Monday, July 12, 2010

Wanted Sexmate Ad Promotes Office Hilarity

I was crazy mad when I discovered that someone posted my number in OLX. A site where people can exchange stuff, sell stuff and peddle their numbers for a cheap sexual thrill. I may offend some people who are fervent believers of this website. But guess what, I don't care.

Can you read the underlined part in the picture above? The ad has since been taken down after I reported it last night. However, because of that magical phenomenon called caching, part of the content still remains when you would Google my number. And since it has been prostituted already, I don't give a rat's ass about giving it away to my Facebook and blog friends. I mean, what's the worse thing that can happen after "Hi, pwd u mit 4 sex? We cn do z car"?

Of course I have a prime suspect. And she's ugly. That's all I can say about that. I gag at the use of "pue" for "po" and I choke at the ad's coup de grace, the line that pulls 'em all in: "i jst luv s*x sZo much! hehe"

But the hilarity of the situation slowly crept in by morning. Men are so predictable. Nay, men can be so stupid sometimes. It does help to have only one head, if you know what I mean. Having two is like...well, I don't know what it's like. But by the looks of the messages I got from them, and the 163 calls I received so far, it can't be good.

Let me share some (all verbatim):

hi,i'm nhoy from dasmarinas,cavite 5'9 ang height ko and 40 yrs old well experienced gentleman lover

*officemates heckling laughter*

hey...good morning...just got out of the shower...wanna meet up?

(this was at 4:30am. and I was like, huh? connection?)

Mrning. nkkpgsex k b talag? im jhap 30yo

*laugh out fucking loud*

Hi, saw ur ad sa olx. U love sex so much? I also do, n i'm very good at sex. 5'10" gudluking guy here even not that handsome but still very presentable, clean decent guy. Wanna try? I can make u moan 4 sure

(goodlooking but not very handsome. groundbreaking.)

Dont u have a proper manner? U asked me to call u then u r keep on rejecting my call? What is this? Joking?

(guy called me as the ad said and i kept on rejecting the call. i love the "what is this? joking?" part)

Goodness. Men are so funny.

Of course there are the pa-awa guys:

"i jst nid a frnd. mybe u can b a frnd to m"

(yeah you were looking for a friend and chose the one who posted a wanted sexmate ad)

And the memorable calls which go:

Ems: Hello?
Schmuck: Hello? Hello?
Ems: Sino 'to?
Schmuck: hihihihi (giggling like a fucking girl!)
Ems: Asshole. *Hang up*


Ems: Hello?
Schmuck 2: Hi, naghahanap ka raw sexmate?
Ems: Ows? Sino nagsabi?
Schmuck 2: Sa OLX
Ems: Close kayo?
Schmuck 2: hehehehe
Ems: Sorry, di ako nagpost nun. May galit lang ata sakin. I'm not interested.
Schmuck 2: so naghahanap ka raw sexmate?
Schmuck 2: hehehehehe
Ems: *roll eyes* *hang up*

It's a little difficult to deal with the situation. I wonder how many websites who aggregate data like phone numbers have already spidered my information away into other sites. How many classifieds websites now list my number? It's easy to change my number, the same way it's easy to just keep on rejecting calls from unknown numbers. But that's not really an option for me. I work part time as a freelance writer and many of my jobs come from people who are not in my phonebook. Also, I've had this number since high school and I am not going to part with it simply because some jejegirl from Paranaque wants to give me hell.

I will wait for these morons to stop calling and die down. Until then, I may even have a couple other posts up. Ciao!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wind Chimes

In the Ayala Triangle Park, they set up like a trellis and hung up a bajillion wind chimes. Can you imagine how nice it sounds? How calming? I love passing through this part of the park.

I Own You, Suckka

Ok, so I took a picture of myself at the gym AFTER I pulled/strained a muscle. I just thought that it may have a better affect if I post a twisted version of before and after. haha

Anyhizzle, I am recovering from a strained shoulder. I really thought that I may have torn a muscle or a ligament or something because my shoulder and neck where really painful last Wednesday. I took the day off and got it checked (I went to Medical City, supeeerb service) and apparently, all I needed was to rest it and give it time to heal. So I've been out of the gym for a few days now. I'm missing it, seriously. It feels like there's something missing. I can't even do yoga. Not even running (technically I could, but it hurts when I swing my arms while running). I slapped on a couple of Kool Fever pads to help with the pain. Kool Fever feels so good. It really does cool you down.

Sad part is, I lost two pounds this week...but I'm concerned that I may be losing MUSCLE mass and gaining fat mass because I haven't been doing my weights routine. Did you know that you can lose weight when technically you are getting fatter? Or maybe the best way to describe it is that you're becoming fattier. I'd rather be 150 pounds but with little body fat instead of 120 pounds of flabbiness. I wish can say confidently that "Hey I lost 10 pounds" but that's not as easy a lot of people think. Did you know that losing 10 pounds means that you are visibly thinner? (I'm trying to pull a Kuya Kim moment here) It is also the equivalent of one dress size, more or less. So I'm not there yet.

Anyway, since I'm in the vicinity of the subject (the heck does that statement mean?? haha) here are some things I learned about dieting and weight management:

1. For women, 1500 calories per day is the way to go if you wanna lose weight. DO NOT go under 1200 calories unless you're in a doctor-supervised diet. Also, going under 1200 calories will make your body step on the brakes of your metabolism and slow you down. Slowing your metabolism is bad and I think you know that.

Actually, 1200-1500 calories is not bad and is filling, if you choose your food well. I usually have rice and fish for breakfast, then a banana and peanut butter or a packet of oatmeal cookies for midmorning, then whole wheat bread and tuna or chicken filling (I love buying a roasted chicken quarter and make a sandwich out of it) then maybe crackers and low fat yogurt in the afternoon. Fruits or veggies for dinner and maybe some tinola. I drink a 1.5L of green C2 or a Coke Zero and a loooooooooot of water. I don't feel unsatisfied at all, to my surprise.

2. Take smaller frequent meals than large meals. It keeps your metabolism humming all throughout the day.

3. Dairy is good. But choose low fat or non fat. I drink soy milk, no butter or cheese as much as possible, no mayo, and low fat yogurt. FIC (Fruits in Ice Cream)has a low fat and sugar free ice cream. We indulge in a pint occasionally. Not as good as normal ice cream, but good enough.

4. Stop treating yourself with food. Get a bag, a pair of shoes, or clothes instead. Allan indulges in girly magazines. Or save the money! If we do go out, we opt to go to "lutong bahay" places or those that are fine dining. The prices are higher (can't over-order) but the taste is better, so we still feel full and satisfied. Actually, we still bond over food, only healthier food.

5. Keep challenging yourself. To me it's an ego thing. Pushing myself. Why do I keep on trying to perfect those darned yoga poses? Because I don't want it to win. I don't want my cravings to get the best of me. It's an "I own you, suckka" kind of thing. If you get what I mean. Besides, why eat a donut when grapes taste sooo much better?

I'm happy to do this. I am so psyched!

Three Musketeers

Along with Cheetos, why did I discover 3 Musketeers only after 22 years? Whipped chocolate covered with chocolate. Simple and decadent and utterly yummy. It's technically candy, but I'm no snob. It's really, really good.

Now that we're dieting and all that, we can afford to eat it once a week, I just had one. I can die happy now. Haha

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I actually remember this guy after he clarified who he is...this is someone I knew from high school. Now while I do not hate him (he's actually kinda nice?) I hate the fact that he is jeje-infected. Nash, you brought this upon yourself. Next time you chat with me, think again. Ooops. Actually, you CAN'T chat with me again.

