A Happy Belly

I can feel my stomach expanding as it continues to be filled with nourishment and happiness. Here are some recommendations of restaurants I been to within Honolulu, particularly around the strip of Waialae Street. I will embed Yelp links to their name and put the dollar signs I believe are more appropriate than what Yelp gives them:

  1. Sweet Home Cafe ($$) – A Taiwanese hot pot.  Definitely come here with a group of friends to chow down on a variety of food you will cook in front of you. If you stay after an hour, they will serve you a giant bowl of dessert! Make sure to be prepared with an empty stomach.
  2. Zippy’s ($) – I like to think of Zippy’s as a fusion of Panera Bread and Denny’s … but it is “less healthy” than Panera Bread yet way better than Denny’s. It is a cute chain restaurant where you can either dine in the restaurant or where you can order your food to-go. They also collaborate with the Napoleon Bakery which has scrumptious pastries like a coconut turnover. Their Korean Fried Chicken plate is to die for!
  3. Leahi Health Bar ($$) – If you need some energy boost, then this place is where you have to go. Their selection has a variety of green smoothies and kale salads that will not only leave you full but also feel energized and ready to conquer the world.
  4. Rainbow Drive-In ($) – It has similar vibes as In & Out. They have a wide selection of plates that will contain macaroni salad/slaw, rice, and a meat dish: Beef patty, Shoyu Chicken, Mahi Mahi, you name it. I would recommend ordering something and then eating it at the closest beach. I did it with a friend and it was amazing!
  5. Koko Head Cafe ($$) – A very hip, modern breakfast place that sometimes has a long line. Luckily, my friends and I when there was hardly any line. Their selection has a fusion taste between Japanese, Hawaiian, and Korean food. You can get light plates from their Breakfast selection like their omelets or heavy plates from their Brunch selection like their skillets.
  6. Island Brew Coffeehouse ($) – Another hip, modern space but more of a cafe. I would recommend coming here for their sandwiches and coffee. I had a Hawaiian Honey Latte with cinnamon added on top and I immediately fell in love. They also have acai bowls and FREE wifi. Visit one of these cafes with friends to study, catch up, or do work.
  7. Koa Pancake House ($) – This restaurant is actually behind Koko Head Cafe. Sometimes when there is a long line at Koko Head Cafe, people would come to this restaurant. This place doesn’t let you down. Not only are their prices way cheaper but their service is one point with how fast they are able to dish out their plates. Plus, their food is fulfilling and delicious. If you are looking for something relatively basic and chill, then this is the restaurant for you.


Thursday, June 22, 2017 – Island Brew Coffeehouse. Hella Hipster Shot with my Passion Planner and my 12 oz Hawaiian Honey Latte (I wish I got a bigger size.)


As much as I would love to give more recommendations, having to spend so much money eating out came with a heavy cost. Fortunately, a friend (looking at you Shiming) and I went grocery shopping. A tub of yogurt, a bag of granola, and some berries have been my staple. Regardless of the monetary circumstances that I always kept in the back of my mind, my belly is happy!

I would love to know more recommendations of Hawaiian restaurants since I do plan to potential visit again and might even study.

What are your favorite Hawaiian eateries/restaurants?


Heating Up

Safe to say that Hawaii has been treating me well … for the most part. Aside from the delicious food and amazing company (thanks, Kepa, Chantal, Shiming, and Leimaile), the heat and humid caught me off guard. On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, I made the mistake of not drinking enough water, napping without the fan, and not eating enough food (the lunch I had wasn’t fulfilling). All of those symptoms added up to a migraine headache. Oops …

But I am better after eating a scrumptious breakfast meal the next morning. I was so energized that I made my way to University of Hawai’i: Manoa. The campus was beautiful and spacious. My visit was so enticing that I forgot to photograph my adventure (Also, I didn’t want to look like an obvious tourist). Instead of heading to the admission center at the college, I went straight to the East-West Center, an organization that focuses on bridging the gap between the United States with Asian Pacific Regions through research and dialogues. My discovery of the center was recommended by friends who also notified me about their Graduate Degree scholarships. As I could learn and read more about the center’s mission and organization online, I decided to talk to a representative to hear more details and potential advice about the scholarship.

