Archive for January, 2010

31
Jan
10

CHUBBY CHEEKS

Now that Gabby is turning 6 years old in 9 months time, I and Tina miss his old self.  Yes, he’s still that lovable and smart kid but the way he looks now seems like he’s BABY-NO-MORE!

   

Yesterday, I was browsing our family photos in my files and I found these…

taken at tagaytay highlands when he's 3.

gabby at 3 years old taken at subic

We miss his chubby   taba-chingching cheeks ! 
We love him so much and he’ll be our BABY-FOREVER! :D
29
Jan
10

LEVEL UP!

This is a quick post about something I really want to share (aren’t all my entries intended for public viewing? LOL).   So allow me to cut my usual blogging about my wife, Tina our son, Gabby and I  on family, food, family, food, family with this little something.

May I ask you ? 

:) What do Kris Aquino….

:) Boy Abunda

:) Coco Martin

:) Derek Ramsay

And :) ME have in common ?

N-O-T-H-I-N-G !

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING EXCEPT THIS…

My humble post (like the others that aren’t sponsored) about my experience as a one-time-judge in a bloggers cook-off conducted by Century Corned Tuna which can be read  HERE, was published with consent in the company’s newsletter.

BTW, that’s blindfolded-me=in-black  in a game called “Guess the ingredients/condiments” during the event last year held at The Stock Market at BHS, The Fort, Taguig City.

Being invited to grace that occasion was already a big thing for my blogging but I was so glad to receive requests via e-mail for my blog entry about it  to be publish as one of the articles in their newsletter.  Imagine, almost all bloggers present there had shared their experiences in their respective sites but only one was chosen to be part of the paper. *grinning* 

They even delivered a printed copy to my doorsteps. :D

To the people behind this magazine and to their company, thank you so much and more power!

28
Jan
10

HOLIDAY LEFTOVERS

More than a couple of weeks ago, I’m already done taking down our Christmas tree and some decors.  But to our delight, the fridge has still few traces of the recent holiday season…

Although personally, I favor 2 local brands : Purefood’s Fiesta Ham and Excelente Chinese Cooked Ham which I think can only be bought from their store in Quiapo, Manila ( have you tasted Excelente Ham?)  my wife, Tina and I couldn’t say NO to this HUGE blessing….

Not to mention that we’re extra frugal these days so this leftover is actually a life saver! :D

It was hand carried by my dad-in-law from San Leandro, Ca when he came home few days before the year turns 2010.  Believe it or not it almost weighs 9kg!  I can still remember my reaction when my in-law asked me to put it in the fridge from his duffle bag; I said, “Whoa!”  I was truly surprised with its humongous size! Plus, what made it different from the local cooked hams that I am familiar with, it’s already spliced in spiral from its core.

It has that usual ham-taste but with distinct tenderness.  I want it just fried without brown sugar glaze that comes in package.  

Sliced to and around the bone, FARMER JOHN® Premium Spiral Sliced Whole Hams are ready to serve hot or cold for any occasion and season. Slow-cooked for ideal tenderness and consistently sliced every time. Comes with a special spice packet for excellent color and robust flavor.

:D  Do you like ham?  What is/are your favorite brand/s ?

:D  Do you still have fruitcake leftovers from Christmas?

I’m craving now for a double decker ham sandwich with generous spread of mayo! :D

25
Jan
10

10 YEARS MORE TO A CENTURY

:) FAMILY + FEAST + FUN = Sundays never get better than this! 

Yesterday, January 24, just before the clock strikes 12 noon, my wife, Tina with our son Gabby and I were already at the venue to attend my paternal Lola Tentay’s 90th birthday celebration with almost all of our relatives from my dad’s side.

Yes, there was the queen of the Pinoy feasts ~ lechon (roasted pork), courtesy of my cousin, Dr. CSM from New Jersey and a simple lunch buffet to everyone’s delight.  Check out my glutton’s plate, lol :D  (click photos to drool more  enlarge)

My dad got the lechon plate for us to share :D  Nevermind the cholesterol content; a reunion like this doesn’t happen on a daily basis!

Our Tita/Ninang Glo with her husband, Tito George who both came home from LA, Ca sponsored and provided us color-coded T-shirts with embroidered logo for the occasion. Yellow for all apo (grandchildren) and mga apo sa tuhod (great-grandchildren) and red shirts for all of Inang Tentay’s children.  The venue :  Calumpang Gymnasium in Marikina City. 

Who would have thought that this gym was deluged few months ago by the unforgettable Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana)?  The Calumpang gymnasium is located literally along the Marikina River…

The simple spread was provided by a relative-caterer, Martha’s Plate.  The feast was unpretentious; nothing fancy but deliciously satisfying! :D

 

There were Chicken-Shrimp Sotanghon, Fresh Lumpia, Fish Fillet, Chicken Pastel, Beef Morcon, and of course, a cake!  Everyone had Buco-Pandan for dessert (which I forgot to capture).

After lunch, our balikbayan-uncle hosted the program with more than greetings and well wishes for our Lola but fun parlor games too! There were games for everyone!  Even the guests participated and all had nothing but cheers and widest smiles!  BTW, Gabby had his share on stage with his 5-stanza poem that garnered applause. Tina and I are so proud of him! :D

 

The reunion-birthday party could have been happier if all our love ones abroad could come home especially my mom in UAE; and our relatives whom we visited in NZ before but now all living more comfortably in Melbourne.  Nevertheless, it was indeed another family gathering to remember. 

We all went home with similar wishes for our good Lord to bless our Lola Tentay with more years to be with us.  

:) Aren’t you proud as a Filipino that we value family and family-ties?

Till our next family-bonding moments!

23
Jan
10

FIELD TRIP 2010 : PART 3

After a wonderful animal-encounter at Ocean Adventure in Subic, the 5 buses of preschoolers (Gabby & his batchmates) with their parents (including me and Tina of course) and teachers trooped to Clark, Pampanga and had a brief exposure to Filipino history & culture.

 

We already heard few years ago that NAYONG PILIPINO which was previously located in Pasay City near the airport, is now in Clark, Pampanga but we only got to see it last week.  This TEMPORARY RELOCATION of the famous replica of most tourist spots of the country was done to give way for the building  of the 2 Ninoy Aquino International and domestic terminals.  And the latest we’ve known from our trip,  plans have transpired to push through with the new construction of Nayong Pilipino near the SM Mall of Asia area.  Have you heard of this news?

First stop : the replica of church in Bulacan imprinted on Philippine Ten Peso-Bill.

 

MALOLOS CHURCH served as venue for so many Philippine Constitutional Conventions.

Then there’s also those WALLS of  INTRAMUROS and what appeared to look like a river however, there was no running water but a rock bed.

The Nayong Pilipino guide informed us that this Clark’s version is divided into 2 parts : Precolonial and Post Colonial eras.

At the Precolonial area, the simple Pinoy lifestyle before the Spanish regime is depicted. We were greeted by an Ifugao native dance…What a warm welcome for all of us!

The short performance of the natives was a fresh sight to the kids who were used to gyrating pop music. 