8:58am Nash

8:58am Me
who are you?

8:58am Nash

8:59am Me
i don't know anyone with isonfire last name

8:59am Nash

9:00am Me
dude you better tell me who you are before i delete you

9:00am Nash

9:01am Me
i remember
what's up

9:01am Nash

9:02am Me
ok lang
and i'm not kidding
i most of the time just add the people who add me

9:03am Nash

9:03am Me
but if you change your name and i don't recognize your name anymore, i delete you

9:03am Nash

9:03am Me
sira ba spacebar mo?? [FINALLY I REALIZE IT!!!]

9:03am Nash

9:04am Me
di ko maintindihan sinasabi mo
i only talk to people who know how to use a keyboard properly

9:05am Nash

9:07am Me
actually oo
and sayang dahil alam ko same teacher lang tayo sa english nung high school
and alam ko tamang english tinuro nya sa atin

9:12am Nash

so..what' masyado..i dont belong to your level..

anyway..good day..

9:12am Me

buti alam mo
this sooo going on my blog


[aba, sya pa may guts!]

Anyway, I appreciate the fact that he actually chatted up with me. But it's useless starting a convo with someone that way. A chat, while informal, is still a form of discourse. When I read his messages it's like "work (stop stop stop) ka (stop stop stop) na (stop stop stop). I can't help it. My eyes/brain are programmed to perceive those punctuation marks that way. I cannot just ignore them and say "Ah, ganun kasi sya magtype." I can't do it.

Not that he SHOULD type that way.

Maybe I would even tolerate (for old times' sake) the use of sticky caps. But not the text typing and the periods-for-space thing. Again, I just can't do it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tears for Fears Concert, May 2, 2010

So we went to the Tears for Fears concert. What can I say. I love them, I loved the concert and until now, I can still imagine when all the lights went out on Curt's cue after he sang the first verse and refrain of Mad World. I can still remember Roland's little speech "We have been to the Americas, to the desserts and Scandinavia, but Lord why haven't we thought of Manila." I remember how the people sang along and screamed after every song and how Roland had to cup his ears because he couldn't hear himself anymore.

I hate myself for procrastinating. I should have gotten the lower box seats when I had the chance. All that was left were the General Admission tickets (this was a week before the show) and I was forced to take them. Heck, I should have gotten tickets for the mosh pit.

But I really loved the concert. Or did I say that already. Some vids are on youtube and you can see the people having a grand ole time. Two things that were less than expected though: we front acts (Sandwich and Pupil) were godawfully dull. And we were seated next to a couple who seemed like they knew nothing about the band or the songs. We were all standing up singing along to Head Over Heels and Shout and they were seated eating popcorn like it was a damned movie.

Hoping Tears for Fears will be back soon!

Two Salads and Sushi

So we are cutting the carbs and loading up on the freshies. Right here is iceberg lettuce, carrots, corn, cucumber and tuna with a simple dressing of oil and lemon juice with some basil.

I really don't like iceberg, but in a pinch it'll do. I prefer romaine or arugula because they have more bite and hold up better to strong dressings which I love with all my stony heart. There's this brand of packaged greens that we always's good for four side servings or two main course servings for only around Php55. It has arugula, romaine, lolo rosso, butter lettuce and something else. Anyway, the dressing here is white wine vinegar, some sugar, some basil, salt and pepper.

OK so this is the salad where we used the veggie mix that I was juuuuust telling you about. This time it had celery, tomatoes, cucumber with a tangy sweet mango-yogurt dressing. All you have to do is to portion out the veggies, whisk mango puree or mash the pulp of one mango, add the yogurt, squeeze some lemon juice or vinegar if you like, then salt and pepper to taste. It was good!

And finally sushi. I bought a container of this from a Manang who comes to the office. They were, to my utmost surprise, very delicious! The fish was sooo fresh and the rice sticky and vinegary and the best I have tried so far. Not much to look at, but they were good and at 65 pesos for eight pieces, it was a steal!

Today's Purchases

Never let it be said that I do not know how to shop.

Today I had a very painful back and my arms were plenty sore. So I was seriously thinking (though I did bring gym gear) to skip gym tonight. Instead, I burned off extra calories by walking and shopping. I was looking for shoes for myself because the ones I have and wear to the gym is pretty old and I wanted another pair so I can color coordinate. Haha

I got these:

Comfy and hot pink. When I'm wearing them they feel like the right size, but maybe because of the pointy toe, it looks like it's longer. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

So while I was looking around some more thinking that maybe I should buy more socks (and a gym bag...and gym shorts...and maybe a dry fit top?) this cap caught my eye:

I knew Allan would love this. An authentic 2009 Yankees World Series Championship cap. Ate Bombette already gave him the official one, but this is waaaay too cool to pass up, and I know he'll be super happy. And I'm right. Look at his face! I think it was a steal for an authentic item that is pretty rarely sold here in the Philippines. He's a big Yankee fan (I am, too, but compared to him, I am a mere novice) and we're totally ecstatic that they won the World Series last year. Just saying. :)

This buy is bordering on impulse, but sometimes impulses are right, you know? I certainly don't regret buying it. I would wear it myself if Allan didn't like it. It was really cool.

So anyway, tomorrow we are going to be up and early for the gym. There's a yoga class tomorrow. Also (and more importantly) the Yankees-Red Sox game at Fenway is up and the gym has cable. Heehee.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Working Out

Now if you know me at all, I am a person who is very comfortable in her own skin. I don't really mind if I am overweight, nor do I mind if people think that "sayang naman, maganda ka, pero mataba." For me, dress size and weight does not equate beauty. I do not envy those skinny models at all. I sort of even pity them, being so thin. I admire rounder and shapelier women. Who gets turned on by looking at a bag of bones? For me beauty is how you carry yourself, how you dress and how you talk and your intelligence. If I were a guy, I would rather go for someone I can actually talk to, rather than a jejemon who is thin but won't be able to carry on a conversation that does not have "po" or "you naman."

So I never did see why people think that a person is ugly because they're fat. I never see why a person is a "waste" because they're overweight. I do understand, however, if people are concerned about someone else's health.

Maybe a month ago, I finally got myself a gym membership. I think the biggest hurdle is actually walking through the door and saying, "so, how do I sign up?" The second biggest hurdle is going into the workout area and not knowing anyone and...anything.

But things have changed. I now know a few people. The nice receptionist still gets my name wrong, but you know, whatever. At least she DOES recognize me as part of the gang. The name I am sure she will remember after asking a few more times.

I promised myself to go to the gym at least 5 times a week, at least for the first three months, unless something more important comes up. I've been good so far. Going on the treadmill or lifting those goddamned dumbells has become relaxing for me. I can totally get my mind off work and just concentrate on the counting and breathing (which, trust me, does not come so very easy after running a couple of miles). I am also changing the dynamics of my diet. So far I have lost a pound and a half, which is a healthy start.

In any case, this is not an entry about my losing weight. It is an entry that celebrates different kinds of women, and the struggle to make others understand that there is always a story behind every woman who seemed to have "let go." Most people see a fat woman and right away they would say "man, that one is letting herself go." I, for one, gained weight after working nights at a call center, everyday hating my job but I still went for it because at that time I had no other choice. At that time I was also primarily taking care of our finances and also sending some home. At that time, I was a 20-year-old girl who had the genetic tendency to gain weight and a lot of stress. So I turned to the bad guys: soda, pizza, junk food. Food felt good. In hindsight, I realize how gross it was to have eaten all those things (imagine 1 gallon ice cream AND pizza AND cake) with no single thought of my health. It was easy to put on some extra pounds that way, but is it REALLY fair for you to say that I let myself go? Wouldn't you if you were in my shoes?

