Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 24: Pearl Couple's Day

Caveat: This serves as my dedication to the awesome pair who breathed life into me... Mr. & Mrs. B! So pardon my cheesy statements.

The union of Mr. & Mrs. B is a fine example that teamwork and respect are the key ingredients of a succesful marriage. Since May 24 is an important day in my parents' lives, a considerable chunk of blog exposure will be given to them via this post. With this, allow me to share a snippet of my folks:

Typical morning scenario: Mr. B wakes up to the sound of alarm, whips up breakfast for the pack of 7 (5 kids and them) while listening to the early morning radio news. Approximately 15 minutes later, Mrs. B wakes up, checks to see what breakfast is, complains that Mr. B should stop snoring (this has been a classic household complaint) and goes to shower. If Mrs. B disagrees to the breakfast items, she'd voice it out loud. Mr. B simply ignores it. Mrs. B will now shower while Mr. B sits in the rocking chair, obviously resting after cooking breakfast and waiting for his turn to shower. Clad in a towel, Mrs. B prepares Mr. B's plate and morning coffee. Tick-tock.  While Mr. B's inside the bath, Mrs. B will now grumble words like a military sergeant to her pack of 5. After Mr. B showered, Mrs. B will now sit in the dining table and shares breakfast with Mr. B. Classic morning topics I often hear: Philippine politics, office slackers, upcoming bonuses, who among the pack tuition fee payment is due, delicious weekend fare - in no particular order. After breakfast, toothbrush and washing some greasy pans (Mrs. B is a self-confessed OC that she won't delegate the washing of the same to others), they will now prepare and dress up for work. 20 minutes later,  Mrs. B will prepare Mr. B.'s water bottle while Mr. B distributes daily allowance of the members of the pack. And off they go to work together.

I consider myself a credible and competent witness to this morning bonding of my folks. The above scenario depicts Mr. & Mrs. B as a couple who withstood the test of time. True enough, the union of Mr. & Mrs. B is similar to a metaphor associated to a pearl - very rare, fine, admirable and valuable.

Happy Pearl Anniversary to my Mama & Papa!

Shown here with Mr. & Mrs. B are delicious items of their simple anniversary dinner of beef caldereta, vegetable lumpia, chicken pastel, siomai and Estrel's caramel cake as dessert.

Congrats, Mama & Papa! More happy years ahead!

May 13: Mama's Birthday

I've rambled about Ruby a.k.a. bida/kontrabida in this entry. It's almost a mandatory judicial notice that my mother plays a significant role in my life. So, it's just high time to repeat about her awesomeness since it's her birthday anyway. Besides, it's not every day that I get to pay tribute to the woman from whom I inherited half of my genes.

I wasn't able to attend her golden day celebration last year due to my training in C'ville. And, in order to lessen my guilty feelings about it and to show how precious the golden girl is (zzzzz... drools), I bought her a black leather Coach bag ($185 plus tax) at the Prime Outlets in Williamsburg, VA. Well, that's for last year, but this year's different. I bought her a Cookies and Cream cake instead since it's purportedly one of her favorites. Way, way cheaper compared to my last year's tribute, yes!

Happy 51st Birthday, Ma!

These photos would show how happy the birthday celebrant was during her day. Add some bunch of flowers from my BF, two more sweet treats (chocolate mousse & crema de fruta) from office peeps, and smiles from moi and Dave, methinks Ruby is happy! Siblings missing in the picture were still either in school, work or trying to make their lives count.

My heartfelt wishes this time: good health and happiness ... and the building of that dream house in Bohol soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 12: The BF's Birthday

Notwithstanding his childlike personality, the BF is now a tricenarian! He turned 30 last May 12, just one day ahead of my mother's birthday. Okay, I have to admit that Librans like moi seemed to establish a good rapport with Taureans, save for some periods where the lunar effect comes into play (kidding).

The perennial favorite: Estrel's caramel cake

One awesome thing about Estrel's* is that it never fails to disappoint us and the first timers. Never mind the teeny-weeny hassle of picking it up yourself in the mazelike intersection near Timog area in Quezon City because it's all worth it. Mind you, it took me one and half hours of travel from Timog to Pasig City where BF's office is. Oh yeah, blame the infamous Friday traffic jam.

Thanks to the ever reliable CCME Homemade Foodstuff delivery service for the lunch consisting of beef caldereta, pork barbecue, lemon chicken, chopsuey and pancit bam-i (for longevity, whatevs). The Honorable Judge RDQ was very nice to give way to beer and videoke sessions in the afternoon. It was definitely a happy burp-day!

