21 December 2005

The incredible shrinking pan de sal

I admit, it's been quite a while since I last had pan de sal. But when my companions bought some (with pancit as palaman) friday last week, I couldn't believe my eyes. They've shrunk! Same price at one peso, but it's way, way smaller!

16 December 2005

Miracle baby

It's been exactly one year last December 14 when my wife woke me up at half past 12 midnight and said I should bring her to the hospital. I was still feeling quite groggy then but was jolted awake when she said there was lots of blood when she urinated. I saw the red liquid on the wiwi bowl and immediately carried my wife down the stairs into Blackie (that's the car).

She got confined and was asked to wait for a while in the public ward. A little later, she said her bed was wet. I looked under the blanket and indeed it was! The nurse came right over and asked if she urinated. She said no. Her bag of water broke! She was then sent to the emergency room and her Ob-Gyne arrived right over.

I made three more trips to and from the house that morning. I called my boss to ask for a week's leave of absence, which he immediately granted when he learned the situation (he didn't know my wife was pregnant then). He also called me up mid-week to ask how we were. I am so grateful for having an understanding boss.

It was indeed a frightening experience. Miraculously, her bag of water closed and held enough liquid for the baby to survive in. I booked a private ward and we stayed there for a week. Ninang Bell visited and brought us the Medicard papers to subsidize the hospital costs. This was the time I truly appreciated health insurance. Other friends visited to see how we were.

She was then subjected to bedrest for the rest of the term of her pregnancy, though that didn't stop her from staying in the living room and spend her days waching TV. Must be why our baby loves watching TV too!

Jo-Lo is truly a miracle baby. We thank the Lord for him.

13 December 2005

Gift wrapping ideas

The first batch of gifts have left our home and found new places underneath our friends' christmas trees. Call me a sentimental old fool, but I still prefer wrapping my own gifts, even if it meant staying up late. I don't know, but it feels good wrapping gifts while imagining the look (of delight, hopefully) of the recipient when it is opened. No matter how simple the content is, the gift feels special when you take the time and effort to wrap it yourself.

We lived in a small rented house and we shared rooms when I was a kid. But that didn't stop us from buying gifts and stashing it secretly in places where we didn't think the others would look. And then we'd find time away from our siblings to wrap our gifts and stash it underneath the christmas tree. And every now and then, we would visit the tree, pick up a gift, press it close to our ear, then shake it. We'd exclaim, "Ah! A shirt!" or "this is a toy car!," then move on to the next gift. Our eldest sister got so good at guessing what's inside gifts (no matter how much paper you stuff inside so it wouldn't make a sound) that she got it right 90% of the time.

I would like to impart some gift wrapping ideas in time for this yuletide season!
Print your own gift card! A photo of yourself or with your family in the card will make the recipient feel that the gift is indeed special, no matter what it is. Our personalized gift tag includes a photo of myself, my wife and baby Jo-Lo.

Wrap the gift in paper or cloth before putting it in the box. I use white Japanese paper for this purpose.

Aside from putting additional folds onto the wrapping paper, tie a nice ribbon to it. These ribbons are cheap in Divisoria, but are quite expensive in the malls so if you do not have time to go to to Divi, then perhaps you can reserve the ribbon for special gifts.

Lastly, when you're really in a rush and have no time to wrap items with no boxes, use Quick Wraps. This is available in National Bookstore and gift shops. The small one costs P16.50 each and includes the paper to wrap the gift in, the bag, a ribbon, and a tag. These come in nice purple, pink, and green.
Happy wrapping!

10 December 2005

Into the Wardrobe

I was in the basement of Shangri-La Edsa last night taking my Burger King Whopper and King-Kong sized soda when I decided to have a look around. It was a big mall after all! I went to the uppermost floor and found a variety of people milling about. More like celebrities, actually. I'm sure my wife would have gone starstruck again if she saw Janice de Belen, Nancy Castiglione, and a host of other people who are strangers to me. I know, I know. If I were with you and you would excitedly hop about because you saw a calebrity and I can't relate, you would bonk me on the head.

At any rate, I saw this rectangular form up ahead covered in white cloth. What's this? I removed the white drape and saw before me a magnificent, wooden wardrobe with intricate carvings of trees and animals. I've never been inside a wardrobe before so I opened the door and took a peek inside. Just old coats with the smell of mothballs.

