Friday, August 31, 2007

Painful Grammar 4

Where do I even begin...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bittersweet Thursday

Anyone catch the lunar eclipse the other night? I doubt if anybody did though because A) it could only be seen from this part of the globe, and B) it got really cloudy. Dang it.

I'm pretty sure most of you, if not all, caught that Q&A with little Miss South Carolina. Hmmm I wonder how she managed to redeem herself the morning after her very public boo boo...I'm sorry, I know I would've said something even more stupid, but that's why I stay as far away as possible from these beauty pageants. OK, moving on.

What about Owen Wilson, eh? Is that a tragic Hollywood story or what? I love his work, and to a certain extent I love HIM a lot, but what the hell was he thinking taking those drugs? It couldn't have been that bad. I mean, Luke's doing pretty well, handling all the fame and pressures of stardom. In any case, my prayers are with him. We're separated by 6 degrees, I just know it, so I know I have some kind of indirect impact on his life somehow.

My mom's sister (the last of the bunch) is flying home to Cali in the morning. September is drawing near and I am so thrilled/anxious to go back to work. Do I even have a job to go back to -- that is the question. For my sake, I honestly hope so.

Oh, and I did some serious shopping today. If only I could get paid for spending, I'd have so much junk lying around the house...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

40 Days

We are celebrating my grandfather's 40th day since he passed. It's been a Filipino tradition to commemorate the passing of loved ones on the 40th day. I never really questioned the significance of the number 40. I've been to quite a few of them, for both friends and relatives who've passed on. It's always a big party somewhere -- at least that's what it felt like.

The story behind 40th day celebrations is quite meaningful actually. The Pastor we invited to preside over the service tonight made really good points about this revered tradition. He reminded us that in the Bible, there are quite a few passages that involved "40 days" of something -- Noah and his ark endured 40 days and 40 nights of fierce rain and floods; Moses was up in the mountain, conversing with God, for 40 days; Jesus transcends over Satan's temptations in the desert for 40 days; he also ascended into heaven on the 40th day after he resurrected from the dead. Basically, 40 days depicted a really long time. Often, it's not even about the length of time anymore; it's about the gravity of the sufferings these Biblical personas had to endure in their time. Completing the cycle, if you will. Temptation, confusion, natural disaster, wavering faith, uncertainty, fear -- to experience these things in a day can be scarring. Just imagine carrying these burdens for more than a day.

My grandfather passed away after a long and fruitful life here on Earth. Our family has mourned for his passing. 40 days later, we remember his strength, his spirit, and his legacies. The worst is over, as some would say. His journey is now complete. This is a new chapter in our lives and I know my grandfather would want us to embark on this new journey with even more faith, more love, and more hope.

Everyone will always feel pain and experience hardships in life. We will always go through such trying times, but we are never truly alone. God loves us too much to leave us in our sufferings. There, too, will be time for peace. And today, peace is with my grandfather.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Manic Monday: Faith

First, a lyrical excerpt then a short lull. Followed by record scratching, organ music, a close-up of George Michael's divine behind, and finally...the intoxicating chords to "Faith."

When things are going haywire,

you just gotta have faith...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings 11

LunaNina says ... and I think ... ?

1. Uneven :: scale of justice
2. Wonder :: wall
3. Spider :: go, web, go!
4. Emma :: Jane Austen
5. Swing:: push
6. Orbit :: endless
7. Flirt :: slut
8. Donation :: random act of kindness
9. Veil :: I do
10. Atmosphere :: essential

Friday, August 24, 2007

Painful Grammar 3

Chicken FILLET, anyone?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Craving For Curry

Did you know that curry viands taste absolutely better with rice noodles than just plain old rice? I was at this buffet lunch last week and I ate the chicken curry with regular rice. It was good; in fact, I wasn't even done yet when I decided I was going to have seconds (I ended up going back three times). Someone had told me though that I should try it with the Chinese rice noodle. I was game for anything, so I dumped a thong-full of noodle on to my plate and topped it with a generous portion of the delicious red chicken curry. Let's just say I've been craving for it everyday since then.

I went to a local Thai restaurant with a friend a couple of days ago. I was hoping they'd have the same fabulous red curry and noodles, but it just wasn't what I expected. I ended up having the green chicken curry with jasmine rice, which was palatable, but it just wasn't the same.

The next best thing, I thought, would be to make the darn curry and noodle myself. I have to admit, making the noodles would probably be one of the most difficult things I'll get to do in my lifetime, so I felt it would be best if I just got them ready-to-cook from the supermarket. The curry part I think I can handle. Besides, I recall it was the first thing I learned to prepare in my high school cooking class. The Filipino chicken curry is a bit of a stretch from the Thai version. I don't mean to demean traditional Filipino recipes or anything like that, but I truly miss the Thai counterpart.

