Friday, December 31, 2004

Counting My Blessings

2004 was quite a year for me!

January-- The very long Canada trip
February--Lunched at Sonya's with Mike -- our Vday date =)
April -- My bestfriend Sharon walked down the aisle with the man she loves
May -- Met Mike's parents for the first time
June -- Celebrated our first year anniversary!
August -- 4 cute Maltese pups!
September --Visited China (Shanghai) for the first time; reunion with Benchpipol!
October -- went to Guangdong for the Annual Canton Fair
November -- First Tagaytay trip with my family, ate at Antonio's
December -- went beyond sales expectation for our company

All in all, 2004 was a good year for me. Hope 2005 turns out even better. =)

December's Blessings

Things I was thankful for for the month of December
  • Getting home early from work
  • The mushy picture message from Mike
  • Being able to watch The Apprentice with minimal power interruptions
  • Receiving a call from Mike just because
  • My dad offering to cancel my bazaar agreement on my behalf
  • Going beyond our sales expectations
  • Attorney Nieto agreeing to cancel my bazaar space reservation even w/o intervention from dad!!
  • Raymond helping me fix my computer
  • Liza offering me free tix to Martin Nievera's concert!
  • Not having to go to Xmas party in Tarlac
  • Mike bringing over some office giveaways so that I won't have to pick them up
  • Audrey uninjured in a major car accident
  • The 2 SM attendants who helped me with my box
  • Finishing off my Xmas shopping... well, almost.
  • Finding gifts that are bagay for the recipients
  • My Ahya Peter
  • The long conversation I shared with Richmond about life and other stuff
  • My brother selling 50++ boxes of pizza last night
  • The featherbed Richmond gave me
  • Richmond braving the HELLISH Makati traffic for me
  • Mike's patience
  • Xmas dinner with my HS friends
  • The many fruit scented stuff I got from friends
  • The In Style mags and All About Me book I borrowed from Liza
  • The lakwatsa with Sharon
  • Light traffic due to holidays
  • Last minute reservations to Fat Michael's
  • Helpful tambays who give clear road directions
  • Another full moon gimmick with Val
  • Making up after LQ =)
  • A good New Year's Eve dinner with my family
  • 2004's blessings
  • Wednesday, December 29, 2004

    We Cook Slow, Live With It

    After a shopping spree at the WTC bazaar, Val and I decided to try out Fat Michael's. I have read so many good reviews about the place. Fortunately, Val had their contact number stored in her cellphone. She called them up to ask for directions. The guy who answered our call said that we should turn right at SLEX and just go straight until we see Makati View Apartelle. Well, we didn't follow his directions, and made up our own direction. So it took us around 30 minutes to locate the place.

    Fat Michael's is a very small and cozy place, with beads, shawls and Bohemian lanterns hanging from the ceiling. I am guessing that the place was a small 2 storey house converted into a quaint bistro. Below is a caricature of Fat Michael's, as shown on their menu's cover:

    We were seated near the kitchen, where we could smell all the wonderful smells of food being prepared. We ordered fries, spicy lamb kebabs and scampi pasta. The spicy lamb kebab was soooo good! I'm not fond of kebabs, as they always come out dry and unappetizing. But Fat Michael's version of kebabs (at least for the spicy lamb) was moist and flavorful. It went well with the saffron rice.

    The scampi pasta was okay, although I would have liked it better if it had more stewed tomatoes in it.

    But the grand finale for me was the dessert -- coffee chocolate cake. Four layers of chocolate cake sandwiched between layers of coffee mousse, topped with chocolate glaze and served with whipped cream on the side. I don't know if it's because I have been craving for chocolate lately, but I couldn't get enough of the chocolate glaze! I want to thank Val for letting me have most of the cake, which took me all of 30 minutes to finish. Was really savoring every bite. =)

    Val peeked in the kitchen and saw a list of blacklisted customers. Reasons include -- lying (maybe the guests lied about their reservations?), overstaying (we left immediately after paying the bill). We noticed that the pieces of furniture were intentionally mismatched, and most of the plates were chipped, which only added to the coziness and quaintness of the place.

    Nice place to hang out. Quite pricey @ P375 per head, but understandable, since the lamb kebabs is a pricey item. Will definitely go back IF I happen to be in Makati. But will not travel all the way from Manila or QC just to eat there. Also want to get to know the owner and find out who Fat Michael really is.

