Saturday, November 11, 2017

Thirty Three

Age is just a number :)
I turned 33 almost a week ago. I've reached the "Age of Salvation" if I may say so. That term got stuck in my head after reading somewhere that it was the age of Jesus when He was crucified and saved mankind.

Save for the traditional advanced surprise that was given to me by my officemates in the firm, I was able to get the kind of celebration that I wanted -- a birthday minus the festive (read: noisy) stuff. When these folks showed up with their "pasabog" on All Soul's Day, I was seriously wanting to tell them to keep quiet (kasi nga Undas pa --at least in my calendar hahaha!). But I didn't want to be a killjoy and spoil their fun and effort so I decided to let them be. Though I guess it's among the realities one gets as they grow old. You tend to prefer simplicity and solemnity even in celebrating your own birthday.

Tropang Trenta (except for Jim and Eloi!)
On the day itself, I just went to church to hear Mass. The good thing about my birthday falling on a first Sunday of the month was that I got to be blessed and prayed for by the presiding priest and be serenaded with the Happy Birthday song by the church choir. Compared to the previous celebrations, I must say that this year was a bit ordinary, odd and different-- because I found myself sending a message of condolence to someone whose ex-wife died the night before in an unexpected manner while attending to a commitment overseas. Honestly, the words ordinary, odd and different aren't even sufficient to describe how I felt as I typed and sent the said message of sympathy.

I decided to go on vacation leave after my birthday. Next to wanting a quiet celebration, I did so just to catch up on rest and sleep and just basically take a breather and free my mind away from anything work-related. I may not be vocal about it, but I'd admit now that the past few months (and weeks leading to my birthday) has been stressful. I just wanted to hopefully de-compress my mind and body (to which the stress and strain of everything has been taking its toil lately). So I took the opportunity to some get some RnR even for just two days.    

Yes to fangirling while on vacation!
Next to getting rest, long hours for sleep, and quietly celebrating, I spent the two days held and curled up in my bedroom reading. Like what I said in my previous post, I wanted time to immerse in books that are not too hardcore to the brain and it was such a welcoming respite. Books that are for "light reading" seriously left me refreshed after I reached and finished the last page. Oh, and I also got the book in my wishlist so I was really satisfied.

Literal na may pa-cake si mayor! 
And just when I thought I had enough of the whole "birthday shenanigans", I came home yesterday to a treat from our mayor. While I am not really used to these kinds of surprises, the fact that the special day was remembered is much appreciated (at oo, hindi lang biruan sa hometown ko yung usual na linyahang "may pa-cake si mayor!" Totoo sa lugar namin yun  hahaha!)

Looking at it, I left being 32 having achieved a number of things, and that's good. Now at 33, I can't help but think, that age is seven years into reaching 40. Yes, it's still a long way to go, however, the thoughts like what lies ahead and the question whether I would still be alive (and blogging) by then have already entered my mind. 

But those are something to wait and see. For now, what's for me to do is just in these two words: Carpe diem!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Needs and Wants

My birthday is happening in a week. Another year has gone and a new one about to come. But unlike other people, I am not looking into an elaborate, booze-and-fireworks-filled kind of celebration. I guess longing for simplicity in things is among the pieces of wisdom that getting old gives. Because even my wishlist contains nothing but the stuff that matters to me -- and right now I only have four of them.

1. The gift for more borrowed time. So many things, so little time. I've always heard that line on countless occasions. Not that I am complaining but when you are getting older, trying to fit a demanding career, social life, a hobby, relaxation and sleep seem to be difficult. To the fact that I sometimes feel like 24 hours is not sufficient to fit everything in.

2. A good nights' sleep. For the past five and a half years, I have been running on four to six hours of sleep. And I have also learned the art of sleeping in public transportation on the way to work everyday. And to be honest, I yearn for a restful night of slumber. If I could sleep in the same way as a cat, I definitely would do it. Pahinga over pera (or pag-ibig) pa rin ang motto ko!

3. To read a good book. My supervisor once asked me, if money was never an issue, what would I do for a day? Aside from sleep, it would be going to the beach, sip coffee and read books-- to my heart's content.

Photo: National Bookstore

And while I still have books piling up unread in my room at home, there are just two titles I yearn to immerse my mind into once I finally get a day (or days) away from work -- Alden: In My Own Words by Alden Richards and Yup, I Am That Girl by Maine Mendoza. With the kind of job that I have, dealing with legal jargons, clients with complicated (read: upset, irate) attitude, and reading law-related books that are totally hardcore to my brain for half a decade of my life, I sometimes need something that's light and easy to read to allow my brain to breathe from all the stress and highfalutin words.

Photo: Cake Central

4. A birthday cake. And a Minnie Mouse inspired one at that. Because I am a fan of the color red, anything Disney (especially Mickey and Minnie) and simply because a birthday doesn't seem to be complete without blowing a candle on top of a birthday cake.

