Monday, December 31, 2007

new year's eve

since i'm in a rather celebratory mood, might as well keep the joy coming by blog about the day.

it's december 31 people, the last day of the year. after all of the things that have happened, after all the drama, action and comedy in my life, it is finally time again to turn a new leaf and start things fresh. a new year is afoot and this is perfect timing to start things differently.

i'm not really into new year's resolutions but might as well give it another go. there's no harm in it anyway.

resolutions for 2008, things i wish to achieve so that i will come out, after 2008, a better more balanced person:

1. control my emotions rather than let it control me.
2. write things down so i don't forget.
3. don't procrastinate.
4. be more relaxed and prepared when things don't go my way.
5. be responsible only for myself. the world will take care of itself.
6. treat everyone like they are pools of knowledge and have been put in my life to teach me something.
7. to step out of my comfort zone and be more engaging.
8. don't over analyze.
9. love the game.
10. love someone else.

happy 2008 everyone! may the Lord bless us all!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

one day to go

happy rizal day to all ye citizens of the islands. a day before the last day of the year, 'tis the day when them spanish colonialists decided to finally put an end to the life of a worldly island midget and hopefully, silence a nation's longing for (gasp!) self rule! only to have the midget immortalized as asia's first democratic country's national hero... or so the monument in the city square says. to all the fans of our bro jose, to his cult who think he's the reincarnation of christ in asia and to the people who claim to be his long lost (but can never be forgotten) children in europe from past (sex)capades, happy death aniv to all of you!

it seems to be reunion week for me this week. in just a span of a few days, i got to hang out with both my college and high school gang, over meals of course. first, my interior design buds from college. it was fortunate that even if all of us in the gang have gone separate ways, fate had it that we would all have a homecoming of sorts this year. i was back from eating crude oil-stained desert sand, the melloida was back on vacation from schooling at parsons, and jodie (though she didn't get to attend) was back from chicago from her first year of marital bliss. though the gang can never be complete without vikki (more about her later), seeing and mingling with the same old faces, with the same old antics certainly brought back fun times. never mind if we were older, fatter, thinner, gayer, happier, sadder, married, bored, stressed, attached, single, employed or vacationing, none of that really mattered. it was good enough that we had each other at that moment, sharing great times and having a good old solid laugh. (pics courtesy of richie)

ian and melloida

see anndee laugh. see anndee laugh REALLLY HARD!

pretending to be AI finalist jasmine trias. anndee and mel.

my fave pic of ian laughing.

richie, anndee and me.

mark, me and richie.

at the JBL showroom. Interior designed by anndee and mark.

i met my high school buds last night at greenbelt 5 over dinner. though the food wasn't as spectacular despite its price, the company was sure worth me having masseter spasms from chewing the TOUGHEST rack of baby back ribs i have ever had! though we weren't the original brat pack anymore, it was still good to see faces that have been a constant sight for you during the times when you were most awkward.... ugh, high school! over platters of beef, wine and wood (how my ribs felt like while i was desperately trying to swallow it without getting splinters on my esophagus), we talked about our lives. how motherhood has changed one, how grey hairs have made one, and how still being unable to drive has kept one where he is still until now. of course, we also gossiped about what has been happening with our fellow members of the alumni, most especially what has happened to the popular kids at school. i have mention that i belonged to the geek squad, so, we weren't really the coolest and most respected back in the day. so now that favoritism, blind teachers and butt kissing parents are finally out of the way, you cannot blame me for feeling some happiness on hearing stories of people FINALLY getting what they deserve.... bwa. ha. ha. HAH! :)

i got to chat with vikki yesterday before i had to go and get ready for my dinner. she's currently spending time with ozgur (the BF) in turkey where he's based and working. we got to spend a few minutes talking about what has been happing to us these past few days, though the conversation was mostly one sided. with her stories of turkey, i really didn't want to interrupt her momentum, most especially when she stated talking about how HOT turkish men were!!!! (MOMMY!) it was good to hear her voice and see her on webcam, despite the lag (she talks faster than what my broadband speed can take). i miss her terribly.(pics from ikki)

vikki and a fucking flock of pigeons!

vikki with a telescope overlooking the river bosphorus

Friday, December 28, 2007

a tragic loss

during another bout with insomnia, i turned to my tried and trusted cure, late night cable TV. though unlike a fellow blogger out there that has more interesting stories happening even in his episodes of sleeplessness, my only way of "spicing things up" is if i chance upon a nice show to watch till it lulls me to la-la land.

though this method of mine had proved effective for the past couple of weeks, last night was an exception since instead of falling asleep, what i saw jolted me to an instant state of alertness.

last evening, after coming from a political rally for pakistan's upcoming elections, benazir bhutto was gruesomely murdered. a suicide bomber found his way close enough to the former pakistani prime minister's convoy and shot her in the neck, after which, he blew himself up, killing 20 other people with him.

