Street but Sweet


Monday, July 31, 2006

Sad truth

Was waiting for my order at a fast food restaurant a while ago when I heard a man at the counter order a "Go Large." The cashier patiently explained that to get a Go Large, he would have to order one of the "value" meals (many of which were over a hundred bucks). The guy quietly stepped aside, took a look at the menu, then left. I felt so bad for him. He went up there fully expecting to get a large order of fries and a drink for P18. It made want to order fries and a drink with my meal just to give to him.

I glanced behind the counter and saw that there was a sign for the employees. The resto had some sort of policy--they never laugh at any customer's order, no matter how odd. To come up with such a policy, the Go Large incident must happen fairly often. While it's cool that they've instituted it, it's also really sad that there was a reason they had to. I had this overwhelming feeling of helplessness. I was frustrated that I couldn't help that one man, that ignorance is pervasive even in a fast-food place, that not everyone can get a good education, that some people (who don't deserve it) have to be embarrassed.

I can't just cry about it though. Somehow, World Vision doesn't seem enough now. It's a start, but there's gotta be more I can do, short of pulling a Warren Buffett.

Happy birthday!

Cheers to the boy who lived! Happy birthday, Harry Potter! And to JK Rowling! Based on the timeline, Harry's supposed to turn 26 today.

Monday, July 24, 2006

WOW Philippines 2006: Bohol

It wasn't what I expected, but it was exactly what I needed.

Months ago, H and I got those P1 (or was it P99? Can't remember!) tickets to Bohol from a local airline. Amazingly, my parents were actually OK with the two of us going on a trip by ourselves. (Matanda na raw kami. Haha). All the stress from work and my general everyday boredom had me totally looking forward to the trip.

After days and days of rain and gloomy weather, I woke up to sunny skies last Friday. Woohoo! We were off. The flight was delayed though (so was our return much for the airline's 95% on-time track record. They were 0-2 on our trip! Blame the weather for that). We landed in Tagbilaran and, while it was a bit cloudy, at least there wasn't any rain.

Headed to Bohol Divers Resort on Alona Beach. Based on my internet research, it was the only place within our price range which actually had cable TV, so we had a winner! We paid P3,000 a night for a large room with a king-size bed, a reading nook, and enough free space to practice a dance routine! The bathroom was huge. It even had a tub.

(Top photo) Home sweet home: the facade of our digs at Bohol Divers. (Bottom) H at the reading corner.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking along the beach to check out the other resorts and places to eat. It wasn't as nice as I expected it to be. I was told it was like Boracay, but the shoreline wasn't quite as expansive as, say, Station 1's. The sand was a powdery off-white, but, due to the strong winds, it was littered with leaves. I'm also beginning to think I was spoiled by Sumilon because the water didn't look that enticing. Maybe it was the seaweed. Or because the weather just wasn't fit for swimming. Still, it was pretty enough.

Alona Beach on less-than-sunny days.

Right beside our resort was a nice-looking one called Isis Bungalows which I didn't come across while researching. Darn. Oh well, no regrets. Pictures of the resort available on its website.

We spent our first evening at Cafe Vida (I don't know if I'm inventing this--we can't remember the exact name), where we feasted on tuna sashimi, pork barbecue, and chicken barbecue. And thus began our food trip! At the outset, I wanted the trip to have loads of good food squeezed in--we already skimped on the airfare and accommodations (kind of, considering their are resorts with rooms at twice the price we got), so I was ready to blow my money on food! I've decided to make it one of my Rules of Travel: No matter what the budget, always have at least one memorable meal. It could be delicious, unusual, interesting, even icky--but this is case to case! Read more about our Bohol food adventure in my food blog.

The next day, we decided to do the whole touristy thing. We went to see the Chocolate Hills, which were actually some of the weirdest things I've ever laid eyes on! But it was a good kind of weird. Weird in the sense that you can't help wondering and being amazed at how they got there.


Next, we wanted to see the tarsiers! Poor creatures--aren't they supposed to be asleep during the day? There's a sign that says not to use flash photography, but we kept seeing flashes going off and people going, "Ay!" or "Bawal nga flash eh!" (Guilty! We had a hard time figuring out how to work such a high-tech camera so we had an accidental flash. I'm used to my good ol' EasyShare!)

High five! Didn't realize they were so small!

The tarsiers are right beside the Loboc River, which reminded me of the last part of Love in the Time of Cholera. Er, sans the floating corpses! I just felt like the river was so connected to the past somehow, like it belonged in a bygone era. I could imagine characters from Noli washing clothes on the banks. Maybe it's because when I think of present-day rivers, I associate them with pollution. And this one looked virtually untouched.