A young mother I met recently at my other job told me that she has gained so much weight (from 137 lbs to 175 lbs, 5'1", in one year) after her baby was diagnosed with cancer. She was working two full time jobs, one at an office and the other one home-based, so she can provide for her baby's treatment. She carried her laptop with her and worked in hospital hallways as doctors would operate on her sick child. She made a lot of money working twice as hard, and she would "reward" herself with all the treats she can eat. Like me, food was her drug, and the only thing that kept her going, quite literally. She's definitely not a slob, only someone who is trying everything to get going.

Can we also blame those whose parents have spoiled so much? Those whose families bonded over food and parties? Is THAT considered "letting go"? How about those with metabolic problems?

My whole point is for people not to be so quick to judge. There is always a story behind that fat girl scarfing down that bag of cheetos. I am not saying it's healthy. All I am saying is that you're not helping any, so shut your face.

Which reminds me to add this little footnote. I am not going to the gym for anybody but myself. I am the one with weight problems, I am the one with a family history of heart disease and hypertension. I am doing this for myself. I love Allan, but I am not doing this even for him, although I am quite happy that he is going with me. I am not doing this for fashion, or to fit into a size 0 or look sexy in lingerie. Those are only fringe benefits. Gone are the days when women want to look good FOR men. Most empowered women today want to look good because they want to look good and I feel the same way. I am terribly annoyed at people who even make this ignorant assumption. I am doing this for HEALTH, nothing more and nothing less.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Orange and Lemon

I’m tempted to publish what I know are “photoshopped” pictures of Manny Villar with “Money Villarroyo” tattooed on his behind so I can challenge him to prove the photos are fake by dropping his trousers on prime-time news. I’m sure he’ll say, “Why would you ask me to do that when you know the pictures are fake?”

But that’s exactly what he wants Noynoy Aquino to do with the bogus psychiatric report that sources from the Nacionalista Party leaked to ABS-CBN News. He knows the report is bogus but he still insists that Aquino address its fake contents.

Villar’s foray into black propaganda is so crude, pathetic and desperate it reminded me of Mike Tyson biting off the ear of Evander Holyfield. 

— Manuel Buencamino, “Pseudologia fantastica,” Dispatches from the Enchanted Kingdom, April 14, 2010.

MLQ3 posted this in his Tumblr account recently and I have to say he has a point. It's also the same thing as saying:

One: "Why do you not believe in God?"
Two: "Because I can't see him."
One: "Can you see the wind?"
Two: "No."
One: "So does the wind not exist?"


One: "Why do you not believe in God?"
Two: "Because I can't see him."
One: "Can you see your brain?"
Two: "No."
One: "So does your brain not exist?"

Or some other shit like that.

Two things: First, having writing on Villar's butt is not the same as having mental problems. Whatever Villar has tattooed on his butt will not matter, but the psychological state of the next president definitely will. Villar pulling down his pants will cause him unnecessary embarrassment while a psych exam for Aquino will clean up his name, and clarify the issue once and for all. What's he to hide anyway? Almost all presidential candidates are willing. Why not him? Why is he hiding behind the patient-doctor bullshit instead of trying to convince people that HE IS FIT? Gibo is willing. Villar is willing. And well, whether or not the others are willing is pretty useless anyway. What's up Noy?

Point 1.A: The test results do NOT have to be released as is. What the psychiatric investigating team needs to release is a clean bill of mental health, or a 'rejected' stamp. No need for details. Does that violate patient-doctor confidentiality? Not at all.

Second point: Is it so unreasonable for presidential candidates to take a psychological assessment? Is it so mundane and corny? I think not. It is necessary for the candidates and it is necessary for people to know who they are going to vote for. Every voter, in their heads, will have to weigh the risks. Mental stability is one of the risks that people have to consider.

The Aquino party said that they do not want to "go with the script" that the Villar team is baiting them into. How lame. This is not an issue between Aquino and Villar. This is something they owe to the Filipino. This is something between the candidates and the people. They should do it because they need to assure the people that they are worthy.

Leadership is not like believing in God. It has to be proven. And no sarcastic analogy will ever beat that fact. Nine failed bills in the 10+ years in the congress and senate. Nine bills seems skimpy already. But even so they all FAILED. Nine failed bills, guys. Nine.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Neighing Through the Competition

This one will be short...I was kinda wiped out by that Villar entry. Researching is not fun on a slow connection.

Anyshoes, you know that thing about that contestant in Pilipinas Got Talent? The transvestite who sang Banal na Aso, Santong Kabayo? Watch it here.

There have been many posts about this guy, and frankly, it's because they don't understand the song. I think the horse sounds are pretty spot on. For starters, Banal na Aso (Holy Dog) and Santong Kabayo (Saintly Horse) are terms in Filipino that denote religious plastic-ness. It is a story of a man who met two people, a woman praying a rosary in a bus who cursed the driver when he missed her stop and a man who's praying in church but refused to give a street child spare change. I'll translate it line per line.

Kaharap ko sa dyip ang isang ale
(In front of me in the jeep [a mini-bus in the Philippines] is a woman)
Nagrorosaryo mata niya'y nakapikit
(Praying, her eyes closed)
Pumara sa may kumbento
(Her stop is a convent)
Sa babaan lang po sabi ng tsuper kase me naghuhuli
(You can only get off at the bus stop, the driver said, or we'll get caught)
Mura pa rin nang mura ang ale
(the woman won't stop cussing)

Banal na aso, santong kabayo
(Holy Dog, Saintly Horse)
Natatawa ako hihihihi
(You make me laugh, hahahahaha)

*Note that the Pilipinas Got Talent inserted the horse sounds in place of "hahahahaha." It was pretty funny, and as I said, appropriate. It was mocking and funny. Drives home the concept of religious plastic-ness (I know there is no such word, get over it.)

Nangangaral sa kalye ang isang lalake
(A man is preaching in the streets)
Hiningan ng pera ng batang pulubi
(A street kid asked for some spare change)
Pasensya na para daw sa templo
(He said sorry but the money the passersby gave is for the church)
Pangkain lang po sabi ng paslit
(Please? I'm really hungry, said the street kid)
Talagang di ba pupwede?
(Can't you really give me any?)
Lumipat ng pwesto ang lalake
(The man moved to a different area)

Anuman ang iyong ginagawa sa iyong kapatid
(Whatever you do to the least of your brothers)
Ay siya ring ginagawa mo sa akin
(You do to me)


So you see, aside from the notes that performer was hitting, he was singing this far better than the original band. Yeah, I the clothes are funny, and the face and bony, but the performance was quirky, different, amusing and amazing. Can you make a horse sound in perfect C#?

I sort of resent that some people are PM-ing me that I should see the video and that it's weird and laughable. This isn't even about Filipino pride. The performance was good. Yeah, not Susan Boyle, but the Got Talent franchise is not about Susan Boyle-type talents.

I personally dedicate this to you, B. And your sometimes elitist views. Being American, you obviously didn't understand the song. I'm not saying this is how we should sing, or that he's the best, but you got it all wrong. He wasn't just doing the neighing because he felt like it. It was a well thought-of performance, I think.

And by the way, I know for a fact that you're tone deaf.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

So Am I Proletariat? Because 8 of 10 are.

I have been wanting to write this post. But I have been swamped with work and other stuff that I didn't have time. I wanted this post to be fair and me writing at the end of my day, tired, pissed and ready to explode, will not produce a fair entry. But today the cosmos conspired. The day is pleasant, it's a Friday and a holiday, I have a little money in my account and the cheesecakes are free at Starbucks. It all said, go get a double brownie fudge cheesecake and some tea, then sit your ass and write. So here I am, writing.

