Archive for January, 2011

Lunch at Cafe Juanita

As customary for me and my friends from The Bank, we went out for lunch on a payday yesterday. It is like our little way of treating ourselves without spending too much. We usually go to places we have not dined in together and those which are a short walk away from the office (for after all, you only get an hour’s worth of escape).

This time we went to Café Juanita at the Burgos Circle – a place here at The BGC where restaurants, cafes and little shops are side-by-side in a rotunda. The Circle is a few blocks away from our office so it is perfect to walk away all the extra calories without sweating it too much!

It is my first time in Café Juanita and let me tell you about its interior. Their décor is very colorful and a mash-up of different cultures and time periods. Upon entering, I already noticed the crocheted seat covers which are colorful and remind me of the old same things in our ancestral home in San Juan where I grew up.

We were ushered to the second floor which is bigger than the first and I immediately saw the wooden altar at the first landing and I just love it! Looking up (for the stairs are very steep), I saw many different lamps hanging from the ceiling – an explosion of colors, textures and materials. It was like you were a jungle of pretty flowers minus the clutter.

Yes, some might say the colors and knick-knacks placed everywhere can seem like clutter but I saw the liveliness of the place but at the same time its homely ambience. We chose the little corner (for it was just the three of us) and I immediately investigated the numerous ceramic figurines on the shelf. Some of these were similar to what we used to have in San Juan. Memories of my childhood soon flooded my thoughts and emotions as I was lost in it while looking and admiring the collection – which, to my surprise, is also for sale – but for a bit pricier cost than what is reasonable (must be old, then).

Then we have to get something to eat for this is, after all, renowned for their good food. I had Grilled Tofu in Pesto Salad (diet ako walang kokontra) and my friends shared sisig together. I only had a tiny morsel of their sisig and it was spicy so I could not really comment on it but my grilled tofu was really good!

At first, the serving seemed small (kahit naman salad lang ako, gusto ko medyo Italianni’s-style serving) but I was happy to note that I felt full after devouring the yummy meal. The grilled tofu was put on top of a plate-full of pesto and sprinkled with almonds. Beside it are crisp lettuce leaves and small ball of shredded carrots and sliced mango. With a glass of fresh mango juice (which I noticed was not very sweet so no artificial sweetener was used which is good), I was good to go. My lunch set me off by little more than P400 for my salad and juice and I think it’s worth it.

Their attendants were also very warm. We initially reserved seats for five but only the three of us pushed through and they did not have any problems with that. I’ve experienced frowns in other places when to turn up with lesser people than actually reserved so Café Juanita’s attendant’s ever-present smile earns points from me. They were even kind enough to replace some of our chairs (for they were pretty small). The attendants are standing nearby, ready to assist you but they did not appear pushy as others do.

Café Juanita also has al fresco dining and the area is pet-friendly so I guess James and I can bring the girls with us (and besides there is a fabulous dog shop nearby).

So I will be definitely coming back to Café Juanita very soon (and I might even procure some of their little pretty things to remind me of my childhood)!


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The light was faint. It was still cold and when I opened my eyes, I was still able to close them without any effort. Meant I’m still sleepy. But it is impossible that it was still early in the morning. I already woke up before and saw that it was already 9.

I opened my eyes again and realized, through the red round clock on top of the shoe cabinet beside my bed, that it was five minutes before 12! I quickly got up and opened  the curtains and in came the noon light! I have slept for almost 12hours!

My weekends aren’t usually like this. This Saturday is different for James is in Isabela and he will be coming back on Sunday which means no one to wake me and force me out of bed! But being the efficient person that I am, I soon regret wasting so much time.

So after having lunch with my family (they were very kind enough to wait for me), I quickly set to work on my potted garden. The champagne palm needed some investigating for a caterpillar is having its leaves for salad but I could not find the pesky culprit until today. Its presence was betrayed by the shadow its furry body made while basking on the palm’s leaf.  My mom knows I am afraid of caterpillars since it can really make your skin itch if it makes contact with its fur so she took out a pair of scissors and cut the lone leaf. The leaf and the caterpillar fell on the ground and I took out the hose to wash it away.

Next thing I did was to swap the places of the potted Buddha corpus (a pine-tree like shrub) and the Eugenia. I then re-planted the growing Aglonoemas from the pots to the plant box since the latter had a space when a big Lourdes grass had died out.

Some cutting out of dried leaves and twigs, I was off to my next task – cleaning my aquarium. In mynew year post, I mentioned that I would be spending more time with my aquatics pets – five goldfish, an orange fish and a pleco. This week, the tank showed algae growth and after taking off the lid, I scrubbed the inner wall with a sponge exclusively used for that tank. I replaced half of the water. 

That left me to my next task – wash and clean my daughters’ playpen pans (where their urine is collected while they are staying inside their playpens). I took out all three of them and washed them with such vigor a surgeon does with his hands before performing surgery. After all these activities in the garage, I washed the floor with hose and went inside our home.

