Chasing sushis and balloon

Just this afternoon, I finally finished another monthly task that I’ve been doing for more than half a year already – family expenses accounting. After learning how to do it from a personal financial planning training, I’ve never ignored a single receipt and have always tried my best to account each expense somewhere around the end of each month – some month’s result were shocking, some were fulfilling, while others (if not most) were challenging. July however was somewhat amusing.

As much as I now value more each penny we’ve got, I still believe that there are things that need to be discovered and that holding back from doing so might come as a regret later. And as much as I’d like to be as thrifty as possible, sometimes the call to experience things is just hard to hold back – like eating conveyorized sushi and buying the first ever balloon.

Last week, after months of eyeing this Japanese resto in the SM’s Mall of Asia, we arrived at the mall just in time for Sakae Sushi’s buffet meal – 2pm. The juice and biscuits we ate for lunch (somewhere nearby) were just enough to keep us full during the drive and well enough to keep us excited about the thought of chasing sushis as it pass by our table.

It is fast...

It is fast...

...but were faster - our emptied plates : )

...but we're faster - our emptied plates : )

A couple of plates later, surprisingly or not, I mastered how to spot the perfect sushi caring less if it’s colored yellow, green or red – If it weren’t for the buffet time, each color has its corresponding prize and one has to be picky if he’s dining on a budget. Needless to say, I enjoyed each time even if my wife and I had to take turns between watching our little boy and “ambushing” the sushis. And it’s either we’re that fast or there’s just a few sushi variety available, but it must have just taken less than an hour for us to taste every sushi Sakae can offer. Well, how can I complain, it must be what’s Php 399/pax is worth. Not bad considering that I get to eat in a place where my familiarity with it was once just because of MTV videos or Hollywood movies.

Another first that day, was buying our little boy his balloon. After coming out of Sakae Sushi resto, my wife, having mother instinct was able to easily locate one stall that sells a dizzying selection of floating balloons that our kid was pointing aimlessly (and screaming like one crazy Beatles fan) until he steadied his tiny index finger to a recognizable square yellow figure that even I was suddenly attracted to its bucktooth-smile the moment I saw it. A few seconds of exchanging Php 105 with the seemingly irresistible Sponge Bob, I saw our kid beaming with satisfaction of having his first ever cartoon character balloon.

The selection, the pick, the moments.

Soon, he was running around in one part of the crowded mall as if he’s the only one who has it (but I’m quite sure that one kid somewhere nearby was feeling the same thing). Sponge Bob, though still smiling, got all the abuse from his tiny fan. It was pinched, pulled down, yanked, at one point trampled over and was blamed for a couple of stumbles. And just as his tiny fan decided to bring him home, he somehow was able to cut himself loose.

I was walking ahead of my wife and kid when I heard the desperate call. I knew I froze for a sec when I look back and saw Sponge Bob bobbing up and down the mall’s ceiling. I couldn’t believe smiling down on us is a hundred-peso balloon which immediately reminded of the Filipino nursery rhyme: Ako ay may lobo, lumipad sa langit…sayang ang pera ko, binili ng lobo. Kung pagkain sana, nabusog pa ako.(I had a balloon, it flew to the heavens…it was a waste of my money. If only I could’ve spent it for food…).

So even if I was surprised after diligently typing expense details and to see that we’re “in the greens” , next month, I hope to see improvements in our spending. In fact, I have already told my wife one clear instruction: no more balloons for Marcus. Hopefully, he won’t hate me for this. Ti abi.


ref: lobo lyrics


Mood: 3/10 Honks!


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…)