I suck at titles, seriously

Saturday had me visiting Riverbanks for the Hobbyworx toy fair. Last month they had their event at Glorietta 5, where my friends managed to get great bargains on some merchandise. This month’s event had fewer booths, but had a cosplay and auction activities in partnership with Cosplay.ph.

I met Ryan, then with Drew. Nothing much to look at (except for the fascinating and somewhat creepy giant janitor fish in Marikina River), so we decided to head on to Makati to meet up with the rest of the Plurkers for pizza. I missed seeing Yue because I didn’t get there fast enough.

The trip to Cubao itself was an adventure. We were stuck in traffic next to a truckload of pigs. We couldn’t take the smell, so we got off at Project 4 and took a different route to Cubao. It was a familiar place for both Ryan and myself, so we pointed out places to Drew (much like touring a foreigner, which is now a running joke amongst us). When we got to Cubao, we stopped over at Ali Mall only long enough for me to get my Pinky:St dolls and the Chopper hat for Joiz.

The line for MRT tickets was long. It was also crowded inside the train, so we sort of just squeezed against each other. It was marginally better than the horrendous traffic along EDSA. When we arrived at Magallanes, we took a jeep to Makati Cinema Square, where Joiz was with Shabby, Marsha and Jan.


Danbo and the Chopper hat


Danbo wants pizza


Danbo loves the giant juice


I like the Chopper hat!

We ordered pizza, and knowing that it would take a while, Ryan, Drew and I went to Waltermart to look at Great Toys. Drew wanted to buy a toy because I got some and Ryan got comics. :p He ended up getting Revoltech Airi from Queen’s Blade.

Dinner was fun. We had the 27″ pizza and a plate of pasta. Surprise! Busog. Took pics, made fun of Joiz then headed off to Greenbelt for drinks. I got sleepy after one bottle of Super Dry, so I had coffee. I looked so cool.

I had to leave early because I had to be up and about by 6 AM the next day for the Samsung Galaxy Tab tour. I was late in getting up, but still earlier than everyone. I should get plus points… say, a free Tab. Hehe.

Labor day events

My Labor Day events anyway.

Fristine told us about this food tour event at Bonifacio High Street happening last Saturday. I dragged Presea and Ching along, but it turns out we didn’t make the cut-off even if we were early for the sign-up. Pfft. Although I was disappointed, I didn’t feel it much of a loss, as opposed to this woman who said she was from McCann-Ericsson and was informed that someone else already signed up for the tour in her name, and brought along a few other people to boot. Talk about stealing identity.

Ching, Presea and I ended up at Conti’s. Afterwards, we walked around and met Den, who decided to go to Taguig to beat the heat. We got her books (may bagong convert haha!) then she got into a conversation with Presea about writing, and along with Ching, decided to establish something that’ll combine our interests and earning.

Franco live in Eastwood
I went home with just enough time to freshen up. It took me roughly ten minutes to get from the house to Eastwood, where I met Miel and Vero, and their friend Pieter (who is Belgian, likes beer, can speak Tagalog and Cebuano, and thanks to Vero for the lesson in the differences between the Visayan dialects ^_^).

We stood for about 30 minutes before the band played. It was awesome. From the first, they really rocked the place. I love Franco’s aura. He kept saying “positive vibes!” and I really believe in it, coming from him. Think about this. All my photos of the band members were blurred. With Franco, even if he was moving around, I managed to get clear pictures (as clear as you can get with a compact point and shoot).



Anyway, I love this group. Nunik was already sharing with us Franco’s songs even when he was still with Inyo, but to hear him live, wow. Get his cd, purchase, not download.

Passed up on Route 196 (glam rock night) with Miel, Vero and Pieter.

Professor Layton
I went to Greenhills today to pick up my Revoltech Professor Layton. The ride was pretty quick from our place, but when I arrived at Virra Mall, I was in shock. I’ve been to Greenhills on and off the years, but I’ve never stepped inside Virra Mall. Gone is the old, dark and rather dangerous mall that I know, replaced by a bright and very busy commercial complex. If it weren’t for the fact that I was entering from the garden, I wouldn’t even realize where I was.

