Hello World, again. It’s been a while. No, I’m not dead. Yes, I’ve been lazy; years lazy, actually. Uninspired, I guess, is the more proper term. With the advent of all the review sites, Facebook, Google Maps, etc., it seems there’s no place for independent food bloggers anymore, especially those catering to a specific location and niche.

The past few years, me and Beloved have gone on a lot of Food Adventures. I just haven’t bothered writing about them. The backlog has grown to an amount that’s probably even greater than the amount of content this blog already has.

But now, I’m back. Why the change of heart? Read more below.

I’m honestly not 100% sure what made me want to resume writing for this blog. I’m not actually earning a lot from it since I don’t have a large following. However, I feel that there’s still a demand, maybe small, for unbiased, well-written, and well-thought out opinion pieces.

There’s just a ton of misinformation out there when it comes to food reviews. The aggregators usually have a “star” rating that’s very vague. Everyone keeps rating places either 5 stars or 1, rarely in between, and rarely giving a justified reason. I’ve read a lot of 1-star reviews just because they had a slightly bad experience even though they admitted they loved the food. Similarly, a lot of 5-star reviews are given out just because the place is cheap even if the food sucks. And, of course, there’s the issue regarding paid reviews, or, worse, smear campaigns. What’s sad is these negative campaigns are done by the aggregators or networks themselves.

Now, I’m not saying all’s bad. There’s a lot of good in these review sites and blog networks. What I feel the good reviewers lack nowadays is a sense of identity. Their voice gets lost in a crowd of conformation and the bottom line is usually masarap or hindi masarap, not saying for whom the place is catered for, with a pretty picture attached.

If you’ve been a former long-time reader of my work, you’ll probably already know that I love savory, salty, smoky, garlicky, and meaty food. I enjoy seafood, pork ramen, bacon, cheese, burgers, and steak, among others. I also have a penchant for hot, bitter drinks and like my coffee black. There’s a lot of things I dislike too. I have a relatively lower tolerance for spicy food compared to Beloved, and maybe most people, and I loathe cilantro and black peppercorns. I’m also not a big fan of white rice, and would rather eat pizza over pasta.

Beloved also has her own profile. We agree on some things, such as seafood, savory food, and ramen, but we disagree on a lot. She doesn’t have the apparent gene that makes cilantro taste like soap like I do. She’s also lactose intolerant, so she can’t handle cheeses as I can (although she still drinks milk and puts it on her coffee). However, she can handle spicy food better than most people that I know. She also has more of a sweet tooth when it comes to drinks and dessert, but not as much when it comes to main courses. She also loves chicken meat even if she’s allergic to the skin. Ironically, she hates sour food even though she loves eating sinigang.

My point is, we’ve established an identity in this blog. That is the advantage, I feel, that most independent food bloggers have over aggregators and networks. Since these are all essentially opinion pieces, you, as a reader, don’t have to agree with my food preferences. You get to find out why I like or dislike a place, and compare and adjust that to your own tasting profile or preferences. You can try places that I dislike if you feel that you’ll like things that I don’t. Likewise, if you feel you have a similar flavor profile as I do, then I can almost guarantee that you’ll also enjoy the places that I enjoyed.

I also liked the community, albeit small, I’ve built with this blog. I enjoyed reading the comments and recommendations that some of you have given. Maybe this time, we’ll be able to build a bigger one.

Now, it’s not all a sense of duty or nostalgia. Recently, I’ve had an itching to write. I just don’t know what to write about. I’ve also been wanting to code more. This project, I felt, is the perfect candidate to revive and fill the creative void I’ve left for the past few years.

I’ve moved on from Blogger to self-host my blog. I’m using Hugo, so these are all static pages. I’ve written my own theme I’ve called Hugot for the looks. Feel free to use the theme, although it’s still under development and might not fit the content of your site. I’ve also moved the commenting system to Disqus, so, unfortunately, the old comments are gone.

What else is going to happen? Here’s a rundown:

  1. You might notice some blank pages, broken/missing images, etc. Migrating to Hugo means I need to rewrite my content to adjust for the framework, so that’s the first order of business.
  2. I’ll start writing my backlog. It might be difficult based on memory, but I do take notes and hopefully they will rekindle the experiences.
  3. I’ll start blogging all my food adventures in the future. The images will still be of cellphone (a bit higher this time) quality, but I’ll promise to maintain my writing style.
  4. If I’m not able to relive the experience through memory from #1, we’ll revisit the place (if it’s still up) and do a new review for that. These will take a lower priority from #2, though.

Anyway, I’m back. Hopefully for good.