The simple and creative way of living of Filipinos long before we were under foreign rules were shown in these huts built without a single nail or screw and amazingly can withstand any typhoon.  I guess these native shelters truly represent what early Pinoys were – imaginative, resilient, simple.  Do we still have these qualities at present ? :)

“Movable Ladder – Walang Akyat-Bahay! Ang galing ng ating mga katutubo!” (click the picture to enlarge)

Weaving of textiles with intricate and colorful patterns was also demonstrated.

Panggatong, anyone ?

This is a replica of an upscale Muslim house that’s suited for a Sultan or Datu, the village chief in Maranao, Mindanao. It’s called TOROGAN.

The Torogan House has colorful and intricate butterfly-like end beams that protrude in front of the house; apparently gorgeous Maranao artwork! 

There are also monuments inside Nayong Pilipino to honor Philippine History and Literature…

On the left is  Ang Alamat ni Malakas at Maganda… And on the right is Lapu-lapu, the chieftain of Mactan, pardon the pun, appeared to us as depressed in his stance… (click photo to enlarge) I believe Lapu-lapu deserves to be depicted victorious having been considered as the country’s first hero.

There are also monuments for Philippine Folklore’s goddesses – the likes of Mariang Sinukuan and Maria Makiling; but I didn’t take photos for I personally didn’t like how they were created. Imagine a statue of a women who look distraught complete with a dress-slit nearly up to their inguinal areas!

Moving on… The Post Colonial Era…

As far as I recall, there are replicas of houses of Filipino heroes – Apolinario Mabini’s, Jose Rizal’s and others’ that played significant role in Philippine History.

Note the features of houses during post colonialism greatly evolved and was then inspired by Spanish architecture. 

As parents, Tina and I are always trying our best to be well-rounded with Gabby. We appreciate joining his field trip for we know that there’s more to life that kids should learn outside the corners of their classrooms and beyond reading their books.

We left Nayong Pilipino at around past 5 in the afternoon to head for our last pit stop : Puregold Duty Free for some shopping.

Another family fun-bonding time enjoyed. :D

PS :  Because we as a family have experienced being in few amusement parks abroad, Tina and I wish that local authorities would exert more efforts in putting up and maintaining quality and cleanliness in our very own tourist spots. 

23
Jan
10

SIMPLE THINGS

One of the singer-songwriters I like is Jim Brickman.  You could just imagine how glad I am to stumble upon a music video on where else but youtube, of one of the songs he beautifully wrote.

I believe God is reminding me of these simple things. :D 

This, I am dedicating to the 2 most important people in my life : my wife Tina and our son, Gabby! :D

Now, kindly do me yourself a favor to brighten up your mood -click the video and sing along loudly, OK?

21
Jan
10

FIELD TRIP 2010 : PART 2

Still under the Subic sun, we queued to claim our lunch. As you know, amusement parks like Ocean Adventure prohibits patrons from bringing food inside; good thing that Gabby’s preschool had availed of the packed lunch inclusive of the tickets for all of us.

Breaded Chicken Fillet + Rice + Brownies = Not bad, actually…

But when we got in the bus, our baon prepared by my wife was so much better! :D

While most of his classmates were holding forks with hotdogs, we’re eating unusual field trip baon. :D

Home-cooked Kani Tempura was Gabby’s request; we even brought the entire bottle of tempura sauce! And it could have been a complete experience if we didn’t forget the chopsticks!  *grin*

Before we munched those crab sticks, the last feature we enjoyed at Ocean Adventure was their newest show called WALK ON THE WILD SIDE..

Rescued forest animals that serve as environment ambassadors are the main attractions shown in their newest venue ~ Eco-Theater.

My brother who’s a private pilot by profession had experienced Jungle Survival Course in Subic as part of their curriculum before he got licensed.  Now, Ocean Adventure had incorporated bits of that course in their show, Walk on the Wild Side….

Before animals and trainers were seen on stage, a true-blooded Aeta demonstrated the amazing ability to build and light a fire without matches but using only one grass : BAMBOO!  :D 

Can you do this ?

The indigenous Aeta named, Bruce (yes, Bruce!) also taught us how to boil rice and cook Sour Broth (Sinigang) using 2 different bamboo poles simultaneously prepared under one fire!  Kuya Bruce also showed how to make utensils out of what else but bamboo.

Then presentation went on with some of the animals that may be encountered in a jungle.  Winged creatures like owl, bats, and eagle were featured with reptile, cat, dog and some mice.

If there’s one important thing that I, Tina, Gabby and the rest of the kids, parents and other guests should always remember from Ocean Adventure trip, it’s the thought “LET’S MAKE EVERYDAY, EARTH DAY!” :D

We left Subic at around 2PM and headed to Clark, Pampanga…

To be continued…

21
Jan
10

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19
Jan
10

FIELD TRIP 2010 : PART 1

:) Can you still recall your educational field trips during your growing-up years?  

:) Where did you go and what were your fondest memories ?

Last Friday, 15 January, Gabby accompanied Tina and I to our field trip to Subic and Clark.  Oops, of course it’s the other way around, LOL :D  

The event was properly organized and went generally smooth except for some inevitable little hassles.  Fees of PhP 900 per pax were collected a month ago.  Memos were distributed a week before the date, requiring preschoolers to wear their P.E. uniforms and for companions to wear designated color of shirts.  There were 5 buses; we’re assigned at Bus No. 4 and were asked to wear Gabby’s favorite color : YELLOW! :D

Others wore white, blue, red and green (I think color-coding is cool when joining a group tour for obvious reasons). 

Inside the bus, we were attended by Gabby’s Kindergarten teacher, her aide and a facilitator a.k.a. tour guide from the Tours company.  The tour-guide, Kuya Chris started his job for that day with bring-me-show-me-game complete with prizes for the kids.  Gabby won a couple of pencils and an ID tag to his delight. :D 

As expected the guide educated the kids and the parents with trivia about those places we passed by.  Below are some things Tina and I learned from Kuya Chris :

1. EDSA or Epifanio de los Santos Avenue a.k.a. Highway 54 (called as such not because of its length in Km as found on the web but named after the number of engineers who worked on this avenue), Circumferential 4 or C4, has talks of soon to be re-named after the late President Cory Aquino owing to her contribution of what transpired along its streets.

2. The longest bridge in the Philippines isn’t San Juanico, a stretch between Samar and Leyte but Candaba Viaduct connecting Bulacan and Pampanga provinces.  Candaba Viaduct is actually longer than San Juanico Bridge but being a land bridge, crossing only a few streams and ponds, it’s not generally considered.  

3. One of the most prominent Pampangeno was President Diosdado Macapagal and incidentally, all the letters of his surname are found in the beginning of the names of the towns comprising his province.  

M- Mabalacat, Macabebe, Magalang, Masantol, Mexico,  Minalin

A- Apalit

C- Candaba

A- Arayat

P- Porac

A- santa Ana

G- Guagua

A- Angeles

L- Lubao

(Other municpalities are Floridablanca, San Luis, San Simon, Santa Rita, Sasmuan).  After an hour of bus-ride from Quezon City, we reached Pampanga.  Then we had a 10-minute-quick-stop to grab a bite  buy some quick bites and have a bladder break at this famous bus-stop called DOUBLE HAPPINESS.

Tina, Gabby and I had baon of course – 2 liters of distilled bottled water, Chips Ahoy, Mini Chips Delight and some chips and nuts (yes, mostly junkies!) but still I bought some burgers and hotdog sandwich from Double Happiness just to try them to know if the food really live up with the name.

