Thank you to the readers of this blog. Even though I have not been the most diligent blogger, I have always enjoyed writing to share my thoughts with other people.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Posted by gege at 10:47 PM
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Lechon and books -- a most unusual combination, a fusion of heaven for the senses and hell for the cholesterol conscious. At least now, I can argue that my vice (books) is so much healthier than my husband's (booze and baboy).
Ah yes! Sugar. Fellow book club friends Blooey and Czar took care of that with a box of Krispy Kreme and the famous ADB chocolate crinkles, respectively.
Then, finally, the appetizer arrived. Like we need it. Our friend Mike (yes, the science geek slash sports watch endorser) contributed the ridiculously delicious hummus made by his mom. All of us now want to be adopted by an Iranian family.
We washed all that with merlot, and we brought an order of leche flan to our room.
Because this is in the province, where the townsfolk turn the lights off early, service ends at 8PM.
So off to our cottage.
Insert 60s style hazy fade outs and sound effects to indicate a long time lapse because the censors cut the good parts in the bedroom.
The museum is a relocated, reconstructed house, and is a great example of adaptive reuse as a means of preserving traditional architecture and decor. It also makes Abe's Farm more than just a bed and breakfast place as it gives it a story, history, charm, and romance.
We eventually tore ourselves away from Abe's farm to meet a friend who manages a business at the Clark Economic Zone.
Aside: I was amazed to discover that U.S.-based companies that restore old cars actually find it cheaper to ship the vehicle and parts to the Philippines, where local workers have been trained to do restoration work, and then ship back the finished goods to the U.S. Whew! Long sentence.
We managed to coerce our friend, one bottle of beer at a time, to extend her one-hour lunch break, but we eventually had to bring her back to work with her promising to grill some steaks for us pretty soon.
Because our car was coded that day, we had to stall -- first by passing for some Paning's butong pakwan (watermelon seeds), and then having an early dinner at Marquee Mall, an Ayala Mall in Angeles.
Aling Lucing's sisig, Susie's pansit luglug, Susie's tibok tibok (similar to maja blanca, but uses carabao's milk) -- our mini Pampanga food tour, all consumed at the food court beside the supermarket.
I almost don't know how to end this post, in the same way, that it was hard to end that weekend in the middle of the weekend. So, because the 15th year is merely a milestone in a what I hope to be a long, long marriage, I will not just say The End. Instead, I end with To be continued...
Phone: + (045) 865-1930
Mobile: +(0915) 595-5501
Friday, November 12, 2010
I hate it when I get nice gift tags because it takes so much effort and forced detachment to write on them and give them away. So it took me a while to give this gift tag away.
My BFF Mariced created this, and it's special to me because she knows I love dragonflies. Loving dragonflies is one of many things we have in common.
I finally decided to use the dragonfly card yesterday, and I made sure I used it as the tag for a gift for another BFF, Cindy. But not without taking a pic and immortalizing it here.
If you're a papyvore like I am, you will love MPress Letterpress products. They're just not pretty to look at. They're also very tactile, because the old fashioned printing method gives it texture.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I knew I had to try this place. But organizing a trip seemed like a complicated, expensive production number.
Yes, I ate lechon in 5 ways. And I survived to tell you this story and to tell you that Bale Dutung should be in every foodie’s bucket list.
More photos here: ttp://islandhopper.multiply.com/photos/album/38
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I've been away. Suffered severe bout of blog sickness. (sick of blogging)
Been book blogging though. Check this out. http://gegeflipspages.blogspot.com/
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Paseo de Magallanes, Makati City
The Bait: Namets-inspired sampling of Bacolod food
The Line: "Since 1965. Serving the Negrenses with Good Food For Over 40 years. "
The Hook: Comfort Food
The Sinker: Birthing blues with service not up to the first flux of wannabe-the-first-to-try diners.
The Catch: P350 per person; exclusive of dessert
In our marriage's restaurant choosing power play, he usually says, "same old, same all-time favorite." And she says, "anything we've never tried before."
