27 March 2008

Planting season

One weekend in Baguio City, I decided to visit the Orchidarium to visit our dear friends who sell plants there; my friends and I been their customer since way back high school (that's over 20 years ago). The Orchidarium is like a secret garden for us; there are only a few people about even on weekends. And the variety of plants and flowers are wonderful to behold!

Anyways, we were there just to visit and take a stroll. But soon I was in animated conversation with our suki, who I have not seen for a long time. I finally gave in to temptation and bought a couple of miniature rose bushes. I wondered if they had spice plants for sale? Yes they did! I bought basil, rosemary, and mint. Wow, the smell of these plants are simply delicious.
Back home, I gathered up some milk cans and proceeded to punch holes at the bottom for drainage. Jo-Lo was on hand to help out.
Next, I placed some medium-sized stones at the bottom, followed by smaller ones.
I also bought some soil from the Orchidarium. This is gardening soil, conditioned with compost and fertilizer.
I placed some soil to cover the stones and measured the depth such that the plant I will be placing will have some space from the lid and the soil will not overflow. I removed the black plastic from the plant and saved it for later, arranged it onto the can, and filled the hollow side with soil.
Ta-daaa! Miniature roses and spice plants to beautify our veranda.

Plants and flowers were something my friends and I did back in high school, and it's such good therapy to do it again! Very relaxing. Plus, it's a great way to recycle cans! I might try my hand with some other plants as soon as Jo-Lo finishes another can of milk!

25 March 2008

Where has the traffic gone?

Wednesday night last week saw me at the Victory Liner terminal to get a ticket in going back to Baguio for the Holy Week. As I have narrated in my earlier post, I was not able to get a ticket for that night. This is the first time ever that I got a ticket for the following day! Usually the queue would set me off for 4 hours at most, which I patiently wait out in the passenger area. This time, it was more than 16 hours off. That was the volume of tourists that packed up and headed for Baguio. We learned that for Thursday alone, 40,000 vehicles were counted to have entered the Baguio City. Whew!

The line to the ticketing station stretched as far as the the gate to EDSA and to the adjacent gas station!
After waiting patiently in line, this is the sign that will greet you: all trips fully-booked til 1:00PM the following day! I was able to get a 1:30PM ride instead. What to do next? Haul my luggage back to the pad.
The normally-busy Makati roads looked like this last Thursday. Wow!
We visited the Church last Good Friday and Easter Sunday. For the times when we were not at home experimenting at the kitchen or hanging out, we'd be out with Emily, our guest for the weekend.

Hope you all had a meaningful Holy Week!

20 March 2008

Holy Week

The Holy Week is upon us, and I am set to go home to Baguio City. However, after more than an hour of waiting in line at the bus terminal, I was able to get a ticket... for 1:30PM the following day! Things are looking congested for my beloved hometown once again.

Last weekend, my wife and I visited the Baguio Cathedral to celebrate Palm Sunday. Some photos can be found at the Baguio-Quezon blog.
When I was a kid, the Holy Week meant the start of the summer vacation and the end of classes. So we'd be in the provinces, usually in Pangasinan or Dagupan, my father's hometown. As we play outside, the elders would caution us to be very careful because if we get hurt, it will take a long time to heal. At 6PM, the Angelus is prayed along with the rosary. We would also take a bath on Thursday afternoon because it was prohibited to do so on Good Friday when Jesus died. We were also told not to make so much noise and not be joyous for that week, for in those days, our Lord is suffering.

The Holy Week means a lot more to me now, and while I am not the meditating type, I find joy and consolation in the fact that Someone up there cares for me.

Til next week, have a meaningful Holy Week and advanced Happy Easter!

17 March 2008

Earth Hour: 8:00-9:00pm March 29, 2008

On 29 March 2008 the Philippines will join countries around the world as we literally "turn the lights out" for Earth Hour - an event that will fuel awareness on climate change and prove that when the people of the world work together, they can make a difference in the fight against global warming.

