Nice to meet you!

I’m Clarisse, a 27 year-old “professional busy bee” flitting between my day-job and my numerous passions in life. 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. (Yes, including working.) What you see on this blog represents just a part of me, but I think it also shows the kind of time and devotion I give when I am doing something I genuinely enjoy.

I like to think of myself as a friendly neighborhood recipe tester. Despite the perennially warm weather here in Manila, 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), taking pictures of carefully arranged food, 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!

Just some random things about me:

  • I am a fan of Gordon Ramsay, David Lebovitz, Dorie Greenspan, and Maangchi! (That last one was unexpected, right?)
  • I don’t know if this is going to sound bizarre but I don’t like to eat sweets even though I like to make them. I make exceptions for really good cookies though!
  • I will devour any chocolate 72% and above, so be careful when you have them around me. 👀
  • Apart from writing and photography, I am also obsessed with reading fantasy novels and doing watercolor illustrations. (Fully Booked BGC is my happy place.)
  • I like to watch ‘Queer Eye’ when I’m in need of good vibes, and ‘The Great British Bake-Off’ when I’m in need of inspiration. Both shows make me feel super posh. 😆

Now for some blog stuff: 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, which felt like a leap of faith since I was not and still am not a full-time blogger.

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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 about Dubai and Abu Dhabi for their Cruising Magazine April 2016 issue. It was surreal seeing my work printed on a magazine, but yay!

In December of 2016, I had the honor 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. I met awesome people from 9 different countries, and it’s something I never expected to experience when I started this blog. In 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 Philippines.

Regardless of everything I just wrote up there, this blog is really just a big ole diary for all the recipes I try and like. It’s also a place to write about all the interesting food and travel-related things I find share-worthy. It’s as simple as that!


The story 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).

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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 features about recipes, restaurant reviews, and also fun brand collaborations (more on that here).

For the record, I am not a food expert nor have I ever been trained as a chef. (I have only attended classes here and there.) I love experimenting in the kitchen though. 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 enjoy baking. There’s more to it than cupcakes apparently, though they are a pretty good place to start

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I really enjoy recipe testing and learning new things in the kitchen. I make it a point to chronicle only the recipes that have made an impression on me. Occasionally I try to tweak them to spice them up a little more. I am also somewhat obsessed with replicating delicious things I’ve tried from restaurants or during my travels. Through this blog, you can also get a glimpse of my inner thoughts when I’m learning a new baking or cooking technique for the first time. I guess I just hope that someone could benefit from my trials and errors. 

Most of the recipes on this blog are 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. And to think it all began when I went into the kitchen one day with zero experience and just decided to make something!

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To cut this 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’re intimidated to take that extra step to do it. Remember that you don’t have to be a culinary expert to be able to whip up something good! I hope you guys enjoy the recipes and experiences I share here, and that my process photos and videos make the “tough” recipes feel more doable. (Check out my YouTube channel for recipe videos.)

Outside my kitchen, I enjoy seeking out unique dining experiences and trying products that are new to me. (More so if they’re local products!) It’s also been a pleasure to get some behind the scene looks into famous international food brands. 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 interesting for all of you. 😉

TRAIN. Is there still anyone out there who hasn’t been bitten by the travel bug? It’s the age of affordable flying and wanderlust after all. The world is too fascinating a place to miss out on. I have a love for learning about cultures and histories other than my own; and of course, we must not forget the cuisine!

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I believe that travel and food will never be mutually exclusive, because the cuisine is simply too big a part of a country’s identity to ignore. So in the travel visual diaries that I write, I always try to capture the essence of a country’s culture and cuisine as much as I can.

Most of my travels are broken down by blog posts, but I very much enjoy making Travel Videos as well. My enthusiasm for traveling has opened doors for me I never expected, but more importantly, I hope it can help you see a tiny bit of what you can expect out there.

