family with a feast: Red Ribbon black forest cake, Oreo cookies and cream ice cream, Spam, takoyaki from Yaki Yaki, and 4-cheese pizza from Pizza Hut. Di kasi ako makapag-celebrate sa mismong birthday ko since we have our own jobs at night, so I decided to do it on a Sunday before my birthday instead.
Hindi na pala masyadong masarap ang black forest cake, ano? I might switch my fave. Lately, parang mas gusto ko ang sansrival or red velvet cheesecake.
548 Heartbeats Anniversary Edition on My Birthday
Sa birthday ko naman mismo, simple lang. I celebrated my birthday itself by announcing the preorder period for 548 Heartbeats. Thank you to KPub PH team for working with me and making sure that my requests are catered. Here are the details and the link where you can preorder, just in case you want to
So what are included? Bukod sa mga nakalagay diyan sa pubmat, inside are 8 special chapters written in Kyle’s point of view, one in Chris’s, one in Marj’s, one in Rai’s. I really hope my old and new readers like this version. I may have edited the lyrics out (obviously, for copyright reasons), but to me, this is the best version I can give.
The art in the book cover jacket and the minimalist art in the book cover are all designed by Neil V. Fernando, a friend from high school. I’m so lucky that he took the opportunity. Who else can design this better but my inspiration for my Wattpad covers (disclaimer lang that I didn’t make those silhouettes but are all licensed by Creative Commons; I only made edits) at ang gumawa rin ng logo ko? Please give Neil some love by following him on his social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Behance.
I drew the pin-ups inside, again inspired by Neil’s art. Kilala n’yo naman ako. I’m more on the minimalist side when it comes to designs.
I chose the freebies for the first 100, first 54, and first 8 myself. Surprise na sila, of course. Basta kasama rito ang artworks na pina-commission ko. Very hands-on ako on this dahil first work ko ito na magse-celebrate ng tenth anniversary for the published, fifteenth for the OG. I know I am out of the limelight, but 548 Heartbeats is still recognized as it is. Sobrang dami kong pinagdaanan after ko isulat itong nobelang ito 15 years ago, and although hindi ko talaga gusto ang rason ba’t ko ito inumpisahan, it paved the way for who I am now.
Okada Staycation to End My Birthday Week
It was my dream to stay in the pink room, and I loved every second of my stay. Hindi ko na nga napasyal ang buong Okada because the room was so pretty! I only reserved one day dahil iyon lang ang kasya sa inipon kong budget because I paid for this alone, pero siguro, kung hati kayo sa expenses, it might be more tolerable.
What to Expect in Okada Manila
The entrance of Okada itself is a glamor of its own. Grabe ‘yung pink! You just have to prepare extra money because they ask for a PhP 5,000 deposit, which you can claim naman later on. Some are surprised kasi that they have to shell out money at the beginning; buti na lang I read the reviews.
The pictures below mostly show the lobbies and the parts where the public can stroll.
Here are pictures of the exterior of the casino. Bale, hindi rin naman ako nakapag-casino, and I had no plans. I’m not that kind of person. Not risky, hehe.
The Pink Room
The room where I stayed, or the infamous millennial pink room, needs a separate heading because I took a lot of pictures in here. It constituted 80% of my stay because it was so, so pretty and aesthetic. Alam n’yo naman ako. It’s almost like a single-floor house.
I was welcomed by a birthday banner and a cake by the living room. Natuwa naman ako kasi I was already pissed off that they accommodated me an hour late already. Grabe, the cake that they provided was extremely oozing with chocolate inside.
Shots ko kasi sayang naman ang magandang sofas haha.
Beside the living room was the bar. Hindi ko nagamit masyado ang isang side, but the bar was great. Ingat lang kasi there’s an additional for some goods. Like, if you’ve lifted it for 15 seconds, it’s considered paid. The UFC coffee is free naman, and there were many bottles of water inside.
Again, my own bar shots. I had a hard time taking pictures here because of the lighting, but I saw a good spot naman and was satisfied with them.
There are two doors from the living room, one leading to the walk-in closet. They have hangers, which is very unique to Okada since the hotels I had been to before only had one or two hangers. Ito, they have more than five. The bathrobes are also comfortable. In fact, iyon ang ginawa kong pam-photoshoot (I looked better on it anyway).
A door leads to the bedroom, which so huge, halos iyon na yata ang second floor ng bahay namin. A balloon is placed on the bed din. Hehe, thank you talaga, Okada, for making my birthday week memorable. The leftmost picture in the following gallery is my favorite from my staycation. Gandang mukhang bagong gising kahit ang laki ng tiyan ko underneath that blanket kasi kakakain ko lang sa buffet.
Of course, the jacuzzi! Once or twice lang yata ako naka-experience ng jacuzzi sa tanang buhay ko (or di ko maalala). Surprisingly, this part is so huge, pero hindi ang shower room.
Siyempre sinulit ko na with my mirror, jacuzzi, and bintana shots. Please spare the vanity. Ang ganda lang kasi talaga huhu. Also, I think the shots turned out pretty good. Ang ganda rin talaga ng lighting.
I don’t have pictures of the CR, but if you’ll watch my vlog, you’ll see how amazed I was. Hahaha. Para akong grandma na first time makaramdam ng technology. Hoho.
Where to Eat in Okada Manila
I was only able to eat in two places here: Enbu and the infamous Medley Buffet. Enbu is a Japanese restaurant while Medley Buffet is where you get your free breakfast if you availed it during your booking.
I love, love my Enbu experience. Their dishes are something I would love to go back to. Or siguro dahil favorite ko lang ang Japanese restaurants at ang tagal ko na hindi nakakain in one (because they’re expensive).
I ordered shoga shoyu ramen (PhP 420), moriawase with 3 kinds and 2 slices each (PhP 450), kushiyaki plate composing of vegetable, pork, beef, fish, and chicken sticks (PhP 600), and tori karaage (PhP 250).
I like everything that I ordered, though the ramen wasn’t something I’d go back for (because there’s Mendokoro and Ramen Nagi, whose ramen were much saltier and creamier than theirs). Their karaage tastes like the other karaages too. So kung babalik ako (yes, I will go back haha), I will order more sashimi, kushiyaki, and sushi.
Spiral in Sofitel remains in the top, but this one had me filled to the bones. Ni hindi man lang ako nakatikim ng ice cream dahil sa sobrang kabusugan! I guess because I ate without being so conscious. No’ng nasa Spiral kasi ako, medyo conscious ako because I was with my inaanak.
Share ko lang na ito ang mga kinain ko in their Medley Buffet. I know, I know. It might have been too much. But could I blame me? I only go to buffets once a year (or siguro once every five years or kapag invited for free lang). From left to right, I had cereal mixture (yep, like, I think there were five types there); my main meal composing of Japanese, Filipino, and Western food; and my dessert.
Here’s my vlog about my Okada experience. Hehe. With kaunting kuwentuhan session about health and review of the place.
So the question is . . . how did I end my birthday month?
By working. Haha. No, seriously. I was drawing and practicing drawing and writing and practicing writing. May tinatapos din ako so I could leave a mark on Wattpad before I leave. Plus, I’m getting the promotional posters and freebies and pin-ups ready.
Now I’m excited for May para matanggap na ng mga umorder ang 548 Heartbeats. I can finally say that my thirty-second February was well spent.