It’s been a while since my mom and her siblings got together. For my mom’s birthday, Tita Ruth took us to Tagaytay. We spent the night at Tagaytay Higlands, then went around exploring various shops, restaurants and places.
Family food trip As always, it seemed like one big family food trip. We had lunch at Akasaka, a Japanese restaurant located the Highland’s clubhouse. We had appetizers of various sushi platters, while main course was a dish for the each of us. I stuck with the usual rice meal, while everyone tried something new. Dessert was at Geraldine’s a 50’s themed diner inside Highland’s (too bad the jukebox didn’t work anymore).
Dinner was at the Highland’s Peak, where we had shabu-shabu to warm us up. The band there serenaded us and even sang “Happy Birthday” for Mama, culminating with some dancing and singing. We even had our picture taken for the Highland’s magazine haha.
Breakfast the next day was a variety of cold cuts, sausages and Tito Del’s longganisa. Lunch was at RSM, with coffee at Cafe Breton then back to Geraldine’s for some dessert (although some people had sandwiches. Di pa ba kayo busog? Hehe).
Exploring Tagaytay has always been one of the family’s destinations for weekend outings when I was growing up, since it was near Manila, allowing for a “balikan” trip instead of overnight. We went around mostly in Highlands, then a few places outside. We went to Ilog Maria (where my parents met and chatted with the owner, who is originally from Zambales), then to Maryridge/Good Shepherd, where we got to tour the retreat house. It’s such a beautiful and peaceful place. We even tried going to a pottery shop but it was closed for the weekend, so we sort of did a trek for nothing, except for a few laughs.
It was a great weekend. Many thanks to Tita Ruth and her family for accommodating us. 🙂
Sunday late afternoon the matriarchial side of the family once again gathered for a few hours of good food and great company. My aunt (who also happens to be my ninang had just arrived from a trip to Germany, and as it had become the custom in the last year, she invited us over for a bit of German-inspired eats.
Only Nunik and I were able to go to represent our contingent, while the usual suspects of my mom’s siblings and their families were there. First course of the night: cheese and wine. Tita Ruth prepared the cheeses she got in Germany and served it with some homemade pita bread and Asti Cinzano.
I am not normally a wine drinker but I loved the taste of Asti.
Rather than just be a guest, I decided to give a small hand in helping my cousins prepare one of the dishes, spätzle. Ideally, it is soft dough that is rubbed through a slotted plate to form small pieces of pasta then cooked in water. Somehow, the mixture went wrong so we just rolled them to little round pieces and cooked them like macaroni and cheese. The rest of the pasta was cut into long noodles, which we then jokingly called “lomi”.
While eating the cheese, Tita Ruth told us of their misadventure and we had a good time laughing at it. Dinner was roast chicken, lemon chicken, beef stew, steamed vegetables, spätzle and grilled tuna jaw (pangga that was so good, I didn’t bother with eating chicked). We also had salmon sashimi as a pre-dinner, post-appetiser er, appetiser. I didn’t eat rice at all but I was so full.
After more stories, a demonstration of the handy dandy fruit cutter, we got some pasalubong. Nunik and I took a ride with Tita Rose. Tiring, but enjoyable.
September naman! 😀
Note: Pictures to follow later. It’s hard to upload them on this connection.
Wow. I’m on a roll. Yet another post for the week. It feels good to be able to get back into the groove of writing and blogging. Five years ago I used to write blog posts at least twice a day. Now, barely one a week, so this is certainly a good thing.
Met up with Drew at Megamall to meet up with some friends from Plurk who were going to Metro Comic Con. To kill time, we went around Cyberzone to check out things for a future desktop. I drooled over Android phones and DSLRs. Later, we met up with Gilbz, Shabby, Joiz and Ryan at Teriyaki Boy.
After eating, we went around some toy stores, then headed back to the 5th floor to try and get some pictures of the cosplayers. In the end, we got the surprise of our lives when the “crush ng Plurk bayan” got her photo taken by a fan. Oha. Walang costume yan!