You see my list has nothing complicated in it. Back in school, I was taught that there is a difference between "want" and "need". But in reality, if there's another thing this "getting old" feeling is telling me, it is that during these times, the things that you want are actually the things that you do really need. 

*All photos courtesy of unless otherwise stated on the caption.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Ramen Date with the Girls

 The past few days, I have been feeling under the weather. I am typing this entry in bed while listening to a Senate hearing from last week with a box of tissue and my medicines on my bed side. And whenever I am sick, there are three things that I want: a good sleep and a mug of hot black tea or a warm bowl of soup.

And speaking of warm soup, I can't help but miss having ramen just like what I had with my married lady officemates months ago. Next to coffee and milk tea shops, ramen houses are among those prevalent places near my office. One of those ramen houses we visited was Ramen Kuroda recommended by Cherry.

At first I was hesitant to go because I am not really a fan of ramen. But Cherry's fighting pilit was that strong so off I went with them. Ramen Kuroda is the only ramen house located at Cyber Fashion Mall's Third Floor.

And since it's my first time to try this dish, I went on the safe side and ordered Shiro  Ramen. While there wasn't really anything special in it, I think I made the right choice with what I ordered. The noodles were cooked just right, the meat strips were tender and the broth was creamy. Cherry was right when she said I would love it. My office mates on the other had tried Aka Ramen and Aka Chasumen which has some mild spicy flavor in it -- which you can adjust according to your preference.

I may have been to this place once but the first visit was good. Their staff were accommodating, they even helped us choose with our orders. Their serving time is also fast and if you're not a fan of chopsticks, the place has utensils handy as well. For price that ranges from 180-230 pesos, this place and their ramen is worth another visit.

Ramen Kuroda is at the 3rd Floor of Eastwood Cyber Fashion Mall Eastwood City Libis Quezon City.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September Shenanigans

It's the last day of the first "ber" month. And despite being bone tired dealing with and completing work-related requirements, I just thought of writing about a rundown of the things I dealt with this month:

I joined a meaningful endeavor for the benefit of our country's men in uniform currently deployed in Marawi. You can read more of that here.

I am among those individuals featured in this quarter's issue of a finance magazine, MoneySense about Millennials & Money.

And it feels giddily good being interviewed and discussing what I do for a living for the last five and a half years.

Speaking of magazines, I am making a "mini comeback" as a contributing writer for the upcoming issue of our company's internal publication. And I'm so excited. For any writer, getting to see your name in print is the best feeling in the world. That's their form of fulfillment.

This month is also a month for new discoveries. Like a new place to stop by for my morning fuel -- coffee! Finally, after months (which almost turned to a year) of waiting, the Tim Hortons branch which is just three minutes away from my office is finally open!

I also discovered a food tent that serves good food and drinks -- not in the metropolis but still in Rizal during one of my trips on the way home from work for the weekend. I might go back to explore more of the food the place can offer because some of the stalls were still prepping up when I arrived at around 6pm.

Of course, a month without indulging in brain food? Sadly, I missed this year's Manila International Book Fair. I read while this year was a bigger event, it was filled to the brim with attendees too. Call it an ultimate measure of katanderan but I wasn't sure if my patience can take the long lines of people this year. But that's not a reason for me not to find a book to read. After months of searching and ranting that I can't find this book authored by one of my friends, I was finally able to buy one from Book Sale in SM Megamall. Yep, humble secondhand bookshops are a gem too. Not only they are selling secondhand books (that look brand new) at a cheaper price, sometimes they're a place for hard-to-find titles too.

I'm ending my month with another movie to cross out on my list for my 12 Movies Project. I was torn between watching this in SM Megamall or just see it in my hometown but the former won. Last Night is the ninth movie on my list and it's a good movie worth paying for and watching. While it's seen as a romantic film, it's not tackling just a typical lovestory in its premise. While I did not get the kind of ending I expected, the movie offered an unexpected twist that somehow I was able to let go of the "ending I wanted but didn't get" . Piolo and Toni played their characters well -- or even above what the audience expected. And for someone like Bela Padilla, who everyone is familiar of an actress, this movie proved that she's more than that. Her scriptwriting skills for this movie showed promise. If you are intrigued and haven't seen the movie just yet, I suggest that you run to the cinema and buy a ticket. I am telling you, it's going to be worth your money.

There goes my September. I wonder how things will be like next month :-)

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Stranger's Letter to a Deployed Soldier

It has been four months since the battle of Marawi started. In between a busy workload in the office, attending meetings, watching the news and burying myself in those unread books at home, different humanitarian activities have been spearheaded. A number of which I have always wanted to participate in but there would always be obstacles -- either lack of allowable time or resource showing up.

I really wanted to do something meaningful -- but how? 

