Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

15
Apr
14

DESERT SAFARI : DEFINITELY DUBAI!

A visit to Dubai is never complete without experiencing desert adventures. Dune bashing, sand skiing, dune buggy, barbecue dinners, camel rides, and for the more financially equipped, hot air ballooning during sunrise. These activities may be so touristy but heck, they’re almost synonymous with this future-forward city. Desert Safari’s one of the must-do when you’re in this part of UAE!

It was a blessing that my former students and I met for a dinner where I was treated to a Korean-Japanese gastronomic feast, and a spontaneous and no-brainer decision on my part to join them in Desert Safari was done in a blink. They arranged the tour and next thing I knew, I was with Karen and Joel seated comfortably inside Toyota Land Cruiser one Friday afternoon; what a perfect way to spend my day off at work! The same badass vehicle brought us to the sand dunes of Dubai within a couple of hour-trip.

After a quick mandatory stop over at a souvenir shop where necessary bladder breaks, removal of air from the wheels to make it more sand-appropriate, and ghutra-panic-buying on my part, we found ourselves ready and thrilled for the dune bashing!

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Mr. Azeem Rafaqat, our careful yet daredevil driver who picked us up in front of a hotel in Al Ghurair in Deira, Dubai, did very well on his job! It was an incredible and one-of-a-kind experience! There’s nothing like a sensation of  falling down from a steep mound of sand, followed by zigzag driving that made me feel we’re about to roll, scream and breathe my last! It was intense yet so fun!

About forty minutes after, we arrived at the camp. I was told by Karen who experienced Desert Safari 4 times already, that there are various camp sites where different tours operate. Upon the sight of ours, my Sympathetic Nervous System automatically slowed down as I savored an almost sunset-all-desert-view! Ahhhh, this is Dubai! :D

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I took photos of the friendly Emiratis at the camp site.
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Meet my Dubai Desert Safari travel-adventure buddies, lovebirds -Joel and Karen (both wearing sunnies).
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Did I give justice to that ghutra?  Say,YES! Hahahaha!
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And because dune buggy driving costs 100 dirhams for 15 minutes only, we were content with just photo-ops!
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Although I skipped the 30-dirham-camel riding, I felt like the happiest kid on the planet with a falcon on my head!  Here, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is my most recent brag-worthy portrait to date! *kidding*
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Barbecue dinner buffet, unlimited distilled water and soda, belly dancing watching, henna tattooing, wearing of  traditional Arabic attires, were all inclusive of the 100-dirham-package per pax we availed.
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Open-VIP rooms that are surprisingly installed with air-conditioning units and come with priority food service (you don’t need to queue on the buffet spread as food is served to your table), alcoholic beverages are all available on extra charges.

Moving on, do I look like an Arab here?
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Joel had his arm tattooed with a scorpion henna. The beautiful henna artist drew it in few strokes in less than 20 sec! Amazing!
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As the sun over Emirati desert finally sets to make way to the moon, the fun continued within the camp.

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Appetizer was nothing less than Chicken Shawarma, that has been my favorite!
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One of the highlights of Dubai Desert Safari is watching belly dancing! My eyes and camera were glued to two dancers who did fantastic shows!

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A faux sword on her belly. Belly Dancing, literally!

Audience participation made it more engaging!
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Then buffet dinner spread was served! Despite the queues were long as there were approximately more than a hundred guests that weekend, everything was kept systematic and in order. I got my food quickly on my plate and made sure I had everything I want to sample. Arabic food’s delicious!

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Grilled Chicken was well-marinated! It was simple yet so tasteful! Kebab was OK too, the same with Biryani, Potato and Veggie Salads. The Spaghetti was infused with real stewed tomatoes that appealed to my palates as somewhat authentic (as I’ve been to Italy! Hehehe!) as compared to my Filipino-Spaghetti-preference (that’s often sweet and rich). Over all, I liked everything on my plate! There’s no reason to complain.

While everyone was still feasting, a man in a traditional attire (of unknown Arabic origin) came out and went on stage. Karen was telling us, that this is the man she calls, the human BEYBLADE!

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And why not Beyblade? That man did nothing but turned and rotated and twisted non-stop!  I repeat, non-stop turning for more than 4 minutes! Not to forget he had props on his hands while dancing, err, turning, and his multi-layered skirt lit up like, uhm…beyblade!

I was worried he’d have nystagmus (oh, you know, the involuntary movement of the eyes after spinning like a ballerina, or worse, loss of equilibrium or ataxia) but No. He maintained his great stance and stood like he didn’t dance like a beyblade! Bravo!!!

 

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From 3PM-9PM that Friday (11/04/2014), I forgot all my worries, stress and problems.  Amazing what a few hours in Dubai Desert Safari could do to my being! I went home to our flat with satisfied wanderlust!

*This is NOT a sponsored post.

Azeem Rafaqat of Arabian Eagle Tourism | 055 2711018 | azeemrafaqat63@yahoo.com

>><<

17
Sep
13

MANILA | SEPTEMBER 2013

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”
~ George A. Moore

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A fruit stand in Jenny’s Rosario, Pasig City.

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Street scenes I saw when I secured Overseas Employment Certificate/Exit Clearance from POEA in EDSA.

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Chowking, Robinson’s Metroeast. I shared the table with my parents prior watching the movie, OTJ.

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Shots from LRT in Recto, Manila.

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My mom and aunt walking with their long umbrellas. They accompanied me to Quiapo & Divisoria.

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Despite its busy surrounding, Quiapo Church never fails to remind me that God is merciful and forgiving.
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At Php 16 per piece, this lumpia from Globe Lumpia House in Raon, Quiapo, Manila is one of the best I’ve tasted!
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My mom, together with my maternal aunt bought me half a kilo of Excelente ham. Perfect with pandesal!
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Then they brought me to Kim Chong Tin Hopia Factory, the oldest in Manila. Hopia munggo is to die for!

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Escolta, Manila.

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The fountain in front of Sta Cruz Church, Manila.

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At Lucky Chinatown Mall. Also new to me were 999 Mall, Puregold and a few others. Divisoria, we meet again!

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Lunch at 168 Mall foodcourt.

In my darkest moments, I found my way home.

I thank the merciful Lord for few people who have been helping me to move on, despite and in spite of.

I shall return to my present work in Penang, Malaysia soon.

>><<

12
Mar
13

A VISIT TO ORPHANAGES IN PENANG : PART 2

Memorable. It was the day when CHARITY & GENEROSITY were defined to Gabby by his own experience.
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We left the first orphanage we visited in Penang nearly lunch time and headed to the next two. Together with Malaysian bloggers, organizers and a few sponsors, we hopped on the airconditioned bus provided by Langkawi Coral and shortly, we reached The Children Protection Society.

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More than stories we hear about orphanages, beyond tales we read on newspaper, everything we saw in The Children’s Protection Society warmed our hearts. I didn’t need to tell Gabby to further appreciate whatever things he has; the scene we saw speaks for itself. I, myself was reminded by the experience to be grateful with big and small blessings. We may not have everything in life but what matters most is the fact we remain thankful for what we have.

It felt great to be welcomed. :) We briefly toured the quarters of the kids while they’re still on special function that weekend; saw their rooms, kitchen, hallways where they keep their books on shelves and donated goods. The sight made me wish to do more!

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The Children’s Protection Society welcomes VOLUNTEERS to help them out with various tasks and those who could provide helpful inputs.

Learn more how to YOU can help through :

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*Gabby at the orphanage’s kitchen.
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*No hint of boredom or fatigue. It felt good to reach out in our own little ways.

Each of us can do something for these children. Volunteer. Donate. Participate.

THE CHILDREN PROTECTION SOCIETY | 118-A Jalan Scotland, 10450 Penang, Malaysia

website : http://www.cpspg.org.my/ | e-mail :  cpspg@hotmail.com | Tel No / Fax: +604-8294046.
*This blog post is part of the series that includes :

Again, thank you to the sponsors of this worthwhile activity :

>><<

07
Sep
12

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE : NEAR AND FAR

glorious sunset in penang

Believe it or not, this is the usual scene that my family and I enjoy from the tiny balcony of our 11th floor apartment in Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia just before dusk. Watching the glorious sunset every day is astronomically far from being boring. It’s a priceless view from our home that’s located near the highway just before the bay and overlooking one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, GeorgeTown, Pulau Pinang. The sunset and the island looks near yet so far. :)

This is my entry to Weekly Photo Challenge : Near and Far

31
Aug
12

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE : FREE SPIRIT

free spirit : butterflies

Butterflies to me are best to represent this week’s theme, FREE SPIRIT. From the day they acquire wings after being Chrysalis that oftenly mistaken by some as pupae, they freely lord the air, flying from one colorful bloom to another.

This is my entry to Weekly Photo Challenge : Free Spirit. :)

17
Oct
11

TROPICAL PLAYGROUND

Few weeks before Gabby turned 7 last 5th October, he candidly told his mom and I that he’d like to have beach toys as birthday gift. I smiled from ear to ear because apparently, it won’t cost me and Tina our arms and legs. He already had a set which he used when he enjoyed the powdery white sand and turquoise crystal waters of Philippines' Island Paradise, BORACAY a couple of years back, but of course, we didn’t bother to bring those to Penang. Then we thought, what’s the use of beach toys without going to proper venue, right? It’s a subtle way for our kid to utter his wish to take him to where he can play his preferred birthday present. How creative! :D

The 10th floor unit that we’re renting in Butterworth has a priceless sea view, breakwaters actually with white sand too. However, it’s such a “buwis-buhay” (read : life-threatening) to cross the highway (motorway or freeway; whatever suits you!) on foot. Thus, we found time to actually give way to Gabby’s birthday wish.

Glorious sunset view from our living room


8th October 2011, Saturday. Tina, Gabby, my dad and I hopped on Rapid Bus 101 en route to Tajung Bungah from Jetty in George Town. After almost 40 minutes, we got off the bus near Infinity condo building and saw this road sign:

Several steps more from the bus stop via the narrow street, we found the public beach that was recommended by one of my senior colleagues who lives with his family in a nearby condo unit.

PUBLIC BEACH means NO ENTRANCE FEE! One may truly enjoy the sun, the sea breeze, the waters (if you dare swim at your own risk!) without spending a cent other than bus fare and your efforts to go there. Indeed, ‘best things in life are free!’

Those upscale condo units in Penang's premiere location have monthly rental fees that start from 1,300 ringgit or USD 416 (PhP 18K) and can soar as high as 15K ringgit or USD 4,800 (PhP 207K+)!