I paid PhP 32 for each Cheeseburger and PhP 38 for the Hotdog sandwich.  Cheap but the name of this pit stop, based on the taste of the food, should not be such, because we felt short;  we only enjoyed one ~not double, LOL. :D

:) Other interesting facts shared by our facilitator :  SUBIC  BAY also known as CUBI POINT which is a former American Naval Base in the Philippines was named after the phrases,

Can yoU Build It?”  

So yoU Built It, Congratulations!” 

uttered by someone whose name slips my memory, LOL.  Have you heard of these before ?

Then several minutes more, we arrived here..

  

We’ve been to Ocean Adventure a few times before.  We joined the field trip for Gabby to experience it. As parents, Tina and I also believe that learning should go beyond books and outside the four corners of classrooms. 

I know some of you would prefer animals to be living appropriately in their natural habitats ~ the wilderness, the ocean, etc. and not as captives in zoos, or performing in circus and amusement parks like this.  The staffs of Ocean Adventure explained that most of the dolphins, sea lion and rescued forest animals they feature are well-taken-cared of.  And in my opinion, being in these places is the most accessible way to teach our kid/s  about life itself and the value of preserving the environment.

We’ve been to Kelly Tarlton’s in Auckland, NZ; I’ve seen Shamu, the Killer Whale in Sea World in San Diego, Ca, and of course, the closest to Manila ~ Ocean Park in Hong Kong where dolphins also perform.  The difference isn’t only location but Subic’s Ocean Adventure has an open-sea “stage” unlike where most sea creatures are featured abroad.

Long before Manila Ocean Park opens,  Ocean Adventure has has been featuring collection of fishes found in Subic bay and nearby shores…

Environmental awareness was early instilled in the young minds of  kids who have seen this…

Meet Madison, not a seal but a sea lion… :D  She’s a member of the Marine Patrol that emphasized the 3R in their performance…

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle :D

The rest of our field trip on my succeeding entries.

18
Jan
10

SEVENTH HEAVEN

Despite the mild U.R.T.I. (Upper Respiratory Tract Infection) and a ton of uncertainties I’m experiencing, God knows how grateful I am to Him and for all the love and support from my family and closest friends that Tina, Gabby and I are getting; it’s just overwhelming. :D

Allow me to keep my hopes high and let’s all start the new week with wonderful things.

On the last quarter of 2009, my family and I were invited to HAAGEN-DAZS BRANCH OPENING in ROBINSONS PLACE MANILA where we received GCs. :D  We enjoyed and shared with you via this blog our first experience with HAAGEN-DAZS FONDUE.  Then weeks  after, it was followed by MORE VELVETY ICE CREAM MOMENTS.  And this will be the third but definitely not the last of those heavenly pleasures.

:) Have you been to Seventh Heaven? 

Well, we haven’t too, but not  long ago, we’ve tasted it at least…  

SEVENTH HEAVEN, PhP 680+.  Seven scoops of Haagen-Dazs ice cream of your choice, fresh seasonal fruits adorned by sweet strawberries and rich chocolate sauce, served in a mist of indulgence. 

Scooping those balls of ice cream with little spoons and looking at each other’s faces while enjoying the plate together spelled another family bonding moment for us. 

The only difficulty lies on the selection of the flavors.

My wife, Tina, our son, Gabby and I chose our 7 :  

:) Vanilla,

:) Dark Chocolate Orange,

:) Cookies and Cream,

:) Macadamia Nut,

:) Vanilla Caramel Brownie,

:) Choc-Choc Chip,

:) Cappuccino Truffle.

This ice cream creation was just too divine for words.  I actually ran out of superlatives to describe the slow-melting-process and the delightful taste of each flavor, LOL :D

Sure, we like yogurt and gelato but cannot resist ice cream temptation, can you? 

Worries are forgotten when moments are shared with the family especially with ice cream!

:)  Have a great week everyone!

:)  God bless us more!

————————————————

Haagen-Dazs SM Megamall Atrium, 2nd Level Mega Atrium, SM Megamall Complex, Ortigas Ctr.

16
Jan
10

SICK LEAVE

It’s not that I am not  uninspired today to blog about my family; in fact, I’ve so much stories and pictures to share.

Perhaps, I got so tired from an out-of-town trip yesterday with Tina & Gabby and was exhausted from doing our laundry (yes, I do wash our clothes with the aid of our reliable wash tub) and taking down our Christmas tree and the village below it the whole day!

Worst, I am nursing a runny nose, occasional coughing and God forbid, I feel like being febrile soon.

Yes, the doc is officially sick!  :(

I hate it when I take my own prescriptions.  Weird!

I am just thankful that my family is well and pray that they won’t be infected affected.

Thank you for those commenters on my posts and promise, I’ll reply back and visit your sites soon.

Probably tomorrow.

The sun promised me to come out tomorrow!

Till then.

-gelo  :) 

PS : Can you cheer me up with your corniest  most ridiculous joke ?  :P

15
Jan
10

INTRO TO VEGGIES

Our 5-year-old son, Gabby is still a little picky when it comes to something to chow down and digest.  And as first-time-parents, Tina and I  have been alarmed with this. Like other mom and dad, we also want our kid to be comfortable with all  those go, grow and glow foods! :D  Don’t ask me now about them, LOL  :D …it has been decades since my Elementary years! (All I know is that most these fiber-rich foods are essentials to health unless otherwise contraindicated).  Surprisingly, our kindergarten is done reviewing them last year in their Science subject (yes, preschoolers now are far advanced compared to my generation!); although he’s already aware of those food groups, he still has his own preference at an early age. 

My wife and I cannot convince Gabby completely to eat all veggies.  He only prefers potatoes (especially mashed with gravy or when cooked in Menudo) , sayote in Tinola (our option to papaya),  carrots, some greens like cabbage and pechay but only when cooked in nilaga (Boiled Pork and Vegetables). 

Few days ago, we just learned directly from our own dining table that he also love the broth of  Sinigang na Baboy (Pork in Sour Broth). We know nothing can replace eating greens in whole, but at least it has bits and pieces of boiled veggies. 

As Gabby usually favors Quattro Formaggi, Mozzarella Garlic pizza and Crispy Fried Chicken with lots of gravy from McDonald’s, we know he tries to be obedient to us by gradually eating greens instead of mostly junkies.  It’ll take time before he gets to be ready to eat Okra and Ampalaya. LOL! :D

Before we hit the grocery shelves last week, another craving was satisfied. That day, I long to eat Fresh Chinese Lumpia!  And I’m so glad that Tina gave her nod and two-thumbs-up for the lumpia that we sampled… I give my wife the credits for her photos below…(applause, applause) 

We had this delicious Fresh Chinese Lumpia from Yin Yiang, one of the stalls in Landmark Foodcourt in TriNoma mall.   We like other versions of lumpia~ fried or fresh,  but we love Chinese Lumpia more!  The symphony of textures of boiled veggies with seaweeds and fried vermicelli in union with finely ground peanuts and dark peanut sauce is just heaven on a plate! 

Tina and I ate a piece each at the foodcourt, and after our grocery shopping, I asked her to buy 3 more lumpia for us to bring home. :D  We gave one to my dad-in-law (who’s with us for a break from California until he goes back there tomorrow) and we enjoyed again another pair of lumpia for dinner sans rice!  Sarap!