Earth Hour will take place throughout the Philippines from 8 to 9 in the evening on Saturday, 29 March 2008. WWF invites you to participate by shutting off lights for 60 minutes, organizing your own "lights-out" event or by forwarding this mail to your friends, workmates and family.

Launched in Australia on the 31st of March 2007, Earth Hour moved 2.2 million people and 2100 businesses in Sydney to turn off their lights for one hour. This massive collective effort reduced the city's energy consumption by 10.2% for one hour. With Sydney icons like the Harbour Bridge and Opera House turning their lights off and unique events such as weddings by candlelight, the world took notice. Inspired by the collective effort of millions of Sydneysiders, many major global cities are joining Earth Hour in 2008, turning a symbolic event into a global movement.

YOUR participation will go a long way in spreading the message that we, as individual droplets working collectively - can create an impetus far more powerful than the mightiest of rivers. For more information, log on to the WWF Earth Hour page at: www.earthhour.org.

If you want to learn more about how else you can help make Earth Hour in the Philippines a success, reply to this email or drop us a line at (632) 920-7931, (632) 920-7923, or (632)920-7926

14 March 2008

What's for lunch?

For friends and those asking how I am doing so far with my Green Thing task for month, thank you for your concern. I am quite happy with my veggie meals. Admittedly, there were times when there are no veggies on the menu so I eat whatever there is. But for most of the time, I skip the meat.

Friday is a nice time for those who want more veggie in their diet because people are more likely to serve green things on this day. Being a predominantly Catholic country, the Philippines generally observes abstinence from meat during the Lenten season to commemorate the death of our Christ. This practice has extended outside of Lent, and on Fridays you can usually see mung beans in the menu.

So I had mongo for lunch, and this egg-and-tomato dish called tulchas from Pampanga. I have requested for this particular item from the cafeteria in our building because it has been years since I have tasted this. For a simple dish, it's really good!

Yes, I know eggs are animal farm produce as well but I'm not going 100% vegan anytime soon anyways. But I think my effort in skipping the yummy bopis and other meat items deserve a count, so I'm heading over to The Green Thing and have it included in my CO2 savings!

12 March 2008

Northumbria Numbers

I once had a car – a black Honda Civic ESI – which I loved because Hondas are very customizable cars. There are lots of body kits to choose from, as well as car seats, steering wheels, lights, sounds, the works! The more passionate crowd even personalize their license plates to make the car truly their own.

Northumbria Numbers take car registrations to a higher level through its cherished number plates service. Located in Northumberland (a county in the NorthEast of England), Northumbria Numbers has over ten years’ experience in car registrations for UK cars and motorcycles, and has a website that gives potential and existing customers alike the convenience to look for the cherished number plates of their choice.

The website is very straightforward and functional. It has a search engine which allows you to check the availability of your desired plate number. There are also guides to ensure your choice is in conformance with registration laws. The more popular plates are compiled for easy reference.

The history of Number Plates and the Laws governing it are included in the site as part of its Information Section, which truly gives Northumbria Numbers credibility in their operations. And customers can take confidence in their services, as the company is a member of The Cherished Numbers Dealers Association (CNDA).

For Filipinos who are just as passionate with their cars and motorcycles, such a service would surely be popular as well. Though I have encountered none here so far, save for occasional commemmorative plates and special license plates you can buy at a premium.

* This post is for Northumbria Numbers

10 March 2008

Meatless March?

What did I get myself into?

That's what came first into my mind when I saw the Green Thing task for the month of March: easy on the meat.

I am quite an easy person to feed, as I eat nearly anything I am served (save for those raw sea urchin and other exotics). And I do confess... I love longganisa (sausages) in the morning, burgers in the movie, chicken on any meal. And I have veggies on the side.

But have veggies take center stage?

As I saw my meat-eating life flash before my eyes, I saw a glimmer of hope:

"So this month, do your bit for the planet by going Easy On The Meat. You don’t have to go complete veggie – chopping out a couple of portions a week would be a fine effort."

