Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Holidays

Hectic with a capital "H" is the word I would describe these past few days but we finally managed to do every errand within the nick of time.

We're off shortly to the airport for our early morning flight. D & D are off to a land where Disney, dim sum and delightful weather reign supreme! So we wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas filled with much food, laughter and love. =)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Last minute plans

It was already the first week of November when my sister informed us, she won't be able to come home for the holidays. For one, she just started a new job. Secondly, she has to travel for a trade show mid January 2012.

My mother was sad but accepted it. Until. I suggested that it would be a good idea if they (mom and dad) would spend the holidays in HK. Mom immediately approved. Dad was worried about the financial aspect. I robbed a bank. Then I booked their airfares, online. I wasn't able to avail of the promo fares since it was already peak season but nevertheless it was imperative that bunso won't be alone during the holidays.

They got all excited. Mom got really busy with her list of things to buy, things to bring, things to pack. I was resigned to the fact that D and I would be having a simple noche buena for two. Anyways, we would just 'skype' each other.

December 2, D announces he has a plan. We should just go there and surprise them. I panicked. I am not a last minute gal. I make arrangements at least 3 months in advance. I wasn't warming up to the idea. Are you mad? I said. How do you expect us to reach bunso's flat? I don't know my way around HK. It is too late. The ticket prices would be exorbitant. Well, he had this look on his face that meant he was serious and that I was to just make it happen. Bahala na raw ako.

To cut the long story short, my parents are leaving tomorrow afternoon. We will 'show' up on Saturday morning. The logistics have been mapped out. Everything is set for the traveling part.

But I haven't packed. Most of my 'winter' clothes are in the condo. I have yet to sort them out. But I can only do so once my parents leave. I got all cranky that we are leaving in 3 days and we haven't done anything. Last night, D comes home and folded all the clothes he was bringing. I got more upset because apparently his bulky clothes would fill up the entire luggage. But he kept asking me 'how many socks?', 'how many tees?', 'how many sweatshirts?' I answered and now I've ran out of space in the luggage so I guess I'm to blame ha?

In the meantime, there are other things that need attention. I believe we are running out of time to complete all the tasks. But D keeps telling me to relax and stop stressing out. But I can't help it. I don't do good under pressure. I even snapped at him that he bought groceries when I was trying to clear the ref of any perishables. I better relax before I blow a fuse. I will try to get excited about the holidays. Although I am already really tired just preparing for the trip. Phew.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Happy Feet

I have no idea if these Humboldt penguins know how to sing and dance like their counterparts in that highly successful animated movie but they were certainly cute to ogle at.

When we entered the room, I thought they were part of the display, it was only when one of them moved that I noticed they were real. I was a bit disappointed that you cannot see them at eye level, they are contained inside a glass enclosure which I assume is air conditioned.

But I'm still glad I saw real penguins even though we live in a tropical land. :D

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Yuletide cheers

December is upon us! As well as the horrendous traffic jams, the frenzied shopping sprees at the crowded malls. But this cutesy song with a meaningful message by the Jackson 5 is my current favorite Christmas song. I keep humming the tune to keep myself upbeat during all the hectic rush.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

An outing este a date pala

For the longest time I've been hankering D about going to Manila Ocean Park to see the Humboldt penguins. As luck would have it, they have this special promo this Holiday season. For the price of 600 pesos, you get a ticket for the oceanarium and the Penguin exhibit. It was D's first time to go to Manila Ocean Park while it was my second time so we might as well take advantage of this promo.

We got there early but I guess not early enough since there were bus loads of kids on field trips all waiting to enter the premises. Luckily they had a separate line but once you get inside, it is a shoving and pushing match for the first one to get a clear view of the aquariums. Total chaos. But since D is tall, I gave him the camera to snap away while tiny me was being crushed by the throes of noisy, unruly kids. It's good that it was my second time so I just breezed through most of them. :D

Some of the shots were blurry because it is difficult to capture a moving target like schools of fish who swim happily in its enclosure. Or it could also be due to the shoving and pushing one must endure for a nice shot of the aquariums.

