A Week-Long Birthday Celebration At 24
You only get one birthday a year, aka the reminder that you're older. The older you get, the faster a day goes by. So how do you prolong that birthday high? By celebrating a birthday week! However, it's not as wild as you'd expect (or as I wished it was...) Instead, I had some work to do, an exam to finish, and meals to remember. But either way, I had a blast. I did some work at Coffee Project, had an after-exam party at Yamazaki, eating at Sariwon and Bench Café, and exploring BGC.
Working At The Coffee Project
One of the coffee shops I frequent in Makati is The Coffee Project. I learned about this when I collaborated with other creatives for a project. The ambience enchanted me enough. It made the place inspiring to work. No wonder so many professionals and students visit this place a lot! So I went there on the day before my birthday and worked on my 24th birthday playlist entry songs.
RELATED: 24 Songs For The 24-Year-Old
I often invite my friend Abbi to eat with me here, but most of the time she had a meeting far from the office nearby. However, she still manages to go down here when she could, and this was one of the times. I asked her to photograph me doing my freelancing activities. Heh, I was actually writing my birthday blog entry that time.
The food in Coffee Project smells (and tastes) pretty good! Pasta was my usual order in the place. Obviously, I don't eat rice that much (unless it's brown or pepper rice) so the meal below is not mine haha. Abbi got herself the sausage and egg brunch plate.
Mini Party At Yamazaki
Later that day, I went to the last session of Basic Japanese 1 class. I was so relieved and ecstatic when sensei announced our final exam (期末試験) results. I aced it! Constant studying, doing homework, plain old interest, and DuoLingo paid off! It also meant I got some discount for the next level. Yatta! But there was one thing I didn't ace: origami. Our sensei wrapped the class by teaching us how to make a box. It didn't help that I bought flimsy origami paper and I just got so OC with perfecting folds. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Yes, I'm darn good at the "art" part but "crafts" is something that's not for me, haha!
We then headed to Yamazaki, one of the Japanese niche stores in Little Tokyo, Makati. I bought okonomiyaki flour here before. However, I haven't eaten at the actual restaurant yet so that day was my first time. Most of my classmates got a set meal but I got ramen and miso soup. I had K-BBQ the day before and I planned to eat K-BBQ on my birthday... So I needed to take a break from meat.
Our sensei came in later and we all chatted. At first, I was hesitant to reveal that my birthday was the day after. I'd rather have it quietly this year, haha. But a little chat with sensei got me spilling, and she reminded everyone about it without being too loud. God bless sensei for being subtle.
One of the best things about Yamazaki is the price of the food. Normally, Japanese food is (understandably) expensive. But this place was a good exception, even if it's not as I expect. Yet I still like the miso soup. ごちそうさまでした！
Served A Ton At Sariwon
My friends and I discussed which KBBQ restaurant we were gonna dine in for my birthday. Sariwon was pretty close to Bonifacio High Street, and had a good Zomato rating. So we decided to go there.
My birthday arrived. Everything was ready–my outfit, makeup, and my stuff... But I was not ready for my usual parking to be full! I got lost looking for a new parking, and had to ask directions how to get back to BGC. Luckily, my other option had tons of parking slots. I got a bit lost looking for the restaurant, but I found it after calling Arrah.
RELATED: What I Wore: My Birthday Suit
Arrah waited for me with a copy of Breakfast Magazine's February issue. I drew illustrations for two articles this time, and was featured in their contributor column too. After catching up a bit, we were seated and ordered our meals.
One thing that amazes me about Korean BBQ restaurants is endless appetizers. My body might torture myself for eating that much kimchi. Not that I don't like it, but damn I feel like I'm full before the actual meal even starts! And to my surprise, their samgyup has noodles. That's the first time I encountered it. We weren't able to finish the meal, even if it was pretty tasty.
Photowalking at Bonifacio High Street
Like the typical millennial, Arrah and I headed for some faux-toshoots around Instagram-worthy places. A huge installation of a fairytale book with tons of flowers stood at the edge of Bonifacio High Street. Tons of people were taking photos and we followed suit. But instead of taking the usual landscape photos, we did the "Craft Store Challenge" along the flowers.
Loving Local (Choco) At Bench Café
I only heard of Bench Café when Arrah suggested it to me. I knew Bench for their line of clothes and scents, but I only knew recently about the café. Turns out it was at the top of the Bench Tower along Bonifacio High Street. Thinking about the brand, what would Bench serve as a café? Perhaps the usual coffee treats with the Filipino twist, since Bench #loveslocal.
The insides of Bench Café were mostly of tropical flora aesthetic. It had this cool summer vibe. There was not much seating so they made us wait a bit, until the hostess said there were seats for two. After seating, we ordered some Otap milkshakes. Proudly Filipino, right? The best part is the size relative to the price–who knew you'd get a tall bottle serving at PHP160?
Afterwards, we went to her church and attended the service. The pastor brought a really good message about answering your questions about life when God can do it Himself. This was an enlightening way to turn 24. I'm not a very religious person myself, but I do have faith that there's a God up there who keeps me in check.
Family Dinner At Enbu
My mom reserved a table for the household plus my aunt at Enbu, found in Okada Manila. She previously had a reunion with her college friends there. Our dinner meal was mostly grilled squid and chicken karaage. We had more squid than karaage, but we ended up finishing the karaage! We took home the leftovers and watched the fountains spring to Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing".
After celebrating for week, I felt so fulfilled. I'm grateful to have spent it with my family, friends, and good people. Turning 24 opened my eyes to being young enough to enjoy life, but old enough to be more responsible than ever. Good food, good company, and good memories are what makes a birth week (or any week) memorable. I'm glad I've spent my time this way.