    You can read some comments about Fat Michael's here, andhere.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2004

    ... the end of an era

    It's really over. Booohoooohooo... Sex and the City is over! This month has been one crying-fest for me. I cried when FPJ died. I cried when KC de V. died. And now this -- SATC is over! No more HBO Tuesday nights to look forward to. My only "consolation" is that Carrie ended up with John, aka Mr. Big. I actually want Carrie to end up with Aidan, but he's happily married and has a cute kid, so Carrie being a kabit was probably not a good way to end the show.

    I prepared for the finale by watching SATC from Season 1 till sawa (was able to watch till Season 2's episode 8). Some of my favorite scenes include:

    1. Miranda and Steve meeting for the first time.
    2. Mr. Big showing up when Carrie thought he wouldn't.
    3. Miranda and Steve kissing in the rain.
    4. Smith waiting for Samantha to make sure she got home safe. (Awwww!)
    5. Charlotte trying out her wedding gown for her marriage to Harry.
    6. Aidan proposing to Carrie (Aidan in a suit, Carrie in a white dress).

    It will take forever for me to list down all my favorite scenes. But the ones I've listed are the more memorable ones.

    The thing is, SATC wasn't just a regular tv show for me. It was the lifestyle I (can only) dream of -- fabulous and independent single women with equally fabulous careers who date cute men, live in stylish homes, wear stylish clothes and go to "in" clubs and parties. But what I really liked about SATC was the kind of friendship they shared. I have always wanted a routine type of gimmick with my friends, where we have a special place for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner and we update each other about our lives. But traffic, significant others, work, post grad education and stress always seem to get in the way. =(

    Plus, because of SATC, I now want to go to New York! To visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. To take a leisurely walk in Central Park. To eat in at least one popular restaurant and find out what the fuss is all about. But am too scared to get on a plane bound for New York. Val, can we just go to Canada and cross the border from there? =)

    Took this test to see which SATC character I am --
    You are Charlotte.
    Congratulations! You are Charlotte.

    Which Sex and the City Character Are You?

    Friday, December 24, 2004

    Miracle on Bulacan Street

    Only six more hours to go before Christmas! I didn't think I'd be this excited about Christmas. But when the air gets colder, when people become nicer, when the holiday hams etc. start showing up on the dinner table, it's really hard not to catch the holiday fever. And today, my parents are home early, ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON. That has never happened before. Come to think of it, all five of us are at home, just lounging around, ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON! Wow... miracles do happen!

    For our Noche Buena tonight, I originally wanted to prepare the following: chicken pastel, paella ala Majorcana, and a buco pandan salad. But I woke up late, and started late, and realized how ambitious my culinary goal for the day was. So all I ended up doing was the chicken pastel. Mike came over to pick up the chicken pastel (I made two, one for him, one for us). His contribution to our Noche Buena is a beef casserole. I really appreciate him coming over despite the traffic and his headache. Headache, he says, is because of me. Pinagod ko daw siya the whole week. Hehehe... Fine, fine -- I'm guilty as charged. Pinagod ko siya.. sa kakahatid sundo sa akin. We went to two Christmas dinners this week -- one with my HS friends, one with his friends. Fortunately, I didn't stuff myself for both dinners. We arrived late for both dinners kasi.

    Three people "contributed" to my collection of fruit scented stuff. Sharon gave me Body Shop's Mango Body Butter. (Big coincidence! Nope, she doesn't read my blog. She doesn't even know what a blog is.) Mike gave me a Bath and Body Works' Cucumber Melon lotion. William (Mike's friend who's visiting from the US) gave me a Bath and Body Works' Apple Scented handwash. So for the people who know me, do not be surprised if I smell like fruit salad when we're together.

    Wednesday, December 22, 2004

    Political Angst

    What's worse than a corrupt politician?

    It's a corrupt politician trying to pass himself off as a saint, that's what.

    I wanted to smash our beloved 10++ years old tv set after I watched Chavit Singson being interviewed on the local news. His ending statement went something like this -- If Mrs. Arroyo allows Erap to leave the country, I will withdraw my support to her government. I have no choice but to follow the will of the people. (This isn't verbatim, of course.)

