Let’s eat cake


It’s been 3 days already since I’ve been eating the chocolate roll that we had for noche Buena. My diet since then has been on leftovers and thankfully, it looks like this day will be the last – unless our refrigerator reveals another Tupperware with foods still waiting to be consumed.

Did I mention that theres puto, too?

Did I mention that there's puto, too?











At least the good thing about having a wife good at cooking is that the leftovers get to have some twist during every other meal. Like yesterday, the embutido meet up with the excess spaghetti sauce and presto, instant new spicy recipe that went well with rice for lunch. The dessert though, was still the enduring chocolate cake. Actually, it was coupled with a peach-sago salad. Not bad.

I’m not sure yet, if what’s happening right now inside my body as the last time I had an intense activity – outside our house – was when I joined a badminton dual-meet 2 weeks ago. After that whole day of flexing, jumping and smashing, I was on all out calorie collection as if some polar bear stacking some body fats for hibernation. Now, I’m trying to avoid stepping on the weighing scale. I’m now convincing myself to remember the saying, “what you don’t know won’t hurt you.” And I might as well add another inspiring line, “round is a shape.” Ti abi.

Oh calories, my calories. How can I resist the sexy shrimps.

Oh calories, my calories. How can I resist the sexy shrimps.

Frankly, I don’t know if I can fit some real cardiovascular activities among some other plans I have during this vacation period. The nearest I can get some sweat out is by doing household chores – involving lots and still lots of clean up to be done, detailing the car (which I already did from 7-12 noon yesterday), and a couple of house fixes that are already on my to-do list.

Some fitness gurus say that what matters most with each person’s well being is that you look good and feel good about yourself. Well, I think I’d prefer for now feeling good about myself. Let’s worry about the looking good part next year while I compete with those running the treadmill at the gym. Hahaha.

Let me leave this blog with the following quotes:

Eat well, not many.” – crisn (that’s me)

People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.” – unknown.

Once again, we come to the holiday season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.” – Dave Barry




Mood: 3/10 Honks!


Itsy Bitsy Sunday

No I’m not having a compressed hour Sunday, but rather than dwelling only on one point of interest my mind disagrees with it. There are just so much things going on inside my head right now that I think it’s a good idea to post a mixture of topics to cater to a broader aspect of my thinking brain (glad it’s still working).

So before I dig into the fridge and search what’s for lunch, here are today’s tidbits:

Short term and long term plans

As I’m finally counting down to the inevitable “bumhood”, I now have the following plans:

Short term:

1.Prep up the sofa for employment hiatus.
2. Polish the remotes (TV,audio,aircon).
3. Upgrade the PC.
4. Blog, blog, and blog more (and try to earn from it in the process).

Long term:
1. Learn, learn, and learn how to raise a kid.
2. Fix the leak in the roof.
3. Find a job.

Writer’s cramp?
While reading my usual newspaper – The Philippine Star – I can’t help but notice that Francis J. Kong and Bum D. Tenorio, Jr. just posted email clippings for most of their articles. These two are among Philstar’s writers whom I read most of their articles and sometimes it fascinates (or irritates) me to see them cut and paste forwarded emails and get paid for it. It’s a good thing I still enjoyed reading both of their articles today.

Philippine F1, anyone?

The recent F1 Singapore – F1’s first night race – seemed to shut (just a wild thought: if alumini is plural for alumnus, is shut a singular of…) my hopes for the Philippines to get significant publicity (good) over our Asian neighbors. I can’t help but wonder will I ever be truly proud to be a Filipino?

Well, I’d like to help raise this bid for us to conquer the F1 scene. I’m thinking, why not have the first real live F1 street race in the Philippines. This time there will be no modification on the roads or clearing up of vehicles in the streets. I can just imagine how these F1 cars will perform over our buses, jeepneys, some mad motorcycle drivers and our suicidal jaywalkers.

Paging the FIA. Interested? Oh by the way, no more G.H. Mumm ceremony, let’s propose using our San Miguel Grande beers to be sprayed while we’re at it.

Misery loves company

Often times I’d wonder who else got problems. So today, I tried to look for others who might have some problems other than me. So here are some of the people and their problems they’re facing right now.

