A Taste of Japan in the Philippines

Yu-Fu-In Yaikiniku and Japanese Restaurant
Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines

When I want to learn about someone I always ask them about their food choice. It’s music to my ears when I have an idea about the kind of food that they consume and understand their eating behaviours because it creates a ton of opportunities for me to ask them more questions and never let the momentum die down. Really, it will be an understatement if you say that I love food because I really do.

Leo from Vancouver, Canada. Follow him on Instagram @leosamilo!

Last August 2019, I met Leo, a Filipino-Canadian based in Vancouver, who was in the Philippines for a quick vacation with his family. Through him, I had a delightful time learning about Vancouver, how the city is known for fresh seafood and how he’s a huge fan of Japanese food.

After my work schedule, I drove from Meycauayan City, Bulacan to Quezon City to fetch him. On my way to meet him, I thought of bringing him to Manila (around Malate) but I didn’t know any good and authentic Japanese restaurants around. So I thought, why not Yu-Fu-In in Angeles City, Pampanga since that’s been my go-to Japanese restaurant ever since 2016? Boy, it did not disappoint!

Osushiya San Bento

My craving for yakiniku was left unaddressed when we got to Yu-Fu-In. Their yakiniku was only available until 10pm and we got there about 15 minutes past 10pm. They have this yakiniku set + hot pot (good for 2-3 persons) which does not cost more than 1300 Pesos ($25). We were left without a choice but to order something from their regular menu.

Since he mentioned that he like sushi and fresh seafood, I made sure to get my staple fix of Oshushiya San Bento for only 490 Pesos ($9.42). What’s nice about this bento is you get to try nine (9) of their best sushi and it gives you an idea what to order next as a starter. My personal favourite would be the Ika Nigiri Sushi (Squid Hand-formed Sushi) because of how it just melts in your mouth.

Salmon Sashimi

It would not be a complete Japanese dining experience without ordering some nice sashimi (thin-sliced raw fish or meat). Salmon Toro (Salmon Belly) was our choice but it was not available at that time. Our attendant suggested Salmon Sashimi for only 295 Pesos ($5.67) and I know that it’s good.

I was quite hesitant ordering this because I’ve had an experience in the past when the sashimi from a different restaurant was awful. Sashimi has a recognisable smell – a stingy, fishy one – and you would only get it if you smell it directly. However, if you sit upright and notice this smell, then that might be an indication that the sashimi isn’t good for consumption anymore. Luckily, that wasn’t the experience we’ve had at Yu-Fu-In!

More than its freshness, the sashimi was flavourful. I like having it with fresh wasabi but without the sauce. As much as possible, I would always avoid having sauce in any food. Japanese food has a distinct flavour which I love – not savoury but extremely mouthful.

I could eat Omurice (Fried rice wrapped in omelette) everyday for my entire life and not feel bad about it. I know other Japanese restaurants have a cheesy version of this which, by the way, is good but I like mine simple, plus this is cheap! I only got mine for 170 Pesos ($3.27) and it’s actually good for 2 persons already.

We didn’t know what kind of tempura (battered and deep-fried) to get so ordered this mixed tempura for only 380 Pesos ($7.31) which could already serve 2-3 persons. Aside from Ebi Tempura (battered shrimp), my favourite would be Ika Tempura (battered squid), and yes, you can already tell by now how much I love squid!

Kushiyaki Set

Kushiyaki is Japan’s version of BBQ. However, theirs aren’t limited to specific meat, like pork, but it could be any poultry and non-poultry items. This set has six (6) different kushiyaki and is already good for 2 persons. Each set costs 295 Pesos ($5.67) only and you have the choice whether to smother it in their homemade sauce or just have a dash of salt and pepper (our choice, by the way).

What I love about Japanese food and the Japanese dining experience is how they put premium about sharing food. You are sharing a portion of who you are to the person you’re with and you experience this satisfying connection that only a good food can create. It’s as if sharing your food with someone is a journey of mutual understanding and discovery. Maybe this is what we miss when we get too preoccupied about ‘adulting’ and we miss the chance of experiencing this connection, who knows? When was the last time you created a meaningful relationship with someone over and through food?

Yu-Fu-In is located at 1st Street corner 2nd Avenue, Balibago, Angeles City, Pampanga, 2009 (view map here). You may contact them at (045) 635 5537 / 0908 874 2847 / 0917 842 6627.