But wait ... I felt a cold breeze sweep through my face. Air conditioning? Inside a wardrobe? I ventured a step inside. And another. And another. The wardrobe is bigger than it looks from the outside! Further and further I trudged until I felt some twigs and branches and cold snow crunched on my every step. Strange.

Soon enough I was at the edge of a clearing. It looked like I was in the woods in wintertime. And strangely enough, there's a lamppost in the middle of it all! After some time, I felt something moving along, walking nonchalantly towards the lamppost. It was the Cherry flavored Ampalaya! She stared at me. I think it takes more than a human to surprise her.

"Want your picture taken? This is your first time here in Narnia after all, Son of Adam," she said. "Sure," I replied. She took my camera phone and I stood near the lamppost to have my picture taken.
Cherry then recounted how a company of four humans have already entered Narnia before me to fulfill the prophecy, so she now wonders where I fit in because there's supposed to be only four, not five humans. She suspects I'm a hobbit. "But I have bad news," Cherry said bitterly. "I'm not supposed to divulge anything that will consitute a spoiler, so let me just tell you that a lot has happened already, and the White Witch has dealt a terrible blow to our heroes' company. They are now off to war. You better hurry if you want to see the excellent CGI to make the battle scenes." I nodded and asked if I can have some Turkish Delight first. "No!", she exclaimed. "Turkish Delight is what turned things upside-down here in the first place. Besides, I think you need to cut down on your calories."

I shrugged, and upon a wave of her ampalaya wand, a griffin appeared. I hopped on its back and set off to the battlefield. It was the strangest scene I have ever encountered. Ogres, Minotaurs, fiends, giants, wolves, on the side of the White Witch as she rode a sled pulled by polar bears. And on the side of the Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve were fauns, noble centaurs, griffins, leopards, lions, even a rhino. It was a scene out of a fairy tale book and yet there they were, as real as the battle for Middle Earth.

The White Witch (who looked so much like the Angel Gabriel in the movie Constantine, I wonder why ^_^) put on a stellar performance.

I saw the battle end and stayed on in Narnia until Cair Paravel once again ruled all of Narnia. I had lots of fun staying there, from the time Lucy first discovered the wardrobe to the end. The end being the Cherry flavored ampalaya visited me in Cair Paravel and bitterly told me that I have to leave Narnia.

"Why?", I asked incredilously.
"Wanna have movie tickets to King Kong, Superman, X-Men 3, Indiana Jones 4, Iron Man, and Wonder Woman?", she asked. (Wishiiiing!)

So without beating an eyelash, I grabbed my things and ran for the wardrobe. I'm sure I'll return in Narnia. With my wife, with Harry, with whoever wants to treat me to the movie. ^_^

Thanks Cherry for the premier!

08 December 2005

Favorite 80s TV shows

Making a post about games I played in the 70s and 80s got me revved up to reminiscing TV shows I loved watching over and over again. Never mind the cartoos and anime; they are staples of my childhood weekends. I have made a list here of 80s TV shows I wouldn't mind seeing again. And again. And again ...

The Wonder Years starring Fred Savage. I liked the way stories are narrated in the eyes of a kid as he goes about life.

Moonlighting starred Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd in a detective agency called Blue Moon Investigrations. A bit of sleuthing with a good love story mixed in. Must be my Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries Days that got me liking detective shows. This and Murder, She Wrote by Angela Langsbury.

Max Headroom is about a news agency whose reporter named Edison Carter gets an electronic version of himself stored into the computer system through programming genius Bryce Lynch when Network 23 - the broadcasting company where Carter works - was hiding a potentially dangerous program that makes people keep watching their channel but makes others explode or combust and was getting a bit too nosey. The electronic image of the unconscious Carter was supposed to contain all his memories and Network 23 can learn how much he knows but this image - who calls himself Max Headroom - evolved and took to hiding. Carter, Max Headroom, and gorgeous reporter Theora Jones exposed the Network 23 management and continued to do zany deeds in succeeding episodes.

Cool names, computer terminals with typewriter keyboards, and dark theme (literally; I don't think I've seen a scene there in broad daylight. It's always nighttime!) make this a favorite. Hmmm... I guess my fascination with computers evolved from watching too much TV.