I am for Villar. If you have visited my page anytime in the month, I am sure you'll see that's pretty obvious. Why? Why will I vote for someone who used his influence to apparently change the C5 plans so it will pass through his properties? Why should I vote for someone who lied about his brother dying and him being poor?

(FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not paid by Villar, nor do I want him to. I am in no way related to him, though that will be cool. I am Facebook friends with Maryrose Villar, through the Tropang Zamboanga page. My cheesecake was courtesy of Starbucks, and I paid for the tea myself.)

I will begin by saying that when I go to the supermarket and buy tomato sauce, there is a reason why I pick up a can of Prego, or Del Monte and not Goody's Tom-A-To sauce. Because Prego and Del Monte have always worked for me. I'm a track record girl. For a spaghetti dinner I will cook for my mother-in-law, I put out the best I have. This is not the time for me to experiment with new brands. I will buy those brands because I know it's done well before.

If we were electing someone for say, Barangay Captain, it's fine to not give so much weight to track record, because that is the entry level. However, when you are voting for President, the highest position in the country, there is no room for experimentation. He better have a damned good track record, because if he messes up, it's going to affect a nice chunk of the decade.

Aquino simply does not have that track record. Okay, well he's gone through the motions of congress then senate, the same way we go through grade school and high school. But then again, did he ever make an impression while he was there? When did you last see him on television, rallying against a law he did not like? Corollary to that, when was the last time you saw him on television rallying for something he's FIGHTING for? I can tell you when. Never. In fact, he's never been in the limelight. He's not the smartest apple in the tree that is the senate. He was never interviewed to get his views on something, because well, he's never really had anything to say. And that's odd for a legislator. It's a red flag. A very bad sign. The only time we saw him again was when his mother died. And when he said he'll run. I hate to say it, but it really looks like he used his mother's death as a springboard.

Now Aquino is all "Ituloy natin ang laban..." but was he making "tuloy ang laban" four, five years ago? What laws or actions resulted from this effort? What laws did he pass to ensure that the freedom and democracy that his parents fought and died for is taken cared of? If he was really fighting the good fight his parents fought, why are we hearing this "ituloy ang laban" thing just now?

Villar has the background necessary for the job. He has a platform that is suited to for the presidency. He has passed laws (good job on the no smoking in public areas!) that have helped the average consumer (usage of recyclable materials in packaging, go green!), educational institutions (freedom of speech associations for students in higher education, digital education partnerships, creation of an institute for science and math) as well as small businesses and medical practice, among others. Now I know Aquino said the Philippines has too many laws that are not followed anyway and he doesn't want to add them? But heck, what kind of reason is that? There is a reason why you are a MAKE legislation. Gah. Villar, he read the job description.

I'm tempted to discuss Aquino's medical record, but I realize it is in bad taste. So I will veer away from that if you promise me to be impartial about Villar's apparent lying about his poverty and about his brother's death until some documents are presented. I think it's a fair deal. After all, where are the documents, death certificate, ownership papers that will will verify these claims? The claims against Aquino are backed up by an actual document. So we'll wait for the anti-Villar documents to surface before I say anything further on this topic.

As for the C5 issue, it is carefully explained in his website read it with an air of fairness and it actually makes damned good sense. On the matter of Luisita, however, how did Aquino respond? He didn't. This is a big issue for me. If you can't take of things in your backyard, you have no right to "take care" of other things, especially an already severely problematic country like ours.

I also do not agree with Aquino's plan to add years to basic education prior to college. He's going to add two to three years to basic education. I see that he is doing this to sort of pattern it to the educational system of western countries. First, western countries have junior high and middle school because they're only in school for a 7-8 months a year, not counting holidays and Christmas break, compared to the Philippines' 10 months. If you count it, the number of years or months that a western student is in school is almost the same as a student here. It's not about the number of years a student is in school. What we have now is's the quality that's bad. Quality over quantity. Always. But we go back to the previous issue...did Aquino pass any laws to improve the quality of education? Will families have enough money to send their kids to three more years of school? They don't even have money to send their kids to first grade. We need more computers, more good teachers, more facilities for gifted students, cheaper private schools and better public schools. Better academic measurement standards. We need to give incentives to people taking up education, not frickin' nursing. I need to pay teachers better and on time. We don't need to put kids in middle school and junior high as a requirement.

Finally, we go to corruption. I'd like to say that Villar will not grow richer during his term, but that's not true. He has properties, businesses and other sources of income and if those are managed well, he will become richer. It's weird for us to expect him to become poor during his term. Duh. Following the same thought, Aquino will also become richer in office, because he is a shareholder of many properties. But will Villar become corrupt? Maybe. But I think that I'd rather vote for someone who has an ego big enough not to be pushed around and be pressured by other people in the palace. I'd rather vote for someone who has a big enough ego to not tolerate being told what to do. For me, that's Villar. He's a commander. You don't create large, successful companies by being a wimp. In my head, Villar has the presence, command and swagger to point his finger and say: "Get that bastard Ampatuan to jail now, finish that case in eight months." He's more the father figure, yes? Big, burly guy with a firm decision making skills. Aquino, more the bestfriend, sidekick material. But hey, I'm just saying.

We also cannot say Aquino will not be corrupt. So what is his parents are not corrupt? They're not him. He has never had power like that...unlike Villar who already has experience having absolute power in his companies. Thing is, we really don't know what Aquino is capable of. That's the problem. And I don't want to experiment.

Bottom line, Aquino was ill-prepared to take on a campaign for president. He's ill equipped to do the job. He is not his mother, he is not his father. If you're voting for Aquino, I don't want to know. Villar has many faults, sure, but Aquino has so many more lacks. Kulang. Hilaw. I'd vote Roxas over Aquino. Heck, I'd probably vote Jamby more than Aquino. Call me masa, because the truth is, earning less than 30k a month, I AM part of the masses. Except that I don't watch telenovelas.

Let's look at facts here. Let's not think with our emotions. I know people view Aquino as the pure-hearted innocent. But it's 2010, not 1986. We need more. I don't want to come to work in the morning and not be able to come home because there's a coup attempt in Ayala Avenue or wherever. If you cannot stomach Villar, vote for someone else, but please, not Aquino. If Aquino will win, I will seriously consider migrating to another country.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Don't you feel that people these days are becoming more and more homogeneous? You go into a lot of offices and unless it's a bank or a sales office, you will see men wearing slacks, worn leather shoes and a striped shirt most often not inserted into their pants. Women will be wearing slacks, flats (very rarely heels these days) or some comfortable but horrible looking platforms (think fitflops). And they were these things EVERYDAY. You wear a dress or a skirt? You're the frou-frou employee or the girly-girl. You wear heels and you're the hooker.

Some days I look at the rushing throng of people in my part of Makati and see them like the picture up top. Very few wear a blazer or some sort of jacket that doesn't have Adidas or some other sport label on them. You know, that business-like jacket or blazer that emphasizes a woman's form. They all just form a big, ugly blob of similar looking people. On Fridays, they wear a polo shirt (both men and women) jeans and flats or sneakers. Predictable. Excruciating. What's more is that sometimes, I allow myself into that blob. I know, it's kinda tiring to dress differently ALL the time.

And it doesn't take much to separate yourself from the blob. Wear a dressy skirt or a nice flattering day dress to work. Wear color combinations that do not include black. For example, white-purple-gray or light green and khaki. Pink and gray. Rose and sand. Ahhh endless! The black slacks and whatever collared shirt is so goddamned tiring already. Oh and tuck your clothes into your skirt or slacks. You look two notches professional if you do.

