Sunday, January 31, 2010

Heavy Dinner at Gerry's Grill

My friend Princess and I are both self-confessed gluttons. During our law school days, we can gobble up everything edible and halal (BTW, she's a Muslim) on the table while updating each other with life's ups and downs (read: chika to death). She feels utmost concern of her family's plan for her in 2011 ARMM elections. I  told her she should follow her heart... to honorable-ness! After dining at Gerry's Grill in newly-renovated Ali Mall, I feel I'm as bloated as a penguin and, after a few moments of contemplation, I feel I'm a donkey travelling in a desert complete with saddle bags. Okay, I'm very full. 'Nuff said.


Sinigang na hipon... Yummy-ness!

 Kilawin na tanigue

Bagoong rice

Chicken lollipop with garlic mayo dip

Lovely four seasons drink

A drink fit for (a) Princess!

 
 Good ole buddies

 
Simot-plato gang (except the half-rice)

Burp! Thanks a lot, Princess! As-Salamu Alaykum!

Cheap Thrills in Life Series: New Books

Thump-thump-thump. That's the sound of my heart when I entered Booksale store in Shopwise Arcade in Cubao this morning. My heart did a somersault, big mental grin flashed behind my mind and childlike excitement filled me upon seeing lotsa books there. Never mind the fact that I didn't find James Patterson's thrillers.

So here are my latest reading pleasures:

Sue Monk Kidd's bestsellers: The Secret Life of Bees (Php 115) and The Mermaid Chair (Php 70)... Amazing!

 
Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights,(Php 145), Robert James Waller's Old Songs in a New Cafe (Php 35) and Rebecca Wells' Divine Secrets of Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Php 20)

And last but not the least, a tribute to the courtroom drama fan in me... Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies (Php 75).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cheap Thrills in Life Series: Claudette's Brazo de Mercedes

I've been wanting to start a series here in (where else?) my blog. I think it's time. I just want candid and whimsical entries. Anything that catches my attention during the day, no serious material, simple things that make me smile or hope for something positive. Yep, positive. It's the only catch-all term I can think of as of now. 

Brazo de Mercedes
Claudette's (I ♥ Cakes)
Valero Street, Makati City
 Php 370/roll

To start off, I want to make a tribute to one of the cheap thrills in my corporate refugee life --- Claudette's Brazo de Mercedes.  It's my first delicious taste of this creme-filled log roll of Spanish origin. During my younger years, I didn't like eating this cake since the ones I've eaten are poorly made or substandard. Even Goldilock's version is not that good. But Claudette's version is the best by far. It's not too sweet and the consistency of its cream filling is similar to yema, a childhood favorite. The best part is, it's only a stone's throw away from Netopia.

"Monkey D. Luffy" Sails On

My seafarer brother Ivan will fly back to Hamburg, Germany tomorrow to continue his One Piece* adventure.

It's his third time to be away from us for nine (9) months. I can only imagine the loneliness his wife feels everytime he's away. But the pros always outweighs the cons, so all we can do is to pray, pray and pray for his safety.

On his apprenticeship stint on board an oil tanker plying the Asia-Africa route, he saved all his monthly allowances. I think it changed him all right since he emerged to be more mature after that trip. In fact, he never asked for a single centavo from my parents when he decided to marry his then long-time girlfriend (now his wife). He eventually managed to give a pretty decent wedding to his fiancee from his own blood, sweat and tears.

After he passed the marine deck officer board exam, he embarked on another sea adventure in European cities. He told us that this stint gave him more time to relax compared to his apprenticeship days. Plus, travelling from one European port to another usually takes 6-8 hours. That's a big relief compared to his Asia-African stint which involves 2-4 days of sea travel.

It's a prevailing fact that seafarers who opted to go overseas earn in dollars. But the story behind the financial uplift is never easy. Imagine yourself travelling for days, even weeks in the midst of never-ending ocean with occasional big waves. That's not easy. Hard-earned money indeed.