And the 7-year-old boy became excited for some seashells and sand…
Admittedly, my first impression of the public beach in Batu Ferringhi was unpleasant. Batu Ferringhi has a stretch of beaches that comes after Tajung Bungah. Muddy, dirty, and far from Boracay and Philippine resorts’ qualities. Let me emphasize those initial insights were of public beaches in Batu Ferringhi in 2010. The sand and waters along Penang’s hotels and resorts (Shangri La’s Rasa Sayang, Hard Rock, Flamingo and many more) in Batu Ferrhingi are off topic. Nonetheless, Tajung Bungah public beach, although far from being sublime, is good enough venue to unwind. Tina professed we’re so coming back!

We strolled to look for a spot…
Then the weather became too cloudy that we thought there will be downpour. What’s great about Penang is its strategic location –we’re far from the routes of typhoon, there’s no class-suspension here; no storms yet in my more than a year stay. And so in almost a blink, the strong winds blew these dark clouds away.

A few more steps and we saw people frolicking in the beach, some were having fun on water sports -kayaking and jet skis. I am guessing they’ve availed it from the nearby Flaming hotel…

A closer look…

The place is also perfect for camping; we saw families who managed to bring and set up tents with barbecue grills, tables and other stuffs. No corkage fee here, haha!

Fun with ball games is also a possibility.


And being lazy on the sand until you appreciate the sunset and the stars is also can, can! LOL! (FYI, Malaysians commonly use the phrase, “can, can!” when they want to affirm something).


Finally, Tina removed her rubber shoes and spread our blue blanket…It could’ve been more apt if we brought a plastic mat but we don’t have it, so a soiled fleece did the job before it hits our washing machine.


Gabby followed by dropping his beach toys…

Et voila! Gabby’s masterpiece included Mr. Crab…


We stayed in Tajung Bungah public beach at almost an hour and left the place at 6 in the evening. We headed to a steamboat buffet after, that I will post on a separate entry.

08
Aug
11

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

One afternoon, I came home to Tina and Gabby with these 3 wooden pull-me-down puppets which I spotted at a store near our place. With tacks, I pinned them on our appartment's door. They may be cheap but they symbolize something about our family. That to me, at the end of the day, it's just the three of us.

I’m going through trying times the past week and although regret and putting blame on me may be useless at this moment, I’m still taking all the charges. Lessons are definitely learned the hard way.

On top of a private issue concerning me and my parents, our almost 7-year-old son, Gabby has been having loose watery stools and occasional vomiting since last Friday, 05 August and needless to say, Tina and I have been so worried. 

Instead of the service-van-driver, his school teacher/owner had to drive him home earlier last weekend because he initially had his first episode of vomiting in class.

Despite the fact that we knew based on history, that he doesn’t like its taste, we still tried to give him ORS (Oral Rehydrating Solution) to replace electrolyte and fluid losses but he just vomited what he drank.

I bought Smecta Dioctahedral (Smectite) which is an anti-diarrheal powder to be dissolve in water, Gabby didn’t like its taste too given its orange-vanilla flavor.  Amidst his LBM and vomiting, we’re thankful that he remained up and about with no signs of dehydration.

Fast forward to Monday morning, before conducting my lectures, I consulted our medical university clinic and asked for some pediatric medicines, luckily, they have and provided me for free as part of our employees’ benefits. (read : Can you easily imagine how difficult it is to deliver a lecture on Muscle Contraction and Nervous System Physiology in 3 classes almost the entire day and your child is sick at home? I was actually begging for prayers for our kid from my Muslim, Indian and Chinese students)

Nothing is more difficult for any profession than being a doctor and you become helpless when you’re family is in unhealthy state. Kung pwede lang akuin ang sakit ng anak, ginawa ko na.

Like a preschooler who receives his report card with marks of “Needs Improvement“, I know I have to change a whole lot of myself particularly in dealing with problems head on.  I should learn to calm down and pray in troubled times; keep words to myself that might hurt someone.

One of the 2 senior colleagues here in Penang whom I respect and value the most, reminded me that these things are nothing compared to what he and his family, and other people who are severely burdened went through. The other senior fellow who also understands me never wasted time and visited Gabby and Tina in our unit despite she came from long hours of trip from work commitments.  Even with little words, both of these people have been constantly inspiring me to be tough through tough times, continuously motivating me to do only what is right and had moved me to further love my family next to God. 

With hope and prayers that Gabby’s condition will improve soon, I also ask God’s forgiveness for whatever words I have said to people whom I’ve hurt particularly my family.

I may be one of the worst sons on the planet; I may be astronomically far from being the best husband to Tina but I am trying my best to be a good father to Gabby.

To all parents and people who may be emphatic to my situation, your prayers for our kid will be highly appreciated.

02
Aug
11

BE BACK SOON

I’m taking a blog holiday for few days; will be back online for posts and blog visits soon. Thank you.

04
May
11

KOTA BHARU, KELANTAN SERIES : WAU BULAN, THE MOON KITES

Beyond fascination, I was effortlessly seduced by its intricate designs after I saw its beauty on photos from pages of a book while killing time in a bookstore one lazy afternoon. I surrendered to the desire that I and my family have to see it up close.

Perhaps, I felt the need for another breather from our usual mall ratting-house-bumming routine every weekend. After all, it’s a long weekend in Malaysia since May 1, 2011 fell on a Sunday, the next day was posted as a holiday.

One of my senior colleagues even commented that I might be having regression. I laughed at his candid opinion about our unusual family getaway and reviewed myself if I’m really having such! I had few times of flying boka-boka (our local paper kites) and some fancy and commercially bought plastic kites before but for the record, I never had a chance to fly nor see kite this gorgeous.

It became more interesting after I learned from online readings that the logo of the flag carrier of Malaysia and our fifty sen (cents) coin here carry its image…

I promised myself that I will bring my wife and our kid to where it’s made for us to experience appreciation first hand. The plan in mind was to go to Kota Bharu, Kelantan  during this year’s Hari Raya (or Eid, that marks the end of Ramadan) that will come by the last week of August.

And so, after little researches done on the web and picking pieces of advice from our student and colleagues who hail from the said town, the date previously preferred were found to be not the best days of travel because most people will be coming home from various places to celebrate the holidays with their family (read : traffic jam, packed town!).

Luck was on my side when Tina agreed to go with me and Gabby to Kelantan earlier than I initially thought of. I hurriedly browsed the web (the ever reliable, Tripadvisor) for hotel reviews from tourists who had visited the place and decided to reserve a room in the only 5-star-hotel in Kota Bharu (which deserves a separate post). Soon after, I found myself buying tickets for the 3 of us in Penang Sentral, the bus station in Butterworth (Adult fare RM 35 or PhP 490 = USD 12.25+; child fare RM 25 or PhP 350 = USD 8.75+)).  The excitement was heightened.

I have arranged a meet-up with one of our PreMed-scholar student, Ain who’s going home to Kelantan earlier than our trip. She volunteered to get us return bus tickets from her town which I paid just before she left. Everything was instantly organized -from our transportation, hotel accomodation, to our itineraries. A tour was born in a jiffy!

Amazingly crafted with at least 3 layers of colored paper framed on bamboo sticks; some are made to fly, others serve as decors

We left Penang Sentral at 10PM, Saturday after a day-long training at work (yes, I attended a camp-facilitators’ workshop before hopping on the bus); thank God we managed to doze off during our 6 hour trip. From Kota Bharu bus station, we hired a taxi cab that took us to our hotel (RM 20 =PhP 280 or USD 7+). The hotel staff was so nice that they had allowed us to have early check in at 5AM without extra fees (supposed to pay half-day rate because early check in is defined at 7AM while regular time for check in is at 2PM). Before getting additional hours of sleep, I asked the front desk staff to look for a cab for us with an English-speaking driver who can serve as tour guide for 2 days; the hotel shuttle and cars (which apparently are more costly) were fully booked.

Mr. Safee, 53 year old Kelantanese-Malay who has been making wau bulan masterpieces both for flying and decors for more than 30 years

In a matter of few minutes from our first two destinations (which will be posted soon on this series) as we left the hotel before lunch time, we reached Kampong Badang in Kelantan, which is a few meters away from Pantai Cahaya Bulan. We stepped foot in a nondescript, almost nipa-hut looking house that stands in sand. My heart beat faster than I could imagine.

With Tina and Gabby are Mr. Kamal, our friendly-English speaking taxi driver-tour guide on Day1 and Mr. Safee, one of the wau bulan expert makers.

To witness how one wau bulan is made was more than wonderful! It’s totally unique experience! We learned that bamboo poles are first soaked in water for a day to make them sturdier before they’re cut into sticks for the frame of the kite. The sizes of the sticks should be equal and precise particularly if it’s intended to fly. Once ready, it only takes an expert moon kite maker like, Safee to complete a masterpiece for one whole day.The designs are usually floral with burst of colors!

Obviously, thrilled :

The next day, Mr. Kamel’s car broke down but he didn’t fail us with the tour by recommending another great taxi driver-tour guide by name of Mr. Nasri. He brought us to so many tourist spots and to another wau bulan maker.

This is the gallery where we bought an authentic wau bulan for wall decor on our second day tour in Kota Bharu.

This one has similar colors to what we brought home as souvenir; on a smaller scale of approximately 2 meters, we bought our wau bulan for RM 45 (PhP 630 or USD 15.75+). We’re excited to display it on the wall of our living room as we move to a new condo-appartment on the 3rd week of July.

not your usual school boy's toy, a wau bulan is creatively made up of its parts : a head, a spine, a waist, a wing and a tail; it has pompoms/tassels too! the tail looks like a crescent moon when flown in the air, hence called moon kite

“The Malay kite takes many shapes of which the most popular is the moon kite or wau bulan. There are also bird-kites, peacock-kites, hawk kites, cat-kites, frog-kites, quail-kites, fish-kites, woman kites and fairy godmother kites” -Virtual Malaysia.

The owner of the shop generously gave Gabby a freebie!

Apparently, it’s uncommon for most families to be interested in arts, culture and tradition but I am glad and proud that my family’s happy too with our wau bulan experience.

The most beautiful wau bulan in my eyes (leafy green design) was not for sale; it's a commissioned work by the museum to safee for RM 500 (PhP 7K+). I maybe disappointed in failing to but this design but the memory of our trip was nonetheless a good substitute.

*International Wau Festival is scheduled on June 2 to 6, 2011 at Pantai Irama, Bachok, Kelantan.

The other part of this blog series :  Back from Kota Bharu, Kelantan

Suggested reading about Wau bulan -> Virtual Malaysia

Here’s a link to a youtube video of wau bulan making : wau bulan

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Special thanks to our friends whom we met on the road and made our Kelantan trip more than amazing :

Mr. Nik Mat Kamal -our taxi cab driver-tour guide on our 1st day; you may reach him at +60129909538 and +60199735439.