i found myself speechless after seeing the news. i was switching channels from CNN and the BBC trying to gather as much from the events as they unfolded. the images were sorrowful and the reports, absolutely shocking. i just found myself asking why does such violence exist in the world. either it was the sleepless night's that was talking but i felt a cocktail of emotions springing up. i was angry and saddened for the most part since i always believed that murder is the gravest sin, whatever the reason.

benazir bhutto came from a dynasty of politicians in pakistan, that being said means that her life had its share of violence as well. her father was executed by the former military regime and two of her brothers were also both assassinated. she became the prime minister of pakistan on two consecutive terms but was deposed when the military took over, under the leadership of incumbent president pervez musharraf. she and her husband went on self exile after being charged with graft and corruption, which were never proven. in london, washington and in dubai, where she stayed, she waited for the day when she can once again return to pakistan and reinstate democracy, her objective from the start.

her wish finally came true when the current government struck a deal with her. plagued with social and political unrest as well as failed attempts to control extremism, the current government agreed to drop all charges against her and allow her back in the country. there were also talks of power sharing until a proper elections would take place. she flew back to pakistan in full knowledge that doing so would put her life and her family at risk since she was diving into the hornet' nest. true enough, though her return was greeted by a celebratory frenzy by her supporters, it also triggered a blood bath of violence from those who thought otherwise. the ensuing violence put pakistan in a state of emergency, giving musharraf unlimited power despite talks of power sharing. the situation seems to be spiraling out of control. but after months of vigilance from the opposition and international pressure, the state of emergency was abolished, giving again hope for a new order.

but somehow, someone out there believed that the new order cannot involve bhutto. either it be some personal grudge or the fact that she was a woman set to rule (popular polls show bhutto to be the most likely winner), she had to be stopped.... at all costs.

though i am the last one to talk about polictics, much more about international affairs, the events that have transpired affected me more than i expected. the tragedy that happened to bhutto, like the murders of yitzak rabin and the sudden loss of princess diana evoke the same sense of sorrow, and shock i suppose. the sheer suddenness of the events would account for the shock, most especially with such highly popular characters such as these. but i am still puzzled by the sorrow. i guess any loss of human life, be you a popular figure or not deserves at least the mourning of one. the sorrow i guess is also for the human soul, a reminder of the extremes of sacrifice people will do for their beliefs.

Benazir Bhutto (1953 - 2007)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

the christmas aftermath!

i will not deny, i pigged out during the holidays. not really because we were feeling festive (my family doesn't celebrate christmas anyways) but more because i was left to take helm of the kitchen.

my mom went on a christian retreat during christmas with my grandmum and since we have this unspoken rule that if she goes on holiday, i stay home and serve as her proxy, that was exactly what happened. being her proxy would mean being chief of the house. i was to maintain order and see through errands that she would normally be the one to handle, the top most of which, meals. my mom honestly hates this most of all, thinking of what to cook. she handles all of the other duties of a housewife quite well but when it comes to planning meals, she gets all uninterested and heads for the instant noodles. well, not really. in fairness to her, though she may not be the best cook in the family, she tries to be inventive and experimental as much as possible but still, you know she would rather dive for the take-out menu or the nearest cup of ramen!

being the assigned cook during the days she was out was a daunting task. i mean, i have been used to cooking for myself for the past year or so, but now that i have to feed 2 extra mouths (my dad and my older brother), there seems to be more pressure to out-do myself. i mean, i can cook, but it's more like if i fuck up a recipe, i won't feel as bad since i can still eat it anyways and not complain. however, feeding 2 other people, with a fucked up recipe could mean utter disaster! i'm pretty sure they'll be nice and recognize my efforts, but still, the fact that i fucked up is too much for me to think about, more so BEAR!! so.... i made sure there were no messes!

i made a second attempt in making the lechon kawali (oven-roasted pork). last time i made it, it turned into asado instead because of the sugar. this time however i made good. i had it on a slow, tenderizing boil in the cooker for an entire night making sure the meat was so soft, you could mash it with your tongue! i then put it in a slow roast in the convention oven until the skin was bright and golden and CRACKLING! the result, a slab of soft, succulent and crispy pork bacon! i had to drain it of all the fat of course. i didn't want my family to die before they could praise me of my success. no applause unfortunately, but an empty platter was all the thanks i needed.

the menu for the following days included chicken adobo, tagalog style; broccoli with scallops; stir fried spinach with garlic and steamed tiger prawns. not really the most stellar of food choices if i may say so, but enough i guess to push my weight beyond what i think is reasonable!

o well, i guess it adds to my credibility. they did say you can't trust a thin chef.

