Thursday, December 2, 2010

Just to let you know...




Yun lang po. *bow*

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The (not-so) Secret

My friend, Gee, told me a story one day. Her officemate, Girl R, is a stunner. Tall, slim, doll-faced... with a legion of guys (and an occasional girl) lusting after her and asking to court her - she has declined each and every time. That's because she has a boyfriend since high school, Guy Q - not bad looking but not good looking either. Recently, Guy Q broke up with Girl R... because Guy Q is seeing someone on the side. In Gee's words: "Kung sino pa ang hindi ka-gwapuhan, sya pa ang may ibang babae" (Contextually: How come it's the not-so-good looking guys who see other women on the side?)

I think, after so many failed relationships... I have found the secret to keeping your man by your side.

It is this: Love him enough to make him feel important but not too much to make him complacent. Hold on to him tight enough to let him know he's important but not too much to smother him. Pamper him enough to make him feel special but not too much as to spoil him rotten. Lastly, make yourself available to him enough to let him know he matters... but not too much that he will take you for granted.

But who cares? I may have found the secret to keeping my man but... I, for one, don't give a crap anymore. Harharhar...

Addendum: I don't think this would apply to girlfriends... not unless your girl thinks like a guy! Wifey and I have been together for over four years and I never had to apply those things to her. I guess I have found the secret to keeping your woman by your side: be the right person for your woman, and make sure your woman is the right one for you.

Love (and Christmas) is in the air!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pilipino Ako!

I am proud to be Filipino. On the streets of my own hometown (city?), I have had my fair share of "Pinoy ka pala, akala ko Vietnamese/Thai/Japanese/Chinese/Singaporean ka!"

Granted, my eyes are a little smaller than the Pinoy norm, but I am still 100% Filipino - despite the Japanese-sounding surname, the German-sounding middle name, and the Russian-origin first and second names. I will pick
bihud (fish eggs) over caviar and ikura (salmon roe) anytime... well, most of the time. Nyahehehehe...

Anyway, Jeni collect cards - playing cards, that is. Most of the decks she has are Bicycle decks and I have gifted her with numerous unique, colorful, and delightful (for me visually, for her numismatic-ally) decks over the years.

So when she told me that the Pilipinas Bicycle deck has been launched, I naturally had to pay Cutting Edge a visit to procure said collectible for my sweetheart.

Bicycle Pilipinas deck

The Pilipinas deck is specially made for Cutting Edge Philippines, though I'm not sure if they are the sole distributor. The back is done in violet to red degrade with yellow graphics. Three stars and a sun, done in yellow, appears in the middle of all the numbered cards while a yellow sun appears on two edges for the royals.

This deck is a good way to express your nationalistic pride... after all, you can perform kick-ass tricks on a kick-ass deck of cards and be patriotic at the same time.

All this for Php500 (around $12). Go get your own deck. NOW!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I have a dream...

And that is to be...

*drum roll*

A housewife.

Yes, you got that right: the very thing my own mother warned me not to become. The very thing she chose to be when my younger brother was born into this world. The very thing she and my dad decided she would be to be there for our (their children's) growing years.

Momsie was on her way to a high-powered career. She was working for a multinational company, she had the brains, she had the skills, and she had that "corporate" attitude - something along the lines of "mess with me and you will rue the day your mother went into labor".

I got all that from her - my temper (more fiery and hair-trigger), my
taray looks, my ease when it comes to communication (even in a language I do not speak), my razor-sharp tongue (I have made onion-skinned people cry with my normal speaking tone), and lately my "more corporate" look (up until three years ago, my style of dress is more of "collegiate" but I digress").

What I did not get from her is the "corporate dream". I never dreamed of becoming a high-powered executive, driving a luxury car (I'd prefer a pick-up truck!), toting the requisite laptop-BB-handbag combo (a laptop and a non-QWERTY phone will be a-ok), dressed to the nines (this part I can do, hehe), and living in a penthouse condo unit (a home on a farm, please).

All I want is to stay home with my dogs, my (future) kids, my (future) businesses, and keeping house. I'd like to be blogging about my day, the stuff I cook, things from the market, the latest in dogs and kids... you know, a stress-free (in the office/corporate sense of the word) kind of life.

I was home sick a few days ago and, though my body was heavy and wracked with fever with eyes burning like it had ten chili peppers in it, I found I still enjoyed doing the dishes, thinking of dinner, sweeping up the millions of hair my dogs shed, doing the laundry and mopping the floor (my latest addiction).

Momsie said, to be a housewife is to not have your own money (that's why I will put up a business) and to be a victim to routine (which is why I will keep more than one blog, and take lots of pictures). Now, more than a quarter of a century after she first said that to me, I still say I want to become what my mother is.

** Oh yes, PMS-ing!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Food Blog is BACK!

Just a short break from my random ramblings about life to say:

My food blog is up and running again! Yey!

Do come by and leave a word or two!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Duck House

As I said in my previous entry, Jeni the macho woman was going to attempt to build a house for our little duckies. So on a Sunday she came back with pieces of wood and chicken wire - which she proceeded to saw, hack, cut, hammer, and staple into a duck house.

Jeni the macho womanNikka and Nadyne
1) With her assistant, Nadyne and a sleepy Nikka in the background 2) Nikka and Nadyne in the half-finished house

She wasn't kidding when she said she could do it. At ten pm, the last nail was pounded into wood and the little duckies had a home. The doggies liked it too!

My four babies Deedee and the Ducklings

Nadyne was very enthralled with the ducklings... the ducklings too, apparently, as they would rush over to whatever side of the house Deedee (Nadyne) was on.
Congratulations, my partner in crime. Next time, build a house for us and the four babies. =)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Yes, I am still alive...

Much to the delight of my one or two loyal readers, and the chagrin of my one billion and one haters. Mwahahahaha!

Whew! Jen and I just finished moving to the new house one month ago. This is an apartment about twenty minutes from my place of work and 40 minutes from Jen's. It's not the same place I last blogged about. Yep, welcome to my (crazy) life: stagnant at some point then suddenly it changes at the speed of light.

