Sunday, April 25, 2010

Summer Outing

Yesterday, I went on the annual summer outing of a group that I've been an alumnus (alumni? alum?) of for the last six years. The last time I joined them was about three or four years ago, on my birthday actually! It was a little strange interacting with a group of kiddies I don't recognize at all and very much thankful that a few of my own fellow kiddies also opted to join the trip.

I noticed the three groups that naturally sat together over lunch. The newest members sat furthest away from the food table (the epicenter of all outings, lol) and were quietly giggling and smiling about the events of the day's past. The current members were positioned to the right of the food table and were roaring and hooting together as they re-bonded over whatever experiences they shared. Us oldies claimed our place on the other side of the food table and spent the afternoon chatting, laughing and vicariously living off of the energy of the newbies who were splashing around in the pool.

The trip was a memory jolter for me, remembering my very first summer outing with the group and then the trips that ensued from there. The group has been a very very big part of my life - from all the life lessons it has taught me, the irreplaceable adventures I experienced and finally, to the beautiful friends who have now become family.

I remember being worried about the continuity of the group when I left; I think all new graduates do. The organization has been around for so long, that you forget about the resilience it has proven to have over and over again, and was reassured of this again yesterday. Seeing the organization's magic at work as it created new memories for the newbies and continues to do so for the current and older batches, was truly a joy to witness.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Morning Clarity

I fell asleep with my contact lens on recently. A nasty habit I often did back in High School. Though the latest incident was by no means, intentional, I must admit that there was something really great about opening your eyes and being able to immediately see the alarm clock you want to throw across the room. None of this "morning-bewilderment-and-weak-eyesight" induced state of fuzziness I usually experience right between fumbling around for my glasses and snapping out of dreamland.

Note to self: must look into lasik surgery. Someday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Brave New World

Fast turn of events and not part of my original plans, but then again, much of life's excitement comes from these unexpected twists and turns.

After a year and some of jumping around, I'm finally committing. And after six years of running around on my own time, I'm tying myself down. Lol, and as much as I wish I was referring to finding my soulmate and agreeing to spend the rest of my life with him, I'm not.

So yes, I am nervous for a whole well of reasons I'd rather not disclose. And yes, part of me is already beginning to miss some of the perks of a life that will change beginning Monday.

But, I'm excited. For the wealth of lessons I will learn, for the stirring of passion that I know is still smoldering somewhere within and for the forward steps I hope I am taking towards a life of purpose and joy.

So here's to luck, luck and more luck as I begin a new life on the week of my 28th birthday.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cebu Sights

Ok, so eating wasn't the ONLY thing I did in Cebu. Aside from gorging sampling a number of Cebu's finest gastronomical delights, I also:

 Meandered through Carbon Market...

Attended a wedding rehearsal & despedidas de solteros...

Stair mastered up to the Taoist Temple...

Watched a good friend walk down the aisle...

Explored Casa Gorordo...

Visited Fort San Pedro...

Offered a prayer (or three) at Magellan's Cross...

Made a wish at Sto. Niño Church...

Checked out the night life...

... and went malling, twice!

All in all, it was a pretty good four days to say the least! Next thing I'll check out in Cebu? Sinulog!

Monday, April 12, 2010

what the: Web Surfing Etiquette

With a lot of my friends, it has become a common occurrence to start pulling out the laptops and iphones at one point during a get together and kind of disappear into your own world. We kid around about it too.. welcoming members into the "anti-social" club once they have purchased a new wifi-enabled toy. I do it myself sometimes too - I'll bring out my laptop, maybe quickly check facebook on my phone, etc. It's one of many things people check when we go to a new restaurant or cafe - good food? check! good prices? check! free wifi? CHECK!

Recently, it's been bugging me though, bugging me more than usual. There's something I find very off and almost rude about being in the company of others outside, sitting around a table, and then retreating to your technology. It's like, why bother coming then? Unless of course it's one of those get-togethers where the sole purpose IS to just kind of do your own thing - me and my friends do that a lot too actually.

