Dodging milenyo

I check my blog every week and feel absolutely dreadful that my last post was made in August, three whole months ago. No excuses, just plain and simple laziness to write. And since I am still in this state, this is all I can give.

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Spaghetti with prawns and ricotta

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Ozzo Bucco Spaghetti

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Beef and Chicken Enchilada

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Vegetarian Taco Platter

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If by any chance I whet your appetite (wait.. I’m sure I did), be sure to visit Cyma and Mañana Bora on your next trip to Boracay. I had these when I went back to the island last September yet I can’t get over them. By the way, they have Cyma at Shang already so we can have our big fat Greek lambchops anytime we want. How considerate. Sadly for Mañana Bora, I only have these pictures to drool at.

For bonus, I leave these pictures of Puka Beach and what Crocodile Island is best known for.

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Magic 7

Pulse Asia reports that 30% of Filipinos or some 14 million adults would now migrate if it were only possible. That’s three out of every ten Filipinos wanting to leave the country.

With every inch of respect in my body, all I can really say is, I don’t give a damn. I’m glad that I’m one of seven than one of three. But to be perfectly nice, this piece of information should be welcomed. This shows that seven in every ten Filipinos are willing to fight on and can see their nation’s beauty amidst the pollution, corruption and division (sorry, just had to keep the rhyme). Any teamplayer knows that a few thinking heads are better than many heads including the crabs. The last thing this country needs is the deserters.

What is interesting with the survey is that sentiment against migration is more pronounced in Class E than in any of the classes (48%). Apparently, being hopeless is not caused by having less. And then I thought to whom much is given, much is expected in return.

Former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Dr. Ciel Habito would often say that if you look at the poverty statistics, it shows that one in every four Filipinos is poor. This means that three are non-poor, which ultimately shows that poverty is perfectly manageable. If only the three non-poor will do something that will somehow ease the circumstances the one (O-N-E, one) poor person is in then we’re good to go. His example was himself helping his driver send his children to school. A government serving eighty million on a budget deficit can only do so much. Of course corruption springs as a very legitimate argument but it’s no reason to slack. Those sleazeballs can’t and won’t drive me away from my own land.

Because really, nothing comes easy. You stick it out with your country not because it will make you rich but because it needs you. I know it’s all a matter of perspective but to be actually perceptive about it, nothing is more rewarding than cursing in your own language, not looking different from your neighbors, tapsilog at three in the morning and watching Bulagaan.



For almost a month now people from all over are putting their lives on hold and are coming together (in twelve states in Germany at least) to rally behind their heroes. Dressed in their national colors, throngs of people chanting, singing, dancing and drinking have become such a sight to see that I, admittedly, feel envious of such remarkable display of unity and patriotism.

I want a Filipino World Cup Team! I want to be extremely emotional over an exciting game of football. I want to be swept by unbelievable plays, overwhelmed by incredible goals and crushed by heartbreaking defeat. I want to jump and dance in the country’s main thoroughfares with reckless abandon and shout and cry my country’s name like a mad man. All these while wearing the flag on my back and my face painted with the sun and the stars.

I’m such a trying hard football fan I watch the games even if I hardly know how it is played. All of a sudden I’m interested in CNN Sports just to see the Fan Zone, a full-packed stadium in almost monochrome and winning team antics. My sister is luckier. She was in Frankfurt just a week ago. I, on the other hand, found misery in company.

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Something unusual, football-crazed Filipinos (totally unplanned).

I want us to be stung by the football bug. Just imagine, we wouldn’t have to deal with politicians putting up another basketball court with their pork barrel. We would stop being disenchanted with our height. We can all give The Pacman a much-needed rest (and hopefully retirement). With a Lakandula Award from the President no less, this country sure needs a new breed of heroes. And please let it be a dozen.


Doubting Thomases

I honestly can not understand this entire brouhaha on the The Da Vinci Code. I can not believe that Cabinet members, no less than the Executive Secretary, are commenting on the book/movie and actually believe that the Brown bestseller is repulsive.

The Church and other religious issuing statements and other propaganda against “the code” is expected. Some Christian groups even scheduled seminars to talk about and discredit the The Da Vinci Code. I’m sure Dan Brown would be surprised that his book is the topic of the priest’s sermon in my mother’s hometown in La Union. As if the media mileage is not enough, an anti-porn group has been pushing the MTRCB to ban the movie. Anti-porn group reacting over Da Vinci? Beats me.