I then spent almost an hour working out in my room, lifting weights, doing sit-ups and push-ups. I looked myself in the mirror and I know I still have a long way to go. I can achieve my desired body if I work out in the gym but I know I would be more interested (or should I say they’ll be more interested) on other stuff! So I took a long, scrubbylicious bath and read Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home.

At 6, I decided to do her Herb Pasta with Poached Eggs but less the fresh herbs. James did not permit me to go to the supermarket today to get some ingredients so I used what I can find in our pantry – ready-to-cook pasta, sage and basil and eggs.

I did what was told in the book and I shared a wonderful dinner with my family!

Now that everyone is off to their rooms, I miss James and his antics. What would be my life when the day comes he has to work somewhere far? Would I be able to cook all Martha’s recipes? Would my garden expand into a forest and my tank into a pond? Would I work out and achieve my target UFC-body and I won’t have my greatest fan beside me?

Hay, I won’t think about that yet. I’ll just eat this slice of cake my mom gave me (masunurin akong anak kaya kakainin ko) and pay the price with tomorrow’s additional push-ups!

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The Last Meow

The reason humans are classified taxonomically separate from apes is our capacity of logical thinking – to choose what is right from wrong, to act with compassion.

As I visited PAWS’ website, I learned of this incident that has happened years ago, of a student in UP Diliman who allegedly killed a month-old kitten in the school campus by throwing it by its tail and them jumping and landing on its torso!

This is an 18-year-old boy (at that time in 2009), even if he was frail or skinny, jumping and landing on a cat’s torso, more so a kitten, would deliver a deadly blow. Sa tao nga delikado yun eh, sa pusa pa!

According to eye witnesses, the cat ran away but it wasn’t long until it coughed up blood and died.

The alleged killer admitted his actions in his multiply account which is now deactivated. There is no need for acute research skills for anyone could easily Google up the incident and be taken to links or screenshots of his blog entry.

From http://anima9.multiply.com (thank you for the information), the horrible blog entry is:

“4th Epic Fail: An Accidental Crime. First day sa supercon. Lunch time came. On our way out of old NIP I saw the cat I almost killed last Tuesday. Now everyone knows I hate cats. It’s an unexplainable feeling towards them. Like some internal hatred. Hindi ko talaga alam kung bakit pero anumang pagpipigil sa sarili ay hindi sapat upang mapangibabawan ang panggigil ko sa mga pusa. I pulled it on its tail and threw it. Then like some pro wrestler I jumped on it and my feet landed on it’s torso. Slam! Felt good! But the cat didn’t die, well not yet. It ran for it’s life and just as I was about to catch up on it somebody yelled: “Pwede bang pabayaan mo yung pusa?!”. It was instant and involuntary. I stopped on my tracks. Nobody ever stopped me when assaulting cats. Well I guess there’s always a first time for everything. The cat got away. Or at least that’s what i thought. So we went to lunch Mel, Jayson, Tracy and me. After lunch, balik na sa kung anumang naiwang gawain. Then Tracy and Mel told me ” Hui Jc napatay mo yung pusa”. Hours later, habang abala sa XRD, a guy came in. Tanong niya: “Sinong pumatay dun sa pusa?” Bang! Dat was me boi. Guilty as charged. I didn’t see it die pero sabi ni Myles it coughed up blood or at least something like that daw. Didn’t realize I gave it a fatal hit. This isn’t the first time I’ve killed a cat but this time it’s different. It didn’t occur to me back then that the cat had a leash. So I think somebody owns it. Well it’s very well loved in NIP from what I heard and I just ended it’s life.

So there you go I’m sorry. And I wont be striking another one for maybe about a month. It feels good when your beating it(a cat) up but you suddenly feel something strange when it turns off permanently. That’s how I feel right now. And maybe for the next days. Dang, am I a cat serial killer?”

The man is known in the internet as Joseph Carlo Candare, a Physics student at UP.

According to the Manila Standard Today (http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2010/december/4/news4.isx&d=2010/december/4), Mr. Candare is already facing official charges in the court for violating the Animal Welfare Law.

This is definitely old news. But the abuse being given to animals is still very prevalent. Cats are kicked, dogs are tied under the baking sun, fish is kept in glass bowls without filter, birds are used in cockfighting.

We can never bring back a lost life, regardless if it’s human or not.

The cat, even if sheltered in the streets, lacking in pedigree, still has a right to live, inasmuch, and only inasmuch as we do.

I regret that Mr Candare’s future would certainly be affected by what he has done but I am happy that he will learn his lessons well.

No law in physics is ever greater than the law of karma – I can’t wait for you to be reborn as a cockroach Mr Candare!

Pag nagkaganun, asan na tsinelas ko?!

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I did not notice that January 1, 2011 was actually the first day of the decade until I read someone’s post in FB saying that this is his year, his decade.

Wow! So we just ushered in, not only a new year, but a new decade as well! So I tried to remember the things I did on this rare day.