    (Gasp!) Follow the will of the people?!?!? Protect my interests is more like it. Ehem, ehem... Mr. Singson, let me write down a few reasons why I find your statement so heart wrenching (because it is really wrenching my heart).

    First off, being the "star witness" to a jueteng expose does not mean you are innocent. Mr. Singson, you seem to forget that the very reason why you were so privy with Erap's jueteng activities was because you belonged to Erap's inner circle of jueteng friends.

    Second, from what I understand, a "star witness" is a witness the government protects for safety reasons.
      And boy, does the gov't really know how to protect you!!
    • You have a sprawling mansion in Ilocos Sur, and no one questions where you got the fund to build it.
    • You blatantly announced during the recent May elections that anyone who wishes to campaign in your area needs to go through you in order to assure that their votes (ballots) will be protected. Still, no one bothered to question your threatening words.
    • Don't even get me started on your hotel in Ilocos.

    And now, just because the government displeased you by allowing Erap to leave for HK, you threaten to stage an uprising? Expecting the government to kowtow to your every political whim is one thing. But announcing to the world that you are doing this for the people is pure crap.

    It's the little boy, threatening to throw a fit because mommy allowed kuya to play outside, all the while saying that he's doing this for mommy's good. Yuck.

    Sunday, December 19, 2004

    New Beginnings

    It's been one I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T-I-N-G week. I got a text from Liza last night, where she told me that she finally "answered" her very persistent suitor Lawrence. Hihihihihi! I called her up on her cellphone and asked.. no, demanded, to know the details. And I'm so honored to know that my picture message (sent to me by the very un-mushy Mike in one of his rare mushy moments) played a verrrry important role in the new couple's budding relationship. I'm so happy and giddy for the two of them. I have this smile on my face just thinking of their story.

    Meanwhile, things are currently in the "sawa and pagod" phase for another couple. They have been through so much together, and I sincerely hope that they will be able to pass this phase and just think of it as an addition to the things that they have gone through already.

    Kanina pa ako isip ng isip about today's date. I feel that December 19 should mean something to me, yet I cannot remember what it stands for. Tonight, I finally remembered. Ten years ago on this day, I was crying my heart out because my first boyfriend broke up with me... through a message sent on my pager. Wow... if I had known ten years ago that I had to go through that heartbreak in order to be where I am today, I would have gladly and happily accepted the experience. =)

    Saturday, December 18, 2004

    Ahya Peter

    Some people are born with that natural ability to get along with everybody, even without trying. My Ahya Peter is one of them.

    We had a "Monito Monita" exchange gift portion in our Xmas party yesterday. The twist was that we had to describe our "monito / monita" before we reveal who they are. Ahya Peter was described as,

    "Adviser ng office. Nakaka-inspire katrabaho. Pwede ko na nga siyang tawaging living legend."

    I really, really thought that the description was meant for me. Buti na lang hindi pa ako tumayo. I, on the other hand, got the following description,

    "Siya ang in charge sa bonus natin this year." =(

    I used to think that management was an either-or focus issue. EITHER I focus on getting the company to run smoothly OR getting people to like me. But working with Ahya Peter, who was the only one who received cheers from BOTH administration and delivery staff, has taught me otherwise. Yesterday, in our humble office Xmas party, I learnt that a little lambing and a little carino really goes a long, long way.

    Friday, December 17, 2004

    Losing My Pearly Whites

    I often dream about losing my teeth. In my dreams, I am casually going about my daily routine when I suddenly feel that all my molars have fallen off. And the first thing that I think of is, "Does this mean I have to wear dentures now?" I panic but don't really do anything about it. This has been my recurring teeth-dream for almost 10 years now.

    Today, I had another teeth dream. No molars involved this time -- just my two front teeth naman. In my dream, I saw a small brown spot on my left front tooth. So I ran my tongue over it and the small spot becomes a bigger hole, revealing 2 layers of teeth. I ran my tongue over the hole again, and it becomes even bigger. Until I discover that all my teeth have two layers. The first layer has a chestnut-y texture. Nothing's wrong with my teeth really, except that they now have peelable layers.

    Maybe my subconscious is telling me that I really want to be a dentist? I don't know.. but to the Chinese, dreaming of teeth is usually bad luck. Any dream interpreters out there?