Sorry about the bad photos. I wasn’t really in the mood to take them
Ryan & Gilbz had to go, so the remaining four of us went to Forever 21 to look at some things. We dragged Drew, who babysat Jack while we girls went around. I finished my task rather quickly, so I sat with him and took random photos. Made a little girl a wee envious as I hugged Jack.
Afterwards, the three south side folks went home, and I went to meet Den at KFC. Dinner was California Maki Twister, then some rounds of bookhunting. Came up empty handed.
I remember hearing about Yamato: Drums of Japan from my cousin Miel a few years back. Japan Foundation Manila invited them for a performance and she was able to attend. I’ve been wanting to see them but I somehow keep missing the schedule and ending up hearing about it after the event.
Thankfully, through the power of social media, I was able to learn about it early on. I called JFMO to reserve some seats for tonight’s performance (July 10) and dragged various family members to go with me. Partners in crime: my sister Oski, Miel and her boyfriend Vero. Did I mention that this is for free?
Yamato, or Wadaiko Yamato is a performing group of taiko drummers formed in 1993 by Masa Ogawa in Nara, Japan. Ogawa was originally part of another wadaiko group but left to form Wadaiko Yamato. Initially, the group had ten members, five men and five women. While it wasn’t unusual for women to play in such a group, the female members of the Wadaiko Yamato play the same drums as the male members.
In an interview with BBC some years ago, Ogawa said that Japanese drums have a similarity to African drums, where they were used mainly for communication either amongst the people or to their gods and ancestral spirits. Western drums are mostly instrumental in fuction. Wadaika Yamato tries to combine both. (You can read more about the interview with Ogawa here)
We arrived just minutes before the performance began. There was already a huge crowd inside so even if we had reserved tickets, we weren’t able to get seats. No matter, since Sky Dome’s structure made it possible to view the stage from any angle (so long as someone doesn’t stand in front of you). Flash photography was prohibited, although there were marshals asking people not to take pictures at all. After I got told off after taking several pictures, I turned it off.
It’s not my first time to hear a taiko performance, but obviously, it was my first time to hear them live. The first strike of the drumstick on the surface of the drum is unforgettable. It reverberates deep down, you just don’t hear it, but feel it as well.
For nearly two hours, we were treated to a world class performance by excellent artists. It wasn’t just a musical experience, but also a visual one. The Yamato performers moved along with the beat of their instruments, and even had entertaining skits that had the audience laughing and participating.
It wasn’t just all drums too. One of the performances had the female members all playing shamisen, a three-stringed guitar-like instrument that is played with a bachi (think of big guitar pick). Another performance had the male members playing with small cymbals, while in their encore number, one of the female players had a flute.
Watching them perform would give you an idea that it wasn’t just a matter of hitting the drums. For one, the muscles on the drummers’ arms would tell you that it takes a lot of effort. Each member, including the females, would definitely need to have have strong arm muscles to be able to play tirelessly for nearly two hours. And it wasn’t just the arms. They moved around the stage, jumping and dancing. Sometimes they’d carry the drums around while playing them. I tell you, the energy that’s flowing from them will make you feel like you’ve performed as hard as they have after the show.
I’m stoked that I was able to get the chance to watch them. If they come back, I’ll definitely go see them again.
On the second Sunday of June, we once again gathered for a food trip. This time, we decided to try our hand at cooking our own dishes.
The fare’s pretty simple. Tita Rose prepared pancit, Todel did cream dori. I made some pesto for pasta while Miel, Lee and Dan made grilled burgers and liempo. Rice was courtesy of my mom and siblings.
It was a great night. Food was great, company even more so. We stayed up until 4 AM, just chatting and drinking. I was so tired that I had to skip out on meeting Drew the next day in favor of staying longer in bed. Hana’s takoyaki will just have to wait.
A week after my Zambales trip with my friends, I was back. This time, I was with my family for a long overdue trip.
Very early Saturday morning, Todel, Tarose, Miel & I left Manila for the five hour trip to Zambales. We had breakfast at Delifrance along NLEX, and had a pretty much uneventful ride all throughout.