The National Bookstore I know is now an appliance store. The Dec and Baker’s Fair is some shop I can’t remember. The area where C.A.T.S used to be is now Banco De Oro and the Metrobank outside was now a cafe of sorts. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Post Office was still there, but it was rather sad to realize that when I stand in front of Virra Mall, I can’t see my high school anymore. I told it to David (my high school guy best friend) via SMS, and he couldn’t believe I haven’t been back since then.

Shoppesville, on the other hand, is more familiar than Virra Mall. Even if it had a facelift of sorts (the lighting’s brighter for one), it still had many of the same shops that I used to visit back then. The Mercury Drug was still there, and the shop above it that was full of knick-knacks. I didn’t see if the Booksale was still there, but the fabric store where my grandma used to go was still around.

I spent a few minutes getting lost, then got my toy, then got lost again. But all in all I was in an out of Greenhills in less than an hour. I didn’t feel like going around. Maybe next time.

Cooked some pasta for dinner. Not bad. Now I need to catch up with some work.

It’s been educational

Late yesterday afternoon, I met up with Drew at Makati to attend a lecture on teaching Katakana his friend Richard invited him to go to. Despite the fact that I can’t speak Japanese and the only sentence I can speak decently is the basic greeting, there were a few things I learned. I even managed to understand what one teacher was talking about. I’m not sure how but I think it was due to his hand gestures and facial expressions.

Food trip
Finally got to eat at Sizzling Pepper Steak. It wasn’t as good as I expected, but it was good enough, and one order fills you up well.

Today, Gerone and I seemed to do nothing but eat. We had lunch at Jumbo Japs, nibbled on Reese’s Pieces while waiting for 1 pm, then bought 3 pieces of day old and two pieces of penoy. Did I mention there’s sans rival in the fridge?

Check-up
We finally were able to bring Dion to the doctor. He has asthma, and the family was worried that since he was studying in the middle of the city, he might be prone to getting attacks and wanted to see a specialist.

We went to Medical City in Ortigas to Dr. Michelle de Vera. She said that what we’re doing now for Dion was good, considering that he doesn’t get attacks very often (but when he does, it’s really tough). She recommended that he carry an inhaler around all the time, use it as often as needed and call her if he uses it more often than normal.

Going around
There’s an exhibit of sorts at the LRT Cubao station, and I got some pictures of it. Really interesting stuff.

Later on, Dion and I went around Recto to look for the books he needs for school. I was able to go inside FEU as well. It’s my first time to do so and I was pleasantly surprised. From the outside, you’d think that it would be crowded with a cluster of buildings. Definitely not like UP Diliman or Ateneo.

However, the campus has this huge space in the middle, and the surrounding areas are nicely landscaped with big trees providing cool shade. Not something you’d expect smack dab in the middle of the city.

Everyone who comes in gets their temperature checked and if found negative, stamped on with a “pass”. I wasn’t exempted haha.

Hello Dumaguete

I still managed to go around Dumaguete and see the sights, as well as taste their food and learn about the place. I had read up on it before I went, and I was given some tips on where to go by my online friend Zerisse, who is from Dumaguete. Still, nothing quite beats the actual experience.

On the plane again
The only time I’ve been in a plane was when I went to Cebu last 2006. The experience was truly amazing, from the moment I arrived at the airport until the plane landed in Mactan. I still felt excited, as giddy as any kid who still finds wonder in something so ordinary (though I think flying is not an ordinary thing).

I was disappointed that neither Lolo Sal nor I got a window seat. The plane (we took Philippine Airlines) was a small one, with three seats at either side. I was in the middle, and Lolo had the aisle seat so he could stretch a bit. Occasionally, I’d peek over my seatmate’s shoulder to the world outside.

The weather wasn’t good when we left. It was raining really hard since the morning, and the flight had been delayed for nearly thirty minutes: first, the call to board was about ten minutes late, while the weather hindered take off for nearly 20 minutes. There were already five planes behind us and two ahead before we were cleared.

