Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Merry Christmas!


I am fully expecting the following days before Christmas to be a very busy time, both at the office and at home. I'm not sure if I'll be able to blog during this busy yuletide season. So, I just want to make sure that I'm able to greet all of you a very warm and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! With all the celebrations and parties around us, let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas -- the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ. Wishing you all a peaceful and joyous Christmas ahead.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I got tagged!

After all the preparations and the recovery needed after my operation, I must admit I had no idea how to get my creative juices flowing again. My mind goes blank every time I log in to my blogger account. Good thing I got tagged by a blog friend Kat. This is a nice way for me to get excited about writing again. For this tag, I need to write 6 random facts about myself, plus an explanation for each item. Here it goes ...

1. I cannot sleep with dirty feet.

I might be dead-tired from work (arriving past midnight) with my make-up still on,
about to fall asleep the moment my head hits my pillow...and yet I cannot sleep with dirty feet. I have this urgent need to go to the bathroom and wash my feet even if I do not get to wash my face or brush my teeth due to sheer exhaustion. I just have no explanation for this. This is one of my quirks.

2. I like watching my DVD set of "Will & Grace" over and over and over again.

It used to be the TV show "Friends," but this has been replaced by "Will & Grace". I do not get tired of watching the same show over and over again. And I still laugh at the right moments. Don't get me wrong...I like watching the occasional new movie and TV show. But there is something about watching the same scenes over and over again...gives me a sense of comfort that nothing will change in my life and nobody will leave me...again. Must be all the childhood heartaches of relatives and friends migrating abroad and the memory of the death of my brother and father.

3. I love collecting bookmarks.

As a young kid, I loved to read the usual Nancy Drew series which progressed to Sweet Dreams which eventually progressed to more serious stuff. Since budget was tight, I was unable to buy and collect these books. I could only borrow them. So, in lieu of books, I thought of collecting bookmarks. Wala lang...bookmarks are a whole lot cheaper. :-)

4. I love to eat bananas dipped in adobo cauce and/or ice cream with potato chips or french fries.

These are some of my comfort foods. I love the sweetness of bananas or ice cream mixed with the saltiness of adobo sauce or potato chips/french fries. However, since I'm pregnant and currently in the stage of paglilihi, I cannot stand the smell or sight of bananas and adobo and any food with lots of garlic in them. They would have to wait until I give birth.

5. I have a very laid back disposition.

A friend of mine is frustrated with me. When I was still single and unattached, this friend of mine would always invite me to go to Sagada, Mountain Province to trek. While I am sure that this place must be very picturesque surrounded by the beauty of nature....I am not inclined to go through all that trouble to enjoy the beauty of nature. My idea of a perfect vacation is to stay in bed and sleep all day....hehehe.

6. Whenever I go inside National Book Store, I have this strong compulsion to buy something, even just a ballpen so that I will not leave empty handed.

I have racked up a lot of reward points with my Laking National Card because of this compulsion. There is absolutely no explanation for this. If you have any idea how to get rid of this compulsion, I would certainly welcome your suggestion. This is the reason why I refuse to go inside National Book Store if there is no need for me to buy anything.

I'm not tagging anyone with this meme. I'm just happy to be back.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Road to Recovery

Last 17 November 2006, I underwent the operation to remove the cyst in my left ovary. It was successful and the baby and I are both fine. Since then, I've been slowly, but surely, recovering in the confines of our home. Rest assured that everything is OK. It was very painful during the first few days after the operation since I could not take pain-killers because of the bad effect it might have on the foetus. But I'm feeling a whole lot better now. Thank you very much for all of your prayers.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I'M BACK!

Hi dear friends! I know I've been gone for a long time. Rest assured that I'm perfectly alright...so far. I'm touched by the messages I received while I was gone.

Anyway, I think there's a need to explain my long absence....but then there's really no explanation for it. Hahahaha. As most of my friends in the blogosphere know by now, I'm on the family way. I've been experiencing morning sickness from hell which explains my "suplada" attitude these days....teehheee....and hubby has no choice but to put up with it. My workload has been crazy. And most of all, there were the needed trips to the doctor's clinic and to the hospital.

My first ultrasound was a happy one, saw the peanut-sized foetus inside the uterus and my heart fluttered like crazy...until I saw the doctor frowning. "Doc, what's wrong?" She answered, "there seems to be a dermoid cyst in your left ovary." And that was it. What happened was a series of tests with different doctors to prove the presence of a dermoid cyst. There's really a need to remove the cyst because it's continually getting bigger in size and there's a chance that I might go into premature labor if it's not removed. The doctor assured me that it's routine procedure and the baby won't be harmed. I've been praying the rosary everyday, asking for help to make sure that the baby remains safe throughout the whole procedure and even afterwards.


So, how do you lift a sagging spirit? Why...shopping of course! It certainly won't solve the problem of my cyst but I sure do have to look at least presentable while I'm pregnant, right? So, armed with only a small amount of cash, I decided to go to the best bargain place in Manila....Divisoria. Why spend a lot of money when I get to wear maternity clothes for a few more months anyway?

So here are my bargain buys...

Php 130 or roughly US$2.60

Php 180 or approx. US$3.60

Php 100 or approx. US$ 2.00

I bought 2 of these beauties in different colors,
each at Php 100 or approx. US$ 2.00

Php 230 or approx. US$ 4.60

So, if you meet a pregnant lady one of these days wearing any of these outfits, it might just be me! :-)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hapones?