H wasn't sold on the idea of cruising down the river on a boat and having
a buffet lunch while some musicians serenaded us, so we just stayed
on dry land and took pictures from there.

We made a quick stop at the Sandugo monument. (It was actually the Sandugo Festival when we were in Bohol, but the festivities were in Tagbilaran, some 25 minutes away from Alona.) It commemorates the blood compact between Datu Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. They each made a cut on the left arm, collected their dripping blood, and mixed it with wine. The two leaders drank the mixture. According to the Bohol Sandugo website, "The Blood Compact sealed the ties of friendship between two people once different in religion, nationality, culture and civilization." And gave a whole new meaning to the word "dinuguan."


Afterwards, we headed to a place I read about on the net: the Bohol Bee Farm. They have a restaurant that serves organic vegetables and stuff laced with honey, and a store selling interesting things like honey-cheese spreads and corn-flavored coffee (yes, really). More about that in my food blog.

(Top) If you look closely at the sign, you'll see the bee is actually doing our
happy dance. Haha. (Bottom) A comy seating area at the resto.

For P20, you get a short tour of the farm. Technically, this wasn't the actual bee farm; it's pretty much just for tour purposes. The actual bee farm--where there are loads and loads of bees--is somewhere up north. Our guide pointed out their organically grown herbs and vegetables (including my least fave, arugula. Blech!), and showed us a pseudo-bee colony (it didn't have a queen). But it was cool seeing those bees up close.

(Top) The farm boy in his element. Haha. For some reason, I really like this photo.
(Middle and bottom) Bees bees bees!

Some things I learned about bees:
  • Each bee produces only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime.
  • 80% of all pollination is done by bees.
  • The queen is about twice the size of the average bee. Her job is simply to lay eggs.
  • The female bees are the ones that do all the work--they're the ones who gather nectar. As our guide said, they're sorta like servant girls!
  • The drones don't work at all. All they do is have sex with the queen. But after mating with the queen, they die. Ahh, justice.

We headed back to Alona and hung out on the beach for a bit. Decided to take a dip just so we could say that we experienced Bohol water! We were in there for a grand total of two minutes. Spent the rest of the afternoon reading and watching TV. I fell asleep and didn't get to see NU beat FEU for the first time in years.

It's somewhat distorted, taken at a weird angle, but strangely, it's another photo I like.

Later on, we had dinner at one of the ihaw-ihaw places. There were a bunch of dogs there, and one which had a neat trick--it sat beside Hamil and tapped him with its paw! Most dogs just sit there and stare. This one just kept trying to get his attention. Tap. Tap. Tap. When it realized it wasn't going to get any food, it just moved on to the next table. Later on, we went back to Cafe Vida for a few drinks...and more food! We were out for probably five hours that night and didn't run out of things to talk about or laugh about.

Next day was the sunniest since we got there, but we decided to sleep late--it was the weekend after all--before packing and heading back to the airport. While waiting for a delayed plane, we listened to this group of blind musicians--one of them had an awesome raspy voice, and he totally nailed "Love Hurts." The waiting crowd generally just treated 'em as pleasant background music but this little ditty had everyone applauding.

Our last meal. Sigh.

Then it was back to reality. We left the beach and the hills behind, I didn't get the tan I was hoping for (I'm back to being my pale self), but I came home recharged. I guess even if I didn't get the beach getaway I was hoping for, I was still invigorated by the new experiences, and just by being with H. It actually amazed me how we didn't get on each other's nerves the entire trip. Haha. We just really enjoyed being with each other. And it just made me even more excited about spending the rest of my life with him. (Cheesy! But true.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sweet dreams

I had a morbid dream about a week ago. I was standing on one side of a room and all the way on the other end was this girl I barely knew, someone I hardly talk to. We were both given guns and were told to shoot each other. It was either kill or be killed. I was having trouble with my gun, with that switch you have to flick on top before pulling the trigger. She was coming closer and closer but somehow we both kept missing. Then she ran out of the room. I ran after her and found her in this garden. We were face to face and I figured I would die because no way will I be able to flick the switch and pull the trigger fast enough. But I ended up shooting first. And there she was standing with a bullet hole on her chest.

That's all I could remember. Today, I went to an event for this matress company that makes the most comfortable mattresses I've ever tried. In line with the whole bed theme, they had their attendants in PJs, they served milk and cookies (yum!), and they had a dream interpreter. I was a bit hesitant about talking to the dude because I was afraid of what he would say my subconscious was telling me. In the end, I decided to suck it up and just listen to what he had to say.