But did Gabby like it? 

No. :( 

Kids will be kids.

I think Tina and I are to blame.  We never introduced veggies and fruits to Gabby earlier than he discovered it.

Still we will not vehemently insist.

After all, we know he’ll like it eventually :D

12
Jan
10

ARTIST IN YOU

Pinoys are really overflowing with talents! :D

Art by : M. Baldemor

After our hearty lunch in Brothers Burgers and  attending the 2PM mass at the Eucharistic Chapel in SM Megamall Atrium last Sunday, Tina, Gabby and I  were amazed at this art exhibit in the Atrium lobby.  Even as young as his age, we’re glad Gabby has began his exposure to various art appreciation. :D

I may not be a professional artist but I know my eyes and my personal preference when it comes to visual art. As you can view in my photos, there are no ordinary masterpieces of brush and canvass but painstakingly done stitch by stitch! 

Do you know how to X-stitch ?  It’s not surprising that I don’t ! LOL! :D  Well, I did it once for a project during my Elementary years without a pattern or anything; it was just types of stitches handsewn on pieces of cheese cloth and glued on bondpaper and compiled on a folder –That’s it, pass your paper!  :D  LOL. And as early as then, I knew it’s really more appropriate for girls and I don’t have that much needed patience and eye-hand-coordination to finish a square-inch moreso a frame!  So I really have high respect for talent and perserverance for the craft.

The exhibit was part of the DMC-thread ARTIST IN YOU CROSS-STITCH COMPETITION. And if I am to judge the entries, I would have easily give the prime award to the masterpiece above (by M.Baldemor). 

Runner-up in my list is…

SPRING GARDEN by Nora V. Eugenio.  Wonderful, isn’t it?

It’s just my humble opinion, you know (a la pacman, lol).  Each frame has a distinct beauty!  But with due respect to whoever sat as official judge/s; here are the winners…

MOTHER MOON by : Richard A. Huang, 3RD PLACE -Pattern Category.

WATER OF LIFE by : Arlene M. Gonzales, 2ND PLACE -Pattern Category

MOTHER and CHILD by : Marilyn V. Zamora, 2ND PLACE -Original Design Category.

MY LADY UNICORN by : Aldrin Parilla  1ST PLACE – Original Design Category

PEACOCK by Henrietta Refe 1ST PLACE -Pattern Category.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you for sharing your talent to the public! :D

12
Jan
10

SIXTY, THIRTY AND ELEVEN

I’d like to officially welcome our dad in their senior citizen’s club as he turned 60 last Sunday!  :D  Wow, Tina and I are only 4 years more than half your age!  You’re blessed to have stayed happy and , oh well -healthy at your age. 

If you must know, our groovy dad, a.k.a. Lolo Ben to Gabby or Lolo Benruh (with an H) to himself (his name is his pet name-spelled backward, gets?) still rides a cool mountain bike and takes uphill and downhill trails in San Mateo, Montalban, Antipolo all the way up to Manila with my cousin, Etot, and my 3rd brother, Mac who always celebrates his birthday with my dad and turned exactly half his age.  Happy 60th daddy, and 30th to you Mac!  Belated Happy 11th birthday to my nephew, Joshua! God bless everyone in our family! Hep hep, hooray! :D

Because of this, my second brother, Capt. Michael (a private licensed aviator) -dad to Joshua, hosted a very casual and intimate dinner with his wife, Sheila and daughter KC for our lively clan (or at least a fraction of it).  They’ve reserved 60 – 70 seats in LUYONG, one of the established names in the panciteria business in Marikina City.

The spread was simple yet satisfying.  Per table, there were bowl of hot sweet corn soup, platters of fish fillet in sweet and sour sauce, freshest greens in chopsuey, pancit canton, lumpiang shanghai and lechon-kawali plus home-made ice cream! :D

The celebrators in red and yellow shirts with my son, Gabby, my nieces -Kelly and KC.

There were no party games, program or balloons.  Just ordinary dining, chit-chat and fun talks as if everyone was dearly missed!  :D

It could have been complete with my mom who’s in UAE with my cousins.  Nonetheless, the presence of everyone who attended made it extra-special! :D 

:D  How do you celebrate your love one’s birthday ?

 

11
Jan
10

SUBLIME BURGER EXPERIENCE

Lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, catsup, mayonnaise, mustard, buns and patties. What makes a hamburger really special ?

Our family (Tina, Gabby and I) with my brother, JC had a great lunch in SM Megamall Atrium yesterday! It was a bit different from our usual Sunday meals for we savored great tasting burgers and surprisingly delicious other treats from BROTHERS BURGERS.  It wasn’t  my first time to taste BB but nevertheless, was excited to try their latest offerings.  

One may not resist the poster at this burger joint that says : BROTHERS BURGER, Burgers By Design introducing DESIGNER BITES for only PhP 285!  Each Designer Bite set comes with your choice of French Fries or Onion Rings… These Mini Designer Burgers are perfect for small cravings!  The only problem is the difficulty in choosing a set of yummies! :D

Tina and JC considered ordering  regular huge-sized burgers, while I had done the same,  I also gave in to my craving to try these Designer Bites. And it took me few minutes at the counter to select from the 3 sets;  then finally….

SET 2 : LAMB BURGER, SANTA FE, and BISTRO won my palates!  I love this set, particularly the Santa Fe! Every bite has a distinct taste that you’ll surely enjoy. :D   The other 2 sets that you may try are : 

SET 1 : Bistro, Ranchero and Blues Brothers

Set 3 : Santa Fe, Ranchero, and Blues Brothers.

Santa Fe has the half-pound flame grilled patty accompanied by tangy and hot jalapeño rings, chili, chopped white onions, three types of cheese, farm fresh lettuce and tomato, with all that spicy bounty contained within a toasted Kaiser bun.

Blues Brothers, a Brothers classic of half-pound flame-grilled patty topped with creamy blue cheese, golden sautéed mushrooms, crispy honey cured bacon, tangy Dijonnaise dressing, farm fresh lettuce and tomato –all between a Kaiser bun.

The Bistro, where the natural sweetness of caramelized onions, sautéed champignons mingle with the sourness of Dijon mustard and the brackish creaminess of Brie cheese, on top of the freshly grilled Half-pounder in a Kaiser bun.

The Ranchero has crunchy onion rings, crispy strips of honey-cured bacon on the freshly grilled Half-pounder, smothered with the smokin’ sweetness of Texan barbecue sauce. Tempered by fresh garden lettuce and tomato, it’s an interesting mix of textures that will surely delight.   

Burgers continue to be the banner products of Brothers but there are other items in the menu worth trying like Brothers Cheese Steak, Crispy Fish, Fried Crispy Chicken, and Grilled Chicken.  Options for dessert are brownies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Cool Bites. Also recently introduced are the Chicken Fajita Sandwich, Roast Beef Sandwich, Vegetable salad, Brothers Signature Pasta and soup. 

We ordered Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate Shakes, Lemonade and Iced Tea–all refreshingly good!

What really surprised us were the desserts from BB.  Indubitably, their premium burgers are superb, but the sweet treats that tickled our taste buds were also far from being less.