And hey, he's generous to me despite the fact that he's known to be the most stingy among the brood. First, he gave me thirty thousand pesos (Php 30, 000) last March 2009 when I learned that Netopia's sending me to Virginia, U.S.A. Although my mother insisted that it should be a loan, I still think that he gave the money out of his generosity, hence should not be paid. Let's see. Second, he gave me $100 as a pasalubong after his Europe stint.

And tomorrow, my once-upon-a-time little brother will again embark on another journey to the seas. Monkey D. Luffy sails on!

* His favorite cartoon series which kept him company on board the big ship

James Patterson's 4th of July



This is my last James Patterson novel on hand but it keeps me craving for more. Now, it keeps me craving for Women's Murder Club series. I think this is the upshot of my being a Nancy Drew fan in my younger years. I'm officially a Lindsay Boxer  fan, and I aim to buy all her thrillers in no particular order. I think it all boils down to their availability in thrift bookstores in the metro.

  1. 1st to Die
  2. 2nd Chance
  3. 3rd Degree
  4. 4th of July 
  5. The 5th Horseman
  6. The 6th Target
  7. 7th Heaven
  8. The 8th Confession 
  9. The 9th Judgment (available in stores on April 26th according to JP's website)

I hope to catch all of them.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Peace Treaty Signed at Superbowl of China

The war lasted for five (5) days. I had my fair share of sleepless nights and worry coupled with anger. Proof of my anger were some blog entries which I chose to keep. They will be my teachers when a brewing war comes along. We really don't know when my craziness strikes.

We sort of celebrated our moment of peace last Tuesday. I did not report for work that day because seeing him might only aggravate my, oh well, anger. I truly need to enroll in an anger management class. So, when we thought that pride must be set aside and that love and affection must prevail more than anything else, we agreed to meet. It's a date.

Hey, we're here to eat, by the way, and not to take silly pictures.

Superbowl of China bestsellers: Yang chow rice, seafood chopsuey, crispy chicken with I-forgot-what-sauce & complimentary prawn crackers... Yummy!


Without doubt, my hat's off to whoever said the classic line "make love, not war".  That's all for our belated, cheesy seventh monthsary.

Thirsty Thursday

I named this entry as "Thirsty Thursday" to commemorate my longing (a.k.a. thirst) for something new, something fabulous, something exciting, something clever, something educational. Nothing new, fabulous, exciting or clever has came into my life yet, hence the thirst. Call it boredom but I intend to cure this thirst as soon as I figure out how. Right now, I have no single clue yet.

Okay, just to comply with my vow that I should publish a post on a daily basis, I'll do a run-down of things that happened on this thirsty day.

  1. I experienced my worst case of being a standing passenger in a bus plying the Fairview-Ayala route. I boarded in Cubao and yet I had the chance of being seated in Crossing. I cursed every moment the driver hit the brake in the midst of morning rush (translation: heavy traffic) along EDSA. A somewhat heavy shoulder bag, a lunch bag, three-inch heeled sandals. Argh. I think I developed a bulge in my arm muscles in my struggle to cope with the damn brake.
  2. Another boring day of workup training. This is the third stage of the process training in the Land of Enchantment. No choice left but to go through with it.
  3. Wow, it seems that familiar souls from law school just invaded the 41/F. New project: Jury verdict. Period: 3 months.
  4. First day of my monthly period.


Whoa, maybe #4 has something to do with my seemingly low moments of today. I concede to that. Period. :)


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2010

I'm truly excited for this event in Clarkfield, Pampanga.



Up, up and away!

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Is It Morning Yet?

The night went like a blur;
No streak of humanity,
No buzz, dreams and whispers.
Is it morning yet?



Tears freely flowed to my cheeks;
Wiping didn't help,
Remembering pain so deep.
Is it morning yet? 



Darkness inside and outside;
Frantic beating of heart,
Loopy thump-thump-thump.
Is it morning yet?



I curled up like a fetus;
Pillow serving as the sole comfort,
Cold blanket reeking of body scent.
Is it morning yet?




-Betrayed, who hopes she could just shut her eyes to betrayal.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Folks' Pearl

     
The heat is on in Saigon  
The girls are hotter 'n' hell
One of these slits here will be Miss Saigon
God, the tension is high, not to mention the smell
The heat is on in Saigon
Is there a war going on?
Don't ask, I ain't gonna tell 


        

Wife always spoke at ninety miles an hour. Her voice a rhythmic rat-tat-tat.

