Yearly Archives: 2012

Hello 2013

Final 2012 Project

My favorite new year greetings from one of my favorite people in the world, Neil Gaiman. I did this just today. I hope you like it.

Here’s to 2013. 2012 was a very bumpy ride, and it wasn’t exactly the best. But I believe that it was meant to happen for a reason, and that come what may, I, my loved ones, my family and friends will come out triumphant, happy and stronger.

Peace and happiness to you all.

Hong Kong: A Cool Surprise

It’s hard not to set any expectations when you travel. These days, it’s very easy to research information about the places you want to go to. Do-it-yourself trips are pretty much the norm instead of leaving it all up to a travel agent.

My trip to Hong Kong was not a spur of the moment decision. Afterall, I had a specific event to go to , so it took a few months of planning to make it work. Where to stay, what else to do and what to bring. I even asked friends what to expect weather-wise when I get there.

Someone mentioned that it would be cold, as March was between the end of winter and start of spring. Given that the coldest weather I’ve ever experienced was Baguio weather, that would be my only benchmark. The weather forecast for the week of my stay in Hong Kong was around 21 to 24 C, which didn’t seem so bad since I’ve experienced 10 C and less in Baguio several times. So I left Manila with the same clothes I use to for that climate: one jacket. I was confident that I’d be OK.

Big mistake. The moment I stepped out of the Hong Kong International Airport, I knew I miscalculated. The numbers were right, but it didn’t match the actual feel of the temperature. It was more than nippy, and it didn’t help that the cold would seep through my jacket and my jeans when the wind blew.

I was happy that I brought along my bonnet, which helped. When I got off my stop in Wan Chai, it was drizzling. The walk to the hotel warmed me up, but I knew that it was imperative that I get a new jacket.

In the morning, I dressed up as warmly as I could by layering my clothes, zipping up my jacket and donning a bonnet. However, it was much colder now, with the slight rain and the winds blowing. Getting a jacket became a priority, but I had to consider my budget too. In the end, I bought a scarf because it was cheap and I always wanted to have one (good enough reason, right?). And surprisingly, it was able to keep me warm.

Lesson learned. Better to bring an extra jacket and be comfortable. Although, I do love my scarf.

Memories and a history lesson

My grandfather had a box of old photos in his cabinet, which we unearthed when we were painting his room. It was a mix of his family’s photos, my grandmother’s family’s photos, my dad’s childhood and high school photos. I even saw my godfathers’ graduation photos. Hilarious, but also very sentimental.

There was an album among the photos, just a small one that held a few photos inside. Opening it, my mom said it was my Lola’s older sister, Lola Aurora. She was rather young, and was wearing black. As we went through it, Mama said it was most likely ceremonies for Lola Aurora’s husband, Lolo Condring. He was Captain Condrado Yap, who fought in the Korean War and was killed in action during the Battle of the Yultong Bridge.
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Unearthed from the baul: Child’s yukata

When I was five or six years old, a friend of my parents came to visit. His name is Mark, and he was an English teacher in Japan. I have no idea how my parents knew him. He stayed with us for a few days, and the strongest memory I have of him was as a tall, thin Caucasian guy with slightly thinning hair. Once, he wore a white shirt and a dark vest, and cheekily, I told him that he looked like a waiter.

He was nice though, and he gave gifts to my brother and I. He gave Nunik a Zoids toy, which I liked to play with because it moved. He also gave our caretaker, Ate Huling, a box of Hershey’s Kisses. To me, he gave this.

It was a child-sized yukata. I can’t remember if it came with anything else, but my mom remembers something like a pillow (I tell her now that it probably was a ribbon, not a pillow, as we are wont to think because of its size). I recall wearing this only once, because it was really small for me when I got it.

The fabric is not made of regular cotton, because it feels a little brittle when I touch it. It also has a lining, unlike the yukata I have now. But the cut and the seams are the same. I am a little worried that if I do use it on my niece (it looks like it would fit her nicely), it might tear at some places.

My mom found these in the same box where my late Lola Lilay kept some of my old school uniforms. It was fun seeing it again, and I hope that I can take care of it better now.

Booking Through Thursday: Records

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is:

Do you keep a list of the books you’ve read? How? In a journal? Through one of the online services? If so, WHY? To keep good records for future reference? To make sure you don’t accidentally reread? If not, why not? Too eager to move on to the next book? Too lazy? Never thought to bother?

When I was a kid, I used to list down every book I read. I guess it was because I just wanted to have a list, and it was also something that helped me prevent having double copies when my parents and I would go to the bookstore on weekends.

As I grew older and read more books, it became more difficult to keep it all recorded. There was time when I tried to list all the books down, this time because I wanted to be sure that I had all my books as I’m a little OC that way.

I signed up for GoodReads and LibraryThing, but I haven’t been able to put in all the books I’ve read. What I do now is I put in the ones I’m reading and want to read, and when I remember the title of a book I read before, I add it in. Admittedly, it’s partly for the bragging rights, the “Oh hey, I’ve read this,” but on another level, I like talking about the books, and joining these online services help me find people to discuss it with.

It’s also a good way to recommend books to people. My cousin is at the age when she’s looking for books to read, and having her join these sites helps us talk about what would be a great book for her to read next. The community is awesome too, and I find new books to read thanks to other people’s lists.

Philippine Volcanoes: Asian 5 Nations

Because my blog is really boring and I haven’t really been writing, here’s some photos I took when Joiz and I went to watch the Volcanoes play to qualify for the HSBC Asian 5 Nations last April.

Philippine Volcanoes

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Game one was on April 15 (the day after my birthday!), with the Philippines competing against Singapore. Game two was on April 18 against Chinese Taipei, while game three was on the 21st versus Sri Lanka. Having never seen the Volcanoes play before, I had no idea what to expect. Singapore looked like a strong contender, as with Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka.

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My honest take? The Volcanoes were at equals with Singapore, but had a slight advantage over Chinese Taipei when it comes to physical strength. Sri Lanka was a fierce contender, and was probably the most nerve-wracking game of the series.

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Hopefully this won’t be the last games of the Philippine Rugby that I’ll see. I hope to watch the Lady Volcanoes one of these days.

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Homemade chili flakes

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What to do with ripe, red hot peppers? Not being a fan of hot foods, these little fiery spices have no use to me. Yet I can’t resist plucking these siling labuyo off the many bushes that grow wild around the house. At the most, my dad mixes them in bagoong, toyo or suka, but on the whole, it dries up without being used in any of the dishes we’d prepare.

My brilliant idea (born out of boredom) was to dry the chilies and pound it to flakes. Though I often opt to keep my food on the opposite side of hot, I don’t mind adding a dash of it to my pizza every once in a while. Hence, the brilliant idea. Given that the weather the past few days had always been warm, bright and sunny, it wouldn’t take long for my small harvest to dry.

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Every day I’d pick a handful of chilies, and add it to my growing pile on the bilao. I’d place it on top of the kalan’s roof, away from chickens who would feast on it. A few days later, the batch is dry and crumbly. I remove the stalks, and use a mortar and pestle to turn them into flakes (A process which takes a while). Watching a movie or reading a book helps pass the time, while the action of pounding the chilies helps relieve stress.

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My efforts were rewarded when later I had a nice amount of chili flakes, enough to fill a standard sized McCormick spice bottle. It smelled pretty good, and packed a pretty nice punch. Mama used it for the kilawin we had for our beach picnic lunch the next day, and while it wasn’t that hot to make me cry, it was enough to add a little kick in the flavor.

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Better than the dried pepper flakes you get at the market. The color is so much better too, and it didn’t cost me a centavo. I love it.