Category Archives: Friends

The thrill and fear of starting over

If I were born American, I’d probably be kicked out of my parents home six years ago. Hah. I’m lucky I grew up in the Philippines–a land where mothers and fathers keep their offspring until they’re practically wrinkly and toothless.

For years, I’ve been used to being fed, roofed, and cared for by my parents. We may have our fair share of misunderstandings but I’m always the one who raises the white flag. After all, it’s their rules and conditions that always must matter in the household.

I’ve thought of moving out a number of times. You know, those times I’d feel I’m being leashed inside my own house. I’m an adult, I’d say. But I’ve never really made a move to pack up and go. I couldn’t. My heart wages no.

Spankin’ new 1-peso coin

But yesterday, I’ve finally decided to jump into something I’ve been planning for  more than a year. And boy, was it the biggest, most crazy-scary decision I have made in my life so far.

I have less than 9 weeks to bid my family and friends goodbye. Temporarily, of course, if everything goes according to plan.

Yep, March is the new New Year for me.

P.S. Blog title is borrowed from a colleague’s Tweet. He couldn’t have coined it better.  Thanks, Arj.

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Filed under Family, Friends, Sentiments

Meanings and digits

1990s: The long, arduous wait to open gifts at the stroke of midnight.  Being forced to get some shuteye at 9 PM. Woken up with a whispered, “Merry Christmas, baby!” Picking out new clothes. Sitting on the floor, excitedly tearing away gift wrappers from presents. 2-week vacations. Ampaos, lots of it. The whole family kneeling down in prayer. Christmas parties at school. Neatly arranging presents. A Barbie doll from Italy. Family.

2000: Gabber-Gab. Fussing over presents to give. Cheesy the Dog. 13th month payout. Innumerable parties. The Mayan calendar. Godchildren you never knew you had.  Endless lists. Savoring what’s left on your Christmas break. Oatmeal cookies.  A legit excuse to get drunk. Picture frames. Wishing for your loved ones’ safety and health. Family.

***

Be kids and let kids be kids. It’s the most wonderful feeling this yuletide season.

Oh, and one more thing: Easy on the booze, bud.

Happy Christmas, folks!

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This will make do.. for now

Dearest Irene,

I wish I could personally tell you the words you are about to read on this post. But because we live miles apart and you’re probably busy getting wasted tonight, this will have to temporarily make do.

You know, I’m quite fortunate in having a great friend like you. I don’t have a lot of peers but the handful of guys like you is enough to keep me sane. Life is truly unfair–no question to that–but it is bearable with people like you around.

(By the way, I’m borrowing your Facebook photos for this entry. I picked out my favorites off your profile pictures album and there’s nothing you can do about it. I love you.)

So, you turn 25 today, huh? Pretty scary phase, if you ask me. But knowing you, you’ll be dodging life’s travails with ease and poise–and in high-heeled leather boots.

One of the best things about you is that you’re excitingly unpredictable. You’re either trekking in the mountains..

..Or descending skyscrapers without the aid of an escalator (because you’re too cool for that. Hello?!).

Someday, I’m gonna have the guts to adapt that risk-taker attitude of yours..

..And we’ll take on each challenge bravely and with an open mind–while laughing our butts off.

Random funny memory: Remember when I invited you to sleep over at our place? We stayed up all night talking about almost about anything. Then we got on Chatroullete. My, my, my. I didn’t know you had a thing for random strangers! We succumbed to fits of giggles so much that my father had to hush us up.

I think our next-door neighbor wasn’t too happy about it, too. Oh well.. We only get to be young once in this lifetime so might as well live it up until we can.

What I’m trying to say is, I may not gift you fancy presents on your special day but hey, you know I always got your back, right? May this blog entry remind you how special you are to me.

Happy birthday,

A

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Filed under Friends, Funny, Happy

The Kate Bakes Cookie Cult

I’ve been staring at my laptop screen for the past 2 hours and I cannot think of a way on how to jump-start this post. All I know is that I want you folks to know that the photo below is THE BEST COOKIE I’VE EVER HAD THE PLEASURE OF EATING IN MY LIFE.

And no, I am not exaggerating. Just look at that beauty. LOOK AT IT!

Hi, sexy.