  1. George Bush – America’s economy. If this doesn’t make one stutter, what will?
  2. Benjie de Lara – a 6-year-old boy with a fourth stage cancer. Want to help? Contact his mother Elenita at 09293289591 or donate thru the Star’s Operation Damayan. Call 527-7901 and look for Millet Dioso.
  3. Filipino veterans – they’re not getting their pension. I assume that one American congressman’s grandfather might have been in hand to hand combat with a Filipino during the Filipino-American war.
  4. Philippine Senator Manny Villar – double funding for a C5 project. So what’s new? I think he can handle that.
  5. Chinese milk manufacturers – does Melamine rings a bell? And count me in as one of those angry at this SNAFU. Now I’d have to think twice before I eat my favorite White Rabbit candy. At least the female cows in China are free from breast suction gadgets at least for the mean time. The male cows I know are smiling broadly. Mooooo…
  6. Fat bellied policemen – the new PNP chief Jesus Versoza is out to revive fitness consciousness to these “pugad baboy” characters. Any tremors on the next few weeks won’t come from below. Its origin will most likely be from PNP camps around the nation.
  7. Philippine Olympians – most of the officials are staying put especially Aventajado who is running for another term as the Philippine Olympic Committee’s chairman. Where was he when our athletes went down on bended knees during the recent Beijing Olympics? I bet Aventajado was beside the Chinese team during the awarding thinking that these are our tsinoy delegates. Hayyy…can’t help but rant.
  8. Jessica Zafra – her computer (laptop) keyboard is filled with cat fur. I’d like this to be my problem.
  9. Tanya T. Lara – sunburn while in Manhattan. Let this one also be mine.
  10. Obama and McCain – waiting game for the U.S. presidential seat.
  11. Kimi Raikkonen – hated the rain. Hated the night race. My wife still likes him though – is this a sign that I should block all Kimi tags and searches in our computer? Damn, she’s got her own laptop.
  12. Tingting Cojuangco – freaking out over wrinkles and Alzheimer’s. To each his (or her) own, they say.
  13. Lucy Torres-Gomez – misses having dates with Richard Gomez. hmmmm…
  14. Hagar – Helga
  15. Archie – between Veronica and Betty
  16. Mr. Wilson – Dennis the Menace

Hey, I must have skipped the other sections and got stuck in the Philstar’s comic section – the last 3 people I posted with problems are comic characters. Sorry about that. Time to have lunch, I guess.

A Week of Interviews (Part 1)


I’ve said it several times either to myself or to someone – Time flies so fast. And so today I was surprised to see that the last time I did a blog was on August 31 and fifteen days after that, I’m still wondering what I’ve been thru since then. Now I’m in the middle of the much waited months for us Pinoys – the “ber” months.  And being the 15th which is the payday for most employees, I can just imagine the throng of people in the mall, in the clubs, and those in the beer bars – all of which probably enjoying at least a couple of Christmassy tunes in the process.

In spite of having lost track of my activities, the freshest memory that still lingers in my mind is the things that we did last week. In work terms, work week 37. Last week, my wife and I underwent a couple of separate exciting interviews amid my untimely colds that was made worse by the enduring rainy week.  But having prepared for these interviews for so long, not to mention that the stakes are high, we proceeded undeterred.

The first one was in the US embassy in Manila. It was actually my wife’s idea to try our luck in getting a US Visa (tourist). Although, I’ve been thru this before for my week-long Wisconsin training trip, I was a bit pessimistic in acquiring a new one as I’ve seen a couple of times the disappointment it gave my parents upon every denial in their quest to visit my sister abroad. Lately though, according to wifey, a lot of her peers got theirs without much ado. And true indeed, after a couple of anxiety-filled hours inside the embassy, our visa application got approved as well. My wife went out of the hallway skipping like a kid promised with a weekend beach picnic. “I feel like I’ve just won the American Idol audition”, she quipped. Well, that probably puts me in William Hung’s shoes when he got the record deal. (What made it greater was that our Visa expires in 2018 but the news today regarding the end of validity of the green passport by 2010 looks trouble to me.)

One thing that my wife and I are totally in synch with is that both of us agree with rewarding ourselves with every success that we had; more often than not, we love having food treats. And this time we dropped by MOA (Mall of Asia) looking for something new. Then we saw Cheesecake Etc. Inc. It is a small (approx. seats 10-15 person) restaurant but with cozy feel to it. Obviously, we ordered a couple of cheesecakes and coffee to match it. What we got were nicely presented (lovely shape and plate decoration) and were fairly priced. I recommend this place as an alternative to Starbucks.

After satisfying our sweet tooth, we headed to the cinemas just in time to catch the movie Wall-E – this time to feed our craving for comic relief. And like any other Disney movie we’ve seen, this movie didn’t fail us. The scenes in the movie despite being subtle and comical packs a serious message of what our (humans) future awaits if we lose the awareness on our environmental obligations. It also sends a strong warning to everyone who tends to entrust our lives to technology with the belief that it is there to give us convenience. Convenience that if not controlled will eventually produce more bad than good effects in the end. Do garbage problem and obesity sounds familiar? If there’s an animated counterpart to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth movie, this is it. This is a must see movie for both young and old alike. (I love this one so much that I can’t wait to get its DVD.)

