A Seed Has Been Planted

Basketball has been dominating the Philippine landscape for decades. Thanks to the visiting Americans during WW2 and the special attention it got since the PBA, our very own professional league was conceptualized. Every teenager wanted to be a Mon Fernandez, or Guidaben, or Patrimonio, or Jolas, and of course, a Jaworski. The streets would be lined up of makeshift basketball rings/courts and playing 3-on-3 with the neighbors was delightful.

As a skinny teenager I would often be left out of the intramural basketball team. Height and heft was needed coupled with a must in basketball skills. Sadly, I was never one of those hand-picked by our Captain Ball to join the team. I played basketball but basketball didn't seem to like me.

That was when football came to my rescue. It turned out that I was very good at it, eventually making it to the school varsity team in 3rd year high school. I resumed playing in 1st and 2nd year college and even after I graduated. It was enjoyable to play the world's most popular game.

But then, it was all just that. After high school or college there were no offers from big league football clubs nor continuing programs that were available for landing a pro or even a semi-pro contract. The fact was that football is not our sport. Basketball is. There were rumors of corruption along the PFF ranks then, with every PFF President taking turns in pocketing the country's budget for football despite how measly it was. No one can really confirm those rumors but it may have been true since there was nothing stellar that came out of the PFF except for the 1995 SEA games when the whole Rizal Stadium celebrated when we drew against Malaysia.

Yes, we celebrated, i.e. danced on the football field when the final whistle sounded ---over a draw.

That time, to many of us school footballers, the competitive play ends in school. The Philippine team was mostly reserved for the great players from Visayas or Mindanao which I consider as the bedlam of Philippine football. Office leagues are mainly for basketball and volleyball only. Football was never in the spotlight, except of course, when the World Cup was in season and many of those half-baked Filipino fans just want to get a share of the action. Once the World Cup ends, the excitement of these fans dies with it.

Fast forward to 2010, a resurgence in the form of the AZKALS, the Philippine football team sent to the AFF Suzuki Cup, has awakened the minds of the basketball/boxing-crazed Filipino. The draws against powerhouse Singapore and Myanmar, and that unforgettable 2-0 beating unleashed to Vietnam in the group stages, had made me believe that somehow, Azkals football has bitten the minds of its people that football IS really the way to go.

They put up a valiant effort in the away and away semifinal legs (not home and away since there was no home football field available that met the AFF's standard; FIFA might've said the same way) versus football-crazy Indonesia. The score on both legs was 0-1 which is highly-respectable. Obviously, the Azkals defense was relentless inspite of the stadium filled to to the brim of Indonesians jeering and booing at every Azkals play.

They end the AFF Suzuki Cup campaign not in defeat for I believe that they've accomplished something far better and that is to wake up the basketball-drugged Filipino and say that "HEY! We CAN be football greats if we want it to be!"

I sincerely hope that the PSC or the PFF takes notice of this great achievement. Let it not remain a brief spark. I ask that the PSC/PFF keeps the light of football alive in our country since the Azkals have made the other SEA countries respect Filipino football. Scores of 0-13, 0-10 against us could be a thing of the past if the right support is given over these lads and future players that can represent us in upcoming inter-country meets.

And, who knows, we might finally get our place in the World Cup Finals. Maybe not in my lifetime, but I hope and dream that we'll get to that place someday.

Impossible you say? Try saying that to the Azkals.


Of Christmas Party Performances

I was cringing earlier as I was downloading, of all things, BackStreet Boys' mp3s. Unless I was getting paid for every BSB mp3 I download, this was the last thing I wanted to download from the ever-free internet. Quit Playing Games, Show me the meaning of being Lonely, and I Want It That Way. These songs are very familiar for they've passed me years ago via the radio when I was riding a bus or jeep, or caught a glimpse while my sisters were watching Channel V or MTV.

For good measure, I also downloaded Super Junior's "Sorry Sorry" to cap up my planned dance remix. Yes, it's a Korean dance hit. Here it is in case you don't know:

The reason for downloading these songs is that I've been assigned, get this, to make sure that the seniors of our department participate in the forthcoming Department Christmas party on Monday. I believe I'm the youngest of the lot, with the others ranging from 40-45 years old.

I doubt if they could recall BSB's songs, but I think they'd definitely had an opportunity to watch the Kanto Boys on ASAP XV in one Sunday or another.