I have the firm conviction that vegetarianism is a whole new philosophy in life by itself, and right now I'm following another: the food pyramid. Hmmm... the portion of the meat side in the pyramid has gotten smaller the last time I saw it...

But, as with most things when it concerns the environment, it's not about the individual. It's about the welfare of the people and the world in general. I mean, what's the use of saying you're an environmentalist if you don't imbibe it in your life? But that's not to say I'm going completely vegetarian. So for this task, I will lay off the meat as often as I can. There will be unavoidable circumstances (like yesterday when my family had lunch at Jollibee and there was nothing but chicken and burgers, and ever since I've been having pasta at Amici, sweet spaghetti doesn't sound appetizing anymore), but for the times when there are alternatives, I will endeavour to be easy on the meat (like lunchtime awhile ago at the cafeteria ... I skipped the kare-kare, pork giniling, adobo, and tinola - all 4 are my favorites! I couldn't believe I skipped them all - and got for myself a piece of fried dalagang bukid and some veggies cooked in coconut milk. Fish isn't included in the meat category, is it?

Incidentally, Holy Week is upon us so it makes sense to take it easy on the meat. I'll just figure out what my alibis will be for the coming months. Until then, I will be seeing green this March.
Carrots, anyone?

04 March 2008

Free WiFi Boss, Free WiFi!

I am occasionally asked where we can get free WiFi access in Makati. Obviously, they're the gadget people, walking around with internet savviness oozing from their being. Personally, I have not been paying attention to where we can get free WiFi until recently, when I acquired an iPhone. Now, I can't seem to stop looking around for places with a "free WiFi" sign on them. Well, here's one in Glorietta... at Burger King!

I am quite fond of their Whopper and so their menu list is not new to me. But it's been a while since I last visited their store. Once upon a time, they had a serve-yourself bottomless drinks. But that was hastily removed because the place gets pretty messy and freeloaders just can't seem to get enough of the free drinks. After that, Burger King seemed just like another ordinary place to get ... well, burgers. But when we got a chance to drop by last week, the place looked quite different. Pop art adorned the walls, and they now attract a new crowd: the laptop-lugging group. The density of computer presence in this area is most profound. And it's because of .... free WiFi!

Not only that. They show a free movie at 2PM! I wonder when we can come here for an afternoon meeting. Tee hee!
The brightly-lit notice at the left side of the photo below is a mobile phone charging station. Also for free!
I'm a big fan of apple pies so I got excited when I saw this new item in the menu. It did not meet my expectations, unfortunately. True, there were apple bits, but the crust was all mushy, and it's a tad too sweet for me.
The free WiFi access is an attractive come-on for people who want to conduct a meeting and need the internet access. Does 2PM sound fine? :-)


Congratulations to the winners of the 100,000 Hurrahs "contest"! They are:

Zherwin, who said:
"WOW six figures? sana piso bawat visitor no? hehehe congratulations! it's been a long time na rin pala since my first visit here, i think it was your post on Puerto Galera (the one with Sadako?) or something puerto galera that i wrote my first comment? and i also bookmarked your Oh My Gulay post, for future references hehe. :)"

Leah, who said:
"... I like your blog because (although I lag in my visits)you feature stories about Baguio. I like yor photos and the scenic snaps you share with your readers on your travels plus all the food trippings ofcouse. I am glad I discovered your blog. I remember your entry on the Panagbenga and I really liked the landscape photos you published."

Toni, who said:
"I like it when you write about Baguio. Through this blog, we've come to get to know this home of yours. I don't have one favorite Baguio post, but those that I recall fondly are all Baguio-related. There's the entry you submitted to the Oh My Gulay Lasang Pinoy carnival, the food you eat in Baguio, reuniting with family on weekends. They're homey posts, and that's why I like them!"

Group hug! Group hug! Congratulations again, and I hope you like what my wife and I bought you at the Panagbenga fair!
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