Thursday, July 31, 2014

This provincial life: We are (a big) family


The reason I went to the province was to attend the golden wedding anniversary of my Uncle Coye and Auntie Mila. The Regalados from all over were invited - some coming from California, Texas, and Switzerland. And if our cousins from abroad could attend, their cousin from Manila should be there as well.

Despite the fact that we were able to fill in the entire frame, this is just about half of the Regalado clan! Talk about a big, happy family.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

This provincial life: Local flavor

While I was in Albay, I took the opportunity to visit Tito Ting and Tita Dolly in Bacacay. When I got there, I was shocked to see that Tita Dolly's sprawling garden was gone. Typhoon Glenda ripped apart her trees and plants, and all I could see were stumps and leaves scattered all around.

Despite that, Tita Dolly was her gracious self. After a brief chat, she invited me to the kitchen to have merienda. Since she's a good cook, I was excited to see what she prepared.

First, we had pancit. I'm not sure what type of pancit this is, but it's a fixture in all Bicolano celebrations. The look and taste is just as I remember it as a kid.


The second was caramelized gabi. Initially, I was a bit wary about eating gabi for dessert, but it turned out to be really good. I ate a few pieces while waiting for my other cousin to arrive.


I don't know if it's the ingredients, or the process, or the memories, but food in Bicol is more than food that feeds the hunger of the stomach.

It also feeds the hunger of the soul.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This provincial life: Where's the beef?

As I was walking around Malinao, this food stall immediately caught my eye:


Imagine, hamburgers at P10.00! Not only that, it's cheaper than a ham sandwich, and even an egg sandwich!

I wonder what kind of beef those hamburgers are made of.

Monday, July 28, 2014

This provincial life: Homecoming

It's been more than a decade since I last spent the night in my Mom's hometown. My first reaction was: "why does everything look smaller now?" 

The answer, of course, is one that can be part of the script of a  homecoming drama film: "No, they're still the same, you just became bigger."

So, on my first morning in the province, I retraced the steps that I took as a young boy, and revisited the places that were a huge part of my summer childhood.

The Regalado ancestral home where we'd spend the summers with Lolo Doring and Lola Pining.


The corner where we would wait for Lolo Iking's car - aka "The Pony" - to pick us up and bring us back to the beach.


The view of Mayon Volcano from the veranda.


The portraits of Lolo and Lola - both former Mayors of the town.


The Municipal Hall where Lolo and Lola worked. And the statue of the soldier which was our sign that we've arrived in Malinao.


The market or "saod" where we'd buy snacks and soda as kids.


The school where my cousins went and where my Tita taught.


The church in front of the school where Mom and Dad were married.


 The tower where the Easter Salubong was held.


The rice fields where we used to play. (Which now has an eerie carnival.)


That 30-minute walk I took was worth decades of memories.

I'll do this again sometime soon.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

This provincial life


You know you're in the province when there's a collection of ceramic "arinola" in the bathroom.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fowled out

 In the continuing sandwich saga...

Since I bought a big pack of Ciabatta bread, and had leftover ingredients in the fridge, I decided to make another sandwich at the office last week. Now, the 4-cheese sandwich was good, but I thought it was the time to "lift" the sandwich and add some smoky flavor.



Enter the fowls - chicken and turkey ham in particular.


These 2 hams each offered a different flavor and texture, so bringing them together gave the sandwich a very bold flavor. I started layering the ingredients, starting with herb and garlic butter, then lettuce, then caesar dressing, chicken ham, cheese, turkey ham and mozzarella cheese.


The 2 cheeses and the 2 hams really upped the flavor ante for this sandwich.


I made sure that I took a photo of the finished product before chowing down.


I added a side of potato chips, and I was good to go.


After finishing the sandwich, there was still one ciabatta bread left. Now I have to figure out what to do with that.



Friday, July 25, 2014

FMM: I'm digging this

There's this viral video going around featuring a group of Fil-Aussie contestants in The X Factor Australia. They're composed of 3 girls who sing and rap, and are dubbed as this generation's TLC.

Yes, they're good, but I must say that there will only be one TLC. And I'll always equate their song with the cool, laid back vibe of the 90s. Not to mention working overtime in Adformatix.

And here's one of their songs that I really dig.



The original is always the best.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cheesy!

Today is a rainy day.
Rainy days usually call for comfort food. 
Therefore, today calls for comfort food.

Yes, I still remember my Philosophy and Logic classes in college. Harhar.

One of my favorite comfort food is grilled cheese sandwich. Since I have the basic ingredients here at the office, I decided to make myself one. And not just an ordinary grilled cheese sandwich, but a 4-cheese sandwich.


I had mozzarella and quickmelt cheese in our office fridge. I checked out 7-11 downstairs and found Cheese Pimiento spread and Eden cheese, so I bought those to add to the ingredient list.


