Friday, August 30, 2013

Why do I want to Xplore Naga?

(Photo credit to:

Maybe you are wondering guys why in the world I created this particular article. I am also. It was only yesterday that my office mate, Rye Lopez (who will happen to join the photography contest of the organizers of the competition I am joining now), told me to join this blog writing contest entitled “Why do you want to Xplore Naga?” He left me in shock realizing that I only had one day to create a blog about it. Well, I could opt not to join, but there was an unknown urge inside me wanting to join and hoping to win, because Bicol is where my roots are from. Bicol is my origin. Just to quote what James Baldwin – an American novelist said,

"We cannot escape our origins, however hard we try."

True it is, I can say. 

I want to start convincing you guys how strong my urge is to go to Bicol, visit Naga, and experience the Peñafrancia feast by telling you my full name. My name is Francia May Gacos. Yes, I was named after the feast of Peñafrancia and as my mom said, the female version of my late father, Francisco Gacos. Both of my parents were from Bicol, Bulusan and Irosin, Sorsogon to be particular. I was only 4 or 5 years old the last time I set foot in the Bicol region. I was so young then that I cannot remember all the memories we had and even appreciate that visit to my ancestral land. Again, yes, that was the first and last.  

It was only last week that I could have got a chance to be back there. One of my office mates, Myk Durana, together with his friends, planned a trip that will explore Naga, Calaguas Island, and CamSur. However, due to lack of budget, I was not able to join them. Even in the past, I had few opportunities to go back in Bicol but maybe, it was not yet my time for me to be back there. I have always this longing for my ancestral land that sadly, I was not able to explore even if I have all rights to do so.

Nevertheless, one day, one day…. I know I will be back for sure. My origin, my ancestral land. Where my roots are from. The land where my parents have known each other and built their dreams together. A paradise where I had my first beach and river experience. Most of all, I cannot forget that time when I stared in amazement at the famous Mayon Volcano from my bus window.

I may only had few memories of Bicol on my mind, but my heart and soul will always have this strong urge and longing that someday, I will be back to where I really belong. Of course, before I die. Regardless of age and condition, I take my oath that someday we will see each other again, Bicol, tête-à-tête. God permits.

And this is a story of a girl and her dream to be back in a paradise she had once been. Au revoir, Bicolandia.

For those who want to join this contest too, visit The Photography Academy Manila facebook page for information and details on how to join.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Crazy Katsu

(Photo credit to: Crazy Katsu Facebook Page)

If only I created this blog long time ago since I started my journey on trying and eating in every restaurant that would arouse my interest, may it be cheap or expensive, then maybe I created thousands of reviews already.

As for my first post, here in my blog about food, I decided to feature the food trip my boyfriend and I had yesterday, 8.25.2013. It was a late lunch actually as we arrived at Crazy Katsu – Maginhawa Street Branch at 2:00 P.M. Yesterday’s  weather was a bit sunny (my favorite weather!) so I decided that we should eat near UP Diliman (God knows one of my favorite place on earth) since we were not able to jog that morning. From Philcoa, we just walked until we reached Maginhawa Street. From there, we started screening every restaurants side by side of the street. Initially, I wanted to try Sinangag Station since I was craving for tapsilog. However, my boyfriend insisted that we should try Crazy Katsu since we have not eaten Japanese food for sometime already.

(Photo credit to:

 This is Crazy Katsu's facade at night. Sorry guys but we were not able to take a shot of the place. We were so hungry! :p

(Photo credit to:

Sometimes, when you are so hungry, you will appreciate a restaurant that has only a selected food offering on their menu and I am glad this restaurant is one of those. My boyfriend and I were very quick in choosing what to order because we did our research first before heading to Maginhawa Street.

(Photo credit to: My boyfriend - Ed Magat <>)

My boyfie, Ed, ordered Chicken Katsu (P145.00 only with rice). The serving was quite big that you can eat it with 2-3 cups of rice. Boyfie had two! Moreover, their food did not taste like of those in Japanese fast food chains. The chicken was tender and the crumbs outside were perfectly crisp. As you can see, there are chilies on the top portion of Chicken Katsu that serves as a garnish or if you want the sauce of your Katsu a little bit spicy. They served it with special sauce and cabbage strips underneath. It was really a nice idea so that the chicken meat could absorb the sauce for additional flavor.

(Photo credit to: My boyfriend - Ed Magat <>)

As for myself, I ordered Pork Ginger (P140.00 only with rice. All of their meals come with rice). The pork used for this dish looked like the beef used in one of the dish in Yoshinoya, sukiyaki cut, so at first I thought they served me the wrong food (haha!). True to its name, you can really taste the ginger, sweet ginger that you do not really need a sauce on the side. They also served it with cabbage strips underneath and onion chives on the top. I am not actually a fan of pork but geez, Crazy Katsu’s Pork Ginger was an exception and really worth trying for!

(Photo credit to: My boyfriend - Ed Magat)

Can you guess what is this???

(Photo credit to: My boyfriend - Ed Magat)
Tadaahhh!!! They got an interesting art interior too!




I thought he was still taking pictures of the foods, but obviously, I was totally wrong! Harhar...



Now I am aware! :) It's really nice to have a boyfriend who can take good pictures, isn't it?! :P



My turn to take pictures of him! Sorry I was not gifted though. Hahaha!


We were too shy to ask for a photo op from one of the restaurant's attendant, so here! :P

TRIVIA: Shinji Tanaka, owner of Crazy Katsu, was Yeng Constantino's Sound Engineer from her 1st to 3rd album. See Yeng's blog on Tumblr about it: 

Overall, we had a nice experience eating at Crazy Katsu. Our cravings were satisfied. There was just that a little delay on serving my order (Pork Ginger), maybe the food attendant just did not hear me right or it was due to exhaustion because the place was jam-packed when we arrived. Nonetheless, nice place plus great tasting foods = Wonderful experience! You will definitely go CRAZY over KATSU! We will definitely come back!

For more information, visit their Facebook Page at and on their own website at