    Thursday, December 16, 2004

    To bitch or not to bitch...


    Jeepney drivers. The kind who think that they can get away with crashing onto your car just because they are poor. Do not ask me why, I don't understand the analogy either.

    Really slow drivers. It's irritating to see each of the NLEX's four lanes occupied by four vehicles racing against each other, at the record breaking speed of 50 km/ hour.

    The abundance of Christmas posters from gov't officials. I don't need a Christmas greeting from Congressman so and so and family. Is that where our taxes go? No wonder my baranggay is in such a sorry state.

    Having to pass by C3 every day. Potholes, potholes and more potholes!! I wonder who facilitated the construction of these !#$#! roads anyway?

    Incompetent workers. We have a lot of them. And I know how to solve this problem. I just don't have the heart to do it at Christmas time.

    The really bad traffic! Traffic at the toll gates. Traffic outside our house. Traffic near the malls. Traffic along the highway. Grrrrr!

    Purchasers who order the wrong stocks from us and expect us to move heaven and earth just so they won't lose face with their bosses.

    Being addressed as a "Mr. Uy." Is my name not feminine sounding enough?

    Being waitlisted for the Chocolate Buffet! Aargh! Why should we give way to the Vienna Choir anyway?

    Tuesday, December 14, 2004


    ALL THE NICETIES THIS XMAS HAPPENS AT BIZU! Simbang gabi breakfast begins at 6a.m., and hear Xmas symphonies by The Swirl Acoustic Group for dinner (Dec. 16 - 24) at Greenbelt 2!


    Our maid Jean decided to play around with Pan-Pan's hair... and this is what happened. =)

    Random Ramblings

    Now I finally understand why FPJ had to lose in the elections. Noli de Castro was a sure winner as vice president then. If FPJ had won, and Noli won too, then Kabayan would be the new president now. So GMA had to win. My condolences to FPJ's family.


    I am getting sick of Regine Velasquez's new release -- Shine. It's played on radio, in malls, on tv and even in bazaars!! Once, it was even played simultaneously on 3 FM stations. Aaaargh! I used to like Regine's songs. But now, all she does is scream. I know, I know... she has to advertise her singing prowess... but can't she do that without screaming? Take Shine for instance -- it's supposed to be an inspiring song. But listening to her version, it's like a song she's using to vent out her frustrations in life.


    Audrey told me that there's a quaint restaurant in Malate called Barbara's. Good atmosphere, and couches for seats! The owner told her that they will be reopening the ship/restaurant operating in Manila Bay. I know there used to be one before, where you can hop aboard and have dinner while on a ship. I just don't remember who ran it. Anyways, this is something I want to try! Will convince my family to go para free. =)


    Did anyone hear about the robbery in Valenzuela today? I was on the NLEX when I saw all these policemen swarming around two delivery trucks near the Valenzuela exit. One of the trucks belonged to our competitor. People began running in all directions... in the middle of the highway. Odd thing was, most of them actually found this incident amusing, judging from the grins on their faces. They were grinning widely as they hid behind cement walls for protection, just in case a bullet accidentally hits them.


    I had my first stamp on my Starbucks card today! I checked out the planner again, but this time, it did not look as appealing as before. I need to complete 21 stamps by January 15 in order to redeem the planner. That's P110x 21 stamps = P2,310. Pretty expensive for an ordinary planner. Makes me wonder if it's really worth it, considering that I feel sick whenever I take coffee.


    Looking forward to the chocolate buffet this Saturday! It's pretty expensive at P500, and THIS will really ruin my diet. Hah.. as if! Pretty loaded this weekend -- office Xmas party on Friday, employee's daughter's wedding on Saturday lunch, chocolate buffet on Saturday evening, cousin's houseblessing party on Sunday lunch, will try to catch up with college barkada's lunch afterwards.

    Sunday, December 12, 2004

    A Series of Unfortunate Events

    No, this is not a book review. It is simply a description of what transpired in my Sunday afternoon. It all started when Richmond and I decided to go to Megamall today to buy giveaways for our customers and employees.

    1. Instead of the usual Ortigas route, we decided to pass by Edsa, where he missed the overpass going to Ortigas Center. We had to make a u-turn to Greenmeadows instead.