So, we moved to the apartment a month ago, about fifteen minutes away from our old apartment. The price is Php1,000 (about USD30) more than the old apartment but the floor area is 3x more. Still small but big enough for two bipeds and two medium-sized canines (just recently: to avians to the tune of Anas luzonica). I suck at area approximation but I'd say it's about 40 sqm. It's still a huge mess; we have a lot of stuff to buy, fix and install... but all in all we're happy. The dogs are happy - they have a bigger place to roam in, they have playmates (the neighbors' kids), and they have their mommies all to themselves.

Jen just came back with more than 15 feet worth of wood, three meters of chicken wire, a new hammer and a bunch of nails. She's going to make a home for our two new babies - Patricia (Patty) and Dorothy (Dotty) - the wonder-ducklings! (A digression - Jeni will make it all by herself. I can hang pictures, scrub pots and pans... and mop the floor till kingdom come but I can and never will take up such a project. Jeni, my wifey, the macho woman! Hardeeharhar...)

We aren't actually sure what their genders are BUT we're hoping both are girls. I will be hard pressed to change their names to masculine if we're wrong. Patricio and Doroteo, anyone?


On the work front... hmmm, let's just say that I don't have much of a life outside work these days and that I spend more time at work than I do at home. Let's talk about more pleasant things, yes?

On the food front: I'm going to revive my food blog! Hurray! Since food is my biggest obsession and my greatest (non-living form of) happiness, it only makes sense for me to document and write about my best stress-reliever, yes? So I hope this is one thing that will become a reality really soon. I can imagine all the yummy pics (Bradir will teach me how to take good pictures, hopefully), the belly-busting meals (Jeni, my sisters and mom will help me chow down, that's for sure), and the trips to far-flung places in search of culinary satisfaction. Yowzah!

Another thing that I'm cooking up (that I hope will become a reality in about a year's time) is a store... I 've done two pilot runs (one successful, the other one less so) that convinced me that 1) it's possible, but 2) I need to prepare and study and polish my plans more. So yeah... despite everything that's happening in my life, I still have plans of adding more stuff to crowd my already crazy schedule. I'm masochistic that way, harrrr...

So yeah, I just wanted to check in to assure my two or three loyal readers that YES, I AM STILL ALIVE! So I will still be blogging about once or twice a week... and more frequently on my food blog. I HOPE!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's a rainy day today. I do love rainy days. I love how the world seems to be washed clean by the angry droplets from the sky.

What I don't like is the occasional flood and the devastation it brings - but that's not a usual occurence.

We're moving house (again) early next month so I'm frantically trying to fit so many things in the 24 hours I have all day: work, overtime work, packing up the stuff in the apartment, walking Nikka (we walk regardless of the weather), fixing stuff in the destination house, QT with the family, and sleep.

Aaaah, sleep. Such a luxury I can't seem to afford lately, especially since my commute has again been extended from a mere 10 - 20 minutes (with the worst traffic) to a mind-boggling 1 - 1.5 hours (traffic nonwithstanding). My weekends aren't exactly sleep-conducive either, as I usually have overtime work to do... plus cleaning up the from-location and to-location.

Until this move is completed, I may never get enough Z's. On second thought... until we move again to a location near the office, where the girls have a garden to frolic in, I doubt "enough sleep" will be in my list of top-ten things I do daily.

Now I'm having second thoughts if I really want a (human) baby...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

48 hours down, 48 hours to go...

The plane left at 9:35PM on the dot. We arrived 25 minutes early. Definitely a first for me...

48 of the best hours this month, so far. 48 to go and I am getting sadder by the moment. Whenever I'm here, I never want to go back to Manila. When I'm in Manila, all I think about is the next time I come here (and eat som tam coz I'm takaw like dut...) - crazy I know but I love it here. I love this city more than I love the city I have lived in for the later half of my life.

I want to call this home but I can't.

It was not meant to be.

Just like you and me.

And so, as I need to say farewell to this beautiful city I wish were my own, I need to say goodbye to you too. You, whom I wish were my own too.

Time will heal all wounds.

Pray tell... why do I write such incoherent posts lately?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

TODAY (Day 11): Realization...

But we all know that life is unfair; we don't always get what we want...

Image from this site.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Were Saying?!?

ONE: Do you love me today?

TWO: Bakit naman "today" lang? Lagi naman kitang mahal...

ONE: It's only today that matters to me. Hindi naman natin alam kung may bukas pa tayo eh. Our "today" is the only time we have that we are certain is really ours.

TWO: What do you mean by that? Love mo ba ako today tapos bukas hindi na? Bukas ba iiwan mo na ako?

ONE: Hindi sa ganun. Hindi natin alam, baka bukas masagasaan ako ng tren. Baka bukas mabangga ako ng truck, maholdap at masaksak, atakihin sa puso sa stress, hindi na magising...

TWO: Kaya nga nag-iingat diba? Para sigurado tayong may bukas pa tayo para magmahalan?

ONE: Hindi din kasiguraduhan yun... pag oras mo na, oras mo na.

TWO: Nakakalungkot naman isipin.

ONE: Wag mo nang isipin... dadating yan kung kelan dapat. It's a matter of "when", not "if". So... do you love me today?

TWO: Yes, I love you today. I loved you yesterday and every day before that since the day I realized it. I will love you tomorrow and every day I will live thereafter.

ONE: That sounds so nice... but we don't know that either... As long as you love me today, I'll be ok. That's enough for me.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

60 Minutes for Mother Nature!

All right everyone!

THIS IS IT! Let's turn off our lights...

Well, locking the door, lighting a few candles and getting under the sheets is purely optional.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

There's A Fine, Fine Line...

Yes, I saw Avenue Q with Paolo the other night. Aside from singing along like two 3-year olds in front of Sesame Street (with nudity and foul words), I also felt like sticking a knife between my ribs hearing this song again after ten million years... Okay, two years.