Punky Brewster stars Soleil Moon Frye. I remember her name because it's so unique. I thought her bed was cool. It was made from a straw cart. It's inclined when not in use and when she gets to bed (at the end of every show) the cart props up to a horizontal position. She was an orphan with a dog who gets adopted by a kind old man. Or am I confusing her with Annie? Hmmm.

Let's do the dance of Joy! How about some pig snout! I've been watching the antics of Balki Bartocomus and Larry Appleton in Perfect Strangers but the wierd part is, I was not able to watch their two-part series finale. Wierd.

From the planet Melmac comes ALF (Alien Life Form) who positively loves cats not as pets, but as a menu entree'! There was a shirt design making contest for Library Assistants in SLU back in College and I entered with Alf. My design won. I think all I got was a lousy shirt with my design on it...

Mr. Belvedere! The butler with an amazing sense of humor. I loved watching this show. An English butler in an American home.

The list goes on. There's Whiz Kids , Who's the Boss, Knight Rider, The A-Team, Charlies' Angels ...

06 December 2005

The Games of our Lives

Hear ye hear ye Generation Xers! Re-live the glorious moments of classic arcade games PacMan, Galaga, and Galaxian in the Namco Museum 50th Anniversary Game for the PS2! Includes 14 arcade games we all grew up with, including those I mentioned above!

After so many years, these games still haven't lost their touch. I played these three games last night and I was so absorbed into beating my score that I didn't realize it was already 2AM!

I fed the sound into the mini-component and it was simply great. Especially the PacMan. There's a Ms. PacMan too! It was like I was inside the FunHouse once more (not that I went there often).

Ah yes, we are a video-game family. Even my mother was hooked into Battle City and Tetris. She and her sister would play til the early morning. My brother loved going to the arcade, while I usually rented out Game and Watch or borrowed my Aunt's Mario's Cement Factory, Parachute, Egg, Octopus, and Fire.

Now if only I can get Battle City and a Game n Watch ...

05 December 2005

Timeline Tag

I got tagged by Cherry so here goes...

10 years ago
1995? I was on my second year of being a taxpayer and I think I was still a Sales Engineer then, and being trained as a Systems Engineer.

5 years ago
The year 2000: I resigned from work in February and found out 7 months later that I missed the friends and work I left behind so I went back in September. I also went to Hongkong for vacation (I would go abroad normally for work), and that was the last time I went abroad.

A year ago
My wife got pregnant with Jo-Lo! Our miracle baby, because she had a complicated pregnancy that got her in the hospital for a week in December. I also started blogging last year.

I was in Baguio with my wife and Jo-Lo. He was still being his rambunctious self when it was already 11PM so I decided to take a quick nap to stay with them. I woke up at 12:30AM and rushed off to the bus terminal bound for Manila.

We plan to continue our Christmas rush for the company. Aaargh.

I'm blogging. Just got back from Christmas rush for the company. I arrived from Baguio at around 6 this morning so I still feel sleepy.

I wonder if Igor will take the bait / tag ...

01 December 2005

Being godparents

Last weekend was quite a busy one for me. First off, we had our three-day business planning that lasted til Saturday morning. Then my wife arrived later in the night because she was godmother to her friend's daughter.

Morning found us taking a couple of jeepney rides to Paco, constantly asking (or is it nagging?) the driver if we were near Herran and Concordia yet. We made it in good time, actually, considering how inept I can be at giving and following directions. Which is why I didn't bring Blackie along. I can get so hot tempered when I get lost while driving.

I observed new things during the ceremony. Firstly, theirs is more elaborate than the one Jo-Lo had. The godparents actively participated in blessing the child and professing the faith in behalf of the kid as they held candles. Which made me wonder about the inconsistency in the ceremony here and in Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Baguio. Are the priests allowed to make these changes? I would have appreciated having this ceremony for Jo-Lo, and I'm sure the godparents would have too, inspite of its being more lengthy.

At any rate, despite warnings by the commentator, most parents rushed off in leaving the church after the christening. It's believed that the kid who goes out first will dominate the other kids in his christening batch. Funny thing is, after rushing out, they went right back in to have their group photos taken.

