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Memories of a Wolksvagen Beetle

My father was a medical representative.  That was his first job.  His brother was also a medcal representative.  I guess in their days,  the med-rep job is what the call center job is for today’s generation of new graduates.

One of the perks of the job is the company car – which is mainly used and needed as the med-reps go around their areas talking to doctors, clinics and pharmacies to convince them to have their drugs prescribed to the patients.   In our case, we actually had different cars.  One of those that brings a lot of childhood memories is the yellow Wolkvagen Beetle.

Whenever I see a Beetle – I remember my years of growing up in Laguna.  My father’s main assignment was Laguna and Quezon – so it just made sense for all of us to just live in San Pablo City Laguna – instead of us staying Manila.

I also remember the regular trips on weekends between Manila and San Pablo city.  Our Beetle – was not air-conditioned – as it is for the vintage Wolksvagens that you see on the road.  This was alright because unlike today, the heat was not oppressive,   My sister and I are seated at the back along with all of our pillows and blankets which we demanded we bring along since we could never sleep using other people’s blankets and pillows.

I also remember the time in one trip when a wild dog ran after our Beetle while we were plying the un-developed roads between Nasugbu and Laguna for one of our summer vacations.

Lastly – it brings memories of the sound that it makes --- which can be heard miles away as my sister and I await my father’s return from work.  Both of us expecting some treats from my Father – which is usually a pint of Magnolia Ice cream.

Merienda Cena at C2

Filipinos eat all the time.  If I count the number of times I set aside daily to grab onto something to eat,  I can count at least six.  One of these meals is Merienda Cena.  I don’t know what this Spanish phrase meant but when I googled it,   I found someone claiming that it’s equivalent to high tea.  I somewhat agree with that definition but high tea usually consists of pastries and very light meals, for me a Merienda can occasionally be a heavier than the pastries and biscuits that the English serve for high tea.

You may ask what I might want to have for Merienda Cena.  Let me illustrate that by talking you through my latest visit to C2 Classic cuisine at Rockwell.

C2 is the place that I go to when I want to have a go on Filipino dishes but prepared with French culinary techniques.  They have mostly been successful in experimenting with traditional Filipino dishes.  Here are my favorites from their menu:


1.  Their Lumpiang Sariwa – It’s what you may call the equivalent of an open faced sandwich.  They don’t wrap the vegetables inside the lumpia wrapper.  Instead – they fry the lumpia wrapper into chips and serve them on the side. 

2.  Tokwa’t Baboy – I have always liked Tokwa – but I always order eat without it’s partner: pork.  It’s mainly because of the part that is usually used for it – which are the pigs ears.  I don’t like cartilage.   C2’s version is what I prefer – they use fried pork belly. 

3.  Capeng Barako – they serve it with Polvoron ( but I still prefer my mom’s recipe ).  They also give you condensed milk to use as a sweetener and creamer for this traditional coffee from Batangas.  The way it’s served is a fusion of Filipino and Vietnamese coffee experience – especially when you pour the condensed milk and it settles at the bottom.

4.  Biko Barako – I like Biko – especially when it has a lot of latik on top.  For the C2 version –they infused the lowly rice cake with molten hazelnut.  Definitely a must try.

5.  Satay Bagnet – this one is a mixture of Malay and Ilocano.  I love satay sauce – and I think I have already demonstrated my love for crispy pork belly.  I think this is the third dish with pork belly in it.  So when I saw this on the Menu – I knew I just had to try it.  I’m happy that I did.

6.  Bibingka Souffle – I dedicated one whole entry for this previously and I am highlighting it again.  This dessert I think is a good demo of what the Cravings group can deliver when they combine our home-grown cooking technique and the French culinary technique. 

These are my favorite merienda dishes.  Do you have a list of your favorite dishes you’d care to share?

Brazo de Mercedes @ The Terrace


My friends know that I have a sweet tooth.  I live for all the desserts and delicacies that my mom has prepared for us while we were growing up.  One of my favorite desserts is the Brazo de Mercedes.  I can actually finish a whole roll.  Eating the Brazo de Mercedes is a process that can be likened to how we eat the Oreo.  Do you start with the Meringue?  Or would you start with the creme-yema filling?  I actually prefer starting with the Meringue and ending with the filling.

Last weekend, when we dined @ the Terrace, I was debating over getting the Brazo de Mercedes or the Panna Coffee.  If I had not finished a slice of Brazo de Mercedes the day before, this would not be such a difficult choice to make.  In the end, I thought that trying out a new way of preparing one of my favorite desserts is an opportunity that can not be passed up.  The menu said – Frozen Brazo de Mercedes.  Writing about it just now – makes me want to call the restaurant to ask them if they are open at this ungodly hour ( almost midnight ) so I can order the dessert.