Historical stopover We passed by the Magsaysay ancestral home and decided it would be a good idea to stop by for a look. I’ve been passing this place for years and this is the first time I’ve ever been inside.
It wasn’t much different from the old house we have in our town. It had many similar designs, like the lower part of windows that open, or the very spacious second floor. The house was turned over by the Magsaysay family to the government so it can be preserved. I don’t quite like the mint green color though, but the house is full of interesting things.
Candelaria again Upon arriving in Cande, we stopped by at home to say hello to my grandpa, and take a much needed toilet break. I grabbed some swimwear and we went to the beach where my parents and sister were waiting for us with lunch. Needless to say, we all dived in with much gusto.
After an hour or so of chatting and rest, we went to the market to buy booze and ingredients for our dinner. We hung around by this man who was selling homemade fishballs that tasted really great.
Back at the beach house, we saw that the videoke machine my parents rented had arrived. So while waiting for a good time to swim (late afternoon again, so we won’t get sunburned too much), we sang our hearts out. I was the first (and for a long time, the only) one to get a score of 100.
We went for a swim just as the sun was going down. The water was calm and warm, which was very relaxing. Later we took a walk to Lolo Vering’s place (where we stayed in my last entry) and got to talk to one of our uncles. Making our way back, we ran into friends of my parents and another aunt. After a few minutes of talking, we headed back inside for dinner.
Miel’s parents and her brother Dan arrived just as we were getting ready to eat. We had our dinner while listening to songs courtesy of the videoke machine. Afterwards, we brought out the Absolut Vodka, Sprite and some pulutan. Unfortunately, all of us couldn’t make it past midnight so after several rounds of drinking and music, we all went to bed.
Day II: Potipot Island again The sky was already bright when I woke up and to my surprise, Otki, Miel, Tita Ruth and Tito Vic were already up. I went out and found them taking pictures of the sunrise. This was the first time in a while that I’ve seen sunrise from the beach, because most of the time, trees were blocking the way. We were lucky to have an obstructed view while the sun rose from behind the mountains.
After breakfast, we went our own ways. Tita Ruth wanted to take pictures, while Miel, Dan, Otki, Tita Rose and I wanted to go to Potipot. So Todel took us to the same place were we got the boat the last time. The water was a bit more rocky this time, and I was a lot more nervous than before. We arrived at the island just fine though, and after scouting for a spot, we dove right in.
There were still a lot of people, but slightly less than last weekend’s. We had a nice time just enjoying the water, taking jump shots and talking about responsible tourism. Later, we got up to find another spot and eventually we arrived at the driftwood again. Thankfully, there weren’t much people so we were able to take several shots. The water was low too, and we were able to get to the rocks just a little off the shore. Wish I had my aqua shoes though.
As we made our way back, we couldn’t help but pick up trash along the way. There’s really quite a lot of it, and we managed to gather about three plastic bags worth. We even picked up trash that was right in front of these people talking. This led to a discussion again of suggestions of how responsible tourism can be implemented.
Our trip back was really rocky. The waves were higher, and I was truly, truly scared (even if I had a life vest). When we got back on dry land I could just kiss ground. We met with Tita Ruth, who had halo-halo with Tito Vic and Tito Del at Dawal Beach Resort. We headed back to the beach house for lunch, then I headed home to fix my things.
Back to Manila Before leaving for Manila, everyone passed by the house to say hello to Lolo. It was around 3PM when we left. It was a rather quiet trip, but somewhere in Castillejos, we got caught in traffic, thanks to a Santacruzan. Because it really took a while, Miel and I got off and took some pictures. It let ToDel get some sleep too, so it was all good.
We met up with Tita Ruth at SBMA, where we had dinner at Xtremely Xpresso. It was as good as I remembered. Once again, we had the giant burger (which was already a meal in itself) and their delicious pizza. We took home the leftovers and after one last stop at the Petron station to refuel, we continued our way to Manila.
It was nealy 10 PM when we arrived, tired but still on a high. It was really great to have been able to hang out with my family, and I hope we could do it again soon.
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.