Mr. Mohd Nasri Mohd Nawi -our taxi cab driver-tour guide on our 2nd day; you may reach him at +60139425241.

Mr. Muhammad Dain bin Othman (Pak Dain) -the owner and expert maker of Wayang kulit (Shadow Puppet which I will blog soon); his gallery is located at Simpang 3, Morak, Palekbang 16040, Kelantan; website : WayangPakDain

to Gula Kapas who responded to my query by emailing me a google map of the location of wau bulan makers in kelantan.

and to our student, Ain and her dad for welcoming us in their hometown.

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More of Kelantan and its culture and colors soon….

15
Mar
11

PINOY ‘ATA KAMI!

“We, Filipinos are resilient enough with adversities; we can even smile despite the fact that the city has been indundated or houses have been covered with ash fall. We are just one bunch of happy people.”

I uttered these lines or so the other day to one of our senior colleagues who heads the Medical department and hails from Pakistan when she sat with me and another friend-colleague in our university canteen while having our mid-morning snack and talked about the nature’s wrath in Japan recently. My Pinoy friend even told her that Filipinos’ smiles are even wider when there’s a TV camera flashed in front of them during typhoon and other calamity coverage. I could not agree more.

A poet once said, “A Filipino is pliant like a bamboo. Neither typhoons nor monsoons could break the Filipino spirit; like the bamboo, it sways and bends with nature’s relentless onslaughts, but it refuses to yield or die.”

13
Mar
11

I LOVE JAPAN BECAUSE OF THESE

Honestly, I cannot get over the news about how Japan was inundated by that massive tsunami and jolted by that tremendous earthquake a couple of days ago.  I was ashamed of myself dwelling on my little personal and professional problems while people on the other side of the planet were fighting for survival against forces beyond their control.

I prayed and asked for forgiveness; asked for mercy for those deeply affected by the calamity. I immediately thought of my family who as of the moment, are miles away from me. I prayed for their safety and for the good Lord to continuously keep us in His divine care.

Perhaps, one of the reasons why I am deeply affected with what happened to Japan was because I was fortunate enough to experienced Tokyo last year. I have personally seen, heard, smelt, felt and tasted  Tokyo for 14 days!  It was indeed, remarkable 2 weeks of my life! Admittedly, I fell in love with the city and it’s so difficult to reconcile that its northern part was devastated by that natural tragedy.

It instantly came to mind that even the most progressive country has its own sufferings. And that nothing is spared when nature speaks its wrath.

I know Japanese people have been used to strong typhoons, frequent earthquakes and in history, even atomic bombings. How they managed to rise from all these adversities should inspire and motivate not only me but the rest of the globe.

I was hesitant to post something pleasant about how I love that city and that country with their culture and their food of course, but life has to move on. Thus, this entry.

Second to our very own local dishes back home, I love Japanese foods. As mentioned, I am lucky to have tasted authentic sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki and sukiyaki when I was in Tokyo. So everytime I see Japanese food stalls and restaurants wherever I go, I cannot help but crave for some bites. :D

About a couple of weeks ago, I went to one of the malls here in Penang that I frequent every weekend. And I did not resist the temptation of having Japanese for late lunch. Here was my set then…

Japan’s greatest contribution to gastronomic history : sushi!  

Other than sushi and sashimi, Yakult is the next best thing Japanese people introduced to the world!

This set meal came with soup+noodle bowl and a small cup of custard dessert as sweet ending!

Free small pitcher of iced cold green tea and drinking water to wash everything down.

 

I had that set meal from Sushi King in George Town, Penang…

Diners can directly get their sushi from the conveyor belt …

besides the set meal I had, I also opted to order ala carte. Sushi King’s Soft shelled crab temaki –delicious! :D

I ate this lunch set at the heart of Penang 2 weeks before that catastrophe happened in Japan.  At least, it reminds me of good memories I had from Tokyo; a breather from those actual photos of news online.

Japanese food. Japanese culture. Japanese innovation. Japanese people. Japanese way of life. These are the things I love about Japan. And so until after they rise on their feet from the devastation they had, they’ll be constantly in my prayers.  

So help us, God!

07
Mar
11

THAT’S MY BOY!

Class pictures are always fun!

Here are my son’s latest with his classmates and teacher+principal in his Preparatory class, his 3rd and last year in Pre-School….

formal photo…*try to spot Gabby, if you can..*

then that wacky pose… *Gabby didn’t strike his antics; maintained his sweet smile from ear to ear!*

We may not have everything yet, but life is best with Gabby!

Congratulations, anak on your graduation from Pre-school.

See you in 12 days here in Penang, dont forget to bring your mom, hehehe!

I love you!

16
Nov
10

DAYS IN THE CLOUDS

Last month, we temporarily left our work desks, classrooms and conference rooms as we attended to our medical university-college’s annual Strategic Meeting…

The venue was impressive; we spent 3D2N at The Regency, Jerai Hill Resort on top of the hills of Gunung Jerai in Penang.

We’re literally cloud-kissed when we’re there; ang ginaw all through out our stay and we heard that the climate is consistent all through out the year.

We’re assigned to different villas, around 3 – 4 per room.  I was with 3 other Pinoy colleagues.

Just like our very own Summer Capital, Baguio City, “no-air-conditioning” needed here…

The rooms were equipped with essentials we need; however our toilet’s water heater failed 2x, one of us had to report it to the concierge; it was fixed immediately.

Team building games, bonding activities, motivational talks lorded our first day…

No, I didn’t sing or did an intermission number, ha ha! :D  I just helped out people of our Library department present our collective suggestions and recommendations…

Dinner time …

The buffet spread had nothing to rave about.  To be honest, it made me missed more the hotel dishes back home…Nonetheless, tummies were filled and warmed after a long and tiring day and hey, I’m not complaining for it’s free! :)

There were singing, dancing for two nights every after dinner. No colors, races, religions kept us away from enjoying those nights.

My Filipino colleagues family in Penang : Doctors All! So proud to be working with all of these brilliant medical educators.

Admittedly, the entire activity was so tiring exhausting but I honestly appreciate the efforts (and the massive expenses!) of the company just to seek improvements not only on individual’s work performances but more so in bringing all of us together to gear toward its common goals and vision.

On a lighter note, I brought home 2 prizes, a nice rice cooker with steamer and a 30cm-Meyer non-stick frying cookware from being awarded 2x as one those staffs who had early accomplished the form of “getting to know my colleagues” (we’re instructed to interact and get the names, age, bday, birthplace, marital status, # of kids and hobbies from each other–and attendees were close to 180+!)  :D

05
Oct
10

HE’S TURNING 6 WITHOUT ME =(

It’s my son’s 6th birthday today and

it’s the very first time for me to be away with him on his big day. :(

I hope your mini-school birthday party turns out to be fun, Gabby. I’m sorry tatay-doc can’t be there to celebrate with you.

I’ll make it up to you and your mom when you visit me here on December, hopefully.

I love you always. Give your mom warm embrace and long kisses for me, OK?

Happy Birthday, anak! :)

25
Jun
10

FROM NAPA VALLEY TO OAKROOM

Yes, I’ve been to Oakroom in Oakwood Premier Joy~Nostalg Center again and I like it! :)

24 June 2010, Thursday –A bunch of press people and Gabby’s daddy-blogger (ehem, that’s me!) met up at the 6th level of Oakwood for Oakroom’s AMERICAN WINE and FOOD FESTIVAL Press Lunch.

If you’ve been following this humble site, you know that I’ve attended 2 similar activities prior to this;  those were

SPANISH WINE and FOOD FESTIVAL  last  April 07 and

ITALIAN WINE and FOOD FESTIVAL  last  June 02.

And every experience in Oakroom has been consistently beautiful.

In time for the 4th of July celebration in the US, Oakroom’s AMERICAN WINE and FOOD FESTIVAL will run from July 03 –30, 2010 and finest wines from Napa Valley, California, BERINGER will be featured in this event, perfectly complemented with delicious a la carte menu prepared by Oakwood Premier’s Executive Chef Jerome Cartailler.

A good wine is truly a complement to a good meal.

My palate had sampled again the best of Oakroom…

CHOP HOUSE SALAD, Traditional chopped salad with Iceberg lettuce, crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries, avocado, smoked bacon, chopped pecans and tomato served in a heart of Iceberg.

The fusion of its ingredients, their textures and freshness make this starter a must-try.

The salad was paired with BERINGER CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAY 2005.

An immediately pleasing wine, this Chardonnay is an enticing blend of ripe stone fruit and vivid citrus flavors. The bright citrus perfectly offsets the honeyeyed apricot, culminating in a smooth, delicious wine with a lasting finish. It is a wonderfully approachable and refreshing wine, full of lush fruit flavors and aromas that conjure up the bounty and sunshine of California.

The event was hosted by Oakwood Premier’s General Manager Brian B. Connelly who takes pride in bringing a taste of California in the elegance of Oakroom. He’s assisted by Oakwood’s PR and Marketing Communications Manager, Genny Puno who graciously attended to their guests, as always.

Also present in the event was Ms. Katherine Yao-Santos, Marketing Director of Happy Living Philippines Corporation, the distributor of Beringer Wines in the country.  Ms. Kathy took our conversation about wine appreciation and wine and food pairing to a heightened level of fascination. Her passion on what she does best was truly inspiring and interesting. She really knows wine by heart.

I’ve learned so much from our small talk.  When serving steak, for instance, one should consider not only the quality of meat but more importantly, the gravy and herbs infused into the dish. The overall taste of the entire entree should go well with the wine for an entire enticing gastronomic experience.  Also, remember that Keannu Reeves’ movie A Walk In The Clouds? We were told that some scenes were shot at the winery of Beringer in Napa Valley, California.

Talking to Ms. Kathy Yao-Santos gave me a push to support my preschooler son’s dream of becoming a chef and perhaps it would not hurt for Gabby (and who knows, me as well) to become a wine connoisseur too someday.

DUET of GRILLED U.S. ANGUS FILLET MIGNON and ALASKAN KING CRAB, Onion rings, mashed roasted garlic potatoes and grilled asparagus bernaise sauce.

This surf and turf medley from Oakroom is a sure winner when paired with BERINGER CALIFORNIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005.

Beringer California Collection Cabernet Sauvignon is full of a jammy black fruit flavors that make this wine enticing from the first sip. The sweet vanilla and richness of the oak flavors blend seamlessly into the wine, offering just a hint of spice. Easy drinking and satisfying, this wine is well-suited to a variety of occasions.