I was born to Roman Catholic parents, baptized Roman Catholic and went to a Catholic school from pre-school all through highschool. I consider myself to be a Catholic to this day, albeit non-practicing. I continue to keep a relationship with my God that I came to know of through my Catholic upbringing and harbor no doubt whatsoever on my faith. And yes, I loved the The Da Vinci Code and I can’t wait to catch it on the big screen.

The book was exhilarating, engaging and highly-informative. What stuck on me are the bits of trivia such as the value of Pi, the anagrams and the description of the famous paintings, structures and other works of art. The plot on the sacred feminine and the sub-plots on secret societies, medieval crusades, Church cover-up and other historical pieces of information appealed to me as interesting and yes intriguing. But never, for one second, did the book shake my faith and lead me to doubt and question.

I would like to believe, as any Christian should, that our relationship with our God is profound and meaningful, one that is solid and deeply-rooted. I haven’t heard of one person (I’m surrounded by people who read the book) who was disillusioned and demoralized and renounced his/her faith altogether because of Dan Brown’s brilliant story-telling. Nobody thought that the omnipotence of the Christ we know was diminished nor his being insulted because he allegedly sired a child. This is so, I believe, because spirituality is boundless. It is not limited by the church one goes to or the scriptures it teaches, the company a person keeps or the method a believer chooses to communicate with a higher being. It is a personal relationship of love and acceptance. All that is important to remember is a God who is forgiving and selfless and if this is the image to whom I was created after, nothing else matters.


Tell it to the marines

I’ve often wondered (sometimes aloud) whether Filipinos will be more disciplined and law-abiding if better systems are in place such as in traffic management and waste disposal. More than thinking, perhaps I was hoping that if only our streets are as clean as Singapore’s or as wide as the freeway, Filipino pedestrians will be more encouraged to walk the extra mile than take a tricycle, which is healthier and cleaner, and that Filipino drivers will turn out to be patient and conscientious angels rather than the rude devils they are now.

Sometimes I can’t blame the commuters for taking and alighting a public utility vehicle at any point. I always want to alight at the point that is nearest to my destination lest I walk the dirty, dangerous and draining streets of Manila. I thought that if only our communities are safer and pedestrian-friendly, we won’t need much of jeepneys, tricycles and pedicabs. This would mean fresher air and less-congested roads. I thought that Filipinos hardly walk because the environment is not conducive to walking or that there is too much traffic because we have narrow streets.

Then I realized that there’s something wrong about this mentality of systems shaping behavior. We can’t allow our environments to dictate our own actions. It should be the other way around. It is our behavior as a people that should be shaping our systems. Unless, commuters and drivers become more concerned of orderliness and restraint, of obedience and authority, no matter how systematic we get, traffic violations and crowded sidewalks are here to stay. This I can prove empirically.

During my family’s trip to La Union for the Holy Week, there were expectedly more motorists than usual. However, bottlenecks approaching the toll gate now shouldn’t be much of a problem given the wider, better and very impressive NLEX. Just follow your lane and you will emerge from the toll gate fast and unscathed. Ever since this new NLEX was completed, traveling to the north has been such a breeze making you feel that every cent of your P200 fee is all worth it. But lo and behold, there were uncouth drivers who still carry their Manila driving orientation and cut you off. These are the drivers who stay in between lanes and cut-off in the faster lane not minding the vehicles that are patiently waiting in a long line. This time, the government has invested so much in wider and better roads but still, drivers pay no attention to road rules and design.

Another incident was when my family went to Ocean Adventure in Subic to spend time with my half-sister and her family who are vacationing from the US. I was meeting my nephew and niece for the first time and my sisters wanted to do something the kids will enjoy and learn from that’s why we decided to go to Ocean Adventure. Ocean Adventure is a nature park. They have big aquariums, a zoo, sea lion show and my favorite, whale and dolphin show. I just found out when we got there last 22 April that it was actually Earth Day. Given the park’s theme, the animal trainors in the shows made sure that their scripts incorporate reminders on how to preserve the environment and for everyone to do his part in taking care of the planet. Given these reminders and the beauty of the entire park, we were very annoyed to see left-over food and plastic wrappers in the seats when the show ended. Some of the audience can’t even manage to keep their trash and throw them in the nearest garbage bins, in a nature park! That shouldn’t be too difficult to do. Another thing, everyone knows there’s speed limit in Subic (which feels like a warp zone because of its clean sidewalks and strict traffic rules) but still some motorists get apprehended for driving beyond the limit.

