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Archive for the ‘Hobbies’ Category

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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Metamorphosis

We will be having a party this Saturday at home – for my nephew’s baptismal and my favorite cousin’s 8th birthday. My mom has been preparing for this for months now, buying the needed additional wares one by one and deliberating on the menu.

As part of the preparation, James and I moved the big potted plants around the garage to have some space for the additional tables and chairs for the party. Then I noticed that several leaves of my beautiful heart-shaped leaf gabi had been torn. I suspect that a caterpillar ate the leaves and I was right. With the use of a tingting, James carefully got the caterpillar and placed it on the leaf of a banana plant in a vacant lot beside our home.

I am afraid of caterpillars as once I saw a classmate suffer from allergic reactions to its hair when he tried to collect it for a science project. Valuing my skin, I dare not touch any caterpillar.

But these awful-looking creatures would soon turn into beautiful butterflies. Like some people I know. Or once knew. They started out really awful – spoiled brats with big attitude. Like caterpillars, they devoured money and other persons’ happiness. Now, they’re no longer the bratinellos and bratinellas but they turned out to be mature, kind individuals.

In my case, it is the reverse. I was born very beautiful, cherubic if I may say so. My skin was milky white, my curly locks were golden, my eyelashes very long, my stare very affectionate, yearning. Then the cherub grew to be a falcon. The same milky white skin gave way to thinner built, the golden locks turned deep brown and got straightened (for reasons I do not know), the long eyelashes now outline the sharp eyes that has long cut the throats of annoying people who deserve this falcon’s glare.

But that is just superficial. I used to be very kind. Very timid. Very shy. I was the butt of jokes and I accepted and forgave all pranks against me. Until one day, I got out of the cocoon, with fangs and claws, moving swiftly to strike the person who has the guts to go against me. Words and intelligence became my power. My thoughts moved from the innocent longing for sweet things to hunger for revenge.

I was born a butterfly. And then I turned to a maggot.

But my plight is far better than some. Born as wriggling maggots, feasting on rotten flesh, only to turn into flies, harboring diseases, instrumental to the non-stop cycle of metamorphosis. The people who was born to inflict pain on others, only to grow worse, and give birth to next generation of tormentors.

But my cycle is not yet complete. After passing the board exams, the less-than-100-pounds frame grew to a normal 150 pounds. Muscles were starting to form. The fangs are slowly but surely being fixed by expensive orthodontic devices. Skin is still milky white with support from the latest creams in the market. The hunger for revenge is slowly being replaced by the hunger to help. To be of relevance to the society.

The nights of plots becomes the nights of prayers. And sometimes, of some good loving.

As the cycle never stops, my transformation shall continue, moving from the cherubic baby I once was, to the harpy villain of my school days, to the graceful maturing towards the late twenties.

Be there when it happens, when I unveil the new me. The new Scott Andrada!

Dumbbells: “Bubuhatin mo ba ako o mage emote ka dyan sa salamin buong araw!”

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Menagerie

For those of who have read my earlier posts would have known that I am an animal lover. I used to take care of cats when I was a kid. I also had a chance to take care of a goldfish in a fishbowl (but sooner learned that having a fish in a fishbowl without filtration is not very responsible).

In 2009, James and I decided to have a dog-child and we got Mitos, a two-month mini-schnauzer from a breeder in Quezon City. It was February 28. On May 22, he passed away due to complications. I would tell you all about it in a separate post. I was so devastated. Then my brother brought home Samantha, a four-year old Pomeranian who took our hearts away. A month later, my brother’s friend gave us Contessa, a cross between a Maltese and a Japanese Spitz.

Both of our dog-children, Sam and Tessa, are doing very well. But I am thinking of ‘giving birth’ to new children. But of course, we need to do some family planning. But given that money and other resources won’t be of any concern, my dream children are:

Malamute

Papillon

Sun Conure

Giant Gourami

San pa kaya ako matutulog pag ‘ipinanganak’ na silang lahat?

PS Special thanks to www.pluspets.netwww.minifauna.com, www.thelensflare.com, www.petfish.net for the photos

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Lately, I just can’t seem to stop dancing to these tunes…

Stop writing, stop writing, I left my head on the dance floor…

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As promised, this the second installment of my Palawan adventure with my audit family from The Firm.