But overall I had fun! The penguins deserve a separate post.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Optical Illusion

Last May, we were capturing the sunset as it was fading away in a beach resort in Morong Bataan. A side trip during our Subic outing.

Is it just me or does the picture below resemble an ultrasound of a baby inside a womb?

What do you think?

Saturday, November 19, 2011


After almost 2 months of staying with a good friend, my sister was finally able to secure her own flat. Rent prices in that part of the globe are exorbitant so she has to make do with a studio. It is sparsely furnished with the bare essentials but it is her own little sanctuary now.

She told me about her shopping trips to several household items stores to canvass prices for some items she would be needing for her studio. She recounted how she somehow found herself in a shop that sold lights of all shapes and sizes. From mini pendant lights, lampshades, bedside lamps to grand chandeliers, the store was fully stocked.

Since I cannot physically accompany her during these shopping trips, she would send me several photos of items she intends to purchase. My inbox is filled with pictures of electronic appliances, household fixtures and pieces of furniture. She also emails 'before and after' pictures of her flat as she slowly but surely furnishes it to her liking. I can't wait to visit her next year! :D

Friday, November 18, 2011

My reality

Immediately after I posted my previous entry (the recipes), I had to rush over to the condo to take care of my parents who were both stricken with acute gastroenteritis. I tell you it is heartbreaking to see one's parents so weak and hardly able to fend for themselves. It is a reversal of roles when the very persons who raised you since you were born are now the ones who need to be nurtured.

I've always pictured my parents as strong willed individuals who can do anything and everything for us, their kids. But they are in their mid seventies now and they are quite vulnerable to any number of illnesses which can take a heavy toll on their frail bodies. But such is life.

It just puts me in a very dark and sentimental place where I get crestfallen, easily. I was so stressed out (well not from taking care of them) from thinking about their mortality, I gave myself an upset stomach. I kept throwing up every 20 minutes which sort of threw them off the loop. They thought I was infanticipating. Well bad news, I'm NOT. :D

Thankfully, all is well in parents land, now. I'm still quite tired, truth be told. I hardly got any sleep last night because the neighbor's 3 year old brat was having a tantrum fit! He was rousing the entire neighborhood with his loud bawling, howling cries for attention at freaking two in the morning. Gosh, what a lovely way to welcome me back to my own little shop of horrors reality show. A show where I am an unwilling participant. Lord, have mercy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Recipe finder

I admit I was a spoiled brat. Growing up, my mother would prepare all of our meals and I would just show up at the dining table to eat. :D But I did know how to chop ingredients, boil water, fry meat from canned goods. I was good in tasting though. My mom would trust my palette and make me taste the dishes to see if it needed more seasoning.

I got married 3 years ago and luckily D knows how to cook. He is my top chef, master chef all rolled into one. But he works long hours so as not to starve, I learned to make simple dishes. My mom is just a text message away so I can ask her anything.

The Internet is loaded with informational websites which feature various recipes for dinner ideas. Over at recipe finder, you simply type in a dish and many options show up on screen. It has a menu finder which is easy to use. The recipes come with its own instructional video so you can view how each dish is prepared.

Great! Now I have no excuse to stay away from the kitchen. There's what I decided to cook for tonight's dinner: Beef Mechado.

If you could only have one ....

I got tagged by Toni from Wifely Steps to do this meme. Here are my answers! :D


1. Condiment: Mayonnaise. I have it with everything from hot dogs, tuna sandwich, dumplings, pork chops to fish.

2. City to live in: Paris, France. I've visited this city of lights several times but it would be utterly lovely if I could inhabit there. I would get to converse in my (now) rusty French and get an apartment where I can see the Eiffel Tower from my window, all the time!

This picture was taken circa 1998. I was 30 years old and several, several, several pounds lighter! I had a manual camera hanging around my neck in the days of yore before every gadget became digital. Ah yes the good old days!