Husband acceded regularly for the sake of world peace. His silence admirable.

Pearl's fast approachin', dude.

Weekend at TriNoMa

My sister-in-law Sheryl gave us three (3) movie passes for Jackie Chan's newest comedy film The Spy Next Door. So I tagged along my sister Nikki and nephew Dave to Trinoma to watch the film. That quite saved me some bucks for some weekend movie. Thank God for Citibank freebies!

Jackie Chan never failed to make me laugh since time immemorial. Yep, it's slapstick humor but a martial arts comedy movie generally lives on the corniest execution of stunts. Overall, the film was a wholesome material for the family, similar to The Pacifier.

After the movie, we tried The White Hat Italian frozen yogurt for the first time. In all fairness, it was  refreshingly good, despite Dave's constant pleading to go to Time Zone. The kid can be so persistently annoying in a good way.

Create Your Own HAT: Regular with strawberry preserves & green tea flavored yogurt with kiwi

Dave, simply bored

Cleaning Out My Closet

For the sake of domestic peace, I finally cleaned out my closet. I don't want to burden Annabelle Rama anymore as she had enough by merely raising five (5)  big kids and one grade schooler.


While cleaning, I find it alarming that I'm scourging my closet of five (5) jeans. Reason? They don't fit me anymore. I've gained an inch or two or maybe three for  two years. Apparently my fitting problems stem from my slow metabolism. That's what happens when you're hitting 30. Darn. 


So long farewell, my jeans!

I think it's high time to fret about my waistline. The pair of jeans on top was only a year old and it won't zip anymore. I had to struggle zipping the buttons over a two-inch gap called flabs. Oh my.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Political Noise

I was still half-awake in my bed when some political noise jarred me completely out of sleep.

A barangay kagawad (name withheld) is holding a bingo bonanza in the middle of the street as her way of reaching out to her constituents on her birthday. How typical of a Pinoy politician, huh? Louspeakers galore. Obvious orchestrated clapping of hands. Argh. 

I could only imagine the people's money used in buying the bingo prizes like bags of grocery items and appliances. There's even a soup kitchen! Sopas in styro cups were distributed among the bingo participants, and, yep, the bingo host repeatedly pointed it out. "Hey, there's soup for everyone!"

The whole affair reeks of dirty, phony game of Pinoy politics.

Introductions went like this... "matulungin, madaling lapitan, tunay na malalapitan, pinakamamahal, napakahusay, ating kaagapay, kabalikat sa pagbibigay ng magandang serbisyo, ang rek(c)ord na di mapantayan, ang puso ng Barangay Pinagkaisahan, ang tinatanyag na si... " If I could only grab the megaphone and say, "Talaga po?"

Then, a not-so-loud clapping followed. Not satisfied, the host raised her voice a bit higher, "Bigyan po natin ng malakas at masigabong palakpan." Loud clapping now.

It has the same party flavor of local noontime shows and it redefines the concept of public service. Sigh.

Unless one is deaf or blind or simply dumb, you'd know it's premature campaign for May 2010 elections.

Then a lot of barangay kagawads participated, gave their promises, thanked everyone and introduced one after another politician, barangay-level, city-level, congress-level. The same superlatives were used in the introduction. My second argh. Damn this political noise.

Oh wait, I can smell Bistek* now. Another argh.


*a mayoralty hopeful in the City of Stars

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Funny Recipe

Ingredients:
  1. 200 kgs. of pork pigue or kasim, preferably from a snorting, stinky glutton of a pig
  2. 140 pieces of tablea (cocoa bars from the far-flung mountains)
  3. 4 liters of HIV-positive blood of a GMD

Directions:
  1. Chop the pork into tiny pieces with a sharp-bladed knife till it becomes dull.
  2. Crush the cocoa bars with bare hands until the smell of bitterness will waft through your nostrils and your hands will have traces of cocoa till kingdom come.
  3. Mix the pork cutlets and the crushed cocoa until you cringe in pure disgust. Set aside.
  4. Boil the blood in high fire till it reminds you of Dark Prince's cauldron. 
  5. Drop the first two ingredients to the boiling pot. Put water, if necessary.
  6. Stir constantly and, voila, an instant carcass soup reminiscent of  the tragedy in Haiti.
Serve in high-quality polypropylene container.