My only wish to the BF - may all your wishes come true!

*Estrel's Caramel Cakes
54 Scout Tobias corner Scout Limbaga Streets, Quezon City
Phone Numbers: 372-2965 and 371-7938

Monday, May 24, 2010

My "Fashionable" Ramadan Experience

Just like any culture in our modernist society, the Muslim culture is filled with colorful, historical value. And I had the rare opportunity of wearing a Muslim traditional dress last 2006. Nope, it's not for some school activity, but the real thing - as a participant in the cultural fashion show in International Ramadan Fair staged in Intramuros Clamshell Tent.

While in law school, I had the chance of meeting people who originated from the south. Yes, they are the people who chose to follow the teachings of Mohammed. It's a matter of really understanding the concept of Islam and their unique culture, and not the wild, wild image that media often depicted. And, maybe because, I spent my childhood in the City of Golden Friendship (read: CDO) in Mindanao where it's commonplace to hear Muslim dialects, complete with rising and falling intonations.

Having spent her life in the political arena in their province, my friend really kept on convincing us (her Christian friends) to join the event as it would be the first International Ramadan Fair in Manila. She told me that I would be wearing a traditional wedding dress of the Muslims in Tawi-tawi, known as "batawi" in the Sama dialect. The "batawi" is normally worn by the women of esteemed heritage (read: royal blood) in their province as a wedding dress and during special occasions. Having that in mind and for the spirit of F-U-N, I instantly said yes! 

Behold our post-cultural fashion show pics.

With heavy make-up, unique costume, foreign and local media clicking their shutters away and some inner bubble of happiness and excitement, it was definitely an unforgettable event with my Muslim friends. And I'd never view the word "Ramadan" the same way again.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Downtown Dallas

If I were to choose one unforgettable impromptu trip in 2009, then it's my trip to Dallas, Texas! Based in McKinney, Texas, my Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Jay were very generous to sponsor my roundtrip ticket from Charlottesville (Virginia) to Dallas-Fortworth which is worth $630. I'd say it's pretty pricey for an interstate trip, but, heck, it's been four years that we haven't seen each other. So there.

For lack of any significant tourist attraction in McKinney, the awesome couple brought me to Dallas one fine spring Saturday. One notable thing is, the road trip was without traffic and one will be amazed by just watching the sceneries along the freeway. Known as the third-largest city in Texas and the eighth-largest in the United States, Dallas is way, way different from the image that instantly pops up in my mind whenever the place is mentioned. It's more than the place where JFK was shot and the TV series of the same name way, way back.

A glimpse of Downtown Dallas and a bit of its skyline

American Airlines Center, the home of the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League, Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association, and the Dallas Vigilantes of the Arena Football League

This is, I think, the most credible proof that I have been to Dallas. One of the most recognizable landmarks in Dallas, Reunion Tower is a 561-feet observation tower and a fine example of modernist architecture. Beside it is the Hyatt Regency Dallas.

Souvenir shot inside Hyatt Regency Dallas where famous landmarks of the city are displayed

Fountain Place is a 60-story late-modernist skyscraper in Dallas. The building is known for its unique architecture. It was designed as a large, multi-faceted prism. Its various slanted sides cause the building to have a completely different profile from all directions. The building gets its name from the array of 172 dancing fountains in the plaza at its base.  

At the Reunion Boulevard with my cousins Harvey & Julia

West End Historic District

We also did a walk-a-thon at the West End Historic District. The area that would become the West End originally consisted simply of a trading post, established by John Neely Bryan, the founder of the city of Dallas. The district reached nationwide prominence in the 1960s, however, when President John F. Kennedy was shot in its Dealey Plaza. 

 At the giant dinosaur in West End Market Place with cousins Pinky, Julia & Harvey

Strolling in the Market Street

The Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture is a museum in Dallas. The building was formerly the Dallas County Courthouse, affectionately known as the Old Red Courthouse and built in 1891 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

 The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is a museum located on the sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration Building (formerly the Texas School Book Depository). The museum examines the life, times, death, and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. It is located at the very spot from which Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy.

I was pointing to the exact spot (marked with "X") along Elm Street where JFK was shot. Here, there were tourists participating in a JFK guided walking tour.

The Dealey Plaza Historic District was named a National Historic Landmark in 1993 to preserve Dealey Plaza, street rights-of-way, and buildings and structures by the plaza visible from the assassination site, that have been identified as witness locations or as possible assassin locations.

Apart from the precious time I spent with my favorite aunt & her family, I was very grateful that my trip to Dallas was laden with historical value and childlike fun. Notwithstanding the tired legs caused  by our impromptu walking tour, I wouldn't mind going back there... soon! LOL!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ah, the pizza... & pistachio!