A meal isn’t complete without that sweet ending. For the sampling of American Wine and Food Festival, we were each served with a delectable plate :

DONUT CHEESECAKE + MAPLE ICE CREAM and BLUEBERRY COULIS.

This sweet temptation blended well with my favorite among the wines that were served that afternoon.

BERINGER CHENIN BLANC 2009.

A well balance wine with aromas and flavors of crisp citrus, melon, and spicy ginger. It’s meant to be enjoyed with a variety of foods, from Asian and Mexican dishes to casual backyard barbecue with friends.

I tell you, this Chenin Blanc from Beringer has the lightest and fruity freshest taste among the wines I’ve tasted.

The afternoon ended with wonderful and warm exchange of thoughts and casual chitchat amidst the sophisticated ambiance of Oakroom.

Sublime service + Impeccable wine and food pairing = excellent experience!

Enjoy quality prime beef seared to perfection (21-ounce Cowboy Steak, 12-ounce Porterhouse, 18-ounce Rib-eye, 8-ounce Tenderloin, among others), Berkshire Porkshop, Barbecue Chicken, Maine Lobster, Cheesecake, Apple Pie and Ice Cream paired with Wine Spectator’s “Wine of the Year” awardee –Beringer Chardonnay and Cabernet which was also voted as “Winery of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast and Wine and Spirits only in Oakroom from July 3–30, 2010.

Oakroom Bar also offers “Girls’ Night Out” on Wednesdays beginning July 07, 2010, “Thursday Night Wine Buffet” and “Beer Friday Unlimited”.  Call Oakroom in Oakwood for more details of these events at (63-2) 637 7888 / (63-2) 910 8888 ext 8118.  Fax (63-2) 719 1157 / (63-2) 706 7777 and mobile # (63)(0908) 874 1639. website www.oakwood.com

Oakwood Premier Joy~Nostalg Center Manila, 17 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City 1600, Philippines.

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Special thanks to Ms. Genny Puno for the invite! :)  Cheers!

13
Aug
09

PIG-OUT MONDAY

Oops, we did it again! :D

Three days ago, I brought my family to one of our favorite malls – Glorietta, to claim our free buffet plate from Dad’s,Saisaki,Kamayan Ultimate Buffet as we have completed another promo card.

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After completion of ten validations (one signature for each visit —> read : yes, we’re a regular patrons), a FREE CROSSOVER BUFFET PLATE  can only be claimed Mondays to Thursdays, lunch or dinner.  FYI, it was our second time to finished a “Happy Diner” promo card.  As the cliche goes, the best thing in life is FREE. :D

Since I was off the whole day last Monday, and my wife Tina was done with her work around 2:30PM,  together with our son Gabby who’s more excited to eat his favorite kani tempura, we headed to G3 in Makati.

However, we came too early for dinner so we decided to munch on something light as late afternoon merienda before pigging out at Saisaki.  Tina wanted to have Taro Ice from Quickly at the Foodcourt of Glorietta 3 but it wasn’t available, so she and Gabby settled for Chocolate Ice also from Quickly.  While I’m not sure of what to eat, Tina suggested for us to have dimsums. Immediately I thought of President’s Tea House. 

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We only ordered Japanese siomai – a piece of crab stick wrapped in nori, Asado siopao and of course, Hakao or shrimp dumplings.  I eat anything with shrimps, lol. :D

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The Hakao of President’s Tea House does not dissapoint;  its moist-melt-in-your-mouth wrapper was just perfect to embrace those plump shrimps. And the Japanese siomai also is a must-try.  I can’t say anything bad with the Asado siopao; the dough was just finely steamed; its filling-delicious.

After that quick bite, we took a stroll around the mall just to burn those few calories (as if we’re too health conscious, lol), and awited for 6PM, dinner time at Dad’s, Saisaki, Kamayan.

This was my first plate from Saisaki, sushi and few sashimi :D  I like Saisaki’s Tamago rolls; I want to learn someday how those sweet fried eggs are rolled into its form :D

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Tina also had similar choice…6

Not too long, my wife came back from the spread with these deep-fried Ebi and Kani Tempura –yummy!

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For a buffet price of PhP 455 at the Ultimate Buffet (crossover from Saisaki to Dad’s to Kamayan), it’s already a steal compared when one orders Tempura as an entree from other Japanese resto.   We paid half price for Gabby.

Gabby was delighted munching his favorite Kani (crab) Tempura and sipped some of these bowl of creamy rich seafood chowder from Kamayan, while I didn’t pass the chance to taste Saisaki’s Sukiyaki again…(read : i like them both,lol).

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Just before we thought we haven’t had main dishes yet, we’re almost bloated.  But heck, we went there to pig out, so on with the deglutition, lol.

We had some fibers in between.  Then I got my turf and surf plate - I had few rings of calamari seasoned with pesto (it was overpowering and too salty, sorry.), a slice of roast beef with pepper mushroom sauce,  a thin slice of Dad’s original ham with sweet sauce, and my buffet in Dad’s isn’t complete if I didn’t taste lengua.  It’s only in Dad’s that I get to enjoy this dish. Dad’s lengua is always tender, flavorful with its mushroom gravy.

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I and Tina were not into Kamayan that much, as we’re into Saisaki and some of Dad’s dishes. Because we’d like to taste something different from home-style cooking whenever we dine out. But we cannot resist Kamayan’s puto bumbong at bibingka served with coconut shavings and muscovado… I don’t know about you but just like most Pinoy, we like it too! :D

While Tina and I shared the unbeatable tandem of bibingka and puto bumbong, Gabby was busy eating his plate of pasta with tomato cream sauce topped with bacon bits from Dad’s.

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Gabby ordered bottomless iced tea but more than the beverage, he was more excited with what comes with the drink.  He asked the waiter politely if he can choose from the many colors of those stuffed insects and he favored a red bug.

A satiating dinner would not be complete without a stimuli to my sweet tooth.  The scoop of mocha ice cream was sweet, but my family’s hearty smiles were sweeter. :D

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22
Jun
09

MALL RATS (part two)

After a nice recharging and relaxing Saturday afternoon in Makati, we wrongly decided to spend the following day-Father’s Day at SM North EDSA.   Why in the world there of all places?  Honestly, we don’t have other reasons but curiosity of that newly built SKY GARDEN and SKY DOME with the freshly renovated SM City Annex.  

I had an overdose of that mall in Quezon City when I was in Med school. Every after platings (or quizzes in layman’s) and exams, my classmates and I usually go there to unwind (for the lack of better word).   It’s a luxury for medical students at that time (I don’t know now) to have a break inside a mall to have coffee, or watch movies or simply to stroll around after an exhausting duty or examination.  I had my four years of med school frequenting SM City North EDSA and I think I had enough of it, even after I saw the changes they’ve done with it, for improvement, to be at par (admit or deny it) with the Ayala malls that are so eco-friendly and our favorites but sadly, all that we saw in SM City didn’t meet my expectations. 

Blogosphere, here’s the new SM City North EDSA Sky Dome and Sky Garden

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If you haven’t seen it for whatever reason (you’re not missing the world, don’t worry, LOL), it’s a multipurpose theater  on top of a carpark  (do you like that?!)  fronting EDSA and North Avenue (with all the emitted pollution from vehicles in those highways),  what’s weird uncommon with it is the presence of a man-made hill with walk way designed after an unfamiliar pattern somewhat like UFO (?) LOL,  with fountains, man-made stream and few art whatever.  To be frank with what I feel about it, instead of providing cool green environment, it was rather warmer and humid despite the effort of being an eco-friendly SM mall.  Ang init, sobra! and I cannot imagine when storm comes, how will the Sky garden and Sky Dome tolerate the pours?  I hope they anticipated flood control in those new “attractions”.  I’m sorry but I’m not really into it.  I don’t get the idea of having a garden on top of a car park in the middle of polluted EDSA.  Ang init, talaga!  Perhaps if they have airconditioned it, I will think otherwise.

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 There are few opened establishments such as coffee shops and ice cream parlors along the covered trail of the Sky Garden but these shops are so small with minimal seating capacity except for very few restaurants there.  Starbucks Coffee (right) at the Sky Garden is yet to be finished and a promising resto called Persian Grill (left) has the same status.  These two food places are located in the man-made stream at the Sky Garden that looks like this… IMG_2385

What ALMOST impressed me was the renovation of the SM City Annex… If you’re familiar with how it looked few decades ago, look how it changed…

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The renovation of the SM City Annex was close to my taste had it not have heavy-looking stairs and escalators.  I got dizzy by just looking at them. 

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Perhaps it’s just my preference and bias with Glorietta, Greenbelt, TriNoma and Shangri La malls.  But it also proves that NOT all HUGE are GREAT.

06
Jun
09

HARDIN

I’ve been to a paradise  in the middle of a busy city.  Here’s a peek to this secret garden…

I’m always fascinated with lush greens.  It’s always healthy to commune with nature.  Fresh air, bright colors of flowers, such a sight to behold. 

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This Japanese bridge is amazing, I want it badly that I am considering it to be a part of our garden once we build our own Nirvana in the near future (wishful thinking!).

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Who can resist the beauty of  CATTLEYA?  All worries will be transiently washed off by simply admiring its colors and variety.  A perfect gift for the woman we adore.  But my wife is an exception, LOL.  Although she appreciates flowers too, she prefers a new dining experience somewhere rather than spending thousands of pesos for a  pot or a bouquet.  2

It was a delight to see KIAPO (Pistia stratiotes) also known as water cabbage or water lettuce. It is where the name of Quiapo, one of the busiest areas in Manila was derived from.  

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Orchids ?- they grow lots of them in this place.   I cannot choose which from these purple varieties really stands out.IMG_1898

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 Or immaculate white orchids perhaps…

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Or these yellow dainties…

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Then there were other blooms from the garden like these delicate GERBERAS.

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and HYDRANGEAS…

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ANTHURIUMS and MUMS…

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Who says BONSAI making and HERBAL MEDICINE can’t be one ?  Care for LAGUNDI BONSAI ?

FYI,  LAGUNDI (Vitex negundo) is one of the ten herbal medicines approved by the Philippine Department of Health and is used as a bronchodilator, or once taken in tablets (or tea) can dilate airways in conditions like asthma, colds, flu as study showed Lagundi leaves have anti-histamine and leukotriene-releasing properties.  (Read : Histamine & Leukotriene are vasodilators or agents that dilate blood vessels leading to allergic/inflammatory reactionsIMG_1882

Other bonsai that I’ve seen…

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Above on the left is a garden dish of bamboo made into bonsai. Even the tallest grass was made to grow small, amazing isn’t it?   I’d always like bamboo… and horsetail plant too…

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This garden in the city has lots to offer beside lush greens and colorful blooms… Check this garden baby elephant statues… Don’t they look cute to match the concrete japanese bridge?