Thai Red Chicken Curry
chicken breast cut into strips
1 cup coconut milk (gata)
2-3 basil leaves
2 tbs fish sauce (patis)
2 tbs red curry powder/paste
2 cups water
eggplant (optional), sliced
tomatoes (optional), sliced
green peas (optional)

Pour half of the coconut milk into a small pot, put in the curry, and let it simmer. Add the chicken and wait until the meat turns white. If you want veggies, you can add eggplant or tomato slices and peas. Then add the rest of the ingredients, except for the basil leaves which you add just right before serving.

Serve on top of boiled Chinese rice noodles. Tastes even better with Thai iced tea. Mmm, a-roy! If I was on death row, this would definitely be on the menu for my last supper. What would be on yours?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why Bangkok Rocks

My recent trip to Bangkok was just awesome. I went back to a few of my favorite spots in the city. I also got to see more attractions in and around the colorful metropolis. Here's a rundown of my latest Bangkok experience (because I'm definitely going back the next chance I get):

Khao San road, commonly referred to as backpackers' road, is said to be the gateway to South East Asia. I've always wanted to walk the same street where Leonardo DiCaprio first stepped off that Tuk Tuk in the Gen-X thriller The Beach. Arriving at the famous Khao San road was a dream come true. I got there at around 11 in the evening. The street was still bustling with locals selling whatever they could sell, and foreigners buying every single thing they can get their hands on. It's not that long a road; probably took me a good 20 minutes to walk from the main junction to the other end. I saw (and smelled) all sorts of things, from creepy exotic hawker food to people sitting in the middle of the street having their hair braided. A couple of guys (backpackers, of course) approached me and asked where they could find Khao San. I was like, "uh, look around, dude, you're on it!"

Another memorable pit stop was at the Floating Market in Ratchaburi. The Damneon Sadouk river was a 2-hour drive from Bangkok, but the driver of the van we hired got us there in just an hour and a half -- pretty impressive for driving on the left side of the road. Clearly, I'm used to driving on the right side which is, well, on the right. Anyway, the floating market is definitely a must-see when you're in Thailand. It can get crazy and wet and NOISY once you reach the main artery of the river market, but the experience is worth more than any amount of money. I'd definitely go back in a heartbeat.

You simply can't go to Thailand without stopping to say hello to a few elephants, can you. I met Dungbo in Ayutthaya last year and even fed a couple on the busy Sukhumvit road in the city. But this time I was able to watch the greatest elephant show in the country. I saw them play soccer, pretend to be at war with each other, break-dance -- it was awesome. I also got to pose next to the gentle giants; not just one, but quite a few of them. One kept hitting me at the back of my head with its humongous hairy ears. Normally, I'd be annoyed at something like that, but instead I was amused and having a blast. I'm pretty sure the elephants enjoyed it, too.

The Bangkok getaway wouldn't be complete without spicy food and some serious shopping in between. Every street corner had something interesting to offer. It either tasted good or found a place in my luggage. I especially love shopping WHILE eating. Thai hawker food is sooo delicious, I could eat it all day and well into the night. Restaurant food was tasty, too. I always had Tom Yam Gung (pronounced Tom Yam Kung, or spicy-and-sour broth with shrimp). It just isn't the same when you eat it anywhere else in the world. Oh, and the chicken curry with Chinese rice noodle??? Simply to die for.

The best part of the trip was getting away -- from the office, bills, responsibilities, deadlines, reality. I was there to relax, have a little fun, and that's exactly what I did. All in all, I had a really good time. I ran into a few mishaps and encountered a couple of unfriendly locals, but other than that, Bangkok remains to be one of my favorite places on Earth.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Manic Monday: Dealing With Loss

I've been so busy the last three weeks that I've [consciously] set aside a recent heartbreak. As some of you may know, my grandfather just passed away late last month. It was tough, but with family and friends who flew in, I kind of felt numb for the most part.

Last week, a cousin of mine went back to Cali and I knew the feeling would hit me soon. One by one, these people who've served as shock absorbers will go back home and I will be left with the painful memory of my grandfather's passing. True enough, yesterday I bid farewell to two more family members at the airport (I hate departure terminals). And last night was the first time in a long while that I pictured my grandfather in his death bed. I was still trying to block it off, but I know it will catch up with me sooner than I expect it will.

My aunt, the eldest among my mom's siblings, is scheduled to leave at the end of the month. By then I am sure that tears and overwhelming sadness are in order. The house will be empty. I'd be able to hear even the softest whisper, probably even one from his own ghostly lips. I miss my Gramps, everyone knows that. But at the end of the month, when no one else is around to shield me from this sad reality, I know I will miss him even more.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings 10

LunaNina says ... and I think ... ?