I also learned some new things during the christening. A kid will go through three sacraments: first is Baptism which is done as soon as possible, then Confirmation when he reaches the age of 12, then Communion afterwards.

Godparents must be 16 years and older. At this age, it is believed that the person is now able to make sound judgements and is able to comprehend the responsibilities accorded him or her as a godparent. Of course, that is subject to debate :-).

At the altar, a group of boys started rehearsing their roles as sacristans. Reminded me of the time I did some chapel service way back in high school.

After the christening, we went to their home and had our hefty lunch. After some time, the father was making his rounds among the guests and was asking, "hard o beer?" It's drinking time! Ummm ... I really do not drink that much inspite of what Cherry says. And even for beer, I only drink San Mig Light. So I said beer and was promptly given a Pale Pilsen. Uh oh. I motioned Tina to ask for San Mig Light. So she was given one as well. Wait a minute ... now I have to drink two beers! Tina tried taking a gulp or two, and she grimaced every time. I drank most of it and half of the Pale Pilsen, then we bade farewell and set-off to Divisoria!

As godparents, we remember our inaanaks on Christmas by giving them gifts. But that list is getting longer every year so our shopping time gets longer too. Not that we're complaining; we also get to do shopping for ourselves and friends and family anyways! After our footwear change (which we also bought in Divi), we spent the rest of the afternoon milling about, haggling, and hauling our purchases around.

It was already quite late when we finished. We took an FX going back home, and we were faced with a traffic build-up. We soon realized the reason for the standstill when we saw fireworks light up the dark sky. It was the start of the SEA Games! The FX detoured and took a less-congested route and we eventually made it back home. *whew!*

30 November 2005

Serendipity for lefties: a blogkadahan post

This month's topic at blogkadahan.com is about Serendipity, defined at Webster.com as "the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for." Here is my contribution:

Mahirap maging kaliwete sa mundong ibabaw. Mali ang orientation ng gunting, kapag sumulat ka ay madalas mag-blot ang sulat mo kasi di pa tuyo ang tinta ay nadadaganan na ito ng kamay (kaya’t naging bangungot ang drawing subjects ko noong college).

Mali ang pinagsusulatan ng armchairs noong high school. Maswerte ka na kung makahanap ka ng isang upuan para sa mga kaliwete. E paano kung dalawa kayo?

Kapag may tsibugan at marami kayong nagsisiksikan sa mesa, malamang maaasar sa yo ang katabi mo sa kaliwa kasi magbabanggaan ang inyong siko.

Ipagpatuloy ang pagbabasa sa blogkadahan.com.

26 November 2005

Soul Food: a Lasang Pinoy 4 post

What food do you associate with a good feeling, or something which makes you feel happy? Such was the question brought up as the theme for November's LP4. Incidentally I have increasingly been posting about food these past few months as I found my waistline increase as well. So much so that I find myself huffing and puffing after three flights of steps. Yes, I realize I am a victim of improper eating habits and need to get out more. I'm hitting the gym soon. But I digress.

It wasn't really that difficult to talk about my soul food. A couple immediately came to mind, in fact. And these aren't elaborate gourmet concoctions, but simple yet sumptous home-cooked food. Things that has a history of sharing and happy times in our family.

When I got sick (especially in my childhood days) my mother would cook arroz caldo, a satisfying medley of chicken and rice porridge. She would give a generous portion in a bowl, with calamansi and patis for flavor. I have since then associated arroz caldo with the caring and love given to me by my mother especially in times when I need her.

I swear, even if you have problems with your taste buds and appetite, a hefty serving of arroz caldo can make you feel good in no time at all.

My second comfort food is macaroni soup: elbow macaroni with diced carrots and ground beef in a soup base with a generous mix of milk and spices.

Macaroni soup is part of our noche buena. My siblings and I (there are five of us) usually get impatient for 12 midnight to arrive. So our Nanay would cook this first so we can get something to munch on in our quick visits to the kitchen while she prepares the other dishes. We have become so accustomed to having this macaroni soup that we would automatically ask for this when we prepare our Christmas get-together with our family which has grown to include their grandkids, sons- and daughters-in-law. And we'd have even more of the macaroni soup after noche buena and while opening gifts, much to the delight of everyone (we have this custom of having my sister's daughter host the gathering, announce the recipients of gifts, and wait while a person opens it amidst oohs and aahs before proceeding to another).