My week-long craving for pizza finally got satisfied last Sunday. I had not felt that satisfied and happy in terms of food during the weekend. So, naturally, I had to write this entry  to express what I was feeling. Geez, am I on my way to pizza gluttony or what?

Yellow Cab's NY Classic

While munching on this Italian delight which somehow reminds me of NYC, I saw some pizza madness  statements that were obviously written by a pizza fan like yours truly.

AH, the PIZZA! Something bitter and sweet, long and short, old and new, always the same yet totally unexpected, the staff of life and its incomparable accompaniment! I have a special liking for this poor man's dish which is as rich in symbols as the sacred host. While you are eating a pizza, you can tell it all your troubles, how far behind you are on your rent, how you lost your job, with whom you have transacted some slightly piece of business, or anything else you like. No other dish is as companionable; the pizza is a moon your plate and no matter how deep may be the night of your appetite, it will always light up the way.

--Guiseppe Moratta
 And, at that moment, the best way to end  my pizza craving was to polish off this yummy pistachio ice cream.

La vita è bella indeed!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Meet Ruby, the bida/kontrabida of my life.

Name: Ruby Pineda Borja
Nickname: Baghdad (really)
Status: Happily married with 5 grown-up kids
Date of birth: May 13, 1959
Age when she gave birth to yours truly: 21 years old

Whew! I could never imagine myself being a mother at 21. But Ruby did it. She gave birth to 5 beautiful kids (clears throat) and raised them in her own unique Baghdad way. She may appear to be repetitive in almost eveything (read: nagger) but, in a split second, she will immediately give in to our "counterclaims". She's a toughie and softie combined. She taught me how to be strong and never be ashamed of myself.  She always reminds me that humility and discipline should be part of my system. She delights in my own happiness. She carries half, if not all, of my burden whenever I stumble. She is my staunch supporter, my ego booster, my resident grammarian and more. She is one helluva woman. She's our  family's answer to Gabriela.

Although a cake with the traditional message on top cannot fully express my overwhelming gratitude to her, I cannot also seem to put down in words my appreciation to this remarkable woman. 

A simple greeting which could easily melt a mother's heart would suffice, I guess. After all, she vivifies the word "mother" and lives up to that name even if her eldest (that would be me, guys) is - according to society's standards - old enough to be a mother. LOL!

I owe her my life. She is my one and only Ruby.


Boracay Revisited

We're back... from Boracay! Spending 3D/2N in the island paradise is definitely a sure-fire way to recharge and de-stress naturally. White sand, aquamarine waters, coco trees, fantastic sunset, fruit shakes... All these and more filled up my long weekend. No indelible ink in my index finger this time around. My apologies to my two mothers: Ruby & Inang Bayan for missing the Mother's Day lunch and the PCOS baptism. Next time.

Anyhoo, I just want to share some pics from the island. It's also our own way of celebrating BF's birthday in advance. Happy thoughts and energy all the way!

Our PAL flight to Pangkalibutan nga Paeuparan it Kalibo got delayed for one hour, so we arrived in the island late afternoon already. We still managed to catch the famous Bora sunset and, of course, the sand castles! Methinks that no tourist shall ever leave the island without a sand castle pic. LOL!

When vantity strikes... oh well. Just check out.  See? I'm addicted to sand castles.

Camwhoring in our room. I love the seashell-inspired curtain. Note to self: these ain't puka shells. The latter is one of the notable stuff of the island. For someone like me who's afraid of boat travels, I have to wear puka shells next time. Wiki tells us that in Hawaii wearing of puka shells was traditionally thought to ensure a peaceful and safe voyage, especially for sailors on a long journey, so puka shell necklaces were especially worn by those who had to travel at sea.

I found this blue starfish in the sand one ultra-hot morning. Dead.

Sunset Beach mode. Enjoying the fantastic sunset.

Posing in one of these umbrella shades adds up to the Boracay tourist feeling...

... and walk-a-thon in the commercialized Bora too.

Korea or Boracay? You choose.

Boracay Got Talent presents the amazing fire dancers.

Next, food in Boracay. I was very amused with this lechon with a ripe mango on its mouth. Noyping-noypi! This lechon seems to be the center of attraction in Bamboo Lounge dinner buffet (Php 250 inclusive of bottomless iced tea & orange juice). It was our second time to try BL's buffet and the lechon never failed to amuse me and fellow tourists.

Don Vito's pistachio gelato is a winner for only Php 100=2 scoops.

