Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Of Cupcakes and Contentment

Hey there! With the midyear, I smell more good things coming up in 2017. You know me - I celebrate life's events as milestones and turn lemons into lemonade. With this mindset and my penchant for dining out, I think one place matches the mood: Vanilla Cupcake Bakery.

My mom, right there at the corner.

Yup, it's been around for a while yet I haven't appreciated it much until recently. I used to think that it's merely a dressed up place that lures you into buying overpriced cupcakes. Also, it had a branch at UP Town Center but it was more of to-go than really savoring the ambiance while dining in. Then, my mom and I discovered that the one at TriNoma is more than meets the eye. It's actually spacious behind the display counter area!

Mom, in another angle of the interiors and more serious this time. Haha!

As of this writing, this particular branch of VCB has a good rating of 4 out of 5 on Zomato. My personal favorite is the Chunky Chubby Chocolate (Sorry cupcakes, though I like you guys too) which I believe is reasonably priced at 148 pesos per slice.

I'm glad that my mom also liked the place and wants to come back for more.

For this blog entry's parting words, it would be nice to leave one of those messages hanging on the wall: Live today for tomorrow it will all be history.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

How Do You Turn Your Back from a Setback?

I think it would be nice to focus my birth month reflection on my in-between-jobs experience, the waiting game, identity, and faith.

Have you ever given up something that you loved doing for what you have thought was a bigger calling, responsibility, and opportunity? Ever gone through a really demanding process, only to find out that you were not informed of other requirements that would disqualify you? Did you take a calculated risk, thinking that you did so well throughout, only to discover you were misled to a dead end?

If you have a limited time to finish reading this post, I have one good piece of advice: It's true when they say "It's okay not to be okay." Go ahead and doubt for a minute: Am I good at what I do? Will I get back on track? After that, keep going. DO NOT let your doubt cloud your self concept. You are strong. You want excellence. You will never give up.

I've started working since I graduated college. I'm not used to being idle and instead, experienced juggling work and study. So what happens when I experience being unemployed for one month? Honestly, I tried to be productive and appreciative of the free time, doing the following:

1. Cleaning the house, cooking, selling items that we no longer need
2. Watching on Netflix, reading books, malling
3. Job hunting (and yes, since 2008, I had my fair share of unnoticed and unsuccessful job applications too)
4. Online teaching

I felt that as a former Iskolar ng Bayan, the jobs I choose should contribute to the society and hone my communication skills. But even with a college and MA degree, combined with more than eight years of work experience, things didn't come easy. For some jobs I chose, I was not chosen.

But like what I told a close friend, "Sometimes the things that are meant for us are not the ones we deliberately plan." How did I manage to handle a setback with grace?

1. Constant prayer (from the start to the end of the process) - I remember saying "Lord, if this is not what you want me to do, I'd accept it. But if this is for me, please grant me the strength to do well."

2. Self-confidence - I believed there would be other opportunities, and better ones. I just had to keep looking.

3. Being choosy - Still, I did not settle or apply for jobs I didn't see myself being into.

Now, I'm happy where the events led me to- thankful and not regretting my decisions.

It was indeed a happy birthday.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Why I Love to Teach

Dear Diary,

Recalling how studious I used to be in school, it doesn't come as a surprise that I considered teaching as a profession. Yes, I may not be an Education major, but that longing to impart important things to learners and the love for learning itself have always been there.

It may be weird, but I go to great lengths to play the role, starting off with playing titsir-titseran even without playmates to act as students. I had this small chalkboard and my favorite topic was the digestive system. It would be complete with a drawing and explanation.

As I had my first job in the government TV channel, trainees worked with me and my producers. They asked for pieces of advice when it came to pre-production (including script writing), production and editing. I found it fulfilling whenever someone said something like "Ganoon pala gawin. Salamat po."

Even as I pursued another career outside of traditional media, my final job assignment led me to training fellow employees. The calling, I described here. Our work processes frequently changed back then, so keeping yourself abreast with updates had been a constant demand. Cutting the long story short, the experience trained me to be a trainer.

Then the desire to be part of the academe came. Equipped with a post-grad degree, willingness to learn, and optimism, I was received by the Paulinian community. Handling students from different programs but mostly from BA Communication had been an exhilarating ride. So why do I love to teach?

Not because people will thank you for it. You should not expect them to say thanks. Not because you will be appreciated by institutions. I heard many stories of unappreciated ones. Not because it will be financially rewarding. I heard of those who are "overworked yet underpaid." Not because you know everything.

But because personally, I don't want to be static. Teaching stimulates me to change, be steps ahead, practice thoughtful class preparation and error correction, and most of all, to pass the knowledge and values on. The things learned from school and experience.

It doesn't have to be within the four walls of the classroom with the job title of College Instructor or Trainer. I may take on different jobs, but teaching will undoubtedly be a part of me, always.

Friday, April 28, 2017

How's Yours?

Bago lumipad pabalik ng Canada ang aming malalapit na kaibigan, muli kaming nagkita-kita at naghapunan. Isa na namang kapana-panabik na laro ang ipinakilala ng aming game master.

1. One participant shall be the it or guesser. He or she would have to stay away while the remaining participants discuss #2.
2. Participants shall decide on a particular thing that they all have or possess.
3. The guesser will come back and choose the first participant to ask "How's yours?" The answer will serve as a clue to help the guesser identify the item. The clue must not be too vague. Also, it should not be very specific or, a giveaway.
4. The guesser continues to call participants one by one and ask "How's yours?" until he or she is able to give the correct answer.

