Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Candice store

"The Women" is yet to be shown, but there's already another "chick flick" to look forward to.

Hollywood "it girls" Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway star in this "wedding-planner-gone-awry" story. Judging by the trailer, it looks like it's an all-out frenemy laugh fest in the tradition of "My Best Friend's Wedding."

But the reason I'm looking forward to seeing it is because of Candice Bergen. It looks like she's very busy the past year. There was Sex and The City, The Women, and now this. Seems like she's cornering the "dry-humor-resource-in-a-chick-flick" market. Coolness!

I've always liked her, ever since I first watched "Murphy Brown." Actually, the reason why I wanted to become a journalist is because of Murphy Brown! Harhar. Whether she was playing Murphy Brown, or Sally Weston in "View from the Top" or Kathy Morningside in "Miss Congeniality" or even Judy Tobias in "The In-Laws", she's just knee-slapping funny. In a dry, subtle kind of way.

I hope they show "The Women" soon. I want Candice!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Foxes and Tigers

With more and more shops opening at Greenbelt 5, it looks like it's shaping up to be the next shopping mecca in Manila.

First they opened the Filipino Zone, the area that sells aesthetically wonderful (and pricey) creations by Filipino designers. Then, they opened a number of uber high-end brands like IWC, Breitling and Panerai. Now, they're introducing a number of new brands.

Among these brands are Fox - a casual wear store which is something like Pull and Bear meets Next. The first time I encountered Fox was in Europe, and the last time was a few weeks ago in Shanghai. Though they have nice clothes, I find them a bit too casual for my taste.

Then there's my favorite Japanese brand, Onitsuka Tigers.

When they opened their first store in HKG, I remember how I spent an hour just roaming around and marveling at their selection of sneakers and jackets. Once, I was so psyched to buy a pair of Ninja-style sneakers, but they didn't have it in my size. Up to this moment, I'm hoping that they come out out with those sneakers again.

Who knows? Maybe they'll have them in Manila when they open. That said, I wish they open soon. Very, very soon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Baby Shower Basics

1. Get everyone into the spirit of the event.

2. Ask everyone to pitch in.

Mona, our executive-chef-for-the-day.

Grace, our chief-pumper-for-the-day.

Me, the sous-chef-slash-french-toast-boy-for-the-day.

3. Serve lots and lots of good, old fashioned, comfort food.

4. Have fun (and make fun) with some wacky games.

The girls try to identify the different Gerber flavors.

Grace and I react as Rona identifies one Gerber flavor as "Katuray."

The girls try to guess Bonique's waistline.

The boys get ready to drink their milk.

Bonique cheers Vince on!

I won!

The contestants for "Project Runway: Diaper Edition."

5. Surround yourself with your long standing, wonderful and wacky friends.

Considering this is our first "official" baby shower, it went really, really well. It was excellent, actually! Now, Maricar and Wena should start making them babies quick, so we can organize the next one. And the next one.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sous Saturday

Yesterday, we had the first official D' Frendz baby shower. Bonique is due in a month's time, so we all gathered at "Mona's Garden" to celebrate.

From 9:30am up, I played Sous Chef to Mona's Executive Chef. We huddled in her very spacious kitchen and cooked up an all-out-brunch-buffet. She cooked the difficult stuff like tapa, tocino, longganiza, danggit and scrambled eggs. I, on the other hand, cooked the "American goodies". There was chocolate chip pancakes, raisin pancakes and hazelnut french toast. The entire cooking experience brought me back to that time in IUJ when Mark and I cooked breakfast for the Pinoys.

Doing this all over again reminds me of how much I love cooking breakfast. Maybe I should change careers and just work for a nice Bed and Breakfast somewhere.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Coco Loco

Yesterday, Ate Bullet sent me a bag of Pan de Coco from their shop. It was a bag of around 8 to 10 pieces, and surprisingly, I finished them all.

Among all the different types of "neighborhood bakery bread" - including the ones with weird names like sputnik, putok, kababayan, and of course, pan de regla - pan de coco must be my hands down favorite. Even as a kid, it was my bread of choice whenever we'd go to the bakery in front of our house in Morato.

Now, they still have pan de coco in some bakeries like Julie's. But nothing compares to the one that Dexter's makes. What makes it great is the fact that there's more "coco" than "pan." Each bite guarantees a good helping of sweet, sticky coconut which melds perfectly with the soft, warm bread.

Ack! Just thinking about it is making me crave for more. Ate Bullet! Help!

Monday, October 20, 2008

James Hungrums

Less than 3 hours after my flight arrived, I had the urge to drop by Wendy's to buy a salad, fries and iced tea. For some strange reason, I'm so, so, SO hungry when I got here.

It's quite strange because I ate breakfast in HKG, had lunch at the Lounge, ate the plane food (which I normally don't do), then ate at home. Despite that, the craving for Wendy's was there, which explains the quick visit. Also, I'm craving for Haw Flakes, which they don't sell at Aji Ichiban in HKG anymore. (Mewonders why?)

Ah yes, I'm home! And I'm so glad there's a lot of cheap food around.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


One of the first things I noticed upon arriving in HKG is the inflation. During my trip to Singapore last April, Jo and her friends were talking about how inflation was making everything a bit more expensive there. Back then, the prices here were at a standstill. But not anymore.

It looks like the economic crunch is now being heard here. The MX meal that I usually bought for HK$23.50 is now HK$29.50 and my old HK$18 breakfast is now HK$21. The HK$7 bottle of water is now HK$9.80, and even my favorite Mango Sago drink is up by a dollar.