When it comes to clothes, I am totally against over-wearing. Meaning, the clothes you wear should be able to breathe and the fibers relax. If you launder them, say, weekly, they'll be fit for trash in a few months. So invest in clothing and allow at least two weeks before you wash and wear a piece of clothing. That means for work, having two or three blouses, button-down shirts, tank tops and matching blazers/jackets. Meaning around 10-12 pieces that you can wear interchangeably without wearing one twice in two weeks. Same goes for pants. I find it easier to have at least 4 pairs of slacks and same number for skirts. Or you can have a lesser number but with a thicker fabric so you can wear them twice and not have to wash them as often. The key here is not just fashion, it's longevity of your clothes.

Trust me, if you over-wear your clothes, I can probably make a graph and in a couple of weeks I can give a good estimate of what you will wear tomorrow. So you're going to be the girl who wears the blue striped button down shirt on Monday, the flowery peach one on Tuesday...The horror.

Oh but it's so expensive! Nope. Instead of buying your office clothes at Landmark or SM where it's Php350 a pop, go to ukay-ukay or online where you can get cheaper clothes. Your Php350 for a cheap mediocre shirt will be enough for two or three pieces with good fabric and style at thrift shops. You don't necessarily need brand new, only good quality clothes. AND sometimes, spend a little of that wad of cash you receive every fifteen days and buy yourself something decent from a good store. You owe it to yourself. Stop saving so much on that wedding that may or may not come. Leave the future in the future. It'll come, but not today. Today you've got yourself to take care of.

Have We Forgotten?

With all the brouhaha that is the upcoming elections, how can we forget Maguindanao? Until today, wives, sisters, mothers, fathers, brothers and children still grieve in vain for the loved ones they lost. They are six feet under and pushing up daisies, silenced and missed forever. I wonder that now with people all hot and bothered by Villar, Aquino and all their madness, the dead and their families may feel all the more bitter about their lives unceremoniously snuffed by men that are still not convicted.

I know there are processes. I know we have law. But those processes are slow. And not merely enough to satisfy the anger that I'm sure is still boiling inside the families of the departed. So many people were outraged by the massacre and I was seriously hoping that that fire will burn until the criminals have already been sentenced. But look at the dailies, the blogosphere, and television and radio. We very rarely ever hear of the massacre anymore. We barely hear of the biggest massacre of journalists during peacetime. A little bit over four months and it seems that it was SOOO yesterday. We buried the issue in our memory just like the Ampatuans tried to do with the bodies.

Four months. I know of women who cry, blog, and lament over an ex for longer than that. Lots of them, actually.

So. Where are the hecklers who drilled the Ampatuans? Where are Twitter updates? Where are the blog entries. Where are the specials about the families of the killed journalists. Where are the coverages of the court proceedings. I'm looking for something, any damned thing, that will remind people that 'Hey, there was a body attached to that dirt and blood stained hand. And that body was murdered and covered with a banana leaf. And that place where they were murdered will forever have the stench of death and crime all over it.'

So. Where?

I am voting for someone who will hopefully put this issue in the top folder of his to-do list. I want him to promise that he will bring justice to this horrendous crime by end-of-year. And I want him to do this and wipe that stupid, confident grin off that monster's face and lock him up forever.

I am angry that I have forgotten about this, myself. And today, as we reflect on the suffering of Christ, may we all remember the suffering of those 57 people who got killed. I'm not even looking at them as 57 journalists, but 57 human beings whose lives are lost forever, like candles snuffed by a spoiled, belligerent child. Let's all remember their families and how lucky we are we still have ours. Let's all remember the fire and anger we had when we first knew about the massacre and let's keep that going. We owe them that, at least.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Do you like sushi?

Sushi is only one of things I like about Japanese culture. So okay I don't get the anime and all that other stuff, but the food, tradition, culture and discipline that the Japanese have is wonderful to me. That's the reason why I am so enamored to take up Japanese lessons...but I don't know. Maybe not.

Back to sushi, I have never tasted sushi that was made in true Japanese fashion and I am dying to do so. I love the taste of the sweet, raw fish and the bit of wasabi, the sticky, warm rice and vinegar mixture.

What are good sushi places in Manila?

TGI Fridays

We went to TGI Friday's when we went to watch Alice in Wonderland (it's really sad some of you guys didn't like it because I really like the way Burton twisted the whole story) anyhoo, I just wanna say that I really, really, really loved the ribs. The pasta was pretty good, too. But compared to the ribs, man, it was nothing.

This is the Jack Daniels ribs. It's glazed with a sauce spiked with Jack Daniels that is all at once tangy, salty and sweet. The ribs were really marinated and each bite was tender and melted in your mouth. Super yum. The fries was a nice interlude but the star really are the ribs. I think this was around Php600? I can be off the mark, but it was around that range. The next time we eat here, we'll get the full slab, with more fries, slaw and maybe some rice.

I got fettuccine with grilled chicken, brocolli, sundried and fresh tomatoes and garlic. It was good, but probably not worth the ~Php450 I spent on it, especially compared to the ribs.

It's not normal price here at TGI Fridays but the servings are unabashedly huge. The pasta was good for two, at least. The service is also pretty good considering that there were a lot of people. A bit before we were served our food, some wserver rang a bell and music started to play and all the staff (except those who had serving trays during the time of the bell) started to dance. I shall upload when I get to convert it to some other format. The servers were real polite and accommodating.

One note, we would have wanted the ribs to be really right off the flames. The one we were served was already a bit on the "too well rested" side.

Drinking What?

Volvic is probably the best water I have tried. Evian falling only second to it. Yeah, I know, Evian is more expensive (and this is definitely a scenario where the cheaper one is better) but Volvic is definitely better-tasting. It tastes like what water is described in books---pure, clean and refreshing.

It is not to say that Volvic is cheap. Actually, a 500mL bottle will go for around Php45 (local mineral water is around Php20 and Evian is around Php50) so it is not cheap. But I always keep my eyes peeled for sales because the price can drop pretty low, say around Php60 for a liter.

You can google Volvic and see how it is produced but true to it's name, it is filtered in the ground with layers upon layers of volcanic rock and it is bottled at the source. It has a perfect pH of 7, the pH water pure water SHOULD have, if I remember my chemistry lessons well. Evian is somewhere in the 7.2 in the pH scale I think.

I read in Marketmanila that Saveur rated Volvic as the best bottled still water in the world and I can easily why. It is markedly better than any other I have tried. Evian may be more popular, but I'd go for Volvic whenever I can. Go grab a bottle and taste it yourself. :)

Anyshoes, I also would like to make a note on Yingyang cooling tea. It's good. It tastes pretty much like gulaman without the jelly. And it is effective in cooling the body down. It's main ingredient I think (reading the label) is chrysanthemum tea, which I have featured before. It has really been used by the Chinese to treat fever because of it's cooling effect. Although I would recommend just drinking chrysanthemum tea alone (cheaper too), this may be an easier way to introduce yourself to something new-tasting.

At Work

At work, I stare back at two monitors, which I truly believe improves my productivity. All the "work" stuff is on the left (work email, data management, sources) and to the left are "non-work" stuff (news websites, music, some other research stuff) that help the left monitor along.

I also have this thing for arranging my desktop icons. Work to the left, fun to the right (and I'm right-handed, just sayin').

I also want to say that I am NOT OC.

