31 May 2007

Go home and plant camote!

One of the things that I truly appreciate having lived in Baguio was how fresh and cheap we can get our veggies, as compared to the vegetable state here in Manila. A couple of months ago, I took a leave of absence from work because I was raging a battle against fever. That afternoon, dizzy and feverish but hungry and with no one else to turn to, I took a brisk walk to the supermarket to buy provisions that will last me a couple of days. I turned to the groceries section and almost stumbled on my grocery cart. They were selling lettuce for 150 pesos a kilo, while I can get the same for only 20 pesos in Baguio! Wow, that was truly a revelation. No wonder lowlanders hoard as much veggies as they can while in Baguio.
I couldn't resist taking this photo when a guest brought back loads of vegetables from a buying spree in the market. This and the dining table were filled with vegetables.
Even the "lowliest" of vegetables taste great in Baguio. Below: watercress being prepared to mix with sauteed sardines.

Sadly, I haven't been doing a lot of cooking lately, just stir-frying what-have-you. So for this post, I'll mention a couple of great veggie places in Baguio instead. Let's slice and dice, shall we?

Oh my Gulay!
Believe it or not, there is a place in Baguio called "O My Gulay". It's a vegetarian restaurant located right at the heart of the city, and yet not many people are aware of its existence. It's co-located with a place called Vocas (which is an acronym whose meaning escapes me at the moment), a place where artists showcase their work and perform ethnic dances and music. This place was introduced to me by a close friend only a couple of years ago, and it has since been a favorite spot for dining with guests. To get there, you have to walk up to a narrow flight of stairs. And then when you enter this place, it's like you're out in an ethnic countryside! Really amazing.

Tea and pasta, anyone?
The ambience is great, the food scrumptious. OMG is located at the top floor of La Asotea Building along Session Road.

Cafe by the Ruins
Who hasn't heard of Cafe by the Ruins and the story behind the name? Well, to keep the long story short, part of the cafe's structure is built around a dilapidated wall which bore witness to the horrors of war. The cafe, however, has brought with it an atmosphere of relaxation and casual conversation with friends and family. It was originally a place where artists converge, and it still has that reputation. They frequent other watering holes these days though, such as Vocas or Tam-awan village.

Sweet potato fritters
They have a unique food selection with brown mountain rice and of course, salads. Trust me on that one, even if there are no photos. :-)

Where to buy your veggies
You can get your veggies at the local Public Market. The long lane offering take-home goodies, veggies and fruits beside Bonifacio Street was designed with the tourist in mind. But you can try other areas of the market such as the Hangar. The Hangar is located at the end of this "tourist lane" if you're coming from Maharlika Livelihood Center. Right after the vegetable and fruit stands are the rice vendors. The pathway goes to the left and ascends slightly to a building where rows upon rows of vegetable dealers abound.

If the Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet is part of your itinerary, drop by the Trading Post too. This is where the vegetables from the farmers are converged for shipping to other sellers. You can get substantial savings if you buy in bulk. But if it's going to be in small orders only, the cost is relatively similar with what you will get in Hangar.
Suffice to say that vegetables in Baguio are really something else. Sweet and crunchy! Munch on a carrot today!

And what's with the title? In Baguio, it's what teachers say to students who are "nangangamote". Hehe.

Thanks to Toni of Wifely Steps for inviting me to write for this round!

28 May 2007

6 Wierd Things About Me

I have been busy last weekend; we had our annual SportsFest. I was part of the organizing committee (and so is Dessagirl and Fisherpau). This year is different because Chu, who once officiated the streetball tournament, has moved on to greener sands este pastures. And so I became part of the streetball committee. Which is really strange because the last time I became actively involved with basketball was in my second year at work (1996) when I played basketball with my officemates.

Which brings me to today's post. This is in reply to Gibb's long-overdue tag on "6 wierd things about me".