Monday, December 24, 2007


a happy holidays to all of you guys who celebrate christmas! may the joy of the season fill your hearts and drive you all insanely happy! i hope we will all be infused with loads of happiness that will last us a lifetime, that or just long enough for us to finally rid the world of all the mess it is in caused by ignorance, indifference, injustice and hate.

eid mubarak to all my friends in the middle east and happy shopping festival!!! i hope you don't forget the less fortunate and less fashionable during these times of plenty!!! save the world from bad taste i say!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

my chinatown

been assisting my dad these past couple of days at the shop since he was short of people. it's a couple of days away from christmas and people are on a frenzy to finish last minute groceries especially since the markets would be closed next week. though i am not the most eager to wake up at 4am to get ready for work, i thought that it would be nice to bond with daddy dearest in his element, especially to discuss the design changes i am thinking to implement when we renovate (what do you think of pink tiled walls with chocolate brown accents!?). it was also good field study on my part since i got to familiarize myself with the system my dad uses, as well as how the employees and the customers use the space. very important things to consider, end users, you know. God forbid the carousel i plan to install in the middle of the shop impede the flow of traffic!, hehehe, joke.

now, since we start rather early and i sleep rather late, it would only be quite natural that i get dozy during the day. in the events wherein my eyelids do start to shut, i excuse myself to go wander around the neighborhood for a couple of minutes. the short stroll coupled with the fascinating sight of seeing the area deserted never fails to get me awake (it's 4 freaking am!). now, before you guys start to think of me to have perverted tendencies, allow me to elaborate. actually, i love taking these brief strolls, especially in this part of town. my dad's shop is located in one of the older parts of chinatown. if i remember my facts correctly, this part of manila used to be where the "barbarians" used to dwell. the spanish seat of government as well as the members of high society used to reside in the walled city of intramuros, along the banks of the river Pasig. across the river was extramuros, where everyone else who weren't in intramuros were (duh!). a bulk of the residents were apparently chinese who dealt in commerce along the river(selling DVD's, no doubt). i guess we liked it there so much that we set up camp permanently and called the place chinatown.

it titillates me sometimes when i take my strolls how profound it is to be in a chinatown, on a spanish named street, surrounded by american art deco buildings painted in the gaudiest colors of the rainbow. the chinese, being notoriously frugal, would rather renovate or repaint than tear down a dilapidated building, thus making chinatown a rather odd looking (and colorful) architectural museum. owing to chinese cost cutting, only in chinatown can you find the only standing art nouveau building in the country. the first HSBC and CITIBANK buildings are still up and have now been considered heritage buildings by the national government. most of the buildings still being used are done in art deco from the 20's and 30's when the style became vogue. there is even a chinese restaurant here where Jose Rizal ate in back during the spanish era.

to walk around chinatown is to walk in a totally different world it seems. we have piped-in chinese music courtesy of an over-enthusiastic baranggay captain. we have the smell of noodle soup, freshly made permeating the air like local perfume. we don't sell bread but buns and cakes instead in the bakeries. here, dimsum in its own is a religion. local street signs are translated to chinese, as well as every other establishment. our drugstores and candy stores are basically the same since they look more like curio shops than anything else. the town is laid out like a mall with every alleyway selling only one type of merchandise. tea is the staple beverage with someone, somewhere having it and picking one's nose, the popular past time.

my stroll is more than a waker upper for the mind, but also one for the soul. though i am sure chinatown has seen better days, what i have now isn't all that bad. despite the mismatch, the chaos and the hustle and bustle that work and modern commerce has brought to this place, it's not that difficult to see the beauty that it still possesses. hmmmm, i suddenly had an urge to have some dumplings....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

here we go again

the sound of it almost jolted me into consciousness. as the soft tune ticked my ear and permeated my brain, i wondered... is that Il Divo i hear? then it hit me... IT IS IL DIVO THAT I HEAR!!!!!

for years, our neighbors have been a source of utter frustration for me. we live in the ghettos of manila and it is quite common to have, er, how do be PC about this, urban nomads, lying about. some we have actually taken into our employ yet there are still the lot who simply just hang around waiting i guess for grace to rain down on them from heaven. now... on the many occasions that they linger, they would often entertain themselves with music. either they be the audience where they enjoy the blasting sounds of their make-shift boom boxes; or they be the performers belting out tunes so loud that dogs in jupiter start howling!

now, it would have been fine i guess if the tunes they play were rather current, or even pleasant for that matter. unfortunately, it seems that for some weird reason, the frequencies they keep getting, or the recordings they play only varies from the cheesy love songs by the likes of david pomeranz to jurassic disco oldies like loius, loius! to add more insult to injury is the vigor pinoys have to pour out their hearts and souls in singing karaoke. everytime our neighbors have an excuse to party (in which case is like every other day! be it birthday, christmas, new years, or a funeral. yes, a funeral, i kid you not!), bet you money that you will hear some drunk deluding himself that he is the next american idol! again, their choice of material needs some work.

so you cannot really blame me for the shock when i heard OPERA being played. was i dreaming? was i home!!?? was this some sick joke?!!! but it wasn't, it really was opera, Il Divo was being played!!!! i couldn't believe my ears. it is as if God had enough of my ranting and finally relieved me of some of my suffering.... then, like all good things in my life, divine comedy kicked in. the damn drunks i guess finally figured out the error of their choice and quickly reverted back to some gay song about jumbo hotdogs! ugh!!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

locker room monologue

forgive me for sounding prudish but it seems to me that people are getting bolder nowadays. either that or i have been living in a bubble for the past few years and have failed to notice how "liberated" we have become.