Or at least my being OC is very limited to my computer. Look at my closet and it is a hodgepodge of shirts and blouses, work and non-work (except for the dark colored ones which I kept in a maleta under the bed because who wears dark stuff during summer anyway? Figured it's a waste of closet space). My planner is everywhere and books, notes and pens are scattered about my drawer. What gives?

Hearty Meals Mean Meat and Carbs

A quick trip to the grocery a week ago yielded this: ice cream, pasta, and makings of a meat sauce. That means ground beef and pork, garlic sausage and mushrooms. The meal won't be anything BUT light.

I want heavy meals. I resent light, wimpy meals because they make me end up eating more junk. Once I am full and satisfied, I won't crave for anything else. Well, except ice cream, of course.

My mom is the true origin of this sauce. However, she does not use the herbs and adds cheese or milk to the sauce to make it creamy. I cut that from the recipe and used herbs instead. I used fettuccine for this dish, but feel free to use any other pasta. Spaghetti will work, and I think penne will be perfect for it's saucy goodness.

So first, the ingredients:

500g fettuccine, cooked al dente
250g ground beef (or ground beef/pork mixture. some places allow that)
4 garlic sausage links, diced
small pack tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes (I like to use this for texture)
1 small can mushrooms, sliced
italian seasoning
bay leaf

Cook, cook, cook!

First, render the fat from the diced sausage. You know how longganisa because all yummy and flavorful once it gets a little burnt? That's what we're looking for. If the oil it renders is too little, feel free to add a bit of olive oil to help it along. After that, sautee the garlic and mushrooms in together with the sausage. If some of the sausage sticks to the bottom of the pan, that's ok. The stuck bits help the flavor!

Put the mushrooms/sausage mix to the side of the pan (like the picture) and cook the ground beef in the free space beside it. Allow the beef to caramelize, too. Once it's done, you can mix up together again.

Add the tomato paste and stir. Let it bubble a bit. Add the diced tomatoes and the bay leaf. Add the basil and italian seasoning and season with salt and pepper. (or alternatively, you can season the meats before adding the tomato components). Let simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir the sauce occasionally. You make add some pasta water or red wine if you feel that it's too dry or if dries up while cooking. This sauce is particularly forgiving so if it dries up too much, just add more liquid.

Once the oil separates from the sauce, then it's ready. Serve it with the noodles. Sure hit! Chewy noodles, flavorful and meaty sauce all make for a wonderful dinner. You can make this ahead and it stores very, very well. If you refrigerate it, it'll last maybe 2-3 days. If you'll keep it longer, stuff it in the freezer.

One tip, make sure that the sauce is COMPLETELY cooled down before refrigerating or freezing!

Friday, March 19, 2010

East Avenue Medical Center and How Pain Makes You Dumb

Look at East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC). This is the location of my next blog entry. Read on.

A couple of months ago, I was plagued by really bad abdominal pains. It was like gas...only worse. I couldn't sleep. After maybe three nights of suffering, I went to The Medical City for a checkup. The rather snooty doctor told me that it's probably just dyspepsia and prescribed Omepron. A couple of days of that and I was right as rain.

Fast forward to today, I arrived home from work at around 1:30am and I could barely stand straight because the pain was back. Back with a vengeance I should say. I tried liniments and hot tea to no avail. Threw up a couple of times to no avail. I joked about it and it joked back. I'm tellin' ya, when your stomach jokes with you, the jokes are often bad ones.

So Allan wakes up at 3 am to find me hunched over. Fearing that it's appendicitis or something worse than just gas or indigestion, we decided to go to the hospital. And not just any hospital, the EAST AVENUE MEDICAL CENTER.

I knew that this was gonna be a bad idea, us going to that particular hospital. Not that I am such a big believer in private hospitals or anything, but I have often heard on television that people who get into vehicular accidents or stabbings or violent holdups end up in EAMC. I was worried that I might not get medical attention right away. And I NEEDED medical attention RIGHT AWAY. The pain was soooo terrible that I thought, quite literally, that I must be dying.

We arrive (me in ugly shorts and a tshirt with Gumby in the front) and the attending nurse asks me right away what's up. Allan fills out a form and one of the nurses woke up a doctor (which I later gather is only an intern, I say only because they do nothing really). So I thought, "Ah good, it's fast."

Then I waited for 30 minutes. WTF???

The intern poked and prodded at my stomach and asked where the pain is concentrated. Then she asks me to lay down on a stretcher (with a thin foam covered with brown faux leather and no bedsheet). I became squeamish. But what the heck, I was in pain, maybe they needed me to be submissive and I don't really give a shit if the stretcher is dirty. Beside me was a man on another stretcher with a stab wound on his thigh (almost nicked his femoral artery) and in front of me was a motorcyclist who exfoliated half his body on the rough roads of EDSA. TOCINO. As in. They looked at me as the nurse rolled my stretcher to place. I resisted the urge to smile and say "Howdy neighbor." Pain makes me dumb.

It seems that the specialist that was skilled to check my condition is in surgery. So I was asked to wait. The intern's only job was to report to that specialist that some woman was there waiting for him. Me.

Then the nurse rearranged the stretchers after 15 minutes and I was now neighbors with a youngish man who needed surgery. His mother and father was beside him and his mom was the one who was pumping the ambu-bag (you know that oxygen mask with a bag of air attached to it). The man was writhing in pain or convulsion. I can't look. I just needed the frickin' expert to come along and make me well. Can you imagine being in this depressing place, with bad stomach and the urge to throw up? For thirty minutes? Why did I even go to this place? My medical card covered the faster hospitals like St. Luke's or Capitol Med, which are all pretty near our place as well.

I was really pissed by now. Two interns have already come to me only to poke and prod me some more. Isn't it clear where the pain is concentrated? Didn't I tell you yet? Should you keep poking my stomach more?

Then I heard the most disgusting thing I have heard from anyone working in the healthcare profession:

Mother with Ambu-bag and begging voice (the one with the child needing surgery, writhing in pain): Nurse, wala pa po bang doctor? Tingnan nyo naman yung anak ko...kanina pa kame dito...baka may magawa kayo. Wala naman kayong ginagawa dyan eh.

(This is all true. The nurses and interns where sleeping on their tables in plain sight. Other nurses weren't doing anything but walking here and there. And they arrived well before we did)

Nurse (snoooooooty as hell): Ma'am, wag nyo kame sabihan ng ganyan. Hindi nyo naiintindihan yung trabaho namin, kaya. Nagtratrabaho rin kame dito. Kanina ko pa sinabi sa inyo na wala pang space sa OR, kelangan ko bang ulit-ulitin? Umintindi naman kayo. Hindi kame doctor, nakikita nyo ba? Nurse lang kame. DOCTOR kelangan ng anak nyo.

Considering that the nurse really wasn't doing anything, considering that they were so lazy that they wouldn't even assist the mother with the ambu-bag, considering that they have waited there for an hour and considering that interns and nurses were sleeping in plain sight, how can that stupid nurse say that? How can she not just apologize, explain properly and assure the mother? Isn't THAT part of her job, too?

I couldn't take it. I told Allan that I wanted to go somewhere else. When he went back to the nurses/interns' station, he came back with a wheelchair and instructions that I should be taken to the ambulatory care department which was on the other side of the building. So we went and we found a doctor, an empty lobby and a silent department. They were sleeping, but THERE WERE AVAILABLE DOCTORS FOR MY CONDITION! He was just there. Yes, that specialist was in surgery, but there was someone else! Why did they make me wait?! I WAS IN FRICKIN' PAIN! The doctor poked at my abdomen one last time, and wrote out a presciption for buscopan and omeprazole. Not even 10 minutes and I was given a resolution.

