> On Street Foods

Burp! I’m full! I have large Fiesta Bowl and Root Beer in front of me and I just ate Hotshots and French Fries with Abhi. What a very good start for a tiring day.

I was about to order Pasta Alfredo earlier when the corn of the Fiesta Bowl caught my fancy. I missed the times when we [with my siblings] would usually eat sweet corn every afternoon on a summer season. Those were the times when we would hide from our Mama because she doesn’t [until now] want us to just eat anything from the street vendors.

I have a very weak set of digestive system. Street food was officially off-limits to me as a kid. I can still remember my Mama putting “bigkis” [binder] around my stomach because I can easily get LBM from eating oily, salty and even creamy foods. Between typhoid, cholera and intestinal parasites [just some of the supposed evils associated with street food at the time and, perhaps, still today], I was not allowed to buy anything from a street vendor, not even dirty ice cream. I can actually recall that the vast majority of street food on offer when I was a kid was not hot, fried [or grilled] and oily. There were several barbeque, fish ball and other ambulant vendors, but I remember mostly the fruit and snack vendors – street food was predominantly snack food back then. Outside Baste [our school] are vendors who would always be persuasive to kids like us. Without a doubt, my favorite street food is a crunchy sour green mango, sold with bagoong or shrimp paste. Despite the ban on anything streetside, I used to occasionally buy some green mango. I never did get sick but the dire warnings of the plague usually meant I enjoyed this snack at home in more hygienic conditions. The sourness of the mango and the jolting saltiness of the bagoong are a match made in heaven. I also liked the sweeter and less acidic indian mangoes with salt…

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Corn was also a popular street food option as well. Sold from carts that also ply busy intersections, hot boiled or steamed corn was, and still is, a favorite. While on self-packaged fruits that are then steamed to kill all the cooties, how about steamed or boiled peanuts that are also sold streetside? Yum. Even better are their greasy version – fried peanuts with lots of garlic. Finally, my all time favorite cooked fruit is saba bananas and as street food they were sold as turon, banana-que or maruya… I thinks it’s Ron’s [our trainer] favorite also. You would even hear him saying these lines ala Mahal

Saging na Saba, Masarap Kainin
Saging na Senorita, Itapon na natin? [tama ba Ron?]

The smell that comes from a boiling vat of fat with caramelizing sugar is burned into my memory banks forever… blindfolded, I would know if you walked me past a banana-que vendor!

Nowadays, these ambulant vendors can be seen almost everywhere. Even from corporate areas like Ortigas. Everything you want from dimsuns, sisigs, crepes and my new favorite – Hongkong Style Noodles will be there to put your senses in frenzy. And yeah the UP isaws – di rin papatalo.

> What’s With Twilight?

It’s been a while since I posted about a book, so thought I’d catch you up to date on what I’m reading.I’ve been checking online about the most current [unfinished manuscript] of the Twilight Saga – Midnight Sun. A friend asked me, “What is it with Twilight that you guys are all dying for?” Let me tell you.

You pick up Twilight and wonder what all the fuss is about. “I’m not into romances,” you say to yourself. And you’re not, save one Harlequin paperback you read when you were fifteen, you haven’t touched a love story since. “But Twilight’s not a romance novel as per se,” your neighbor, an avid fan who’s read the whole series, tells you. You tell her you’ll try it. “Watch out, it’ll suck you in,” she warns as she hands you the book. “Yeah, whatever,” you scoff.

And then you read the first chapter.

You meet this Edward character who is beautiful in a weird non-human sort of way. What’s more, he seems to like an ordinary klutz by the name of Bella. You fall into the story just like the neighbor said you would. The kids walk in the room while you’re reading and you hardly know they’re there. They ask you questions that you ignore or barely hear. You forget to make dinner and send the husband to the store, grateful for the extra reading time. Keep your eyes on the page—you might miss something. Hastily eat dinner and then return to the book. Like a woman infatuated with a secret lover, you can’t stop reading. And when you must close the book to take a shower or to drive the kids to soccer, you can’t stop thinking about the story.

