Golden Kuhol and MBA

The good thing about having US-based customers is that people in the call center industry who support them also enjoy a time off whenever there is an American holiday. So yesterday we did not waste the precious non-working day and spent it mall hopping. It was a day I never thought would bring back so much personal memories.

Our first stop is the farthest among our itinerary and it is for a lunch we planned since last year–our ever favorite Japanese food dine out. The Dad’s buffet routine went like the ones we had in the past—get plate, pick food, eat, get another plate pick food, eat. But the golden kuhol did the least expected. As I remind my son that these are the same snails Jack of Oggy and the Cockroaches cooked, my mind opened up another stored story.

It was sometime around the ‘90’s when I, with two other friends, had a scary experience because of our fondness for these golden snails. We were picking live kuhol from a rice field on a very sunny noon when all of a sudden we heard someone shout from afar. It was an old man who immediately sprinted towards us. Surprised, our adrenalin kicked in but despite our best effort to make a dash across makahiya-filled grounds, we got caught as others heed the call of the old man for help. My friend (the other escaped) and I soon learned—too late—that we have trespassed a private area which we have been frequenting to get the abundant kuhols in the rice paddies. Thankfully, the folks ruled out detaining us in the nearby police station—they must have realized that we are minors—and instead dropped us off at home before dinner time. Ulam was not kuhol, by the way.

***

A couple of minutes after the crossover buffet lunch in Megamall, we headed to Rockwell in Makati to claim my 2011 SY yearbook in AGSB and also to give wifey and Marcus time to window shop in the Power Plant Mall. And like my other visits in this posh place, just being around–without even spending a buck except for parking–makes me thank heavens for giving me the opportunity and support to endure two years of MBA education. God must have a plan after all with the lessons and experiences he gave me from a lowly kuhol to a pricey MBA degree.

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Our supposedly last stop on our list is SM Aura. It is new, it is beautiful but I was not impressed. In spite of its extraordinary shape, a far cry from the boxy SM malls, I find its interior dark and its atrium area a bit tight compared with other malls. Well, since it opened only last May 17, I would expect that they can address the illumination issue (I saw several unlit fixtures) soon but definitely everyone needs to get slimmer if they hate literally rubbing elbows with the crowd.

However, if there’s one thing that I love about SM Aura, is its parking—even if it reminds me of the other day’s Instagram pics showing the basement parking partly flooded due to sudden downpour—because it has a direct exit to C5. And I know Marcus also benefited from this since after finding no Filbars store in the mall I made a deal with him that we would only drop by Festival Mall to buy el cheapo Ninjago substitutes if we don’t get stuck in traffic. And true enough, C5 gave us a quick getaway and we ended up reaching Alabang in no time. That makes it four malls in one Memorial Day time off.

Memorial Day time off. (Clockwise from top left): 1. Marcus’ first mallows on stick of the day–he finished about five among others; 2. Wifey and Marcus; 3. Marcus thrilled that one of the cinemas still shows Iron Man 3–he’s a big fan; 4. Inside SM Aura.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Still stuffed.)

Busy Eater

 

Just woke up. I’m now catching up on my emails; catching up on forum updates; staring blankly at the Badminton Olympic match on TV. At last I’m at home and I’m staying put, at least for today. For the past few days, I’ve been on the go and I’ve been craving longing for one good day of rest  and I think today is the day.

The lull in activity gave me time to think of what kept me recently occupied. I can’t believe that I’ve been so busy that I miss my afternoon siestas so much. So what was it really? Work? Maybe. My new motorcycle? Maybe, but not quite. Now I remember. Surprisingly (or not),  I’ve spent so much time lately on mall-hopping and food. Yes, you read it right…F O O D.

Last Wednesday, on a trip, literally, down memory lane with my wife to her alma mater in Taguig (I was surprised that it made me reminisce my own memories of the place) we decided to have lunch at Shakey’s Magallanes while having a break from the school clearances process. The last time we were in Magallanes was more than 10 years ago when our manufacturing plant was still in Makati. The whole place has significantly improved a lot; other restaurants are now available and several other establishments have opened up for business.  Shakey’s pizzas (and shakes) of course still continue to perk-up my palate.  One thing I miss though is having the real Tabasco to come with my pizza. Anyway, my wife pointed out that even other restaurants have changed their hot sauce to cheaper brands in the name of cost cutting.

The new Magallanes

The new Magallanes

 

Thursday last week is “Saisaki” day at the Glorietta Mall. I’m once again with the company of my wife and her team colleagues. Despite working with another team (which made me to be on leave), what makes me comfortable joining hers is the fact the most of these guys are also Japanese food lovers just like I do. Well, Saisaki day just doesn’t mean pure Japanese foods as the option to do a crossover (to other buffet menu) is always picked, thus lechon (roasted pig), turkey, and ginataang kuhol (escargot) never fails to be on the plate – at least on my plate. And normal side trips with them always include San Mig lights beers and a coffee stopover to cap the night.  (Note: 1 beer bottle per hour is always followed when I drive).