Arroz Caldo and Macaroni Soup: two simple dishes that remind me of the comforts and happiness of home.

Get your recipe at SEAsite for Arroz Caldo! Photo above borrowed from this site as well.
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22 November 2005

Food favorites and more Divi finds

Been busy for quite some time now, so blogging has been kept to a minimum of once a week for my 3 blogs (plus 1 for Baby Jo-Lo, who was a bit ill last weekend). Today's post highlights photos of my favorite food, patiently accumulated the past couple of weeks to the curious looks of my non-blogging companions (why the heck is he taking photos before he eats?).

My taste in food is simple really. Fried, boiled, grilled, and with some basic sauce on hand. Don't forget the rice! Same with deserts and local snacks. And it becomes even more fun to eat when you're with friends and family.
Fried eggplants, thinly sliced and deep-fried. I like the ones with crispy edges. Serve with soy sauce and all I need is rice!
Produce taken from under the ground. Sweet potatoes, kamoteng kahoy, ube. This photo was taken from the Baguio City market.
Monggo (mung beans) popular on Fridays and tortang talong (fried eggplant dipped in egg batter). Like the fried eggplant, I like my tortang talong pressed thinly so it's cooked well.
Guinataan! Made with coconut milk, bananas, langka, sago, sweet potatoes. I simply love it.
Tupig! This is rice cake covered with banana leaves and cooked by grilling. This Vigan delicacy is courtesy of a colleague.
Spaghetti, Pancit Palabok, and Pancit Bihon all in one place! Courtesy of Ms. Beth (an office colleague) who celebrated her birthday last week. Belated Happy Birthday Beth!
Divi Finds
You might think I have already completed my Christmas shopping by this time. Au contraire'. In fact, I haven't had time to set-up my Christmas tree yet! Yep, that's how busy things are at work. Anyways, here are some more photos of Divi finds. Perhaps you can have some practical gift ideas from these.

By the way, when I went back to Divi, I didn't have much money in me. Wrong move! I really felt so cash-strapped when I couldn't buy even a couple more of those nice 25-peso keychains. Lesson learned: be prepared.
This very nice photo frame costs 60 pesos each. Sorry, I'm not much of a haggler but I'm sure you can do better than my 5 peso-off negotiation. There was another very simple yet elegant photo frame consisting of three squares with a different color each. Could have been great for me, my wife, and Jo-Lo. But I was running out of cash fast! Arrrgh.
These wooden photos are at around 45 pesos each. I got three. The photo is that of my wife and friends in their tong-its session in Baguio. Nice, huh?
I lingered over this booth with loads of keychains. I would have loved to get lots for friends but -- all together now -- no money! Waaaaahhh.
Lunchtime is up so I did not have time to rotate this photo. This is all I was able to buy from the horde of keychains. Finding Nemo characters with the Little Mermaid fish at the bottom. Yeah, I know. I suck at shopping. Going to Divi without any money ... duh?!

14 November 2005

My Harry Potter birthday surprise (no spoilers)

My wife and I have a Harry Potter date this coming weekend in Baguio. She was insistent that I do not watch it beforehand. However, who can resist the chance to watch this highly-anticipated movie a week before it comes out? Plus it's Cherry's belated birthday gift to me. So dear, in case you get to read this, don't worry we will still be watching HP and I won't fall asleep in the cinema. You know me ... I watch movies I like at least two times.

My Saturday was moving uneventfully and it was already mid-afternoon when Cherry called me up. I have been "pestering" her for HP tickets for quite a while now, so when I saw her number on the display, I immediately answered it.
me: Hi Cherry! May Harry Potter tickets na?
Cherry: Where are you?
me: Office.
Cherry: Yes I have a ticket but you must go to Glorietta NOW.
me: (demanding!) Really? How many tickets? (Pushing my luck but I wanted Tol-Pare Harry to tag along)
Cherry: Isa lang e. The movie will start at 4 so better go here now! (I learned later it was a spur-of-the-moment ticket so a second free one would be next to impossible. Sorry Harry!)