1. I don't play basketball. Sure, I know the rules and how it is played and watch too but it never really stuck. I preferred going to the library and be with books than go to the basketball court when I was a kid. I can say that if I kept at it, I can also play well. It's ironic then that it was one of my highest grades back in college (around 93). I prefer tennis (which I have not also played for quite a while now).

2. I have hematophobia, the fear of blood. When I see blood, my knees get weak, I get cold palms, I hear a ringing sound that drowns out all other sounds. I detest our weekly physical exam when they get blood samples. Now here's the irony: I love dinuguan.

3. I read newspapers from back to front. I thought I was the only one doing this when I chanced upon another blogger who said the same thing in her wierd list.

4. I have no sense of direction. We go to a place for the third and fourth time but I still can't remember how to go there by myself.

5. I keep the extra tissue from restaurants and fastfood shops. After eating and I have unused tissue or table napkin, I bring it home with me. Sayang. I can use it for something else like cleaning tables and things gathering dust. However, after some time I have lots of these things around that I end up throwing them away just the same. And then I bring home some again.

6. No matter how many times my wife and friends bring it to my attention, I still like spelling "wierd" as "wierd".

Ok, now to pass on this tag. If you are born in the month of September and you currently have colds, then you're tagged!


On other news... a promotions company from the US sent me a copy of The Transformers the Movie 20th Anniversary DVD to review and blog about it! What a thrill! Have you guys watched this? I'm sure you have. It's where Optimus Prime dies. Has it been 20 years already? Wow...

I'm not really a fan of The Transformers... I've just watched the movie twice yesterday, and all the bonus features... plus I have Transformers toys which I will feature after my DVD review... yeah, I'm not really a big fan.

Oh, joy! Uhhh... is that me? I've gained weight!

23 May 2007

Good food, great company

Last night, we had an EB of blog friends from blogkadahan. It was an informal gathering arranged by Doc Emer (thanks Doc!).

We had dinner at Mannang's located at the lower ground floor of SM Megamall. They serve Filipino food with yummy twists, such as sinigang na corned beef and tofu sisig. We also had fish fillet in coconut sauce and spicy fried chicken. My stomach is grumbling just thinking about last night's dinner. It was great! The spicy chicken was crunchy and ... uh... spicy, the fish fillet divine, and the sinigang was delicious. You can't go wrong at Mannang's.

Dinner was even more fun as we shared stories of all sorts (from admirers to educational shows, immigration, past EBs, about people who weren't in this EB, hehehe). Picture picture here, picture picture there, and of course when the food showed up, more photos of the food!

The other tables were wondering if we were a celebrity bunch, what with all the flashes going off every now and then. Oh wait... yep, there was a celebrity indeed. Lifestyle blog awardee Toni of Wifely Steps!

The last time I was in a blog EB was in the Pinoyblog Christmas Party a couple of years ago. So I was excited to attend this one. It was great seeing Doc Emer, Tito Rolly (slim and fit!), Apol, and Ajay again. And meeting the tall and gracious Mari and Lara babes (the guest of honor) for the first time was a blast!

Thanks for the fun evening! Hope to see you again soon!

Additional great photos courtesy of Doc Emer:

21 May 2007

Pico de Loro

We had our first trekking trip early this year, and it was in Pico de Loro located in Batangas. Pico de Loro is so named because the outcrop above looks like a parrot's head, hence the name which also means Parrot's Peak. Can you see the the parrot?

This trek was made possible by the Anino Mountaineering Club located in Baclaran. They have close ties with the Baclaran Church, and this was a benefit climb for the street children. A fun climb with a community awareness goal to it, both activities I like doing. So why not join? And join we did. A lot of people signed up for this activity, resulting in close to 80 participants. They rented two buses for the trip going there and back.

The trek going here was more difficult than the previous climbs we have done (and that's considering we stick to level 1's). An hour's trek from the magnetic road going to Caylabne Resort will lead you to the camping site.

Hold on... a magnetic road?
Yes, a magnetic road. The road goes uphill but if you turn off your car's engine and set it to neutral, your car will move upwards. Strange huh? Bit I can attest that it's true. We have done it years ago.