i was in the locker room at my gym yesterday getting changed when it suddenly occurred to me that men were walking around me completely in the buff! i mean, it shouldn't be surprising since it was the men's locker room. but i have been coming to this gym for the past 4 years and for the past 4 years, the guys here, be they be flabby old men or ripped adonises, they all change in the shower stalls, away from prying eyes (not that i pry). i shouldn't really complain now that i have a new purpose of going to the gym but it was just an interesting observation. how times have changed i though to myself, while ogling at a delightful set of steamed buns...

truly, times have changed, and correspondingly, people's level of comfort. i still used to remember how the very mentioning of "sex" used to make people blush. now, "sex" is used so often and unabashed that, in casual conversations, the topic is almost expected to turn up. blame it on my rather conservative upbringing, but i still feel awkward when talking about sexual issues. i found myself talking to my gym instructor yesterday and instead of just saying "erection" point blank, i had to mask it into something more humorous and pleasant, like "junior's salute".

don't get me wrong, i'm no preacher's daughter. i can be quite vulgar and graphic on certain occasions. but i guess my moments of disinhibition are still rather sporadic as compared to some of my friends who can drop words (that i am still to embarrassed to say, or even type!) like they were talking about what they had for breakfast.

topics that were once considered taboo have definitely become more mainstream. hell, to have my 60-something mom act so cool when i came out to her, much more when we had a conversation about "ejaculation" means that we have definitely come a long way from the days when such acts would mean you getting lashes! people are more vocal now and more confident to express what they think and how they feel. since coming out, my mom would now ask me about my sexuality. i am constantly finding myself flabbergasted by her inquisitiveness that sometimes, i'm embarrassed to answer her back! past gestures of discreetness are becoming more and more of a rarity and are now being replaced by bolder forms of self expression.

it's all good i suppose. the days wherein you get beaten up or teased ruthlessly by your neanderthal peers for being the odd man out are slowly becoming a thing of the past. it is now ok to be weird, to be eccentric, to be different, to be blunt, to be bold, to be honest to oneself. it's ok now for a guy to get a facial. it's ok now to wear pink without being thought of as a woos. it's ok now to enjoy musicals and theater and art for that matter without being judged as snooty. it's ok now to use words like aubergine, taupe, and vermillion without sounding queer. and i guess, it's now also ok to walk about in locker rooms with your royal jewels hanging in full display for people to oooh and ahhh.

Monday, December 17, 2007

thoughts of dad

i went with my dad to visit his shop in chinatown the other day. he operates an old charcuterie and after years of trying to convince him to renovate, he finally gave in. i went to do my ocular inspection at about 430am (yes, 4 freak'n 30 am!) since this is the usual time the shop opens. i wanted to see how he runs the business and also take into consideration the work flow. both are very important in considering the new layout of the place as well as open areas for improvement, if necessary.

my dad was more than helpful to add a few of his ideas to the new look of the place. i have always believed that if given the opportunity, my dad could have been a great architect or a designer. i still remember, back when i was in university, when i would ask for his advice on a design problem, how he would drop everything and "dive in" to help. he would come up with ideas that are so bizarre yet ingenious that even my professors get dumbfounded. guess they never expected ideas like that from a butcher. it is however unfortunate that, like a lot of my uncles, he had to, in a way let go of his dreams, and help out my grandpa in the family business.

now that i am dealing with design, i sometimes feel like there is pressure to come up with brilliant ideas as well, like him. though he doesn't really expect anything, i feel that i owe it to the dream he once had to do him good. hopefully i will do just that.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

umm, WTF!?

my dear friend vikki sent me this over facebook. since my other PC's sound was busted, i didn't really understand what the fuss was about. that was until i viewed it again over my laptop where i COULD hear the sound. tsk, tsk, tsk, what kind of world do we live in now that even fictitious, animated characters cannot escape our corrupted influence.... mwah ha ha ha ha!!!
watch and see (hear) for yourselves!!!!

avenue q hangover

yesterday, my brother and i had the great pleasure of seeing the local production of avenue q. i have been sincerely wanting to see this performed live since the first time i heard about it, rather, the first time i heard the soundtrack.

the story revolves around the protagonist, princeton. as a fresh graduate from college (with a BA in English of all courses) and trying to find his "purpose", he stumbles his way through life and through the lives of the characters who live in his neighborhood, avenue q. the musical feels like "rent" meets "sesame street" since the story deals with very pertinent adult issues like racism and homosexuality, ingeniously dramatized with the use of puppets... yes, puppets.

i greatly enjoyed the show since it felt that it hit marks in my life that i really could relate to. i definitely can understand what it feels like to be lost in a world of unlimited possibilities and still not know what one's purpose is in life. two courses down and a country later, i'm still not entirely sure what i want to do. adding to that also is the story between rod and nic, best friends and room mates. the former a closeted gay investment banker who secretly loves the latter, a sloppy bum. i think it would take me an entirely new post to say how much i can relate to that story! there was actually a part in the show where i caught myself getting teary eyed since the issue addressed hit very close to home.

now don't get me wrong, even if the issues were very serious, the show was definitely far from that. actually, the way the creators of the show were able to drive in their message was through the use of humor, lots of it. also, it does help that we were being "educated" with talking puppets. the similarities of the show with sesame street, only a more current, adult version of it, definitely made the experience more fun and helped the audience engage more. i mean, who wouldn't sympathize with a monster addicted to porn!! hahahahaha....

overall, i definitely would not hesitate seeing this show again, and again, and again. watching it gave me such a high, i was still humming the tunes way after the show was over, a very welcomed "last song syndrome".