BB’s Home-Made Choco Chip Cookies, PhP 55 is soft and chewy-melt-in-your-mouth chocolate treat!  Tina and Gabby loved it! Honestly, it’s one of the best cookies we’ve tasted!  (the cookie-monster-in-me was unleashed!)  BB’s brownies, Php 40 also doesn’t disappoint.

Another must-try from their menu are the HOT BITES and COOL BITES! :D

HOT BITES, PhP 90 are tender chicken strips with crispy breading that comes with sauce of either gravy or teriyaki.  The serving was big enough to be shared by 2 or even 3. And since we’re so fixed with our burger-indulgence, it was one of those we had to take home. :D  

COOL BITES, PhP 80, is a Vanilla Ice Cream sandwiched in Oatmeal Cookies! We all like it! I personally love how different textures of this sublime dessert blend so well in one decadence!

Now, if those delicious Mini Designer Bites will make you crave for its real-sized counterparts and more, I suggest you shouldn’t supress the urge of tasting any of these burgers…

WAGYU BURGER, PhP 350+.   My first bite on this Designer burger patty sans mayonnaise, catsup and everything took me to pause for few seconds and analyzed -what makes this Wagyu Burger special above the rest?  Its tenderness was expected. Its grilled Wagyu Burger taste, impeccable! :D

My brother JC was overwhelmed with what he order…

BLUES BROTHERS BURGERS, PhP 265+.   I cannot blame him for being biased with his plate.  It has sliced button mushrooms and bacon strips that were combined in wonderful unison with lettuce and that BB hamburger. 

On that moment, I was hoping our stomachs have botomless pits, lol.  Because she was already full, Tina’s order had to be join our HOT BITES as another to-go…. 

BLACK ANGUS BURGER, PhP 250+.  Just like the other Brother Burgers patties, this Black Angus’ that we had for breakfast on Monday morning was tender and juicy absolutely perfect for meat-lovers!

We love Brothers Bugers! We love their French Fries, Onion Rings and their desserts! Next time, we’ll try their pasta and others. :D

So what makes a hamburger really special ?  I think it’s in the purest flavor of its burger patty;  in particular harmonious symphony with different textures of other ingredients inside a bun. 

….Hmmm, makes me want to grab another bite, don’t you?  :D

———————————-

BROTHERS BURGERS, 4th fl. Bldg B, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

Visit their website –> here  for their menu and list of branches.

Special Thanks to Ms. Nadal for the invites to try Brother Burgers’ latest offerings! :D

09
Jan
10

CELEBRATORY MEAL AT PL

If you’ve been following this humble site for some time now,  can you easily spot my wife and our kid’s photo on that wall ?

I’ll make it easy… Can you find the photo below from the pictures above?  Nyek, lalo ata gumulo! LOL :D

There was NOTHING SPECTACULAR about our 6th Wedding Anniversary except for SPECIAL MOMENTS that Tina and I shared with who else but our bundle of joy ~Gabby! :D 

After Tina’s morning shift duty from a private hospital in Quezon City, we hailed from Gateway Mall to Shangri La Mall for a much-needed PEPPER LUNCH MEALS!!! :D 

We’ve tried Chicken Pepper Rice before but our palates have been partial to those tender and juicy thin strips of beef!

Tina had her usual Beef Pepper Rice while I had Double Beef ! :D 

 

I’ve been craving for that Double Beef Pepper Rice because it has been monthssss since  our last PL experience

We’ve also favored Amakuchi a.k.a. HONEY BROWN SAUCE over Karakuchi or garlic soy sauce. 

The flavor of honey brown sauce + butter in the middlemost portion of the serving + dash of freshly ground-only-outer shells-of-pepper = delicious craving satisfied! :D

While wer’e enjoying our D-I-Y cooking, Gabby was engrossed with his KUROMITSU ICE CREAM :D

Our 5-year-old son must have thought that Santa Claus and his reindeers’ job is already done but not for the people behind PL.  The season of gift giving isn’t over yet!  Before we enjoyed our PL meals, I’ve browsed this HP @ PL PROMO so we participated almost effortlessly!

I just clicked my cam while Tina and Gabby were having fun; finished our meals as evidenced by these before and after photos…. :D

and asked the friendly staff on how-to sample the HP touch screen photo printer after I gave our cam’s memory card. They’ve printed two copies of the chosen pic taken at PL;  At the back  of one of the copies, I was required to write my name, and contact details and in a matter of seconds, my family’s photo was posted on their wall as an entry for their HP @PL promo where 2 lucky winners will bring home 2 of HP’s wireless Photosmart Premium Printer and Pepper Money! (I WANT!!! *greedy!*). While the other copy of the photo was ours to keep. Isn’t it sweet ?  :D

I therefore conclude that  —

1.  We’re  grateful for those 6 wonderful years of togetherness and we’re looking forward, of course, for more anniversaries!

2.  We had another happy dining moments at PL with high hopes to win a new HP Photosmart Premium Printer and Pepper Money!

_____________________________

Pepper Lunch, LG Level Shangri La Plaza, Mandaluyong City.   Also in Power Plant Mall, ATC and G5.

PS : When are you having PL branchesssss in Quezon City areasss ? Can’t wait!

08
Jan
10

OH MY GULAY!

these were a part of this dozen bunch…

They may not be Ecuadorian roses but my OAO (read : One And Only) loved it when Gabby and I gave them to her this afternoon.  :D

My wife, Tina fondly calls flowers, which she didn’t personally like in the past until she matured, GULAY… (or for us Pinoys, veggies)  :D

While Tina was about to be off from her 6-to-2 shift, I texted her that Gabby and I got her something for our 6th wedding anniversary despite the frugality that we’re practicing as of present, she replied in a heart beat, “Alam ko na yan!”  (“I already know that!”)… So the moment she spotted me and Gabby with those red blooms at Timezone in Gateway Mall where we killed time with arcade games, she was no longer surprised. Nevertheless, my son and I were already content seeing Tina smiling :D

Tina :  “Saan mo binili ‘to?”  (“Where did you buy this?)

Gelo :  “Farmers. Pinagawa pa namin ni Gabby ‘yan!”  (I sourced the GULAY from Farmers Market in Cubao after I’ve picked a fresh dozen and had them arranged in a bouquet.  It was another rare time that I gave flowers which were never bought from Dangwa, Manila.  I commonly buy flowers for most occasions in Dangwa except for a few times when I bought Tina’s from Holland Tulips in malls.  Perhaps, I considered the traffic in Manila because of the upcoming Quiapo Fiesta tomorrow or some other petty reason). 

Tina : “Magkano ?”  (“How much?”)

Gelo : “One Three!”

Tina in higher pitch and higher eyebrows :  “One Three???!!!”

Gelo : “No, Three hundred lang,… hehehe..”

Where did we go after our Gateway Mall meet-up to have something to munch?

on my next post! :D

Foreword : NOTHING EXTRAVAGANT; ONLY SPECIAL MOMENTS, naks! :D

Happy 6th Anniversary, ‘ney!  I love you and Gabby :)

08
Jan
10

OPEN LETTERS

Dear God,

Thank You for giving us a new morning; a new life; a new chance to breathe.

Forgive us our sins, our shortcomings to You, to our families, to our friends, to ourselves.

Thank You for all the blessings that You have been showering us daily.  May we share those blessings -big and small to our family, friends and others.