Back to the story
We were overjoyed when we saw the camping site. Yay! We haven't full broken out into sweat and we were already there! We later realized that we were just taking a break there and have our lunch. So while the organizers cooked lunch for the huge crowd, we whiled away the time taking photos, making small talk, playing cards, and goofing around.

Time for lunch!

After lunch was when the "fun" began. There were medics in the group (from the Philippine Red Cross) and when we broke off into groups, a couple were left with us. Soon my comrades were taking breaks more frequently (not that I needed it too... I realized then how badly out of shape I was) and the medics urging us on.

There were a lot of interesting things to see along the way. Nature tripping!

After about four hours we finally made it to the top. At first glance I didn't see the parrot resemblance. You actually have to be in a certain area to see it. After a few steps, the parrot emerged. Amazing. It was windy and fresh, and you feel like you're on top of the world! The view was spectacular, the company amusing.

This one goes here, that one goes there, right?

Breathtaking views
Here comes the sunset

That night, we had socials. We had a group prayer, and sang songs and had sharing of sorts about why we joined in this activity.

The Parrot worshippers of the morning after
We dropped by the falls in our descent. We were a bit disappointed to see it reduced to a trickle (which they said happens in the dry season) but we still took a shower here to cool off.

This was quite a long way down from the summit. We learned that this was where the organizers got the water that night and in the morning. I must say, I salute them for their dedication to the activity. This was really a long way from the campsite!

Thanks, Anino Mountaineering Club, for this memorable trek.

18 May 2007

Slippers and Everyday Shoes

I don't collect shoes. I don't collect slippers either (or flipflops, as they're trendily called these days). So it was quite a surprise when I realized that I have three new pairs of footwear.

This pair of abaca slippers came from a colleague who went on a trip to Bicol last Holy Week. I use this in the pad. Thanks Gen!

This pair came all the way from Japan, Princess Em's pasalubong to me. Thanks Em! This pair is in the office, and is the most expensive pair of slippers I have ever had.
Oh, those are my pet rocks, wandering about on my office table.

Shall I call them flip flops to keep up with the times? Hmmm....

And then, there's my "everyday shoes".

The first time I saw Crocs was in Heart of Rachel . Many people swore by how comfortable it is. Many also told stories about its dangers in the hospitals and in elevators. That got me curious, not because I wanted to lead an endangered existence, but because of how comfortable it is. I sure can use a pair in my frequent trips to Baguio. My Sandugo trekking sandals are showing signs of wear and tear already because it's my favorite footwear for trips. But it doesn't protect much from the cold bus airconditioning, and it can get uncomfortable in the rain as the straps absorb water.

But when I learned how expensive it was, I fell off my seat and wondered if I need to buy shock absorbers for my aching behind instead.

Then lo and behold. Follen and I saw a magazine ad featuring Noosa which closely resembled the Crocs. I googled the name and came up with an online newspaper article. It was dubbed as made by a local company, cost-effective, but not sacrificing on comfort. It caught my attention. The catch is, it's only available in Robinsons Department Stores. For some reason, that article is no longer showing up in Google.

Anyway, we finally saw some in Galleria yesterday. Pauline bought a pair, but I did not find one my size. I saw mine that same afternoon at Robinsons Place Manila. The sales rep aid I have to get a pair that does not fit exactly, there has to be some allowance. So I bought a size 11. And then I bought a pair for my wife too. Mine's dark blue, hers is white. I hope she likes it. I wanted to buy a pair for Jo-Lo as well but the smallest (a size 5) is way too big for him. I'll be wearing mine this weekend when I go up to Baguio.

Happy weekend, everyone!

17 May 2007

Asin Hot Springs

Guess where we celebrated Mother's Day. Yep, as you may have guessed in the above photo, in a resort. But would you believe this resort is only half an hour's drive away from Baguio?

Asin Hot Springs has been a popular destination for the locals to warm up from the cool Baguio weather. Once upon a time, there was only one establishment taking advantage of the hot springs this area offers guests. Now, quite a number of resorts had sprung off.