Thursday, December 13, 2007

mind vomit

the past few days have been rather unproductive. probably the most "eventful" thing i did this week was meet up with my friend richie and just hang out at his place. other than that, my days have been rather slow. it's rather concerning since i considered my homecoming more like the key to starting a new life for myself. now that it seems like i have fallen back to my usual stupor, i am getting very, very worried.

there is that slight possibility that i am just over thinking, or as my very objective brother would call it "analysis paralysis". i think too much, therefore i don't move and just think of moving. when i do decide to move, i think again, and think some more. until i am old and grey and have lost all of my teeth, i am still thinking. ugh!!!!! how to stop!!!!!????

i have always had this fear of failing and disappointing people, much more, embarrassing myself from failing. i guess i have equated failure to something quite unforgivable. i even convinced myself at some point that failure would mean i am stupid as well. i don't really know where all of this failure-anxiety came from but it has deeply rooted itself into my psyche. so deep that it has been my comfort zone to think and over analyze myself to exhaustion. somehow, even just the mere fact that i have "thought about" things, means that i have work rendered. but then, now that i look back on my live, i haven't really done a lot of things, even if i have thought about them.

i wish i was more of a risk taker and had more confidence to just throw caution into the wind and dive. i sometimes see my friends and colleagues who have this in them, like they don't have a care in the world, and i find myself envying them for not caring. they don't seem to care so much of the outcome but more of the ride. they obviously don't care so much for other people's opinions and just stick to their gut. i am so fascinated by such boldness.

i remember when i was on my way back to manila, i bumped into a swiss national whose flight got delayed. as we were talking, my friends and i learned that he used to be an accountant. he apparently got tired of doing office work and decided to quit his job and travel more than half-way around the world to australia and spend the last few months backpacking through the entire continent. BACKPACKING! i mean traveling without a plan and just figure things out when you get there! my goodness! i mean, to take on such a feat, i feel, for me would just be too overwhelming! i have a small bag just for medication for "things that could happen". for me to go backpacking would just be impossible. yet here i was listening, dumbstruck to this man, an accountant, who just did that and lived to tell about it. i was very intrigued and part of me so wanted to be like him. he also figured out from his trip that he wanted to be a ski instructor instead, or a watch maker. considering his personality, i am pretty sure he will find his way in some ski slope somewhere in the world or back in geneva tinkering with watches.

wishing, thinking, dreaming. that's what i'm good at. having the courage and even, the "stupidity" to just try things, i don't know. i guess i'm still working on that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

funny ad

i was browsing for ads this morning and chanced upon this particular ad that almost made me fall off my chair. i just find it absolutely unreal!!!! mind you folks, this is a REAL ad!!!!

for a moment there i thought i misunderstood it, thinking it was some acronym i wasn't familiar with. nope, it meant what it meant and the they were very clear about that... i swear! the world has changed!

Monday, December 10, 2007

sunday report

something i found absolutely hilarious happened yesterday at home. i was at my laptop outside in the living room, updating my blog, when i heard my mom and my brother arguing. they were both inside the bedroom and though i couldn't really understand what was all the noise about, it sounded kinda intense. all of a sudden, my brother laughed. now, that was unusual i thought to myself. not that it's unusual to have my brother laugh but laughing was not the sound to be expected when people are supposed to be arguing. so inquisitive me decided to see what all the ruckus was about. what happens next is too cute not to blog about, more so, take a picture of!

my brother received a gift from one of his friends the night before during their annual kris kringle. deciding that the gift (an odd looking device) would give my mom more pleasure, he decided to surprise her with it the next day. indeed the said gift did the trick. my mom i guess was just dying for some form of distraction from her mundane routine. she was definitely game in using the gift but it being such a foreign looking device, she needed to have my brother demonstrate it to her....

mom and kuya going gaga over the "deal or no deal" home edition!

the culprit!

that afternoon, me and my brother took to makati for our so called "weekend tradition". he needed to burn some cash in buying his gifts for christmas, i needed to court a pair of sneakers that was on sale. we also both decided to watch "the golden compass", which was already showing. i have blogged about the mall a few entries back, seems like it's the only thing that's interesting to see and go to. this time, i got to take a photo of the facade of the new greenbelt 5. i was commenting to my brother how breath taking the roof looked with how it juts out of the profile of the structure. it was quite a powerful statement. i wonder who the architect is. greenbelt 5 is being dressed as where upscale local products are to be showcased. hence, budji living has an entire section to fill. the mall is open now tho a large part of it is still being finished. maybe to open early next year. i might just have an entry exclusively on the malls here. just o have some commentary on mall culture in manila. running ut of things to talk about.

greenbelt 5 from a distance with its mighty roof.

