Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whatta Cheap Thrill

One local food brand that never fails to impress me is Lemon Square. They're cheesecakes are awesome (reminds me of elementary school), their Munch Mallows are divine (especially the strawberry variant), and the Inipit is irresistible.

And everything they make is less than P10 a piece, so it's cheap!

Now I'm adding something new to the list: Lemon Square's Whattatops!

It's so, SO good! The cupcake is soft and light, the filling is creamy and sweet, the chocolate topping is thick and - uhm - chocolatey, and the sprinkles add an element of fun. It's so, SO good, I had to stop myself from eating the whole pack! And this little piece of chocolate heaven is just P5.00!

Whatta bargain!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A new source

Last week, a new, international brand opened its doors in Manila. But unlike Forever 21 (who came in with a big bang, complete with 2-hour queues) this one was more low key and quieter.

What brand? It's the best source of shoes whenever you go to the U.S.

I passed by Megamall and noticed that Payless is now open and took over Centropelle's old site. It was smaller compared to most of the Payless stores I've visited in the U.S., but the layout and look was exactly the same.

Stock-wise, they've got a nice selection. Aside from the usual suspects like Dexter's, Aerosoles and Montego Bay, they also have the "designer" brands like Zoe and Zac, Fioni and Alice + Olivia for Payless. Most of the shoes were on the cheap side, but there were some that were P3000.00.

The men's selection was very small, but I saw a couple of suede loafers that I might buy for Grace's wedding.

While I was there, the manager asked me if everything was alright. He was a white guy who flew in from the U.S. to supervise the opening. We talked about the store a bit, and he told me that they're opening a new one in Ali Mall this week.

Great! Now there's a better source of shoes in Cubao!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sadness. And fear.

When I opened my facebook account tonight, my heart sank after seeing the profile pages of my former colleagues from HKG. My former colleagues who've been to the Philippines and enjoyed their stay here. My former colleagues who told me that they'd love to come back and visit whenever they have a long weekend.

Now, they have black ribbons as their profile pictures. Some of them have lit candles. While others are just black squares. The photos may vary, but the meaning is the same.

They also have words of disgust for the country and how it handled the situation that killed 8 of their countrymen. I could feel their sadness, their anger and their frustration. And frankly, I feel it, too. And I feel it more because I'm here where it all happened.

I also read the profile of my close Filipina friend who's living in HKG. She said that the friendly stall owner at the market is no longer friendly to her. That people who know she's Filipina now look at her with disappointment and disgust. That she's now ashamed to talk to her Chinese friends, and how she'd just like to lock herself up in her flat and stay there for a long time.

So while there's a feeling of sadness for the people of Hong Kong, I also feel fear for the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos working there. I can imagine how easy it would be for HK nationals to pick on, berate and even physically harm the domestics camping out at Statue Square and the HSBC building on Sunday. Or how easy it will be for them to fire them because of this incident.

I hope the situation doesn't reach that level. The situation is sad and scary enough as it is.

Monday, August 23, 2010


When I arrived from HKG this Monday morning, the first news I heard on the radio was that a bus load of tourists from Korea and Hong Kong were being hostaged in Manila. The first thing that came to my mind was: "I wonder if the Hong Kong tourists who were on my flight have heard of this piece of news."

By the time I got home at around 8pm, it turned out that things went from well to worst. There were around 8 Hong Kong tourists who were killed along with the hostage taker.

For the first time, I felt ashamed of my country. How could we have failed to resolve this situation and protect the lives of these tourists? They were families trying to take a break and make the most of the last week of summer. And this is what they get in and from the Philippines?

Having been a resident and regular traveler to Hong Kong, I know how much they try to protect their tourism industry and their tourists. Heck, a few months ago, when there were acid attacks in Mong Kok, our hotel concierge constantly reminded us and warned us against venturing into the Mong Kok area. When we were stubborn and pushed through with our shopping trip, there were policemen around the area shielding us from where the last attack happened. That's how protective they were.

And what did our authorities do to protect these tourists?

But I'm glad to know that there were around 10 tourists who survived the ordeal. Although I don't expect them to ever come back to the Philippines. Ever.

I'm a very patriotic person and love our country with a passion. So much passion that I don't see myself ever leaving this place. So much passion that whenever I'm out of the country, I talk about the Philippines with so much pride.

But there comes a time when even the most patriotic person will feel a bit of shame for the country and something that we did.

And for me, that time is today.

Friday, August 20, 2010

That's what I like about you

Nope, this isn't about the song of the same title. Although I must say that it's one of my favorite songs ever since I heard it from the movie "Freaky Friday."

I just arrived in HKG and I realized that one of the things I like about this place is that there's no downtime and you can work from practically anywhere.