Before I formally introduce my new-found cookie addiction, allow me give you a back story on how my passionate and not-so-secret affair for these baked goodies started. I’m going make this short, I promise. I just think that all great love stories should always kick off on the right foot. And this, my friends, is a love that will last forever. I guarantee it.

November 6, 2011 – It all began on an impulsive decision to troop to the Global Pinoy Bazaar 2011 held at the Rockwell Tent in Makati. I wasn’t planning on buying anything, really. No goal in particular. But after ending up with a pair of wedge sandals (and accumulating a bag-full of brochures, calling cards, and stickers), I hurriedly headed to the nearest exit before I wipe out the remains of my wallet.

Then I spotted Kate Bakes‘ booth. I stopped on my tracks. It was something so difficult to pass out on. The woman manning the booth stretched out a tin can–it was filled with cookie bits. I reached inside and the next thing I know, I was buying two more cookies for the road. Win!

I was excited to have the boyfriend taste this inexplicable goodness. So excited, I was skipping back to our meeting place. Everything was a blur–all I remember now is that we sat there together by the fountain, wolfing down our cookies. And the rest was history.

The person behind Kate Bakes deserve a pat in the back, I thought. So I sent her a text, thanking her for baking such exquisite treats. I also asked her if she could send  in the photos and a price list so I could share it on my blog.

Imagine my delight when I received this text message last Friday:

Wow. What an awesome way to to end a tiring work week! Thanks so much, Kate. This was so unexpectedly delightful!

After meeting up with Kate so she can hand me the “goods,” I opened the parcel and shared it to three of my closest office friends. Me saying that they loved it is an understatement. Kesi even said that she have “never been this emotional about a cookie before.” Hah. Beat that, Chips Ahoy!

Kate Bakes’ Heavenly Cookies are especially made with only the finest premium ingredients. Trust me, it has everything you’ll ever want on your cookie. You’ll understand this insanity once you’ve sunk your teeth into it.

To Kate: You have created something really, REALLY special here. I hope you don’t mind if I have unintentionally put together a cookie cult of some sort.

Guys, I think one of you good souls out there deserve a piece of heaven this Christmas, so I’m giving away a box of Classic Belgian cookies on my next post. (What am I thinking?!). Stay tuned.

KATE BAKES | Facebook | Twitter | E-mail: iamkatebakes@yahoo.com | Mobile Number: +639087729930 | Price list

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Afternoon breakfast at Milky & Sunny

“How would you like to retire at 40?” My friend, J, sent me via BBM a month ago. I said yes, of course. Prior to her invitation, I’ve never gave much thought about getting a life insurance. I want to, I swear. I just didn’t know where to start. But thanks to her, I had a clearer picture.

We arranged a meeting and realized that we were both busy on the following weekends. So we had to make do; I’ll get out of at work mid-day and then she’ll sneak out from her office (hehe). I also suggested that we go to this breakfast place I’ve been wanting to try called Milky & Sunny in Kapitolyo.

I rarely take half days off. Such a hassle, don’t you think? That’s why it’s either I just stay in, magnetized in my bed (or off someplace better) or I get my lazy butt on my office chair. Black or white. Yin or Yang. This day, however, made my decision to leave work early, worth it.

Good morning 27/7! 

It was a particularly lucky Friday, actually. Good news just kept pouring in! Happy, happy, happy! And the restaurant seemed to match our sunny moods.

Entering Milky & Sunny is like going inside a little girl’s room. It’s small, cute, and soothing. These lovely wall hangings are my favorite. Next to the food, of course. 😛

Together forever and ever

And to prep me for our hearty meal, I asked for a tall glass of cold milk which I downed within minutes.

Ta-da! Behold the star of my afternoon: the Breakfast Big Plate! Garlic rice, sausages, bacon, hash browns, corned beef, and scrambled eggs in one, gigantic plate. Sigh. I am drooling as I type this.

On the other hand, J got the tomatoes-mozzarella-pepperoni omelette. The parsley gave it a fine dining-ish touch.

She also got this Choco Hazelnut French Toast for dessert, which we shared. It was oozing with Nutella. NUTELLA! My god.

My date was exhausted as I am. Tired but definitely happy. It was indeed an afternoon well-spent.