This is a song by Kate Monster after Princeton dumps her to find his purpose (ugh, I do hate that word). Emphasis 100% mine...

There's a fine, fine line between a lover and a friend;
There's a fine, fine line between reality and pretend;
And you never know 'til you reach the top if it was worth the uphill climb

There's a fine, fine line between love
And a waste of time

There's a fine, fine line between a fairy tale and a lie;
And there's a fine, fine line between "You're wonderful" and "Goodbye."
I guess if someone doesn't love you back it isn't such a crime,
But there's a fine, fine line between love
And a waste of your time

And I don't have the time to waste on you anymore.
I don't think that you even know what you're looking for
For my own sanity, I've got to close the door
And walk away...

There's a fine, fine line between together and not
And there's a fine, fine line between what you wanted and what you got.
You gotta go after the things you want while you're still in your prime...

There's a fine, fine line between love
And a waste of time

I sure hope you're not wasting my time as I am making sure I'm not wasting yours. Coz that would suck...

Monday, March 8, 2010

This Is Why I Hate Math...

Through the years, my Math teachers always had that great power to inflict pain on me. All they had to do was start with: "If A = B and B= C, then A = C"... Give me a few seconds and my brows furrow in irritation. A few more minutes and my skin starts to blister. A couple more minutes and I'll run screaming out the door where uniformed attendants are waiting to strait-jacket me and tie me to a front-row desk. Okay... the last two sentences were just in my over-active imagination, but am sure you get the picture.

So, on the topic of "If A=B... " ek-ek.-ology.. this is my opinion: If someone is important to you, you don't necessarily love him/her. But if you love someone, it is automatic that he/she is important to you. Agree?

I, for one, definitely do. Of course I would not have written those words for someone had I not believed them in the first place. But yes, I do believe that loving someone immediately elevates that person's importance in your life by 100 steps.

So... I would much rather be loved than to be deemed important (a digression: politics was never one of my aspirations. I'd rather be loved than to be made important. You know, love is all that matters and all that crap...), that much is true. But I do wish I would be loved enough to be deemed important.

A is not always equal to C.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

TODAY (Day 10): Words Are Never Enough

Still, they're all I have left.
They will have to do...

Image from this site

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Relasyones Chuvaness!

From Facebook:

"... a successful relationship requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Always with the same person, but deeper and deeper everytime. Each time on a whole new level you together open in love and discover the truth of your beloved anew. There is no limit to the beauty of your beloved. If you think you've reached the end, stop generalizing."

Awww gawd...

Well, what if the relationship in itself is something that your family and society in general frowns upon? What if it is something God forbids?


Saturday, January 16, 2010

TODAY (Day 9): Error!

I promised myself I won't make the same mistake twice.
I'm doing what I can.
Please, let me...

Image from this site

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 23: Sawasdee Kha, Bangkok... Day 24: Mabuhay, Manila

Day 23: The Three Little Pigs fell asleep at 4am. Dad woke us up at 7:00am and we were in Lumpini Park by 7:45am. We took lots of pictures in the park, which I realized, has a Burnham Park meets UP Diliman Academic Oval vibe.

As the sun rose, the temperature went higher and we indulged in a little bit of guava juice and lots of time in the playground. Pictures to follow on FaceBook. Friends-only though...

On our way back home, we passed by a vendor near the Zuellig World building selling cakes. One type had green "cream" while another had white. Four greens plus four whites went for twenty baht. Twenty freaking baht! Try getting them in a Thai resto here in Manila and you'll pay 70 to 100 baht for four measly pieces! Argh! Anyway, the takoh cakes here in Manila are usually reminiscent of maja blanca - with corn bits embedded in the cake. The ones I got in Bangkok had either yam (green "cream") or some sort of sweetened root crop (white "cream" - texture similar to singkamas).

For lunch, Popsie and The Three Little Pigs went down the street from the condo for some kai yang (roasted chicken -we had one leg/thigh and 8 wings), sticky rice in a woven basket and somtam (salad of shredded unripe papaya tossed with fish sauce, sugar, water, lime juice, tomatoes and dried shrimps) that we requested: mai sai prik - do not put chili. I learned the hard way that asking for anything to be "little spicy" is not a safe bet... "a little' is relative!

Passing by Manang's store, we bought a few limes and a couple of potatoes... for my afritada It would've been a success except that Thai tomato sauce was sour to the max, so I ended up having to add sugar and butter to make the afritada seem less like chicken pickles! Harharhar...

Before dinner, Sissy and I headed back to Ete at the Silom Complex for my last hurrah at cookie dough ice cream. Unfortunately they didn't have it so I settled for a duo of Nutella and Green Tea (both tasted what they should taste like: Nutella and Green Tea) while Sissy had a duo of Mocha Crunch (fantastic!) and Bannofi (not too good - the banana component was too artificial).

At 8:30pm, we left for the airport. Nobody was in tears! Instead, we were laughing and joking with each other all the way from the cab until I went into Immigration at 10 minutes before 11pm. In between, I had to remove the shampoo and body wash I packed because I was two kilos overweight. Had I known they were not going to weight my check-in luggage... I would have packed my check-in to ten kilos then stuffed the shampoo and body wash into my check in luggage! Durnit! Anyway, we stayed near the edge of the airport by the convenience store joking around, taking pictures, teasing each other and generally having a good time!

My flight was delayed by 15 minutes (not bad), before which Doc Ceccz asked me if I wanted to join her and Rei at Prov... errr? Hehehe... I teared up when the plane began to move into position for take-off. I slept on and off for two hours (first hour, I ate and read the bible), waking up only when the pilot announced our final descent to Manila. I teared up again... I was back in Manila... whether I liked it or not!