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Or this wide-mouthed fish on a pond (with elephant toes above it)… IMG_1905

What else did I see in this place?  Horticulture at its best!

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Mums, mums, and more mums…

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This garden also has nursery for cultivation of herbs and some medicinal pants…

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One lazy Saturday afternoon, I became bored with my notebook so I decided to get a dose of fresh air from a place that is a 10-minute-away from where we live…Everything that my cam captured are for sale in this place.  The garden is located at the corner of EDSA and Quezon Avenue….   IMG_1914

Best of all, a walk through it is absolutely FREE.   How good can it get?

19
May
09

MANILA EXPLORED PART 4

After having an overdose of Pinoy arts, culture and heritage for less than an hour at the National Museum last Sunday,  I decided to go to Binondo, Manila to have my late lunch in Chinatown.  Another visit in that stretch of Manila populated mostly by Chinese and Chinese-Filipinos or Tsinoys  who basically are merchants and businessmen,  gave me added sense of appreciation to one of the earliest commercial districts in the country.  Commerce, religion and culture are apparently rich in this part of Manila. 

First stop: Binondo Church a.k.a  MINOR BASILICA & NATIONAL SHRINE of SAN LORENZO RUIZ 

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As sourced from Wikipilinas :

Founded by the Dominican priests in 1596, Binondo Church is one of the oldest places of Christian worship in the Philippines. It was administered by the Secular Priests in 1768, returned to Dominican Administration in 1822 and back to Secular Priests in 1898.

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The Binondo Church is located in front of a plaza and across Juan Luna Street which go through the busy Divisoria markets.

I LOVE FOUNTAINS.  I like seeing and hearing drizzle of water.  I like architecture. 

Binondo’s fountain at the Plaza de San Lorenzo Ruiz, although far from the grandiose Fontana di Trevi  in Rome that I long to visit one day, is a beauty on its own. I just hope that it will be well maintained and preserved by the local government coupled with observance of cleanliness from the by-standers and passers-by.

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ONGPIN  STREET

On the right side of Binondo Church is Ongpin Street, which takes you to Manila Chinatown.  Taking a stroll from Binondo to Sta Cruz has been my once-in-a-while habit done whenever I feel like having enough of malls and a breather between work and home.  Last  time I went to Ongpin was during the Chinese New Year celebration.  It felt good to revisit.

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 The sidewalks of Ongpin Street do not only offer Chinese restaurants and eateries but more colorful sights to behold.

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But then again, I am bias to gastronomic treats from Chinatown… I go to Ongpin for authentic dimsums, noodles, and other Chinese dishes plus that ENG BEE TIN HOPIA or mung beans! Sarap! Even our relatives in Auckland,New Zealand now in Melbourne, Australia only wanted those as pasalubong last time we visited them. 

I don’t have hyperuricemia or gouty arthritis yet, LOL, so there’s still time to enjoy those hopia. Do you like hopia ? What flavors do you crave ? There a lot now offered in Eng bee tin – ube, pork, pandan, etc… but my greatest favorite is the red mung beans!  So I bought some for myself and as pasalubong to my wife Tina and son Gabby. My 4-year-old son loves it too. 

Each 4 red mung beans / hopia packed in colored coded plastic is sold at PhP 32.

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The sidestreets also have other good buys such as fruits, fancy chinese accessories and other oriental ornaments…

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Other than Vigan in Ilocos Sur (a cobblestoned streets with colonial houses that were built long before Spanish period in the Philippines, a must-visit-UNESCO heritage city – province at the far north of the Philippines), it’s in Intramuros and Binondo areas where one can still see kalesas

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I only failed to ask the kucheros how much would it cost per ride within Chinatown and I haven’t tried it yet. Probably when I go back when my mood and Manila weather jive…

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If God’s will years from now, since Tina and I already decided to build our dream home with contemporary Asian interiors and architecture, I wish to have a pair of Fu lions a.k.a. Chinese guardian lion statues believed to have mystic powers that have traditionally stood in front of Chinese temples, Imperial palaces, emperors’ tombs, and entrances of homes and offices since the rule of different dynasties until present times. 

The Fu /Foo lions always come in pair – the male playing a ball and the female lion statue with her cub.

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At the end of a 15-minute-walk from Binondo to Ongpin in Chinatown, it pays to visit Sta. Cruz Church. In front of the Sta Cruz Church is the Carriedo fountain.  It should have been more pleasing if not for those electric cables that go haywire as a clear proof that Manila is a city in a third-world country and that begs for much improvement. The fountain too is gradually degraded by the moss or fungi that grow in its glory. Sayang! Mas matanda pa ata sa lola ko itong Carriedo Fountain…

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The end of my lunch date with Manila’s sunshine was capped by a short visit to Sta. Cruz Church…

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I always pass by this church on way home from work but seldom get to visit for the hurry to beat the rush hour traffic.  What makes Sta. Cruz Church beautiful isn’t only its exterior but the main altar.  It’s made of colorful mosaic of a lamb shedding its blood flowing to the Holy Host.  It’s an artistic representation of  Kordero ng Diyos (lamb of God) or God the Father’s Son who gave His life for our salvation. The altar is so poetic. 

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I am familiar with this since childhood whenever we’re brought by our parents here for our annual Visita Iglesia every Holy Week…

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Even the doors of Sta Cruz Church have inclinations to chinese arts.

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I enjoyed my three hours of being alone in Manila last Sunday. It was perfect to start a new work week.

18
May
09

MANILA EXPLORED PART 2

This is the continuation of my recent Sunday afternoon date with Manila’s sunshine…

It was almost noon and Mr. Sun was up, when I rode a train; LRT line 2 from a station near our place in Quezon City and found myself in Recto after 25 minutes of, ofcourse, no traffic! …

I like line 2 than line 1 which made me puke, well almost, when I last took that transport 3 months ago and swear I’d avoid it if I could after experiencing it with all other passengers as we’re in a can of sardines because it was so packed; I just hate that day! LRT line 2 is also more spacious than MRT (which runs through the stretch of EDSA from North EDSA in Quezon City to Taft station in Manila). I so appreciate taking LRT line 2 especially during rush hour-traffic and heavy rains…and my last ride was even better.

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A  less than PhP 15 worth ride will take you to Recto station in a flash. And a PhP 7.OO jeepney ride will take you from JP Rizal Avenue formerly known as Avenida along Recto, Manila to my destination this weekend…

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I got off after Manila City Hall and revisited this building after more than two decades…

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Recognize where I was eleven hours ago ?  Any clue where those beautiful pillars belong to ?

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It’s a breather from my usual malling and restaurant hopping or movie watching and arcade time with family.  Not that I got tired from doing those things, I still enjoy them especially with Tina and Gabby but it was so special time to inhale art and culture once again even for few minutes.  It’s just a bit sad that I didn’t go with them for she had to rest for the weekend and my son was preoccupied with, well, practically nothing other than being a four year older.

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I thank the good Lord that despite the traffic, pollution, corruption, politics, prostitution, and hassles of living in a third-world -country, there are STILL A LOT of things to be proud of our country. One is giving importance to its culture, arts and heritage.

Perhaps, blame the recent movie my wife and I watched (Angels and Demons), that showed an overdose of Vatican and Roman arts, Renaissance at that! Or I can attribute this weird unusual but special Sunday “trip” to our ultimate dream of experiencing LOUVRE MUSEUM in Paris one day… (sigh!)

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The next few photos were taken using my mobile phone with only 2 megapixels, the reception asked me to deposit my bag with my digicam and stuffs, and only to get hold of my wallet and cell phone. As you know cameras are prohibited inside this museum, and FORGIVE me for being insistent on taking pictures. I have only the purest intentions of sharing it with my few readers; that somehow, they also may find time to visit and appreciate the Philippine arts and culture.

If there’s only one reason to visit the PAMBANSANG MUSEO NG PILIPINAS, it would be this….

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SPOLIARIVM, JUAN LUNA 1884.  oil on canvas.  422 cm x 767.5 cm

I don’t know with you, but I think every Pinoy, regardless of personal and financial status, should see Juan Luna’s Spoliarium even for once in their lifetime. The Spoliarium is a masterpiece that depicts a scene at the basement of Colesseum in Rome where gladiators fought and died as seen in Luna’s painting, dead bodies of gladiators were dragged by Roman soldiers and on-lookers at its left were hungry to loot the dead men’s helmet and other possessions while an old man holding a lighted candle seen on its right assumed a father figure looking for his child… This scene at the painting remains to be dark but it surely reflects a lion share of our history.

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Spoliarium is located at the Hall of Masters, after the lobby of National Museum…

As sourced from The National Art Gallery of the Philippines :

Hall of Masters

 This room is dedicated to the 19th-century Filipino painters Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo who achieved prominence at the 1884 Madrid Exposition. Luna’s Spoliarium received one of the three gold medals and Hidalgo’s Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho (Christian Virgins Presented to the Populace) received one of the fourteen silver medals.

After being lost for words seeing the Luna’s Spoliarium for only second time since my educational field trip when I was in Elementary, I fell in love with another Juan Luna’s masterpiece…

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PORTRAIT OF A LADY, JUAN LUNA,  undated,  oil on canvas,   82.5cm x 63cm.

Isn’t she lovely ? well, second best to my wife ofcourse, LOL.

After the Hall of Masters, I went to another room called BELOVED LAND and I found these …

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MANUNGGUL JAR, replica.  890-710 B.C.E.

As sourced from this :

The Mannungul Jar was found in the Tabon Cave in Palawan. It was found by Robert Fox and Miguel Santiago. The faces of the figures and on the prow of the boat have eyes and mouth rendered in the same style as other artifacts of Southeast Asia of that period. Note the depiction of sea-waves on the lid. This style of decoration places this jar in the Sa-huýnh-Kalanay Pottery tradition of Southern Vietnam.

The steersman’s oar is missing its paddle, as is the mast in the center of the boat, against which the steersman would have braced his feet.This symbolizes that they are traveling to the next life.

Then I appreciated these sculpture on the same room…

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TAU- TAO,  BAGOBO MYTHOLOGY.

Another room was devoted to our religion, it’s labeled as VESSEL OF FAITH…

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A relic of STO NIñO (L) and a RETABLO (a board behind an altar) of DIMIAO CHURCH, BOHOL.

Just when you had an overdose of arts and culture, another floor is devoted in keeping flora and fauna. Since I am not with my family, and just appreciating the museum with a couple of  foreigners from Australia, and another Pinoy family of which the dad appeared to be a professor in a university or something, I didn’t explored much the other rooms and floors, and settled after seing these…

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No, that’s not T-rex folks, but bones or fish spines of  SPERM WHALE (Physeter catodon) retrieved from Torrijos, Marinduque.

