I’m Clarisse, a 26 year-old busy juggling a stressful day-job and a multitude of hobbies-slash-passions. Most days I’m half-crazed from exhaustion, but the thing that keeps me going- and who cares if this is going to sound a tad cliche- is love. I love being able to do them all. I think if you look through my blog, you will see the kind of time and devotion I pour into each post I share here, all because I have embraced blogging as one of my passions.
I’m proud of how much my little blog has grown over the years. In 2012, I became a Foodista.com Featured Blogger thanks to the Purple Ombre Cake I attempted out of curiosity. I had one of my posts featured on Huffington Post Taste later in the year. Friends over at JapanLover.Me featured my Mario-themed dessert in 2013. This was the same year I started blogging on a self-hosted platform, so in a sense this blog is still young.
I began receiving sponsored work in 2014, and the following year, I was named as a Finalist to Philippine Blog Awards 2015— Food and Dining Category. I was also tapped by Manila Bulletin to contribute two articles with photographs about Dubai and Abu Dhabi for their Cruising Magazine April 2016 issue.
In December of 2016, I had the honour of being selected as the Philippine representative to the Global Wow Korea Social Influencer Tour 2016; a five-day tour around South Korea sponsored by the Korea Tourism Organization alongside others chosen from 8 different countries. This 2017, my year started with a tour of snowy Sapporo City courtesy of the Sapporo City Tourism Office. I was also named one of HomeAway by Expedia’s Top Food Bloggers in the PH.
I live in Manila, the Philippines– yep, the country with the beautiful beaches. Despite the perennially warm weather, I like to spend most of my free-time in the kitchen trying not to make a mess (which I have discovered is hard to do when you love to bake), or in front of my computer writing, blogging, and searching for inspiration (not necessarily in that order, but usually all at the same time). Whenever I travel some place else, you’ll usually know what I’m up to through my Instagram!
What’s in the name?
The name The Tummy Train is actually a combination of the two main things this blog centers around: food (tummy) and travel (train).
TUMMY. This blog is first and foremost about the exploration of food, and I like to do that inside and outside my kitchen. You can expect lots of recipe features, restaurant reviews, and also fun brand collaborations (more on that here) constantly on the blog.
For the record, I am not a food expert nor have I ever been trained as a chef. I started baking cupcakes for fun when I was 16 because I thought they were cute, but it wasn’t until after graduating from De La Salle University with a degree in Advertising Management that I realized how much I actually enjoyed baking. There’s more to it than cupcakes apparently, though they are a pretty good place to start.
It did not take long before I got so hooked on baking and cookery that I began looking for an outlet to record my experiences. Inspired by the beautiful food blogs around the blogosphere, I decided to start my own. The perks of having a food blog was that I could practice my photography and writing as well. See, photography was my college crush turned lifetime best friend, and writing is my greatest love. Whichever angle I looked, exploring the space where all of these paths converged was a win-win.
I enjoy trying out recipes that are interesting for the palate, or those that will teach me some new techniques. (Thank you to authors and fellow food bloggers for sharing your recipes and your wisdom!) I also like to turn to my collection of cookbooks for ideas. Slowly I am learning how to tweak recipes to my liking. My goal is to eventually be able to develop recipes of my own.
Being self-taught, most of what I know I picked up through reading, experimentation, plus a lot of trials and errors. Most of the recipes that will appear on this blog might be dessert-related since I really have a special love for baking. Ironically I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (I like spicy and sour food), but there’s something about turning mere flour and eggs into beautiful baked goods that makes me feel like I’m doing magic.
So to make a long story short, aside from being my journal, I hope this blog encourages other aspiring home bakers and cooks to experiment in their own kitchens. I know a lot of people like the idea of “homemade” and “made from scratch”, but somehow they don’t take that extra step to do it. Remember that you don’t have to have a culinary degree to be able to whip up something good! Each recipe I pass on here has been tested and loved at home, with step-by-step photos to act as a guide. I hope the photos also make the “tough” recipes a little less intimidating.
Apart from step by step pictures, I have also dabbled into making video tutorials and recipe diaries which you can check out on my YouTube channel. I’m working on making more videos about unique dining experiences I come across, and I also hope I can give you guys more behind the scene looks into famous international food brands in the future.
What started out as a diary for my kitchen trials has evolved into something more multi-faceted, and I’m still continuously trying to develop concepts for the blog that will make all the foodie things I share more mouth-watering for all of you. 😉
TRAIN. Is there still anyone who out there who hasn’t been bitten by the travel bug? It’s the age of affordable flying and wanderlust after all. I’m one of those who always want to explore new locations. The world is too fascinating a place to miss out on. Luckily for me I have a love for learning about cultures and histories other than my own; and of course, we must not forget the cuisine!
I believe that the two will never be mutually exclusive because the cuisine is simply too big a part of a country’s identity to ignore. So in the visual diaries of my travels that I write, I always try to capture the essence of the countries I visit as much as I can, involving their culture and their cuisine.
Most of my travels are broken down by blog posts, but I very much enjoy making Travel Videos as well! My enthusiasm about traveling has opened doors for me I never expected, but more importantly, I hope it has helped you see a tiny bit of what you can expect out there.
I certainly hope that you find the trip with The Tummy Train worthwhile and fun! 🙂
Looking to collaborate? You can check out my Collab and Contact page for more information. For business inquiries; and/or anything you may want to share, comment, suggest, or ask me, kindly e-mail me at clarisse [at] thetummytrain [dot] com, or use the contact form on this page.
PS. I put a lot of thought and effort into coming up with my content and photos, so please please please do not take them without proper credit or permission. Thank you!
-January 7th, 2017