(to be contintued…)





F*** You

Be calm.No need to censor. But I’m trying not to say this dreaded F word – FATS; because right now I’m facing a tough problem. Tougher than the impending unemployment and tougher than facing an unending oil price hike. It has something to do with my weight. And the horrifying number is Seventy pounds. That’s how heavy I am right now. And that’s seven pounds more than my required weight.

In gym lingo I’ve reached the hated plateau. It’s no matter how much I do the tread mills, do weight training and perform hopeless crunch and abs work out, my body just got bored with these routines. And like an employer running out of manpower, my body has posted a vacancy sign outside its doorstep. It’s accepting fats and calories like Vietnam is accepting all the multinational companies.

I know I can’t do anything about Vietnam but I’m sure I can do something about this weight. A battle must take place though to achieve once again my ideal weight as I don’t find it amusing anymore seeing our bathroom scale displaying a value higher than the last time I stepped on it. So instead of crying over spilled beer…I mean milk, I’d like to write about this new weight goal so I can get back to it soon and feel good about losing – weight, that is.

For me to be back on track, a re-assessment has to be done like anything that has gone awry or in this case what I’d call SNAFU – Situation Normal All Fat’s Up. Got to go back to monitoring what I eat and when I eat. I have to say goodbye to Jollibee breakfast, goodbye to Burger King Whopper, goodbye to heavy dinner, goodbye to beer…ooopps, let me recall the latter.

As part of my reflection, I’m wondering what I have done recently that made me accumulate such weight. So let me focus at least on this past week’s activity.

Monday. As scheduled, I played badminton with a couple of colleagues. Although known as the fastest game and tagged by some as a good cardiovascular workout, I find this game as a false sense of exercise to complement a diet.  Why? Normally, the heart-pounding and blood-pumping game for the whole day will bring us to a fast food restaurant to recover what we skipped during lunch. This last game, we found ourselves eating spaghetti and having a couple of beer in The Old Spaghetti House.

Fats – 1. Diet – 0.

Sunday. I was in Batangas with wifey to attend a birthday and a farewell party. The Red Ribbon chocolate cake and the predictable spaghetti were there and were looking mouth-watering as ever. I must have blacked out in front of the table but I found my stomach bulging and my lips colored brown and red.

Fats – 2. Diet – 0.

Saturday.  Finally, I attended my first TUP-V summer outing after several postponed dates with my batch mates. So right after a hard day’s work (at least I believe so), I find myself worthy of rewarding myself with good food and good company.  Without wasting time, I excitedly drove my way from Cavite to Sta. Rosa Laguna; and a hundred wrong turns  and a couple of hours later (thanks to the perfect map), I eventually located Dictado Resort where most of the attendees also got lost which is probably the reason why the program started late. Despite the exhausting drive it was fulfilling to meet long lost friends, schoolmates and other new alumni. It was also nice seeing some of the faces behind the aliases in the Tup-Vian’s yahoogroups. It was a “tagalog-free” night and it was like being home in Bacolod with everyone around speaking Ilonggo.  The feeling of nostalgia is of course never complete without guess what? Beer. Lots of it. Ti abi.

Fats – 3. Diet 0.

Friday. Coming from work, I picked my wife at home and went back to SM to watch the most anticipated movie of this year – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I don’t know if the peanuts we brought inside was responsible for my calorie pile up that night OR was it the film being the MOST boring (sorry, I can’t help but emphasize) Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg film I’ve ever seen – it was so boring, my metabolism almost stopped working.  If I haven’t seen any of their previous works, I could have included them in my “never-to-watch-films” list. Watching Indiana Jones is like watching a chopsuey of films such as X-files, Tomb Raider, Alien vs. Predator, Armageddon all rolled into one. And that’s not a compliment either.  Anyway, peanuts or this B-movie film, Fats – 4. Diet – 0.

Thursday. Failing to bring home something to eat after my shift ended, I asked my wife for a dinner at the nearby David’s Tea House. Meal was picked to have the least calorie content that we can think of. I ended consuming the dumplings that my wife did not eat. By the way, did I mention I had beer that night? Well, I did.

Fats – 5. Diet – 0.

As much as I’d like to add more days in this list, it’s becoming more obvious that my Diet is losing the battle. I can imagine a fictional referee raising the Fats’ hands after winning the unanimous decision for the 5-rounder battle. But the fight is not yet over, my Diet is calling for a rematch and I’m making sure we will win next time.