Like my headache, I felt heated with a passion during my conversation with the representative (Shoutout to Vicki!). Our conversation led me to imagine myself to continue learning subjects that spark my intellectual curiousity. My visit left me with a smile on the potential idea of attending the University. Upon my trip back to my friend’s house, I was making mental notes of other potential campuses. My list might include UCLA (I am thinking about you, Center for Ethnocommunications) and San Francisco State University (the “mecca” of Ethnic Studies). After settling down, I immediately started to do my research and saw UH: Manoa’s American Studies in which led me to see faculties like Vernadette Gonzalez and Joyce Mariano who incorporated some degree of Filipino/Filipino American Studies into their research. Reading the biographies at those faculties got me thinking, “if they can do that, then I can definitely do the same thing.”

So now I am considering graduate school … But I know I have a lot of research and soul searching before working on any documents. If you are a professor or a current graduate student, I would love to connect and chat about your process of deciding a program and how you came to the conclusion of those who accepted you.

Yet, I have to remind myself that I am still on vacation. Luckily, various beaches have gotten me to cool down and enjoy the moment as much as possible. But that won’t diminish my excitement as I would gaze beyond the horizon of the sea, thinking about what might await in my journey.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017 – Location: “China Walls,” Hawaii Kai

Was have you been heated about? What is a goal you are eager and motivated to work on? Leave a comment below.


A Queer Man Coming Home

As a queer Pilipinx American, it is difficult to come to terms with “love” towards my father. As of Sunday, June 18, 2017, marked as Father’s Day,  I couldn’t stop thinking about how I, a closeted queer who will live under the same roof with his (conservative?) father, can express his affection towards someone that embodies being stoic and macho. In thinking about strategies to handle the situation, there is a lot of factors that had to be considered.

One factor of this process is definitely having to redefine “love.” My father upholds the mainstream, heteronormative view of love as he sometimes teases me about being the man of any relationship to support his loved ones. Having to grow up into his perception definitely showed a lot of challenges because of internalized battles of me fighting against the mold with standards that I am not comfortable with. Despite those taxing battles, the mold should be challenged to incorporate more queer perspectives.

Another factor is upholding what my father and I do have and going off from there. Despite his stubborn reactions and his dismissive remarks towards certain ideas, he is still my father which is a privilege I shouldn’t take for granted. Hopefully, one day he and I will try to come into terms of what truths we both hold.


As my dream trip to Hawaii started off on Father’s Day, having to be surrounded by a whole new area outside my parent’s house reminded me of a life that felt free and less complicated. No longer was I condemned by parental supervision or having to go back into the closet. In Hawaii, I can act, behavior, speak, breathe, laugh, love as queer as I want. Having a body of water that stretches miles upon miles away from me and my parents helps to make it possible … Yet, I know that having these partitions are not sustainable. Since I am planning to live with my parent’s house for a year to save money and to pay off my student loans with the income of my fellowship job, I definitely have to reconcile the close proximity to my parents, especially my father.

Having to live back to my parent’s house might provide an opportunity to heal and work out the concerns I have. It is time for me to stop making excuses about needing to escape from reality, pain, and hardships.


A kasama (friend) gave me the advice that spaces are not always permanent. Space itself changes and the people who lives in those spaces change as well, including us. The advice echoes into my noggin because of how it alters the framework of “running away” or “moving on” that I was stuck in. The advice gave me the power to envision a queer space in my house that I can try to create with the hope that the changes will allow my parents to change.

There is a long road ahead of me in tackling this issue. With the goal of rekindling my relationship with my parents, I hope to arrive in a space that is safe, fun, and caring for everyone at home.