Overheard on the radio this morning, a radio announcer interviewing Robert Dean Barbers, the General Manager of Philippine Tourism Authority:

Radio Announcer: Saan pong bansa nanggagaling ang pinakamaraming turista sa Pilipinas?

GM Barbers: Maraming turista ang nanggagaling pa rin sa U.S.

Radio Announcer: Ay, ang akala ko po ang nangunguna sa listahan ay ang mga Koreano.

GM Barbers: Pinakamarami pa rin ang galing sa US, sinusundan ng mga Koreano tapos mga Hapon.

Radio Announcer: Ahhh....so mga Americans, Koreans and Japans. (?!?!?!?! )

Rough translation:
Radio Announcer: From which country do we derive the most number of tourists?
GM Barbers: Majority of the tourists come from the United States.
Radio Announcer: Oh, I thought the list was topped by Koreans.
GM Barbers: We get the most number of tourists from the U.S., followed by Korea, then Japan.
Radio Announcer: Oh, so Americans, Koreans and Japans (??!?!?!?!)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A reunion of sorts


What happens when you put together former classmates from law school together? Why, chaos, of course. Venue was Una Mas, Greenbelt 2. I even forgot to take some pictures of the food we ate because we were all so busy catching up on each other's lives. All in all, it was an evening of good food shared with good friends. Hope we can do it again soon.

Bon voyage Jeanne!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Small plane crashes into a Manhattan building

I woke up this morning with a full bladder and a strong urge to pee, so I went to the CR. After going back to bed, I also felt very thirsty. Ayayay...the discomforts of pregnancy.

Anyway, with all of these things happening to me very early in the morning, I could not immediately go back to sleep. So I decided to switch the television on, hoping to catch some boring show to rock me to sleep. What flashed before me did not make me go back to sleep. Instead, I was jolted into full consciousness and sent me running to the computer.

The image of a burning building in NY immediately caught my attention, accompanied by the headline banner of BBC saying that a plane crashed into a NY building. What flashed through my mind was "Oh no! Not another terrorism attack again please!" I'm sure the people of NY have not yet recovered from the 9-11 attack.

Anyway, there have been no indications of terrorism involved. However, fighter jets have been reinforced and there's a no-fly zone over Manhattan. According to the news reports, it was a small plane (probably a 4-seater) that crashed into the 20th floor of a 50-story condominium tower located on East 72nd. The Belaire Condominiums, built in 1988, has 183 apartments, many of which sell for more than $1 million. It is a tower overlooking the East River, about five miles from the former World Trade Center building. As of this writing, there have only been 2 confirmed deaths.

What's so disconcerting about this is that this building is located near a hospital, the Hospital for Special Surgery. So, several lower floors are occupied by doctors and administrative offices, as well as guest facilities for family members of patients of the said hospital.

I hope that this really is an accident and no terrorism is involved. For more info, please visit http://www.cnn.com/.



Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tips on recognizing a stroke immediately

Based on personal experience, I cannot stress enough the necessity of recognizing the signs of stroke at the earliest possible moment. So, when I read Kevin Kelly's site, I thought of posting some of its contents in my blog in order to help spread this information.

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim quickly he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed and getting to the patient within 3 hours, which is tough. Sometimes, symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. But doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by performing 3 simple tasks:

1. Ask the individual to SMILE.
2. Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
3. Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE. (Coherently, ie: It is sunny out today.)

The American Stroke Association lists more warning signs of stroke, and these are:
* Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
* Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
* Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
* Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
* Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.

Not all of these warning signs may occur in every stroke. In my case, I had numbness on the right side of my body, severe pain in my left eye and difficulty speaking. I could not even recite the alphabet. The important thing to remember is not to ignore signs of stroke, even if they do go away. Unfortunately, we don't have 9-1-1 in our country. The best thing to do under the circumstances is to bring the individual to the nearest hospital so that the doctors may give the proper medical care and attention. If diagnosed early, the stroke may still be easily reversed, depending on the damage.

Arming yourself with this knowledge may just save another person's life.

(P.S., you might be wondering when the stroke happened. This happened to me 2 years ago and I'm ok now. FYI.)

Monday, October 02, 2006

The weekend that was...

I had a very uneventful weekend. The ravages of typhoon "Milenyo" were still visible all across the metropolis. I hope all of my friends and relatives are okay and weren't affected by the typhoon, except of course for the power and water interruption.

It's Monday once more and the beginning of a workweek. For some reason, I'm feeling a lot better today. Read somewhere that eating foods rich in complex carbohydrates will lessen the feeling of morning sickness. Must be the result of the oatmeal breakfast I had this morning. Note to self: I will eat oatmeals every morning from now on.

I'm sorry to all of those who commented on my previous post which were left unanswered. I actually answered them but for some reason, could not post the answers to blogspot. Don't know what's wrong. But I do appreciate all of your greetings.

My posts have become less frequent. But I'm not abandoning blogging. I consider it a very helpful therapy for me. I just hope I get into a writing mood one of these days. Anyway, that's it for now.


P.S.
Tomorrow, 3 October 2006, is the deadline for submission of entries in the 2006 Yonex Sunrise Philippines National Open Badminton Championships. It's one of the premiere events in the Philippine badminton scene. For more info on this tournament and on how to join, please visit this site.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Badminton World Championship, memes, etc.