The Amelioration of Goya Choclits Part 3

I discovered more Goya varieties today, so allow me to holler once more: Yey Goya! Upon seeing these choco treats on the shelves of Rustan's Supermarket in Gateway Mall, I could feel myself being transformed to a grade schooler, wide-eyed with happiness. This may be surprising to some people but, right there and then, hoarding of Goya immediately followed.

Here are the Goya varieties I found today:




Goya Fun Factory varieties: Chocolate Coins (milk chocolate), Silver Cup (milk chocolate) and Golden Crown (milk chocolate with rice crispies)




Box types: Orange Peel (dark chocolate with orange peel) and Dark Mint (dark chocolate with mint)



O'Nuts varieties: Almonds & Crispy Wafer in Goya chocolate and Almonds & Crispy Wafer in Goya dark chocolate


Goya Dark on White Almonds (whole almonds covered in white & dark chocolate) and Goya Nuggets (cream white chocolate)


Goya Almonds & Raisins (covered in milk chocolate) and Crispy Chocs Mint (crunchy rice crispies in mint flavored dark chocolate)


And these two really piqued my interest: Goya Seashells with praline filling and Dark Seashells with dark chocolate filling. These seemingly high-end types of Goya are made in Belgium. Truly, this is the amelioration of Goya chocolates!

As always, I look forward to more Goya chocolate varieties. 

Trip to Cebu

I had my first out-of-the-metro getaway from January 14 to 17. It was a memorable family trip, and I think it's best to list the down the reasons why.
  1. It's my first time to attend a novena mass for the celebrated Sinulog Festival;
  2. My boyfriend had the chance to bond with my family apart from his usual Sunday visits at home;
  3. My first cousin San-san finally tied the knot with the love of her life;
  4. I also fulfilled my silent longing to see Moalboal's white beach; and
  5. After almost a decade, I got the chance to see some of my relatives, mostly in mint condition.
Hence, my eagerness to blog about this trip.

 January 14, 2010

We took the 8 a.m. flight via Cebu Pacific. Mind you, my family was already at the NAIA-3 terminal two (2) hours before the flight. Yep, I'm blessed with obsessive-compulsive (OC) parents. Hahaha! My boyfriend arrived thirty minutes later since he's from Makati.

My brother Popo is the most scaredy-cat during airplane take-offs. He has been travelling with my parents since he was a kid, and up until now, he still gets ghost-white whenever there's an air turbulence and during take-offs. I think he got this unfounded fear of flying from watching too much action films.



We stayed at Carcar Travellers Inn in Valladolid, Carcar City, a two-hour ride from Cebu City. We opted to stay there as my aunt's house is predictably full of relatives who will be attending my cousin's wedding.





The picture on the right typifies a "nosebleed" moment. My boyfriend hails from Leyte and he can only understand basic Cebuano terms.





After lunch at my aunt's house, my boyfriend and I headed to Cebu City to roam around or "suroy-suroy". We hitched a ride with cousin San-san and his fiance Jerwin to the city. Below are my pics at the Magellan's Cross, a famous landmark of the Queen City of the South.

Inday was here.

My amen pose.

"KANDOL, bai!"

Cebu locals who are peddling candles near the Basilica Minore del Santo NiƱo (Church of the Holy Child), touted to be the oldest church in the Philippines, usually pronounced their merchandise as "kandol". It's uniquely Cebuano! It feels like home to me.

At this point, rain began to pour. We attended the 2:30 PM mass/novena which was held in the Pilgrim Center. The latter is sort of an extension of the Basilica because hundreds of devotees are expected to attend the week-long celebration of Sinulog. The "Batobalani sa Gugma" (Magnet of Love) song was sung accompanied by swaying of hands by the devotees who were, mind y'all, soaked up.