I’ve been really lazy with blogging in past year or two. When I first started I could write about three entries a day. Now, I’m lucky if I would get in the mood to write one a week. I’ve got tons of drafts, but hardly get them posted. I must change that.
For now, I’m going to go through my week really quick, if you’re interested.
Friday, April 23 Went with Presea to Saleng: The Traveling Bonfires at Conspiracy Bar & Garden Cafe on Lornadahl‘s invite. It’s a fund-raising event for ACAY (Association Compassion Asian Youth), a non-profit humanitarian service organization for youth at risk and run under the Missionaries of Mary. Screening of several short films (my favorite was Khavn de la Cruz’ “Cans and Slippers”), poetry reading (best poems of the night were from Of Wisdom and Love) and music was the entertainment of the night. Artists like The Sleepyheads, Anak ni Aling Juana, Ka-Laya, The Late Isabel and one of the ACAY beneficiaries performed to a very appreciative audience.
I enjoyed The Sleepyheads, as Jayvee del Rosario’s playing style reminded me so much of Gene Krupa. Conrad Garcia’s words (poems turned lyrics) were hypnotizing and inspiring. I had a great time with my friends, even though I had to leave early (early by Lornadahl’s standards haha).
Sunday, April 25 I met with Drew late in the afternoon to watch Kick Ass. Since we didn’t make the 4pm screening, we went around the nearby shops to pass time. I had him taste Dr. Pepper (which comes in ridiculously small cans now), looked at comics, furniture shops (I saw an Eero Aarnio ball chair, not sure if it was an original but it sure looked like one) then headed to food court. He had his early dinner, while I just nommed on hakkao from President’s (ironic that I had it here instead of Binondo). While waiting we saw some men sleeping at the Glorietta 4 park. It started off with one man, then two, then three. I couldn’t stop laughing at the scene.
Kick Ass was great! Bloody, violent, but fun and in an odd way, sexy. I liked the audience too, because they just watched appreciatively and reacted well to the scenes. No irritating commentators (like when we saw HTTYD), and I got to love the two guys in front of me who moved to different seats, leaving the seats in front of Drew and me clear. Yeeha. No more obstacles! Thanks for the movie Drew 🙂
Monday, April 26 My grandpa arrived the night before, to my surprise, because I thought it was going to be my dad and my brother. Turns out Lolo had his check-up scheduled so he had to come here. Miks accompanied him for his morning appointment, while I went with him to his evening appointment which we almost missed. The findings were good, his heart and cholesterol were normal and healthy for someone his age (going on 85), but the doctor wanted to check his kidneys. I hope that turns out well too.
Thursday, April 29 Salary came in early and I immediately set aside a substantial amount for savings. I didn’t want to end up using all up of my money and not knowing where it went. Lunch was free since the company was hosting a birthday luncheon for all the April celebrants (something they do monthly). My only expense was the iced caramel macchiato I got when the team went to Starbucks. My boss gave me a mug as a gift, which was actually a request from me.
There were some parlor games during the lunch too. My team lost, because the guys didn’t want to strip. The team that won had the guys stripping down to just their pants, much to the audience’s delight. I didn’t get a prize but since one of the winners already had one before, he gave me his extra. Yay!
After work, I headed to Cubao to meet my family. Tita Marilyn was here with her husband for my cousin Biboy’s oath-taking to the bar. We had dinner at Seafood Island and had a great time. The food was great, the company more amazing. It was wonderful to see my cousins, and get some goodies from Dumaguete. Tita knows how much I love the chicharon there.
Nunik and Cindy arrived home a little later from their road trip up north. They told us stories of what they did, and showed us the stuff they got. Nunik bought two kilos of Vigan longganisa, which I shall cook tomorrow.
Friday, April 30 For lunch, the team went to Cafe Lydia in Marikina. Our manager Mryla suggested this as a sort of belated birthday blowout. It’s a “hole in the wall” place, and I can’t tell you how to get there except ride a jeep from Pasig and when you get to Marikina, it’ll pass by there. I had some pasta with bacon and mushroom sauce, and we had anchovy pizza and buffalo wings for appetizers. It’s a lovely place, with great food (the servings are more than enough for one person) at a very affordable price. Lunch and dinner usually require reservation due to number of people who come there but our lunchtime visit had only a few diners, surprisingly.