What I did was simple. First, I spread ranch dressing on both sides of the ciabatta bread. Then, I placed two slices of quickmelt cheese and filled cheese on one side, then spread Cheese Pimiento on the other side, and topped it with mozzarella.


To give the sandwich added flavor, I brushed butter on the outer sides of the ciabatta before grilling it in my sandwich maker.

This is the part where the finished product is supposed to go. But the sandwich looked so good,  I ended up eating it the moment it came off the grill. After all, a grilled cheese sandwich is best served hot.

After that sandwich, I can really say "Cheese!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hoddwinked

Here's an article about 12 of the most boring films ever made.


What's wrong with this picture?


Maybe it's a new version, and "Hodd" is his family name.


Proofreader please.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

More Mouret!

Just when I thought the first 2 photos were smashing enough, here are 3 more reasons to anticipate the Roland Mouret collection at Banana Republic:


I really hope they'll bring this collection to their stores in Manila.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Misheard

Still on the subject of lyrics, my colleagues and I were talking about songs with misheard lyrics.

We had a barrel of laughs talking about friends who would sing songs the wrong way just because of the lyrics. And among the plethora of songs we talked about, here are 3 of my favorite songs that were actually sang by people I knew:

1. "Whoops now" by Janet Jackson



Lyrics that my SMC officemate sang: "Whoops now, sabi ng Tita ko... Whoops now, sabi ng Tita ko..." (I didn't know Janet Jackson could speak Tagalog.)
Actual lyrics: "Whoops now, sorry I can't go. Whoops now, sorry I can't go."

2. "Lanca Perfume" by Rita Lee



Lyrics that our former maid sang: "Lasang, lasang Kankunis" (She was drinking tea, perhaps?)
Actual lyrics: "Lanca, lanca perfume."


3. "New Age Girl" by Dead Eye Dick


Lyrics that my officemate sang: "She don't eat meat, but she showers like a boy." (She does what?)
Actual lyrics: "She don't eat meat, but she sure likes the bone."

In the course of the conversation, there were also a lot of funny Tagalog ones. But I'll leave that for later.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hey, hey, Mouret!

Since news about the Roland Mouret and Banana Republic collaboration came out last April, I've been actively looking for the sneak peek and look book on-line. 

Month in and month out, I'd check on-line to see if someone published something already, and most often, there wasn't any news on it.

Finally, after months of patiently waiting, some of the look book images are up. And as expected, the dresses
 look smashing!



I hope they carry these in the Philippines.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Question of the day

Yesterday, there were two guys who went to the office. They talked to our new receptionist, and here's how their conversation went:

GUY: Nandiyan po ba si Raymond?

RECEPTIONIST: Ano po ang pakay nila?

Pakay! Now that's a word you don't hear anymore. And it made my day to hear it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

FMM: Lyrical

One of the reasons why I like old songs is the fact that lyrics were so well written back then. Unlike songs now where all you need is a catchy phrase that you'll repeat until your ears bleed, the songs of yesteryears had words that were very emotional and evocative.

I have a long list of songs with lyrics that I really like, to a point that I wish I wrote it myself. And in the spirit of Friday Magic Madness, I'll post 2 of my favorites.

1. "You're so vain" by Carly Simon



Best bit: "I've had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee."

2. "Windmills of my mind" by Petula Clark



Best bit: "Like a carousel that's turning, running rings around the moon." (And pretty much everything else.)

Now these are lyrics!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Another John in heaven


My cousin Maricel wrote something that pretty much sums up how I feel about the sad news that greeted us this morning.

"We might have lost a Fr. John on earth, but we gained a guardian angel John in heaven."

Rest in peace, Fr. John. The McRegals will miss you dearly.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Disconnected

It was a sight that can best be described as rare, novel and joyful.

At 5pm, the streets of our townhouse community were filled with kids. Some were riding their bikes, some were on scooters, some were playing tag, and some were just walking around. There were groups huddled together exchanging stories, while some were playing badminton under the natural light. And for a rare moment, the neighborhood was filled with the sound of kids.

The reason? Glenda caused a power outage that rendered all these kids gadget-less. So, they went back to basics and played outside.

As I told my brother-in-law, this was the one of the good things that came out of the power outage. I think kids should leave their gadgets - even for a day - and interact with other kids. They should stop living in a virtual world and enjoy the real world.

Because when they're disconnected from the internet and the computer, that's the only time they're connected to people around them.

This should happen more often. (NOT the brownouts, just the kids playing outside.)

P.S. By 8pm, the electricity was back, and the streets were quiet once more.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What's cooking?

Just like Ate Bullet, I like watching films that have food themes. I remember watching "No Reservations" on the plane and when I found out that Ate Bullet watched it, too, we spent a good time talking about it.