I had a difficult time waking up this morning. Wondered if it was related to my current condition. Hmmm, suddenly I remembered the reason why...I stayed up late watching the 2006 World Badminton Championships telecast live from Madrid, Spain. Aww shucks. Memo to self, sleep early from now on. I think I can sacrifice 7 more months of late night television in exchange for a healthy baby. It was quite funny though...I was rooting for Lin Dan on behalf of my unborn baby....hahaha. I'm so glad he won the World Championship. Bao Chunlai, Lin Dan's opponent and compatriot, is also a good player. There are other opportunities for him to win though, so good luck on his next try.

Anyway, these memes are long overdue. (Sorry Ipanema and Mita for the delay.)

First off, Ipanema requested me to name seven songs that I'm into right now. Hmm, I'm not really into music these days since I'm too sleepy to pop a CD in the player or to turn on the radio. Anyway, these are the songs that I last listened to on my cellphone/mp3 player:

1. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - Art Garfunkel's version

2. Moon River - Louis Armstrong

3. La vie en rose - Louis Armstrong

4. What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

5. Do you hear the people sing - from Les Miserables

6. Master of the house - from Les Miserables

7. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - Johnny Matthis

I included the last one since this song never fails to get me in the Christmas mood. And I love the voice of Johnny Matthis. :-D

Now, onto Mita's meme. She requested me to list the top 5 things to eat before you die. I had more trouble deciding on this one because my taste buds are askew these days. Previous favorites have been included in the banned list at home...well, at least until I give birth. I cannot even take the smell of sauteeing garlic and onions. Oh well, seven more months....seven more months.

Anyway, here's my own list of top 5 things to eat before you die:

1. Steamed lapu-lapu from Emerald's Garden along Roxas Boulevard. I love their fresh steamed lapu-lapu with the mixture of just the right seasonings.

2. Prawn salad from President's in Chinatown.

3. Sweet lanzones from camiguin...and it's lanzones season to boot! (Yipee! My stomach is rejoicing at the thought of these sweet fresh lanzones.)

4. Pork chop from Tasty Dumplings (they have branches in Chinatown, Wilson St., Banawe among others). Their food is reasonably priced, even for those on a tight budget. Their chops are thin, crunchy and very tasty.

5. Razon's halo halo. I just love their halo-halo. Their recipe hails from Pampanga. The leche flan on top just melts in your mouth. Yummmmmmmyyy.

I would have wanted to include lumpia from a certain shop in Quiapo. But the name of the shop escapes me at this point. Sorry guys.

Anyway, there you go. Sorry for the delay. And since these memes are long overdue, I don't think I'll tag anyone. Hope you all had an enjoyable weekend. :-D

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Tribute to My Husband

Tag Category: A Badminton Story

It's my husband's birthday today and I must admit that with all of the things that have recently happened in our lives, I was not able to prepare anything for him. I could not even cook for him because my olfactory senses simply could not stand the smell of cooking. So my husband is out right now buying food for the guests. By the way, we're not just celebrating his birthday....it's also been 5 years from the day I officially said yes to his proposal for us to date exclusively. Hahaha...uso pa ba yun ngayon? Kids these days are usually less formal. Di na uso yung panliligaw. I have to admit that I come from a different generation and I'm not familiar with the dating patterns of teens these days. But I digress.

I was surfing the net deciding on what my entry for today will be when I came across the site of Badminton Chronicles. I was reminded of this article written by Mr. Victor Belizario about my husband. I don't know Mr. Belizario personally but I was truly touched by his article. It is a fitting tribute to my husband who's celebrating his birthday right now. It also proves the importance of observing court ethics while playing badminton, and that a little help goes a long, long way. I would like to share this article with you. And to Mr. Belizario, whoever and wherever you are, my heartfelt thanks to you for sharing your story with the whole world. Here's to Jojo *toast*! Happy Birthday Honey and Happy Anniversary!

The day ee played against RP singles no. 1
By: Victor C. Belizario 17 January 2006 2:08 PM

One Sunday morning back in the early 1990s, we heard that Mang Tony was coming to join us in our weekly badminton game. He was a kababayan, a badminton buddy of my father and my uncle, but was then residing in Manila to tend to his business. He arrived with his son, Jojo, a tall and lean chap in his 20s. He's a very good player, we were told. Everybody in his family plays badminton. Hmm... that may be so, but it doesn't necessarily mean he's THAT good. Turned out that Jojo Mance was RP Singles No. 1 at the time and he was going to play with us weekend warriors! All right, I take it back. He must really be THAT good.

The venue was formerly a pelota court so only two sides were buffered against the wind and the rays of the sun. Good badminton courts were hard to find then, especially in BiƱan, Laguna so we made do despite the additional opponents – Mr. Gusts and Ms. Glare. True enough, nobody could withstand the father-and-son team. As there were practically no televised badminton matches during that era, it was my first time to watch a player move – no, glide on the court - swiftly and effortlessly, it seemed. Compared to this display of finesse, our footwork seemed like that of chickens – the decapitated variety. And his deft and deceptive strokes were remarkable to us yokels. Not to mention the hard smashes he occasionally let loose. But more astounding was his demeanor. Aggressive, but not loud-mouthed. He was no android either; he affably acknowledged good plays of his partner and even his opponents. We didn't see tantrums or self-berating scenes whenever a less-than-perfect shot was made. Which is quite rare nowadays. After the oldies, we (younger players) were next - to have a whack at it, as it were. But this time, he went one-on-two with us. Uhmmm … maybe we have a chance to beat him after all, we mused. That thought quickly vaporized when the game started and he quickly piled on the points. As my partner and I were basically all-power-and-no-strategy players then, we virtually telegraphed our intentions to him during every rally. Well … not every rally, really … there was one point when we finally got to serve. Jojo anticipated a short serve so he was poised to lunge at the net for the kill when I had begun my service motion. But I executed a pretty good flick serve, which surprised him (and most of all, me!) The shuttle sailed in a textbook offensive arc just beyond his reach and landed just inside the service court. Uh-oh. Instead of being elated, I thought grimly – now, you've done it. He's going to whip you and your partner for that. Lintek lang ang walang ganti. But surprisingly, he just laughed softly at himself and nodded at us in recognition of the point. No grimacing. No menacing grin. He even returned the shuttle to us for our next serve properly. Kakaiba talaga!? These days an opponent might slam the bird into the net in disgust or begrudgingly hit the bird back to you, i.e. hit it out of your reach. Anyone out there who could relate? Okay, okay … you can put your hands down now.