Oh, and we did three cities in 5 minutes. Yeah. 🙂
Tomorrow, I’ll be seeing my friends. I hope we make it to where we want to go. Details after.
Holy Week has always been a big deal for me growing up. Every year, it signaled the start of vacation. It was when tons of relatives would make the trip home from wherever they are and spend a week or two here. My cousins, both first and second degree ones, would be here and we’d spend the entire day playing around the house or be at the beach. At the end of vacation, we’d be all brown and complaining of sunburn, but we all truly didn’t care anyway.
This year, not a lot of relatives came over. I guess real life kept them all busy, and they all had other places to go. It would be nice to get everyone together, see how they’ve changed and meet the new additions to the family.
Summer, specifically Holy Week, is also the time for family reunions. We’ve hosted quite a few in the past, before it was here at home, then later it was at Lolo Vering’s beach. Lola Lilay used to be the keeper of the registry and family tree, and she knew a lot about her ancestors, who married who and so on. This year, Otki and I manned the registration booth. It was interesting to see relatives arrive, people who I never met. It’s also funny when someone you know arrives and when you see them you’d go “Pinsan pala kita!”
Easter Sunday I woke up around 3:30 AM to wait for the procession that’ll be passing by our house for the Salubong. It is a pre-dawn re-enactment of Jesus and his mother Mary’s meeting after he was resurrected from the dead. Two groups of people would leave the Church: one for Jesus, one for Mary, and they’d go around the town then head to the plaza, where an angel would descend from heaven (in this case, a high platform) and take the veil of mourning off Mary.
My grandma used to participate in this, and I thought it would be nice to do it again. So I woke up early and waited. Turns out I woke up too early (about an hour ahead of their schedule). Later, as I was drifting off to sleep again, I heard some music playing. I ran outside and waited.
What I remember from my childhood is that the musicians usually come a few minutes before the Mary group, which is the ones the females join. The males join Jesus. However, for some reason the band is with Jesus, which is the one I ended up joining because the Mary group went the other direction and didn’t pass by in front of our house.
It was nice walking around town at 4:30 in the morning. It was cold, and quiet (if you don’t count the noise we made). Many people were also awake, and had candles in their homes as a vigil for Jesus. It was probably the same for the Mary route.
We met at the town plaza, where the priest and the “angels” (little girls in white dresses) were waiting. Once the statues were in place, the “angel” comes down and lifts the veil. Then we sing “Hallelujah” and go to the church for the mass.
It’s very nice to see people still doing this tradition. I’m glad I got to take a few pictures of it.
P.S. Eating nothing but fish and veggies for a week is good in not making me feel bloated.
I went out in the morning to watch “Alice in Wonderland.” I expected a lot of people but from experience, watching the first show scheduled is usually the best time because there’s not much people. Of course if you could get your tickets in advance, so much the better but I suppose that depends on the theater.
I won’t spoil it by yapping on about it, but suffice to say a Burton/Depp/Bonham-Carter project is often always a winner in my book. Not to mention there’s a few other of my favorite people there, namely Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry. Anne Hathaway was lovely too, and I couldn’t help but find similarities in her actions to her role in “Princess Diaries.” If you’ve seen both movies, you’ll know what I mean.
Too bad I don’t have pictures of the posters (which I’d love to collect) or the cardboard stand things. I’d love to watch this movie again (and I probably will over the weekend).
SM Megamall had this activity for Iron Man 2 and there were these cosplayers the kids were posing with.
A sticker in the FX I was riding. I agree, but somehow some people don’t know that they have bad body odor.
Sign somewhere outside our place. It’s actually quite hidden and I wouldn’t have spotted it if the trike didn’t stop at this particular part.
My dad & grandpa are here for the latter’s monthly check-up. We went to SM Marikina (I’m surrounded by SMs!) for some errands and they had their hair cut. I would also like to apologize for my “katarayan” to the attendant at Octagon. I think my dad was surprised too. Hehe.