This weekend's date night brought about a happy compromise.
Bacolod's Pride, Bob's, has been in Manila for just a few weeks. But it's been satisfying the Negrense diners since 1965. It satisfies my husband's craving for the familiar; the dishes vaguely reminds us of Dayrit's comfort food. Spanking new and already attracting a wait-in-line clientele, it sates my hunger for the novel.
If you're looking for newfangled cuisine, Bob's is not the place for you. The food is no-frills, no-surprises, just-eat-it-and-enjoy, yummy in my tummy, comfy for my soul food.
This old married couple ordered the prosaic and predictable. Buffalo Wings (5 pcs for P250) with blue cheese dip. Good, but not outstanding given the metro's choices of hot wings. Bob's Chorizo Sandwich (P105) was a bit of a disappointment -- delicious chorizo filling, but too much bread for not a whole lot of meat. They need to double up the chorizo serving and give it some visual interest. It is arguably the most boring looking sandwich on the face of the earth. The Big Boy Cheeseburger (P170) compensates. It doesn't blow your taste buds away, but it pleasantly satisfies with it simple, beefy goodness.
The major disappointment was the absence of desserts. The mention of Bacolod food conjures visions of napoleones and other sweet treats. The cafe counter fridge offers only a blah display of chocolate cakes and brazos de mercedes.
The main pic above is their place mat, which shows a copy of their menu circa 1965. Nostalgic. But shows the stark contrast of today's prices, thousands of percentage over. A bit depressing.
The service was a bit sucky; repeated follow-ups necessary before food and drinks are served. But that's also because the place was packed. We're going to give it another chance though. The steak and eggs breakfast insists on being tried. Read more!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Wine Depot, 217 Nicanor Garcia St. (formerly Reposo St.), Bel-Air,
Makati City, 8973220, 897816
The Bait: Dining in the middle of wine heaven
The Line: "Our Wine List is Our Wine Shop"
The Hook: Green tea pannacotta
The Sinker: I'm nitpicking here, but if you pick a copy of their biz card, you see their unimaginative logo, a literal translation of "purple feet," which at best reminds you of your neighborhood spa and at worse, reminds you of er, purple feet.
The Catch: P1k-2k per person; exclusive of wine
How can this semi-alcoholic, 100%-gluttonic [my word] couple refuse an invitation to dine in a wine shop on the week that Wine Depot was having a restaurant promo around the metro?
With no signs outside, Purple Feet gives you the experience of entering a speakeasy, sans the burly bouncer and the secret password. It feels like you're in on a secret, but it's the food that is the contraband, not the alcohol. Walking in, one might take several minutes to get to the dining area with all the eye candy -- glistening, glowing bottles of wine calling out your name, tempting you to shop. But we had friends waiting for us, so we had to resist all impulse to walk the aisles.
We were pretty hungry too; this made our decision to go for the set menu easy and obvious. Check out that picture of the blackboard. Four courses, each one accompanied by a glass of wine. At P888. It's a really good deal; unfortunately tonight (October 11) is the last night for it.
The Blue Cheese Seafood Chowder is hearty, creamy, flavorful -- three adjectives tops on my gustatory vocabulary. Dig deep into the tiny soup cup to find spoonfuls of shrimp and calamari. I would have wanted more, But more dishes were to follow. The Villawolf Gewutz...gewirtz...gewurtz...uhm white wine that comes with it is sweet; tastes like champagne without the fizz. A good start.
The Atlantic Smoked Trout in Macadamia Dressing doesn't look impressive, but actually tastes good. To my untrained wine palate, the Tulloch Verdelho was just okay, but that's because I'm not really big on white wine.
For entrees, my hubbalicious chose the chicken, and I had the fish -- one of the few occasions when he was right, and I was wrong. The saving grace of my Lemon Poached Garfish with Saffrom and Olives were the fresh, raw herbs topping it, and that dollop of Indonesian catsup on the side. Other than those, the fish was the opposite of spectacular. More white wine, please.