*$1 = 52 Pesos

I deserve nothing (but the best!)

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Poolside at Bakasyunan Resort in Tanay, Rizal.

People say, we can always choose anything and that we are all entitled to options; we can choose to pursue what we want to do and forget those things which make life harder than it is already. As you go along in life, you’ll realize that there will come a time when you cannot choose anything. There are things which does not go along our way, and that’s just fine.

When I started with my new work months back and moved to a placed where I don’t speak the language and didn’t know anyone at all, I didn’t choose the people I work with. I didn’t know who they were. I didn’t know where they were from and what were their aspirations in life. I didn’t choose the place that I’ll be working with. I didn’t choose anything except to bring my presence onsite. What sets this group apart from the rest that I worked with is the fact that we didn’t choose to have one goal professionally. We didn’t decide to work together and discover great talents around the area and get them join our #RidiculouslyGood office. It just happened.

Things happen for a reason, and we sometimes don’t know what that reason is.

I didn’t choose to be with them not because I didn’t have any choice at all. I chose to stay and nurture what limited resources we had that time. We accidentally built a strong foundation―something so strong that it transcends from being mere colleagues to being friends even outside of the office. Who we are right now is a result of who we didn’t choose to be. We let time work in our favour and we allowed ourselves to be molded. No, we aren’t robots because we have EQ. We just didn’t force anything, and so everything fell to its rightful places. We didn’t have a choice but to wait while letting things happen with the limited time, pool, and resources that we had.

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Photo op with Rob, our Country Manager. I just wonder, what is he looking at up there? LOL!

I firmly believe that when you don’t have a choice in life, just work with what you have right now. You cannot simply look for something which you do not have. You cannot give anything you don’t have to anyone. This was evident back when our site was still starting.

It hit me hard because during the last part of our Team Building, Yancy, our site’s Recruitment Manager, cried right in front of everyone. He cried not because he was sad but because he was so grateful of such amazing people that he has (that includes me yay!) From putting up with his quirky, perky personality, to beating and meeting the ramp even though it was raised last minute by the clients, he thanked us and he said he couldn’t have done that without us contributing towards the goal.

Did he choose to have limited resources onsite? Did he choose to leave the challenge and take two steps back? Did he say it would be an easy path? Did he choose to do things all by himself?

No.

He didn’t choose anything but to build a strong team (#PampangaStrong) and work their way up. We had many moments, thankfully those were winning moments, when the team showcased its capacity and points of improvements. We are like WIP (work in progress) inside a laboratory, ready to get experimented with but does not fear innovation. These challenges do not come our way to destroy us. These challenges help us develop our identity. We are defined by our struggles, wins, gains, and losses.

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“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision.”

I believe one of the most important learning I’ve got from this weekend’s Sourcing and Recruitment Team Building is to keep accepting challenge. You can never claim victory if you didn’t work hard to achieve that win. What Yancy and our experience onsite taught me is that these challenges and shortcomings only make us better. If we fail, then we just have to get back and up and start over again. We cannot fear failures. Instead, failures should fear us and our capabilities when we work strongly as one team.

We are born warriors, ready to survive and thrive in this life. We are capable of doing things creatively. If we could just continuously dream and let the flame inside us alive and burning, then there’s nothing to worry about. Just like what Carmela would say, as long as nobody died then we can still fix anything. At the end of the day, all of our hard works and efforts will not be put to waste. Why? This is because we all deserve nothing but the best in life out there! +++++

 

Weekly Update: Week 40

When an old chapter closes a new one begins.

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We’re moving in circles, and you are the light that guides me through.

More than half of the year have passed. I’ve met new faces; forgot most of the old ones. I’ve been to shitty dates and flings. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs at work; been a hopper ever since then. I’ve been to places I never thought I’d go to. It has been one rough ride but I’m getting better at it. Let me do a quick recap about what my year has been through.

Books

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard.
Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard.