Anyway, after our single-game match, he gave us tips on footwork, grip, strokes, strategy .…. in a casual, unassuming manner. But what he didn't mention, we learned by example. Sportsmanship. Character. Play hard but still be agreeable to your opponents. Yes, even to your doubles partner….especially your doubles partner.

As we bid each other goodbye after the game, we thanked father and son for playing with us. Today, at 45, I thank them for helping me sustain my love for the sport. Just a little kindness really goes a long way, doesn't it? The final score? Ahhh ..….. oo nga pala! Jojo whipped us 15-3. Yet somehow, we all went home winners.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Finally!

Many of you might be wondering the reason behind my absence in the blogosphere. Don't you worry guys, I'm still alive and kicking! :-)

Let me start my post with what happened last Sunday. I accompanied by husband to the GO! Badminton Tournament held at Powersmash Makati where he paired off with Rocky Magnaye in the Open Category.

Rocky Magnaye and Jojo Mance

They both tried their best. Unfortunately, they did not win in their cateogry. Youth simply proved superior at this point. But to me guys, you're still the best!

After the tournament, I suddently realized that I was not feeling well. Aside from the hunger pangs I was experiencing, I also felt nauseated. We decided to eat at the food court in Glorietta. Suspecting something, I asked my husband to pass by the drugstore first before going home, to which he readily agreed.

So, after passing by Watson's drug store in Greenbelt 1, we immediately went home. Upon arriving home, I fell asleep from exhaustion. I woke up at 6 P.M., went to the bathroom to pee...and to administer the home pregnancy test kit that I bought at Watson's.

After performing this test for about a year, I was already used to seeing a single line in the test kit to signal that I was not yet with child. When I finally saw 2 red lines on the test strip, I cried like crazy and felt extremely happy that God has finally granted our wish -- to have a child. I immediately went to my husband and told him the good news. He was also very happy with the news and excited too.

So that's what's been happening to me guys. For the past four days, I have been swept in this wonderful feeling of euphoria. Unfortunately, it is not without its accompanying discomfort. I always feel nausea, my taste buds are askew and I've been feeling very sleepy lately. But believe me, these are sacrifices I'm willing to make for the realization of a dream. Finally!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Bistek Tagalog: Beef Steak Filipino-style


It's Saturday and time once more for me to don my chef's hat (naks...hahaha). I'm sure all the Filipinos out there are familiar with Bistek Tagalog -- the Filipino version of the Western style steak. As usual, this is the result of the creativity of the Filipinos in order to stretch out this recipe to feed more people and makes use of native ingredients like calamansi.

I made use of sirloin steak sliced thinly and marinated it in a mixture of calamansi and soy sauce. Remove from the marinade and brown in oil for about 5 minutes. Add the marinade. Add soy sauce and a bit of water as needed. Top with pre-cooked white onions, sliced into rings. Serve over hot rice. Yummy!

Tag category: Recipe



Thursday, September 07, 2006

Importance of court surface

Tag category: Badminton 101

When my friends and I were still playing regularly at the badminton court located at the Court of Appeals, a friend of mine would constantly complain of back problems after a competitive game of badminton. I was not spared of any pain either. My feet would also ache due to the constant running I had to do.


At first, I thought the pains we were experiencing were due to the fact that we were getting older(lol!). It was only later that I found what the culprit was - the surface we were playing on was cement and it was harsh on our bodies due to the constant running, jumping and lunging we had to do. It was then that I discovered the importance of court surfaces in playing.

So far, I have seen four (4) kinds of surfaces in different badminton courts here in the Philippines, namely: (1) cement (hard court); (2) rubber mat-on-cement; (3) wooden planks flooring (wooden court surface); and (4) rubber mat-on-wood.

An example of a rubber mat-on-wood surface

Of these four, I prefer the last one, rubber mat on-wood. Cement is my least favorite surface. It has no 'give' after you perform a jump. Your body will have to absorb all the impact of that jump. A wooden surface, on the other hand, will help absorb some of the impact and will help the player 'bounce back.' Rubber mat, on the other hand, provides for a good surface since it has anti-skid properties. Due to the sudden stops and starts in a badminton game, this will help the player avoid sliding across the court after a sudden move. Obviously, a rubber mat-on-wood surface provides the best surface since it absorbs some of the shock and prevents the players from skidding inside the court. In the absence of available rubber mat-on-wood surface, I would settle for a wooden surface. I would definitely steer clear of those cement surfaces. I still want my knees and joints to be intact in my old age. :-)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Traffic condition last night

It was around 6:20 last night when I heard the sound of thunder. My room at the office had no windows so I had to go out of my room and peek at the next available window. Sure enough, it was raining hard. I had a hunch that if I stayed long in the office with this kind of rain, we would have difficulty going home since we live in a flood-prone area. I called up my husband to pick me up. By 7:00 P.M., we were already on our way home.