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Hmmm, did I already mention that National Museum offers FREE ADMISSION on SUNDAYS

For more details on entrance fees and exhibit schedules click this.

Now I’m more ready to watch Ben Stiller’s movie A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM part 2 that my son Gabby is excited to see. LOL.

Have you been to National Museum or any museum ?

17
Apr
09

MY 15 MINUTES IN QUIAPO

I am no stranger to Quiapo. I practically grew up going to this place every so often. We frequent Quiapo church since childhood especially when doing Visita Iglesia during Holy Week. When I went to college & enrolled in my pre-medical course at Far Eastern University, I continued going to the church & to the side streets of Carriedo when securing/renewing NBI clearance & buying some cheap finds. Until now, since my work place is in TM Kalaw Ave., Manila, I usually drop by Quiapo whenever possible.

I ran an errand in Manila this morning and I found myself in the vicinity of Quiapo Church again. It’s so darn hot and as early as couple hours before noon, there was already a multitude of people from all walks of life. I suddenly remember that today is Friday : Quiapo day! (Friday is the novena/mass day for the Black Nazarene).

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Quiapo is both spiritual & commercial district in the heart of Manila. It’s a slice of Manila where people who are marginalized and those with so much, meet as hopefuls and prayerfuls. The strong Catholic faith of countless Filipino devotees who flock to the Basilica of Black Nazarene to ask for penance or pray for miracles, or simply pay homage or show gratitude for blessings; some even walk on knees to the altar, is a common scenario within the vicinity of Quiapo during Fridays.

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I managed to say my prayer outside the church and did not dare squeeze myself inside the church where a huge crowd was attending the Holy Mass.

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A huge LCD screen brings the Mass to the crowd outside. Then the homily caught my interest when I overheard the priest including a “Kapamilya teleserye : Tayong Dalawa” scenes in his homily. How creative! LOL.
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Then for few minutes, I took photos with utmost caution knowing that amidst devotees and prayerful are snatchers & thieves. And these scenes were caught with my random clicks.

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The obelisk in Plaza Miranda with colorful balloons being sold by numerous vendors.

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I wonder if those balloons can withstand the heat and still be considered as saleable items to kids.
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Sampaguita vendors who try to earn a decent living despite the irritating summer heat. I wish they do something to enjoy more what they do other than chatting with each other. Humming Beyonce Knowles’ “Single Ladies” or a local song “Hawak Kamay” may kill time while at work, don’t you think? LOL. And may I ask why is there a need for Quiapo Church authorities to put a signage as “BAWAL UMAKYAT”? I mean, who in his RIGHT MIND would do such thing? If any guy who’ll try to climb those barriers is schizophrenic or illiterate, now why bother to put such warning? It’s absolutely pointless! It’s the same as “BAWAL UMIHI” or “BAWAL TUMAWID, NAKAMAMATAY!” signs printed in pink aluminums on other public main roads. I just don’t get it! You don’t need to stress or emphasize things which are apparent to begin with and those things that require less intellect but instinct.
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Plaza Miranda and the vicinty of Quiapo church aren’t complete without the rows of fortune tellers. In this age of digital whatever, they still exist, their “BUSINESS” must have been really good! LOL. Seriously, I can’t comprehend why Church people tolerate this practice since God knows when, when in fact they preach that only the Good Lord knows tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m nothing against making ends meet by fortune telling, but isn’t there more APPROPRIATE venues to do such “business” ?
8

ITO PA ISA! And why in the world those “PAMPA” (pampa-regla, pampa-galing etc) LEAVES & VINES being sold outside a Catholic Church? I think the house of God deserves our highest respect. And selling these so called HERBAL MEDICINES which are NOT approved by DOH/Department of Health and BFAD/Bureau of Food and Drugs, is again improper and illegitimate “medical” practice. As a licensed physician, I know a list of herbal medicine approved by DOH which are clinically tested to render positive effects. But these things sold in Quiapo are not bounded by such studies and are only supported by BELIEFS and “RURAL CULTURE” from generation to generations.
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I’m OK with flowers & candles since these are being used in religious veneration. But again selling it near a church is another story.
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The stalls beside the church that sell images of saints from Sto. Niño to Blessed Virgin Mary and others.
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My heart breaks whenever I see physically-challenged individuals who still try within their means, to make a living. I honestly admit that inspite of everything, I have frustrations and disapointments but the sight of these people who have strong will to go on with life, always gives me a reality check.
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It’s just always crowded in Quiapo and its side streets : Hidalgo, Carriedo etc.. It’s one of the busiest places in the Metro. But it appears to me now that Quiapo deserves a MORE SERIOUS MAKEOVER. I wish authorities and the public come out with efforts in bringing GLORY, “CLEANLINESS” and ORDERLINESS back to Quiapo. I hope those bandits, thieves, snatchers, and other ill-natured individuals realize that individual reform is a must. Don’t you wish for Quiapo to be a SAFE place even for our kids?
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Till my next Quiapo visit.
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07
Apr
09

TAKIPSILIM

I consider myself optimistic, or at least I always try to be one.
Most people associate sunrise with positivism
& sunset as with the opposite.
But a lot of people see beauty in Manila Bay sunset.
And that’s something positive.
You can’t blame them.
It’s truly poetic.
Sublime.
Surreal.

In times when most things in Manila seem to go haywire,
it’s refreshing to look at its sunset once in a while.
Dusk for me is a promise of a new day…
And everyone will agree that we have the best in Manila Bay.
If only we can appreciate it,
even amidst financial & political crises,
we’ll be reminded that there’s so much more
to hope for.

I found myself one late afternoon along Baywalk in Roxas Boulevard, Manila.
And I surrendered to the fact that Manila Bay sunset is indeed breathtaking…

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those kaleidoscope lamp posts in perfect queue at the promenade add colors to the twilight…
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The graying Manila skyline is always worth your glimpse, isn’t it?
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01
Apr
09

BLUE PLATES

Yesterday, Tina & I decided to bring Gabby to
Dad’s, Saisaki, Kamayan’s Ultimate buffet in Glorietta.
It’s been awhile since we had those “blue plates” (read : used for crossover buffet).

I like their HAPPY DINER’s promo card that entitles the bearer to one FREE BUFFET after completing 10 validations. Being frequent patrons, we already claimed one free buffet few months ago & at present we only need one more “blue plate” to complete a new HAPPY DINER’s promo card.

Here’s a quick peek at what we had on those blue plates…

my plate

my plate

My first blue plate was almost full of jap rolls, kani tempura, tamago rolls,
& grilled pork slices & squid skewers…
I also had sukiyaki which was OK, hot
& was served with a smile from the jap cook station,
it was sweet and bit salty, with tender beef slices, glass noodles & some veggies
but that of Umu in Dusit Thani (read my former post) was to-die-for,
perfectly marbled beef served with delicious broth sent me to the seventh heavens.

my wife's

my wife's

Tina requested for EBI TEMPURA and one of the waiters brought this to our table…

to share

to share

I also had slices of Dad’s ham, roast beef, & lengua in mushroom sauce,
(fyi, I only eat lengua in Dad’s) coupled with paella…

carnivorous plate

carnivorous plate

Little bit of Asia…

asian mix : jap rice, roasted pork, crispy kangkong, sweet n spicy dilis

asian mix : jap rice, roasted pork, crispy kangkong, sweet n spicy dilis

Kamayan’s pride : Bibingka served with coconut shavings, margarine & muscovado..

yummy!

yummy!

Our four-year old son Gabby had these on his plate as starters…

immediately sweets!

immediately sweets!

Gabby also had one glass of refillable iced tea that came with a colorful fish stuffed toy.
All in all of our 3 blue plates (crossover buffet/dad’s ultimate buffet) + bottomless iced tea inclusive of all taxes & charges : PhP 1421.
(we only paid half price for Gabby).
It’s a steal, don’t you think?

———————-
Dad’s, Saisaki, Kamayan
2nd Floor, Glorietta 3
Ayala Center, Makati City
Tel # (63-2) 892-8897; 892-8898.

06
Dec
08

pacman vs golden boy

                                                  De La Hoya Pacquiau Boxing

“I trained for King Kong.  On Saturday night, we’ll see what happens.”  (Oscar de la Hoya referring to Manny Pacquiao as King Kong…)

Who’s your bet ? My cents go to the fact that Aling Dionisia, Pacman’s mom will surely recite rounds of rosary again the moment her son steps on the ring to meet the Golden Boy of boxing.

02
Dec
08

weakness

It’s a season to be happy and I’m not.   I’m not content with my life.  I understand that happiness should come from within and I know there are people who live their lives more miserable than I am but like them, I also get depressed, annoyed, frustrated.  All of these perhaps comes from my lack of patience with everything and my desperation to become financially stable.

Most people who do not personally know me might perceive that I am tougher than any person who can stand a bad weather. But I’m not. I’m so weak within.  I can’t handle uncertainties.

All I can do now instead of being suicidal is to hold on to my FAITH and ask for STRENGTH from HIM.

30
Nov
08

old time favorite coffee in a newly explored mall

28 November 2008, Friday.  After a week-long work, Ity texted me on her way home from work if I wanted to go to Starbucks for a sip of venti or grande frappuccino.  I asked first our 4-year-old son Gabby if he also wanted to go and ofcourse he became excited.  So I quickly surrendered to my wife’s querry.  My knees are weak when it comes to food and coffee.

Since both of us do not have any bad habits, we’re not alcoholhics and neither are smokers,  I’m giving ourselves rationale of deviating our so-called addiction to buffet-eating, coffee drinking and mall hopping.  These I think are little life’s pleasures that we reward ourselves with.  If only Starbucks coffee can be taken intravenously or in capsules, addiction to it will be more fun, don’t you wish? hehehe…

starbucks-ivf1            starbucks21

We agreed to go to Eastwood Mall, the new upscale mall located wherelse but in Eastwood City, Libis Quezon CIty where my youngest brother JC is a Starbucks Coffee barista.   The new mall is a fusion of Greenbelt and Bonifacio High Street’s exteriors and Powerplant mall, Glorietta and Shangri-la malls’ interiors. What makes it unique from these posh malls is the presence of mall buttlers. These mall buttlers offer service like carrying shopping bags from shop to shops and anything to make it a hotel-like shopping experience. One buttler even politely greeted us on the escalator as we head for Starbucks Coffee located at its 4th floor.

We met JC in their store, ordered our favorite white choco moccha frap, and a grande of toffee nut latte hot coffee and muched on chicken empanada and a slice of choloate bliss cake.  Ity claimed her Starbucks Coffee 2009 planner in red since she already completed the stickers in the promo card.