It is said that it takes three days and two nights to get to Asin Hot Springs. This is so because you have to pass through two tunnels. When we were in high school, our adventurous spirits brought us to this place on foot. We hiked all the way here, and we have some photos along the way to prove it. I don't have scans to show here, unfortunately, but we have returned to the lone resort way back in college by jeepney.
Into the second tunnel then turn left

Last week, I was amazed at how the place has changed. Luckily, it's for the better. The once bumpy ride has been replaced by smooth, cemented roads. The rickety, wooden bridge where we had our photo taken way back in high school has been replaced by a steel bridge. But the free-flowing river beyond is still there, as merry as ever.

Last weekend, I was expecting that we were going to the resort we were familiar with way down the road after the second tunnel. Instead, we made a sharp left turn right after this tunnel. And it led us to modern swimming pool facilities. Thank goodness. The old one I was accustomed to had a pool that was green in some parts due to algae growth and it was quite slippery. And that was over ten year ago.

This resort (whose name eludes me right now) is as modern as you can get. Shower rooms and pools with heated water, small pools with deliciously warm water, slides. Large crowds gather here especially on weekends for family gatherings.

The irony of it is, no matter how many times I have visited Asin Hot Springs, I have never experienced taking a dip in the hot springs. I would plan to, then take my time in the pool, and before I know it, the day is done.

Baby Jo-Lo can't wait to try the pool
What fun!

My sister made the trip happen. Thank you, Ate Catz!

[Cross-posted in Jo-Lo's blog]

12 May 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Ann of Apple of My Eyes tagged me some time back even though she was aware of the fact that I avoid it like the plague (except on a few occasions, like now. Baka magalit si Ann kapag hindi ko ginawa kaya gagawin ko na. Bwehehehe)

The tag calls for giving ten reasons why I married my other half. So here goes, in no particular order:

1. She's the mother of my very handsome boy, Jose Carlos. Of course, he inherited some of his good features from yours truly. O, hwag na kokontra. hehe.

2. She's funny, sometimes even without trying to be. And she's got this giggle that looks like she'll run out of air real soon. It's similar to Ernie of Sesame Street's giggle. Beat that.

Here we were looking for unique clothing items from the UK stores. This one's mano-po inspired. hehe

3. We have things in common. We like to eat, read books, play video games of the 80s arcade kind, we watch SciFi, fantasy, romantic, and comedy films.

She's my "accomplice" in trying out foodie places in Baguio

4. She's frugal. At least, now, we are able to save up. hehe

5. She drives me crazy. She decides one one thing, and in less than 5 minutes changes her mind. It drives me crazy.

6. Understanding. When I arrive here in Baguio feeling tired, I want to stay home even when she wants to go out and run errands etc. Most of the time, she lets me be. Dear, pagtimpla mo ko ng hot choco. Tapos bibili na ako ng gasul. hehehe

7. Simple. She's a simple girl from a simple girl. We do not splurge on dates, she dresses simply. I give her accessories such as bracelets and necklaces from Dessagirl and she likes wearing them. I buy extras for her friends and she likes them too and keeps them. hehe

8. She gives my simple whims. "Dear, let's see more of your province while we're there." I had two wonderful days. "Dear, let's buy Jonas' Delight at TeaHouse in Session Road!" She buys one and we have a wonderful dessert while watching TV. "Dear, let's buy plants for the garden!" She and Jo-Lo goes with me. "Dear, Happy Meal has a new toy! Let's buy some!" She gets the entire set for Jo-Lo hehe. Simple things for me that matters a lot.

9. She keeps our home spic and span. I'm not the organized type when it comes to fixing the bed and cleaning up and arranging the abubot of which we have a lot thanks to me.

Making suman at my parent's house.

10. Lastly, I married my other half because I love her!

Happy Mother's Day, Dearest! And Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers out there!

Now, to pass on the tag torch... if you are born in the month of October, looking forward to the last Harry Potter book and movie, and married, then you just got tagged!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...