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.
find more Soul Food posts at Technorati:

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!
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