Sunday, May 8, 2022

Japanese Snacks

My friend, Hiromi, whom I had met through a language app in 2018, and met in person when I visited Gunma in 2019, and who visited me in Cebu is 2020, sent me a box of Japanese snacks.

The parcel arrived in the Philippines three days after Hiromi dropped it off at their post office, but it took more than a month from arriving in my country to get to me! Hiromi was worried that some of it might have expired!

What I did not expect was for the parcel to be so big—she had sent about 40 kinds of snacks! So many! What should I eat first? Easy. By expiration date! There were three that were already past their expiration date (April), but we (my family and I) still ate them.

Mochi Taro 餅太郎
This one is somewhat like rice crackers with a light taste and has bits of peanuts.

Cut Yotchan (White) カットよっちゃん (しろ)
This is a squid snack flavored with vinegar. It was very sour!
Apparently, it is a popular dagashi (small and cheap Japanese snacks ranging from 10 yen to 100 yen).
Which reminds me—another friend, Yumiko, brought me to visit a dagashiya (shop selling dagashi) in Kawagoe in 2019.

Ama Ika Taro 甘いか太郎
This is sweet and salty squid in kimchi flavor.

Fried Potato フライドポテト
Lightly salty French fries-shaped snack.

This is a curry flavored snack. I like Japanese curry! I could not stop eating this.

Komusubi Arare 小結あられ
Arare are rice snacks/crackers that go well with drinks (or so the Japanese say).
This snack is slightly salty.
Hiromi says this one is a hineri-age or twisted fried snack.
With or without drinks, it disappeared in our tummies in a flash.

Happy Turn ハッピーターン
Happy Turn are crunchy rice crackers coated with sweet buttery powder. This variety has 150% more powder! My first taste of this snack was maybe three years ago, when my Japanese coworker gave us a pack of Happy Turn original flavor (100% powder). It was so good that I hunted it down it when I visited Japan in autumn of 2019. So happy that Hiromi sent me a pack of Happy Turn. I miss this rice cracker!

Ika Mirin いかみりん
Ika Mirin are crunchy squid crackers seasoned with mirin so it is slightly sweet.
Really addicting! I could not stop eating this!

Cabbage Taro キャベツ太郎
An okonomiyaki flavored puffed corn snack.
The flavor, which was okonimayaki, wasn't anything special or memorable.

Sakura Daikon さくら大根
This is radish (daikon) fermented in plum, resulting in its pink color (I am guessing that's where the "sakura" comes in). This is quite sour (as one would expect from a pickles) but crunchy. Pretty good if you like pickled veggies.

Sumomo (Plum) すもも
These pickled plums looked so cute. The taste reminded me of Chinese pickles
we used to eat when we were young.

Edo Dagashi Fugashi 江戸駄菓子ふ菓子
The texture reminded me of Moby (a Filipino snack). The taste was very very very sweet! 

Mugen Ebi 無限エビ
Shrimp flavored rice crackers. It tastes light and not too salty.

Cheese Arare チーズあられ
Did not taste like cheese to me. Thus, the one star.

Kameda no Kaki no Tane Noko Ume Zarame 亀田の柿の種 濃厚梅ざらめ
Plum flavored rice crackers with peanuts. This is sweet and salty.
This is the first time I have tried the plum variety.
(I often buy the original flavor since it is available in my local supermarket.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Malapascua Notes 2022

Going to Malapascua

From North Bus Terminal, take the bus or van to New Maya Port (3.5 to 4 hours). If going by car, there are parking areas outside the New Maya Port. Parking fee is Php100 per day. At the New Maya Port, go to the Tourist Information Office—if you're too lazy to walk from the parking area to the Tourist Office inside the port, you can take the habalhabal/motorcycle (Php 20)—where you need to show your booking confirmation, write your name on a log sheet, and pay the environmental fee (Php 75 per person). Then you can proceed to the ticketing area to buy a ticket (Php 200 per person) for the public boat to Logon Port in Malapascua. If you're a large group, you can also opt to hire a boat (Php 2000).

Arriving in Malapascua

At Logon Port, you need to write your name and contact number on a logbook. You can either walk to your accommodation or hire a motorcycle (fare is from Php 20 to Php 50, depending on your destination). We stayed in Aabana, the easternmost resort on Bounty Beach, and was informed that the motorcycle fare going to Aabana would be Php30.

Staying in Malapascua

There are so many accommodations to choose from. A few along Logon Beach (port area), several along Bounty Beach (the main beach area with many dive shops and restaurants), some in the barrio (inland), and a resort here and there sprinkled in other parts of the island.

Logon Beach (Port area)
  • Tepanee
  • Angelina Beach Resort
  • Blanco Beach Resort
  • White Sand Bungalows
  • Kokay's Maldito Dive Resort
  • Thresher Shack
Bounty Beach
  • Blue Corals Beach Resort
  • Mabuhay Thresher Dive Resort
  • Blue Heaven Dive Resort
  • Malapatel (behind Thresher Shark Divers Dive Shop)
  • Malapascua Beach and Dive Resort
  • Cocobana
  • Little Mermaid Dive Resort
  • Ocean Vida
  • Malapascua Legend
  • Hippocampus
  • Daño
  • Johan
  • Exotic
  • Evolution
  • Aabana
North Beach
  • D'Avila's Horizon Malapascua

Activities in Malapascua

  • Swim (of course!)
  • Stroll along Bounty Beach
  • Scuba dive
  • Boat tour (Php 300 per person) – The tour will take you around the island and has four stops: Coral Garden (snorkeling), North Beach (aka Langob Beach), Japanese Shipwreck (snorkeling), and Dakit-dakit Coral Reef (snorkeling). Mask and snorkel rental is Php100.
  • Motorcycle tour around the island
  • Massage by the beach (Php 450 for 1 hour) or at Buena Vida Spa
  • Catch the sunrise at the eastern end of Bounty Beach
  • Savor the sunset at Logon Beach

Eating in Malapascua

There are several restaurants along Bounty Beach and maybe three along Logon Beach.

Angelina, an Italian restaurant located on Logon Beach, is one I always try to eat at whenever I am in Malapascua (but only one meal because it is quite expensive for me; pizza costs upwards of Php375, pasta upwards of Php 370, a scoop of gelato for Php100).

A popular and less expensive option is to go to the "market" where there are food stalls. Some of these stalls also sell fresh seafood that they can cook it for you.

 * Prices and information are as of May 2, 2022.

Friday, July 30, 2021