Beer and Gym

Step in their shoes

We call them stupid, litterbugs, lazy, morons, dumb, a**hole and any other profanity that may not be even found in the dictionary. Sometimes we call them just insensitive. But aren’t we?

This week is one of the stressful weeks for me. Stress that comes from all sort of factors that even I wonder if I should be caring about it in the first place.

There’s the pressure from work that is a mixture of delivery and people management.  People who seems not to work and doesn’t understand what is expected from them.

There’s the tricycle driver who drives like as if there’s no tomorrow and would be so willing to include you in their death wish.

There’s the jeepney driver who would intentionally park in front of a No Park Zone to spend time to wait for passengers despite knowingly causing a traffic jam right behind them.  And the irony of it all is that it is in front of a traffic police or enforcer who looks like they have a worst case of cataract that blinds them of the on-going violation in front of them.

There’s the homeowners who refuse to pay their dues because they feel they’re not obligated to do so and who would sometimes reason out that they have problems with their finances but you’d find them smoking packs of cigarettes a day and would see their house lit brightly from Christmas lights and decors.

There’s the loan processor who doesn’t seem to extend a bit of customer care by giving advice to the applicant that his car loan application is sitting stagnant in his inbox for quite some time due to the lack of one simple signature.

And there are the street scavengers who would open up garbage bags and throw away its content in search of recyclables and never even caring to fix it back creating an eye sore in the end.

Sheesh.  The list could go on.

So today, while on a day-off I keep reflecting what must have gone wrong for me to suffer such stress. I can’t find any reason except that I too have been busy or that I could have been too self-centered or that I lack the empathy.

Most likely it’s my lack of empathy. Merriam-Webster defines empathy as, “noun, the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”

Ouch! I never knew Merriam-Webster could inflict such pain with its definition. I only experience such guilt during mass’ homilies. Understanding. Being aware of. Being sensitive to. Such words kept playing in mind just as caffeine would do to my bloodstream. It kept me awake, restless and uneasy.

Well, I have come up to some realization on my “stress list” above.

Just imagine not having eaten for quite a while and the only hope you’ve got is to pick and sell items at the junk shop in order for you to take your first meal after a couple of days. And with the other man inside the bus hating you just because you to failed to keep the street clean.

Imagine if you have to juggle payroll, separation payments and loan applications. Some wants their last pay and another one badly wants a new car.

Imagine if you have got a “really” sick kid at home and the only way to buy those medicines is to work double time by either driving a tricycle or a jeepney and optimize its capacity even with the risk of getting apprehended by a police officer. And one of your passengers is just thinking of traffic laws and having to get to the mall to kill time.

Sometimes the world would be such better place if we stop thinking just all about us. Sometimes we need to understand why people acted the way they do. With this we might be able to extend our help or at least lessen a bit of our expectations and in effect lessen the stresses in our lives. Sometimes we just have to step in their shoes.

P.S. I just can’t find any reason why a homeowner won’t pay their dues when in fact they are getting the benefits of the village funds. Ti abi.       

December Weddings

Today I almost missed attending a friend’s wedding (Villafuerte-Espinosa) due to sore throat. Since I’ve prepared for this day for quite some time so I can see this normally rugged and casual person marching down the isle in barong tagalog (Filipino native male costume), I dragged my aching throat & drove my way to Tagaytay.

I arrived at the Ina ng Laging Saklolo Church late, but not late enough to be included in the photo op (which I swear is the most stressful part of any wedding. Imagine one had to endure and maintain the perfect smile frame by frame, regardless of mood or condition) with other friends and co-workers. Indeed, he wore a barong but still sporting the ponytail just like I did when I got married.

As if by reflex, after the entire photo ops were done, I with a couple of friends sped to the reception (lunch) area at Lake Garden Hotel and arrived there first. And it just dawned on me that I could win an Amazing Race series if all the pit stops are event reception centers. I’ve done this a couple of weddings already.

The tables and buffet meals were set at a picturesque view of the Taal Lake. The weather was good and the view of the volcano was a perfect background for the bride, groom and all the guests which were either smiling, chatting, munching and drinking – Iced Tea at this time of the day. It would have been more perfect if there were liquors to somehow warm up our body from the chilly atmosphere. But then again, I got the damn sore throat.

Unfortunately, I have to leave early to catch up with my doctor’s appointment. We will drink to that someday.

Another wedding I attended this month was my in-law’s 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration.

It was a celebration my wife, her siblings and other relatives had been preparing for almost two years. The funds were raised and saved regularly to ease up on the expense. Each one also got assumed responsibility (work term) to accomplish. I got to donate a Lechon (roasted pork) that was never served. But it’s another story.