Jen and Joc were at Terminal 3 to pick me up when I got out at 5:20am. Between plane, luggage pickup and immigration (ghost town), it took me a little over ten minutes and I was in a cab home. We deposited my stuff at home, got the stuff for Jen's family then sped over to Caloocan via LRT. I played with Nikka (my, she's gotten huge!) then slept like the dead. Woke up a few hours later and had early dinner/late lunch of mechado that Jen requested especially for the day (thanks Mama F!).

Back at home, I sorted my purchases into their respective laundry piles then promptly fell back asleep. Kyx arrived at around 11pm with... dyaraaan! A huge bouquet of stargazers and purple lilies! Beautiful (but so huge... in his words, pang-Miss Universe)! Calla lilies na lang,kumpleto na ang favorite flowers ko! Hahahaha... He and Momsie made chika for a while. In the meantime, I watched CSI: New York! (KJ, yes, I know!)

So there... am back in Manila... whether I like it or not! I'd like to go back... In time for Song Kran, I hope!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 22: My Last Hurrah... Blue Pill, Please!

I'm still in denial that yesterday was my last full day in Bangkok (and later, the last time I'll be sleeping in this house for this trip) so I woke up a little later than usual. I even logged on to my work email, answered emails, posted documents and other such work-related things. I also made lunch (ginisang giniling and buttered veggies - snowpeas, carrots and baby corn), which Dad was unable to eat coz he had an 11am to 12nn meeting (I can relate).

After lunch, I washed plates, poked around FaceBook, lurked in a few blogs... then took a bath. A few minutes before Sissy and I were to leave for Central World, the heavens opened up and cried for me. Aaaawwww, I know how it feels! I really hate to leave.

The rain abated at 4pm and on to the BTS - Sala Daeng station Sissy and I went (Sis opted to stay home and sleep). We got off at the Siam station and walked to Central World. We got Bro's Skullcandy Asym earphones in white then stopped by Gelate on the second floor. We had blackberry (nicely sweet and tart but full of those gosh-darned seeds!) and vanilla bean! Yum!

We took the BTS back to Sala Daeng and went on to Body Shop at Silom Complex. On our way out, we spotted Ete - a shop that claims to sell home-made ice cream. Being ice cream, monsters, Sissy and I sat down to Mint Chocolate Chip and Rookie Rocky (rocky road meets cookies and cream). We had originally wanted Cookie Dough and Bannofee but they were out of stock. I'm still gonna try tomorrow, even if it means being late for my flight! Harhar...

Popsie and the Three Little Pigs sat down to a dinner of lunch leftovers plus kai thot from my favorite vendor on Convent - I'll miss those guys! After dinner... more ice cream! Dad finished off the quart of Rum Raisin from Swensen's while Sis and I tried but failed to conquer the Midnight Brownies. Partida, I ate almost a quarter of a whole papaya before I even started on the ice cream!

Plans for tomorrow include: jogging at Lumpini Park in the morning (I also want to take pictures in one of the park's many playgrounds), lunch at the kai yang place on Convent, a trip to Ete for Cookie Dough ice cream, and an early lunch at Manong English along Convent. But you know what they say about plans: they're but plans till they actually happen!

Goodnight, guys! See you in Manila!


TODAY (Day 8): Expectation is a BITCH!

I'm sorry. I was looking for something in you, and when I couldn't find it, I tried looking for it elsewhere. I forgot that this is what loving you is about: accepting you for what you are and despite what you're not. I hope it's not too late...

Image from FaceBook

Day 21: Denial, (something better than) Dreyer's and Dinaldalem

Today is my second to the last day in beautiful Bangkok. I was full of plans: wake up early, check out the shops on one of the satellite streets along Thanon Silom (and buy a few things, of course), do the laundry, cook lunch, whisk my sisters to Central World for gelato and a little bit of retail therapy, come home and make dinner, have some Swensen's ice cream then do another circuit of Thanon Silom in the night time.

But something unexpected happened: I opened my office mail and answered a few messages. Then a few more. Another one here and a couple more there... Before I knew it, it was 4 in the afternoon and I wondered where the day had gone.

In the interest of fairness, I was able to do one load of laundry (Sissy went to the laundromat with me), made lunch (just fried a few pieces of chicken and asked Sissy to get some pad thai from Momsie's favorite vendor along Thanon Convent), cooked dinaldalem for dinner, hung the laundry out to dry, got ice cream to go from Swensen's, and went on the Silom circuit.

I get asked this a lot: what's dinaldalem? When I was in high school (senior year), my roomie brought a dish with pork strips, pork liver and potatoes (P-cubed, yeah huh?) and I immediately exclaimed, "wow, dinaldalem!" to which my roomie (Lani, it was, who hails from Bataan) replied, "higado yan". Right... same dish, different names. In Ilocano, dalem is liver. So the dish literally means "liver-ed" or "cooked with liver". Traditionally, when a pig is slaughtered, some of the better parts of the pig are taken and sliced (still warm, ugh!) then cooked in a big pot with strips of liver, garlic, vinegar, salt (or fish sauce/patis) and cracked black pepper. Imagine adobo with patis instead of salt and you get dinaldalem. I ate it a lot growing up: my Mom's version, another by my Nanay (Mom's mom), another by my Mommy (Dad's mom), or by one of Nanay's siblings (they're all great cooks. Must have inherited that gene... eherm!). But I have a secret: I have never tried cooking it until yesterday.

According to my Popsie (who has eaten more than twenty versions of the dish), it is good and spicy. Ooops, I may have gotten a little heavy-handed on the ground black pepper but what the hey! It was edible and, I must admit, quite nice. The pork was tender and the chicken liver (my favorite kind of liver, besting even
foie gras) was cooked just right. I think I'll be making this dish a few more times in the next few weeks (in Manila, though. *sigh* ) to perfect it. Harharhar...

Before we had dinner, we went to Watson's at C.P. Tower on Thanon Silom - a couple of buildings away from Dad's office - to pick up a few toiletries for my sisters. It was also having a sale, so all the better! We met up with Popsie at the store then went over to Swensen's on the lower ground floor.
Swensen's is an ice cream parlor and is (according to the impression I got, anyway) a local brand. Thais are very loyal to their local brands, which may explain why the branches I see are usually packed. They're also very common here. To date I have counted at least five branches all over the places in the city (C.P Tower on Silom, Central World on Ratchadamri, Siam Paragon, Platinum Mall and MBK) that I have visited.