Thank You for the six years that Tina and I have been together and thank You for the countless years that we’ll still be.

Thank You for the domestic problems, financial challenges, physical and mental fatigue and everything that we’ve been struggling, for without them, we won’t be stronger; we won’t be wiser. We lift them up all to You for without You, we cannot do it alone.

It is because of our FAITH and LOVE to You more than to each other that keep us alive and happy.

Thank You for giving the BEST BLESSING we got us a couple 6 years ago –Thank You for giving us Gabby for with him, we became a FAMILY.  I may not have everything for now but Thank You, I am complete with Tina and Gabby!

Although we know that there are still ton of lessons to learn as parents, we have been exerting our efforts to raise him as God-fearing as possible.

Give us continuous guidance Lord, to always LIVE LIFE ACCORDING TO YOUR WILL.

AMEN. :D

————————————–

My dearest ‘ney,

Happy 6th Anniversary!  You know how much I LOVE YOU and GABBY! :D 

PS :  Please don’t give up on me  keep my sanity, honey! OK? :D  love you, love you!!!

———————————

Dear valued readers,

Thank you for all your well wishes! :D   As our appreciation, here’s a video of our theme song (if such term still exists!)… LOL!  seriously, this is our LOVE SONG….Enjoy…Sing along na kayo! :D

06
Jan
10

SIX YEARS AGO…

…on Januray 08, 2004, at 3PM, we got married in Santurio de San Antonio, in Forbes Park, Makati City. Reception followed at Dusit Hotel Nikko (then, now Dusit Thani) at 5:30PM. :D  And from that day on, we’ve been enjoying the fun, the love and even the petty and HUGE problems challenges of raising a family. :D

HISTORY OF OUR LOVE STORY : When we’re in Med School, (yes, Tina went to the same school but didn’t finish her 3rd and 4th years kasi naloko na sa akin, lol) Tina browsed her older sister’s (who’s my classmate) phonebook and randomly spotted my name that probably appreared to her as so saintly and angelic. :D She first forwarded mushy quotes and used an alias by name of Marie. Our anonymous texting via 5110 lasted for one whole year!  Remember the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan-movie, “You’ve Got Mail” ? Our story can passed as  “You’ve got text!” (nyek! sounds like a local horror flick) :D When I decided to meet her, I was surprised to know that she’s also enrolled in the same school.

OUR FIRST  DATE : It was purely accidental incidental. We we’re just encouraged by mere kantyawan (provocation and teases) by 2 of my classmates who were bestfriends of Tina’s sister. The tuksuhan led to a date in Glorietta, Makati via a meet-up in MRT-Cubao station, lol.  She was wearing baby blue ruffled blouse and black capri pants in heels (Tapos nag MRT lang kami, lol. Pauuwi naman nag-cab!) We had Starbucks Coffee first before watching a Michelle Pfeiffer movie which she preferred (what else but suspense-horror), “What Lies Beneath.” After the movie, we had dinner at Outback (an Australian Steakhouse). I shelled out almost a fortune on our first date (remember how students live by allowances only) but I’ll be forever grateful to Drs. Michelle (not Pfeiffer) and Shiny who teased us until we had that first date, naks!

THEN SHE SAID “YES” : Call me torpe for all I care, but I popped the question indirectly to her, long before Globe Telecom used the line in their local TVC, “Can we take our friendship to the next level?” via what else but text! (BADUUUUY!) I was on duty then at a Surgical-ICU of a public hospital and the ICU-Nurse was probably wondering why I was giggling with my cell phone amidst dying patients –oops! … I got her answer few days after on our way home, when we’re on a California Bus Liner ride before I got off at SM City North EDSA.

THE WEDDING PREP. : After 3 years of dating, we finally decided to tie the knot. We’re guided by my mom in the entire 1 year preparation. Tina designed her own wedding gown but she had her sketched it in a textile shop in SM Megamall. She also did our female secondary sponsors’ .  My wife even designed her head dress, hand-picked all materials herself and brought it to an actual fashion-accessory designer (I’m not sure of what to call the person) in Cubao.

We sourced all textiles used for the entire entourage (except for the principal sponsors who provided their own) from Divisoria and SM Megamall and it was not done on a single day, but for several months due to financial constraints.  My mom asked our family’s costurera who doesn’t have a shop but just an ordinary sewing machine and her expertise, to do the works.  Imagine the labor of Tina’s wedding gown only cost PhP5K!  While my suits and our male secondary sponsors’ were all done by a tailoring shop in Cubao.  These were all done in the name of practicality. :D

THE WEDDING VENUE : We chose Makati for our relatives to meet-half way.  Most of Tina’s relatives are from Ayala, Alabang, Quezon City, and US while mine are from Marikina and Pasig Cities.  The proximity of the church to the reception site was also considered. We even went to Fernwood Gardens in Quezon City but Tina really wanted a grand ballroom for the reception over a garden / open-air one, so we booked 2 of the 3 sections of Dusit Hotel’s several months before the wedding.

THE WORST WEDDING COORDINATOR : After Tina and I hopped from 1 Wedding Expo to another for few months in 2003, my mom suggested to hire a wedding DAY coordinator, whose name I’d like to withhold but if you’ll ask me, I’ll tell you to serve as warning! We agreed to our mom’s suggestion for there should be someone in control of the day itself.  We met the lady coordinator 3x in different restaurants, treated her over meals, and gave our trust to her.

When Tina and I and the rest of our family were in Dusit Hotel already on the morning of our wedding, we were surprised to meet UNKNOWN PEOPLE who introduced themselves as STAFFS of this events coordinator who was a NO-SHOW on our big day! Had she became honest enough to us that she cannot attend our wedding and would just send her people whom we never met, we could have been more prepared.  Imagine UNKNOWN PEOPLE asking for the 12 bottles of wines for toasting, the wedding rings and stuffs.  Had she told us that she had on-going conflict then with our photographer whom we personally sourced, then we could have not favored her. And did I mention that one of those UNKNOWN PEOPLE kept on shouting at our guests! She even yelled at my sister-in-law and the hotel’s banquet sales manager!

WORST WEDDING INCIDENTS: Due to lack of proper “coordination”, I had to put the table codes (we used codes like bliss, faith, love, joy, respect etc instead of table numbers for guests) myself at the grand ballroom of Dusit on the morning of my wedding. The waiters were not informed by the coordinator because the seat plan was not endorsed!  Toxic talaga! But worst wasn’t over yet…

Imagine the “Unknown coordinator staffs” instructed the entire entourage to queue when in fact the officiating priest wasn’t there yet! Parang na-wow-mali ang mga Ninong at Ninang namin! (Buti na lang I was intuitive) I only discovered it when I was on the line myself next to my brother who stood as my best man,  I asked the “unknown coordinators” if they have given a copy of our misallettes to the priest who’s one of our family friends.  Then the “unknown coordinators” looked at each others cluelessly.

I had to go to the parish office and look for an “emergency” substitute priest. Luckily, the then principal of Collegio de San Agustin was available, so he officiated the first part of the mass.  Then when the time came that Tina and I have to exchange rings, our “original officiating priest” appeared in full golden regalia. Everybody was surprised including us in the altar. Everybody thought that our wedding was a HIGH MASS that we required 2 priests to conduct the ceremony.