  1. Darling :: babies
  2. Majesty :: King Rama IX and Queen Sirikit of Thailand
  3. Pebble :: make waves
  4. Fate :: is what you make it
  5. Instant :: coffee
  6. Screen :: flat LCD
  7. Unplugged :: Nirvana circa 1994
  8. Dairy :: lactose-intolerant
  9. Benefactor :: lucky son of a...
  10. Market :: wet & dry

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My Top 5: Places In and Around Bangkok

5. Siam Paragon -- renowned shopping mall and leisure pit stop

4. Damneon Sadouk Floating Market in Ratchaburi

3. Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo -- the greatest Elephant show in all of Thailand

2. Pratunam Market and Suan Lum Night Bazaar are tied in second

1. Patpong -- the red light district.
You have your dry goods on one side,
and wet goods on the other.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Blogging For Hope

On the 27th of September, BlogCatalog is hosting yet another worthwhile community challenge. Last month, we did posts about the importance of organ donation. This time, we are all invited to blog about the war against all forms of abuse.

Whether you're a BlogCatalog community member or just some random blogger with time to spare, you can participate by posting your own views, tips, concerns, and experiences about any kind of abuse. Drop by the discussion thread or the BlogCatalog Community Challenge page for more information.

Join me and thousands of other bloggers in this worldwide plight. Blog against abuse on September 27. Let us spread the word and give hope to those who have suffered from it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Who Was I in High School?

Popular Kid

In high school, everyone knew your name - even if you didn't know theirs.

In fact, your still skating by on your looks and charm. Nothing wrong with that!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My Thai

I am off to Bangkok, Thailand in...5 hours. I was only there last year, but this time around I arranged for a completely different tour of the city so I'm really excited about that. Of course, I'm still going to some of the old places I've already been to, like the Pratunam shopping district, Siam Paragon mall, the Suan Lum night bazaar, and the infamous red light district Patpong.

I think I might be able to post while I'm over there, so do check back for more info about my adventures (and misadventures) in the land of tuk tuks, temples, lemon grass, and elephant dung.

Sawadee ca!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Manic Monday: Drop

Don't waste any water -- not even a drop.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings 9

LunaNina says ... and I think ... ?

  1. Voyage :: self-discovery
  2. Patricia :: a good friend from high school/college
  3. Transformation :: butterfly
  4. Vocabulary :: slang
  5. San Francisco :: Dream for an Insomniac
  6. Edward :: Norton
  7. Sawyer :: Tom, who else?
  8. Literary :: fiction
  9. Tiger :: beer
  10. Seal :: Heidi

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Palawan: Better Than Paradise

I always knew Palawan was paradise. As some of you might recall, the hit reality show The Amazing Race even had a pit stop at El Nido, which is one of Palawan's municipalities.

Going on this trip, I was more than prepared to be amazed by the scenic mountain ranges, spectacular underground river, rich rain forests, diverse wildlife, and, of course, powdery beaches. While Josh Hartnett was filming his latest thriller "I Come With the Rain" in the mountains of Davao, I was busy taking pictures of paradise in and around the capital of Puerto Princesa. I'll let the pics do all the talking from here...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings 8

LunaNina says ... and I think ... ?

  1. Voices :: conscience
  2. Have to :: responsibilities
  3. Machine :: Transformers
  4. Seventh grade :: popular
  5. Beach :: are you kidding me??!
  6. Roommate :: never had one (thank God)
  7. Cyclone :: devastation
  8. Theater :: curtain call
  9. Pregnant :: someday
  10. Phoebe :: Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Where I Was the Last 3 Days

Did you know that the Philippine archipelago is made up of 7,107 islands? Pretty neat, huh. I always thought so.

Anyway, I was on a road trip the last few days and ended up in this place called Alaminos north of Manila (approx. 4-hour drive). There you will find the renowned Hundred Islands -- believed to be 124 islands during low tide and about 99 during high tide. With just a 5-hour boat ride in between and around the islands, you get breathtaking views, dock and enjoy the pristine beaches, even swim into a cave or two, and go snorkeling in the open sea for giant clams.

It's my 2nd time in Alaminos and I know I'll only go back every chance I get. I encourage everyone to take the trip at least once in their life. And guess what...I'd be MORE than happy to go with you. ;)

Next stop is Palawan, so watch out for that. In the meantime, here's a preview of my hundred-island adventure:

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Oh, My Galera

I'd say July and August are good months to visit the islands of Puerto Galera. I'm here now, actually, basking in the sun and enjoying the sites like it's my first time -- without a tumult of people flocking into the island like they normally do in the months of Philippine summer or the holidays. I have an equal love for all beaches, but Galera is probably one of the most memorable and honored sand-and-sun traditions I have. This place is close to my heart, literally and figuratively, because it's literally just a [relatively] short bus ride and boat trip from Manila. AND this is where Angelo and I rekindled our love -- ha ha, I'm such a sap.

White Beach is one of the hottest points on the island. This is where tourists and locals embark for a real taste of the Mindorine experience. Almost primitive yet comfortable lodging, water sports and activities, scrumptious island food, nocturnal drinking sessions and seaside parties -- it just can't get any better than that. Well, it does, but it'll require at least one plane ride. In Galera, it's all about proximity and easy-going fun. Whether you're with family, friends, or a special someone, you're bound to find paradise in these spots of land I like to backyard.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007