The immigration queue was super long (as usual), but since there was free wifi at the airport, I whipped out my laptop and started answering emails while waiting for my turn. It's so convenient! (Although holding my Powerbook with one hand and typing with the other is definitely not!)

So, after the 20+ minute wait before I could reach the immigration officer, I was able to answer 10 emails, and type this entry.

I like it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Landmark find!

I found Giziku at the Landmark supermarket! It was the last big pack, and I got it!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Creative clotheshorse

Fashionistas dream of having a new dress everyday. And one fashionista is making that dream come true, while spending just $1 every day!

While blog hopping, I stumbled upon this blog by a pretty American girl named Marisa. In her introductory page, she said she was in a "creative funk" and wanted to push her creative boundaries while quenching her thirst for fashion.

So what she did was to embark on a year-long project where she'd take a piece of old clothing, usually bought from thrift shops or flea markets, and use her trusty sewing machine and imagination to reinvent the old dress and transform it into a new one.

She's now on her 262nd day, and so far she's been coming up with some interesting outfits. Lucky her, a lot of the outfits she found had nice fabrics, so it makes the job simpler.

Another reason why I find this blog interesting is because Arnie and I had thought of a similar project before. I'd scour flea markets in HKG and Japan, and Arnie will use her New York fashion training to transform it into something new and chic.

We haven't gotten around to making this project real, but after poring through this new dress a day blog, I think it's about time to resurrect the project and finally get it off the ground.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Haw about it?

Aside from Giziku wafer sticks, another constant craving that I have is for Haw Flakes!

Yes, those little red discs that were part of our childhood back in Morato. I still remember buying Haw Flakes from Aling Ensa and Aling Leony's store (Mommy Gallegos didn't sell them in their sari-sari store), and we'd pretend that they're hosts. We'd all line up and the "priest" would give us one piece each.

More than 2 decades after, Haw Flakes is still very much here. The classic ones are the small ones and you can easily buy them in grocery stores. There are smaller and bigger ones at Aji Ichiban. And there's the Fat and Thin brand of giant Haw Flakes at SM's snack counters. That's the one that I'm into right now.

Unlike Giziku, I hope they never run out of Haw Flakes anytime soon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Giziku, where are you?

Went to Robinson's Galleria today to buy Giziku at the supermarket, and they're all gone!

There's no more Giziku on the shelves!


Friday, August 13, 2010

Express yourself

It was a scene that reminded me of my life in HKG.

This afternoon, I went to The Enterprise Center to buy my favorite chicken sopas. Once there, a familiar sight greeted me - a tiangge! And in that tiangge was one of my "old reliables" in terms of fab finds.

Hidden among the racks of ho-hum clothes was this banded sequin dress from Express.

Despite it being covered in sequins, the dress looked very chic and classy. It was able to escape the "Las Vegas trap" and passed off as something very subdued and wearable. This is the type of dress that would look good under a blazer.

Another reason why it caught my eye was because it reminded me of this Herve Leger sequinned dress I saw in SG. If you remove the straps, the Express dress looks exactly the same.

So while I walked in to The Enterprise with the intent of buying a bowl of piping hot Chicken Sopas, I walked out with that, and something way hotter.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Singular and floral

And just like that, Grace's wedding is less than 6 months away!

While most of the major preps have been done (church, reception venue, wedding gown), it's the details that really take time to sift through and finalize. We chose an "English Garden" theme for the event, so I've been poring through botanical prints and glass gardens the past month or so. Everything should fall into that single theme.

Aside from the wedding details, I'm also attending to D' Frendz's sartorial needs. Being a garden wedding, I told the ladies that they should be dressed up in florals. Most of them are going to be dressed up by Aling Bright, so I'm confident that they'll look smashing. The challenge is to find the right kind of floral fabric - something bright and pretty, but not too chintzy or "kukur".

My peg for their floral looks is Cat Deeley in Matthew Williamson.

This is how florals should be done. Simple, fresh, clean and elegant. We already have a couple of nice floral fabrics in our archives, but I think it's still necessary to go to the fabric garden and pick a few more.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Going nuts

One Filipino candy that I find myself craving for occasionally is the sweet and salty panutsa. It's a heavenly concoction of sugar that's generously sprinkled with nuts. (Or is it the other way around?)

As a kid, I remember going up to Tagaytay to Tita Zeny's house and passing by stalls and stalls of fruit vendors, and these vendors would usually have panutsa sold among their other offerings.

Now, whenever we go up to Tagaytay, I make it a point to buy a few packs of this sinfully delicious delicacy. The best ones are at Rowena's Tarts and at Loumar's Tarts. When we went to Loumar's with D' Frendz a month ago, I remember buying 4 big packs of panutsa, and it lasted only 2 days at home.