It was only after the wedding when we learned that our “original priest”  came to the church an hour earlier but had to rushed himself to Makati Medical Center because of Angina Pectoris (chest pain that may lead to heart attack).

With an entire year of preparation, Tina and I thought that everything will be polished but there’s really nothing perfect.   Shit Inevitable circumstance happens.

One more evil thing that our wedding day coordinator did to us : On contract, there’s an emcee to host the program included of her PhP15K package, and we were promised that the hostess will be articulate, a granddaughter of a well-known politician, only to find out during the actual reception that her words were so untrue. That she sent a PREGNANT-HOSTESS whose gravid uterus clearly looked like 9 months, she LITERALLY CUT OUR WEDDING PROGRAM which Tina and I designed, SHORT! Nasayang ang wedding quartet at ang disco mobile!  Hindi namin na-maximize.

Tina and I, puzzled with all that happened the entire day, forgot to asked the wait staff of Dusit to bring us some left overs, especially the cake, to our honeymoon suite that evening. Everything was charged to experienced.

Two days after, we flew to Bangkok where Gabby was “made”.

Inspite of all the unapparent (to our guests) hassles that day, our wedding date remains to be only a day in our lives.  What matters most is how you keep the marriage, naks!

I may have bored you to death, so enough with the stories, now the photos…

At the RECEPTION…

There were paper luminarias with our insignia that lighted up the wooden bridge with two fountains that served as entrance to the main ballroom..

Almost everything, from misalletes to our gazebo, was custom-made and installed by my mom’s work staffs.

Our cake was by Dexter’s, included in the hotel package.

Those bride and groom teddy bears were at the floral arrangement in front of our wedding car.   The wedding car, which was also part of the Dusit package, was upgraded to a LINCOLN STRETCH for FREE!  Having it was one of the most relieving parts of our wedding! We’re told by the hotel’s banquet sales manager that the wedding car we’re supposed to have, had engine trouble hence the luck! :D

All photos of our wedding were taken by ace photographer Ariel Javelosa. You may view our entire album –here.

PS : What makes a wedding album and video worth viewing again ? It’s so nice to see our old selves several kilos lighter! :D

Few more wedding anniversary posts until the weekend! Thanks!

05
Jan
10

TEN THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT US

“Love is something eternal; the aspect may change, but not the essence.” -Vincent Van Gogh

Forgive me for being cheesy but this coming Friday,8 January, is our 6TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! (applause, applause!) :D

I came up with a random list of what we, Gelo and Tina are behind this blog; both positives and negatives!

1. I like black; she likes purple.  

2. I lack patience; she has all that virtue.

3. I can stay until wee hours of the morning and wake up early; she loves to doze off early and wake up late.

4. I can be severely obnoxious; she can be overly cynical.

5. She likes to sing; singing hates me.

6. I like adventures, actions, some sci-fi and comedies; she likes cartoons, fantasy and of course, horror!

7. I initially wanted to become a physical therapist for no reason; she first dreamt of becoming a social worker.

8. I grew up in Pasig and went to school in Marikina; she hailed from Tondo and was educated in Manila and Cubao.

9. I can’t stand the heat; she can’t tolerate too much cold.

10. I easily fret; she’s more controlled and composed.

I remember the statement of my Trigonometry teacher back in High School that relationships are like angles, complementary is better than compatibility.  I understood her mushy cliche more when I watched the 1996 movie, Jerry Maguire where the character of Tom Cruise told Renee Zellweger’s the line, “You complete me.”  :D

:D For married couples out there, what are your formula for a stronger relationship if there’s any ?

:D For singles whose facebook status is “In a Relationship”, how do you keep the faith ?

PS : Swing back here again on the next few days; I’ll let you peek at some of our photos and unforgettable inside stories behind our wedding. 

03
Jan
10

ON THE SECOND DAY OF THE YEAR (PART 2)

we had some Chinese eats where else but in…

Did you notice the first letter N in the road sign?  It’s been there since God knows when, but no one exerts effort to correct it. Was it done intentionally to draw attention?  The little OC in me always kicks in whenever I see this in oNgpin, can someone enlighten me?  :D 

After my generous balikbayang-biyanan bought his Chinese medicine for arthritis (read : I have no idea what snake-bone-capsules can do to arthralgia or joint pains), we went straight to a food place to fill in our hungry tummies..

Upon seeing the first floor of the resto so packed because it was noon time, we headed to its second floor and occupied an 8-seater round table.  After few minutes, our orders came…

We passed on dimsum and dumplings and opted for thick Chinese soup and that complimentary house tea.

 

CRAB MEAT and SWEET CORN THICK SOUP, PhP 220+ for regular, PhP 357+ for medium, PhP 600+ for large order.  Since it was a lunch treat of my dad-in-law, I never had a chance to secure the receipt. 

Our benefactor (a.k.a dad-in-law) asked the waiter if they’re using artificial crab sticks or the real thing in their crab meat soup, and the waiter was honest enough to reply it’s really crab meat; thus the order.  As expected, it was satisfying!  I always love Chinese soup for its consistency more than taste.

Next to arrive on our table…

FRIED HOFAN with BEEF and SOY SAUCE.  This reminds me of Little Asia’s version (along Tomas Morato) but this resto’s hofan is oilier than the others. Although I have to admit I like the satay flavor of the entire dish! :D  And did I tell you that the beef strips are sooo tender and yummy?

Then came…stuffed CHEF’S SPECIALTIES!

TOFU (left).  I’m not sure who among us ordered this, but it’s absolutely delicious! ’twas so sublime with a surprise stuffing of mushroom and I think pork bits.

According to my in-law, there’s a resto in California that only serves dishes made of tofu! Can imagine how versatile and healthy this soya is?  FYI, if post-operative patients have no renal problems (read :BUN, Crea, Ammonia levels =normal), we recommend soya, tofu, taho intake to enhance wound healing other than vitamin C and Zinc (oops, am I too medical now?)

FRIED SEAFOOD ROLL (right). My wife, Tina ordered these rolls. They’re crunchy outside with stuffing of  bits of what esle but seafoods and some carrots in thin mayo somewhat like a seafood salad inside.  I like it but would not order on our next visit just to try other dishes  for it’s not the plate you’ll crave for over and over.

Gabby had a glass of iced tea and three of us had black gulaman, bottomless. :D

No one among us was interested in yang chow or other fried rice last weekend so we only had few cups of plain rice (honestly, i only had half a cup)  with our last plate…

MANDARIN CHICKEN.  It’s similar to Lemon Chicken but pineapples and oranges with sesame seeds were used instead of lemons to glaze the crispy coated chicken. 

I know President along Onpin Street itself, is far better than President Tea House located in Salazar Street, Binondo but the latter is more affordable which offers casual dining while the former has the finest of everything.  We may have dined at the cheaper resto nevertheless, it was indeed one beautiful Saturday lunch with the family! 

:D Have you tried President and/or President Tea House in Ongpin ? 

:D Have you tasted BINONDO in MAKATI  ?

:D I’ll try to bring my family soon to WAI YING, which I heard is also c0-owned by the people behind President.

:D  Do you know that the year of the TIGER will officially usher on Valentine’s Day that falls on a Sunday?

:D  Kita-kitz  sa Ongpin and dare to wear red on V-day to CHASE THOSE DRAGONS  once more ? 