Our host, who opted for the ala-carte menu had Duck Breast, which she made me try. It's very good -- oriental-flavored, slightly sweet, crispy skin. For that price (900+) though, you might be better off getting your duck fix in chinese tea houses, says my host. Of course, aesthetically, the warehouse, secret restaurant ambience of Purple Feet is hard to beat.
The dessert totally made up for the entree. The Green Tea Pannacotta was sublime. And the Dr. Loosen Reisling was almost ignored, if not for the fact that I'm cheap and I don't want wine to go to waste. The Vittoria Coffee is very good; dense, bitter, and strong. Great ending to a good, well-paced meal.
I would love to come back on a non-promo night. The dishes on the other blackboard look like must-tries -- that Portabello Mushroom with Foie Gras and Stilton Cheese is now officially part of my bucket list.
But what's more interesting is the option to pick out "raw ingredients" like beef, scallops, duck from the board, and then collaborate with the chef to whip up dishes to your liking. That and the green tea pannacotta are worth a return trip. I'll have red wine with my dinner next time though.
(Forgive me for the lousy pictures taken by my lousy phone cam.) Read more!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
You like fashion? You also like literature? Here's something that brings those two elements together.
Freeway honors Philippine National Artists by designing clothing collections that showcase the artists' works. The first set features Nick Joaquin. It's a scrumptious, artistic collection of t-shirts, blouses, jackets, and dresses.
I love the way the text takes as much space as the imagery. And if you're ever stuck in an elevator/waiting room/queue without a book, you can read your shirt.
Freeway does not seem to have a website, but google led me to this site that shows off the collection: http://fashion-flick.blogspot.com/2009/08/freeway-loves-art-nick-joaquin.html
Gorgeous, huh? I know you want a piece of that.
It's a bummer though that I wasn't able to buy anything. I'm way off the size chart of Philippine apparel, so I was ready to go for a bag. But there's no bag; just a tiny kikay pouch. And really, my closet will vomit the kikay pouch if I attempt to add another to the 2 million I already have. I need something I can use, sling on my shoulder, and show off so people will say, "Wow, that's Nick Joaquin." And I will beam and carry a silly grin while thinking of myself as some kind of cool, nationalistic, literate dudette with socially-relevant fashion tastes.
Oh well, maybe I will come back to their stores one of these days to try on a men's shirt.
But for you, my lithe friends, I encourage you to check this out and get yourself a limited edition. Wear Joaquin. If you have 2 navels, now is the time to show them off. Let's support Freeway as they support our artists.
Up next for the holidays is a collection paying homage to Ang Kiukok. I can't even begin to articulate how excited I am about that collection as well, and it will break my materialistic, pa-cultured heart to leave empty handed, because here finally is my chance of having a bit of Ang Kiukok without having to pawn my husband.
Freeway people, make sure you include a tote or messenger bag for the Ang Kiukok set, okay? Read more!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Often, I find myself submerged in a thick plot, lost in the pages of a good book, deeply ensconced in an armchair and swept up in other worlds, embroiled in other people's stories. But this post is not about that. This post is about submerging the book.
Yes, dipping a book in water. Uhm, yes, liquid water.
I hear gasps and the gnashing of teeth.
Warning: The pictures that follow might cause shortness of breath, activation of tear ducts, and the rapid increase/decrease of blood pressure among my obsessive-compulsive, plastic-wrapping, book-loving friends.
Be assured, however, that no books were harmed in the filming of this blog.This is my totally waterproof book. Melcher Media's The Soothing Soak is a collection of poems, essays, and short stories by Pablo Neruda, AS Byatt, Diane Ackerman among others. It is meant to be read in the bathtub. But since we don't have a tub, this book is my spa book.
I've been wanting to have a book like this. Ever since I discovered the existence of waterproof books, I've been entering steam bath and sauna rooms with a profound sense of emptiness and longing, knowing that if I had such a book, I would read in joyous peace instead of boring myself in contrived zen.