When we went up to Tagaytay with the IUJ gang, the carinderia at the back of the palengke also had a lot of panutsa vendors. I remember how Raul mentioned that he saw how panutsa was made in one of the expose shows, and the vendor went on the defensive and told Raul that he shouldn't generalize panutsa makers and vendors.

There are 2 kinds of panutsa: the glossy one and the matte one. Personally, I prefer the matte variety since the sugar is more crumbly and the texture is better. The glossy one is a bit too sticky for my taste.

Whenever I get the craving while I'm here in Manila, I'd go to Market, Market because one of the stalls there sell excellent panutsa. It comes in bite sized pieces and it has the same color and texture as the Tagaytay made ones.

This morning, I discovered that there's a stall in Farmer's Market that sells the same bite sized panutsa. I bought 2 packs, and finished one even before reaching the office. They're also sold at the pasalubong shop at The Enterprise - but it's the glossy kind so it isn't as enticing for me.

At least now there are different places to buy panutsa whenever the craving kicks in and I'm in Manila. I mean, eventhough it's a candy that I really, really like, I wouldn't go up to Tagaytay or Batangas just to buy one.

Now that would be nuts.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Happy - and lucky - birthday!

Yesterday was August 8, and when I was living in HKG, this date was considered the luckiest date ever. The number 8 is considered lucky, so having double 8s meant double luck.

For the chinese, being born on August 8 is auspicious. And in our immediate family, we don't have just a single birthday celebrator - we have doubles as well!

So, happy birthday to my 2 cousins: Cristina in Spain and Harold who's right here in Manila right now. (Though I have no idea where he is.)

Have a lucky birthday to you both! We're lucky to have you as cousins.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


My class got delayed by a good 30 minutes today because the equipment just won't cooperate.

First, my classroom's computer won't play Quicktime files. And all of my video support for today's class was in Quicktime.

I tried asking the computer center for help, but the sleepy eyed guy was no help at all. He kept on saying: "Hintayin na lang natin si..." for every request I made. Bad thing was "si..." never actually came. Talk about service!

Tried calling AVC to ask for a new CPU, and their reply was: "Maghanap na lang po kayo diyan." Now how's that for service?

So I ended up getting a CPU from the other room, carried it all the way to our classroom. Thankfully, it had a VLC player, so my lesson was able to go as scheduled. Hurrah for self-service!

Ah yes, the joys of teaching.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Middle school

Just read Chally's email reminding us that next week is the start of the mid-term exam week.


It feels like the semester just started, and now we're halfway? And in a few more weeks, it'll be the end of the semester and a new one will begin?

Where does time go these days?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Watch, I'm confused

I've finally decided to send my automatic Fossil watch to the repair shop for cleaning. It'll take 3 weeks before they get all the gears cleaned are running like new, so in the meantime, I'm wearing the new Fossil watch that Biboy gave me.

Wearing a new watch feels a bit weird and confusing. For one, my new watch is lighter than the old one, but despite that, it's much bigger in size. Also, this one is battery operated, and I'm used to wearing an automatic watch. I find myself swinging my wrist (I used to do this to keep my watch in motion) even if I don't need to.

Dang. My wrist better get used to this new watch soon, or it'll be confused the next 3 weeks!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Raisin' the bar

Raisinets is one of my all time favorite chocolate snacks. I used to hoard them whenever I go to the supermarket, and when a local version came out (Raiseens from Kean's), it was double the delight.

On our trip to Subic a few weeks ago, I discovered two new variants that made me love Raisinets a bit more.

First is the dark chocolate version. Dark Chocolate is healthy, raisins are healthy, so this snack is double the healthy goodness!

Then there's the Cranberry variant. I'm also a big fan of dried cranberries. When I was still living in HKG, I'd always have a few packs of dried cranberries at home. The creamy sweetness of the chocolate is a perfect foil to the tart taste of the berry.

I wonder if they have these at SM or Landmark. My stash is almost gone! And I don't want to go all the way to Subic just to buy some. (But if worse comes to worst, I definitely will!)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sunday with siblings

With Biboy in town for a few weeks, we had to make sure that the traditional sibling portraits were taken. It's been raining the past few days, but we still thought it would be fun to have our photos taken outdoors - and we did!

The weather cooperated and it didn't rain. It was a bit warm and humid, though, but better that then soaking wet. We found a nice garden in MMLDC and did our usual thing - making fun of ourselves in photos.

Not only were we able to gather the Morales siblings, the in-laws, nephews and nieces were there. The result - a huge, happy, and hilarious portrait session.

Next portrait project - the siblings with Dad and Mom!