Monday, October 11, 2010

Some deep stuff

Death and new life. These two occasions when experienced can be earth shattering but right now as I write it and as you read it, seems nothing more than entities. I dreamt of a dog, one that I’d never seen before but in my dream I knew it was mine and it was dying in my arms =*(. I don’t know why or what happened but the moment I realized it was dying I started crying … and this is how I awoke. Seems silly that I write this blog based on my dream but there’s something to be said about it.

Today after working out at this fancy gym with my cousin. I commuted on my own. With traffic the commute that normally takes a half hour took one and a half. Within that time I thought about how I can never really melt in with the place in which I was born.

I came to the Philippines because I thought I could. I mean, because I was born here I figured I could blend in and assimilate. The problem is that I can’t. I feel like I don’t belong. I feel excluded as I pretend to be from here to avoid being ripped off by cab drivers. I feel excluded when people don’t think I’m Filipino because I look different when in fact I am fully Filipino and born here. And worse of all, I feel as though I don’t want to belong to what I have seen. I don’t want to be the poor grassroots beggars on the street. I don’t want to be those ritzy people who turn their nose to poverty as they drive their fancy cars. I think the problem is that I don’t know who I want to be. I’ve tried so hard to fit myself into a culture that I can’t understand or don’t really want to tolerate with their social hierarchy


Maybe all this contemplation has been brought about because I just watched Eat, Pray, Love. It was funny because after I had enjoyed a yummy Shabu-Shabu restaurant experience at Powerplant Mall at Rockwell I proceeded to purchase a decently priced bag. And after this movie, I felt like I was on my own quest to find myself and my happiness. So maybe that is what my dream was about this morning; I was sad to be losing a part of myself.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Another thursday =)

Thursday I accompanied my cousin to another casting shoot which did not take as long as last Saturday AAAND I got to ogle at the Keanu Reeves look alike who I’m pretty sure was younger than me (or maybe not, I somehow feel like everyone is younger than me these days).

Anyways, afterwards we went to SM Megamall in Ortigas. This mall was special becaaaauuse it housed FOREVER 21!! I’m such a big fan of that store. The minute we walked in I suffered from heart palpitations after seeing the vast variety of clothes, shoes, accessories in different colors! At first I had to practice some form of self control to avoid shoveling all everything I liked into a provided shopping bag but towards the end of it (after two hours) I was suffering from over exposure to too many beautiful things. Being the indecisive individual that I am, all the choices I was given (clothes, shoes etc) led me to mental and physical exhaustion.

My cousin and I both were famished and wandered

through to the Atrium to eat at Chef’s Quarters. To my surprise, they had a fairly decent Seared Tuna Tataki with Garlic ponzu which we had for appetizers. For entrée I had a Cream Dory with angel hair pasta. It was sooo good. The cream was not too heavy and tasted fairly light while

the Dory, wrapped around chopped mushrooms and topped with alfalfa sprouts, was cooked perfectly –not over done or undercooked. We stopped by Red Mango for their green tea frozen yogurt (I topped with almond slices) which I thought was better than The Coffee Bean’s maybe because it tasted more like frozen yogurt.

I know I have been overindulging lately, especially

with the poverty that I am surrounded with. There are times during the day when I am struck with guilt or even shame that I am able to spend ten times what the beggars on the street are making. While I know I owe it to myself (yes, I’m more honest than humble), I can’t help but feel sad when I see people, especially children wandering the busy streets at night looking to sell flowers/cloths/cigarettes. At the time I will try and rationalize my stoic nature that they are probably working for someone and will not even get the money I give them. But at the end of the day I am left to wonder, who is really looking after them?

It’s really a sad thought. But what can I really do now? Will giving one or several children money be a solution? Who really has the power to change this society? And why isn’t anyone doing anything about it? ---Can anyone really do anything?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

FAB - week two

Well I began the week with cute little pancakes made by my cousin. Then later on in the evening we went to a fairly nice gym in Quezon City called Arena Fitness. Yeah I know it’s super far (well with traffic it took us about an hour to get to), but the facilities included a sauna, a boxing class, hip hop dance class, an air-conditioned weights/fitness room, AAAAAAND it was free! So after I was finished busting my bum, it had been three months since my last decent work out, we went to Charlie’s Grill and Grind. I had a Roast Chicken with Shrooms burger. It was soooooo freaking good! It had a massive Portobello mushroom crusted in Panko. And I tried their San Miguel Light there also, it was okay but super carbonated (duh).

Tuesday wasn’t quite as eventful. I gave my Lola a manicure/pedicure then went to a nearby bazaar where I bought flip flops and a cardigan (how contradictory I know). Before this I tried Tequila Rose Ice cream which at first I thought was yummy but soon after turned gross (too creamy).

Wednesday I was able to visit my other Lola with my Titas. There I tried a hot bibingka (not sure what that is in English but its this soft bread like dough served on top of a banana leaf), Chicken empanada (similar to the Mexican empanada), a longan and some rambutan! They were all pretty okay.