What makes the dessert special?  Everything about the dessert is well thought of.  Of course, one can argue that you can’t go wrong with this dessert.  I beg to disagree because I’ve seen preparations wherein the meringue was mushy and the creme-yema filling is too sweet.  At the Terrace, they had the right consistency.   As an added bonus to the meringue and creme-yema,  they actually layered it on top of a frozen cake ( or Ice cream – depending on how you actually see it ).  The shaved orange zest on top leaves a really refreshing taste to the dessert which I just loved.


This is the third and last entry on our dining experience at the Terrace @ 5th.  I encourage everyone to try the restaurant.  Before I conclude – I would also like to indicate that the service is impeccable.  I was telling Regina that I actually like restaurants where the waiter actually waits and observes if you are ready for your next course and asks you about it – instead of delivering them all at once.

I said it in my previous entry – and I will say it again – I am coming back soon so I can try the other dishes --- or maybe I can order the same dishes --- I think I’m hooked.

The Food @ The Terrace @ 5th

Dining can actually be made pleasant by the overall surroundings of the restaurant.  It can also be made excellent or poor by the service that is provided by the staff.   In a previous entry,  I did express my satisfaction on the overall decor and environment of the restaurant: The Terrace @ 5th.  This is one of the restaurants at the expanded section of the Greenbelt mall. 

For all of us though, we do recognize that a restaurant can look pretty but what matters most is the food that they serve.  When one leaves a restaurant, the owners and the chef would hope that when you try a couple of dishes from the menu, you would want to come back to try the other dishes or you would have found a new favorite dish that you will come back for over and over again.

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Let me start my review by telling you what we ordered.   For starters, we ordered the Terrace salad and the Provoleta con Chimichuri.  For the main dish,  decided to try the Homestyle Confit Pork Belly.  Regina chose to try the Ching Cruz’ Sole Meuniere.  For dessert,  I ordered the Frozen Brazo de Mercedes.

From the name of the dishes,  you would already realize that most of them are definitely prepared with French culinary techniques.  However – in some of the dishes, the hint of Filipino fusion is apparent.

DSC03677 Among the dishes that we ordered, the most memorable dish would have to be the Terrace Salad.  It’s special balsamic dressing provided a unique taste to one’s mouth.  Moreover, the addition of the popcorn sprouts was a surprise that my mouth seemed to welcome.


For the main dishes,  both the pork belly and the Sole Meuniere are highly recommended.  If you like crispy pork belly like me,  I bet you would actually enjoy the dish.  However,  I did find the dish a bit dry – since it’s sauce is a reduced vinaigrette – and I’m used to dunking my pork belly in a cupful of vinegar.  I’m however ready to forgive that because the fat of the pork belly just melts in your mouth.  It is definitely how I want my crispy liempo – crispy but the fat should end up with what I can only describe – as butter-y consistency.

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The only disappointment for us is the provoleta con chimichuri.  It’s basically a cheese dish.  Having it as a starter may be part of our reservation about the dish.  It did leave me wanting to reserve it towards the latter part of the meal and served with fruits and wine.

I will stop here and allocate one whole entry on the dessert.   I ordered it as an after thought but I’m glad I did.  Overall – I can say that the Terrace @ 5th did win me over.  I am happy to find  a new restaurant that can provide me my comfort food.  I’d be happy to try the other dishes – but I will definitely still order their salad.  I hope the owners don’t take that dish of the menu.  It’s definitely a winner.

Dining @ Terrace @ 5th

Dining in Manila is now offering so much variety.  This has just grown in leaps and bounds especially with the opening of new malls and the expansion of old malls like Greenbelt.  I have not caught up in exploring each and every restaurant that has newly opened.  However – I still want to experience each and every one of them.

DSC03658 Last weekend, Regina and I decided to pick one restaurant at Greenbelt five.  We ended up in The Terrace @ 5th.  I will have to break down the experience into different parts so I can provide as much detail as I could about the experience.  As I have written in the past,  a restaurant experience is not just about the food.  It is also about the ambience, the service, and the value for money.

20032010109On this entry – I will start with the overall decor of the restaurant.  As the name implies, the restaurant tries to imbibe the environment of a household’s terrace.  Our trusted friends: Merriam and Webster describes a Terrace as a colonnade porch or promenade.  Greenbelt five actually provides the restaurant the opportunity to provide that background since all restaurants provide indoor and outside seating.  Given the heat of the summer, Regina and I decided to sit indoors.  I can actually say that even if you sit indoors,  you will still get the feeling that you are actually dining at someone’s porch.  We overheard the owner telling another patron of the restaurant that the Almario sisters are responsible for the decor.