"the golden compass" wasn;t the movie i was expecting it to be. the story started out rather slow, then it started to pick up the pace. then t slowed down again, then picked up again. this happened a couple more times in the movie, making it quite fatiguing for me to have the pace change so often is such a short duration. one moment they have you engrossed on the details of the story, the next minute it feels like they are rushing you to the next scene. the movie had it redeeming moments, all in the persona of one nicole kidman. i swear! even if she is the villian in the movie, i really could give a damn, beauty like that is worthy of WORSHIP!!! the other characters were ok i suppose. not too much development with any of them since this movie is the first of a sequel. the effects were good, quite good especially with how the demons were rendered.

nicole! nicole! burning bright, in the palace of the night. what immortal hand or eye
could frame thy FABULOUS symmetry!

overall, i could not help but compare this movie with that of "the lord of the rings" with regards to the plot as well as how the book was translated to film. with LOTR, you were always at the edge of you seat with the momentum of the story never going too low. the constant shift of intensity in this movie however i found too distracting, thus it just feels like they were trying to cram everything in the book into the 3 hours time the movie was running, something with what they did for the earlier harry potter installments. well, i just hope the next movies will be better.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

salcedo weekend market

yesterday morning, my brother brought me to the weekend market along salcedo street. he has been raving about the place for quite sometime now and regularly frequents the place on saturdays, the only day it is open.

the market is actually like a flea market of sorts wherein vendors from the neighborhood, as well as other entrepreneurs elsewhere wish to showcase their products. the market mostly sells home made foodstuff with a bit on non-food items sprinkled about. what i particularly liked about this market is that it's all comfort food they sell, with a twist! where else can you find suman (sticky rice, steamed in leaves) that's mango or ube-langka flavored?! much more, oven baked CHICHARON!!!

ready-to-eat thai specialties anyone?

or would you prefer japanese?

or dried fish, for the ultimate pinoy meal?

for a bit of luxury, why not lechong baka, rosasted on the spot?

for added festiveness, christmas carolers!

and flowers, fresh from baguio.

and what market would be complete without produce from all over the world.

another thing that got me quite tickled about the market is that there's an "upscale atmosphere" about it. it is still basically a market, yet you don't feel as repulsed as when you would venture into you local talipapa. don't get me wrong, it's not that i'm being snooty, it's just that i believe, especially with regards to food that image is everything! presentation and packaging is now as important to consumers as quality and value for money. you still hear barkers but instead of your "bili na, bili na, murnang mura!", you hear "good morning sir, ma'am, would you like to try our home-made hungarian sausages?". ODB? you wish you'd hear that from your suki next time you venture to the palengke!

of course, what adds to the upscale feel is also the people who goes to market. the area is dead in the weekends except when the market is open. you see cars parked at every sidewalk within the immediate periphery. inside, you would be rubbing elbows with expats and celebrities and multi-millionaires, all there with the same intention as you, to see what the market has in store. come to think of it, i do sound snooty. but then, to be among such a crowd, even if just for a day, is a good reprieve from the environment that i live in everyday. a direct antithesis from the market... clean, orderly, bustling.

i jested to my brother, if this is how the rich and educated go to market, i wouldn't mind working as the help.

it sounded funnier yesterday.

Friday, December 7, 2007

commuting 101

today would be one of those days wherein you know deep down that "things" are gonna happen, but you chose to ignore your gut and just get on with the day coz if you don't, well, things aren't going to happen.

i went to makati today to pick up tickets from an agent for avenue q. this is another musical that i have wanted to see live and thankfully, i'm in the country this time around. last time they showed, i was still in dubai. since the play deals with issues like prostitution and homosexuality, i sincerely doubt it will ever get shown in dubai, more so anywhere in the middle east.

anyway, since today is a friday, i couldn't drive my car because of "color coding". so i decided to commute. i have done it before many times and today shouldn't be any different. it was to be my test to how efficient public transportation in manila is to be. my meeting was at 1130 and i left the house at 930. i started my trek by walking out into recto, where i could catch a jeep to avenida to take the LRT. i would then take the LRT to edsa and take the MRT from there to ayala. presto! i am in makati.

the jeep ride was rather simple since i lived in what is jeepney central, divisoria. i got a ride in no time. not considering the humidity and the cramped confines of the jeep, the trip was rather ok. i did notice that it's either i got bigger of jeeps got smaller since i couldn't sit fully upright inside but had to bend forward just to keep my head from hitting the roof of the vehicle.

i got off at avenida and took the LRT from there, baclaran bound. considering that it was already 10am, the trains were still packed. i was hoping it wouldn't be so tight during this time since by now, due to the humidity, i was rather damp already (damp, mind you), and being squeezed in a train full of similarly damp people is not really the most comfortable situation. but what can you do, i was already there and beyond the point of no return. as the doors of the train opened, all you could do is throw yourself into the sea of people inside and hope that your momentum is enough to create a pocket for you to fit in before the door closes. the train i got into was good to have great aircon. it was cool despite the congestion inside, and odor free (HALLELUJAH!). bythe time the train passed pedro gil, it was already empty so i had the pleasure of stretching about for a couple more stations before i got to edsa.