3. Place to vacation to: Italy. A country blessed with a very rich and colorful history, great cuisine and peppered with many cities. I sure would love to go back and revisit all of them.

4. Colour to wear: Any shade of blue. This means I can wear jeans all the time without feeling under dressed!

5. Celebrity/Character crush: Johnny Depp He happens to live in the south of France so I just might go pay him a visit at the drop of a hat!

6. Dessert to eat: Ice cream. Who doesn't love ice cream?? I can eat different flavors each day.

7. Book to read: This is a bit difficult since I make it a habit not to read a book again once I'm done with it. But I'd have to say "The Global Soul" by Pico Iyer. There were some chapters in that book which had some deeper meaning so it would be interesting to interpret them.

8. Television series to watch: The Amazing Race. A great 'travel' show with massive dosage of realism (thus it is a reality show) coupled with a good insight into the relationships among and between the racers. They say you only truly get to know someone once you have traveled together. What more if you are traveling under pressure and with time constraints? That's when the bickering starts. Game on!

9. Cartoon character as a roommate: Tintin. So I can go on numerous adventures with him. Not sure I have that much energy, though.

10. Type of food to eat (assuming that we can sustain ourselves easily off of one thing): Clam Chowder. It is a complete meal. It has soup, veggies and seafood.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Beanie bean

Ah yes the old reliable Mr bean is truly one of life's simple pleasures. The picture was in reference to a tiny stall which sold numerous varieties/flavors of the soya bean beverage. When I saw it in Singapore I thought it was the cutest thing ever. You notice how the bean has tiny legs and a grin that suggests it is savoring something delicious. Well the signage is cute not the drink, itself. I tasted it once and I almost threw up with disgust. Yuck, me don't like! Hehehe.

Well this post is about beans, specifically kidney beans as a key ingredient to some of my favorite recipes. These includes my version of flaming hot chili con carne, my mother's own soup recipe which consists of kidney beans with pork belly and the good old pork and beans (although lately you might need a magnifying glass to find the pork!).

But even though I love to eat kidney beans, it does have its disadvantages. It gives me gas and it makes my joints (specifically my knees) ache! The latter probably has got to do with genetics and my advancing age. :D Ergo, I only partake beans in moderation.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


A couple of days ago, we visited my father in law's grave at the Loreto Church in Bustillos, Manila. Unlike the images you see on TV of the throngs of people at the public cemeteries, his crypt is enclosed in an air conditioned sanctuary. You can sit down and reflect in the silence of your heart. We stayed for about an hour.

Then we headed to Trinoma for a very late lunch. I wanted Japanese food so we ate at Teriyaki Boy. We were quiet as we practically gulped down our food. I was starving! Then D noticed that the texture of the table was the same as the one where we had our first date. You see our very first date was at a branch of Teriyaki Boy in the old Greenbelt area. It was also his very first time to eat at this Japanese eatery. Since then it has been our favorite 'dating' place. A place where we celebrate important occasions in our wedded life.

Towards the end of our meal, I lamented that the Teriyaki Boy branch in Greenbelt has been torn down and replaced by another restaurant. I sighed as I told D that most of the places where we celebrated our 'firsts' were no longer in existence. He retorted by saying:

"Never mind, those are just places ... What's more important is we are still happily together".

I couldn't agree more! A rare romantic side of my hubby surfaced that day. He is growing wise(r) in his old age! :D

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hanging bridge

In my single days, I used to watch movies a lot. I would basically camp out at movie theaters during foreign film festivals and (tried) to watch all the movies in the line-up. When we were first dating, D & I used to watch movies every weekend before hearing mass. It was only when we got married that I found out he was not really a movie buff. He just accompanied me because he knew it was my favorite hobby in the whole wide world. Back then, I thought it was a sweet gesture on his part. 3 years into our marriage, I've accepted the fact that movie watching isn't on his list of things to do. But I manage to sustain my hobby through the ever reliable Internet.