One time back in the days when I didn't have this book, I tried going to the sauna with a regular book, the type with porous paper pages. I panicked when I saw the pages crinkling into little waves. In this mega-humid country of ours, water damaged books have the potential to attract molds and destroy your whole book collection. (There's that gasping and gnashing sound again.)
Gimongous thanks to my Chicago based sister-in-law, Ate Pat, I finally have this.
One weekend, I baptized (uhm, literally?) the book at The Spa in Jupiter. I tucked the book into my little pink spa bag and brought it with me to the wet floor.
I read poetry at the steam room.I felt a bit self conscious because there were 2 other girls in the room. And maybe they were thinking I was silly bringing a book in there. Or maybe they were envious. Because they had nothing to read. While I was unabashedly reading in the steam room, instead of watching my navel or doing nothing but grappling with my body issues and trying to cover up my cellulite. I was happy.
Then I moved into the Turkish pools. I love Turkish pools with the contrast hot and cold baths, except this time the hot part was not that hot, and the cold was not that cold. Normally, I would be a wee bit upset about such technical flaws, but this time I had my waterproof book, and I was a happy camper. I read a couple of short stories. I can hardly remember the content as I was just so thrilled at the experience of being able to do two favorite things at once -- reading and spa-ing. I enjoyed myself so much, I had to force myself to stop reading, pull myself out of the pool, and get on with my spa-ing.
Two drawbacks -- one is that you need to allocate more time before your massage. The other one is that even if it is waterproof, the pages do get wet and stay wet. So I had to wipe every page before I stored the book back into my spa bag. Spritzed it with Lysol. It's waterproof. I don't know if it's mold proof.
Aaah. I can't wait until my next spa visit and my next soothing soak. Read more!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
A few Wednesdays ago, Blooey tagged me to participate in a blog meme that would shame me, my neat freak husband, and the mother who tried to teach me urbanity.
We're supposed to take pictures of our desk, and we're not supposed to tidy them up first to make them photo-pretty. Gasp!
This is for Sassy Brit's blog meme, What's On Your Desk Wednesday. The details and the instructions are all here.
I tried to ignore Blooey's tag. But what do you know -- it's Wednesday, and I'm too lazy to draft a book review or write a blog entry that makes sense. And I'm taking the easy but more embarrassing way out. So here, in all it's glorious chaos, is a picture of my desk. Click on the image for a closer, more embarrassing look. Hopefully, the dust bunnies don't show.
The rules say I shouldn't tidy up. I have to confess I tried to make it look a little presentable, but to no avail. It's a hopeless mess. It's the end of the term and there are tons of papers to be checked. It's also book sale season and well, you know how it is with book addicts who live in tiny laces -- a book shelving nightmare, the floor disappearing. Geez, what am I talking about? My desk looks like this the whole year round, so I'll shut up with the excuses.
But like they say, if a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what does it mean if you have an empty desk?
Ooo, I almost forgot. I should tag 5 bloggers. So here are my victims:
Monday, August 24, 2009
My interest in fiction has always been that of a reader. I've never dared to analyze the art and science of fiction. In my brief, limited, and safe writing career, I've focused on the known -- on the formulaic and not-too-demanding field of business writing.
But Doris Lessing has opened a dangerous, little porthole to wander in and wonder about that thing called fiction writing. Don't be alarmed. I linger far from the possibility of birthing a novel from the depths of my bowels; no, please, no. It's just that Lessing has made me wonder how one can write so tautly with no tinge of superfluity. How one can conjure images and flesh out ideas with language so well thought of. So intelligent. But raw with base human emotions. Who writes like that?
Lessing does. And I can only bite my lip in envy.
The Grandmothers is the carrier story in a collection of 4 short novels. That's probably the thing going against the book; the novels are too short. Each of them can be developed into full blown books that can eventually be developed into full blown major motion pictures. But that is the beauty of this book -- it gives you just enough to chew on, without overexplaining. The short story quality of it that leaves you a little bit unsatisfied reassures you that this book will not become all that popular and you're one of those lucky enough to be in on the secret.