The rain suddenly stopped. So feeling confident that the water will subside, we plied the Espana route. Lo and behold, there was water everywhere and traffic stood still. Arrgghhh, we should have known. That area is really prone to flood at the first sign of rain.

See the water on the street and the
stream of people crossing the street

The people walking hurriedly by inspite of the flood,
probaly to catch the latest teleserye at home.

With the elections looming next year, I just hope that the politicians make good on their promise to improve the drainage and flood-control system, not just in Metro Manila, but nationwide. Santa, I hope you're reading this.

Oops, I almost forgot. What time did we get home? 10:20 P.M. I could hardly believe it myself. That's how bad the traffic situation was last night.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sinigang na Baboy: Pork Soup with Tamarind Mix

My husband accompanied me to the grocery yesterday and I asked him what he wants for lunch today. He said sinigang na baboy (pork soup with tamarind mix). So I decided to grant his wish. Besides, I love cooking soup-based meals since it's an all-in-one meal.

The grocery we went to was out of pork pieces specifically for sinigang. I had to settle for liempo. Unfortunately, the pork pieces we got had lots of fat in it. But the good thing with this kind of dish is that it's not fried and there are vegetables so I still consider it somewhat healthy.


Ingredients:

1 1/2 kilo pork liempo
gabi (taro)
enough water to cover the pork
1 pack tamarind mix (I used Knorr's sinigang sa sampaloc mix with gabi)
onions, chopped
tomatoes, sliced
chili pecante (about 5 pieces)
kangkong leaves

Procedure:

Combine the water, pork and gabi and cook in a pressure cooker, about 5 minutes. Remove from pressure cooker (be careful, it's hot) and transfer to another pot. Add the tamarind mix, onions, tomatoes and chili. Let it boil and simmer for about 20 minutes in order to let all the juices out. Add the kangkong leaves and let it boil again. Remove from heat. Best served with rice and patis (fish) sauce with siling labuyo. Yummy!

And for dessert? Voila! Bibingka (sweet rice cake) which was a pasalubong from my husband after he came home from the gym this morning. (Sweet noh?!)



Tag category: Recipe

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday night out with some of my closest friends

My friends, Eric and Minnie and I, decided to have dinner tonight since we have not been able to get in touch with each other lately. Eric has been my friend since my days at the Supreme Court, while Minnie and I have known each other since college days at the Ateneo. I miss them so much and I was really looking forward to having dinner with them.

Predictably, since I would be the last one who could get off work, we decided to eat somewhere near my office. So, we decided on the old reliable Amici (ah-MEE-chi) di Don Bosco located at the Don Bosco School along A. Arnaiz Ave., Makati City. They serve excellent Italian cuisine at affordable prices. Jojo tagged along since I had always been convincing him to eat at Amici. I always teased him that I discovered Amici first even if he was the alumni of Don Bosco High School.

This is what we had:

Spaghetti with the house specialty - Don Bosco sauce
(tomato sauce with hams and mushrooms)

Penne Arrabiata (believe me this is really hot)Spaghetti Carbonara
(since we already ordered 2 pastas with tomato-based sauces)

Tutta Carne Pizza (all meat toppings)

How did we eat all of these? By sharing, of course! The best way to eat since we could each have a taste of everything. It was a wonderful evening. Good food, good friends. :-)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Good news for music lovers out there








Music is soothing to the soul. It's common knowledge that Filipinos love music. It is is no wonder than that a large number of Filipinos join singing contests (just look as Philippine Idol and Pinoy Dream Academy), and the business of selling music CDs, mostly pirated, is a thriving enterprise. As a result, we are always on the watchlist of the United States for software piracy.

What accounts for this continuous abuse of the intellectual property rights of the music producers/composers/singers? My guess is that since we are a poor nation, with more than half of the population living below the poverty line, the masses in general cannot afford the stiff prices being charged by these music companies for original CDs.

Which is why I think that the new venture being planned by Universal Music Group to launch Spiral Frog, is music to the ears of music lovers out there. According to its official website, Spiral Frog, touted to revolutionize the music industry, is the new online music destination offering advertising-supported legal downloads of audio and video content licensed from the catalogs of the world's leading record laels and from independents. It likewise offers music-lovers a compelling alternative to illegal file-sharing and pirate sites, with a secure environment for them to satisfy their unyielding passion and thirst for music, entertainment, information and brands at no cost except their time and attention.

Spiral Frog will offer users of its no-cost web-based service the ability to legally download music by many of the world's most popular and award winning artists. How does Spiral Frog earn revenues from this venture? It will instead rely on advertising as a source of its revenues instead of charging the consumers directly. Many advertisers have expressed their desire to be part of the project.

Are you excited already? Whoa, hold your horses. This service wil be made available to the public starting December, 2006 and will be initally offered for residents of the United States and Canada. I just hope that this service reaches the Philippines soon. For more info, please visit this article on the New York Times.