Well this has turned out longer than I expected. 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.

~~~~~~

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 2019

26 Comments

  1. Your photos are just gorgeous and I think it’s great you’re developing your passion so young. Although, I guess at your age I was inflicting some pretty bad experiments, and some decent ones, on my college roommates. Good luck with your journey. You’re off to a great start.

    Reply
    1. Clarisse Shaina
      25 April, 2011

      I can absolutely relate to the experiments bit. My victims are always my three younger brothers. Haha! And thank you so much! Your comment means a lot. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Casey
    11 May, 2011

    Love the name of your blog!! nice pictures too, I wish i had that talent!

    Reply
    1. Clarisse Shaina
      12 May, 2011

      Aww thanks for the lovely words! I love the variety of recipes on your blog. 😀

      Reply
  3. Lisa O.
    26 April, 2013

    Great site. Just made the banana bread! De-lish!

    Reply
    1. Clarisse Shaina
      26 April, 2013

      Awesome! Thank you for visiting. I’m glad you like the banana bread! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Lizzy
    2 May, 2013

    Hi, Clarisse! I’ve been on the hunt for local baking and/or food blogs to follow and am I glad I stumbled onto yours. There’s plenty of stuff out there, but not a lot that’s as thoughtfully expressed or put together. It’s now my new favorite blog. Definitely looking forward to your next baking experiments!

    Reply
    1. Clarisse Shaina
      2 May, 2013

      Wow thanks for the compliment! It means a lot. 😀

      Reply
  5. Jean Alaba
    4 June, 2013

    You have a knack for photography, looking forward to seeing more of your posts. Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Cla Panuelos
      4 June, 2013

      Thank you! Just visited your blog too! It’s awesome. 😀

      Reply
  6. chefgusto
    10 July, 2013

    We are crazily similar O_O

    Reply
    1. Cla Panuelos
      10 July, 2013

      I just checked out your blog. Nice to meet another Filipino food blogger! I love how your recipes go around the world. The Indian food is making me crave! The variety of your recipes is inspiring for someone like me who has been trying to cook more but ends up baking way too much instead haha! XD

      Reply
      1. chefgusto
        10 July, 2013

        Thanks! My first love is baking and cooking is a close second. I started with a dessert blog first but then I decided to broaden the horizon of food and venture off to cooking as well.

        Reply
        1. Cla Panuelos
          10 July, 2013

          I’m still trying to do the cooking part haha! I have a ton of recipes lined-up but somehow I always prioritize the baking recipes. 🙁

          Reply
          1. chefgusto
            10 July, 2013

            You’ll get to it! I started the same. I have index cards of recipes to try and I tend to put all the baking ones in front but eventually, I learned to mix and match. Pairing is the way to go 😉 Btw, I have been browsing through your blog and my gosh, the photos are just on point! Copied a few links of your recipes to make as well. Thanks in advance for those!

          2. Cla Panuelos
            10 July, 2013

            Awesome! Let me know how they go. 🙂

            And thanks for the tips!

  7. jackiesdelights
    25 July, 2013

    You have a super amazing blog! I was just wondering, what widgets do you use for your sidebar? I’m just getting my baking blog started and am looking for ways to improve its appearance.
    Keep up the good work, your photography is amazing!

    Jackiesdelights.net

    Reply
    1. Cla Panuelos
      25 July, 2013

      Hi thanks for visiting. Congrats on the new blog! My widgets are mostly just text widgets. I simply code in a combination of pictures and HTML. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Enzo
    20 October, 2014

    Hi! What camera do you use in your photography? Your pictures are amazing! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Clarisse
      20 October, 2014

      Hi Enzo! Thank you so much. I use the Canon EOS 7D. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Rice N Dine
    29 March, 2016

    Amazing blog you have in here and your talent is very admirable! More powers to your blog and have a lovely day! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Clarisse
      29 March, 2016

      Thank you so much! 🙂

      Reply
  10. padmaja
    22 December, 2016

    Hi, you have an amazing blog and i actually stumbled when I was looking for Dubai spice market research. Your photos on your blog looks amazing. What camera do you use to shoot the pics and also mention your favorite photo touch up tools that you use often, for editing pictures.

    Once after i am back from my holiday . I am going to bake some lovely buns and breads from your recipe index. have a wonderful day!

    Reply
    1. Clarisse
      22 December, 2016

      Hi there! Thank you for your kind words! For the Dubai trip I used my Fujifilm XE2. And then I used Photoshop to post process a little bit. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Mia Amor
    21 October, 2017

    I love your blog and especially on how you take your pictures its just “perfect”

    Reply
    1. Clarisse
      21 October, 2017

      Thanks, Mia! 🙂

      Reply

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