i arrived at edsa and moved to the MRT train. this wasn't as bad as the LRT since i'l be taking the train from the first station. not as many people, but the trains' A/C definitely needed work. to think i only had to ride through two stations, i got to my stop drenched! ugh! this is what i don't like when i commute. there is no way in the world for me to prepare for the humidity and the temperatures the moment you start running after trains! running to be the first in line at the ticket booth! waiting for your turn at the gates! waiting in traffic in jeepneys.

o well, after i got my tickets, i lingered a bit more in makati. might as well make this trek worth my "suffering". i will be going through the same experience again later on my way back home. i pray when i get home, i am still the same person.... here are a few snaps of my day.

LRT coming..., LRT passing..., LRT vomiting!

sakura, where i had a hearty bowl of tempura soba soup with a sinful side of salmon sashimi!

Glorietta 2, after the bombing. see that entire area in the background boarded up. that stretches the entire block. apparently, that was the extent of the bomb blast... sad.

the pies d' resistance! cebuana lechon!!! so flavorful, you don't need gravy!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

lesson to learn, again

been having these late night cravings and the most uncontrollable urge to munch for no reason. can't really say that i am hungry since my metabolism slows down at night but since i got back, i have been having these binging episodes almost every night. not really the best thing especially since i'm trying to loose weight, as well as trying to get healthy again.

since i last left almost seven months back, i don't think our ref has ever been this empty. for the past couple of days i have been mercilessly raiding it for what ever its got! from chocolates, to exotic candies and snacks, to old sweets, even the food that i was supposed to give away as gifts to my parents. the baklava did not stand a chance. our ref did not stand a chance, i doubt even a lock would keep me away from my prize.... whatever it is that's left inside our icebox. however, tonight, our ref bit back!

stashed far deep into the back of our ref lie my brother's liqueur. he's not necessarily hiding it, it's stashed at the back because i believe it got pushed there since no one really drinks in my family. he had a bottle of mango rum and a bottle of raspberry vodka. i'm not really an alcohol drinker myself, most especially since i am severely allergic to the stuff. i'm seriously hyper-reactive to alcohol, even the slightest amount can hit me like a ton of bricks. stupid me however, that wee bit of information did not deter me into digging deep into our fridge and pry out the bottles.

i first tried the mango rum. vikki once told me it was the best she's tasted. i never got to taste it myself even if we had it at home since the bottle back then wasn't open. this time however, it was and almost empty. guess it was that good. i poured a little into my mug and took a sip. the rum was strong but sweet, with a definite taste of mango. it was syrupy than what is expected of rum and from the taste of it, i'm sure it would go greatly with some dessert that i have yet to discover. my next venture was the absolut raspberry. my brother has a couple of bottles which he got from a friend's recommendation. i don't really understand the taste of liqueur except that it tastes like poison. vodka in particular since it has this really strong kick to it, and how it goes down ur throat, like pouring lye into the drain (not that i have ever had lye before!). anyway, the raspberry flavor was supposed to taste good, so i tried it. took a sip and waited. amidst my chokes and gags as i tried desperately to regain composure of myself from that sip, i never really got wind of the raspberry taste... hmm, maybe it was just me.

right on the money, my head started to spin, as in SPIN!!! you've ridden on a carousel before right, turn that up to spinerella speed and that's basically what i felt. up was down and down was somewhere else!!! in a few moments, my head started to feel full, then it got warm, then i started to loose my breath. in less than 10 minutes after taking my two sips, i have gone into complete allergic flare!!!! my body was red from face to toe and i had blotches all over like i have the map of the world on my skin!!! i tried to counter my reaction by taking in chocolate and milk, why, i don't really know. i just sounded like a good idea at the time. that did nothing really except gave me a guilty conscience. damn! that's another 20mins on the stairmaster!

decided to take a cool bath instead, just to cool my skin down. i saw the full force of my reaction after i got out of my clothes. i was terracotta red, it seemed like i went clay mud wrestling! of the brilliant ideas i had today, this one seemed to work the best. the cool water calmed my skin down and i came out looking more pink that red. in a few minutes, the redness on my arms and legs subsided. now, only my face and chest are crimson. hopefully by tomorrow all would be back to normal. i just hope i don't get hives and a hangover (you would be surprised, i really get hangovers from sips...)

wall E

while watching the trailers for "enchanted", they previewed this new creation by pixar studios, to be released mid next year. from the preview alone i fell in LOVE!!! who would have thought a rusty old robot could tug on one's heart strings and make you say, "awwwwww.....". either that or i'm just a sappy fool!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

ribs and whatnots

decided to cook again. tried making barbecue beef ribs over the convection oven today. much to my dismay, the beef is taking forever to soften. my marinade was rather sweet since the barbecue sauce i used was laced already with sugar. i also thought of pickling the ribs in some wine first to add to the flavor. the sugar caramelized too quickly and turned my ribs dark way before they got soft. o well, lesson learned. will try again next time, see if if can fine tune the recipe some more. it taste wonderful, its just that you would need teeth made of steel and cheeks laden with steroids to cut through the meat! ugh!!!