Yup, that's what we'll be doing (assuming there'll be no rheumatism or gout attacks during practice). The performance is not really to kick-ass and dance like the Jabawockeez or those contestants from those group dance shows in the US or UK. We'll just try to practice to dance jokingly serious to put a smile or laugh to our peers' faces. Imagine that time when you were laughing with tears in your eyes as you watched your senior managers, AVPs or up performing during your Christmas party?

I guess I'm part of that group now.

I just pray to the heavens above that our would-be performance does not end up in YouTube or worse, the evening news.

And yes, you too will grow old.


And so, I write again

As suggested by the missus, I browsed a few of my past blogposts, particularly written in 2005. Posts like this and this. They were mostly written when I was still working in Malaysia with the missus in tow and no kids yet. Life was easy back then. The biggest "crisis" we'd ever had was where/what to eat for lunch or dinner (except, of course, Sunday lunch wherein it's predominantly occupied by Klang Bah Ku Teh followed by that delicious cold dessert in which its name escapes me now). The missus' only untoward incident was that of the scary animal that entered our house which turned out to be the tilapia that was looking AT HER while she was trying to remove its innards prior to frying it for dinner.

I find it amazing, for my standard, how well-written the blogposts from my years in Malaysia came to be. It was witty, funny, and oh, did I say witty? Probably the stresses of this workplace that I've moved into since July 2006 had eroded my writing skills to mere objective phrases that are mostly required in office emails. I may have simply lost the art of writing. My English professor from 2nd year college, who'd ask DAILY for essays, could be disgusted if she sees how dormant this blog and how low my level of creative(?) writing has been.

My writing has been preoccupied with my other blog which is on running. I love running. As that New Balance ad said, running saves me from all the stresses in life. And it helps, really, to put things into perspective. It helps me relax (yes, even on those hard running workouts) and be prepared for the stresses at work (a side note: people here in the office really drive me nuts!). But there is not much to tell. It's mostly about I ran here, I ran there, I ran this long, and oh, I'll be running here or there. Too bad my weight (165lbs) had not descended from some time now (although I lost 11lbs since Malaysia based on my old blogposts).

But again, I love to run. But that's probably all there's to it.

In terms of blogging my thoughts away from the hustle and bustle of this so-called life, it has never really happened for quite some time now (this is only my 30th blog for 2010 ---an all-time low in this blog's 5year existence). It is difficult to put myself into "the zone" and just let my fingers type according to my babbling mind (yes, my ears are plugged into Jim Chappell's piano music to keep me in that zone as I write this).

I will try to write here more often from now on. Precious memories that I've collected, especially of this loving group that is my family, needs to be written down. Yes my dear readers, you really need to meet my two boys. I'll write about them for sure but I don't know how their future girlfriends will take it (sorry boys! hehehe).

So, creative juices, flow....


There She Goes

Another one of my staff is resigning. That's the 3rd one this year, and 6th in my 4yrs of stay in this Company.

The reason for leaving is not me, of course, but the lure of earning big bucks abroad. Such is the predicament that we have. A high percentage of job hopefuls end up in this Company and use it for training for 2 or 3 years then venture out to work abroad hoping for a better life.

I, of all people, should know what they're going through.

I've been there.


Celsius Gastrolounge

The missus and I still celebrate monthsaries whenever we can. For this month, we went to Celsius, located near Tomas Morato street in Quezon City.

Without further ado, here's a rundown of what we had there:

The bread appetizers came along with humus dip which we found very delicious.

Classic Boston Clam Chowder (P150.00). Not bad as well.

For the main dish, I ordered the Moroccan Spiced Fish (P379.00). With a glass of white wine on the side (P240.00), this dish was superb!

The missus ordered the Grilled Bistro Steak (P499.00). She isn't a fan of mushrooms but those that came along this dish was very delectable for her. The meat tasted similar to Inyo's Hanging Beef.

The night was capped with Chocolate Banana Bread and Butter Pudding (P199.00) for dessert. This was surprisingly delicious since we couldn't decide at first which dessert to pick.

In summary, Celsius is a great place for fine-dining fusion food. We'll definitely come back to this place for one of our future monthsaries.



It was one of those nights that we wanted to try something new at the Tomas Morato area. Since we've eaten at most of the places there, it was only a matter of time that we decided to explore Icings.

The ambience was bright and cozy. We loved our first trip so much that we went there weeks after. Below is a run-down of the food we ate for those two trips:

The seafood chowder was mighty excellent. Loved that crispy bread.