As Allan headed to the pharmacy, the doctor gave me a shot of buscopan and told me that when the meds arrived, that I should take one each, and that I could lie down on the benches if I felt like it. It was so simple, so quick.

Thirty minutes after I drank the meds, the pain subsided. I was told to get an ultrasound and a blood test to rule out gallstones or any other factors. And we were gone.

I'll never go back to EAMC ever again? And I hope that snooty nurse is the last of her breed.

Never the "Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink" Kind of Bag Girl

I have been reading more and more blogs that have at least one entry where
they describe the contents of their bags (some even do that everyday). There
are bags that are filled with mommy essentials---towel, extra tshirt, baby
powder and wipes---while others are a little bit more complicated (mascara,
contact lens solution, makeup kit, charger). Bag contents range from the
mundane to the ridiculous, like a can opener, and are, I think, true
reflections of what the person is like. It's just like a diary or an email

So of course my attention is piqued. I have never really done an inventory
of the contents of my bag. I am sure though that the contents are skinnier
than most, as I usually bring only a small bag---practically a purse---so
it'll be easy to protect from snatchers. What I did find inside my bag
depressed me. Compared to other women, I seem to have such a spartan life
(and yes, I kinda resent that association).

Here we go:

Wallet. I have recently given up my red canvas Kate Spade wallet (shipped
off to momma, I think she deserves it more than I do) and got myself a
sleeker and less bulky Kenneth Cole. It's mostly just for the bills and
IDs...the coins go to the coin compartment of my bag, to be disposed of

Cellphone. Dawn (Broce) now has my P990i, and I now have a Samsung Star
S5233W. Look at how cheap my cellphone pouch is. I cringe at the

My kikay kit. That's a misnomer, really, because now that I think of it,
there's nothing kikay about my kikay kit except the powder. Inside we have:

Beach Hut SPF 36. I will never thank Nea (Ismi) enough for letting me into
the sunblock/sunscreen secret. It really is the key to younger looking and
happy looking skin. With this heat and with my new shift where I get out of
the house at noon, no less, sunblock is so essential. Just a week or so after I started using sunscreen, there is a noticeably healthier glow to my skin. Not FAIRER, but healthier. It's smoother and softer...not like it's a piece of tapa. My pores are also smaller. Yes, sun damage causes huge pores.

I bought a bigger bottle that Allan and I share but I carry this smaller bottle for touch ups. Beach Hut is a sunscreen technically (meaning it contains ingredients like salicylates and cinnamates, as opposed to sunblock's zinc and/or titanium
oxide) so just like similar products, it's oily rather than sort of pastey and leaves a white residue (which is the zinc/titanium oxide in sunblocks). It also disintegrates faster than sunblocks, so I reapply after I get off the MRT in Ayala. And because it's oily, it was NECESSARY for me to buy...

Powder. It's just Nichido translucent powder, which is good for my in-between complexion. It takes the shine out, without having to whiten/darken my skin, which I like. And that's the only reason why I have this.

Hand Sanitizer (aka alcohol). Some of Allan's OC-ness rubbing off on me. I
mean, this is pretty basic.

Wet Wipes. Watson's sells the cheaper wet wipes that are not THAT wet, which I like. They're also not soapy which some wet wipes tend to be. They're pretty useful...from wiping my desk to toilet seats to fresh stains.

Lip Balm. Same thing. The sun's drying out my lips and it chaps and hurts. So there!



That's it. No lipstick, no lotion, not even perfume. Can you believe that?
Even Allan brings a vial of perfume with him when he goes out. And he's a
GUY. I cheek tint at home sometimes, whenever I think I look a little pale,
but mostly I don't. Am I so blah? Well, I also have some of my meds (allergy
meds and sometimes biogesic) and my prescriptions (never know if when you'll
encounter a snooty pharmacist who won't sell you Claricort or Virlix when
you have hives all over your face unless you have a prescription).

No eyeshadow, no mascara and definitely no can openers. How boring. What's in your bag?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

From Quezon Avenue to Cubao

Everyday I take a the train from Quezon Avenue to Ayala. As you can see in the photo, the trains are usually packed with bodies trying to squirm around for a better place to stand on until they reach their stop. That day I was lucky to have been able to find an empty seat on the bench. I sat beside this old-ish woman, maybe in her 50s, wearing shorts that one can classify as "pambahay" and a blouse with big prints on it. She was wearing bright yellow rubber slippers, her nails chipped and her feet a little cakey. Gray hair pulled into a ponytail with a decolores rubber band. She was a sight that is pretty common in the MRT. What got my attention was her hands, darkened by the sun and her nails yellow (too much detergent?), but she was wearing too plain wedding bands, one obviously too big for her that she bent it a bit.

The train stalled in one of the stations and as we waited for it to resume operating, she asked me if I can tell her what time it was. When I did, she sighed and looked worried. She told me that she was going to her daughter's because she's getting married in a few days and she will give the wedding rings she and her husband wore during their marriage. She does, however, needs to get the bigger one reshaped in Cubao.

"At least gold yung magiging singsing nila ba. Kahit papano may K naman," she said. She said that she volunteered to provide the rings, though at that time she had no idea where to get the money. But she knew that she needed to do it. She needed to present her daughter in the best light possible. Now that she hasn't come up with the money, she was left with no choice but to give up her and her husband's rings.

I can't answer with anything but a sad smile. What was there to say to this mother, who is like all other mothers I know who are poor? It's such a sacrifice to give up something that has been part of your life for the longest time. It must be hard to give up on a memory of a man you shared your life with. But such is the case for families like hers. Sacrifice is not sacrifice, it is but daily life.

I remember my own mother, who in her youth experienced being burdened by an infant. I remember all the mommy stories I heard from friends and the media. I remember all the stories that my grandmother told me about her mother who hid them underneath their house, covered with coconuts and banana leaves so they will not be discovered by the Japanese. I remember my grandmother telling me that when her mother died, she went to rural areas to offer haircutting services and mani-pedi so she can help her dad make ends meet. I remember her telling me that with her waif-like frame, she would haul bunches and bunches of bananas that were used to pay her so she can sell them in town. I remember these stories and cannot fathom just how much motherhood changes a woman. What strength she develops and what bond clings her to her child seconds after she holds that tiny being in her arms. No words are said, no handshakes are exchanged, no contracts signed. It's just there.

True, that maybe this is an experience I can get only when I become a mother myself, whenever that may be (not soon, for sure). The woman in the MRT got off Cubao. I didn't even get her name, or her daughter's name. I didn't even realize to greet her goodbye or take care or best wishes for her daughter. One second she was there, another she was shuffling off to the door, shouldering her way through rude MRT passengers, and she was gone in the throng of people that is Cubao. She was a tiny woman, maybe not even five feet. But she was a giant of a mother for making that sacrifice.

So I raise my glass to all mothers and/or wives out there. May you be a great one! Heck, I raise my glass to all ballsy women. Women who take control of their lives and not get stuck in the middle of irritating undecidedness. I raise my glass to women to take risks and rise above the rest whether or not she succeeded in her endeavor. I send out good online vibes for women who go out of their comfort zones rather than staying in comfort and sneering at those who made a leap. I'm hoping for a new breed of independent, liberated women to populate the earth. We've no time for silliness from the past. We act on our desires. We are FIERCE!

Finally, I raise my glass to all the men. It would be so boring without guys around.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Alice in Wonderland in Digital 3D

So we watched. I had to convince Allan with dinner at TGI Friday's (super best ever ever ribs!) to go watch Alice in Wonderland. We just couldn't miss it. I don't care if he thought it was sissy or childish at first. I was far more interested in watching Tim Burton interpret Alice than Cameron showing blue people talking weird.