Tag category: Intellectual Property Rights/Law

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rexona Cup and MAP Badminton Tournament

Last Sunday was a very busy day for my husband and I. First off, we had to go to Club 650 Badminton Court along Libis, Q.C. for the Rexona Cup. No, my husband did not join that tournament because it wasn't open for national and ex-national players. Instead, they were part of an exhibition team, the PB Shuttlers, to be launched that day. As mentioned in my earlier post, the PB Shuttlers are composed of former ex-national champions and players who were tapped by Pinoy Badminton Inc. to perform badminton exhibition matches (ala Harlem Globetrotters style.)

I am happy to announce the PB Shuttlers received very good feedbacks during the exhibition match. They did not just exhibit their talent in the court, they also elicited guffaws and thunderous applause from the audience because of their funny, yet unstaged (*wink*wink*), antics. Here they are:

Badong "The Magician" Banquiles
Jojo "The Gentle-" Mance

Ronald "McDonald" Magnaye

Rocky "Balboa" Magnaye
After their exhibition match, we had a light lunch and proceeded to the MAP (Malaysian Association of the Philippines) Badminton Tournament held at Powersmash Makati. My husband paired off with Denden Dimarucot, the #1 varsity player of University of the East.

Jojo Mance and Denden Dimarucot

Unfortunately, they were immediately pitted against the Indonesian pair, Rudy Wijaya and Kwee Tek Min, former members of the Indonesian National Team. What can I say? They really tried their best but they eventually lost to the Indonesian pair.

Rudy Wijaya and Kwee Tek Min

Even the powerful duo of Ian Piencenaves (2006 JVC Champion) and Jaime Junio, current member of the national team, were no match against the Indonesian pair. Piencenaves and Junio even won the first set. The game went to a deciding set but was eventually won by the Indonesian pair.

Ian Piencenaves and Jaime Junio

The winners of the tournament? The Indonesian pair of Rudy Widjaya and Kwee Tek Min. Filipinos have yet to go a long way in becoming world caliber badminton players. The Asuncion siblings (Kennevic and Kennie), are one step closer since they are currently ranked #20 in the world, according to the 24 August 2006 ranking issued by the International Badminton Federation. Unfortunately, we do not have the opportunity to shine in regional tournaments because the world champions are also from Asia (China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Korea, among others.) But at least, our Filipino shuttlers are trying their best. They need more support from the government if we ever dream of bagging the World Championship, the Olympics or the Thomas and Uber Cup someday.

Tag category: Badminton Tournament ; PB Shuttlers

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Korean Beef Stew

Tag Category: Recipe

A fellow blogger, Mita, requested my recipe for Korean Beef Stew, so I decided to prepare this dish today. If you're reading this Mita, this one's for you.

1 head garlic crushed
1/4 cup oil (can be reduced later)
3 pcs. siling labuyo
1 tsp. shredded ginger
1 kilo beef short ribs
3 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups water
3 tbsps. corn starch
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tbsps. toasted sesame seeds
leeks

Combine the first 10 ingredients. Cook until beef is tender. I use a pressure cooker which takes about 30 minutes. Others do not like to use pressure cooker and prefer the slow-cooking method to allow the flavor to seep in. In that case, it takes about 3-4 hours. After cooking with a pressure cooker, transfer to another pot and bring to a boil, then simmer. Add the corn starch, sesame oil and sesame seeds. I have to admit we ran out of corn starch, so mine doesn't have it, but it is preferable if you put it in order to thicken the sauce. Then transfer to a serving dish. I added chopped leeks to give it that decorative touch. Voila!


In our case, I do not immediately put the sesame seeds in because there are others here at home who do not like the taste of sesame seeds. I just put some on the side so that those who prefer it can just put it in their dish. We respect diversity in our house...hahaha.

Anyway, since this is a Korean dish, I decided to pair it with Kimchi. No, I did not make the Kimchi nor do I know how to make it. Fortunately, these things are readily available in groceries and supermarkets. I prefer the chinese cabbage variety.


Arrgghh, I'm gaining weight with all this cooking. Oh well, I'll just start dieting next week....hopefully.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Introducing the PB Shuttlers

Introducing a new concept in the Philippine badminton scene...the PB (Pinoybadminton) Shuttlers. The PB Shuttlers will be composed of the following ex-national players:

Badong Banquiles - Former Philippine #1 (1988); U.S. Opens Veterans Mixed Doubles First Runner-Up (2002, 2004); Badminton Coach.

Jojo Mance - Former Philippine #1 (1987, 1989-92, 1994-95); former Assistant Coach to the RP Team(1998-2002, 2005) and Head Coach to RP Juniors Team (1996-97); Badminton Coach.

Ronald Magnaye - Former RP national player (1990-98); former Men's Doubles Champion; Assistant Coach to the RP Team (2005); Badminton Coach.

Rocky Magnaye - Former RP national player; member of the PBA Grassroots Development Program; Badminton Coach.

The PB Shuttlers will not only showcase their talents inside the badminton court, they are guaranteed to bring smiles to the faces of the spectators. Their initial exhibition match will be held at Club 650 Badminton Court (Libis, Q.C. beside shopwise), on Sunday (27 August 2006), 11:00 A.M., as part of the highlights of the Rexona Badminton Cup. If I'm not mistaken, Prime Diva (RPN 9?) and Solar Sports might be covering this event, as well as Channel 23 (for Badminton Extreme).

If you have the time and you're just near the area, please drop by and you'll surely have fun watching the exhibition.

Tag category: PB Shuttlers

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What's your name again?