I was expecting to get a tall glass with three or four flavors but Dad suggested getting a quart (149 baht) or two (249 baht) to go. Being a sucker for all things frozen and creamy (and delicious), I went for the two-for-249 promo. We got Rum Raisin and Midnight Brownies. After placing your order, they hand-scoop the stuff into plastic quart container, wrap them up in aluminated (as in, lined in aluminum?) paper bags with their red and silver logo all over - with a few pieces of dry ice. The packaging is so cute! Efficient too, with an added bonus of watching your toilet bowl bubble and spew smoke for a good five minutes when you dispose of the dry ice (we live about five minutes away - on foot - so the pieces were more or less intact). Just remember to turn on the vent!

What can I say? The texture was beautiful... too dense to be ice cream but too light to be gelato, it was creamy and smooth - melting almost as soon as it hits the tongue and coats the mouth with a film of flavor that's so... there! The Rum Raisin packs a punch - the rum assails your taste buds (not too strong - for me anyway, as I love big flavors) then mellows out to let the velvety vanilla shine through. When all the cold ice cream melts away, you're left with whole pieces of rum-soaked golden raisins to munch on. Perfection!

A contrast to the in-your-face flavors of the Rum Raisin was the stealthy-but-oh-so-sinfully-good oral attack (that somehow sounded so wrong!) of the Midnight Brownies. The first spoonful makes you go, "hmmm... chocolate. Brownie bits. Quite good" that progresses to " Ah, maybe a darker sort of milk chocolate. The brownie chunks are so moist!" and culminates in a " ... a creamy dark-but-milk-chocolate. Velvety chocolate. Oustanding brownies... Must eat more. More! MORE!" by the fifth spoonful. It's a trap, a flavor that holds on and doesn't let go until the last spoonful. Such eating pleasure! Chocolate bliss or Buddha-hood, you decide.

The texture reminds me of Dreyer's but smoother and creamier. The flavors are bigger... and I wish I started eating my way through their menu the moment I arrived. Woe is me. Lesson learned. Day 1: eat ice cream at Swensen's after lunch. Dinner, have gelato at Central World. Repeat until my visa expires. Harhar...

After indulging in two-days worth of calories in ice cream, Sissy and I went on a circuit on Thanon Silom. Our usual route is: right to Silom from Convent, straight until right before Rama IV, cross Silom to get to the other side (yes, the side where Thanon Pat Pong is - with the ping pong show. Harhar...), walk on until a little past United Center then cross again, go back along Silom until Convent. Then Walk on to convent to Soi Phi Pat 2 para makauwi ng bahay. In that short stretch of sidewalk we covered (took as an hour, since we were browsing the merchandise, of course), we bought: three fabulous watches and a couple of pairs of high-heeled shoes. And we spent less than 800 baht. Happiness!

At Liberty Square (Silom corner Convent), we saw Khun Chao with his roti cart. While he was making my usual roti with egg, we asked him what time he packs up to go home (he's usually in front of our condo at 6pm then he moves to Liberty Square at around 8pm) and were shocked when he replied "3 in the morning". I'm going to miss him and his yummy roti.

For those who keep asking, roti is "bread"... but this specific product is not of the baked sort. It starts out as a supple ball of dough soaking in what I think is a sort of flavored oil(midway between the size of a tennis ball and a golf ball). Khun Chao whacks it on the greased surface of his cart, which he pulls and shapes until it is paper thin and about 12 inches in diameter. He then sets this afloat on a puddle of oil in the middle of a 16-inch hotplate (bowled in the center to hold the oil). After three seconds, he cracks open an egg onto the roti dough and spreads it around, allowing it to cook in less than seven second. He then folds the sides over until he forms a square. This is then flipped over and a dollop of margarine is added. He allows both sides to brown, drains it for a few seconds on a rack before placing it on a chopping board. It is chopped into sixteen bite-sized squares, loaded onto a piece of stiff paper, drenched in condensed milk, crowned with granulated white sugar and poked with a single wooden skewer. 18 baht will buy you this culinary wonder and I have been having it almost everyday for the past two weeks...

*sigh* I only have less than 48 hours left until I need to leave Thai soil and step on my
Lupang Hinirang... I still cant decide if I'm happy about it or not.

I still don't want to go home. I wonder if the classifieds show some promise...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

TODAY (Day 7): Things Haven't Changed

I hope you read this... I meant for you to see it.

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Day 20: Three More Days, More Cooking and Rain, Finally!

I woke up after 9am yesterday. It has become quite a habit and I hope I don't carry it over to Manila, when I need to go back to work (argh!).

Like I said, for lunch, I just reheated the gambas I cooked the other night (made specifically for next-day consumption) and what was left of the sinigang. After lunch, I defrosted a kilo of chicken thighs (seven huge pieces) and stuck them in a marinade. For those who'd want to replicate it (this is for you, Sissy, since you love it so much), here's how I did it:

Wash the chicken thighs and clean out the butts if they're still stuck on there. Get a gallon-size Ziplock bag - make sure it's clean! Into the bag, pour in about four tablespoons of good patis (fish sauce), the juice of three limes (the tiny Thai ones) and about a teaspoon of ground black pepper. Smoosh around to mix then toss the chicken pieces in. Burp as much air from the bag as possible and seal. Smoosh the chicken around to ensure even distribution. Store in the chiller section of your fridge while it marinates. If the chicken pieces are a bit thick, score on the non-skin surface to facilitate cooking.