In the evening my cousin and I went to World Trade Centre to watch her boyprend play with his band for the Fashion and Beauty conference. I was able to sample food from the food stands outside. I tried the corndog (didn’t like) and the squid balls (I’ve had better). It was quite a disappointment BUT I only spent about 68Pesos ($1.20 roughly) so no biggie! After we browsed through the stalls inside the conference we went to Cedars Grill in BF to smoke some Sheesha. Their hummus there was pretty yummy as it was run by Lebanese owners. I had one of the BEST beers there! Guilby’s Premium Strength with Green Tea Extract! … I had four =S AND since I was tipsy enough I tried the Chicken Isaw (I’m going to translate this in another blog since it still makes me sick that I ate it). So grosssssss!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

First weekend in Manila

While I was having my pedicure done I was reading Eat, Pray, Love and I read one line that stuck with me, a Buddhist teaching that said, “the world is afflicted with death and decay, therefore the wise do not grieve, knowing the terms of the world" (173). I feel like this was a nudge forward in respect to the contemplation I’ve been doing from the night before. And so I move forward…

Saturday was quite the experience topper. After waking up at 5am to head out with my cousin and her son to their casting shoot I waited for three hours until I got restless and ventured out to find my own way to a shopping centre. I took cab to Greenbelt where, looking back now, I can say that I definitely overindulged. I impulsively got my hair cut at Piandre’s and a foot spa pedicure at Tips and Toes I then proceeded to spend 1/3 of my travel budget!

You must want to know on what but to be completely honest I’m not really sure. Aside from my hair and nails, I bought impulsive splurges, I think I’m subconsciously trying to forget about it because nothing specific comes to the top of my head. I did venture to try out this Japanese Restaurant on the second level of Greenbelt 3. It kinda sucked hence why I forgot about their name. I ordered a “California” roll but it had a stick of crab, cucumber and sliver of mango and on top I assumed it was Japanese mayo. It was not very flavorful. All I could taste was the surge of mayo and the overpowered mango. For dinner however, I ate at Cyma’s (which was reminiscent of my last trip to the Philippines, specifically to Boracay with my cousin who is not with me now =(). We ate Chicken Souvlaki and Giant Prawn with Ouza.

Sunday, I decided to take a cab to visit my Tita who had just undergone a mastectomy. Afterwards my cousins (from my mom’s side) and I ventured to Festival Mall. Why they call it festival, I’m not technically sure BUT with the amount of activities, levels, stores and people that surge throughout each branch of the mall I am not surprised with its name.

Before we left their home though I was able to try some completely authentic Chicken Adobo. I haven’t had this dish in a while so when I ate it I was completely overwhelmed with thoughts of how good it was, when the last time I had it was, when my mom ever made it, when the last time I ate at my house was and when the last time my mom cooked it was. Yes, I know, sometimes my mind is like a horse race.

At festival mall I ate at Fresh Lumpia, Roasted Chicken and this other shrimp dish I forgot the name of at Max’s Restaurant. The chicken was yummy juicy inside and roasted outside. The fresh lumpia was good but my family friend in Coquitlam makes better ones. And the shrimp dish was a bit plain but it came with toasted bread and the bread was reaaallly yummy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


So I realized that the reason my mojitos have been quite dissatisfying is because their grocery stores don’t seem to carry lime or mint (aside from Vietnamese mint). Today, after spending about 1950P on eye cream by L’OCCITANE (a habit that I was encouraged to start early). I felt so completely shameful after we had encountered a child working on the street in the rain. He was selling cloths and while residents here are used to them, I was not. I felt completely miserable for them and started thinking how they got there, would the money even go to them or would it go to their “employer”? So many questions that I guess I asked to rationalize their existence on the street and their unfortunate situation. I just hoped that they had someone who loved them and an aspiration to make good of themselves.

I went home and celebrated one of my aunt’s birthday. We bought Thai green curry with duck, Chicken Satay and mango cake from Red Ribbon. I LOVED the curry it may have been a bit too sweet but it was still yummy. I’d have preferred it with chicken or even shrimp, only because I’m not a fan of duck. I also loved the sauce that came with the Chicken Satay. My aunt also had some Prawns with lemon butter sauce and Filipino Pancit.

While it seems that I have completely overlooked the poverty that exists within this country, it is only a means of my attempt to maintain a ‘vacation’ mode. And what can I really do to help? I’ll have to contemplate that.

Mojito attempt #2

After having such a crazy day on Wednesday, I woke up yesterday morning feeling quite refreshed and thankful that no spiritual figures decided to grace me with their presence again, or that I was able to keep my eyes shut at all times. I woke up, spent time with my Lola and then proceeded to complete a Powerpoint slide show presentation for my aunt (I know, some vacation right?). But then she gave me these addictive rice crackers that I, along with my cousin consumed by the end of the day.

For lunch I had this pineapple chicken and radish stew and for dinner I went to Ziggurat. A Lonely Planet tourist destination restaurant with middle eastern influenced cuisine. They served all kinds of curry, rice, bread, skewers and you could smoke a shisha while being there. The interior was fun with rugs and floor pillows of all kinds. We sat on the floor upstairs (to our disadvantage since there was a tendency to forget about us with the large party downstairs). Anyways, we ordered the Lamb Mushroom Truffle Curry, Indian curry rice and chicken tikka with some Pakistani Roti. The only dish I really enjoyed was the rice and the chicken tikka. I’m not really a fan of lamb (which according to others is unfortunate) and the curry sauce tasted very different maybe it was the mushroom or the truffle but it didn’t taste very curry-esque. The Pakistani Roti was okay but quite dry. Maybe I’m just used to a different kind of roti? I don’t know.

After dinner we went to Ardi’s to watch my cousin’s boyfriend perform with his band. I was so impressed with their musical ability and over all sound! I ordered a mojito hoping that it would be the right kind but was disappointed. My search for the perfect mojito has just begun!