And so, D-day came.

Although the weather last Dec 9 was flip-flopping, the folks in Batangas got things going by very early morning. The bayanihan spirit, which is not uncommon in their place during every celebration, kicked off in high gear.

(Disclaimer: just this next part is not for vegans. Sorry. ) The guys slaughtered the pig in the wee hours of the morning and prepared the pork parts and cuts for various recipes.

The ladies (and lolas) were busy chopping and getting the spices ready, while the rest did the cooking. The smoke-filled dirty kitchen (no pun intended) was bustling with activity. The aroma of typical Batangueno food reaches every corner of the place. And almost everyone else was getting back and forth to get things done.

Despite the threat of rain, the wedding started on time in the local chapel. The guys wore barong tagalog, while the ladies had the aptly golden yellow colored dress. The little girls (granddaughters) had butterfly wings on them. It was a festive sight and I felt the excitement and joy of all the family members radiating from their smile.

After the ceremony and photo ops (did I just say photo ops again?), inay po and itay po went with us (well, our humble car was the bridal car. No choice but to be there first) as we drove back to the reception area which was set at the basketball court just outside their house (another typical Filipino setting).

Unfortunately, the wedding entourage tables, which were set under the shelter of a tarpaulin, got flooded still, due to the uneven portion of the ground (a remnant of the last typhoon Milenyo). The show (in this case, eating) must go on so some guys who are still in barong, neatly ironed pants and shiny shoes armed themselves with dust pans and broom sticks to clear the area so that the rest may be seated.

The rest of the night went on to be rainy. Everyone had to wade in inches of flood to get back to their tables to eat. Others had to take shelter under their own plates while lining at the buffet area for food. But as most people would believe (depending on the situation. A rain during a funeral would be taken as “the Heavens mourning the death of”), the rain is a sign of blessing. In this case, so be it.

For it is indeed a blessing for my in-laws to reach 50 years of being together. A blessing for their children to have such parents; for their grandchildren to have been able to see and be with their lolo and lola. And of course a blessing for us in-laws to have someone who trusted us with their children whom we had as either husband or wife.

For me I have nothing but praises for them. Being together for this long is a feat itself. It takes more than just patience, love and understanding to hold on to such relationship. In these days of loose moral values, fast pace life, consumerism and materialism, marriage is always threatened and compromised. It is always easy and sometimes mushy to say, but it’s a fact that God had to be in the center of one’s marriage or family to get over with every trial the “new” world gives. No more No less.

To everyone who had or is just about to have their wedding this December, my congratulations and best wishes to all of you. I’m sure your Christmas and New Year will never be cold.

Age…and Age We Would

“How I was born, I do not remember. How I will die, I do not know” – Russian Proverb

My father and I celebrate our birthday always on the same date. Our ages are 40 years apart. And just recently, I turned 33.

My wife asked me one time, if how old is my tatay (filipino for father) going to be this year, and I said “73”. “Do you think you’ll reach that age?” was her quick reply.

Assuming she meant well with that (just kidding), that one quick discussion made me think somehow. Would I still be alive 40 years from now? How would I look like by that time? In what condition would we be? Would we be financially stable by then? And a lot more questions I could possibly think of.

A decade back then, when I reached my early twenties I said to myself that I’d be happy to reach the age of 50. I actually feared (even until now) thinking that I would eventually get old and helpless. And that, I wouldn’t want myself to be in.

But as I grew older, started to work and soon got married, I’ve come to appreciate life even more. Now that age goal had to be extended – as if I can do something about it. Every now and then, I would daydream about a laid-back, idyllic farm setting, my wife and me just lazily sitting outside and watching a golden sun set over the horizon. Children and / or english bulldogs running around are always included, of course.

Sometimes though, these hopes of living longer would be snapped out each time that I would get sick. I’m often so paranoid that a little bit of headache would send me thinking of my mortality. Only the paranoid survive, huh!? Thankfully, I had somehow recovered and got medications (and as far as I’m concerned, is effective) for my “new” migraine. Now I can once again start dreaming of happy thoughts.

Whatever will be, will be. Or Que sera sera, as nanay (mother) would often sing.

So true. And whether I like it or not, I’m indeed getting older. And one obvious fact would be the number of white hairs my wife would happily pluck from my head. On some days I would ask her to leave it alone as I would feel proud having those and see them in the mirror peeking out of the still majority black hairs. When it would be fully covered in white/grey locks, I can only guess.

God willing, I will appreciate it a lot if the time comes that I’d be 73 yet still be able to walk, to enjoy each day and still be together with my loving wife. And so, until that time comes, I’ll let my daydreaming continue.