DSC03670My favorite aspect of the decor:  The multiple lamps housed in bird cages.  They are pretty and definitely gives you the feeling of invading someone’s aviary or greenhouse.  Speaking of green – the predominant color of the restaurant, from it’s seating, walls, tables, and even the menu are green.

20032010114The owner also opted to have a big picture window which you can look out to view the landscaped gardens of the mall.  Both Regina and I were facing outdoors and while dining, it reminded me of those days when my family would choose to have a barbecue in our old house in San Pablo Laguna and setup the table at our porch. I liked the overall decor – it does make the dining experience relaxed and it provides you that feeling of home sweet home.

The next entry will focus on the dishes that we ordered.   Just as a preview – we were not disappointed with the food – from the appetizers to the dessert.

I Want to be Legally Blonde

Most of my friends know that my favorite movie is Legally Blonde.  Nope ... people don't think that I'm dumb ... the first time that they see me.  Some people say that I have the "angas" of someone who thinks he's too smart for everyone else.  In fact - some people even say that I look intimidating if you see me and you have not met me.

The truth is ... like everyone else,  I have insecurities ... and no ... I don't think that I'm smarter than everyone else.   Being schooled in Ateneo and Manila Science taught me that I'm actually not the genius that my parents and my grade school teachers had me believe while I was growing up.   And as I was released to the real world - I realized that intelligence is nothing compared to the wisdom that some people gain as they find themselves fighting the different battles of life.

Now - since people think that I'm intimidating - I actually have been trying to master the art of being a ditz ... that's why I love Elle Woods.   She's a natural when it comes to projecting the image that she's an airhead --- even though she's actually a really smart lady.

Have I been successful?  Too bad ... I'm not ... people still think that I'm the smart one or the smart mouth.   Folks ... I know ... that you know that I'm brilliant .... but what I want to hear from y'all is not how you're amazed that I got multiple scholarships when I was in College ... but that I am so damn good looking ... that you didn't think that I would be smart.  Ok ... you can ignore the superlative description ... but hey ... it wouldn't hurt if I will hear more compliments about the way that I look you know.

Maybe I should dye my hair blonde ... what do you think?

Joikushop – Great Customer Experience

Blogger’s Note: I am re-posting this to share it with new readers of the blog.  I continue to use Joikuspot on my N97.  It turns my phone into a wireless router anywhere I go.  It’s a great application and I still can’t find an equivalent in other platforms ( iPhone or Android ).  So that’s a good start for a product.  However, what makes me a fan is the great customer experience they have given when I asked for it.  I work in Customer Service and this interaction is definitely one which I use to remind me how service should be given to customers.

Recently, I bought an N97. Prior to that I had an E63. When I bought my E63 - I was introduced to the software: Joikuspot. It's a software which turns my E63 into a hotspot. This was a great feature which allows me to surf the internet using my laptop or my iPod Touch by connecting it to the hotspot that the Joikuspot software enabled.

When I bought my N97, I wanted to port the software that I bought from E63 into the new phone. I contacted the Joikuspot customer support and within twelve hours, they responded. Their response:

1. They politely reminded me that the terms and conditions of the purchase indicate that purchasing the software indicates that it can only be used for that particular hardware. It can not be used for multiple hardware. It also means that it can't be transferred from one hardware to the other.

2. Even with this fine print - they deactivated my previous license number for the E63 and they gave me a new one for N97. This means that even with the fine print that I obviously ignored, they were willing to provide me a new license so I can continue to use their software with my new phone.

3. They ended the communication by providing the rationale behind this policy. They also reminded me that the next time this happens --- I would have to buy a new license.

Why I like the interaction:

1. The e-mail response was quick.

2. The correspondence was very professional.

3. They were willing to give an exception to me which made me feel special.

NOTE: I do think that it's unfair that the consumers can not port their software from one hardware to the other. But I don't think that's Joikushop's fault. I think that's actually a legislative question. In fact I think I should research it because maybe Joikushop maybe in violation of a consumer rights provision. However --- for me it doesn't matter because they still gave me a new license which is what matters at this time.

I am hoping that all customer support experience is as pleasant as my experience with Joikushop.

Taking Pleasure in Our Daily Walk

DSC01990Midori and I walk everyday for at least forty minutes.  We do it in the morning after I get off from work.  We seldom miss it and if we do, it will most probably be because I had to stay later than usual at work.