And so I took a quick ride to Landmark and ran from there to Cinema 3, which is at the third floor. And there was Cherry waiting at the entrance and I running off to her, bulky bag in tow, like we were in an airport and we were meeting after so many years.... yeah right :-).

The movie started a few seconds after I sat down.

It was everything I expected it to be. The CGI is top-rate and was not overly used. This is also a fun movie to watch! Loads of comic relief. My, how these kids have grown! And of course, we get to see Mad Eye Moody for the first time whose character translation to the big screen is impressive. Likewise, seeing Cho Chang, Viktor Krum, and the other characters from the other magic schools were a delight to see, like seeing friends we haven't met for quite some time. Newspaper writer Rita Skeeter was also nosey and arrogant, just like in the books. But by golly, it was sooo good to be back at Hogwarts.

So how was the translation of the book (which is the thickest so far) to the movie? It was pretty accurate, actually. Of course, they left out some of the minor details and concentrated on the highlights (such as the Quidditch World Cup and the tri-Wizard tournament) but I really wouldn't mind sitting it out for three hours or more for a Harry Potter movie.

I thought the ending would appear very violent and will not be adviseable for kids to watch. However, the manner by which the Avada Kedavra curse and the return of he-who-must-not-be-named were done were just right.

If you don't have a ticket yet, don't hesitate and book yours right now! It's two and a half hours of magical fun and adventure!

[more photos, story summary (spoiler alert!), and personal review are available at Cherry's Ampalaya blog. Photo borrowed from hk.yahoo.com]

06 November 2005

veni vidi divi

I was in Divisoria a couple of weeks back. I was looking for nice gifts to give, and colleague Lorrie was willing to accompany me. And it was good that she came along too, for we took a route that I haven't been to before.

We took an FX ride from Makati to the Buendia-Taft area, and then we took another FX going to Divisoria from there. I would usually take an MRT ride from Buendia and get off at Doroteo Jose, where I have to take a jeepney ride and walk from Tutuban Center mall.

The FX ride passed by Rizal Park, the walled city of Intramuros, and an old Church which I would have loved to take more photos of had I known where I was and would assuredly not get lost if we got off there.

Here are some other photos from that trip.

Many houses leading to Divisoria still retain the old architecture, with the Capiz windows and woodworks. They also have a basic set-up: residence at the second floor, shops at the ground floor. Like the one above. This place sells pots and pans. Others sell plasticware, still others knives.

Get your Christmas decors at the Divisoria mall at rock-bottom prices! It pays to be thrifty these days. The ribbons at the upper right are at 25 pesos per spool (it can go for three times as much in malls).

Like beadworks? Divisoria got lots for you.

Tons of umbrrelllaass! Whoops forgot to ask the price.

Ummm... this is my bounty. A brush for cleaning at 20 pesos, a pen with laser light and flash light for 60 pesos, a couple of ribbon spools, and a kilo of lanzones! Had we stayed longer than 2.5 hours, we could have bought more goodies. There'll be a next time...

02 November 2005

DIY and instant delicacies

I spent the Halloween weekend in Baguio (my hometown) and had a lot of fun helping in making suman, which is a tradition in our home during Undas. I have a post about this in the Baguio-Quezon blog.

Anyways, our trip to the market brought a lot of delightful memories of DIY (Do-it-yourself) delicacies. There's lots of colorful sago to choose from. Cook that with camote (sweet potatoes), gata (coconut milk), bola-bola (flour balls), and langka (jackfruit) to make sumptous guinataan!

There are also sweets readily available such as yema (a sweet concoction made from milk), macapuno (sweetened young coconut), and ube balls!

We bought our suman ingedients in the morning and bought some of the macapuno balls as well. My wife, Jo-Lo and I spent the night at my parents' place where we made the suman [see my post at Baguio-Quezon :-)] and at dinner, we were treated to dinengdeng and inihaw na bangus! I miss home-cooked meals!

PS. We also bought Chowking's Chicken Supreme with its unique sauce and it was delicious!

25 October 2005

Jollibee? McDonalds? KFC?