:) Let’s see.

————-

PS :  You may click the last photo on the right to make it bigger and view 2 beggars with kids following my balikbayang-biyanan in green asking for some coins. Ugh! When can we be more than third world ?

03
Jan
10

ON THE SECOND DAY OF THE YEAR (PART 1)

with less traffic and while everyone was still enjoying the holiday spirit, we went here….

Tina, Gabby and I with my in-laws — docBibs (my wife’s sister) and Daddy Larry (who’s on vacation here from San Leandro, Ca)  roamed almost the entire Chinatown in search for good food and best buys. You might be thinking that my family was in the spending mode and I’ve already disregarded my annual wish to save, save and save (so help me, God!) as early as the second day of twenty ten but we just accompanied my dad-in-law to buy himself Chinese medicine for arthritis that he heard (not from me, definitely) from his friends who have been using such.  He also had a taste of what Manila has been since he left it decades ago.

We got the snake-bone-in-capsules (read : I am not yet prescribing and am not aware of effects) in this drugstore across DONG BEI (where the freshest kuchay dumplings are and I am so recommending!) in Yuchengco Street, at the back of Binondo Church..

 A walk through Binondo and Ongpin Streets in Manila is always amusing…

For a healthy start, here’s a cart full of veggies found usually in sidewalks…Cauliflower sells for PhP 40 per kilo, sarap sa chopsuey!

or fibrous and vitamin-rich, fresh fruits;  they’re very round too! perfect to attract prosperity for New Year!

Are you fascinated with chestnuts roasting on an open fire ?

Tina and I asked the manong about cooking kastanyas.  The small and black pebbles which are warmed in oil prevent the chestnuts to stick together during roasting and sugar is added to make everything sweeter.  Entire roasting lasts for about half an hour before they sell it for PhP 120/kg.   We bought 2 kilos. :D

This altar of a cross with Chinese incense sticks and sampaguita leis with red ribbons (not the bakeshop but for good luck!) never fails to draw attention veneration. Imagine Catholicism and a bit Chinese beliefs unite to strengthen a community!

Gabby wasn’t complaining of our walk from Binondo all the way to Ongpin. He even managed to grin when my generous balikbayang-biyanan bought 2 boxes of  tikoy or glutinous rice from a stall vendor who also sells dried seafoods. See those huge packs of hibe (dried shrimps)?  It made me crave for ginisang monggo.

 

Among those Oriental charms and ornaments we saw in Ongpin…

I fell in love with this…

It’s a smiling-fiberglass-Buddha in jade color that stands more than 2 feet.  I like it’s almost perfectly round stout belly that believed to bring best luck when rubbed.  :D  It’s affordable at PhP 4,800. And if only we have extra budget for unnecessary things, we’ve brought it home in a blink.  :P 

Our Daddy Larry didn’t buy a Buddha statue but two cats and a tiger (2010 is a Tiger year).  He also didn’t forget to buy my lovely mom-in-law who was left with their kids in Ca, a little surprise pasalubong…

Gold loop earrings as big as a peso coin that weigh almost 3 grams; I’m sure my mom-in-law will be delighted. :D

Now, what’s this blog  a trip to Binondo and Ongpin without eating Chinese ?

  –that will be on my next post!  :D

:D What do you like best in Ongpin and Binondo?  

:D Is there anything you hate about Manila Chinatown?

01
Jan
10

WANTED : A HAPPIER TWENTY TEN

WARNING : This can be depressing. :(

I grew up spending Media Noche or New Year’s Eve dinner with my entire family.  Whatever is on the spread, there’s always a basket of 13 round fruits to symbolize high hopes for prosperity for each month of the New Year and beyond.  This year, we had grapefruit, pineapple, lemon, grapes, chico, kiat-kiat, pomelo, golden honeydew (which I haven’t tasted yet!), cantaloupe, red apple, orange, guava, and a pear.  Do you also practice the same Pinoy tradition?  What did you share with your families and/or friends on your feast?   How was your own New Year’s Eve celebration ?  Did you have fireworks and firecrackers ? 

In as much as I’d like to be 100% happy, optimistic and all, I had mixed emotions welcoming 2010.  It was so different and incomparable from two Christmases and New Year’s Eves I spent on duty in a public hospital years ago.
This was the very first holiday that my mom is abroad for work and there are so many issues we have to resolved.  It was also the first New Year that my wife, Tina with our son, Gabby and I had spent New Year’s Eve with my dad-in-law;  the big deal with it was the reason of his unexpected and unplanned sudden vacation here from California – it was to attend his brother’s wake and funeral. 
Tina’s uncle died four days before Christmas because of the  big C  which was lately diagnosed last October 2008.   I remember him when he went to our place to ask for a narcotic prescription for his severe headache.  I never submitted to his request and adviced him to have a thorough physical exam with lab work ups and true enough, the cause of his complaint wasn’t the usual hypertension or stress but a malignant mass in his nasopharyngeal area with rare presentation.
On the last week of October, he underwent biopsies more than once that led to anemia and few blood transfusion due to hemorrhage incurred post-procedures; CAT-SCANs and other diagnostics several times; had been requested to undergo radiation therapy but was already late when he developed pneumonia.  When he was discharged with nasogastric tube (a feeding tube where drugs can also be administered; inserted in the nose all the way down to stomach), I and Tina had helped his sons in re-inserting the tube and tried to assist them in little way we can.  
And because they’ve waited for two of Tina’s cousins who came home from US and so her stepdad (my in-law), they have to schedule the interment 2 days before the whole world welcomes 2010.  How can you enjoy it cheerfully while celebrating someone else’s life ?
The entire grieving family attended a mass in Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina after a sumptuous catered buffet where we had molo soup, chicken cordon bleu, fried fish fillet with honey mustard dip, beef in mushroom gravy, buttered veggies and those delicious cupcakes, eclair, and cream puff for dessert.  Free flowing brewed coffee kept us awake during the wake.  There were also juices in tetra packs and Milo for Gabby and other kids.
The homily of the priest (he called himself member of PNP –pari nagmimisa sa patay) was so remarkable that it lightened our spirits and emotions that evening.  He shared his own experiences when he lost his parents. He remembered what his father told them — that he wasn’t dying but was ready to ‘go abroad’.   If that’s the case, then cemeteries are our ‘pre-departure areas’ and all of us, with no exception (unless you’re immortal or one of the X-Men) will be traveling soon to our Lord’s Kingdom one after the other.   
Last year was tragic for most Pinoy families particularly those who experienced the wrath of typhoons. But TODAY’s a new day.  Everyone should move on.  Like you, I have no choice but to keep positivity in my pocket and simply look forward and continue to dream BIG today and so on and so forth… :D 
A Happy New Year to all.

Feliz Año Nuevo a todos.

Feliç Any Nou a tots.

新年快乐所有。

모두 새해 복 많이 받으세요.

すべてに新年あけましておめでとうございます。

Bonne année à tous.

Um Feliz Ano Novo para todos.

С Новым годом для всех.

Felice Anno Nuovo a tutti.

Frohes Neues Jahr an alle.

سنة جديدة سعيدة للجميع

Godt nytår til alle.

Καλή Χρονιά σε όλους.

मुबारक हो सभी को नया साल.




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