This is an important time for us.  It is the time when I can reinforce good walking habits for Midori.  She has to follow my lead and not the other way around.  Those who have dogs will know that one of the first things that the dogs would have to learn is that the Owner is the Pack Leader.  Pack Leaders always walk ahead of everyone else.  Those dog owners who have problematic dogs usually let their dogs walk ahead of them and end up with disobedient pets.

The Daily walk is also our time to exercise.  I go to the gym three times a week and those sessions are primarily weight training sessions.  Walking with Midori is my cardiovascular supplement.  For Midori – this walk gets our heart rate up and tires her out so she does not end up with extra energy which can be destructive.  This physical activity also keeps Midori’s body weight in check.   It is not good to have an obese dog.

These practical reasons for the daily walk are actually the add-on perks.  Fundamentally though, these walks allow me to quiet my mind after a busy day at work.  It is a ritual that I do for myself as well for Midori.

Do you have a daily ritual that you also follow?  I’d be interested to hear about it.

Where The Wild Things Are

Subic is a popular destination for the House of Queens.  Now that the SCTEX has been completed, the trip from Manila to Subic has been greatly reduced.

When we go to Subic,  we check out the Zoobic Safari – just in case they have new animals in the Zoo.  I don’t have kids – but a lot of people think that I’m actually an oversized Kid – and the first time I visited the Zoo,  I was just so excited.  I especially like going through the Tiger’s lair inside the caged Jeepney.   The Savanna ride through the Ostrich farm is also something to look forward to.

I wonder if the Zoo allows dogs.  I would actually want Midori to experience the Zoo.


Baguio – Been There Done That

My family is in Baguio for their annual summer outing.  I am unable to join them because I can’t get away from the office – especially since I already have two long vacations lined up for the year.

I actually wasn’t able to visit Baguio till I was 30.  It really just wasn’t a place which my family and I have planned to visit while I was growing up.  In total – I’ve been to Baguio twice.

The last time we were there, we just egged Regina to plan that trip since she was already stationed in Angeles.  On that trip,  the most memorable experience is that of getting into an accident while driving back to Angeles from Baguio.   Nobody was hurt,  but it did give me a major scare. Up to now,  driving along Macarthur Highway is still something that I would rather not do.  That is why I’m happy to hear that there are now first class buses in which you can comfortably sleep while you travel ( and it has its own bathroom inside the bus – which is important for someone like me who has a bladder the size of a pea ).

Here are our photos from one of the relatively newer attractions in Baguio: The Tamaw-an village and Arko ni Apo.


Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who's The Fairest of them All?

As a very young child, my beauty was actually noted not just by relatives but also by strangers.  I had fair skin, dark brown hair, and sported the cutest of baby outfits.  When I started to go to school, that beauty was overshadowed by my apparent brilliance in academics.  So as I grew up,  people started to think of me as the "Smart One" instead of referring to me as the "Fair and Beautiful one".

I didn't really mind being seen as the smart kid. In our family,  there's a lot of value placed on being smart.  So from being the beautiful child I developed into the awkward adolescence who sported very thick eye glasses, slightly darker skin, gaunt face from being thin, and pock-marked face from the pimples that came with growing up.

Today, the glasses are gone and replaced with contact lenses.  A large part of the pimples are gone but my face will forever have the scars from those years.  And instead of being gaunt and thin,  I have managed to gain some weight and even some muscle in the right areas  from years of working out.  The awkward years are definitely just memories.

These days - I still ask myself - would I rather be cute or smart?   Most often than not - my response is: "I can't answer that question - but I'm thankful that I'm both."

The Matter of National Pride

I recall that in one interview with Boy Abunda, he was asked if he is proud to be a Filipino.  I actually admired him for his response:  I am Proud to be a Filipino because I am a Filipino.  This notion actually stuck in my mind and it prompted me to ask myself the same question.  Even up to now,  I can confidently say that I can say the same thing:  I am Proud to be a Filipino because I am a Filipino.

The statement brings two inherent implications:  I am proud of who I have become and the life that I live.   I am also proud of being part of a Nationality who have individuals like me who contribute to its greatness.

I know that as a nation, we have a tendency to think that we are inferior.  This is brought about by more than 200 years of being a colony and being told that we are nothing.  This is why as a nation we hail people like Manny Pacquiao as a hero.   Someone like him proves to the rest of the world that we can be great.  What I am however enjoining everyone to realize is that hopefully, Manny and all the others like him, will inspire us to live great lives ourselves.   Let us not depend on others for greatness.   In everything we do - in our everyday lives - let us strive for that greatness.