I am so glad I talked to him. Guess what? It's actually a good dream! Far from hinting that I have murderous tendencies, it means that there's something I want to do--most likely career-related--that, if I just take the plunge, I'll succeed at. The bullet represents desire, and killing who I was supposed to kill means hitting the mark. Me dodging bullets has something to do with people saying this and that, backstabbing and stuff, but if I just go ahead and do what I want to do, I am going to succeed and I won't hear any of the backstabbing and stuff. I can't remember the exact words he said, but this is pretty much the gist. And they're very encouraging words, since I've had this grand plan brewing for a while now... He says I should do something within three months, which is pretty cool because my first step, should I choose to take it, is supposed to start next month.

Fear's not going to get me anywhere. I have to keep reminding myself that.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Legs, legs, legs

Yesterday I found a book on my dresser with a note from my mom, saying I might want to read it. It was something like How to Have Great Legs at Any Age. She just found it in her pile of books somewhere. My mom (whom I love to pieces) is perpetually worried about my legs and my feet (vein-y at such a young age. Tsk tsk), but I'm actually pretty happy with 'em. I used to have chicken legs, but all the running and dancing have made them quite muscular. Which, to me, is a good thing. I feel like I earned them.

I do understand her concern. Varicose veins and all. It just made me think back to the times when I felt, um, certain people were critical of my appearance. I'd be told when I was gaining weight (something I never ever tell other people because no good ever comes out of it! Really, what do people hope to accomplish when they say, "Ay, tumaba ka!"?), when my hair was thinning, when my boobs were too small, when my butt was non-existent. Come high school, I was so conscious that a chubby comment was enough to make me cry (or go on the warpath). I resorted to some unhealthy habits that, well, high school girls often fall victim to. I was always worrying about my appearance. I thought I was fat and never believed people who told me otherwise.

A few weeks ago, I saw some pics of me in high school, and they made me say, "Hey! I wasn't fat!" and my friend, who was nearby, said, "You never were!" It dawned on me how stupid it was for me to have fretted over bulges that weren't there. I realized how much of a waste of time it was, and just how negative I was. At that point, I made a vow that if I ever I was given a daughter, I would teach her to appreciate herself. Varicose veins and all. Don't get me wrong--I don't blame other people for turning me into what I was. I'm old enough to know that it was my own choice to be affected. But I'm adamant about getting my daughter to embrace her body, her whole self. It took me a while, and there are days when I still frown on a bit of flab, but I'm not wasting any more time. It's time I showed myself some love.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Shrek the Third!

There hasn't been a really good animated film in a while, so I'm looking forward to this one...

(From Yahoo)

DreamWorks Animation has cast a small medieval kingdom's worth of fairy tale characters who will appear in "Shrek the Third."

The next installment of the smelly ogre's saga, set for release next year, is set to star an elite, ninja-like strike force of fairy tale princesses voiced by Amy Sedaris as Cinderella, Amy Poehler as Snow White, Maya Rudolph as Rapunzel and Cheri Oteri as Sleeping Beauty.

Organized by Princess Fiona, the ladies underground resistance movement fends off a coup d'etat by Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) in the land of Far, Far Away.

The DreamWorks Animation comedy will be distributed by Paramount Pictures and is set for release May 18.

Also joining the hit animated comedy's cast are Ian McShane (HBO's "Deadwood") as Captain Hook, John Krasinski (NBC's "The Office") as Sir Lancelot, and Monty Python veteran Eric Idle as Merlin the magician.

The film's main roles again will be voiced by Mike Myers (Shrek), Cameron Diaz (Princess Fiona), Eddie Murphy (Donkey) and Antonio Banderas (Puss in Boots). Diaz's boyfriend, pop singer Justin Timberlake, will voice King Arthur, a.k.a. Artie.

"Shrek the Third" finds the green ogre married to Princess Fiona, but becoming the next King and Queen of Far, Far Away wasn't part of his plan. When his father-in-law, King Harold (John Cleese), falls ill, it is up to Shrek to find a suitable heir or he will be forced to give up his beloved swamp for the throne. Recruiting Donkey and Puss for a new quest, Shrek sets out to bring back the rightful heir to the throne, Fiona's rebellious cousin Artie. Back in Far, Far Away, Fiona's jilted Prince Charming storms the city with an army of fairy tale villains to seize the throne. But they have a surprise in store because Fiona, together with her mother, Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews), has drafted her fellow fairy tale heroines to defend their "happily ever afters." As Shrek, Donkey and Puss work on changing Artie from a royal pain into a future king, Fiona and her band of princesses must stop Prince Charming to ensure that there will be a kingdom left to rule.

Sedaris stars as Jerri Blank in "Strangers With Candy," which is playing in New York and Los Angeles; Poehler stars in the upcoming "Blades of Glory," with Will Ferrell and Jon Heder; Rudolph is onscreen in Robert Altman's "A Prairie Home Companion"; Oteri is in the upcoming animated comedy "The Ant Bully."