I just wanted to share with you this funny site. It’s a twist on the “name generator.” I first came across this game while watching an episode of “Will & Grace.” Apparently, there are different variations of this game.

Porn name (or drag name)

Combine your first pet’s name and the street you grew up on. – Mine is “Balto Kapitan Tiago.” (Hmmmm, doesn’t sound sexy at all.)

Super-villain name

Combine the color of your shirt or blouse you’re currently wearing and your least favorite vegetable. – “Pink Kinchay!” (Hahahahaha…….Pink Kinchay is here to destroy the world! I can’t imagine anyone being frightened by that name.)

I hope you enjoy playing this game as much as I did. :-)

Another sisig place

Last night, while my husband and I were on our way home (around 9:20 P.M.) and could no longer ignore the hunger pangs we were feeling, we decided to eat at ALING LUCING SISIG along Pasong Tamo, Makati City. I read in a blog somewhere that ALING LUCING SISIG originated in Pampanga and the blogger had high praises for this establishment so we decided to try it out.
I had sisig with hotdog. (Price: Php 69.00 or US$1.34)
My husband had sisig with chicken. (Price: Php 69.00 or US$1.34)

Not bad considering the price. We still prefer the sisig of Dencio's because it's more crunchy. (I think they put fried pork skin to make it crunchy. ) But considering the reasonable price of the meals at Aling Lucing, it was acceptable. Next time, though, we plan to order the plain sisig big shot (Price: Php 130 or US$2.53) good for 2 persons because I did not like the taste of the hotdog, although the chicken was ok.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New Rules to be introduced at the U.S. Open

Aside from being a badminton fanatic, I also love watching tennis tournaments, especially the 4 grand slam tournaments. I also have lots of books about tennis at home. Sadly, I can only manage a decent forehand and backhand stroke. I don't even know how to serve...that's because my tennis lessons went only as far as those 2 strokes before I eventually ended up playing badminton exclusively. (Previous story on this topic.) However, my love for tennis still persists.

I'm glad to learn that the upcoming U.S. Open Tennis Championships at Flushing Meadows will introduce a new innovation to the sport...instant replay. What happens is that when a player questions a call, above-court video screens show a graphic rendering of the ball's flight, in slow motion, with a dark spot indicating where it landed. That spot either touches a white line -- the ball was in -- or it doesn't -- the ball was out. Simple as that. (Wow!)

(Photo courtesy of the official website of the U.S. Open)

According to the U.S. Open official website, here's how it works:
- Each player will receive 2 challenges per set to review line calls.
- If the player is correct with a challenge then the player retains the same number of challenges.
- If the player is incorrect with a challenge, then one of his/her challenges is lost.
- During a tie-break game in any set, each player will receive one additional challenge.
- Challenges may not be carried over from one set to another.

This is a major change in a sport steeped with tradition. I'm glad to see that they're moving in step with advances in technology. I'm certainly looking forward to it! I just hope that the International Badminton Federation also adopts this new rule. Now, wouldn't that be something?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Badminton 101: Court Ethics


Tag Category: Badminton 101









I love watching a good badminton game. I am what you might call a professional.....spectator! Hahaha... (
Did you think I was gonna say professional player?) What makes a badminton game enjoyable to watch? In my personal opinion, it becomes enjoyable when the players are good, of the same caliber and of course, well-mannered. I have watched a million informal games in court and even a sizable number of tournaments and I have observed that there are a good number of players who do not practice the proper decorum in court. I have even seen a shouting match in a tournament when a player succumbed to the cheerings and jeerings of a spectator-mom, but that's another story altogether.

What constitutes good manners and right conduct of players in court? There are no hard and fast rules, although there are really some behavior that are prohibited in court as stated in the Players' Code of Conduct issued by the International Badminton Federation, the official governing body of badminton associations worldwide.

I also came up with my own list. Some of these can also be found in the Players' Code of Conduct, others are just my own observations. Please feel free to come up with your own list.

1. When the shuttle falls dead on your side of the court, you should return the shuttle properly to your opponent. The shuttle should be picked up either by hand or by your racket and properly tossed to the other side of the court. Please do not kick it, sweep it or smash it back to your opponent.

2. When the opponent is serving, do not engage in threatening acts or words in order to psyche out your opponent. Please leave that for the boxing match later.

3. When you are serving, please wait for your opponent to be ready before you swing at the bird...err...shuttle. Surprising the opponent is a "dirty tactic" that is easily gaining popularity...tsk tsk.

4. Please do not abuse the shuttle or your racket, especially in moments when you get frustrated. It is not nice to see a racket doing somersaults and back flips during a game.

5. When the opponent inadvertently lifts the shuttle high and near the net (
otherwise, pag benta na -- badminton aficionados will understand this term), please do not aim for your opponent's face. This is not target shooting.

6. Show only the appropriate amount of emotion in court. Do not shout obscenities, use foul language directly to your opponent, the linesmen or the umpire. That behavior should've retired together with John McEnroe.

7. When playing informally with a group of friends, and the shuttle falls on your side of the court, please make the appropriate call. Please do not say that the shuttle is out when it obviously fell in. Remember the Golden Rule.

8. While this is not necessary, I really appreciate a show of apology by either raising your hand or your racket when the shuttle grazes the net and still falls in your opponent's side. After all, even world no. 1 Lin Dan does this. So shouldn't we, lesser mortals, follow his example?