You fall in love with Edward. You think it’s strange to be so attracted to someone who’s…
a] not real
b] sucks on animal blood but would really prefer to suck on your blood
c] has the body temperature of a Frigidaire
d] has a body hard as rock, literally
d] won’t ever get a wrinkle, gain weight, or get a gray hair
e] thinks he can read a woman’s mind

You have no control over the fascination you feel. Even though the most the characters do is kiss, you are completely frisky and attack your husband on numerous occasions. Once, in the early morning, you wake him up and he rolls over, his eyes ringed in red and his skin pale. He looks like a vampire. “Edward!” you want to shriek.

There are times when the cat curls up around your neck and then bites your neck. It’s disturbingly familiar. Vampire kitty?

You read the second and then the third books, all the while breathing shallow. You stop breathing when Edward leaves in the second book, but start again when Jacob shows up. You didn’t think anyone could replace Edward. But then this Jacob fellow reminds you of a guy you saw back in college. You were hiking in the canyon with a friend when a tall Native American guy walked by. You both looked, your mouths agape at his beauty. His hair, black and silky, hung down his back. His copper skin glistened in the sun. His face was strong and narrow, his cheekbones prominent but not angular, his arms muscular and long. You imagined those arms around your waist. “Take me now!” you wanted to say, throwing yourself in his path. But alas, he simply walked by without a glance. And though you often looked, you never saw him again.

That is until Stephenie Meyer brought him back to you in the form of Jacob Black. You feel Bella’s conflict. Jacob, with his seventeen year-old hormones racing through his body at the speed of light, is dangerous, precarious. You never know how he’s going to react. Suddenly Edward seems old. He can’t kiss too passionately or he’ll eat Bella. But Jacob, now that’s a fellow who knows how to let loose. He’s earthy. Jacob, you decide, is granola guy, sweet and nutty and spicy. Edward is more like cream of wheat. Predictable. Bland. Fibrous…

You want to know the story of the 1st 4 books? Here…

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> Hello! Kamusta?

I woke up today to the sound of my cellphone ringing. H.

Yes? Ei! Did I wake you up? Yeah, but it’s okay, wazzup? Nah, I’m just sayin hello, how are you? I’m good, you? Meet me for lunch, Mr. Choi? I can’t, I’m sorry. Okay, good to hear you’re fine though. Were you really at Greenbelt last night? Yeah! I was there but you didn’t reply when I asked you which bar. Oh, been pre-occupied. Next time I will. Alright, go back to sleep then. Thanks for the Hello. okay.

Hello, How are you?

It’s such a simple question, but yet, so many people avoid saying it.

I admit it. If I’m passing someone around the workplace, I tend to put my head down or fiddle with my cell phone so I don’t feel inclined to make meaningless chatter. Or if someone will just send an SMS and say “Hello, How are you?”, most of the time I won’t reply. After all, this person probably doesn’t really want to talk to me, right? or most of the time, if it’s from an SMS message, they just need something from me and I hate that. There are only few people who would usually text me and say how are you because they really mean it.

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Sorry for the paranoia, praning talaga ‘ko. Well, too many people think this way.

What’s the harm in saying hello? What’s wrong with asking someone how they’re doing?

Nothing. This actually should happen more often.

I personally believe that many people feel as if it’s simply “easier” to keep quiet when passing someone, whether it be at work or school or even out at the mall. There’s that fear of rejection — the thought that this person may not remember you or even talk back. 

Of course, most people are going to respond if asked how they are doing. If not, then at least you tried to be nice.

So give it a shot. Say hello, and ask someone how their day is going. I’ll give it a shot. It’s a Monday. I always think good things should be planned and started on a Monday.

You never know, it could make their day a little better and of course yours too.

> Let’s Just Be Happy

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It seems like so many people are sad these days. There’s just so many things happening right now. I don’t want to go with the trend, I need to be happy. I must be happy.

Happy thoughts are part of our lives. From what I can remember, in an average day it is estimated that we have around 60,000 thoughts. Have you ever wondered how many of these thoughts are happy thoughts?