Heat up a bit of oil in a non-stick pan, about 1/8 inch deep. Heat up to 160 degrees Celsius (at least that's what the induction cooker says the temp is). Pat the chicken pieces with a paper towel to get rid of excess marinade (don't be tempted into allowing it to drip into the hot oil, it won't add flavor. It'll just burn due to the sugars from the lime, trust me) then place it skin-side down on the hot oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the skin browns and crisps up. Lower the temperature to 130 degrees Celsius and flip the piece of chicken. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until juices run clear.

Ideally, the meat should stay in the marinade overnight. The first four pieces that I cooked for dinner last night stayed in the marinade for less than four hours but was already flavorful. The last three pieces should taste better for lunch later (paired with pad thai from Mom's favorite vendor on Thanon Convent. Must remind her - mai sai prik!) and I can't wait!

I also reheated the last of the chop suey (discovered the survivors in a microwaveable container at the rear-most reaches of the fridge) with some of the broccoli I blanched earlier yesterday. Perfect!

So I didn't leave the house, as it rained several times today. Plans to go to Central World for last-minute purchases was thwarted by Mother Nature. Awww darn, I had three days left until I need to head back to Manila (aka, the Real World) and I lost one day to the rain. Ironically, I love the rain and I was glad it rained today - it was getting too warm. Still... one day lost! Oh agony! (I'm kidding, of course)

Later on today (since it's not almost 4am), I'm going to the laundromat to help the sisters load their washing. Then head out to Thanon Convent for the pad thai - must be there at 11am. Lunch hour gets crazy! After lunch, the Three Little Pigs will head out to Central World for last-minute purchases which will include (available merchandise and remaining baht willing): a baseball cap, ground coriander, microwave anti-spatter dome, and some toiletries for the sisters. Of course, a trip to Central World warrants another visit to Gelate. I wonder if their Lemon Sorbet is any good...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

TODAY (Day 6): Perfection Is Relative

"We are the perfect couple. We're just not in the perfect situation."
I wonder why I feel that this was made especially for us?

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Day 19: Central World, More Cooking and Internet Failure

Yesterday, I did a little bit of cooking too. Just seasoned some beautiful pork loins with salt, pepper and granulated garlic before shallow pan-frying them to just-cooked juiciness. Paired this with the last of yesterday's chop suey. Thank goodness, goodbye chop suey. Enough consumption for one year, methinks.

After lunch, the Three Little Pigs went to Big C to purchase the last of the stuff I want to bring back to Manila. After the purchases (and a pint of DQ Oreo Blizzard), we went on to Central World, which is like Shangri-La Mall (on Shaw Blvd) on steroids. A little bit of cam-whoring in the ladies' room (yeah, we are a picture-hungry lot!) and a lot of walking around, we settled into three scoops of amazing gelato at Gelate on the fourth floor. The Ferrero tasted exactly like its namesake: crushed, refrigerated and made creamier. The kiwi was like peeling, pureeing and freezing the fruit then popping it in your mouth: kiwi-flavored brain freeze! It was beautifully flecked with those tiny black seeds. The passionfruit was the best of the lot, in my opinion and Sissy's. It was appropriately sweet, tart and luscious. A perfect palate cleanser after the decadence of the Ferrero and a good follow up to the mild flavor of the kiwi. We're going back... maybe tomorrow.

When we got home, Dad was home and we cooked sinigang na ulo ng salmon with lots of shrimps. Woohoo! Popsie also defrosted the smaller shrimps by mistake, so he peeled those and I cooked up another batch of gambas for today's lunch.

After dinner, went online.. only to lose the internet at around 1am. Sucks, but no right to complain... we're only freeloading on the darn connection. So God bless whoever owns that account, hehehe. It also rained last night and I didn't realize until that moment how much I missed it. I almost ran up to the rooftop to cavort under the raindrops, but checked myself as it was 1:30am and I certainly do not want to get sick on my last couple of days here.

This morning, just heated up the gambas and sinigang for lunch. I also blanched the broccoli and asparagus for later use (purchased last Sunday, they were quickly losing freshness... sayang naman! They make for good snacking anyway). No plans for today... yet. Just more wishful thinking that I didn't have to go back to Manila.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 18: House Arrest, Chopping the Suey and Packing Up

Today found me here at home... all day! I found I wasn't too sleep deprived last night so six hours of snooze time was enough for me. Woke up at 8am, and immediately went into cooking overdrive. Yes, cooking. On the menu: chop suey.

Defrost the pork? Check!
Peel the shrimps? Check!
Wash and cut up the veggies? Check!
Clean the straw mushrooms (and discard those that have gone bad since yesterday)? Check!
Slice the pork into thin strips? Check!

So into a cold pan (yes, cold. As in, no heat on the burner...) went strips of pork fat, skin on. Turned the heat up to Medium and let the fat render (ah, pork fat... smells so good!). In the meantime, bashed up and minced six cloves of garlic. Diced a good-sized onion too, shedding a few tears in the process. After a good ten minutes in the pan, I fished out the now-crispy pork, lowered the heat to low and tossed the garlic in, followed by the onions a minute later. Tossed in a good amount of patis and let that cook. Turned the heat back up to Medium, tossed in lean pork and let that cook for a good seven minutes. Added a good splash of oyster sauce and some water.

When the contents of the pan came up to a boil, I returned the cracklings, eeerrr... crisped pork strips. Dumped in the bell peppers, carrots, baby corn, asparagus, and straw mushrooms. Let that cook for four minutes (more like five, though) before tossing in the shrimp, broccoli and Chinese pechay. After two minutes, adjusted the seasoning (needed a bit of salt) and added a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce.

Et viola! Ready for lunch... unfortunately, it was a lunch made for eight people. There are only four of us here at home. All good, though. Leftovers were cleaned up at dinnertime.

So today, I didn't leave the house... not even to go down to the ground floor... I'm starting to like days like this and I don't want to go back to Manila! I don't want to go back to work! Boohoohoo...