I secured a seat at (heaven sent!) and I made sure that no clients, overtime work or papers would interfere with my date with Alice, Mad Hatter and the Red Queen. When all was said and done, our bellies full, we grabbed a bucket of popcorn and two lemonades, 3D shades or whatever heck you call them and watched.

But before anything else, look at Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter.

And Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice. The hair, the eyebags and weird eyeshadow, the pale face. I mean, Mad Hatter 2010 is just Beetlejuice with a college degree and a better stylist! How can you NOT be interested when you see something like that? I was hooked the very moment the movie posters were released.

(And if you didn't watch Beetlejuice, man, you should. Shame on you.)

So when the movie started, with Alice having recurring dreams, and his father assuring her, I knew I was in for a treat. No, this wasn't gonna be just Alice in Wonderland. When the next few scenes came on, I knew Burton was going to mix up Through the Looking Glass with Alice in Wonderland. I actually thought it was a good idea. The plot was simple: the rabbit returns to the "real" world to lure the now 19-year-old Alice back to Wonderland (in the movie, the place was actually called Underland. They made it show that Alice, because of her youth and innocence the first time she was there, just called it Wonderland.) She is to be the White Queen's "champion" who will kill the Jabberwocky and free Underland from the Red Queen and restore its beauty.

I have to tell you that this will destroy Alice in Wonderland as you know it. This is totally a different version of AIW and TTLG. The poems and songs that Lewis Caroll wrote fell prey to Burton's twisted mind. If you haven't watched the movie, Alice kills the Jabberwocky. Woops. Sorry. This was an interpretation of the actual poem, when the Jabberwocky is slain by the "son". I know, strange.

Alice killing the Jabberwocky is not part of AIW nor TTLG (as far as I can recall). In AIW, the Jabberwocky wasn't even mentioned. In TTLG, Alice's challenge was to get to eight rank to be crowned queen. Not to kill the Jabberwocky. It's completely twisted. My popcorn fell cold. I just couldn't eat anymore. This was TOO much.

So there were twists and an elaborate braid of AIW and TTLG components. I couldn't enjoy the movie if I really kept tabs on which is which. Suffice to say that the weave was so friggin' tight, it was a different story altogether.

The Mad Hatter will assist Alice in her quest to get the Vorpal sword (the only thing that can kill JW, Jabberwocky). The tweedles, will, well, be their own tweedling selves. The Cheshire cat will do nothing but, well, grin. The cat wasn't as important or emphasized here, at all.

One endearing character, whom I think is new, is Bayard, a bloodhound who is forced by the Red Queen's knight to track Alice down in exchange for his and his family's freedom. He was absolutely adorable. When he was finally set free and he was reunited with his family, I almost cried.

The themes were varied but were introduced so smoothly. Reality vs fantasy, crazy vs believable, good vs evil, acceptance vs rebellion. Signs of Burton everywhere...the arid land, the dry grass...the dark, misty background. All him. He really managed to make Alice in Wonderland such a dark, dreary story.

I liked what the White Queen said when Alice was deciding whether she can fight the Jabberwocky or not: "The choice must be yours because when your step out to face that creature... you will be alone" Meaning, don't do things to please anybody, for in the end, people will expect you to do things, but you can really only save yourself.

With all that said, Burton's Alice is great. I missed a lot of acting though. It so easy to make a computer generated thing act. But I miss the old-school acting, the same way Johnny Depp does it: the eyes twitching, the muscles in his face changing ever so slightly. But it was a great movie. Great movie.

Friday, March 5, 2010

On the Filtration Process Horizon

A plate of linguine alla matriciana. Simple yet satisfying. Totally just 20 minutes to make (maybe less if you don't Facebook while waiting for the bacon to crisp).

What's you're favorite pasta dish? Where did you have it? For all it's faults in bastardizing Italian fare, I still believe that my mother's Pinoy Spaghetti with the sweet sauce and hotdogs is the best. My homemade Spaghetti Pomodoro is pretty close. To Allan, he said the spaghetti up top. Yeah!

I'm planning to make REAL carbonara, meaning one with guanciale, egg and cheese only. Did you know that carbonara is not traditionally made with milk/cream? Nope. It's just spaghetti tossed in a pan of crispy bacon, then you add a mixture of beaten eggs, parmesan/pecorino cheese and pepper and allow the egg to cook from the heat of the spaghetti alone. That's what makes it creamy.

I'm gonna try that out. Then I'm also planning to try some rice cooker bread which sounds easy, too. I also want to try making Momofuku style pickles. They sound easy and I love pickles, so I think it'll work out. The recipe is for fridge method pickles with just sugar, salt, vinegar and spices.

What recipes have you been meaning to try?

Salad, Salad, Salad

Going with our trying to eat healthy theme, we are eating more soups and salads and less meat and carbs. I don't really avoid rice since rice, boiled or steamed, is far better than, say, having bread (rice has no fat and is very filling), but we're still trying to cut back.

Making a salad is simple. Seriously. Anyone with enough brains to pick their noses can make a salad, hopefully with clean hands. First,you start off with fresh vegetables. If I were to make one just for myself, I would use more variety. I love frisee, arugula and spinach, but since Allan doesn't, we usually go for romaine.

So we start off with a seemingly benign looking bowl of romaine lettuce.

Don't use a steel/metal knife to cut lettuce. It becomes brown and will taste funky. If you have those fancy porcelain knives, you can use them, but your hands are the best tools, or a plastic knife (yes, like the ones you get at fast food places). Tear the leaves according to the size you like. I like leaving the inner leaves whole.

Now, one thing about lettuce, don't buy them pre-cut. A whole romaine will only cost you something like Php60 (and it's good for two), so just buy that and slice it yourself. The pre-cut and pre-washed ones are usually up to php85-115. I mean, come on. You only buy pre-cut and prewashed if you don't have a knife and water at home. Lettuce can get a little slimy, so make sure you run water through each leaf.

So, now you've prepped your lettuce...Oh wait, there's one more thing. DRYING. Once you get lettuce wet, it is hard to dry off because the corrugated leaves catch too much water and patting them dry might cause them to get smushed. I have no salad spinner *cough cough* but I'm Filipino so I do what we people do best: improvise. You know those net bags that fruit like kiat-kiat or ponkans sometimes come in?

Like this? Or something similar to this? Well, I put my leaves there, go out where the splatter won't annoy anyone and begin to swirl it a lasso. It's fun! And it works!

So okay, now that you've really prepped your lettuce, let's go to dressing. If you lie vinaigrette, make something like that. But any dressing follows the same formula: acid, oil and flavoring. Say for example, olive oil, lemon and dill. Here this dressing is caesar (gasp! store bought!). Yeah, I know, but it was on sale! We used a couple of dollops of that plus some yogurt and drizzled it on. Then I crisp-fried (to take a lot of the fat out) a couple strips of bacon and added that to the salad. Then I grated a good amount of parmesan over it.

You're probably missing the croutons, but we didn't bother. It's pretty good. Now, I know you're probably shaking your heads. Healthy? Bacon? Cheese? Dressing? Well, I agree, but we ate this salad as a meal, without any carbs. Besides, the dressing is only 45 calories per tablespoon and we used only two. The aim is to cut back without deprivation. On normal days, we'd go get sinigang na baboy, ice cream for dessert and some chips for movie time.

And it looks good.

If I were to redo this though, I'd add tomatoes, cucumbers and maybe some fennel, with a light vinaigrette. Oh well.


In case you're wondering, yes, that IS an ice cream container. We promise to use any plastic containers at least ten times before throwing it out.