    2. He parked in Mega Bldg. B. Big mistake, because all the things we needed to do were in Bldg. A.

    3. I was already in the middle of paying for all our purchases when Richmond noticed that I forgot one customer in my gift list. So balik na naman to the display area.

    4. While Richmond made some last minute purchases, I decided to check out the DVD players in the 4th level of the mall. I accidentally brought the claim stubs (for our purchases) with me, kaya my brother couldn't claim our purchases. So I had to go down pa.

    5. After loading all purchases in the car, we went to the grocery to shop for canned goods giveaways. While I was paying for our groceries, my brother decided to get the car and pick me up from outside the building kasi mabigat ang dala namin. So off he went and walked to the other side of the mall to get the car, only to discover that he can't get out of the building because I had the parking ticket with me... and I was on the opposite end of the building.

    6. I asked the nearest SM male attendant if he can help me bring the box of canned goods (75 cans to be exact).

    me: "Manong, pwede po niyo akong tulungang dalhin itong karton?"
    attendant: "Opo, san po ba kayo naka-park?"
    me: "Sa bldg. A."
    attendant: "Naku, di po kami pwede don eh."

    Attendant passed me on to another attendant who was on his way inside the building. Now, this attendant said he will help me bring my 75 canned goods to the other side of the building, but can I wait for him while he informs his boss? "Sure!!" I replied, grateful that the attendant seemed to honestly want to help out a damsel in distress.

    So I waited. While waiting... I felt tingly all over. I silently thought to myself - "Wow... Christmas really has that effect on people no? Imagine, pumayag siya to bring my box from Mega B to Mega A? How nice of him! I will ask him his name and write a letter of praise to SM management. I will even write about him to that consumer section in PDI. Aba! I'll mention his name pa in my blog!!" So I waited... and waited.... and waited.... for 15 minutes. By then, the crowd had already thinned (around 10pm na kasi), and it was verry obvious that the attendant was not coming back anymore.

    Crap!! What to do? What to do? My brother will be so irked if I ask him to go back to Mega B just so I can give him the parking ticket. For a minute, I actually entertained the thought of just dragging the box to the other side of the building, and wait for a nice (and strong) stranger to volunteer to help me with it. Out of desperation, I tried once more to plead my damsel-in-distress case to a security guard.

    me: "Bosing, pwede bang patulong dito sa karton?"
    guard (smiling): "Opo mam san po ba kayo naka park?"
    me: "Sa kabilang building."
    guard (smile quickly leaving his face): "Ay, bawal po yan eh."
    me: "Ganon? " I tried, as much as possible, to look pitiful and helpless.

    Hahahaa... it worked.

    Guard waves over two attendants, and coincidentally, one of them was the one who packed the box eons ago.

    Attendant: "Mam ba't nandito pa kayo?" Eh kanina pa yan ah! San ba kayo nakapark?"

    I was already losing hope by this time. So in a helpless voice, I told them where I was parked.

    Well, what do you know? He called over his companion to help him with the box and carried them. No smile leaving his face, no questions, no complaints. All he did was ask me to lead the way.

    In the end, I was not able to get the names of the two attendants who did help me with the box. And I don't remember their faces anymore. They left immediately after loading the box in the car. But I am just thankful that there are people like them, who would, after approximately 8 hours of nonstop work, be so nice to carry my box of canned goods for me, with a smile on their faces and with no hesitations.

    Aaah... life is good. =)

    Saturday, December 11, 2004

    Answered Prayers

    I could sense that my dad was worried and nervous. We just got back from an emergency meeting with our lawyer, and things were definitely not looking good for us. Upon reaching the house, I prayed. I asked for a sign and prayed -- please, help us find whatever it is we need to find. If what we're doing is right, we will find the documents that we so badly need. If we do not find the documents tonight, then I'll take it as a sign from You that we must not proceed with our plans.

    Five minutes later, we found them. Not just the document. But documentsssss. My dad could not find them months ago. But they miraculously turned up exactly when we needed them most.

    Thank You.

    Thursday, December 09, 2004

    Great Expectations

    "Hey, u n mike free on fri nte?
    Hve xtra 2 tkets 4 martin concert
    at picc, 8pm. Cn u let me know
    tnte if u wana cme?=)"

    I received this text from Liza as I was driving. Am not a big fan of Martin, but it has been so long since I last saw a concert. And if the price is right....