A day before I arrived, two big HKG retailers declared bankruptcy and closed shop. Among them was U-right - a clothes retailer similar to Giordano and Bossini, and a favorite pasalubong source of Pinoys. Today, I read on the news that 2 more big retailers are closing down, including an iconic electronic appliance store along Nathan Road.

I haven't been to McDonald's, so I don't know if they raised their prices yet. They say that the cost of a Big Mac meal is a good gauge of how expensive a country is. If the Big Mac here becomes more expensive than it already is, shopping and dining here might start to get unappetizing.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Leanne naman!

Yes! Victory! Leanne Marshall is the winner of Project Runway Season 5! I love how she's so unassuming and so unaware of how much talent she has. If you look at her, you'd think she's a librarian and not a designer.

I wonder when will start selling her collection...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Missing Multiply and Shopping-free Shanghai

It's been more than a week since I've last opened my multiply site. I've had a number of photos I'd like to upload, but it looks like I have to wait until I leave Shanghai before that happens. While surfing the net, I also learned that they've blocked youtube, wordpress and other on-line journal sites. Strange.

Another strange - but very welcome - occurrence is this. After staying 10 days in Shanghai, I didn't shop for anything. Well, I did buy a hat and a sweater - more of a necessity rather than a whim. (The temperatures went down to 18.) Maybe it's because things here are more expensive. Uniqlo and H&M are pricier here than in Hong Kong. It might also be the fact that the shopping scene here isn't as exciting - even compared to Manila. They've got a number of big malls, but they're all boring and empty.

Then again, it might also be because I'm stopping over Hong Kong on my way back to Manila. Actually, I can't wait to go there. Not only do I get to access my multiply, I'll also be able to get some real shopping done.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A taste of Saizeriya and MoCa

Because of its proximity to Japan, a lot of the brands there can be found in Shanghai. Among them are Family Mart (the very reliable convenience store at the ground floor of Shinjuku Washington) and Lawson. Then there's the restaurant that's an icon for the JDS group, Saizeriya.

There's one near the area where I stay and I told Mark about it. He asked me to try it out and see how it compares to the Tokyo one. So, this lunchtime, it was Saizeriya time. After lunch, I sent Mark and message and told him that the one here is a bit different. First, there is no "drink-all-you-can bar" and the bell used to call the staff also isn't there. The food is the same, though. But the price here is a bit more expensive compared to Japan. (Imagine that!)

After lunch, I went to get a dose of MoCa. Since the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art (aka MoCa) was just nearby, I decided to catch the on-going exhibit of modern art by Chinese artists.

There were a lot of interesting pieces: some were installation art, some were acrylic paintings, while others used the traditional ink and paper style that China has been known for. Among the artwork that caught my eye was this sculpture made of metal, resin and a lot of bling.

A painting that reminds me of Carrie Chau's work.

Cuddly bear gone metal, with matching chainmail vest.

One of my favorites, an installation and photography piece entitled "The Real Toy Story." It chronicles the life of Chinese working in toy factories, and has thousands of old toys surrounding the photos.

This one reminds me of the "dancing baby" that invaded the Internet a few years ago.

Lastly, a "Little Mermaid meets Kama Sutra" sculpture. (Claire will not be pleased.)

And after that hearty lunch and even heartier cultural treat, I left People's Square very satisfied.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

If we took a Holiday...

Whenever I travel and book hotels on-line, I'd always come across the name "Holiday Inn" and quickly move on to the next hotel on the list. Since this brand has been in the biz for ages, I've always thought it was antiquated. Added to that is the fact that we used to stay in Holiday Inn when we were younger, and the rooms felt really old and stuffy.

A few years ago, there was an article on how Holiday Inn was revamping their image to make it younger and more appealing to travelers. Aside from changing their logo, they also made some tweaks in their hotel design. The only time I got a semblance of this was when Biboy and his family stayed at Holiday Inn Galleria suites last year. Whilst I didn't go to their room, I noticed that the lobby has been spiffed up.

On this trip to Shanghai, I ended up staying at a Holiday Inn located at a not-so-picturesque side of town. After finding out that this hotel is one of the favorite hotels of people traveling on package tours, a small bell rang in my head. After seeing the facade when I got there, an even bigger bell rang. (It was old and the building looked like it needed washing - or a new coat of paint.)

Finally, I got to my room and the bells immediately stopped and a chorus replaced it.

The rooms were nice and modern. A lot of light wood, metal and glass. Lighting fixtures were modern. Beds were big and comfy, with the requisite shiny silk runner. It was a far cry from the Holiday Inns of my youth.

Even the bathroom was nice. And fully stocked with toiletries with cool packaging. I think this Holiday Inn was trying to capture that boutique hotel vibe, which it was very close to achieving. It felt like being in Ginza Washington Hotel once again. (But with a bigger bathroom.)

Thanks to this room, I've got a renewed interest in Holiday Inn as a hotel chain. Maybe I should check with Bonique if I could use their employee discount and check out the Galleria one soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Wherever you go in Manila, you'll find someone wearing this belt. When I was meandering around Makati, a lot of the girls were wearing it. During my visit to Landmark, there were racks and racks of them. And just as I thought I'd be safe from it when I got home, I turn on the TV to watch the news and Mel Tiangco was also wearing it. Suddenly I feel that it's the female equivalent of the "checkered scarf."

Yes, this is "the season's ubiquitous belt." It's the garterized belt with two interlinked D-shaped ends. And as it turns out, it isn't only "in season" in the Philippines. It's big, even in China.

While leafing through Shanghai Tatler, one of the best dressed women in China was spotted wearing THE belt. How ubiquitous indeed.

Dang. Just when I thought I'd escaped the belt. But I'm looking on the brighter side. At least the "checkered scarf" trend isn't anywhere near China.