Real Coffee in Boracay

I want to have really good coffee.  I also want to have really good muffins and omelette.  Times like these calls for a quick trip to Boracay and visit my favorite coffee house on the island:  Real Coffee.  As a bonus,  you can definitely have good conversation with the owners: Lee and Nadine who have chosen Boracay as their home close to 14 years ago.

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My Favorite Blogger Tools

Blogging has been made easy by a lot of the free applications available to the public.  Today, one can publish all types of content from the simple text, to pictures, short movies, or even podcasts.  Sometimes, a blog entry can actually be a combination of all three.   For an amateur blogger like me,  there are actually three tools that I use.

1.  Windows Live Writer
WindowsLiveWriter This is a free application from the Windows Live suite.  I stumbled upon the application when I was looking for a Blog editing tool which I can use to compose a blog offline – for publishing at a later time.  I’m telling you – if you are a Microsoft Office user, switching to this program to compose your blogs will be easy.  My blogs typically are not just pure text – and the default editor that comes with the blogs are too cumbersome to use.  With the Live writer, copying and pasting non-text contents like Links, pictures and videos becomes fast and easy.   It also allows you to post it to different blog platforms.  I use blogspot – and the interface between blogspot and the writer is seamless.

2.  Picasa
Picasa Picasa had always been the default application for managing my digital albums.  There are other applications equivalent to Picasa. Microsoft has it’s own counterpart.  However – Picasa provides an interface that just matches my needs.  The tools that I always use are the following: 1)  Picture editing – especially saturating the colors for Photos for my Food Blog and 2) Creating Photo Collages.

3.  Windows Live Movie Maker
vista-movie-maker,F-Y-78334-13 This is another Free application from the Windows Live suite.  I have been taking movie clips from my N97 and had been posting them in YouTube.  Previously – movie editing was not easy.  Moreover, those that are easy to use are expensive.   With the Movie Maker,  editing the clips, rearranging the, adding music and captions become child’s play.   Moreover – it actually has a YouTube plugin which makes it even simpler to publish the video online.
Do you have a blog?  What tools do you use to make blogging easy?

Exploring Macau

Vacation around Asia has definitely become interesting in the last decade.  It is no longer just about the historical sites of places like Beijing, Cambodia, and Thailand.  It is also more than just the shopping in Shanghai, Thailand and Hongkong.  We now have a place like Macau – which – I can honestly say is a good hodge-podge of things that any tourist can enjoy.  I definitely enjoyed the casinos.  It is reminiscent of my stay in Las Vegas where you can wake up at one in the morning and go downstairs to play slots.  It can also be a place to explore both European and Chinese cuisines.  Lastly – it is a place where you can explore authentic or copycat architecture. 

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Bringing Out the Diva in You

There are days when you just feel the need to dress up, put on some lipstick, paint your face and don an afro wig.  I never found those days.  However – I do find days when I feel like belting out “I will Survive”.  It’s just a lovely song that never fails to pick up my mood – regardless of the s**T that I may find myself on that day.

Of course – if you think that bringing out the Diva in you is just too much work,  you can always rely on people who do it for a living.

Dina's Birthday

Go. Go. Gadgets

I’m a gadget geek.  During my free time, I prowl the net for the latest gadgets that I can find.  I don’t always buy them but when I find one which I can’t get out of my mind,  I spend sleepless nights imagining and longing for the day when my gadget and I can be together.
Of course – like any gadget geek, the honeymoon period doesn’t last long.  The good news is through thick and thin,  I do stick with the gadget – even if I have to commit gadget bigamy and romance them all at the same time.


My gadgets ( Clockwise from Top ): Acer Ferrari One 200, Nokia N97, Nokia BH-503, HTC Hero.
Not in this picture is my iPod touch which at the time this picture was taken is being used by my best friend who is addicted to the iPod Touch/iPhone version of  Plants vs. Zombies.

What I Can Learn from Midori

Midori is my two year old Beagle.  I got her for my Birthday two years ago.  I was never a dog person growing up.  In fact, like most Filipinos, I was actually afraid of dogs.  Now – I can’t get enough of them.

Midori and I actually have a lot in common.  We are pretty good company – always approaching everything with a positive attitude and very loyal to the people we love.

There are I must say – some things that I think I can still learn from Midori and how she lives her life.   These are the things that I can learn from Midori – the Beagle:


1.  Make the First move – I have always been shy.  I don’t make the first move and I think this is why I am still single.  Those who make the move on me – are not necessarily my type.  Those that are my type – I never had the courage to approach.