My sister who recently relocated to HK, finds herself in the same quandary. Her small circle of (new) friends, acquaintances don't seem to share her interests. This includes watching movies at cinemas. So nowadays when we chat at Skype, we would spend hours discussing the films we've seen, compare notes and recommend to each other several movies. It almost feels like we are members of Oprah's book club except we discuss films instead of novels.

I'm not really complaining about my hubby's lack of interest in my hobbies. :D Marriage is about adjusting one's expectations and simply making do with what wedded life has to offer. It is pretty much like that hanging bridge in the picture above. You know once you step on it, it would get shaky and tough yet you still go for it. But you face it armed with enough strength and tenacity to handle each and every shake that comes along the way with relentless determination until you reach the other side. Let's march on!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Retail therapy

Shopping for clothes has been quite a chore now that I've gained weight. The pretty green blouse that looks exquisite on the display rack would look hideous on me. Perhaps due to the letter 'X' attached to the size. So in honor of my 43rd birthday, I just went for the next best thing: shoes! :D

Friday, October 21, 2011

My 43rd birthday lunch

Venue: Robinsons Galleria.
Lunch: Mr Choi Kitchen.
Coffee: Figaro.
Blueberry Cheese cake: checked! :D

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Letter to myself

Dear me,

You know how people tend to feel down whenever their birthday approaches, well I know you feel the same. Even though you have always felt young both physically and at heart, somehow life has a way of rubbing it in when you try your darnest best to deny it. For instance, when you wake up in the mornings and you feel some ache in your joints. I also know you feel old when you visit your OB-GYN's clinic and you are the oldest one there. Not to mention, the only one without a 'big belly'.

Well yes so you turn 43, today. I suggest you embrace it with your head held high and a smile in your heart. It is best to just enjoy life and quit torturing yourself with unnecessary stress and worries which keep you up at nights.

You are already blessed with supportive parents, a generous sister and a loving husband. Just count your blessings and be grateful for them. You are already experiencing a life far beyond your wildest expectations. So cherish it and learn to accept that certain things are meant to be, whether you like it or not.

Happy birthday. Enjoy your day. Go have that blueberry cheese cake you have been craving for days now. You deserve it more than you think you do!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Travelogue: Austrian charm

It was during the month of March in the year 2000 when I first set foot in Austria. It was part of our European itinerary. We took an overnight train from Venice to Vienna. In my excitement, I couldn't sleep and just laid in my bunker bed watching the night time scenery pass by. When the train reached the final stop in Vienna, I was greeted by the chillingly cold breeze. We dragged our heavy luggage all the way to the MRT (I forget what it is called) and alighted at the city hall station. Good thing my sister is quite adept in reading maps. After a few minutes walk, we reached our B&B type accommodation for our week stay in Austria.

For 3 whole days we explored Vienna on our own. Our hotel was walking distance from the Rathaus (City Hall).

We also toured the scenic route leading to the Burgtheater (National Theatre).
The Burgtheater has obtained a world-wide reputation for brilliant dramatic art and it holds a leading position in the dramatic arts of German-speaking Europe. Over the years, its theatrical company of more or less regular members has worked out a traditional style and speech characteristic of Burgtheater performances. The audience has always been involved in evaluating the talents of new members of the Burgtheater company. (Information is from the map of tourist sites to visit in Vienna)

We were also fortunate to ride the Prater, Vienna's most popular fun fair. Here one can enjoy a great view from the giant Ferris wheel which was featured in the classic film, "The Third Man". The Prater is situated near the centre and is ideal for walking, cycling, jogging or just lying on the grass after an exhausting sightseeing tour in the inner city.

We rode the MRT to visit the Gothic St Stephen' Cathedral. It is situated in the city centre, and for centuries it has been the heart of Vienna. It is one of the most famous Viennese sights and was built in 1147. The cathedral was dedicated to St. Stephen. But we weren't able to capture these sights on film since we foolishly forgot our camera in the hotel. It was beautiful too to see the Vienna Opera House sparkling with lights during the evenings.