A trip to the island won't be complete without trying Jonah's fruit shakes: mango rhum (BF) & mango milk (moi). 

Real Coffee & Tea Cafe's signature coffee and yummy calamansi muffins.

Choco-vanilla-mango crepe at Crazy Crepes.

Delectable pastries of One MGM Boracay's dinner buffet (Php 250 exclusive of drinks; Php 375 with access to soup and grilling stations).

Chill out with El Centro's mango & avocado shakes located in Station 2. Such a good alternative to Jonah's in Station 1.


Farewell shot of the white beach. Till next time, Bora!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Who Will Be The Next President?

Who will be the 15th President of the Philippines? The answer is in our capable hands. It's more than the mechanical act of shading the "bilog na hugis itlog" come May 10, 2010, but it all boils down to intelligent assessment of the candidates' platforms and qualifications.

Will Mr. Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Cojuangco Aquino III make it to the top? Based on media circus and Pulse Asia Survey (whatevs), the Noy-Mar tandem can expect a landslide victory this Monday. 

Check out some facts about Noy:

Credentials, Family

• Three-term Tarlac Congressman, and Senator
• Graduated with a degree in Economics from Ateneo
• Son of democracy saint Cory Aquino and martyr Ninoy Aquino


• The “poorest” presidentiable with a net worth of P13.94 million in 2007, up by a few million from P8.7 million in 1998, when he first joined government as a Congressman

More on his wealth on:

Campaign and expenses

• Central campaign message is taking on corruption as main poverty scourge, referenced to corruption allegations surrounding rival Manny Villar’s wealth
• Second biggest spender on TV ads during the official campaign period


• Shareholder of Hacienda Luisita, which figured in a massacre that claimed 7 civilian lives. Hacienda Luisita took the first exemption from mother Cory Aquino’s legacy, the agrarian reform, by giving farmers stock options instead of land. Farmers have re-sold stocks to Luisita because they could not sustain their farming, precisely because land ownership is the prerequisite for productivity.
• The same clan allegedly received exorbitant right-of-way payment for SCTEX
• Criticized for not demonstrating leadership and not having passed any major legislation while in Congress
• Rumored to have psychiatric problems, later found to be bogus; called on his smoking and clubbing by opponent Villar

Positions on popular issues

• Has wavered from full support (unconditional support for all provisions from free contraceptives to sex education in schools) to “nuanced” support for the RH Bill (conditional support purportedly in an effort not to alienate the powerful CBCP)
• Has publicly stated that he will prosecute if and when PGMA is proven guilty of anomalies

Religious Bloc Vote, Support

• Religious bloc vote: Poised to gain 5 million votes here and abroad from Eduardo Manalo of Igesia ni Cristo

Surveys, Winnability

• Survey lead at 39% in the latest Pulse Asia survey (a week before the elections); popularity spurred by death of mother, the “saint of democracy,” Cory Aquino


• Single; is dating Valenzuela councilor Shalani Soledad

Other Info

• Alleged tacit support from giant media outfits like ABS-CBN, GMA 7, Inquirer and Star and the powerful Makati Business Club

Heck, this country is a country of entertainment. Funny, funny, funny. Since I won't be able to vote, I will beg off from tackling serious issues behind the 2010 elections. Come to think of it, it will be the first national computerized election in the history of the Philippines. OMG. So let's all join in the fun and hype of the yellow crowd (note the sarcasm here), and while I'm cooling down my election fever (rewind to May 10 where I'll be rubbing my tired soles in the white sand), here's a pic of my yellow baller band.

Worn with tremendous amounts of HOPE! God bless the Philippines.

Last but not the least, I feel sad for Gibo. I hope this dark horse of May 2010 elections will have his time to shine.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Finally, A Breather!

Yes! Today, I finally have a breather. Last week, the Malacañan Palace announced that May 3 is a non-working holiday in our country (God bless the Philippines) so as to give the Filipinos a chance to observe Labor Day. In the absence of a planned weekend getaway, I opted to stay at home. Several awesome things are just lurking around and trying to tempt me in the most challenging way, but my Elle Woods dream remains on top of it all.

My sole reminder that it's summer in my own bubble of the world.

So, lines like "I am a child of the universe", "Don't disturb", "You! Off my planet!" rule my dormant life nowadays. These will, I hope, contribute to my dream. I know this is all temporary. I have to create a protective bubble against negative vibes and pathetic visions. And, lo and behold, my first break of the day is to munch something healthy. Your honor, the above photo is being offered to prove the fact that fruits are pretty, healthy and so summery. Ta-ta!