Saturday, June 30, 2012


One of the items that my sister purchased when she last visited were essential oils. Those scented liquids that are sold in tiny bottles. There were a huge variety of fragrances to choose from, like talcum powder, lavender, to Chanel no. 5! She told me it was very therapeutic to dwell in a home with a good aroma. It relaxes her after a very long and tiring day.

Actually I've been meaning to try this procedure to get rid of that stinky smell every time I fry fish for dinner. The whole house reeks even though I spray half a bottle of those purifiers. I should have bought one of those portable vaporizers when I got the chance. Well next time I head to the bazaars, I'd make sure to purchase one!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ponytail time

There is this hair conditioner ad repeatedly shown on TV which asks "Nag half day ulit ba ang conditioner mo?" It basically refers to the fact that by midday you resort to tying your hair because it loses volume or its shine.

Well, I think that ad is grossly misleading because no matter how many times I use that brand of conditioner, my hair isn't shiny! Ok well I admit maybe the texture of my hair is to blame. I have wiry, wavy, messy hair so no amount of shampoo and conditioner would make me look fabulous.

I've always dreamt of having long layered hair like JLo. Her mane is full of volume and it has a bouncy feel to it. But who am I kidding, right? These celebrities have hair stylists at their beck and call. A whole retinue of staff that pamper her mane 24/7. So unless I win the lottery, I can never afford such luxury.

Naturally there is always the beauty salon to run off to for pampering. But those treatments don't come cheap and the minute I shampoo my hair it goes back to its "buhaghag" state. But I do like to indulge in it once or maybe twice a year just to give my self esteem some much needed boost.

Growing up in Europe, I was used to people minding their own business. I've never been particularly vain. In fact I sometimes forget to check myself in the mirror, really. I'd get up in the morning, tie my hair in a ponytail (without even brushing it) then I'm ready to do my chores.

So it was quite a shock to my system when we came back here for good when people would point out how bushy my eyebrows were or how thick my hair was. It was only in 2001 that I became consciously aware of my looks. I had to invest in devices like tweezers, waving packages, hair iron. I basically went broke trying different kinds of products to tame my frizzy mane. Some items worked, temporarily. Some products worked, instantly. But MOST did nothing to my hair.

I just don't get it why people would comment about my thick eyebrows and my wavy hair. It's not like I would turn into a better person if I had nicely shaped eyebrows and straight hair, I would still be the same arrogant, sarcastic me, so why bother? :D

Monday, June 25, 2012

Who let the dogs out?

I'm not a pets person. Although we did have a green parrot when we were kids living in India, I've never developed an affinity for animals. I figure being bitten by a puppy when I was about 6 years old gave me a phobia for the four legged creatures.

D, on the other hand is quite fond of dogs. He grew up having them as pets. He has expressed his desire to buy one but I am adamant against his plan. Mostly because I'm terrified of dogs. Since D is at work for long hours, guess who would have to deal with the pet? Me, of course. No, thanks it ain't happening so just forget about it, honey.

Owning a dog is a big responsibility pretty much like parenthood. But sadly it seems there aren't many responsible pet owners in this nation. On our street alone, I encounter a lot of dog poop when I go walking. Not to mention the number of stray dogs that roam freely on a daily basis. Ergo, I abandoned the idea of walking around the neighborhood as a form of exercise for fear of stepping on nasty dog poo or worst being attacked by a fierce pit bull.

There is also the case of a black dog owned by the tenants of the apartment in front of ours. They usually let him (I'm assuming it is male) out during night time. I figure for his daily walks. I have no issue with that, it is fine by me. But what I don't understand is how come they don't let the poor dog back in. Several nights, I'm roused from my sleep by the sounds of a dog howling. He would start scratching the gate trying desperately to force it open. Then he would emit a loud shrilling howl which makes me shiver because it sounds like the cry of a dying animal.

It is bad enough when some people are inconsiderate and selfish. But it is really cruel when they neglect their very own pets. Tsk!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bencab Museum (May 17, 2012)

On our 4th and last day in Baguio, D was feeling much betters so we headed to the Bencab Museum in Tuba Benguet. The ride by taxi took about 15 minutes through narrow and steep roads nestled with the hills.

The museum had just opened so we had it all to ourselves. It is a 3 storey expanse that houses several art pieces. Works from different artists (not just Bencab's) ranging from paintings, sculptures to modern and contemporary items are on display.

From the second floor terrace, you can see a magnificent view of the lusciously green mountains of Benguet. The sun was out that day but the clean, pure air was quite refreshing.