Almost before midnight, at around 11.30PM of December 31, I got up from bed (yes, I was already in bed at that time) and tried to wake up everyone in the house but to no avail. My family is not a big fan of media noche so, I guess, for 2011, it would just be me to do my yearly tradition of rolling kiat-kiats (small oranges) on the floor from the main door going inside. It was like a goodluck thing to be done on the eve of each new year. What made this year different was that Contessa, our Maltese-Spitz cross, was there to ‘help’ me roll those fruits on the floor!

After I turned off all the lights in our home, I went back to bed with James and Contessa and Samantha, who are both very afraid of fireworks.

The first morning of the decade saw me in the garage, pruning, re-potting, weeding and mulching. For the longest time, it has been my mom who had been taking care of our plants and fish in the tank. In 2011, I resolve to devote more time to them.

In fact, on December 31, James and I went to the neighborhood pet shop and I got four goldfish, three rainbow fish and one pleco to join the sole surviving goldfish in our aquarium. Sadly, two of the three rainbow fish did not survive the New Year but all the rest are doing perfectly well. In February, I plan to visit the Manila Seedlings Bank in Quezon City to purchase new plants and cacti to update my garden for the summer.

Then lunch saw some stuffed chicken and pansit guisado and leche flan and my favorite sweet garbanzos! The family was complete on the dining table, except of course with my dear brother who’s somewhere else, and the New Year’s lunch was great!

Siesta went up to five in the afternoon and after checking the fish in the garage, went up for dinner this time. I know, para lang akong patabaing baboy!

They say that whatever you’ll do on the first day of the year would be the ones you’ll most likely to do in the rest of the year. If that’s true, then 2011 is utter bliss!

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Another year has passed.

Would this post go down as one of those in the New Year’s bandwagon of topics – resolutions, fireworks, past year’s blessings?

Well, yes! I will reserve the first two in other posts but today, I think, my 2010 blessings would take on the spotlight.

There were so many things that has happened in 2010, so many blessings received- big or small – I am very thankful for every single one. And here are the top ten 2010 blessings I received:

1. Topping the list is another chance to still be with James, counting for more than nine years of being together as of date. 2010 saw the worst fights, several severe break-up moments, but we were given a chance to get through the storm – for our love to see us through.
2. Samantha, our dear Pomeranian dog-daughter, completely healing from her pyometra episode which she had after aborting her puppies in the last quarter of 2009. Now, Sam is as active as ever, and who knows, probably, she can have another attempt at having puppies in 2011!
3. Meeting a new set of friends in circumstances which could have been so impossible if only it happened earlier. This group, made up of young, vibrant, happy but insightful people was very kind enough to take me in during one of my worst nights ever. That led to one activity after the other and it is one of the rarest chances that you’ll meet people who have the potential to be your very good friends in the future, in parties and in the last days of the year!
4. Learning that no matter how much you have done, how much you have contributed, everyone, as in everyone, should still have their feet firmly on the ground. I know this sounds more of a lesson than a blessing but learning this, being reminded of this, has blessed me to move on from what had depressed me in 2010, making the year that was one of the most empowering.
5. Spending an estimated P50,000 on gifts in 2010’s Christmas celebration! I am not bragging, please, but someone who had been so blessed this year, this is a small amount to share to the people I love! Plus the fact I am catching up on them since I gave no gifts in 2009!
6. Being on the deepest waters I’ve been in my life! El Nido’s hidden beach required me in 2010’s summer outing to forget about my fear of water and just jump (with floaters and four men assisting) in the water to see one of Palawan’s secrets!
7. Being given the opportunity to handle three different processes within the year. They say, if you get transferred, it’s either you are not performing well on your process or that you are good enough to be given harder responsibilities. I believe it is more of the latter. From performing financial services to the big markets in China to handling services for most of Asia Pacific, I was given the opportunity to land in one of the most challenging tasks of the year – advising for recharges in the whole Asia Pacific region! And so far, despite some mistakes, I think I was able to deliver results in 2010!
8. 2010 was also the year when I took off all my apprehension and just accepted engagements that I truly enjoy doing – speaking in seminars and hosting shows! I’ve been doing this in The Firm before but I decided to keep a low profile in The Bank for me to enjoy my private life. But the call of the spotlight cannot be endured anymore, so together with a group of very good people, we launched a series of seminars that touched the lives of new joiners, and before the year ended, I accepted a year-long invitation to host, together with other friends, our domain’s biggest show in 2010!
9. Shoes! Shoes! Shoes! 2010 saw me coming back to the shoe-fetish scene after laying low in 2009. Store after store, I bought shoes that brought me great satisfaction and I just hope the shopping streak continues in 2011!
10. Lastly, before the year ended, after my self-confidence went below zero in some parts of 2010, I had proven that many people actually loves me – dami ko kasing gifts na natanggap! From wooden bangkitos from Baguio to colorful shirts to wine to coffee beans to travel accessories to Shiseido eye creams to The Face Shop body wash and facial masks to Lion phone holder – sabi ko nga sa FB post ko minsan : nasa Dean’s List ata ako ni Santa!

To everyone, I wish you all a sexier and happier new year!

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