After the mass, we went to SM City Cebu armed with a big appetite. We ate at Cowrie Grill, a Filipino-themed resto.

I'm No Saint

Caveat: Written in state of fury with the eerie silence of the hour past midnight.

One of the most essential things I have learned in life is to honor thy word. I'm not talking about the divine word here since "thy" apparently is not in upper case.

For the sake of logical order of things and in the hope of getting my point, let me re-stress my point.

If I tell a person that I don't like a certain res*, I don't expect that person to agree with me or take my side. But if you see me not 100% happy with it, then deal with it. I hate pretending I'm happy and I hate it when a person forces me to be happy when I'm not. I appreciate the effort but, no, thank you. My problem? Yes. Your problem? No.

So if that person noticed that I'm unhappy, the natural course of universe comes into play. The person will now join my very own state of unhappiness regarding such res. Reason for joining? I'd like to think it's a sign of loyalty. Pure loyalty, not half-hearted. Days, weeks, months passed by and, unfortunately, my exclusive state still didn't change. My problem? Yes. Your problem? Now I think it's yes.

The days, weeks and months I'm talking about were filled with pledges. A pledge is a pledge. A promise is a promise. So when a person promised me exactly what I wanted, I will be undeniably in high spirits. Who wouldn't be?   Loyalty is bliss. I'm fiercely loyal.

And here's the crucial point. Don't give me the classic lame excuse that promises are meant to be broken. I don't buy that. Either you tell me the truth that you don't agree with my dislike for that certain res or let's play the game of hard feelings.

If a person gave me his/her word, I expect him/her to honor thy word. I can only tolerate minor yet unguarded violations of the promise. When I say "minor yet unguarded", it means three strikes ONLY. Uno, dos, tres. I can be forgiving to a certain level only. If more than that, then deal with my fury. News flash: Three strikes already! Didn't I warn you before that I'm no saint? Didn't I tell you I'm a living example of "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"? 

Red alert: I'm now H-E-double-hockey-sticks serious with fury.

*Go figure.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Amelioration of Goya Choclits Part 2

I still can't get enough of Goya chocolates. This chocoholic entry came to light from reminiscing my childhood. Yes, the rewind button's still switched on.

So behold my Goya chocolate discoveries for today.



Look, three more Goya bars for the child in me! They are Almonds in Milk Chocolate, Cookies & Cream and Krispy Krunch: Dark Chocolate with Crisped Rice.



Apparently, Splendor is a major category of Goya chocolates and I found three varieties of Splendor: Crushed Almonds in Dark Chocolate, Crushed Almonds in Milk Chocolate and Crushed Almonds in Cream White Chocolate. Oh, this makes me think that Goya is a many-Splendored chocolate. Hahaha!



I call this as Goya-standing-proud pose. Goya Dark: Whole Almonds Covered in Dark Chocolate (left), Goya White: Whole Almonds Covered in White Chocolate (center) and Goya Nuggets: Milk Chocolate (right).



These two are my instant favorites among all the Goya chocolates I discovered today. Both Goya Raisins (covered with milk chocolate) and Crispy Chocs (crunchy rice crispies in milk chocolate) are miraculously good.

I'm still looking forward to more varieties. Re-discovering Goya is like hitting two birds with one stone: first, mission accomplished for life in rewind and, second, instant happiness! Yey Goya!

The Rest Will Remain Unwritten

You'd know you're bored by simply recalling the older and the oldest posts of blogspot. I'm guilty of this right now.

In addition to being bored, I'm thinking of scheduled activities this weekend and how in the world will I'm going to fit all of them this coming weekend.

First off, my boyfriend will go condo-tripping on Saturday afternoon. According to him, my opinion does matter so I'll go with him. Probable sites will be in Mindanao Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue because those locations still offer condo deals below 1M. Finding your own spot in the metro isn't cheap.

Second, a college friend will have her bridal shower on Saturday night. I'm one of the chosen few who witnessed how her love story began within the walls of Intramuros. I'm still contemplating whether to attend or not. Some of our old college friends have not yet confirmed their attendance, so I really don't know. It will be sort of a reunion since the couple are based in Shanghai.