2.  Sleep is important – Midori can’t be bothered when she is asleep.  I’m not like that – I actually end up sacrificing sleep just to have some fun.

3.  Eat what is served – Midori eats what is served for her meals.  She wasn’t always like that.  However – I think she realized that food is most important as source of nutrition.  Therefore, she always makes it a point to eat the food that we give her.

4.  Give back the love – When I pet her, Midori always shows her affection back by licking my hand.  These are special moments for us.   Special bonding time when I actually feel closest to her.

5.  Alone Time is Important – Midori – like all Beagles are pack dogs.  Therefore they crave for company.  However, there are times when you will find her lying down on the corner away from all of us in the House of Queens.  I don’t know if dogs contemplate about life – but it certainly does look like Midori does some reflection during those alone times.

Do you have a pet?   Are there things that you have learned from your pet that you’d care to share?

Macchiato – Midori’s Big Bro

Midori is the Royal Canine of the House of Queens but she is not our first dog.  Our first Beagle is Macchiato.  He’s a male Beagle who is roughly half a year older than Midori.  The two of them might look alike but they definitely have different personalities.

Macchiato is like a baby boy – who needs to be cuddled and who doesn’t mind being looked after all the time.   Which is why he suffers from Separation Anxiety.  At one point in time,  we had serious issues with his barking that we thought of finding him a new home.  Of course we couldn’t do that and we decided to keep him.

He doesn’t live in the House of Queens – because he is not fit for Condo living.  He lives in Marikina and has actually witnessed the Ondoy wrath.  I’m actually very thankful that the water levels did not reach his house.

You will hear more about Macchiato in future posts.  For now – here are some photos taken of Midori’s big bro: Macchiato.


Have Sunnies – Will Travel

Men don’t have a lot of choices for their accessories.  This is why my designer purchases are almost exclusive to Sunglasses.  I have been browsing through my different vacation pictures and I noticed that I’ve been wearing a different pair for each one of them.  Whether I have to go the beach, hop to different casinos, or head on to a 3 Star Michelin restaurant, my Sunnies are there to help keep the sun away from eyes --- and of course to keep me pretty.


Top to Bottom; Left to Right: 1) Burberry, 2) Michael Korrs, 3) Gianfranco Ferre, 4) Versace, 5) Gucci, 6) Ray-Ban

Am I Daniel, Adam or Blaine

I discovered Timothy James Beck one day while looking for a new book to read.  I was at the Sci-Fi section of National Bookstore and I found an odd book that seems to be misplaced.  It was Timothy James Beck’s first book: It Had To Be You.  I enjoyed it thoroughly because it is the first real gay romance story I have read.  I have read other is in the past but they always turn out to be gay porn disguised as a gay novel.  In contrast, It Had to be You fleshed out it’s characters – every one of them – even it’s setting which is the City of New York was a fully developed character.

Soon enough, I googled the author and found two more book which turn out to be some type of continuation of the first book.  The second book is: He’s The One.  The third book is: I’m Your Man.

Last weekend, I revisited all of three stories.  This time, I asked myself – who among the three characters can I closely be associated with?

Am I Daniel, the actor?

Am I Adam, the geek?

Or Am I Blaine, the businessman?

In the end, I realize that I’m all three of them – and maybe that’s why I liked the series so much.

I found out that, Timothy James Beck has come up with a new chapter to the series: When You Don’t See Me.  I can’t wait to read it.

Breakfast X Two

Sunday – 7 March was going to be busy.  Our usual Grocery chores had to be done and I have to go to my cousin’s cremation rites in the afternoon.  On top of the hectic schedule, I had colds which could not be stopped by Cold Ease.  This means that I have to be in tip-top shape if I had any hopes of surviving the day decently.  This of course meant that I have to eat breakfast – and on this day I had two very good breakfasts.

Breakfast Number one - Starbucks

Iced Caramel Macchiato plus Ham and Four Cheese Panini


I have special instructions for my Caramel Macchiato – the Caramel Drizzle needs to sit at the bottom of the cup.  I noticed that when they place the caramel drizzle on top, the syrup ends up sticking to cup cover.

As for the Ham and Four Cheese Panini.  I urge you to try this. 

Breakfast Number two – Cafe Breton

Salad Plus Tarzan Crepe Plus Calamansi Slush


This is the first time that I tried Cafe Breton’s salad.  It’s good – you should try it.  Of course a visit to Cafe Breton is not complete without the crepes.  This time I tried Tarzan which is a simple crepes made of Banana and Condensed milk.  BTW – I know that it’s too late to get ones vitamin C once you have caught the cold – but I still  had one because it’s simply refreshing.