Other than that. It was a rather quiet flight. When the captain announced that we were descending, I took a look outside and was surprised that the plane was flying very low above the sea. That had me worried because my previous experience with flying had us above land at that height. Soon, the water was so close, I nearly asked my seatmate “Kuya, wala pa ba lupa?” The next thing I knew, I felt the thud of the plane’s wheels as it hit the runway. I learned then that the Dumaguete airport’s runway starts/ends at the shore of the beach. Continue reading Hello Dumaguete

Discoveries

I had often said that reunions should occur on happy moments, not on times when there is a loss. However, it is not often the case. My trip to Dumagete was just that. Though I was excited to visit my relatives and see the place, I wish that I had better reasons to be there.

I barely remember my great aunt, Lola Auring. I think I met her only once, when she was in Candelaria for my Lola Lilay’s funeral. I remember her children more, my aunt Marilyn and my uncle Melvin (who had also passed away not long after Lola Lilay) and I haven’t met any of my cousins from that side of the family.

So I was both excited and apprehensive.

The first cousins I met were my aunt Marilyn’s sons, Jun Jun and Biboy. When Tita texted me about who will pick us up from the airport, I was worried because I don’t know them from Adam. When we went out of the arrival area, Lolo immediately walked towards two young men I didn’t know, whereas I was trying to hold him back. Thank God he knew them.

At the funeral parlor, I greeted my aunts and another great aunt, Lolo’s youngest sister Juliet. I talked a bit with my aunts and uncles, who introduced me to more cousins.

What hit me the most was that these cousins of mine had strong similarities to my brothers. That’s when it dawned on to me that my lifelong belief that we got our looks either from the Banares side or the De La Llana side was shattered. A good chunk of it came from the Sales side, and it was rather amusing to note.

I must have stared at them for a long time. Jude looked uncannily like Dion, while several aunts said Carl and I share similarities around the eyes and cheekbones (though I think he looks like Nunik). Finally, I know where my cousin Jordan got his most distinct feature, because my cousin Neil has it too.

Amidst the sadness of the loss, I made discoveries. Perhaps this is the silver lining in the cloud.

Baguio weekend

Last weekend, Den and I went to Baguio. She told me that she had been hankering for a visit to our college town and asked if I wanted to come along (then again, whether or not I could go wouldn’t stop her hehe).

I had several reasons why I couldn’t go: work, lack of budget, plus I promised to go to my best friend’s thanksgiving dinner that weekend (she just passed the bar, yahoo!). But then, it was Baguio… and I wanted to see my sister who my parents said wasn’t feeling well when they visited her the previous week.

It took some juggling, but I managed to get a Friday leave and cough up some funds. I planned to go back on Saturday around lunch, leaving Den in Baguio. The last minute, my brother Miks and Den’s sister Mic joined us, so not only was it a friend bonding trip, but a sibling bonding one.

We decided to take the earliest trip from Manila to Baguio, but instead of the midnight trip, we got the 2 AM one. Not bad, but somehow, there was another mix-up in the tickets (which happened the last time Den & I went to Baguio too. I wonder if there’s a jinx of sorts?). The trip was rather long too, closer to seven hours instead of six like it was originally.

We arrived in Baguio amidst the sounds of Air Supply videoke and the Pork Chop Duo. Upon arrival, we went to meet my sister Otki, drop off our stuff and go to UP.

Ah, UP. No words could describe you. You’ve changed but I still love you. We had breakfast at the Upper Canteen and went around the campus, with me as the tour guide. We had the requisite pictures with Oble and waited for Otki.





Just because there’s a UP in Diliman or Manila doesn’t make this UP less of… UP. ^_~

We spent the rest of the morning at SM while waiting for 2 PM so we could check in. Den & Mic slept the afternoon away, while my siblings and I went back to SM to shop and meet my friend Yvie. Afterwards, Otki went with her friends, while I lounged at the hotel using their free wi-fi.

Dinner was at our staple restaurant, Steaks and Toppings, and afterwards, a nice walk along Session Road.

The next day, Miks went home early, while Den & I met up with our classmates Kat and Jang for breakfast at Pizza Volante along Session (this branch is what the locals like better than the one at SM hehe). It was a wonderful hour of chatting and good food.