    Me: "Hw much tix? N wer?" (Obviously hindi nagbabasa)
    Liza:"Gft ko sa inyo! :)...Free fr my bro. Hehe! Picc."

    It's FREE! That did it! She now has my full attention!

    Me: "Eeeeeh! Tlga? Tlga? L ask wait! Wat tym?"

    I dialled Mike's number. Ring....ring... ring.... he wasn't picking up the phone. It was around 9:30 pm then. Maybe he's having dinner? I'll try again. Still, no answer. So I called up Richmond on our Nextel radio and asked him to call Mike using my Sun cell which I left at home. No one was answering his Sun number either! Aaargh! I try calling him again through his Globe number. Ring... ring... ring....

    Mike: "Hello?"
    Me: "Hay salamat!!!"
    Mike: "Bakit?"
    Me: "Ba't di mo sinasagot cellphone mo?!?!"
    Mike: "Ako nagsundo sa mama ko eh. Iniwan ko cell sa bahay. O bakit?" (We're so lovey dovey no?)
    Me: "Tinatanong ni Liza........"
    Mike: NR
    Me: "Hello?!?!"
    Mike: "O! Nakikinig ako!"
    Me: "Tinatanong ni Liza kung gusto daw natin manood ng concert ni Martin. Free!! Free!"
    Mike: "Saan? Kailan?"
    Me: "PICC, 8pm, this Friday."
    Mike: "So tingin mo aabot tayo doon on time?" (By this time, warning bells were already going off in my head. Hmmm.. this conversation sounds soooo familiar.)
    Mike: "Ay, this Friday?! Hindi ako pwede eh. Ako ulit magsusundo."
    Me: "Ah.. okay."
    Mike: "Okay lang?"
    Me: "Okay. Babay."
    Mike: "Babay."

    Haaay... that's the 2nd concert Mike turned down yesterday. The first one was the concert with the Tux, the Company and another group next Friday in Greenbelt 3. Reason he turned it down --"Tingin mo aabot tayo dun on time?" He has been turning down FREE concerts left and right. Maybe, another reason why he's turning down all these free concerts is because he's secretly planning to surprise me with something! Haha! Now that I've written it here in my blog, people will be following up on the surprise you're planning. So you better come up with something. Don't worry... I'll pretend to act surprised. =)

    borrowed this from Sapphire's! blog:

    10 Years Ago, I...
    1. Thought I had met the man (well, boy) I was to spend the rest of my life with.
    2. Had my first heart break caused by the boy in #1.
    3. Thought I would never recover from the pain.

    5 Years Ago, I...
    1. Just graduated from college
    2. Lost my angkong.
    3. Was manufacturing mousepads in my room while everybody was having their Christmas get togethers.

    3 Years Ago, I...
    1. Enrolled myself in PSID and CACs
    2. Met my 2nd bf.
    3. Had my first ever surprise bday party at Cafe Breton, T. Morato! Courtesy of Val!

    A Year Ago, I...
    1. Was, by this time, preparing for a long trip to Canada.
    2. Was (and still am) head over heels in love with Mike.
    3. Hired our first ever sales team for our animal health division.

    This Year, I...
    1. Finally ate at Sonya's Garden and Antonio's
    2. Met Mike's parents for the first time.
    3. Watched as my bestfriend walked down the aisle with the man she loves.

    Yesterday, I...
    1. Redesigned my blog!
    2. Got turned down by Mike 2x for free concerts.
    3. Was able to look for a way to get stocks to arrive earlier.

    Today, I...
    1. Reviewed a very one-sided contract (not in our favor)
    2. Fed the mongrel in our office compound
    3. Did not get irritated with anybody.

    Tomorrow I will...
    1. Meet with another foreign supplier.
    2. Try not to be so irritable
    3. Go home early. Yay!

    Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    Pork barrel

    Call me ignorant, but I did not know what exactly the pork barrel was until this year. Sure, I had an idea of what it was, but I never bothered to actually read the newspaper definitions. It wasn't until GMA started calling on the public to practice measures of austerity that I finally understood what the pork barrel was exactly. And my first reaction upon reading the definition was,

    "What? The government has an allocation for local projects?"