At the very least, quickly check if you need to and then get back to what's going on at present? Or excuse yourself and tell the people you're with "Hi guys, hope you don't mind, will be anti-social for a bit" or "need to work on something", etc. I suppose it depends on context as well (how many you are, where you are, what you're doing, the people you're with, etc), but it's something I'm going to personally refrain from doing as much as possible.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Chomping Through Cebu

It's a well known fact that Cebu is one of many great foodie havens in the Philippines. Had the chance to go taste so for myself recently and it surely did not disappoint. Affordable and delicious- you really can't beat that combination :)

Cebu Lechon
I would've been a food to have gone to Cebu and not try their lechon. It is the quintessential must-try when you go. I would've wanted to try other "brands" but didn't feel it was fair to all the other great restaurants out there (or to my cholesterol level!). The meat was tender, full of flavor and yes, best enjoyed WITHOUT Mang Tomas! Lol. After "the best pig ever", I don't know how I'll ever go back to "regular" lechon.

Puso (hanging rice)
Was excited to try this but wasn't too thrilled with what I had. I'm thinking it tastes different when it's super fresh and hot (if it's ever served hot?!). It was a little hard and cold for my taste. But I totally love the presentation and it did go quite well with the lechon.

Chicharon Bulaklak
Generally not a fan of this pulutan. I find it too greasy and sometimes too gamey. But this one was REALLY delicious. Not gamey at all. And even though it was definitely crispy, it didn't feel greasy. I don't think that means though that it has less cholesterol. Lol.

Chicken Inato
Skewered bbq chicken. Another classic dish. White meat was tender and juicy and skin was tangy sweet and crispy. Yum yum yum.

Monggo Soup
Another personal favorite of mine, both from this trip and in general. This particular dish was thick and full of shrimp, veggies and all sorts of another yummy bits. It tasted a little different from how it traditionally tastes. My girlfriends and I assume that it was mixed with gata. I'd fly back just for this soup. Drool.

Turon with Latik
Classic turon (with the bananas & lankga) and drizzled with latik. Ingenious combination. I wanted to ask for a side of latik so I could dip my turon into it instead!

Yema Brownie ala Mode
This was actually the dessert my friend ordered. I took a bite and fell in love. I think I would've preferred a chocolate drizzle on top though! Good stuff I tell you!

Baby Back Ribs
Classic ribs for a steal! Tangy tangy tangy with meat that falls off the bone. Perfect with mash potatoes and what I like to call freezer veggies. We ordered one full slab to share between 3 girls. It was so freaking good (and so damn cheap) that we ordered another one :)

Shublig with Jambalaya
Not the best execution but was I satisfied anyway. I love sausages (EW! Behave!), and it went really well with what was marketed as jambalaya, but what tasted like java rice instead. Lol.

" "
Lol, ya sorry, forgot what the name was but it's basically chorizo that they opened up and fried. Easy stuff to do by yourself if you have the right kind of chorizo. Can you imagine what this tastes like as a "-silog" dish?! Eep! Yum!

Fried Leche Flan with (not pictured) Caramel Sauce
I love leche flan! The leche flan was not too eggy nor too creamy & sweet. While I prefer the latter, this particular timpla was PERFECT for this treat. Think turon wrapper stuffed with firm smooth leche flan with a dark thick caramel.

Tuna Kilawin / Kinilaw
Another personal favorite! This particular dish I ate kicked it up several notches for me as they prepared it with gata.. which I've never had before. I could eat this all day. The BEST i've tasted to date.

Baked Scallops
Trays and trays of this kept whizzing by me so I had to try some. Love love scallops but this is the first time I've had it straight of the shell prepared just like baked tahong. The butter topping they baked it with was to die for- it was sweet and buttery with a hint of garlic. Another top ranker on my list.

Adobo Hash (Adobo-silog)
Nothing out of this world but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I would've preferred my "hash" a little crispier, perhaps bordering close to adobo flakes. But it still hit the spot. You really gotta love Filipino breakfasts :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

1 + 1

I blogged about grocery shopping with my mom and sister for the first time here. Last week, it was just my sister and I that went grocery shopping last week. Two grocery shoppers, as opposed to the usual three meant I had something other to do then maneuver the cart and arrange the stuff in the cart. Challenging?! I think so!

We have a budget we try to stick to when we grocery shop. Mom usually takes care of adding up the numbers as we go along. I tried it her style:


Eep! Towards the end of the "trip", i recall wanting to throw my book up in the air and cry "uncle". My poor fried brain!

I have become totally dependent on a calculator and excel work sheets after graduating from school. Thank goodness no subtraction was involved... or even worse, multiplication or.. DIVISION! Eep! I think I may have actually forgotten how to do this by hand.