Here are our photos of that Friday evening as we end our week…

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05
Nov
08

KALAM. GUTOM.

We made headlines again worldwide. Nope, it’s not because of another Charise Pempengco’s american TV guesting, and neither it’s because the country won an international award or something but  nothing more than the Philippines ranked fifth in a recent global hunger survey, with four in 10 poor Filipinos going hungry in the last 12 months.  This is according to the survey done by Gallup International which is a registered association in Zurich.  Gallup was established in 1947 and currently has member-agencies in 65 countries, conducting market and opinion research in more than 100 countries.

Enough with the bragging that we are a developing nation.  Figures state that our countrymen don’t have food on their plates.  May God have mercy on those vultures in power who selfishly corrupt economic funds without remorse. 

 And for most hungry Filipinos, we can’t solely blame those insensitive traditional politicians whom you elected to positions but rather we have to do our part in any way to uplift ourselves from poverty. 

 We cannot depend on anyone for our own plate.  I remember my late grandfather’s favorite cliche,  “Buntot mo, hila mo.” 

                            

 

 

27
Oct
08

GABBY’S TRICK or TREATING…

Yesterday,  my 4 year-old son Gabby enjoyed his trick or treating at Gateway Mall in Araneta Center,Cubao.   It’s his 3rd time to do it;  first was shortly after he turned 2, back then he wore a cute pumpkin costume in Glorietta.  Then last year at Trinoma and The Block, we transformed him to a prince of darkness complete with black and purple velvet cape.  And for this year’s halloween trick or treating, my wife and I, with Gabby’s approval, decided to dress him as a Red Dragon Ninja.  And he was so excited to wear it the moment we bought it few weeks back in Makati. He also wanted to have a red & black devil’s fork and a new pumpkin for his candies so we gave in to his request.  After all, it’s only once-in-a-year-event.

      

We arrived at the mall around 4pm; the trick or treating was scheduled at 5pm so we sipped iced coffee first & ate banoffee pie in wherelse but starbucks. 

        

Then we saw kids coming in, in different costumes assuming various characters.  They were so cute but ofcourse we love our own.  No one came close to Gabby’s cuteness, hahaha…  True! even other parents and sales people of most shops adored Gabby and his costume. 

           

                                             

 

Living statues also walked around the malls as both colorful and  dark creatures and were generous enough to pose for photos with Gabby and other kids.

       

       

And these were the goodies he gained from having fun at the mall…

                                      

We’re going to bring Gabby again to another Trick or Treating in Trinoma Mall this week … Till our next happy halloween…

                  

13
Oct
08

another dose of gratitude

This afternoon while proctoring the final exams that I prepared for Medical-Surgical Nursing for the  graduating hopefuls, former students who are now licensed nurses paid me a visit for two reasons.   One, to inform me that they are interested in attending Allgen Reviewers 2nd Open House on October 25th to know more about NCLEX-RN & IELTS processes and preparation and second, to give me something to show their gratefulness to my humble efforts.   They personally wrote their gratitude on a mounted poster bought from a local shop which was definitely one for the books…  

 

This simply reminded me that what I am doing  isn’t a THANKLESS JOB after all. 

But I know it’s HIGH TIME to move on to greater heights where my efforts will be recognized and reciprocated.

To  nurses Valerie Aquino, Russel Chan, Edmor Joseph Sebello, Julius Marquez and Dexie Manigbas, you are most welcome.

And THANK YOU too for being grateful.  Carry on…

12
Oct
08

when the PURSUIT of SUCCESS ISN’T ENOUGH

Successful living means doing life in community with God , using what He has given us, at His direction and thereby laying up treasure in heaven. At the same time, He promises we will experience the adventure of what it means to really live.”

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Quotes from the Lloyd Reeb’s From Success to Significance : When the pursuit of success isn’t enough.

08
Oct
08

ALLGEN REVIEWERS (www.allgen.net)

 

 

06
Oct
08

LOVE.DEVOTE.CREATE.

                                                                                             

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”   

-Morrie,  from Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie.

28
Sep
08

hello wordpress, hello world…

Drum roll please… Hello WordPress… Doc gelo’s here. yipee…

27
Sep
08

BE A BLESSING TO OTHERS!

    Lord Jesus, Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me be the person You want me to be.  Amen.

 

14
Sep
08

My Birthday and Christmas WISH / GIFT LIST…

Aside from GOOD HEALTH, and SUCCESS in all endeavors, and WORLD PEACE for everyone to be HAPPY, I thought of enumerating my materialistic wish list.  Here’s the list of simple things that I would want for my birthday and the coming holidays should there be any soul out there who cares to give me a present.  C’mmon, this would save your time thinking what to give me. LOL. read on…

1.  Marks & Spencer long sleeve shirts (solid & dark shades size 17, non-iron)          

2.  Marks & Spencer silk ties.

3.  Zara jackets, shirts or ties.

4.  External Hard Disk Drive of 250 or 500 gigabytes.

5.  Bench watch with holes on metallic bracelet.

6.  Sports jacket (of Nike, Addidas or Puma) or hooded jackets.

7.  a new back pack or laptop bag.

8. a new pair of black shoes (size 47)

9. a new pair of rubber shoes (size 47)

10. a new mobile phone…

12
Sep
08

11,680 MORNINGS and counting…

                                             

On Thursday next week, September 18, I’ll be turning 32.  It has been 32 years of existence and counting. And I must admit a lot of blessings came in inspite of few hassles in between, nevertheless, LIFE has been challenging, fulfilling, and happy. 

I thank God for giving me 11,680 mornings.  Waking up daily is a  blessing indeed.

My wife Cristina and our son Gabby are more than enough reasons to wake up every morning.

I thank God for giving me a family who supports me come what may. 

 

Last year, I blogged 31 things to be grateful of, this time I’d like to share 32 facts about me, from infos to simple things I enjoy,  my plans in the next 10 – 20 years (wishing that I’m still celebrating Life then) to whatever makes me happy and few of my petpeeves. 

1.  I was born September 18, 1976, at 1:40 PM in St. Luke’s Hospital,  QC;  I’m the  eldest of 4 sons of Ruben & Tessie.   

2. I grew up in Pasig and went to school in Marikina until I finished High School.  My life then revolved in home-school-home routine.  It was a happy childhood.  Everything was provided, life was never dull nor grandiose.  I was consistent in the top 10 list of acamedic achievers every quarter from nursery to high school. There were a lot more brilliant students than I am but it was fun to look back that schooling has trained me to be competitive with myself first rather than to race with others.

3. I took up BS Biology in FEU, Manila and enjoyed schooling even more.  I met classmates whom I kept as friends for years now since 1993.  They’ve become my son’s godparents,  and have extended their friendship to my own family. 

4.  I never planned of becoming a doctor.  Just before graduating from college, I became aware that my course would only offer jobs in pharmaceutical companies, research and teaching (which I am doing now). And so I forced myself then to go to med school. What med school gave me was not only a degree but a wife.

5.  I met Tina after engaging in ANONYMOUS TEXTING for one whole year. She is a sister of my classmate in med school who browsed her Ate Bibs’ mobile for a textmate whom she forwarded mushy messages.  Unknowingly, she was already taking Medicine in the same school where I and her Ate Bibs were enrolled. 

6. Our first date was in October 2000 .  We met in LRT station in Cubao QC, and went to Makati.  We first went to Starbucks in Glorietta, saw movie – a suspense horror film (what a movie for a first date) which starred Michelle Pfeiffer entitled WHAT LIES BENEATH and dined at OUTBACK restaurant also in Glorietta.  

7.  Since our friendship then started on texting, I also texted her to asked if we can “bring it to the next level”. And the rest as they say is history… Now, she’s my  EX-GIRLFRIEND for she’s married to me for four years now.     *_*

                                   

8.  I and Tina were both 27 years old when we got married.  Makati has been a favorite place so we decided to tie the knot at Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park Makati.  We both fell in love with the church as we first saw it together with my family years before we decided to wed. 

 

9.  We went to Bangkok, Thailand for our honeymoon. 

 

10.  Ten months after honeymoon, we had Gabby.

11. Two days after Gabby was delivered at St. Luke’s, immediately after I brought Tina and our little bundle of joy home, I had a teaching demo in Southeast Asian College.  Having a baby brought another blessing, the moment gave me my first job which I am keeping for four years now.

12.  I also land a job in review centers, one I kept for a year which sent me to their provincial branches- Roxas City in Capiz and in San Fernando Pampanga.  I was also invited as a guest local-board reviewer in a nursing school for 2 consecutive weekends.  But my job as Medical-Surgical Nursing lecturer soared to the seventh heavens when I landed a job in ALLGEN the Intelligent Review.  It’s fulfilling to help people to achieve their goals, inspire and encourage them somehow to exert efforts and to work with the most approachable, friendly, people-loving work staff I’ve met so far.

        

13. I LOVE  MARKS and SPENCER… their SILK TIES, LONG SLEEVE SHIRTS ….(size 17 please, hehehe)…

14. I LOVE  STARBUCKS, DARK CHOCOLATES, FLOSS of BREADTALK..CHINESE FOOD especially DIM SUM ( especially shrimp cheong fan, hakao, siopao, siomai),  I also like VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS…  I also like ITALIAN FOOD particularly  pasta with PESTO and PIZZA! Hmmmmmm…..

                                       

                      

                       

 

15. I LOVE TRAVELING ! I and my family have been to few countries - USA (from LA, San Diego, San Francisco in California and Las Vegas in Nevada), Hong Kong, Bangkok Thailand, Auckland New Zealand. We also had toured Bendar Seri Begawan in Brunei and had 2 stopovers in Brisbane Airport in Australia.  I also wish to go back to these places someday and to travel to other parts of Asia and the rest of the globe.

 

16.  I LOVE TO SAY “THANK YOUs” I appreciate comments, testimonials here that show gratitude and achievements of my reviewees and students. May those messages inspire others to do more with everything.  NOT ALL PEOPLE  know how to SAY THANK YOU, so it really brightens my day to receive simple messages that show gratefulness.  I am a person who knows the importance of being thankful to anyone regardless of the extent of contribution to my daily life – from those simple cab drivers who do not select passengers to employers like those of ALLGEN who really VALUE PEOPLE.

 17. I like Grey’s Anatomy, the Amazing Race, LOST, Prison Break, ER, nip tuck… Locally, my entire family is a member of TEAM  KAPAMILYA hehehe..

18. I like wearing neck ties at work, especially from MARKS and SPENCER (did I just state it again that it’s my favorite store?).  My ties make me happy whenever I see them hanging on my wardrobe. I even personally wash and keep them. 