    Which projects? Where? When? I have lived in the Philippines all my life and I have yet to see one project. Okay... that is an exaggeration. I see a lot of waiting sheds. And open manholes on the streets. Murals on the walls. Oh, and let us not forget -- the numerous street repairs that coincidentally take place near election time. But I have always assumed that those were from the politician's own pockets, in an effort to advertise himself. Fine, fine... let's consider them as projects na rin. So, that's it? Those are the billion peso projects that the pork barrel was budgeted for? Amazing.

    The reason I am so irked with this issue is because of an Inquirer article I read this morning. Polls show that Pinoys are against the pork barrel. To my understanding, polls are surveys conducted by the people, for the people. Simply put, it is the people who are against the pork barrel. But one insistent (read: moronic) congressman declares that the pork barrel is nothing to be ashamed of. He insists that his constituents are actually in favor of pork. Maybe his constituents coincidentally comprised the 16% polled who were in favor of pork. Or maybe his constituents thought they were being asked to choose between beef or pork.

    Why is the insistent (read: moronic) congressman being so defensive? Nobody is saying that the pork barrel is something to be ashamed of. Heck, I am in favor of the pork barrel -- as long as I see the projects happening. And when I say projects, I do not mean another waiting shed. Or colorful but useless street lamps. Or another park beside the very scenic Pasig River. Or putting up banners with your names plastered all over them. No. By projects, I mean these:

    a. Road repairs with a purpose. Except for the new NLEX, I cannot think of any street in Luzon that does not have potholes built in it.
    b. School supplies for public school students -- and do not put your face and name on them.
    c. Year round feeding programs for the poor.
    d. Throw in some contraceptives too.
    e. Round the clock barangay tanods and policemen patrolling the streets at night.
    f. Ergonomic and durable housing for the poor.
    g. Tree planting and landscaping on the islands

    In another article, I read that some group of politicians donated a portion of their pork barrel to the Quezon victims. Doesn't the pork barrel come from the people? Can you actually donate something that is not yours? Somebody please answer me.

    Monday, December 06, 2004

    December Goals

    This December, I will:
    .....clean up my room
    .....donate to the Quezon flood victims
    .....renew my financial support to World Vision
    .....learn how to bake ensaymadas
    .....fulfill my 2 years old promise to Jerson by baking a quiche for him
    .....get our Maltese pups registered
    .....find a way to remember everything people tell me to do
    .....learn the fine art of saying "no"
    .....organize a successful office party
    .....lose the extra pounds
    .....not get upset over every little unfortunate incident
    .....renew my dad's passport my Citibank bill on time
    .....make an ice cream cake with Val gifts
    .....and stay within my budget
    .....organize my newspaper clippings
    .....feed the mongrel loitering around in our warehouse (well, at least during the times I'm in the office)
    .....lessen my Smart cellphone use
    .....give out pizza to streetkids (and help my brother finish up his stocks na rin)
    .....cut my Fitness First membership my own planner =)

    Hmm... will add more as I go along.

    Weekend Ramblings

    Busy... that's what the last week had been for me. No time to blog, no time to shop, no time to read or cook. But amazingly enough, I always had time to eat. It was food galore last week -- which would explain the tighter than usual jeans. Aaargh! And all the food consumed last week were not even Christmas related. By the time Christmas arrives, I will probably need a whole new wardrobe!!
    Went out with Liza last Friday night. We ate at Di Mark's in Greenbelt where I had the carbonara and she had Minestrone soup. The carbonara was downright YUCKY I don't even want to talk about it. Liza's Minestrone soup was too salty. Tsk tsk... I have heard good things about Di Marks, which was why I was not expecting their food to be so ugh. Maybe their pizzas are good. But heck, I ain't going back there.

    Dinner was supposed to be a Christmas reunion for the four of us -- Sharon, Liza, Mary Grace and moi. But of course, only us singletons made it. Sharon couldn't make it because of a derma appointment. Mary Grace couldn't make it because... er.. I forgot. Basta another appointment. Oh well. Married life really changes one's lifestyle, I guess.