One evening, we bought tickets to watch a quartet perform classical music in one of the halls in the Burgtheater. It was a small ensemble with a small audience, but the acoustic of the hall was perfect. It was an excellent way to appreciate Austria's rich cultural heritage.

It took us an entire day to explore the Schonbrunn Palace. The Palace with its surrounding buildings and the huge park is one of the most significant cultural monuments in Austria. It was generally used as the summer residence of the Habsburg rulers. Furthermore the entire complex was taken up in the UNESCO's world cultural heritage list.

We took a train to get to Salzburg, the 4th largest city in Austria. The place made famous by "The Sound of Music" movie. It is also the birthplace of 18th century composer Wolfgang Mozart. His modest residence is now a museum where they display most of his compositions.

Since we only had half a day to explore Salzburg, we headed directly to the Hellbrunn Palace, famous for its trick fountains.

We also visited the Hohensalzburg Castle ("High Salzburg Fortress"). It is one of Austrian's ancient castles and it is atop the Festungsberg mountain. It was erected at the behest of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg. Today today with a length of 250 m (820 ft) and a width of 150 m (490 ft), it is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe.

Overall, our visit to Austria was short but quite charming. From the wonderful sights, the interesting local cuisine to the biting cold weather (even though it was already March) - it will forever remain etched in my memory as one of the best trips I've ever experienced in my lifetime.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The getting to know you chain

Courtesy of Toni from "Wifely Steps". Here are my answers.

1. Were you named after someone?
Yes, I was named after the English novelist "Daphne du Maurier".

2. How did you name your blog?
I wanted to document the precious and (not so precious) moments of my life.

3. Where did you meet your husband?
Friendster :D

4. How long were you guys dating before you got married?
10 months.

5. How did you bond?
Movies. Long telephone chats. Hearing Mass every Sundays.

6. If there is one song to describe your life right now what would it be?
Brandi Carlie: The Story

7. What did you first notice about your partner when you first met?
His mestizo features and his height. Well compared to my tiny frame, everyone is taller than me! :D

8. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

9. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people?

10. As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?
A flight attendant.

11. Do you remember where you first spent your paycheck?
I treated my family to dinner in some dimsum place in Singapore. We were based in Singapore then.

12. Favorite Social Network?

13. Favorite place in Manila?
Inside any cinema.

14. What are your favorite TV Shows?
Grey's Anatomy, Parenthood, Survivor, Top Chef, Project Runway.

15. What’s your silliest pet peeve?
The misuse of the word 'safety'. They use it as a verb now! For instance, when people say 'di bale, basta safety kami' Arggghhh that irritates me to death!

16. What’s your favorite quote?
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breaths away"

17. What’s your favorite smell?
Fresh laundry.

18. Say a random thing about yourself:
I'm turning 43 next week!

19. If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?
Princess Diana.

20. If you could drop everything now and do something what would it be?
Go hang out with my sister in Hong Kong.

Now it’s your turn: in the comment box, answer one question AND if you want to ask me another question go ahead and do that as well and I’ll answer it!

If you do continue this chain in your blog, leave the link to your entry too. I’d love to read more about you.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


I am really happy that my sister is now based in HK. That means she can come home more often. The flight is merely an hour and her work load is much lighter so her weekends are free. It was the weekend of her birthday (October 2 - she turned the big 4-0) plus she managed to get 2 days off work so naturally we had to celebrate. Our family has always been big on birthdays.

Actually the celebrations started on the 28th of September (D's 47th birthday) until October 5, 2011. I notice that my jeans are now a bit tight from overeating. :D But I got a birthday coming up in 10 days so I guess I just need to find something else to wear than my now tight jeans. =)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hear ye ... hear ye!

Dear readers,
This blog will be out of circulation.
It's sister bonding time!
Cheerios :D