Anyway, I repacked my stuff earlier this evening and I succeeded in fitting most of them into a couple of sports bags. The rest of my clothes will go into my hand-carried luggage. Only 1 kilo overbaggage! Hah! Blame the suitcase! Dead weight = 5 kilos! Grrrrr... On the upside, I may or may not pay for that one kilo at the airport (hey, 320 baht can still buy me a dress! Or a pair of shoes...). On the downside, I have an excuse to squeeze in a little more shopping. Uh-oh...

So tomorrow, The Three Little Pigs will go to Central World and Siam Paragon for some last-minute purchases... then the bag stuffing shall begin in earnest. Thankfully, I bought all my pasalubong yesterday and have been able to allocate luggage space for them.

Only four days to go and I will bid beautiful Bangkok sawasdee kha. I wish I didn't have to leave...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

TODAY (Day 5): I Never Stopped Loving You...

I will NEVER stop loving you...

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Day 17: TRO on Shopping and Overbaggage Fees

Three days ago, I did a "practice" pack, wherein I pack up my stuff as I would do it a day before I leave to check how many kilos I have in excess. At that time, I was about five kilos over-baggage. So I issued myself a TRO: no more shopping for myself. The only things I will shop for are pasalubong for the peeps back in Manila.

Yeah, right!

So today, Popsie took the Three Little Pigs to the Holy Redeemer Church on Soi Ruamrudi for the 11am English service (there is a 12nn service but is conducted in Thai). Well, today is the Feast of the Epiphany and I amazingly remember what it's about. Hardeeharhar...

After the Mass, Popsie and the sisters greeted their peeps from CFC (Couples for Christ) and YFC (Youth For Christ) respectively while I browsed the
tiangge that the church had going in the function hall. I was surprised to see a store selling Pinoy stuff: Ligo sardines (green and red), Lucky Me pancit canton (regular, chili and chili-mansi), and Knorr sinigang mix.

Lunch was at a carinderia behind the church. It's owned by a Thai family but the dishes they serve were 90% non-spicy. One could choose two to three viands (I had shrimp with mushroom and chicken with green beans and carrots) to be ladled over a plate of rice. Too much rice, if I may add, as I barely ate half of the serving on my plate. Gulped some ice-cold freshly-squeezed
dalandan juice and I was ready for action.

We walked to the Lumpini Park station of the MRT and took it to Phra Ram 9 to get to the I.T. Mall in what I think is called CP Tower 2 (Popsie isn't so sure either). I bought a 500GB external hard drive to back-up all my files on my work machine... I don't want to risk what happened to Dada's laptop a few months ago.

After the pocket-heavy purchase (ok, it wasn't THAT expensive... I'm just bemoaning the fact that I could have bought numerous dresses, shoes and belts with the same amount. Harhar...), Popsie and the Three Little Pigs headed on to MBK. We took the MRT back to Sukhumvit station, where we got off and crossed over to the Asoke station of the BTS all the way to the Siam station. At the Siam station, we crossed over from the BTS-Sukhumvit line to the BTS-Silom line, and rode one station down to National Stadium.

At MBK, I bought shirts for all the peeps back in Manila (ouch,
ang dami nun!) as well as a few foodstuffs. All that walking pooped me out, I can tell you that! So after all those purchases, the four of us headed on home via the BTS - from National Stadium to Sala Daeng station.

So now, I'm home and trying to fit all that stuff into my suitcases. Good luck to me. I'll let you know how it goes...

In the meantime, let me munch on some
roti from Khun Chao so I can gain back some strength. Harharhar...

Manila, much as I miss you, I'm really not ready to come back home. But I have no choice. I'll see you in six days, durnit!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 16: Year 2553 and the Impending End of My Vacation

No more shopping for me! As it is, with just the clothes I've worn for the past two weeks I already have ten freaking kilos in my check-in luggage. Add my recent purchases from two weeks of shopping madness, and it's up to almost twenty. That still does not include the pasalubong I need to buy within the next few days. It's final: shopping is DEAD! I have issued myself a TRO...

Did not leave the house yesterday, except to bring Mom and Bradir's bags to the driveway. Had papaya for lunch... I noticed that I have eaten tons of papaya since I got here two weeks ago. It's quickly becoming my favorite food, which is totally unexpected since I was never such a huge fan of the uber-seeded fruit. The papaya here is a deep red-orange, sweet as heck and as juicy as papayas come! At ten baht per piece (served chilled, cut into bite-size pieces and with a wooden skewer to shove each piece into your gaping maw), it's a steal!

For dinner, Mom made chicken-macaroni soup. This is my ultimate comfort food: chicken wings, liver and heart in a milky broth with chunks of cabbage and bits of carrot. Momsie made a huge batch, which I think we'll be consuming in the next few days. There's only four of us left in the house now: my dad, my two sisters and myself.

It's gonna be really quiet next weekend, am sure...

Mom and Bradir leave for Manila today... Their plane leaves Thai soil at 12:35am. Boohoohoo, not because I'll miss them, but because I'll be seeing them again in exactly seven days. Boohoohoo, not because I don't want to see them, but because a big part of me does not want to go back to Manila.

Too much confusion. Too many memories. Too many decisions to make. Too many lives affected.

True, most of my friends are there. True, my loved and beloved ones are there. True, a huge chunk of my life as I know it is there.

But that is also the exact same reason why I don't want to go back. For the past two weeks, I feel like I've started over again. In a new place I know almost nothing about, where nobody knows my name, where I've been and what I have and have not done. It's a place where almost everyone is a stranger and I am back to square one.

Why can't we do that with our lives - go back to Start, the way we do on countless videogames? Why can't we hide parts of our lives, as we could take down selected posts on our blogs? Why can't we delete certain memories, the way we can remove emails from our mail database at work? Why can't we make things to be the way we want them to be, like Photo-shopping our favorite snapshots?

Why can't I just click "Cancel" when asked to decide between A and B? What if I don't want to choose? What if I want the choice to be taken out of my hands, for once?
What if I want a fresh start, not only for myself, but for the people whose lives are entwined with mine (whether by choice or by sheer circumstance) ... the people whose lives I have damaged for eternity (whether I meant to or not)?