This is no doubt my favorite, Grilled Vegetable Salad with Shoyu Vinaigrette. Ang sarap grabeh!

On my first trip I tried the Aloha Locco(?) (sorry I'm not sure of the name). This was very delicious as well.

On our second trip, I tried the Massaman Beef Curry. This was mighty spicy! Too much for me.

For the missus, for the two trips she ordered the Ziti and the Fish n Chips. Both tasted well too.

This was what the missus had ordered for dessert: the mini walnut cake. She has a thing for walnut cakes. Hmmm, she must've been missing the maple-walnut ice cream that she often eats in Malaysia.

All in all, Icings is a great place to eat. It's one of those "maiba naman tayo" places to get you away from the default Japanese, Persian, Italian, and Native restaurants. It's a great place to hang out too as evidenced by Lucas below.

Oh I almost forgot. One of Icings specialties is the Ostrich Burger. I haven't tried it but many here on the 'net who've tasted it say it tastes better than beef. Hmmm, probably on my next visit....


Fr. Adlib

He seems to be in love with his voice, I thought. The normal 1-hour anticipated-Mass last Saturday ended up past 7pm again. The priest's sermon (and his adlib-ing on some parts) took most of the time, ending our Mass at 7:20pm.

I don't mind the long Mass time, mind you. But if there's truth that the human brain can only retain 10% of the average speech, then Fr. Adlib went overboard ---again. It would've been better if the sermon was interesting but it seemed more enjoyable for him rather than for us.

He should learn that sermons should be "short but sweet" whenever possible. If the sermon needs to be long, then it should be written in advance, not blabbered endlessly until he doesn't realize that he's way way waaaaay off-topic already.

Again, I'm ok with a lengthy Mass as long as the priest doesn't talk too much on his sermon.

Hmmm, I guess I'll mail him.


The Great Debate

The missus and I discussed this one time while riding our car: who really was at fault for the break-up of the main characters in the movie One More Chance?

I know. I've gone/surrendered to jologs-land. At least it's not jejemon-dom. :D

So who do you think was to blame? Here's Piolo while you're thinking about it.


When Life Hands You A Lemon

I must say, you can tell a person from what he does when life hands him a lemon. Well, I've yet to prove that in other people but towards myself, I think I can.

Life has handed me another lemon today. How did I deal with it? At first, I found myself sadly looking at it with disdain. I was just plain sad at the very instant it came to me. I could've received an apple, an orange, but a lemon?!?! FML.

This is why I love the missus so much. I told her about the lemon and, as always, she would help me look at it in a different way. We ended our phone conversation laughing about it but with the thought that I should take note of the things to work on so as not to receive a lemon of the similar sort in the future. She gives me perspective, especially on lemons.

Anyone care for lemonade?


Fabulous Finds: Yuujin

Had Mother's Day dinner with the missus and mom-in-law last weekend at this Japanese resto along Wilson Street, San Juan. I've been driving by this place often and always wondered what the food tasted like. Well, last Sunday was my chance.

To cut the long story short, we enjoyed our dinner there. The California Maki and Salmon Sashimi was fresh, so was the Tuna Temaki.

The Oriental Fried Rice has my two thumbs up! Very delicious! The Chicken Teriyaki and Tempura were good as well, almost comparable to that of Teriyaki Boy.

Price was your average Japanese bill (almost the same as Teriyaki Boy). I will definitely come back to this place.