i have been sick lately. don't really know if it was something i ate of drank but i have been having these terrible stomach cramps that won't seem to go away. i'm trying to not take any meds for it since i believe whatever it is that's making me sick, my body should be able to handle, it not, "flush it away". i'm considering going all naturopath and even, go vegan. for no real reason really except to have a change i guess.

funny that i got sick within days of coming back. i have never been ill in my stay in dubai, despite the stress, the odd working hours and the chronic fatigue. god knows i wasn't eating right as well. yet i didn't get sick at all. now, i have a cold, my nose is constantly stuffed and is starting to run. i have an upset tummy, and based on my check-up with my doctor yesterday, i have some liver problem as well. WTF!!?? does it mean that vacations are now dangerous to my health? am i supposed to understand that i will now forever live a highly stressed life just to keep myself "healthy and well"? o dear....


i was watching the telly last night and came across the amazing race asia on AXN. it would be unlike me not to notice how almost all the players are quite good looking. come to think of it, all of them are all pleasing to the eye, starting with the host, Allan Wu (no where near the looks of Phil Keoghan). upon checking the bios of the contestants, i find that they are models, or actors or gym instructors from their native countries. hmmm, not complaining really. i appreciate the fact that there are at least some asian eye candy available on the tube for me to oogle at. i'm starting to get rather tired of drooling over just white meat. doctor said i needed variety in my diet, hihihi.

seriously, yellow meat HANDS DOWN!!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

the weekend update

my weekend this week turned out to be the most activity-packed of them all. it all started with watching the tony award winning musical "into the woods" at the music museum on saturday night with my brother, richie and karts. originally performed by an all star cast headed by the great bernadette peters, the philippine production casted theater stars like menchu lauchengco-yulo, jamie wilson, lyn sherman, and michael williams.

ever since i saw this musical way back when i was in high school on betamax (o di ba!!! betaMAX!! it's so retro!), it has been one of my favorites. i loved the songs, the singing, the acting and of course the story. if i were able to have the chance to actually see a musical done live in broadway, this would be one of them. the local production was done by the theater company owned by monique wilson.

to start things off, we got to the venue rather late despite leaving a full 2 hours before the show. traffic, it slipped my mind, on a saturday is terrible in the metro. add to that that we were heading towards greenhills and that it was christmas MADNESS season. needless to say, we missed a good portion of the first part of the show (where the witch raps about her story) and had to sit at the back till the intermission. o well, at least we were finally inside.

having seen the performance of the original cast, i could not help myself but make some critiques and also in the process, sing along, of course! the play was generally good. the performances were great by some, not so great by the others, and some, well, i wonder what the HELL they were doing there in the first place, second place? there were a lot of comical lines in the play, some that are truly ingenious but unfortunately, due to poor delivery, were not properly conveyed to the audience. the story came through rather clear though, despite a lot of limitations as far as production design is concerned, which i guess is what matters the most. there is still more to pick on, but i choose to just let it go and enjoy the fact that i at least got to experience a bit of my childhood again through the efforts of these wonderful people. (it has to be said though and i can't let it go, that i sincerely feel that i could have played the witch's role FAR better... sorry. i just had to get it out of my system).

sunday came by and after church, my brother brought me to mall of asia, SM's gargantuan megacomplex, to walk around and watch a movie. the movie we decided to see was "hitman". despite having been directed by someone i have never heard of before and the roles performed by actors who seemed to have popped out of no where, the movie turned out to be not so bad. well, of course that wouldn't mean i have nothing to say about it. the plot just wasn't that original, despite it being based on the video game of the same name. the movie to me just felt too "bourne identity" wannabe. the acting was something else as well. timothy olyphant was very stiff, as in cadaver stiff. a little grace would have made his character a bit sexier. you know, ur bald, ur buff, u carry a BIG gun, the least u cud do is make ppl forget James Bond exists for a few seconds and wish you were real! there's a lot of mystery that surrounds agent 47 (or 49, i forget which number he was) but that mystery never got translated through the screen, much more, the curiosity stirred up in the audience. bad acting i suppose. all the other characters in the movie, i'm afraid suffered from the same bad-acting disease. it wasn't really amateur acting, but more like over-kill acting. my brother said the same thing about tim curry once. i guess that's why he's only good when doing voices for cartoons. i have a feeling, i'l see these ppl's names on the cast of cartoon voices soon as well.

speaking of cartoons, i also got to see "enchanted". now, this is the feel-good movie to see if you want to, well, feel good. i was supposed to watch this yesterday but didn't get to the theaters on time. i instead got to see it this afternoon with my friend, ian, whose visiting from toronto. this movie was nice!! the story was great and the acting, brilliant. it's basically what Disney does best! there's nothing much to say about it except that it was a great movie to see!