The series of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard has been on my To-Read List since the start of this year. I’ve managed to finish the 1st book and I’m starting now with the Prequel, Cruel Crown. Based from reading suggestions, it’s going to be better to read Cruel Crown than going directly to the 2nd book, Glass Sword, to better understand the characters’ history + know more about the Kingdom of Silvers. I know, I should stop reading Young Adult books (hello there baby hihi), but I just couldn’t because of the fact that my mind’s creative side gets exercised. Though the story is predictable to avid readers, the plot will still bring you to a roller-coaster-fantasy-extravaganza. I’m looking forward to finish the book this week so I can secure a copy of Glass Sword ASAP.

See also: my renewed vow and love for reading has dawned!

TV Series

One day you're in, next day you're out.
One day you’re in, next day you’re out.

The new season of How to Get Away With Murder has arrived but I haven’t started watching it again. There’s no excuse for this one but I’m really finding it hard to watch it because: 1. I have terrible internet connection in my dorm, and; 2. I have no time to spare. Now, I’ve been hearing stories—thanks to you spoilers, friends—about the new season and boy, I can’t wait to start watching it again!

The Stranger Things is next on my list. Not only that it’s the new buzz in Twitter and Facebook—again, thanks to my dear friends—but it’s been dubbed as “a wonderful blend of everything 80’s and as binge-worthy a TV show as you’ll find this year.” What makes me curious to try watching it is my interest and bias towards The Twilight Zone. I love shows that are eccentric and hard to determine these days. The more that the plot is twisted, the more that I get excited about it. I just hope this series won’t come close to disappointment as my hopes are really high.

Runner-up: Outcast that has started many moons ago. Also, no excuse to be lazy moving forward—I will find time to watch these series!

Location

Crafty ceiling at Binalot, Nepo Strip, Angeles City, Pampanga.
Crafty ceiling at Binalot, Nepo Strip, Angeles City, Pampanga.

I’ve recently moved to Pampanga due to my new work—but with the same bosses, mind you! Yes, I’ve managed to conquer my fear of leaving the Metro by convincing myself to move out, find a place outside Metro Manila, and start with an almost-new life. I’ve transferred to a new company due to unforeseen events that have happened. Call me names, I don’t care, but I will never stay in a company where my health, safety, and career growth are compromised. I’m fortunate that my previous bosses actually had an opening for me in Pampanga—a better paying job, better environment, bigger opportunity to grow career-wise, and new people to work with. So far, the environment suits me well. I like my team and I can never ask for more!

Work

TaskUs ERP Booth Setup by yours truly.
TaskUs ERP Booth Setup by yours truly.

A lot people wonder about my career plan. Well, to be honest, I really don’t have one, but when they ask me what I do, I simply tell them that I lure people in. I sell the company to potential candidates. That’s how important Sourcing is to the team. I could have easily chosen to be in Recruitment, but without Sourcing, the Recruitment Team won’t be able to process anyone. Prior joining my company, the average number of candidates that would visit the site would go between 7 to 10 in a day. When I joined the Team, we were able to increase the number to 40-50 in a day; even brought 90 candidates in one day. How did I do that? That’s the secret I probably won’t tell, not unless you are my boyfriend. 😉

On the brighter side of things, we were able to close out the previous months strongly, as we were more than 100% in terms of our pooling and hiring rate in Pampanga. #PampangaStrong #PakGanireKamiSaPampanga

Life

Slowly, you're becoming my life now.
Slowly, you’re becoming my life now.

So far, I’ve been living better. I haven’t been hospitalized for the past 3 months. My binge drinking habit is slowly dying down. I’ve been eating more food these days not because I can but because I should. If I were to rate my life from 1 to 10 and 10 being the highest, I’m close to getting to 7. It’s always been a work in progress. I never consider myself close to 8 or 9 because I know there will come a time that I will falter and get tripped again. What matters to me now is that I’m living a better life without any regret or hatred towards anyone. I love how things are falling into its rightful places; that I don’t need to rush things. Sometimes, the unexpected things (and people) come along in times that one feel helpless. I learnt not only to be patient but not to do things out of my emotions.

Plans

Stuck for now, but I know I'm moving.
Stuck for now, but I know I’m moving.

  1. Zambales Trip with the Pampanga Recruitment and Training Team.
  2. Visit Enchanted Kingdom on baby’s birthday this month.
  3. Start saving for our future travels and side trips.
  4. Stop binge drinking and eating.
  5. Resume weekend volleyball habit.
  6. Minimise social media usage.

+++++