My Random Election Thoughts

  1. I conducted a pre-election survey in one of my Yahoogroups. Gibo and Gordon tied for President while Roxas won for Vice-President. My analysis of this is that the group that participated were that of the thinking class. That is, they were never swayed with the ads and other campaigns. What they considered were the past performances that these people have accomplished.
  2. It took me 2.5 hours before I was able to cast my vote. Seeing how our government had embraced technology in order to provide speedier results, that 2.5 hour wait was well worth it.
  3. I voted for Gibo and Roxas. I believed in what Gibo stood for. Too bad his association being the Arroyo government's candidate may have affected the votes. Roxas? Hmmm...not really sure come to think of it
  4. Erap placed 2nd in the presidential race. This means we still have a lot to learn as a people. The masses are still lost in terms of getting a true grasp of the goings-on in the government.
  5. I agree with Gibo that our country is long overdue for a Constitutional Change. Many people have found ways to go around these laws.
  6. Gibo's advice to his supporters: "Do the best that [you] can do in [your] own field. We have an obligation to our country to do the best in our respective fields...fairly...legitimately."
  7. I hope Noynoy does a good job, lest he wants his parents to come back after him.
  8. Binay as VP? How the hell did he pull it off? Really amazing. I'm thinking that the Chiz Escudero endorsement ad did a lot of damage to Mar's campaign.
  9. I voted for Val Sotto for Paranaque Councilor. He was the only guy I know fairly well (from his TODAS and VST days).
  10. Except for some, the presidential and vice-presidential candidates for this term were a good batch. The mudslinging was expected but if you look at each of their credentials, they really did a lot of good (except for you-know-who).
  11. I voted for Pia Cayetano simply because she's a runner/triathlete. Anyone who can take care of his/her health is a good start.
  12. I voted for Miriam. We need a whistle-blower in there.
  13. Conceding is actually a very brave thing to do. Congrats to those who've done it so far!
  14. The missus is definitely going to be irritated since her hate-hate relationship for Kris will probably grow exponentially now that she is in Malacanang (which was probably why ABSCBN has 1 foot in there as well).
  15. Non-election thought: as per the missus' observation, Boy Abunda seems to be cheerier/happier evern since Kris left SNN. Tignan mo mabuti mamayang gabi.
  16. To Noynoy: I didn't vote for you. But I hope that these next 6 years you can prove me wrong. Otherwise, watch out. "Ang bise-presidente ko, may B."


On Charity

Seeing another initiative from an online community to share a day with disfortunate children, I was reminded again by a thought the missus mentioned sometime back about a similar encounter she experienced years back.

Spending a day is therapy both for the giver and recipient. For the giver, it makes him appreciate what he has and how lucky he is. For the recipient, it's a sumptuous meal, toys/gifts, a few games, and a friend for the day. At least for this day, it is different.

But what happens when the day is over? The giver goes back to his house/family and he sleeps comfortably in his comfortable normal life. Everything is just the way it is, but with an extra thought that he's lucky to be where he is. In a year or two he will probably forget the name of the recipient he met that day.

For the recipient, he goes back to the orphanage/shelter with the same people in his predicament, mostly the abandoned. He sleeps soundly, for today was a great day. But there is a small part that wonders when will such a great day happen again. Or, for some minute possibility, when will his giver whom he'll still remember the name for a long time, come back.


Som's Noodle House

The missus and I had the chance last night to try out Som's Noodle House located just outside the Mandaluyong Municipal Hall Circle. The last time we had authentic Thai food was probably when we were living in Malaysia. Thus, we had an idea on what we're expecting when we entered Som's.

Here's what we ordered:

Tom Yam w/ Noodles (not as spicy as the missus hoped)

Bagoong Rice (yummeh!)

Pandan Chicken (nice!)

Shrimp Cakes (kakaiba)

The Tom Yam, as mentioned above, didn't taste as spicy as the Tom Yam the missus normally had in Malaysia. Hence, this led us to think that probably the Thai food at Som's had been "Filipinized" to cater to our taste buds.

The average Pinoy taste normally includes Chinese, Filipino, Italian, and Japanese cuisine when deciding where to dine out. Thai food is normally a once-in-a-long-while option. For Som's, the food was great as it was fairly-priced. However, the missus and I have no plans of coming back there anytime soon. Probably we'd go back after 6 months, just to say that we've eaten Thai food.


Orchard Road

Location: SM Megamall

As requested by RT, I finally went to Orchard Road to try out the food there. The menu looked very promising as it had almost EVERYTHING that you can find on a Singaporean hawker food court. The setup of how you order is very unique as well.

Unfortunately, the setup and the great ambience could not satisfy my taste buds. The food I ordered was absolutely terrible.

Kway Teow. This didn't live to my expectation since it was supposed to be dry, not labored with soy sauce as you can see from the pic above. It tasted ok but still not like the Kway Teow that I ordered when I was in Malaysia/Singapore.

Popiah. The lumpia wrapper that was used felt makunat. It wasn't really great at all.

Milo Dinosaur. This was terrible as it tasted bland, with the Milo powder on top seemed to be wanting as it looked like only 1 tablespoon was put in. Tinipid. Toastbox's version is way way (way!) better.

Teh Ais. Bland as well.

Kaya Toast. Again, Toastbox's version is way way better.

The food was very disappointing moreover that I invited my officemates to come join me to try it since I told them that Singaporean/Malaysian food tasted good. Unfortunately, Orchard Road's version didn't fulfill that promise.