Going back to my LPIII post and reading the comments made me hungry yesterday! So I headed straight for the nearest Jollijeep station and got my fill of lumpiang toge' (mung bean sprouts) and turon (fried bananas). Ah, now I can't blame you guys for getting hungry when you read up on food posts here because I personally experienced the effect [which is ironic, because this isn't even supposed to be a food blog!]. Don't take it on me though if you gain a few pounds! :-)

And a while ago, I had two pieces Chickenjoy with rice, extra rice, and iced tea from no other than food chain Jollibee! Well, aside from mentioning this store in a previous post, it's the nearest one to our office where I can get my chicken fix.

But I prefer the spicy chicken of KFC. Top that with their yummy gravy and you get a tummy-filling lunch! What's the secret of their gravy anyways? It's just too good to pass up on! Second on my list is McDonald's. Although I seem to be sensing a difference in taste to their chicken these days than the one I got hooked on. And third on my list is Jollibee's Chickenjoy. I don't know ... I just prefer McDonald's chicken over Jollibee's. But it's good though that both serves unlimited gravy already. But I'm not too picky. Whichever store is nearest at the moment I get my chicken craving gets my order.

So which chicken meal do you prefer? McDonald's, Jollibee, or KFC?
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22 October 2005

My streetfood heritage (A Lasang Pinoy III entry)

Street food ... something that the young and old alike share in the Philippines. In Baguio where I grew up, we loved having Snow Cream, a crushed ice concoction with milk and pineapple juice. Perfect cooler after running around in Burnham Park in the breezy afternoon! When at home, we would hear the shrill echo of "tahooooo!" in the neighborhood streets. We would run off to the kitchen, get our bowls and tall glasses, and line up for the Taho vendor to scoop up our share of the soybean curd, sweeten it up with arnibal (sugar syrup), and mix in sago (gelatinous balls) for good measure. And off to the front stairs we seat to enjoy our taho! And then there's the puto and kutsinta (rice cakes) vendor and his horn, his two cylindrical metal containers with domed covers tied at each end of a pliant bamboo pole, and balanced over one shoulder. And who wouldn't love halo-halo on a hot summer afternoon? Yep, even in Baguio, halo-halo is widely appreciated.

I miss the Snow Cream most especially. Their carts used to be abundant in Burnham Park, but I have seen no trace of them in years. They have been replaced by the stationary binatog vendors, with their vats of steamed corn and shredded coconut wafting lazily through the air.


Here in Manila, I got a taste of street fare the city has to offer. Most recently is this thing called Pares (pronounced as is). I can count with one hand the number of times I have eaten in a pares stall, particularly because ... well, I do not like eating out alone. Only when somebody invites me to eat in a pares stall do i get to do so. I have mentioned such a story in a previous post but did not come accompanied with photos. Here are some I took a couple of nights back.
A Pares stall in Makati Avenue
One order coming right up! (You're given a bowel of brownish rice and a soupy dish)
Nearby is a squidball vendor. Strange, after eating two orders of rice at the Pares store, one of my colleagues headed off to the squidballs and munched some more. Can't get enough of street food, eh?

And then there are the "processed" fruit vendors, with pineapples conveniently sliced for you (add a dash of salt and you're ready for a mouth-watering treat!). They also have skewered mangoes dipped in vinegar, and sliced seasonal fruits such as watermelons.

While Pares and the fruit stall produce is not part of my regular diet, Jollijeep offerings has definitely become one. Jollijeep is a fun Filipino term for those roadside stalls that offer breakfast, lunch, dinner, and merienda in-between. These stalls were originally modified jeepneys, with their wide window openings retrofitted with ledges to display the meals available for the day. Some have already been sized up in cellophane for take-out, while dine-in customers can have their order served on plates. You have to eat standing, though.

These jeepneys would position themselves on a strategic parking slot in Makati and pay for the entire day's parking fee. Business caught on, and soon these mobile food vendors sprouted everywhere. The local government caught on and offered stationary stalls with a fixed monthly rent instead. But the name Jollijeep (derived from the fastfood store Jollibee stuck. Street food on a "professional" level!

These stalls have even produced specialties. Like, the best place to get your laing fix is in Aguirre Street. And if you like lumpiang shanghai, you can get it near Salcedo Place. But if you're in a hurry, simply head off to the nearest Jollijeep store for a truly fastfood fare.

Still, I truly miss that cold, sweet concoction from my childhood years: the Snow Cream. Wish I could have a taste of that one more time ...

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