                  

19.  My ultimate earthly dream is to experience EUROPE.  I need to have photos taken with my family at the foot of Eiffel tower in Paris, to ride the gondola in the water streets of Venice, to hear mass and to see the Holy Pope at St. Peter’s Basilica, to visit the LOUVRE museum, to watch musicales in London, to ride the bullet train and cross one city to the other.   I’ll probably cry literally in bliss if these will all happen.

              

20. The colors of the rainbow do not have my favorite shade. I like BLACK a lot even if it’s not an actual color per se, for it is the result when all the shades are combined.

21. I HATE the HEAT ! I am probably one of those very few people who HATE SUMMER. I cannot stand the heat of summer. I become most furious when it’s hot.

22. That will make you conclude that I like it when it rains. I mean just the drizzle, not storms. And being disgusted with the HOT WEATHER is also one of the reasons why I and my family would like to migrate abroad, not only to work and save but for a change of environment.

23. I cannot imagine a world without ICE CREAM.  It can make my day, I’m that simple.  I like any ice cream with chocolates; if it’s only a sundae, definitely with caramel!

24.  We have to squeeze our budget but we eat a lot. My wife and I are patrons of  Saisaki,Dads and Kamayan ULTIMATE BUFFET in Glorietta,  Flavors of China in Morato, Le Ching in Greenhills and Trinoma,  World Chicken (we’re addict of their ranch sauce in their boneless grilled chicken) in Trinoma and Glorietta. I also like cakes of BIZU.

25. It’s peculiar for most couples that the husband handles the budget, but not to us.  

26. We both aspire to work abroad and save and go back here to settle until we’re old and gray.

27.  I and Tina would like to own a property someday in Tagaytay.  To build a house  there in God’s time, with contemporary Asian theme, a lush garden of greens and blooms, with a small pond of kois would probably make our future mornings surreal.

28. Just like every man’s dream, I hope to build on our savings. I would love to wake up on my future mornings with no worries on expenses, bills and the like. 

29.  I and Tina and Gabby would like to put up a foundation someday. It would happen, I’m sure if we’re financially stable and content. We both love to share to others whatever help we can extend. However, we would want to better ourselves first before reaching out to others. 

30. I take pride in producing students and reviewees who strive hard to achieve their goals. It’s a euphoric feeling everytime a former student informs me that he/she already made it to local/foreign boards.  

31.  My greatest achievement as a mentor to date is having my wife passed her NCLEX-RN for California last July as she sat in my review classess in Allgen few weeks before her exam.  I’m proud of her.  I saw her efforts and knew what she sacrificed for her success in that exam.  I am also proud educator of students who exceeded their expectations out of their sleepless nights of studying. I am always proud to be a part of success of nurses Aynne Taguba who made it to 6th place in June 2007 NLE and Astrobal Silverio, SACI’s first cum laude, batch 2008. And the numerous NLE and NCLEX-RN passers who became my students and reviewees. Congratulations to them, I’ll be forever proud of these people.

32.  I and Tina would like to continue raising Gabby (who will turn 4 years old this October 5th) as God-fearing, respectful son. He may not be the best student as of now but at least he enjoys his lessons and schooling entirely for he’s always excited every morning to attend his classes.  He may take whatever course he wishes to but not anything that will require him to wear white – not of nursing and medicine.  If he wants to wear white in his future profession, we would appreciate but not force him to, if he’ll be the next Wolfgang Puck.

I am always dead tired at the end of each day but the moment I see Gabby as I come home from work, I see more than enough reason to continue to wake up every morning and make the most out of it.

Thank you Lord Jesus for the 32 years (and counting).

30
Aug
08

my son’s PARADE & my wife’s agency

August 29, 08 Friday. It has been a long day, but I enjoyed it.

I attended 2 different events of my family. Yesterday morning, since I’m free of schedule from review center, I went to Gabby’s parade for the Twinkle Toes Academy’s Linggo ng Wika celebration. His Lolo Benruh (my Dad) was there too to witness the event. It was the very first school activity that I had attended since both Tina and I were not available last month when they had Nutrition parade; yes they had fruits and vegetables on hats and mobiles that they paraded with. But for August, since the whole country is celebrating the Filipino language a.k.a. Linggo ng Wika, we made sure Gabby will be in full gear in Filipino-inspired costume complete with salakot which I bought personally at Tabora St. in Divisoria. Since Tina had duty at OR yesterday, she missed the event but I had taken pictures for her to see. Below are those photos that captured how Gabby enjoyed his first parade ever…

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In the afternoon, I accompanied Ite after her OR-duty to an agency orientation somewhere in Buendia, Makati. This recruitment agency is affiliated with a US-based company with numerous hospital-clients across California, Nevada, Washington and Arizona. Among the many agency that she’d been to, it was only this agency where she entrusted her signature to a MOA terminal to 1 year. We were both satisfied how the agency representative oriented those nurses who attended the event; all our concerns were answered. Proofs of their work and process itself of deployment were discussed and showed in detailed. And with that, we just continue hoping that retrogression with the issuance of US- EB3 visas will be lifted soon. According to their bulletin, the priority dates as of present is March 2006 applicants.

After hearing the agency’s orientation, I understood their views that NO nurses who are aspiring to work and migrate in the US should delay the entire process. I mean, nurses should consult authorities on this matter and should work simultaneously on the completion of their requirements, most importantly NCLEX & IELTS exams and to add-on on their hospital bedside experience.. Nurses should not waste any time to further their USRN-dream. So for those who would like to jumpstart this process, I highly suggest you review at ALLGEN REVIEW CENTER (www.allgen.net), where you will be guided on all of these processes by the most nurse-friendly staff & lecturers in the BEST NURSING REVIEW CENTER FACILITY, with the BEST US-approved & edited review program. This was the very first step my wife TINA did and truly, ALLGEN review center had helped her passed NCLEX.

I had a long FRIDAY but nevertheless, it was fun, informative and productive. I slept early at 9:45 pm; too early from my usual past 1AM bedtime… till my next blog entry. Thanks!

20
Aug
08

IDOL ko si NINOY !

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August 21, 2008. Thursday. Today is the 25th death anniversary of Senator Benigno Ninoy  S. Aquino Jr. 

I was only seven years old when he was shot at the tarmac of the airport now known for his name. And it was only during the Edsa Revolution in 1985 when I completely understood some things about him. Since then, I look up to him as a modern-day Filipino hero.

I can’t help but to imagine what would have been his views on our country’s current issues if the history was not written as it is.

His courage and fearless love for family and country serve as an inspiration not only for me but for millions of Filipinos worldwide who continuously view his life as a sacrifice that awakened the nationalism in all of us.  Amidst the present economic and political crises, and dreams of migrating & working abroad not only for the greens but to TEMPORARILY escape the seemingly helpless condition of the country, there is still a spark of hope that we can hold on to when we think that Ninoy did something for us.  We don’t need to die for the good of others as what he did 25 years ago, but doing good for others for them to be encourage to do good as well is just the same as what he did. 

For those who believe that there is Ninoy in all of us, carry on !

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20
Aug
08

promo = extra bucks !

ALLGEN REVIEW CENTER for NCLEX & CGFNS offers promo for you to earn extra bucks… Read on and learn how…

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10
Jul
08

CELEBRATING (wild) LIFE !


ARK AVILON ZOO & FUN RANCH in Fun Ranch En Frontera Verde along E.Rodriguez Jr. Ave in Ugong Pasig are just near our places (Pasig & Quezon Cities) but it was only yesterday when we decided to go there around 3pm… I told my wife Tina and my son Gabby that I have seen those places featured on different local TV shows and read some things about them on various blogs.  Inspite of the fact that there was 1 blog item about the experience of a father whose daughter was bitten by the albino king snake during the guest-animal interactions, last January of this year, with sympathies to the untoward incident and to the family concerned, I’m sure that none would have wanted it to happen and there are still enough reasons for me to bring my own family there to experience what the others have already enjoyed. And so we did. (We’re NOT interested in snakes anyway…)

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The facade will bring to your senses a feeling of how is it like to be entering Noah’s Ark… Plus the fact of having a zoo shaped like Noah’s ark amidst the metropolis isn’t a usual attraction.  Entrance fee of P200/pax is reasonable, credit cards are honored.  It was good that it was a weekday, so the place was not that crowded and we had quality time enjoying the animals. Ark Avilon Zoo is an interactive zoo (just like Kinder Zoo in Manila Zoo) where guests, mostly children can touch some tamed animals and experienced them as good as it gets.

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Gabby had fed the rabbits (lots of them!) with carrots on sticks sold at P10 per carrot. We had a chance to take photos with a pair of 6-month-old sheepdogs named Arthur and Philip (P50/4 shots). Viewed various animals from family of cats in glassed cages : pumas, tigers, lion, jaguars; to Philippine macaque, bears, malayan tapir, tortoisses, goats, a donkey, an albino miniature horse and wide collection of birds – parrots, Palawan Hornbill, Victoria crowned Pigeons, Channel billed toucans, Rufous night Herons, domestic turkeys,and owls.

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But what we enjoyed the most was Jenny, the orangutan. She’s so adorable, clad in a dress with slippers. She entertained us well, even allowed to be carried, embraced and shook hands with.

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Given another chance to be there, we would not hesitate to visit Ark Avilon Zoo again. I think it brings wildlife closer to kids and kids at heart. I like their tag line… Celebrating (wild) Life !  we have to, to the fullest, for life is short.. so enjoy it, even with animals..

12
May
07

HALF CRAZY

by   Freestyle

Know I havent slept a week at all
Since you’ve been gone
And my eyes are kinda tired
From crying all night long
Know I’ve never been too good at cooking just for one
It’s so lonely here without you darling
Come back home

‘Cause I’m half crazy
Feelin’ sorry for myself
Half crazy
Worried you’d find someone else to love

Know life hasnt been much fun at all
Since you’ve been gone
And my eyes being to feel
Each time I hear a sound
I spent every minute asking myself
What went wrong
Can’t we try to talk it over baby
Come back home

‘Cause I’m half crazy
Feelin’ sorry for myself
Half crazy
Worried you’d find someone else to love
But baby there is no-one else
Half crazy
For everything you saying
Half crazy
No one else could love you like I do

‘Cause I’m half crazy
Feelin’ sorry for myself
Half crazy
Worried you’d find someone else to love
But baby there is no-one else
Half crazy
For everything you saying
Half crazy
No one else could ever love you
No one else could ever be

Half crazy
Feeling sorry for myself
And I’m worried you’ll find someone else
Feeling sorry for myself
Half crazy




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