Will definitely try to keep it up though, THAT part of my brain lacks some serious flexing. Perhaps I oughta commit to some serious sudoku-ing for the next few months.

And EW, I can already guess where your comment is going to go... so I'm going to call you out on it already: Math Dork :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Visita Igelsia 2010

The tradition of Visita Iglesia, or church visits, is a Holy Thursday practice that began in Rome, where pilgrims would visit 7 churches as penance for their sin and in preparation for Easter.

On a whim, two friends and I thought to give it a go for the first time this year. Admittedly, our main reason was more to experience the tradition as an observer (ie. take pictures), but in our defense, while we may not have done a novena / Stations of the Cross at each church, we did spend a few minutes in prayer and reflection.

First church we checked out was St. Jude Thaddeus Archdioscesan Shrine in the Malacañang Compound in Mendiola, Manila. It was my first time here, so I made a wish as I explored the grounds.

St Jude is the Patron Saint of desperate cases and lost causes. Having a few "feeling lost and desperate, but still hoping" causes tucked at the back of my mind, I offered candle and a prayer. Thinking about it now, perhaps I should've offered a whole bucket of candles :|

Church number two was the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz, or the Binondo Church, in Chinatown. It's a pretty old church, having been constructed in 1596. Unfortunately, the bell tower is all that remains of the original edifice. Like many of our churches, much has been lost to war and natural calamities. You can't see it in my photos (you can google it, lol, or if you're an FB friend, dig through my photos to see an example), but I really like how the bell tower looks like a pagoda; a great reflection of the Chinese influence on the church due to the community it resides in.

I used to do a lot of errands in Chinatown, and would always drive by this Church. Don't know why I never though to go inside. The church by the way is HUGE inside! Glad to have finally gotten around to checking it out.

Church number 3 was the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, or the Manila Cathedral. Built in the 16th century, formerly of nipa & bamboo, the Cathedral is on its 6th reincarnation.

Last time I was here was when I had the honor of singing for the funeral mass of late President Aquino. Before that was to sing for Ateneo's Sesqui kick of event. One of many perks of singing in choir, you get to frequent beautiful places like this. What was nice this time around was that I had an opportunity to meander around the grounds, as opposed to simply being "stuck" in the choir section of the church. Lol. I really love the intricacy of the grand stone doorways of the Cathedral, and have always loved cathedral arches. They're so purty :)

Church number 4 was San Agustin in Intramuros, Manila. It's a World Heritage Site, one of UNESCO's (hello dream employer) four listed baroque churches in the Philippines. Hate the peach walls, but I love the baroque details (ie: the intricately carved wooden doors) and the crazy details inside the church (the blue & white chandeliers & the tromp l'eoil embellishments).

Aside from having sung a number of times in this church in the past, I explored it some more a few years back when I went on a walking tour with Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks fame. Primarily interested in the general aesthetic of things, I gotta admit, that you do gain a different level of appreciation when you understand the history behind what you're visually enjoying.

Church number 5 was Our Lady of Remedies, or the Malate Church in Manila. Originally built in the 16th century, this church has a baroque facade. Kind of looks like a smaller, plainer Binondo church up front actually. The inside though looks nothing like the outside - very small and quite simple.

This was another one of those churches I've happened to drive by often (think high school gimiks out in Gotham & Cafe Havana, etc, etc, lol) but have never had the opportunity to explore.

Being a newbie at Visita Iglesia, I didn't count on the scorching summer heat to speedily drain our energies. This most probably explains our choices for churches 6 & 7. Both were modern and convenient churches to reach - simple churches in form but lovely churches none the less. These were, the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart, in Makati

And the St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Ortigas.

It was a great day to say the least. Religion is so closely tied up with the Philippine persona that experiencing Visita Iglesia really touched me a number of levels.

Definitely looking forward to doing this again next year!

Friday, April 2, 2010


I was aligning my financial the other night and was going through the transactions on my online statement. I saw this:


Isn't that the saddest thing EVER? Lol.

Obviously I don't have Fort Knox in my savings account. And though I know it's common knowledge that a savings account really doesn't earn you so much, I guess seeing it in action really emphasizes just how ridiculous it is. Lol. It's a good thing there are other options for "earning".