We arrived in Puerto Princesa’s airport shortly after 9AM and was very happy that their airport was very clean and orderly and well ventilated. There are some tour guide companies offering their services but unlike those in other domestic airports, they did not shove their portfolios in everyone’s faces. There were very nice and polite to the arriving guests. Even the porters and drivers were very polite in offering their services. Too bad, we have already our trip planned for us by none other than Elsa Zarragoza (her character in Villa Guadalupe, a telenovela we thought of while we were all still with The Firm).

The airport’s cleanliness and orderliness are only few of the many good things about the city and its mayor, Edward Hagedorn.

After a while, our rented vans, two for the group, picked us up and we went straight to the Irawan Crocodile Farm. It was a very short drive, less than 30 minutes, and our tour would start in 15 minutes upon our arrival so James and I had a chance to scour the many small stores lined up along the walls of the farm for fabulous finds. James bought two silk scarves for her lola for only P50 each. I found myself loving the medium-sized wooden sculptures of a man and a woman holding a basket each. I got them for only P110 each. These two would be perfect as book holders in our room. Three small wooden turtles for P30 each (one was free!) are perfect for the console table with cabriole legs at the bottom of the stairs. And a turtle stuffed toy for my nephew for only P300. I just love shopping for inexpensive items.

Then we are allowed to enter the farm via its administrative building where you would be greeted by a skeleton (ain’t sure though it is real or just a cast) of a very large estuarine crocodile. According to the farm’s tour guide, this particular species ate almost half a human and they were forced to capture it. Forced because naturally, these animals would not be hunted as they are protected by the laws on their preservation, unless they pose real dangers to human. So this one victimized a human and dies after five days from being caught. We kid around saying that probably it died due to depression after it realized what it ate. But the said crocodile was so big, it measures more than 10 feet long!

Then we were showed some pictures in the gallery showing the beginnings of the farm which is a joint project of the Philippines and Japan. After that, we were shown the hatchling room where many baby crocodiles are kept inside deep tubs. Of course, we were told not to put our fingers inside the tubs unless we give them their morning snacks! We instantly remember doing our inventory counts of swine and poultry for our clients and were just thankful we wouldn’t have to do crocodiles. Hmm, I wonder, who are the farm’s auditors?

Then climbed some steel steps to the viewing platform for the adult and teen crocodiles. The Philippines has two species of crocodiles – the Philippine freshwater crocodile which is smaller, endemic to the Philippines and is protected by the law so its skin and other parts could not be sold. This is bred entirely to keep the population at a good level. The second, larger one, is the estuarine crocodile, which can be found in river delta and shallow seas. This species are often reported to have a taste for humans. Yaiks!

Nota Bene : The main difference between crocodiles and alligators is that the former has a narrower snout than the former.

So while in the platform, we saw solitary adult crocodiles bathing in shallow pools. According to our guide, they can jump for several feet if they are in deeper waters. So we are safe from where we were standing. For only P30, you can feed a quarter of a chicken to the group of teen crocodiles on the next pools. I tried it and my shrieks just filled the air. Imagine looking down, dangling a piece of meat to those predators, them biting the bait and you pulling the rope because you cannot let it go and boy, were they pulling back. Once they got the meat off the rope would they quietly let go. Whew!

After that, we were free to roam around the farm to see ostriches, bear cats, parrots and parakeets, and other animals. These were saved from poachers who tried to smuggle them out of Palawan. We tried not to disturb the animals so much that it might stress them.

Then we found this quaint souvenir shop at the middle of the trail and from there I bought my next addition to my mask collection for only P180 and a wooden boat (not those inside a bottle) for only P35. What a bargain!

Before leaving, we had a chance to take our pictures with juvenile crocodiles with mouths tape closed. Now, I would not go for this with other animals in zoos because it is stressful to them, but since I am a bit biased against crocodiles and alligators after watching those video clips of them killing and eating hapless wildebeest, I fell in line for the P30 photo op. I posed as if I was a contestant in America’s Next Top Model. And respectfully thanked both the handler and the juvy croc after the shoot.

After that, we went back to our vans for next leg of the adventure!

Next stop, Baker’s Hill and Sabang.

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The last book I read was Para kay B by the acclaimed writer Ricky Lee. Normally, it would take me several hours to finish a book but this one took me weeks.