Sorry, but I don't recommend eating here.


At A Crossroad

I'm at a crossroad again ---career-wise. A decision has to be made from a number of possibilities. Whatever it is, I hope it leads me in becoming a better person not only in work but in life as well.

Someone said, "You are a product of your decisions."

I still believe that.


Baby James hit by LSS

Baby James must've been bitten by LSS just like any other kid in the Philippines who has watched Villar's TV commercials. Even my eldest son Lucas has been singing "Nakakita ka na ba..." over and over again after he was able to memorize the lyrics.

You have to admire the composer. He really nailed it for Villar. I would ask my son whom he likes between Villar and Gibo, he'd said the former. Even Noynoy and Villar would result in Villar as his choice purely due to the songs. I hope the rest of the voting public doesn't make the same basis on the elections next month.

Villar is making a dangerous statement with the last line of the song ("Si Manny Villar, ang magtatapos sa ating, kahirapan"). That is nearly impossible. The only person who can lift the poor people from their state is themselves. Think about all the rags to riches stories. Basically it all boils down to the saying, "God helps those who helps themselves."


Worth It

I well-acknowledged this year's Lent. Unlike previous years wherein I just go through the season doing the same thing as if it weren't Lent, this year was slightly different as I managed to steer myself away from the following vices:

1. Facebook
2. Twitter
3. Softdrinks

Waking up Easter Sunday felt very rewarding. Kaya ko palang tiisin yun. In my own small, mababaw way, I was able to appreciate my Catholic faith and the demand for making sacrifices once in a while ---even if it's not Lent.

May you all have a Happy Easter!


Baguio 2010 Trip

My family was able relax at Baguio City last Palm Sunday weekend. We didn't really stroll all the must-see sites since we've been here several times. Interestingly, since I've met the missus I've been to Baguio 4 times with her: 2000, 2001, 2007, and this year with my 2 boys

Below is a summary of our trip, in pictures:

Hotel Elizabeth

Strawberries at Burnham Park

Star Rice @ Star Cafe

Choco-Late de Batirol

Our family driver horsing around at Camp John Hay

Filling Station @ Camp John Hay

Can't wait to go up again to Baguio City later this year. ;-)


The Kris Aquino Complex

It was on a lazy Sunday afternoon when my fiction-writer sister coined the famous personality of this term after Kris, yet again, made the missus utter "Ay nako" after a segment in yesterday's The Buzz. The segment was about Toni Rose Gayda's son's untimely death and, amazingly as it may seem, Kris was able to link the subject to her own life ---yet again.

Curious to find a definition, I was surprised to find "The Kris Aquino Complex" well-described in the internet via a forum discussion as early as January 2008. And, I quote:

  • A psychosis, named after the second-rate actress
  • Attributed to disturbed and untalented people who have the need to be the focus of everyone's attention by dropping their two-cents worth on any hot issue, then proceeds to connect it to their life and go on bantering about themselves in public limelight
Such has been what the missus has been seeing every week of Kris. Along with Claudine Barretto, Kris Aquino is part of the missus' special circle whom she just loves to hate watching on the tube.

Yup, either you love her or hate her, you will find yourself unknowingly glued to the TV screen, awaiting for the next "famous" episode that will surely make her brother proud.


Peck, you're kidding, right?

I've been seeing this ad behind KingSam buses in EDSA for a few weeks now while driving home from work.

The poster reads:

Maawa po kayo sa Akin Iboto niyo si Cantal Pagka Pangulo ng Pilipinas Bata at Matanda Bibigyan ng Sampung Libo Bawat buwan at Habang Buhay

Hay buhay...


Beijing Hand-Pulled Noodles

Friday lunch out had a good attendance from our department last week as we all convoyed to San Juan area near Wilson Street. Our destination was the Beijing Hand-Pulled Noodle restaurant where I had my lunch the day before.

I was coming in with less expectation since the lunch the day before in which I ordered Beef Dry Noodle didn't really live to my expectation: it was bland. The serving was plenty for P135.00 but still, I didn't quite get the taste. The pork dumplings, however, were simply amazing (P70.00 for 7 pieces).

The following day, Friday, I opted to give it another chance and ordered Shrimp Chow Mein (P160.00). This time it tasted better. Noodles were bountiful in the servings as well.

Verdict? Probably 7 out of 10. I asked my officemates who ate with me as well and their grades were either a 6 or a 7.

Still, I might not go back there anytime soon.