We Pinoys (and the rest of the world) may be celebrating the year 2010 right now, but for the Thai peeps it's already 2553. Strange, eh? I wonder how it'd feel to fall asleep now and wake up in 2553, when everything I know and everyone who knows me are long gone? I wonder if that would be the fresh start I need...

Day 15: TechnoMart Flashback, Pesto Pasta and an Empty Ratchaprasong

Woke up at 9:30am today after a little over 6 hours of sleep. Too much drinking from the previous night rendered my brain useless for anything except sleep and the occasional nocturnal sojourns to the bathroom to take a leak.

Lunch was sinigang na spareribs (which I burned my tongue on, durnit). I pigged out, naturally, before spending a little time chatting over YM. Shopping is over and done with (theoretically... is it wishful thinking?) so no plans to go out to Silom tonight. After all, walang pasok so only a few vendors would be out there. So what to do?

Like I said, today's goal was techno-overload. On the itinerary: Pantip Mall.

Popsie, Bradir and I took a cab to the said mall, which was a few meters away from Platinum Mall (tempting, indeed!). Looking at five floors of electronic madness, I was transported to TechoMart in Seoul - circa December 2008. That time, I bought a PSP and a Cowon O2 for Jen. This time, I bought... nothing. Harhar. I was looking for a 500GB external hard drive but Popsie kept insisting on a 1 terabyte drive. "Konti lang kasi ang diperensya ng presyo", he says. But how on Earth do I fill up 1000GB? My pictures, despite how huge a picture-freak I am, will barely take up 10% of that space! So what to do? Postpone the purchase for the trip to what Popsie refers to as I.T. Mall... wherever that is!

Walking back to Big C from Pantip, I noticed something strange: Ratchaprasong (the shopping area/district along Thanon Ratchadamri - you know, all those designer stores and those malls surrounded by hotels) was strangely empty. Like Ayala Ave during Holy Week. Like my brain when I go back to work on the eleventh. Mwehehehehe...

When I got home, it was time to check the AS400's after the shutdown. It was ok, a few missing records but nothing a manual run can't fix. Mom made pesto to smother the spiralli with, while Sissy and I walked along Convent to Silom for some kai thot (fried chicken). At 10 baht for each chicken leg, not a bad deal eh?

I'm still not in blogging mode, as I'm a bit sad that Mom and Bradir are leaving for Manila tomorrow night. Almost makes me wish I booked my flight for January the second instead of the ninth. Almost is the operative word since, truth be told, I'm not ready to go back to the Philippines yet. If it were up to me, I'd stay here for a year. Harhar...

But that's not in my hands... so I'm doing what I can: drinking up this ice-cold 630-ml bottle of Singha beer. It's light and a bit sweet: like San Miguel Light crossed with Cerveza Negra. Cheers to 2010!

P.S. The Weather Pixies look so cute! They all have fireworks in their own skies... Either that or I'm drunk... Hardeeharhar!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 14: Sawasdee Pi Mai Kha!

Yesterday, our plan to welcome 2010 over at Central World was thwarted. After going to the grocery at Big C, we saw the stages being set up along Ratchadamri (saw one in front of Central World and another in Siam Paragon. Not sure if there were more within Ratchaprasong) and the crowds that were gathered. It was HUGE, rivaling that of the crowd in front of Galleria during EDSA Dos. Okay, that may be an exaggeration but it was only 7pm!

Mom, Sissy and I were planning to take the jet-jet (Bus number 77) since Dad, Sister and Bradir took a tuk-tuk back home with the groceries. Walking out of the Big C, we saw that most of Ratchadamri was closed to traffic, since the aforementioned stages were up and running. So Mom, Sissy and I just took a few pictures on the street and bought three pairs of those plastic headpieces with horns that light up. No traffic = no buses so we decided to take the BTS. We walked to Ratchadamri station but ended up taking a tuk-tuk to Sala Daeng station, as it was cheaper (50 THB as opposed to 63 THB if we took the BTS) and we wouldn't have to climb three flights of stairs.

At Sala Daeng, we bought pesto from Tops. Then we got 200THB worth of fried chicken legs (that's twenty pieces!) from a vendor at Liberty Square on Thanon Silom, a couple of blocks from home. The plan was to cook some spiralli, smother it with pesto and serve it with fried chicken. EPIC FAIL! The maids of the condo invited us for dinner and drinks on the courtyard. Of course it was impolite to say no... so off we went.

The food came in varying degrees of wicked spiciness: the kai (chicken) was not spicy, the moo larb (ground/chopped pork - sauteed with lemongrass, cilantro and I dunno what else) was a bit spicy, and the kikiam with tomatoes and onion was wickedly spicy! It made good pulutan for the Isan wine (a kind of fermented rice wine from Northern Thailand - it was sweet and potent. Reminded me of basi) and the wine coolers. After drinking myself to a mild buzz and dancing like heck, we headed upstairs at around 10:30pm. An hour and a half, a quick shower and a few drinks later, we ran to the condo's rooftop to watch the fireworks from all around the city! Another perk of living in the middle of the CBD: we are surrounded by hotels and our rooftop offers a 360-degree view of the fireworks. It's World Pyrolympics - for free!

After the fireworks, we went back to our unit and started drinking. We didn't last long (rather - I didn't. I was reduced to being the bartender) and we decided to catch some Z's.

Today, our AS400's are on shutdown mode so I'll need to be online at around 3pm my time to do some testing - hopefully. Sucks to be without SameTime. Thank goodness for YM and Skype!

So, here's 2010! I hope it will be better than 2009 because last year was a freaking PAIN in the rear end, I kid you not! My 2010 forecast isn't very encouraging. To be quite honest, I kinda saw this coming but to actually read it in black and white (and seeing the past year flash before my eyes while watching the trailer of 2010) was a little too much for me... had to have a drink afterwards. Oh, what the heck! Cheers! Thank you to everyone who was a part of my 2009. Here's to OUR 2010!