It tells five stories of love, anger, passion, loss, betrayal and hope in an otherwise out-of-this world setting. Ricky used the most poignant English and Filipino words reading it keeps you awake better than caffeine! This is the reason why Audrey Hepburn lent me the book. She bought it because she was intrigued by its subtitle : ‘O kung paano dinevastate ng pag-ibig and 4 out 5 sa atin’. This also got my attention.

Surprisingly, I was only able to read one story in one sitting. Being the sensitive me, I could not go on reading the rest. Every story haunts me. Every story brings out the worst fears in me. Some characters, in some wicked ways, mirror me in some parts of my life.

The characters fell in love in the most unique ways. And fell out of it, or was pushed out of it, in the weirdest sense. Reading it was like hearing Ate Guy, Ate Vi, Ate Shawi and Maria throw lines at each other.

The one I like most is Irene’s character. She has photographic memory, so strong she still feels the love for someone she lost contact with for so many years. They were still children when they parted ways. When they met, they had the chance to make love. After the passion subsided and while the man was in the bathroom, she dressed, took back the calling card she gave the man she loved for so many years, and left. She no longer feels the love. She no longer remembers its sweetness. She no longer recognizes the boy.

The book says over and over again na may quota raw ang pag-ibig. This statement haunts me. If it’s true, how many lives are ruined because of love when, due to fate, they fail to reach quota?

Good thing, I was smart enough to reach the quota grade I needed to get in the college I want. But am I lucky enough when it comes to love? Working very hard all the time to keep that lucky streak with me, always.

Special thanks to http://superstarstruck.weebly.com for the book cover picture.

 

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Return to Sender

Last Saturday, James and I went to the Galleria to have a walk around and we had a fine dinner at Cajun, a restaurant that replaced Café Mediterranean on the 4th level. Cajun’s Espresso ribs and Jack Daniel’s ribs were so good, it really made our night!

Then we decided to see Letters to Juliet, after warm recommendations from Holly Golightly (my corporate audit daughter) and Alice in Wonderland (my dear giggly girlfriend from The Bank). During the movie, I swear, I was ready to wring both their necks!

Letters to Juliet is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I had so much expectation from Amanda Seyfried and the rest of the cast. The movie should’ve been entitled Cliché Letters to Juliet – Return to Sender.

1. Cliché Number 1 – The character of Amanda’s Italian fiancé, played by Gael Garcia Bernal, was so terrible, he was successful in getting to my nerves. One lonely girl got engaged with someone she cannot even stand doing something together. How could that have happened?
2. Cliché Number 2 – Here comes an antipatiko British guy played by Chistopher Egan who was so over actingly sarcastic but would later on become so sweet when he falls in love. Why get second chances?
3. Cliché Number 3 – it would take a scenic place like Verona to make the characters realize things that should have been realized and can be realized in the noisy metropolis. Someone wants to win Best in Cinematography.
4. Cliché Number 4 – An old lady, a character well played by Vanessa Redgrave, took a very long time to realize that she is still in love with a man she met 50 years ago. Tell me, what’s with all these people who had all the time in the world?
5. Cliché Number 5 – Christopher hurts Amanda’s feelings in telling her she doesn’t know anything about being left alone only to apologize later because Amanda was abandoned by her mother when she was young. Ilang beses na ba itong nangyari? Daldal kasi ng daldal.
6. Cliché Number 6 – Vanessa found her Italian lover and guess what? He is also available just like she is so it was only perfect that they get married. Di ba pwedeng yung isa may asawa at tahimik na ang buhay?
7. Cliché Number 7 – Amanda broke up with Gael in the US. It took her that long.
8. Cliché Number 8 – Amanda’s story was published. Winner!
9. Cliché Number 9 – Amanda went to Vanessa’s wedding in Verona only to suspect that Christopher got back with his ex-girlfriend but learned later on that she was a cousin.
10. Cliché Number 10 – Christopher and Amanda fell in love with each other and profess their love in a balcony.

I am a hopeless romantic but I am not an idiot. This plot has been used and used so many times. The lines were like picked out from Hallmark cards. You see more of Verona’s landscape than the actors themselves.

I love movies with original material. May it be happy or tragic ending as long as it’s unique. I had so much expectation. The movie ruined an otherwise perfect day.

At least we got so sleepy from watching it, James and I dozed off after kicking our shoes off and falling on the bed.

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