It is known that happy people think more happy thoughts than unhappy people. If we think happy thoughts, we create happy perceptions, we create a beautiful aura of light around ourselves which leads us to happy events. And so we create a exciting circle [where we become even happier].

Happy thoughts connect us with the light, confidence and courage to act, to the power to believe, to live our lives according to our hopes and dreams not somebody else´s.

Jealous, angry and fearful thoughts and feelings take us away from our own path. Our own purpose. But a straight path doesn´t admit compromises. This negative thoughts strip us of our power and ability to act effectively. If we think fearful thoughts we become afraid and act defensively. This pushes away other people and other possibilities away from us. And so we become lonelier and more afraid.

The route to a happier life is through happy thoughts. Not just because they make you feel better immediately, but because happier thoughts give you a stronger and more stable foundation to your life. You are in control rather than being bounced around by life. Here’s a happy day for all of us. Happy P!

> My Birthday

This should have been posted on the Eve of March 1st but for some reasons I don’t understand, it remained on my drafts folder.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and although I think I reached a point several birthdays ago where turning a year older wasn’t necessarily a thing to celebrate, I’d have to say that this birthday in particular is the one I’ve been trying to stave off more than any other. There is nothing even remotely redeeming about turning a year older [i’m holding myself from mentioning the age here]; it doesn’t come with special privileges, and there isn’t even a “turning 2—“ section in the birthday section at Hallmark. It’s totally forgettable, and the only purpose it serves it to remind me that I’m inching even closer toward death.

I guess I’m scared more than anything, not of getting old, necessarily, but of what could possibly happen to me in this year. I honestly thought my life couldn’t get any more hectic than when I was in 3rd year college, and then I turned another year older and all HELL broke loose: I got pissed, I rebeled, I left my Uncle’s place [which served as a slave’s place and hypocrite’s place for me], tried to meet both ends, been exposed to the street life, discovered my true self, and accepted everything the society has to offer. You could say I’m a bit fatigued.

I’ve decided that for my birthday I’m going to ask for things I know I can’t have so that I won’t be disappointed when I actually don’t get them. That was actually the plan but since this is a delayed post already, I’ll have here some pictures from that day.b3b2b1

> Taken. Sushi. H.

Rada [H’s friend] called me earlier to join them at MOA for lunch. I said No thanks but later on decided to give in to H’s prodding.

When I got there, the place was jampacked. H was craving for Sushi and so I suggested Sakae. Sakae Sushi has been in the must eat restaurants in H’s list when we were still together. The attractive feature of Sakae Sushi is the conveyor belt where various sushi plates are brought out. The Multicolored Plate is 80 pesos while the red plate is 189 pesos. Rada was totally mesmerized with the conveyor concept that she kept taking sushi plates as it passed her. After the hefty meal, we all agreed – Sakae Sushi: Good Place, Very Good Sushi!

We checked on featured movies and has been TAKEN almost immediately.

As the movie opens [these are the only parts I remeber before I closed my eyes]], the hero of the story, a divorced ex-CIA operative named Bryan Mills [Liam Neeson], is already paranoid about his 17-year-old daughter, Kim [Maggie Grace] traveling to Paris for the first time with only one other friend, Amanda [Katie Cassidy]. After initially refusing to sign consent for her to travel as a minor without parental supervision, he reluctantly agrees thinking that this may be his chance to bond with his estranged daughter since he has moved back closer to his daughter in London, although she has told more than a few lies to be able to slide past Bryan’s seemingly overbearing paranoid assumptions. Then, when she arrives in Paris and while on the phone with her, he overhears her being taken away by some group of men.

The next time I opened my eyes, H was mouthing curses already. We were on our way home already when I asked him what got him pissed. “Those stupid, uncivilized people from our back kept on talking and opening plastics of groceries…” I understand him. We have the same sentiment.

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If you talk during a movie, this is an entry you must read. If you vent loudly about your uneventful personal life in public, this is for you too.

And for those of you who do not fall into either category, this is for you.