Our environment must really be a reflection of who we are as a people. As long as we can’t accomplish simple tasks such as obeying rules, observing road courtesy and keeping surroundings clean, no amount of beautification and system design can change our selfish and barbaric ways.

Let me end by introducing the little people who have tugged my heart the first time I met them. Can’t believe they’re leaving soon!

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Josiah Jared and Keilah Kirsten


Sweet dreams...

...are made of these. Following are what I stuffed myself with during the holy week. Sinful, I know, but heavenly nonetheless.

La Union Feast

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Home-made apple crumble a'la mode (What the heck?! Everything's home-made.)

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Pasta Aligue with Shrimp

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Sardines Pasta

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Fish Tofu and Century Egg

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Tuna Sushi

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Scampi CousCous with Lamb Kabab and Lovash with Hummus

Baguio Delights

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House of Waffles' Combo Breakfast

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House of Waffles' Western Skillet

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House of Waffles' Tutifruity Waffle

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Manor's Belgian Chocolate Souffle (or what's left of it)


First to the finish line

As young sixth graders, my friends and I would spend afternoons after classes at the library corridor chatting and doing our homework together. I distinctly remember that we would share over Mia’s packed lunch of rice and Spam that she didn’t touch. We would always be scolded by the librarian because of our noisy giggles and banter. On other occasions we would just sit on the stairs near the grade school canteen and the ballet room and tell stories till our sundo arrives.

Mia was my classmate for two years, sixth grade and freshman year. We were in the same group of friends when I first experienced going out with friends without the supervision of any grown-up. As twelve year olds we would play at the old Glico’s in Glorietta or at Whimsy Land at Shang all wearing Giordano Classics.

Mia would never forget special occasions. She has substantially contributed to my Zashikibuta collection because she would gift me with Zashi items not limited to stationery. She always brings goodies she baked and let everyone have a piece. In highschool, she was known as Mia Q. (as her last name is Quijano) since there were other Mia’s in the batch. We had different sets of friends when we reached highschool but I would always remember her as one of my Grade 6 barkada.

Mia was an excellent student and a math whiz who finished Statistics in UP. Three years ago, while working for a multinational business solutions firm, we learned that she was diagnosed with nasal cancer. She was able to beat the big C and even managed to get back to work. In the past months however, it recurred and affected the different systems of her body.

Last Friday, she was rushed to the hospital since she was having a hard time breathing. That entire weekend her whole family was said to be crying and she was the brave soul reassuring them. Come Sunday night everyone fell asleep as Mia herself rested. Upon waking up the following morning Mia was gone. She left them early Monday morning without them noticing, peacefully and calmly.

The wake last night was trademark Mia. All of her friends were there from STC to UP to Accenture. The ribbons on her coffin were beautifully lettered and she was the only fashionista. There were framed pictures of her with family and friends and albums with our grade six class party pictures in them. Her sister jokingly told us to be sure to put the pictures back fearing that we might snatch one which was what we initially planned.

We later learned that she had everything planned. Did I also mention she was a great artist, redoing art projects when she is not satisfied? The diligent person that she is, she personally wrote the names of her family members in the ribbons for her coffin and specified how exactly she would look from the blouse to the bracelet that she wore.

Mourning for a childhood friend’s death was just surreal. Last week I just attended another highschool friend’s wedding and now we’re putting a friend to rest. As we gathered last night for Mia’s wake, I realized that we are all twenty-somethings who are just starting to make something of our lives. Some of us are about to graduate from med school, one just gave birth last month and I have been working on some major changes I want in my career. Mia Q. on the other hand, the youngest in a brood of six, decided to take a bow when the show is just starting, only eight years after we parted ways and left the comfortable walls of high school.

As I work my ass off everyday, worrying about bills that never-end and figuring out what I really want in life, Mia will be sitting pretty at the side of her God, happy and contented for her brief but full life on earth. I’m hoping that by the time we meet again, we’ll be both twelve year olds and not the unfortunate event that she’s a beautiful 25 year old and I’m an 80 year old hag.