I heard that there's a new food-themed film that's showing, and this is about food trucks. And sandwiches.

Sandwiches!

If that doesn't instantly make the film interesting, it also stars Jon Favreu, Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey, Jr.



I'm going to tell Ate Bullet about this.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Pet peeve

Among the grammatical and spelling mistakes that I see in the newspapers, on the internet, and even on my students' papers, there's one that really gets my goat. It's a mistake that's committed again on this on-line article on spot.ph.


Check out the first line in the "Also Read" section"


People, you say "sneak peek" and not "sneak peak." For the life of me, I don't know why people keep on making the same mistake again and again. Maybe it's because they want to have "ea" in both words. Or maybe they just don't know the difference.

I've seen this mistake so many times that I hope I won't have to see it again anytime soon.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I'm so Zooey

The August issue of InStyle is out, and it's Zooey Deschanel on the cover!


I'm thrilled to see her again since it's been a while since her last cover appearance. If I remember correctly, it was in april 2013 for Instyle's Color Issue.

One more month and we'll finally find out who the September Issue cover girl will be. In the meantime, let me go to the nearest bookstore and try to snag a copy of this.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Unbelievea-ball

While buying a sandwich at 7-11 this afternoon, I saw this advertisement for their hotpot. They had a list of items that you can add to your hotpot noodles.

Among the ingredients, one stood out for me.


Yes, this left me wondering what an "octupos" was.


Proofreader, please!

Friday, July 11, 2014

FMM: Double Take

Once, the Melrose group went to a videoke place and we started choosing songs that we wanted to sing. Claire wanted to sing "Hey" by Fatima Rainey, so she quickly looked for the song title in the database and it was there. She inputted it, and excitedly waited for it to go on screen.

When it was her turn, the song that played was "Hey," but it was the Julio Iglesias version. Apparently, that was the only version they had. Needless to say, Claire was bummed.

With so many songs hitting the airwaves, it's normal that two songs will have the same title. In my list of favorite songs, I actually have some that have the same title. And even though they're very different, I like them both equally.

Here are two of these songs. Both old songs. And both worthy of a Friday Magic Madness post.

The song is "After All."

Here's Cher and (supposedly) Peter Cetera's version:


And here's Al Jarreau singing his version:


I don't mind listening to both versions over and over again.

They're awesome songs, After All.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Here's to convenience!

Since our office building is surrounded by convenience stores - three 7-11 stores, two Mini-stops and a Family Mart within a short distance - I'm spoilt for choice when it comes to snackers. What's even better is that each of these 3 stores are constantly updating their food offerings to satisfy serial snackers such as myself.

Here are two of my current favorite food items from the convenience store.

First is the Turkey Ham with Raspberry cream cheese sandwich from Family Mart.


The combination of flavors and textures from this sandwich is just divine! It starts off with wheat bread with raisin, then, the sweet and creamy flavor of the raspberry cream cheese, then the savory bite of the turkey ham. It's a flavor explosion with every bite.

Second is the Chicken Teriyaki Onigiri from 7-11.


Ha! I think 7-11 is trying to out-Japanese Family Mart and started offering their own version of onigiri. Being an onigiri-connoiseur, I'd say that the 7-11 version is okay, but not stellar. The rice isn't that sticky and the nori wrap is only a fraction, not to mention soggy. The chicken teriyaki filling is good, though.

I remember the girl was asking me if I wanted the onigiri microwaved. What?! You don't microwave an onigiri!

Aside from these 2, there were a lot of new snacks available on the shelves. And that's good - and convenient - enough reason to go back to 7-11, Mini-stop and Family Mart soon.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Making/Make a difference

On my way to the office, I saw a Pizza Hut billboard and noticed something different. I realized a few seconds later that they changed their tagline.

Here's the classic tagline that I remember:



And here's their current tagline:


The change is very, very minor. They swapped "makin'" for "make." But the difference that word made is huge.

When you say "Makin' it great," it's actually Pizza Hut talking about making its pizza. So, it's a very manufacturer-centered thought. But with "Make it Great," it's more consumer-centered, and the thought is that when you eat at Pizza Hut, you make something great. So, whether it's a regular lunch with friends or a celebration with colleagues, you make the experience great with Pizza Hut.

I must say, after seeing the new tagline, I'm lovin' it.

(Oops, that's a different brand. Harhar.)

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Of Biblical proportions

One of the books that I liked reading as a child was the bible. The moment my Christian Living teacher told us the story of Adam and Eve, I knew I had to read more.

To date, it's one of the most fascinating books I've read. From the stories in Genesis, to the stories of women like Ruth and Esther, to the sometimes frightening stories in Revelations, everything was so vividly written. As I read them, I'd imagine the locales, the characters and the situations that occur.