The answer came through a blog post I found in one of the blogs I follow, Mommy Fleur. She wrote about this campaign of fellow mommy blogger, Tin of Manila Fashion Observer about sending letters to deployed soldiers in Marawi. To which I thought it to be a brilliant idea. In this day and age of instant communication, people seem to have forgotten the beauty found in putting "personal touch" to some of our daily activities -- writing letters included.

I don't know how to address the recipient so I did the greeting that way.

And so, yesterday, in spite of fighting off my disappointment over an appointment that never materialized, I took time to sit down and pen a letter. In a way it was hard to find the words at first especially with the fact that I won't know to whose hands my letter will fall. The only thing that is sure is that it will hopefully be received by someone in uniform, who is making a sacrifice of being miles away from loved ones to respond to a call of duty.

I never tried writing a correspondence to a stranger. In the process of doing so, I have to put myself into the shoes of the person who might get my letter. Sure, allowing my hands to do the work was hard, because as I was putting down my thoughts, my tears would fall at the same time. However, if there was one good thing about shedding those tears in the process of writing, it's that I got to clearly and sincerely find the right words.

As much as I would like to write the content of the letter and post it here, I opt not to do it. Just so it would be genuinely reserved for the soldier who will receive it. But it's mostly about uplifting someone's spirit and the hope of a peaceful end to this chaos, a hero's safe return and hopefully, if the Universe would allow, a chance to meet the recipient -- the courageous person in uniform whose sacrifice meant ensuring that people like me (and others too) would live in a secured, free and peaceful country.

To read more about how you can participate on this campaign, please visit this blog.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Vertigo Recovery By Food at Hideout52: A Late Post

 Just as the title stated, this one's another late post. I'm feeling and doing fine as of this writing compared to how I was in April when Kim and I went out to have an unplanned food trip at Hideout 52.

It was an afternoon in April 30 when Kim sent me a message asking when we could go out for a food trip. She was free (read: no scheduled events to attend). While I was just at home free to do anything that day, I was recovering from an episode of vertigo which started the day before. Two years ago, during my first vertigo episode, the doctor advised me that next to betahistine medication and some prescribed exercises, I was told to move whenever I could -- and yes, it included going out if my body permits it because next to dizziness, vertigo sufferers deal with balance issues at the same time. Thankfully, the medicines were working and my symptoms have subsided a bit. So upon getting a go signal from my mom, I went to see Kim for an impromptu food trip.

Kim ordered their murder burger and nachos while I had carbonara. Hideout 52 is an unassuming hang out place located along Manila East Road in Angono, Rizal few meters across from Iglesia ni Cristo. Their menu is interesting -- just as how delicious it is once it arrives on the table.

I loved how they prepared the carbonara. Warm and the noodles were cooked just right -- not tough nor rubber-y. Al dente it is. Nothing much to say with the sauce but I loved that there's mushrooms in it (I'm a sucker for mushrooms!) and they didn't scrimp on the amount they placed in my order.

I didn't have the chance to taste Kim's murder burger. But I think it was good too because she was able to finish it -- despite that it's a huge burger and she's the only person to consume it. We also ordered their nachos (which we failed to photograph) which is also a must try. I'd like to think they make their own nachos because the way it was made and prepared is different from the store-brought ones.

These were the drinks we ordered. I forgot what Kim ordered. While I had the strawberry smoothie.

This was how a vertigo-suffering customer looked like after finishing all the food we ordered. We stayed at the makeshift deck near the window. Overall, the experience we had there was okay. Save for the loud music, their food was good and affordable and their staff are accommodating too.Those are enough reasons for me to return there. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Dreams and Butterflies

Last night, I had one of those weird dreams. I don't get to dream about a particular person but last night was among those random nights someone made an unexpected appearance in my dream. I don't know but all I could remember was we were having this silly time together. He just kept asking me kung gwapo ba siya. But on the other hand, I was not even answering.

Sa panaginip ko, tawa lang ako nang tawa sa mga tanong niya.

And while it was happening in my head, in the wee hours of the day, and despite being in an unconscious state, I was feeling those strong flutters similar to that of butterfly wings in my stomach. For years, I remember wondering how "getting butterflies in the stomach" felt. I even had to ask a college classmate about that at one instance.

A friend told me, what we dream of is part of our past. It's the first time I heard of this (and that scientific explanation of those butterflies in the tummy) and yet, I was asking myself "sa paanong paraan kaya naging part ng nakaraan ko yung taong nasa panaginip ko?

Maybe, that's something only time might tell.

And just when I thought that scene was already odd,  the conclusion of that dream was another thing. For I just saw myself approaching an unfamiliar venue -- the podium of a big session hall -- similar to that of the House of Representatives. Kung anong reason at kung paano akong napunta doon next, hindi ko rin alam. And as to that guy who was asking me about his looks? He was among those in the crowd -- looking at me wearing a smile on his face.