-By Sheigh Crabtree
Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Monday, July 10, 2006

'Tis the season to be married

Wedding season is upon us! Last weekend alone, I attended two weddings. It's the second wave of "the event"--the first was the debut, about eight years ago! (Gasp!) Now, my girl friends are at the marrying age (if ever there is such a thing), so a bunch of people are getting hitched. One more to follow in a couple of months. The next wave would be baptisms/guy friends' weddings. And then children's parties. How time flies, indeed. Seems like yesterday when we were attending soirees. Haha. (I wonder if kids these days still have those.)

June 24, 2006

A very intimate affair, which was really nice. The first in our barkada (in the country) to get married, and we're more than happy to welcome Mike into the family! Actually, the wedding just made it official--he's been one of us for so long.

Cutie cake topper: an ice hockey player and his figure-skater bride

With Mr. and Mrs. Yenko. Yeeha!

The blushing bride and her flower girls

July 7, 2006

Chuminoy has made an honest woman out of our founding Chuminay. I was touched that I was invited to the wedding--Chums and I became friends at my old office, and I don't even remember how it happened since we weren't in the same department or the same group. I just remember chatting with her after an art exhibit and, next thing I knew, the Chuminays were formed. "It's like a magic!" (Dang, I can't remember where I heard that from...)

With Chuminays Caryn and Dundee
(Photo from Jade)

With Chuminays Jade and Caryn
(Again, from Jade)


July 8, 2006

One of the memorable things about this wedding was that BFF Ching and I were wedding crashers! Haha. Well, not really. We sent regrets and were just supposed to attend the mass and the cocktails. But when we got to the cocktails/reception venue, the food looked so good that we decided to stay. Haha. Plus I didn't have to leave early after all and it was quite fun hanging out with some old friends. So Ching and I got our fill of paella, pasta, roast beef...mmmm...getting hungry. There was even an ice cream station! Is that cool or what?

Ooooh. A pic of the pur-ty lights at the reception venue. They hypnotized us
into crashing the wedding... Really... (Pic courtesy of Marcy)

My Pulp Fiction photo. Ching was pretty trigger-happy, which would've been
fine if it hadn't been someone else's cam! (Sorry, Marcy!)

More photos to follow.

Friday, July 07, 2006

So damn sexy

Every time you scream at me
I wanna kiss you
When you put your hands on me
I wanna touch you
When we get to arguing
Just gotta kiss you
Baby, I don't know why it's like that
But you're just so damn sexy
When you're mad

I think Ne-Yo's When You're Mad is pretty hot and it's been in my head for weeks now. (And for the record, H has never screamed at me. Haha.) I really should put together that "Let's get it on" CD (sorry ha, walang iPod! Haha). Other songs I want in it:

Slow Down (Bobby Valentino)
Red Light Special (TLC)
What's Your Fantasy (Luda)
Twork It Out (Usher)
That's the Way Love Goes (Janet Jackson)

Had a bunch of other songs in mind before but I can't seem to remember 'em now. No Careless Whisper here! That's for my sappy 80s love songs set.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Wedding jitters

A clairvoyant friend (let's call her Claire), another friend, and I were talking about Bali, and for some reason we ended up talking about weddings. Claire teased me about my wedding and I gave her my standard answer: "Matagal pa!"

H and I talked late last year and decided that our original date was way too soon, so this whole wedding business isn't exactly one of my immediate concerns. We have no plans at all, not the slightest idea of where it's going to be, and though it's something we talk about, we're not formally engaged. So I was really surprised when later that day, Claire passed me and said, "Uuy, your wedding!" with this knowing smile. I said, "What?" and she said she was going to tell me about my wedding--but not yet. She told me how she foresaw Girl A's wedding reception two years before it happened, and how she described Girl B's wedding to her even before she had a boyfriend. Girl B forgot about this little prediction. Fast forward to Girl B's wedding preparations and she nearly freaked out when she saw her dress--it was only then that she remembered that it was exactly what Claire had described. OK, so it could have been the power of suggestion. But I've heard enough about the accuracy of Claire's other little prophecies to know that she's not some fly-by-night Madam Bola.

While I'm not wedding-obsessed, the idea that someone could actually see how it's going to turn out made my stomach do a backflip. It was more of a happy backflip than a panicky one, mostly because the vibe I got from Claire was a good one. "I think I'll take my cue from you 'coz I have no idea how it's going to turn out!" I told her. Planning this thing will be a whole lot easier when the time comes. Pero matagal pa.:)

Monday, July 03, 2006

But of course

You Belong in Rome

You're a big city girl with a small town heart
Which is why you're attracted to the romance of Rome
Strolling down picture perfect streets, cappuccino in hand
And gorgeous Italian men - could life get any better?