Lately, I've noticed a lot of bible-themed films on screen. And it's great how Hollywood is taking notice of this wonderful source of stories.

First, there was "Son of God."



Then, there was "Noah."



Today, I found out that there's a movie that retells the story of Moses and Ramses that's coming out in December.



While I haven't seen the first 2 films (which means I have to buy a DVD or look for it on youtube), I'll make sure that I watch "Exodus." It's one of my favorite stories in the bible, and I even remember buying a book entitled "Ramses." And if that isn't reason enough, it's Ridley Scott who directed the film. They even have Sigourney Weaver there, too.

That's definitely something to look forward to.


Monday, July 07, 2014

Alien Attraction

Certain Hollywood actors are typecast into certain roles. For the longest time, Meg Ryan was the "nice woman looking for love" and Bill Pullman was the "best friend who never gets the girl." 

Recently, I found another actor who can be added to the list. She's Zoe Saldana, and she's recently been typecast as "the girl who should play an alien."

First, there's her turn in "Avatar."


Now, she's in "Guardians of the Galaxy."


I was also tempted to add in her turn as Lt. Uhura in "Star Trek." But she looked very human there, so it doesn't count.

Now I'm wondering what makes her so attractive to producers as an alien.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Stellar Stella

While SM Department Store (or now known as The SM Store) is a treasure trove of fashionable finds, I could always count on Robinson's Department Store to yield some hidden gems. One of those gems is in the Ladies Wear Department under the name "Stella." It's their house brand for working women. 

The first time I saw the dresses hanging from "Stella" racks, I was impressed by the materials and designs. They were very fashionable, on-trend and cool. This made me wonder if it got its name from another fashionable, on-trend and cool Stella - Stella McCartney.

Since I've discovered the brand, I've been snapping items for my sister's closet. These were pieces that were unlike anything she has in her dress collection, which is great. Among the lot - which is literally a lot - here are the top 5 finds that I snagged from Stella.


1. A black and cream floral jacquard dress. The pattern is embossed, which gives the dress this elegant texture. With such an elaborate material, the dress was cut simply, which was very appropriate.


2. A black rosette dress. This one combines several trends in one dress. It has a sheer yoke, a rosette skirt, an exposed zipper, and all made with power knit.


3. A black ponte dress. This is a good example of a classic LBD with a twist. The material is heavily textured, giving it a distinct sheen. It also has an exposed zipper, which breaks the solid color at the back.


4. A black draped dress. The shape of this one is already worth the price of admission. It has this easy and effortless feel to it. But it doesn't stop there. It has a teal inset on the shoulder for a visual pop.



5. A fuchsia petal dress. Here's a dress that's business on top. party at the bottom. The classic boatneck gives it a classic look, but the swishy petal hem says high fashion.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Alfie's sketchy stories: Free to Lace

When one of my muses - Alfie - told me she was getting married, it was automatic that I'd have a hand in coming up with her wedding dress. 

Like any creative process, I asked her for parameters, or how she wants her dress to look like. Instead of telling me what she wanted, she proceeded to tell me what she DIDN'T want:

- Nothing too frilly
- Nothing too risque
- No Lace

Being the "obedient" friend that I am, I sketched a frilly, risque and all-lace dress for her to walk down the aisle in!


The way I convinced Alfie was simple. This is going to be THE dress that she's going to wear. So, might as well go all-out with it. But of course, it should still be a reflection of the bride, so I took aspects of her personality - particulary her simplicity and being a classic - and worked from there. I made the silhouette simple and classic, but with hints of modernity like the deep-V neck and the deep-U back.

Since the overall look was simple, the materials had to be exquisite. Like most of my projects, I had a particular material in mind, and I knew what the lace should look like. Initially, the dressmaker gave me options, but they were too granny for my taste. So, I took matters into my own hands and asked her to accompany me to her lace suppliers. After poring through racks and racks of lace, I found one that was perfect for my vision.

With the lace fabric settled, I went to look for trimmings, beads, crystals and other accoutrements, I consolidated everything with the dressmaker and gave her specific instructions. After a few months, and 3 fittings after, the wedding dress finally came to realization.


Although I had to guide the dressmaker step-by-step, to the point of almost holding her hand in the entire process, I'm happy with how Alfie's gown came out. The lace gave it this beautifully vintage feel, but the crystals and beads gave it a modern feel. The neckline likewise added to the modernity.


What's also impressive about the dressmaker I worked with was how she got every detail of the gown correctly. The back was just as I envisioned and sketched.


The belt was also beautifully done, with the crystals highlighting Alfie's waist and making her look taller.


On the form, I thought the wedding dress looked exquisite. But when I saw Alfie wearing it on her wedding day, I thought it was spectacular!




It's one of those instances when being "obedient" really pays off.