Raw

Raw

 

On Friday until Saturday, I reported to work on a night shift. Normally being on this shift gives me chance and excuses to go on a diet as the cafeteria food especially at night, pardon the word, sucks. Saturday however wasn’t the case this time. My colleagues got totally bored of canteen food that they decided to have rice, lechon manok and liempo (roasted pork meat) for our meal. Desserts were chocolate rolls and a super sweet pastry. If I were to count calories I might need a calculator to do so.


Coming from the graveyard shift, Sunday was a day off that was supposed to be a rather light day for us. Instead, after a 5-hour sleep and a trip to my dentist, wifey and I decided to go to MOA (Mall of Asia) with the intent of either watching a movie or buying my helmet. But once we reached the mall, it seems like my teeth having come from the dentist wanted a test of their biting power. My wife suggested UCC Vienna Café. I eagerly concurred and I swear I heard myself saying, “I’d take only coffee and a light food”. But then, the sight of Risotto in the menu changed all that as I’ve been so intrigued with this food every time I watch it featured in cooking shows on TV. I always think that it’s just lugaw (congee) cooked by an Italian chef. After tasting UCC’s chicken, cheese and curry risotto however made me a fan of this food. Their Sumiyaki coffee and mango crepe were fine as well. Prices in this restaurant are fair.

 

Monday was no different. And I blame it on the absence of good movies. After we arrived at ATC, we learned that Wall-E and X-Files are still not showing. We decided instead to eat at North Park where once again I ordered their lechon rice toppings. This food is good all the time and this is one of the restaurants where food is a bang for the buck.  Now If only either of the two movies is available, then I could have had coffee and donuts only for lunch. In Festival Mall the movie titles haven’t changed as well. Good thing I was able to stand firmly that I’ll have only coffee and muffin in Kenny Rogers – although the call to have baby back ribs is almost inescapable.

 

 I have now lost track of the calorie pile up – or just wouldn’t want to know the exact score. I’m also thinking how many liters of gas we’ve actually consumed the whole time. It was indeed a busy week where we’ve been spending money, burning gas and piling up calories. And now I’m quite sure that my 3-hour badminton and gym session yesterday wasn’t enough to undo the calorie damages. But there’s still hope. But then again there’s activity in Batangas next Sunday – it’s someone’s birthday. Will there be food? Your guess is as good as mine. I think it’s about time I get my wife a helmet and a pair of riding boots. At least we’ll save on gas.

2008: Year of Changes?

I’m currently hooked to Dan Brown’s books. During my December vacation I borrowed a book from a colleague and brought it with me in Bacolod. On my rest times I tried reading “The Da Vinci Code” – and under some sort of scrutiny from my pious mother. Answering, “it’s just a book” still somehow raised an eyebrow.

On our way back home to Dasma after the holidays, we rented an airport taxi service and that made me finish the book while inside the cozy Toyota Innova (it cost us only Php 1.3K. Very cheap compared to availing Park n Fly’s service). That was at least a week of reading it. Not bad considering the other yuletide activities I have to attend.

Now I borrowed another, “Angels & Demons” and I’m almost halfway since I started it just this Wednesday. Other than the conspiracy theories that seem to have captured my attention and that got me to ask a lot of questions regarding its possibility, one line in one of its pages made me reflect of what has been happening around us since then.

Olivetti looked the camerlengo dead in the eye. “The prayer of St. Francis, signore. Do you recall it?”

The young priest spoke the single line with pain in his voice “God, grant me strength to accept those things I cannot change.” – pp. 169.

This prayer made me pause and reflect on the changes I’ve seen and observed since last month. Some I might expand but others would remain as a one-liner for others who knew about it to explain.

Dec (3rd week). Our company’s shuttle bus provider for more than ten years was changed.

Dec 31. Just as the year ends come also the closure of our favorite restaurant – Saisaki ATC. No more sashimi. No more sukiyaki. I went back to the place on Jan 10 and to see it silent with doors locked and tables turned was a bit sad. I’m wondering where its crews have gone.

Jan. Video City, a video rental store near our place closed. Most likely it’s another victim of the proliferation of pirated cds. I’ve seen ACA video Dasma closed before during the peak of piracy and seeing a second one close is just disappointing.

Jan 18. Now the state of the old Bacolod airport is uncertain with the opening of Silay Airport.  I don’t know if Bacolod City’s officials are still considering retaining the old one or if they will totally phase it out. With the recent experience I had both during arrival and departure – mostly due to deceitful porters and taxi drivers – I couldn’t agree more if they pick the latter option. But then the innocent & honest employees’ jobs are at stake. Hopefully they’ll be re-assigned.

We are just starting the year and I hate to think about the things to come. I’m still trying to keep a positive attitude about what the future holds and whatever it will be, I’m hoping that we will be ready by then.

Que sera sera, as my mother used to say.