Good friends and good food really make a great combo.

MILKY & SUNNY | 9 Briggy Hall, East Capitol Drive, Barangay Kapitolyo, 1603 Pasig, Philippines | Facebook | Twitter | Downloadable Menu

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Going through the shelves of Bookay Ukay

After that wonderful lunch at Burger Project, the Nerd Herd trooped a few blocks away to check out Bookay-Ukay before heading home. I’ve been meaning to visit this thrift bookstore long ago but, well.. It’s in Quezon City. ‘Nuf said.

It’s a quaint little shop, far from what I pictured. The store was filled with second-hand books, trinkets, charms, and even shirts up for sale. They also sell brand-new books. Personally, I think selling new merchandise defeats the purpose of being an ukay shop. I don’t mind, though. Leave me inside a bookstore and I can get lost for hours. Books are that sacred to me.

Of course, I had a lovely time going from one shelf to another. If you’re planning to check out the place, don’t forget to bring a hand sanitizer. Most of the books are covered by dust and some, mold. Not cool.

Creatively funny artwork lines a portion of the store’s walls. Can also double as a cool backdrop in photos. 😛

Look! Sweet Valley! Ahh, nostalgia overload. Have to remind myself to get the newest book that was out last March. (I have the teaser chapter here.) I also saw a couple of Goosebumps, Nancy Drew, and Animorphs, but Enid Blyton was nowhere to be found. Where art thou, Ms. Blyton?

We were about to leave store  but I was determined to not go home empty-handed. I think the good ones are already either reserved or up for bids at their Multiply page, that’s why. So I ended up getting this local, new book titled The Literary Apprentice 2009. It’s a collection of essays, short stories, and poems by the members of the University of the Philippines Writers Club.

Scored it for 12o bucks. Good read, finished it two days. I’ll definitely come back and get a legit ukay find from Bookay-Ukay.

BOOKAY-UKAY |  55 Maginhawa St., Teacher’s Village, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines |  Facebook | Multiply

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The Nerd Herd at Burger Project

No offense to those who live in Quezon City but I seriously dread going to that place. The hideous traffic and inaccessibility to most sites make it ten times worse for non-car owners like me. Those and the scorching heat do not make a great combo, I tell you.

However, if the purpose of going to QC involves trying out good food, well.. I’ll have to make an exception–even if it’s as sinful as Burger Project.

Make your own burger here!

Ever since I’ve read about Patty’s post, I was up and raring to drag the boyfriend to this new burger joint. Maginhawa Street was alien to us so it was a good thing Pixie, who knew the the ins and outs of the place, tagged along and shared this little food trip with us.

Can I just say? I’m totally digging Pixie’s robot pendant she got from Forever 21. I kept gushing about it while waiting for our other friend, Kesi, to arrive.

A quick and bumpy tricycle ride from after, we finally reached our destination. We were greeted by the staff, who handed us a clipboard with a checklist to fill out. I like clipboards, by the way. They remind me of  fun college days.

What fun it is to fill this out! You can also name your burger, if you wish. I christened mine, “Bacon Love Burger” because I was too hungry to think of a creative name. 😛

The Bacon Love Burger Essentials

Patty – 1 pc. 100% beef | Bun – Poppyseed | Cheese – Bleu | Premium topping – Bacon | Basic toppings – Lettuce, tomatoes | Sauce – Special BRGR Sauce

Once done, we took our filled-out checklists to the counter..

..And got them burgers within minutes! I was so confident that I would scarf my burger in seconds because I was starving. Didn’t happen. These burgers are huge!

Carlo loved Pino’s iced tea just as much as I did. We got another round when we finished our first glass.

Oh, there are fries, too. Though I suspect they are really potato wedges, judging from the fat cuts. One tray of these is good for two already.

Kesi just successfully hurdled her first semester in law school. I believe she’s just relieved to get out of the house and soak in the exquisite sunshine that’s why she came with us (haha, blog pun!). Good job, Kesi dear! Your crazy little circle here at the office is proud of you.

Can’t wait to try out the rest of Maginhawa with you guys!

BRGR: THE BURGER PROJECT  | 122 Maginhawa St., Teacher’s Village, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines | Facebook

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