Third, a law school buddy has been constantly pleading me to go somewhere in the South this weekend. I think I'm very much excited with this one. I can still remember our single, carefree days where nothing else mattered but our childlike happiness. But some things have changed. I'm now in a relationship and I have to think twice in bringing him. One thing I don't want anyone to feel is the feeling of being "OP". Or maybe, I'm just way too pessimistic about this.

Lastly, another law school friend (a fellow Fing Ting also) is pretty much anxious to have another girl bonding this weekend. Plus, it's her birthday this Saturday.

Oh, the rest will remain unwritten. Selective rambling alert's on. 

Good Lordie, Thy will be done.

The Amelioration of Goya Choclits Part 1

I feel that I am entering a phase in my life where I want to rewind the life I had. A big part of this rewind will probably come from childhood, a stage where candies and chocolates are more than enough to cheer me up. Life then was so uncomplicated I'm tempted to go back.

So while on my way home, I made a quick stopover at Mercury Drug and found the kiddie treats I used to enjoy. Yey Goya! Back when M & M's chocolates were a little bit expensive for daily consumption, Goya was there.

In high school, it was a running joke that if someone courts you and gives you Goya chocolates, the logical thing to do is to dump him instantly. Well, I'm guilty of belittling Goya then. I even stopped buying and eating it because my taste buds worshipped the taste of imported chocolates. Plus, the forex rate was $1=Php 25 in Clark Duty Free shops back then.

I'm impressed that Goya chocolates are becoming competitive similar to the modern Pinoy. The packaging and variety of flavors reminds me of Swiss chocolates such as Cadbury. Seeing these kiddie treats in Mercury Drug shelves was very nostalgic.



As seen from above, the Goya bar varieties are: Raisins in Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Raisins and Nuts in Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Cream White Chocolate and Krispy Krunch: Milk Chocolate with Crisped Rice.

I immediately gobbled up the Cream White Chocolate and it was really good. I could easily mistake it for Toblerone white chocolate were it not for its wrapper and, of course, the shape.


There's Goya in a box too. It's labeled as Black & White: Dark & White Chocolate. For one sec, I got confused with that. Hahaha! I also found two varieties of Goya ChocoMax: white chocolate coated vanilla filled chocolate wafer sandwich and milk chocolate coated chocolate filled chocolate wafer sandwich. That's Goya tongue twister for you.


I look forward to more Goya varieties. Yep, still on rewind button.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kitkat Entry

Luckily, I'm on a break from browsing the laws of the Land of Enchantment. A couple more days of browsing and all rusty hinges of the door to enlightenment will be devoid of squeaky noise. Squeak, squeak, squeak.

I could feel the throbbing of a potential migraine right now. Rapid browsing and too much flourescent light are the key contributors of this annoying headache. Argh.

However, common sense dictates to me that I should not be complaining. Porquoi? C'est simple, messieurs et mesdemoiselles. I'm one of the lucky underbars who have jobs.

For two weeks now, my inbox has been flooded with job-related queries from my law school friends. Although my boredom in the corporate world sometimes plagued me until midnight, I should be thankful. In fact, this simple albeit precious blogspot was born out of boredom. Merci beaucoup, Netopia.

Back to Reality

After almost three months of hibernation and unlimited net surfing, our five-member team* in fictional Netopia finally felt the initial rush of work responsibility.

Since yesterday**, we are obliged to attend live meetings until January 29 for some training. However, the trainors and the trainees (that would be us*) are on different time zones, so we have to adjust. Memories of my Old Dominion experience are good enough to go hand in hand with my dedication to work. I hope so.


The sepia theme was on purpose. Really, I suddenly felt so Ice Age viewing the Makati skyline. Up until now, I still couldn't believe I'm a corporate refugee for a year. I ain't complaining though.
 


And the Oscar goes to...


Fellow corporate refugee finds it hard to stay candid. Hahaha!


Hello... Good morning... We're fine... No questions.. Thank you... Bye..

All things considered,  I have to kiss my fling*** goodbye. It's back to reality.


*assigned to diligently browse the laws passed by the Land of Enchantment
**It's officially Wednesday as I write.
***Google