The Grandmothers is an almost incestuous, but certainly scandalous, story of two women. Two golden, beautiful women who fall in love with their golden, beautiful selves. When their lives turn out to be less than the perfection they worked so hard to make it to be, they shut out the world, look within the pocket-sized, controllable world covered by their golden halo, and love only those who belong to that perfect circle -- each other's son. Golden, beautiful boys who fall in love with their older female mirrors too.
Lessing writes in a way that casts no judgment. The reader is left to make her own. To be mesmerized by such a fantastic premise, or to say ewww and be morally offended -- your choice. I felt a little bit of both. The story does not end well for the grandmothers and their sons. Which is probably well and good.
The second story, Victoria and the Staveneys, struck me as somewhat ordinary. But I suspect it is a limitation of my ability to understand the nuances more than a limitation of Lessing's storytelling. Somewhere in there are messages on race, tolerance, hypocrisy, poverty, privilege, socialism, communism, and all sorts if isms. They escape me at the moment. Okay, maybe a very long moment.
I am torn between the first and the third as my favorite of the collection. The Reason for It, classified by reviews as science fiction, is an all too real account of civilization. It is a story about the conflicts between new and old, between progress and tradition. The story is told from the perspective of the old and traditional who whines about a dying culture. And so if one were to take the side of the storyteller, one would ache at how the world has regressed instead of progressed. How art suffers and knowledge is mocked as the newfangled becomes the new standard of what is good, beautiful, and right. And culture disintegrates and society is transformed into a sad, shallow shadow (alliteration unintended) of its former glory.
This is probably the most preachy of the stories. It talks about the emptiness of beauty when it is unmatched, unsubstantiated by a fine nature and a good mind.
It is also the most thought provoking. I have visions of throwing this to my book club friends who would act like frenzied alligators at feeding time as they apply every nosebleed inducing framework to analyze this. Shhh, I won't tell them about it.
The collection ends with A Love Child. A bit predictable. On the side of sappy. And the most likely to be made into a movie starred by Ben Affleck. Which is not to say it is shallow because it is loaded with meaning and still beautifully written.
It's been months since I finished the book. And I'm now over the fiction-writing itch. But I'm not over Doris Lessing yet.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
I am Gege. And okay, I admit it now, I am addicted to books. And book buying. And my husband does not like it. But confessions are necessary. And therapeutic. So, I'm showing here the view from under my desk where the recent loot is in temporary confinement until my husband goes out to play golf. When I, away from his prying eyes and judging heart, can put them into their rightful alphabetical places.
Shhh, don't tell my husband. Read more!
Posted by gege at 2:05 PM
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Somebody from the US loves me and knows the stuff I love. Thank you. I'm going to enjoy all these goodies. Read more!
Posted by gege at 9:50 AM
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
July 26, 2009 -- We used Eric's arrival from Sydney as the perfect excuse to troop to Angeles, Pampanga for this 5-way lechon feast we've been hearing, reading, dreaming, salivating about.
We knew about Claude Tayag -- artist, columnist, and chef. Whipping up an amazing lunch, a degustacion that had food gluttons raising their little white towels in surrender, Chef Tayag certainly didn't disappoint.
But the surprise was Mary Ann, Claude's wife. Stylish, gracious, and entertaining, she elevates party hosting to an art.
Of course, the most pleasant surprise is Bale Dutung itself. You enter an unassuming suburban village to get there. Then once you cross the Tayag's gate you step into a rustic restaurant slash house slash gallery slash nature wonderland. A house filled with art, antiques, and creative ideas that salute Philippine food and culture.
And the food -- I honestly have never been that stuffed in my whole life. Slooooow food at its finest -- almost 5 hours. And well worth the time and the trip. (Of course, I'm not with the party that got caught in the flash flood and the 5-hour traffic jam on the way back, so I can say that.)
Resto review to follow. In the meantime, enjoy the photos at: http://islandhopper.multiply.com/photos/album/38 Read more!