I’m happy I had two breakfasts – as it turned out,  I had a very long day.

The T House in Tagaytay

When you go for an overnight excursion in Tagaytay, where do you stay?  We stay at the T House.  It is a boutique hotel which offers very Zen surroundings for its guests.  We have stayed there twice and each stay had been a pleasure.


Midori Spayed

DSC02258 Spaying or as I now know is also called Ovario-hysterectomy is the procedure that female dogs go through to neuter them. For male dogs, the neutering process is one which we normally call castration. For dog lovers, we all know that this procedure is done out of love. It reduces the risk of our pets to a lot of diseases related to their reproductive organs. Statistically speaking - neutered dogs have longer life spans.

The prerequisite to Spaying is a blood test.  Spaying is not a risky procedure - but like any medical procedures, it has its risks. So it is recommended that the Vet evaluate if your pet does not have any conditions that may get complicated by the surgery. I was happy to hear that the blood test actually yielded positive results. Midori is very healthy.

DSC02266 Midori has gone through the surgery at 18 months of age. Male dogs typically get this done out-patient. Female dogs have to stay overnight at the Animal hospital. It's been months since Midori and I spent time apart - so I was a little bit apprehensive over leaving her with strangers overnight. However, I was told that it's best for her since they can monitor her conditions just in case there were complications in the surgery. The day after the surgery -  I picked her up from the hospital and she was her usual cheerful self although she had great difficulty moving around with the large Funnel-like E-Collar she was wearing.

Herewith are the Post-Surgical Precautions that was given by the Vet:

1. Midori may slightly be depressed and not be herself for the next few days.

2. A decrease in appetite may also be observed. Appetite may return in a few days. Make sure to feed her in small amounts for the first few meals.

3. Avoid excessive activity. ( Ex. running and jumping. Ideally they should be in cage rest ).

4. If bleeding occurs, apply pressure on the wound with a piece of gauze.

5. Please give the prescribed medications and keep the E-collar for 10 days.

6. Clean the wound daily with 10% Providone-Iodine solution.
We all feel sad for her because it seems like the E-Collar is really inconvenient to wear. But like all beagles, Midori seems to be able to retain a positive disposition even with this contraption.



For those who are interested in knowing how much we spent for spaying:
Blood Test - 2,500 Pesos
Anesthesia - 2,500 Pesos
Surgery - 7,500 Pesos
Other Medicines - 1,500 Pesos
TOTAL - 14,000 Pesos

It's not inexpensive - but at the risk of sounding like a MasterCard commercial --- knowing that we have reduced or eliminated the risk of Midori being sick or injured when attacked by a male dog, or being injured and sick if she accidentally gets pregnant --- That is just priceless.

A Stroll at the Ayala Triangle Gardens


Midori and I usually walk around the streets of Salcedo Village.  One weekend though, we decided to cross Paseo de Roxas and we checked out the newly landscaped Ayala Triangle Gardens.  It was Sunday afternoon so apart from Midori and myself,  there was only one other family in the park.  I am happy that dogs were not banned (they are actually banned in Salcedo Park).

I have mixed feelings over the park.  On the one hand, it’s a good addition to outdoor places for the residents and office workers in Makati.  On the other hand, it seems like there are a lot less trees in the area compared to when it was just the Ugarte field.  God knows that the Green areas in the business district has slowly given way to Ayala Land’s development.  It started with Glorietta, then Greenbelt, and now the Ayala Triangle Garden.  With less green patches of land,  that also means less trees which could actually help in alleviating the heat in this area.

C2 Bibingka Souffle

Have you tried C2 at Rockwell?   We did last weekend and found one of the most glorious dessert.  It’s Bibibingka Souffle.  Think of the Souffle but this time it’s made of the ingredients used for Bibingka.  For me, that union is just heavenly.


Hiding in Plain Sight

There are many things that can contribute to clutter.  In the House of Queens keys ( house and car ), office badges and various brochures, fliers and bills spread around the house contribute to a cluttered look.

To solve this problem on clutter,  we have two fixtures in the House of Queens that keep these in one place.  One of them is a candle holder that we got from Regalong Pambahay.  We used to hang it at our old house’s Veranda.  In the new house,  we hung it by the door, and use it as a place to deposit our keys and Company badges.

The other item is a magazine holder which was part of the decor that came with the house we are renting.  Beside the candle holder, we hung the magazine holder and use it to deposit our bills, receipts and our compilation of Dial-up numbers for restaurants

With these two simple but decorative solutions,  we know where to find the keys that were always misplaced previously.  Moreover – looking for the delivery number of the different restaurants are now easy to spot.