    Saw Bridget Jones after dinner. It has been years since I last read the book, so I really can't remember the storyline anymore. But I do not remember any Thailand assignments for Bridget. (Rory, Val, meron ba?) But I liked the movie. It was a welcome change after a harrowing seminar the night before. I laughed so hard especially in the jail scene, with the women singing their own version of "Like A Virgin." The actress who played Rebecca was so pretty. Her name is Jacinda Barrett, and I cannot imagine her as a lesbian.
    Saturday morning, we had brunch with our Dutch supplier at the Heritage Hotel. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, ever make the mistake of having your meal there. Because:
    -- Pancakes served with berries and warm maple syrup = pancakes served with Comstock's blueberry pie filling and watermelon chunks and Lady's Choice syrup. And no butter. You have to ask for it. Berries = watermelons? If they do not have fresh berries all year round, then they should have written preserved fruits on their menu instead!

    -- Orange juice= a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice costs a freakin' P255.00!! That's per glass! Okay, okay! I know hotels overcharge for their beverages. P150 per glass is still acceptable. But P255?!?!

    -- Service was bad. We were the only ones seated in the area, and there were two attendants nearby. But we felt invisible as we waved our hands to ask for a glass of water.

    -- Buffet was bad. 'Nuff said.
    We initially planned to celebrate my mom's birthday at the Westin Plaza's longest buffet (yum!), but since I wanted to pay for the dinner, I asked Audrey to suggest something more within my budget. She came up with zhongnanhai, a new Chinese restaurant operated by Max Brenner. According to Auds, the resto is famous for their tea, imported all the way from China.

    Good thing Audrey made reservations, because when we arrived, the restaurant was already full. We were lead to the second floor, where the first thing I noticed were the low ceilings. Now, most of the Chinese restos I have been to (except Mann Hann) have that typical Chinese look -- bright lights and red tablecloth. But zhongnanhai deviated from the traditional by going for dark colors and dim lights. For that night, we ordered:

    Shao Long Pao -- arrived towards the end of dinner, was given free because of the long wait and because they wanted us to taste the house specialty. It was okay, nothing extraordinary.
    Pork with jellyfish --
    Hot and Sour soup --
    Wintermelon soup --
    Yangchow fried rice -- SARAP!!
    Fried rice with diced chicken and salted fish -- SARAP!!
    Deep fried spare ribs -- I liked this the most. The ribs were tender and served with a lot of fried garlic, which made the whole dish even better.
    Pan fried beef tenderloin -- Another good dish!
    Sweet and sour fish fillet -- The fish is so tender that it almost melts in your mouth.. well, almost.
    Steamed garoupa and minced beans -- My mom considers herself an expert on tao so hi, and she liked this dish.
    Braised prawns with pumpkin sauce and steamed buns -- A new food concept for me, so there is no basis for comparison. But I liked it just the same.
    Braised black mushrooms with vegetables --

    Prices per dish ranged from P250 - P350. Servings are small, so it's kinda expensive when you really think about it. And the restaurant was obviously new, what with the delayed orders and all. But the waiters more than made up for the delay by being so nice to us. Even going to the extent of giving us free shao long paos. I will definitely go back to zhongnanhai. =)
    Sunday morning was spent combing the streets of Divisoria with Mike to look for stuff I can sell in Filinvest's bazaar. I sooooo want to back out of this, so if there's anyone interested, please leave a comment in my blog.

    I love going to Divisoria to shop. After the Divisoria shopping experience, I feel that all the stuff they're selling in the malls are overpriced. Dollhouses for P150! Cute watches for P100!! I bought 10 sheets of pretty matte gold wrapping paper for Liza -- all for P32!! Mura no?

    Anyway, after the Divisoria experience, which left us feeling yucky and dirty, we headed straight to Glorietta to watch National Treasure. I have read good reviews about the movie and I was not disappointed. Have some questions though:
    1. Why did Ian Howe not take special precautions when they were trying to break into the church towards the last part of the movie?

    2. How did they solve the clue where they had to refer to Silence's letters to the editor? Diba Benjamin's father donated the letters already?

    3. Why did Dr. Chase cut a deal with Ian Howe? Yes, helping a fugitive escape is a federal offense, but why Ian? What did he offer Dr. Chase and Riley in exchange? Safety for Gates? Sorry, I was not paying attention during this part of the movie. And obviously, Mike was not paying any attention too because he couldn't answer me. =)

    Overall, the movie was entertaining. Kept my eyes glued to the screen for all 131 minutes.

    Oh! Oh! Star sighting! Saw Marc Nelson in Glorietta yesterday. Hihihihihihi!