Afterwards, Den went to meet her friend in SM (again, hehe) and I went to meet Otki. My friends from our office’s IT were in Baguio to work on something, so I thought I’d visit them. I wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunity to see this place up close.





I caught the 1:10 PM bus to Manila, while Otki went back to school. My trip was more than eight hours, and I barely made it to my best friend’s party — but I did! The only thing I wasn’t able to do that weekend was watch the Davids in concert, but I didn’t mind… much :p

Busy weekend, but such fun. I am thankful.

Book heaven

I have a strong love for secondhand bookshops. More than half of my books are from the bargain bins, mostly out of print works or books that are very hard to find here in the Philippines (not to mention expensive if I order it from abroad), but for most part those are lucky and chance finds.

day4-books.jpg It never fails that when I’m at any mall, I make a beeline for the bookstore, and if I know there are book thrift shops, I’d pass by those too. When I’m with my two college best friends, these are our usual haunts. Even my friend Bakemono knows that I have to pass by a bookstore when we meet up to watch a movie. It’s like a blackhole that sucks me right in.

Today, I was with Den and her sister. We met up in a bookstore, where I got a copy of her book and a sketchpad (small enough to lug around & it has a nice, solid back). As we walked around the mall to head to another big bookstore, we passed by a small, secondhand bookstall. Needless to say, we got sucked in.

There were scores of amazing titles by writers we both loved, as well as a few others that I had heard of and wanted to read. The prices were reasonable, and I lamented the fact that I didn’t bring enough money with me. I went home with just one book. It was hard leaving those books. Luckily, the attendant told me they had a branch that was nearer where I lived, so it should be easy for me to find copies of the titles I wanted. Yay!

Then I had the sudden thought of working in that big bookstore in Bonifacio High Street. Admittedly, I’m not really comfortable with the idea of facing people (I am somewhat anti-social), but the idea of working around books sounds like heaven. Yes, yes I know it’s not going to be that easy, but I am very tempted to try it.

Nothing to lose, much to gain, I say.

up, up and away!

I haven’t attended a flag ceremony in a long time. Today, we were asked to attend because our office was hosting it for the entire division. My shift was supposed to start at 10am and end at 7pm, but I started it early today. I still had to leave at 7 though.

It was interesting. I didn’t know that there have been changes to the flag ceremony, like the panatang makabayan was no longer being recited (though I don’t know if this was done in schools as well. After a few words from one of the officers, we sang “Pilipinas Kong Mahal” (I was a bit ashamed that I struggled over the words, while I saw museum director Jeremy Barnes singing it with no difficulties at all).

14th Hot Air Balloon Fest
I went with my cousin Miel and her family to Clark for the lat day of the Hot Air Balloon fest yesterday. I spent the night at their house after we watched Boyce Avenue. Dinner was best described as homemade gourmet courtesy of Ate Angge (salamat, Ate!) and we spent the rest of the night just hanging out. I watch Nodame Cantabile on Animax and didn’t fall asleep until midnight. Woke up around 2 am and got ready to leave for Clark.

We sort of got lost on the way but we arrived safe and sound at the venue. I thought I was going to have some problem with the ticket as mine was the one printed out by Ticketnet, but aside from an odd look by the ticket guy, he let me through. Weee.

I felt like a kid. There was so many things to look at, so many things to try. I wanted to ride the balloon, climb in the jet or the tanks, people watch, eat all sorts of food…

It was a good day, if a bit warm towards midday. The weather was great, allowing the balloons to fly. It was amazing to see them rise to the sky. Had some delicious German sausages for breakfast, expensive, but worth it.


Notice the guy on the right, both his hat and apron

Also checked out the exhibit by the army, navy and airforce. Got to hold a bazooka, but I wasn’t able to ride the jet.

When we were heading back, we saw a gathering of vintage car enthusiasts. Volkswagon, Fords, Toyotas, Mitsubishis, etc. It was really interesting to see them all tricked out and in excellent working condition.

It was a good morning. Will definitely have to check it out next year again.

More pictures here.