9. Do not be intimidated by spectators. (Ang mapikon, talo.)

10. Finally, before this list gets any longer, after a game, please do not forget to shake your opponent's hand. (And that includes the service judge and umpire when playing in a tournament.)

With this in mind, just remember that the most important thing in a game is to enjoy. Happy playing!


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Bicol Express

The abundance of coconut trees in our islands is probably one of the reasons why our culinary culture is steeped with dishes using this ingredient. Coconut milk, which can be extracted from coconuts, can be found in native dishes like bringhe, bikol express, guinataan and laing. While coconut milk is now readily available in cans and tetra paks, I still prefer the taste of freshly extracted coconut milk.

I decided to cook bicol express today since it was my turn to cook in the kitchen. It was tough extracting coconut milk. Fortunately, Manang Anita was there to help me. I still had trouble though in slicing the pork since the skin was tough. Manang told me it was probably because the pig was already old. Ouch! I suddenly wished I had once of those super sharp knives available in the TV shopping network, so sharp according to the commercial that it can even slice aluminum. Hahaha…I’m really a sucker for these kinds of commercial.

Anyway, here is my recipe for bicol express:

cooking oil
5 pcs chili pepper (siling amerikano, the big green kind. You may also wish to use siling labuyo. Just adjust the amount according to your
taste/tolerance for heat.)
1 tbsp. salt
4 cups thin coconut milk
1/3 cup ready-made-bagoong ( I used Barrio Fiesta’s bagoong)
½ kilo pork liempo, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-sized onion, minced
2 cups thick coconut milk

Heat the oil. Brown the garlic before adding the onion. Then add the pork and the bagoong. After 5 minutes, add the salt and thin coconut milk. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chili pepper and cook until half of the liquid has evaporated. Pour in thick coconut milk and continue cooking until oil comes out.

Here’s the finished product.
My husband absolutely loved it! :-)

Tag category: Recipe

Thursday, August 17, 2006

That fateful night...

It was a hectic day at the office yesterday. I had lots of stuff to do so I had to work overtime. My husband picked me up from the office at around 8 P.M., but since I was not yet finished, he brought me dinner and waited for me until I finished at around 9:10 P.M. Finally, I could just sit back and relax, or so I thought.

Traffic was light and we were slowly cruising along South Super Highway coming from Makati City. We were in no hurry to get home. Conversation inside the car was light, the topic ranging from the latest news about his friends to my current obsession -- blogging. As we were about to approach the Makati-Manila boundary, our car suddenly careened off-tangent, zigzagging as if having a mind of its own. Fortunately, my husband had presence of mind and the clear sense to grab hold of the steering wheel even when it was spinning wildly, trying to steer the car back to its proper course. Then the car stopped. Silence ensued.

Ladybug: “Anong nangyari?” (What happened?)
Hubby: Silence…breathing hard…
Ladybug: “Anong nangyari? Pumutok ba yung gulong?” (What happened? Did the tire explode?)
Hubby: “Malamang, hindi ko alam eh…” (Probably, I really don’t know)
Ladybug: “Grabe kinabahan ako dun ah…” (I got really nervous there for a while…)
Hubby: “Teka, mukhang nabangga tayo nung truck eh.” (Wait, it seems like we were hit by that truck.)
Ladybug: “Bakit parang hindi naman natin naramdaman.” (Why didn’t we feel anything?)
Hubby: “Teka, itatabi ko lang tong kotse.” (Wait, I’ll just park the car to the side.)

Upon doing so, my husband got out of the car and looked at the damage. It turns out that we were indeed hit by a truck – let me rephrase that – we were hit by a big six-wheeler delivery truck. This truck apparently transports alcoholic beverages for La Tondena Inc. The driver got out of the truck and talked to my husband. He was very apologetic and acknowledged his fault. He claimed that he was just trying to avoid some branches (what bloody tree is he talking about???) and he did not see our small (translation: teeny weeny) car driving in front of him. My husband kept his cool but I was silently chiding myself for cutting my nails the night before as I wanted very much to lunge at him and create big, red, blotchy, pus-filled stretch marks across his face. Well, at that point, what else can I do? Darn.

The time was 9:30 in the evening and upon talking to the owner of the trucking company, we had no choice but to go to the nearest police station to get a police report – a requirement of the insurance company. We went to the nearest police station which was a few blocks away, near Quirino Ave. and just before the Depot Station. Unfortunately, it was already part of Manila and they did not have jurisdiction over the incident. After about an hour and a couple of hits and misses, we finally found the appropriate traffic command station that had the jurisdiction and proper authority to fill out a police report. But it didn’t stop there. We had to photocopy the registration papers, as well as the license of my husband and the truck driver in order for them to properly fill out the police report. Mind you, this was already 10:30 in the evening. Finding an open photocopying business at this time of night is no mean feat. We finally found one after an hour of searching. I was cursing the truck driver under my breath.

Finally, we went back to the traffic command station with the required papers. Photographs of the vehicles were also needed for insurance purposes. Hey, I have a new camera—Canon Ixus 750! I could take pictures with it! Oh no, I suddenly remembered that I left the camera at home, safely nestled inside my drawer, gathering dust.

Darn! I made a mental note to always bring the camera with me from now on.

Here’s a picture of the damage to the back portion of our car. (Taken with my camera phone only.)

Finally, at 12:40 in the morning, after pictures were taken and the police report filled out, we were on our way home, FINALLY.

We arrived home at around 1:10 in the morning. We were so exhausted all we could do was climb into bed and fall asleep.