How about you?  Do you have any solutions for eliminating clutter in your house?

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If Tongues are Made for Talking


We all know that our Tongues are an important part of our anatomy.  They are used in our speech --- and how we use it actually has a significant effect on how we speak.  We can roll it and form really distinct R sounds ( which we Filipinos are used to ) or we can soften it and make the R sounds implied ( as is the case in some English Dialects ).  However – I’m not a linguist and I can’t take that discussion further.  This post is not about speech.  It’s about one of my “comfort” restaurants: Talking Tongues.   We discovered this restaurant when we moved to the New House of Queens.   It’s an Indonesian restaurant – owned by an Indonesian --- which makes the dishes not just authentic --- but very good.   When I find myself craving for home-cooked meals --- Talking tongues come top of mind.

My favorite dish is the Gado-Gado.  This apparently means – Mixed-Mixed.  Thus --- you can actually argue that this is Halo-Halo in Indonesian.  However – instead of the usual dessert that we are used to – Gado-Gado is a  Salad.  The closest Filipino dish to it is the Lumpiang Sariwa.   I would actually not be surprised if it turns out that our Lumpiang Sariwa was derived from Gado-Gado.

If you live or work within the Salcedo area.  Check it out.  It’s located along San Agustin Street very close to the corner of Rufino st.  Just a word of warning.  When the waiters ask you if you want it mildly spiced – just say yes.  We made a mistake the first time we ate there and found that their Mild – is actually hot enough for us.  We ordered Medium and as much as we enjoyed the food, we also ended up with burned tongues.

Happy Birthday Midori


Midori was born on 3 March 2008.   We got her on 16 May 2008.   So it’s been almost two years since I committed myself to being the Daddy of this lovable bitch.  It has not been easy but it was all worth it.   I’m hoping that Midori and I will be together for decades.  Looking back at these two years make me think of one of my favorite stories:  the story of how the Little Prince tamed the fox.   Here is an excerpt from the book ( and a link to its entry in Amazon in case you decide to get a copy ).

 The Little Prince (Antoine de St. Exupery)

"Please--tame me!" he said.

"I want to, very much," the little prince replied. "But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand."

"One only understands the things that one tames," said the fox. "Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me . . ."

"What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.

"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me--like that--in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day . . ."

The next day the little prince came back.

"It would have been better to come back at the same hour," said the fox. "If, for example, you come at four o'clock in the afternoon, then at three o'clock I shall begin to be happy. I shall feel happier and happier as the hour advances. At four o'clock, I shall already be worrying and jumping about. I shall show you how happy I am! But if you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you . . . One must observe the proper rites . . ."

"What is a rite?" asked the little prince.

"Those also are actions too often neglected," said the fox. "They are what make one day different from other days, one hour from other hours. There is a rite, for example, among my hunters. Every Thursday they dance with the village girls. So Thursday is a wonderful day for me! I can take a walk as far as the vineyards. But if the hunters danced at just any time, every day would be like every other day, and I should never have any vacation at all."

So the little prince tamed the fox.

Being Filipino is Currently Fashionable


For over a year now,  anything Filipino seems to have garnered so much popularity as a design for local clothes retailers.  This weekend,  we went to Greenhills and Market Market – and all shops are carrying T-shirts, Jackets, sweaters, etc which either has the Philippine Flag or the Map of the Philippines embroidered on them.  I can’t blame the retailers --- I think our flag does look good.  Even my foreigner friends agree with that.  As for the Map of the Philippines – it looks like a Rorschach inkblot which can definitely make any piece of clothing interesting.

I Swear! I didn’t Eat a Cockroach


I had to rush Midori to the Vet at 5:00 AM today.  At 3:00 AM,  I recognized that she wasn’t her usual self.  Minutes after that she pooped inside the house --- something that she has not done in the last year.  Then she started throwing up.   After observing her condition for another hour,  I decided to take her to Animal House at Jupiter st.   I’m really thankful that we now have Animal hospitals such as Animal house which are open 24 hours a day.

The vet did some blood tests on Midori just to rule out any infection.  However,  he already suspected that the cause was dietary --- Midori must have ingested something with high bacterial content.  This caused her to get an upset stomach.  His example:  a cockroach.    We did take a walk at 2:00 AM,   which may mean that she could have grabbed something while we were walking.

She’s ok now,  although she’s still taking some electrolytes to replace the lost fluids.  She’s very calm and subdued which is nice to see --- but of course --- I miss her naughty side ( which I hope will come back tonight ).