Life in Styles

Anything I can find while on trips I cherish. These are the kinds you do not see in grocery shelves, and so there is no substitute to getting one or two of these rare stuff.

Take pickled chilis. I first saw a bottle of these while on a trip back to Manila from Tagaytay. Conveniently, Rowena’s was on the side of the road you can stop by at. The store is littered with specialty preserves, biscuits, Barako coffee. But the pickled chilis really caught my attention–how easy to just pop the bottle open, take a few pieces, pour cane vinegar into it, and you have a hot side dish that goes perfectly well with fried or grilled fish. Incomparably delectable!

I was in Tagaytay a few days back, and stopping by Rowena’s was as natural as stopping by to get gas. You can’t miss this store, and I was excited to get my bottle of pickled chilis. Too bad it was not available. My days of frustration reached a week! And suddenly, I found myself wide-eyed when a bottle of pickled chilis appeared to me in one of the shelves of the Landmark grocery!


Isn’t that lovely? It’s German-inspired, Pfeuffer’s Gourmet Pickles Hot Pepper. My dried lapu-lapu fish just got perked! No preservatives, not salty, and hot! This is Philippine-made.

And for the skin–this oil is also hot! It’s called Chi, herbal massage and body oil, which I found in one of the streets in a city down South. I have never parted with the first bottle of this aromatic oil, perfect for relieving headaches, muscle aches, tired legs, fatigue, stress, and even nervous tension. I got my second bottle just a few days ago! Whoa!


Philippine-made, from, read: Lavandula officinalis oil, Andropogon citratus oil, and Cocos nucifera oil. I prefer Chi over those over-the-counter muscle ache liniments. It is very light and soothing. And the smell makes you want to just close your eyes and breathe deeply till you exhale all your worries away.


Beyond the spookiness of old house ruins and the shivers from thinking about restless souls roaming the famed Heritage Village, there is something about Vigan City that continues to rock my world until now.

Vigan being reminiscent of the Spanish times, reason why I am attracted to it. Secondly, of course, are those antique shops or tiendesitas selling a huge variety of inexpensive home fixtures, decors, bags, accessories, and other stuff. When I say inexpensive buys, I mean worthy buys that can really make your jaw drop and your hands locked in prayer position, thanking the heavens for finding your way into this goldmine. Lastly, when someone offers you a free room accommodation for three days, how can you even say no to Vigan? Definitely impossible.

Even more that I failed to contain my surprise and excitement, after having known from an aging Manang, one of the sellers at Lucy’s Antique Shop in Vigan, that the old-style home divider with capiz shells is only worth P500 per panel. From my place, two panels of this kind could cost a whopping P2,000 to P3,000! Apart from being a great deal, Lucy’s can also deliver your purchases to your place if you wish to, for a certain fee, that is.

I have been drooling over this type of home divider for quite a long time. To buy such at a high cost is to buy gold with eyes shut. But look where luck further took me in Vigan—I was able to buy one panel from Lucy’s for only P400, ripping off P100 as customer discount. I know! I am still speechless until now. So save the curses, and check out the photo below.


And where did I stay the whole time in Vigan? Call it, My Father’s House Dormitelle, a rare gem located in San Ildelfonso, a few kilometers outside Vigan. Who would have even thought that in this small town lies a fantastic transient house perfect for backpackers? Matched with a relaxing and cozy ambience, this dormitelle is a fusion of the past and present. Of course, not to forget that, the dormitelle has superb customer service team as well. Here’s a teaser of the place.


Several days after, I still think of Vigan and the possible buys I need to save for, for my next visit. Because I know the old soul in me won’t get enough of this old city.

Sometimes when you happen to be in a place you least expect to be, and you do not have any intentions to shop, you can actually get some good finds. This is always my mantra: “I know what I like when I see it.”

So, one afternoon, as I was finding my way through an unassuming mall in Mandaluyong City, I happened to pass by a stall just in front of the way out to the MRT station in Shaw. The lady, who was still preparing for the 10:00 am opening, was stacking pairs of sandals and putting up the price signs. One read, “P180.00 Made in Marikina.” I was curious and so I stopped by to see what was being sold.

flats-in-star-mallI found sandals of leather straps and black leather soles. I tried a pair and thought they were very comfortable. And sold for only P180.00 a pair at that! What a bargain! I bought a pair, of course. I would have wanted to buy a pair with white straps, with brown straps, but my money was earmarked for something else…

Ladies who would chance upon my sleek black leather-strapped flats would ask, “Where’d you get that? They look so pretty!”

Next time you are at the Shaw-EDSA intersection, get in the Star Mall. You’ll see that the stores there are meant for people like me who would always be attracted to stuff with price tags below P200.00, but with very good quality.