  • When sitting in a crowded theatre, I neither wish to hear the plot analysis from Roger Ebert, nor you. If you have an urge to share, whisper softly to your loved ones, without disturbing others.
  • When commercials force their images onto the screen prior to the movie, there is really no need to laugh out loud at the little backward humour and pretend that you really enjoy your date or that you understand the ad.
  • When you are on a bus, there are many of us who wish the bus to be private and the sound of your breathing could already be somewhat violating.
  • When you talk loudly on a train or a bus – and I don’t care if it is in a foreign language – keep it to yourself!
  • When you cough in public, please cover your mouth. We aren’t all lovers. Spit-swapping isn’t necessary.
  • When you clip your nails on the bus, the sight and sound can be hazardous to the collective mental health of all passengers. And it’s just plain gross!
  • When you’re on a Jeepney or the FX, move your not so skinny ass and give way. Don’t pretend to be confused or you don’t understand what I am saying. Let’s see… “Ching Ni Zhou Dou Ho Mien!” Better?

All that said, it’s really not that hard to be considerate of others, is it?

If your Mom or Dad taught you nothing, it’s time for you to know that… you annoy the shit out of us.

That’s how my day went. Sushi. Taken. H. What could be more complete?

> Making Friends At Work

Do you really like your job? Do you feel like everything’s not working for you anymore? Do you feel shortchanged? So why do you stay? What’s your motivation?

Everybody knows that motivation is vital for our lives. If you want to achieve something, you need to have motivation to work on it. Have you ever came across someday where you feel very motivated and you are so driven to take actions? Have you ever felt like someday in your life, you just don’t have the drive to do anything, you are in a bad mood, you don’t feel motivated at all?

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As you can see now, if you can make yourself keep staying in the motivated state all the time, you can achieve much more in your life. Why? This is because if you are motivated, you will do everything that you have put off long before, you will do your work with more energy, hence, better results. This is why you need to stay motivated if you want to succeed in your life.

In order to keep yourself motivated all the time, you need to understand where did all the forces and energy come from? Why can you stay motivated and where are the sources. If you can find where this powerful energy comes from, then you can make use of it in your life. This is how successful people find their motivation and keep them driven toward their goals and dreams.

So, the question now is, where is the source of energy? Where it is coming from and how can you create this source of energy? To make it simple, it is a one-word answer, reasons. Yes, you read that right. It is the reason that keeps you going in your workplace. If you don’t have those reasons, you wouldn’t want another day to spend there.

I have my reason. I have Kelly, Gay, Almsie, Abi, Ron, Abhi, Evette, Carol, Nina, Ed, Lanie, Gen, Zelot and Liz [now I’m missing Julie-ly].

Are you friends with your co-workers and your boss? Or even former bosses? There’s a difference between being just colleagues and being friends, your relationship extends beyond the confines of the office. Some people might say that’s not professional and make it a big deal. But for some it’s normal – like I hang out with my bosses outside office. And it’s not always true that a friendship between a staff and his or her boss have to begin from the boss. Friendships aside, if you do your work and you kick butt at it, your boss will always be impressed. You’ll always stand out. At the same time, it’s always a pleasant experience when co-workers extend the hand of friendship to you – like how my friends did with me. You spend more than 8 hours in the office, you need to have friends to hang out with, go to lunch, talk, and shoot crap and so on…

Personally, I think having friends in the office lifts up the morale. It’s really important, especially now, when we hear everyday about the recession, the economy, and the layoffs. It really keeps the team spirit alive. There are also dark linings on silver clouds. Don’t take your friend/co-worker for granted. You can’t take liberties with your work just because you had drinks with your boss the other night. [Gay would kill me if I didn’t do my wok right! Sometimes I think she’s harder on me, the same way I feel the pressure to do better because she might think I’m taking advantage of our friendship].

Never forget to keep personal things personal and keep your professional nose clean. That way you can always have a great professional work atmosphere and enjoy nights out with friends. We spend most of our time at work, having friends around makes working fun, and more productive.