Once everybody is called and the correct answer is missed, the guesser will be the same person. If someone is called and the given clue makes the guesser identify the secret item, then that participant becomes the next guesser.

Now, on to our best examples:

Analyn: How's yours?

Leine: Mahirap alisin.
Paul: Makati.
Rap: Naiipit.
MJ: Pabalik-balik.
Jhackie: Sumisiksik.
Ryan: Lumalagpas.
Lud: Minsan meron, minsan wala.
Russ: Masangsang.

Analyn: Buhok sa kili-kili.

MJ: How's yours?

Ryan: Luma na.
Leine: Kailangan nang palitan.
Rap: Marami.
Russ: May kurbada.
Lud: Minsan 'di ko nagagamit.
(Tawanan sila.)

MJ: Toothbrush?

Tama nga. Hehe!

Maganda ang larong ito dahil may malalaman ka tungkol sa mga kaibigan. May tawanan at panghuhusga rin. :-D

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Best Grilled Tanigue In Town

I can't recall having devoted one blog entry just to a single dish, so this must really be great!

While everyone can expect everything to be good at The Frazzled Cook in Tomas Morato, I must say that I was still caught by surprise upon taking my first bite into their tender and tasty Grilled Tanigue Steak. Priced at 370 pesos, one has the right to think that it's just one of their overpriced offerings. Mahal naman kasi talaga at kung walang okasyon o hindi ko trip na biglang mag-aya sa pamilya, malamang 'di rin ako kakain dito.

But it was good that I forgot about the price tag for a while. Hehe! On the menu, it is described as "marinated and grilled tanigue topped with our version of herbed butter." It was unassuming, not even marked as one of their bestsellers. But because I wanted something new after having tried their much-acclaimed Truffle Pasta and recommended Wagyu Salpicao, ito na ang inorder ko sa reunion ng barkada. Ayan na siya!

Grilled Tanigue Steak at The Frazzled Cook
(78 Scout Gandia Street, Laging Handa, Tomas Morato, QC)

I could praise it in a lot of ways like: Bawat kagat, nanunuot ang sarap! Hindi siya 'yung dry na madidismaya ka lang dahil nag-crave ka sa isang seafood resto tapos tuyot naman pala. Hindi rin 'yung maalat na timpla matapos mo akalaing healthy porke isda siya. Hehe. With feelings talaga ang paglalarawan ko. Kasi naman, hindi siya nakakaumay kaya excited ako at pumipikit pa para malasap tuwing susubo. Pero siyempre, nag-share rin ako sa mga kaibigan bilang iba-iba ang order namin para maraming matikman.

Umorder sila ng Chicken Marsala (Php 325), Tenderloin Steak (Php 345), Truffle Pasta (Php 515 ang family size), Spicy Gambas al Ajillo (Php 285), at Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa (Php 325). Pero sa puso ko, Tanigue Steak pa rin ang bida.

For dessert, we had Frozen Brazo de Mercedes (Php 225), Moist Chocolate Cake (Php 195), and Crepe Cake (Php 225). The first is the best! ' Yung crepe cake nga lang, 'di namin gaanong nalasahan. I would rather recommend going to Paper Moon.

After I adored their Tanigue dish, I hope The Frazzled Cook won't have a price increase. Hehe! For our barkada dinner at least, there was another pleasant surprise. Nilibre kami ng balikbayan friends. :D

The Frazzled Cook Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Multiplex and Betamax Were Life

Though I have not really become a singer, my love for music started early and lives on. I have clear memories of our smaller karaoke called Music Mate, where my family used to play casette tapes like:

Then we upgraded to our Miyata karaoke worth 10,000 pesos during the 90s. I used to sing children's songs to my sister with this:

So when I was already in high school and our Music teacher Mrs. Catotocan required us to perform using a multiplex tape, I already had an advantage with my very own collection:

It was something that I always had with me, so even without consciously planning, my post-grad thesis was also about Filipino music!

And recently, while deciding among things that have to be thrown away, I spotted Betamax tapes like this one:

Imagine! Before Magic Sing, we had tapes that let us choose among six songs. Hehe.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Field Trip ng Magkakaibigan sa Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

'Di planado. Basta nangyari na lang.

Mula sa Anvaya Cove, tinungo na ng tropa ang heritage park na ito sa Bagac, Bataan. Ang konsepto: Tipunin sa isang lugar ang mga makasaysayang tahanan buhat sa ika-18 siglo, mula sa iba't ibang lugar sa Pilipinas.

Casa Baliuag

Casa Byzantina

Pero aba aba... May kamahalan din pala ang day tour na nagkakahalaga ng 1,500 piso. Kasama rito ang pagkakaroon ng tour guide, tubig at malamig na bimpo. Marahil wala masyadong dating sa 'yo ang "malamig na bimpo" pero kapag patapos na ang Heritage Walk, tila biyaya ito ng langit.

Narito ang ilang mga sandali habang pinapasok namin ang mga kabahayan. Bilang bahagi ng tradisyon, hinuhubad ang sandalyas bago umakyat.




Ito pa ang ilang kuha sa bandang dulo ng tour.

Hotel de Oriente

At paano namin ito malilimutan? Ang tanawin sa kasagsagan ng palosebo sa kabilang ibayo. Imbes na panoorin o kunan namin ng litrato ang palaro, minabuti naming makinig na lang sa ganadong-ganadong emcee (na nagni-namedrop pa ng dumudulas na kalahok) at magrelax sa damuhan.

Marami pang maaaring gawin dito bukod sa day tour. Alamin sa kanilang website.