I love going to museums so I could spend one whole day exploring it. Unfortunately, we had a bus to catch so our time was limited. But be sure to drop by Bencab Museum whenever you are in Baguio. Entrance fee is 100 pesos. Photography without flash is allowed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

"We got it all for you"

The Shoe Mart Mall in Baguio was just a few walking distance away from where we stayed in the City of Pines. As you all know, it got bad publicity over their plans to cut down the pine trees to put up a parking lot. But when we visited it, the brouhaha had settled down as they were hardly any signs of protest rallies visible. I also had a hard time figuring out which part of the mall was being allocated for the parking spot, as it was still surrounded by tall, luscious trees.

The best part about the mall though is the open air viewing deck on the upper floors. From there you can see a stunning view of Baguio City.

Watching the sunset over Baguio was quite a treat. I thought it was a romantic gesture as it was still our anniversary.

Little did I know that the very next day, I would return to the mall under different circumstances. It was our 3rd day in Baguio, I woke up early as we planned to visit the strawberry farms. After I showered, I was surprised that D was still in bed, he usually wakes up before me. Then I discovered he was burning up with fever! I gave him crackers and hot tea so he could drink meds. He was stricken with severe stomach flu. So I rushed to SM to buy some hot soup and congee from the fast food court. He slept the whole day and by evening his fever and his upset stomach was gone. He felt quite bad that we wasted one whole day, but I told him that would give us a good reason to return to Baguio! :D

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A good fright

My insomnia lingers. I tried reading a book. It usually does the trick within 10 minutes. But this time it didn't work. So I switch on the TV and starting watching an Adam Sandler movie. I caught it midway but it wasn't difficult to grasp. Most of his movies are mindless entertainment. In other words, no heavy thinking required. I switched the TV off. I read another book. After around 20 pages, I got bored and was still wide awake. While D was already far off in dreamland, sleeping like a baby. Not fair! :D

So on goes the TV yet again. After channel surfing for a few minutes, I settled on Star Movies. Haunted Changi was on. It is a documentary of some Singaporean students who want to document the apparent ghost apparitions at old Changi Hospital. It was bombed during World War 2 so a lot of lives perished within its premises. At first, they keep showing footage of them exploring the different floors of the hospital. Nothing 'concrete' was established. Then it started getting creepy as some of the characters got sick. As the film went on, I suddenly got quite scared. I was literally cowering under the covers.

So I shut my eyes really tight and guess what? I fell asleep! Nothing like a good fright to get the zzz. Hopefully, next time reading would do the trick. I can't bear the thought of watching horror movies, every night just to fall asleep. Scary thought!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lunch treat

This past weekend was Fathers Day so D & I treated my dad for lunch. My father loves baby back ribs so we thought we try American fare at Burgoo. It was our first time to eat there so we were at a lost on what to order. So we based our choices on the pictures on their menu. We picked a cup of their soup of the day (Mushroom Soup) and Caesar Salad as our appetizers

Their Shrimps and Ribs Platter (to share) and Chicken Barbeque (forgot to take picture!) for our main course.

Verdict: The soup was very salty. The Shrimps and Ribs platter didn't look nor taste as appetizing as their pictures on the menu. Perhaps next time we'd try TGIF for their American cuisine. So far, Tony Roma's still tops our list for finger licking ribs!

Nevertheless, it was time well spent with my parents who never run out of topics for our animated conversations!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sleep, Interrupted

One would think that with the incessant rains we experienced the past days, it would be conducive to get a good night sleep. On the contrary, it kept me up most nights. It seems that a few days every month, I get insomnia attacks. Several issues cloud my mind all at once that I stay up at nights worrying about them.

For instance, a certain portion of our bedroom's ceiling leaks when there is a heavy downpour. We have constantly reminded our landlord's son about it but so far he hasn't lifted a finger to fix it. So we always have a bucket in our bedroom. Not a good idea because it breeds mosquitoes which could cause a dengue outbreak in our very house! Nice, NOT!

Then there is the never ending problem with my computer. It has 'tantrums'. On some days, it works perfectly while other days it won't even switch on. The strange thing is when the technician came to fix it, it didn't cause any problems. He inspected it and found nothing wrong with the unit. Yet the very next day, it didn't start even if I switched it on several times.

There are also a number of worrisome matters which plague my mind on a constant basis. I sometimes wonder if I am having cabin fever or worse some lingering illness which hasn't manifested its symptoms yet, like insanity, for instance?

So lack of sleep = eyebags + cranky attitude (mainit ang ulo). Poor D bears the brunt of my temper, unfortunately. But he has this carefree attitude that nothing ever frazzles him even when I give him the silent treatment. This in turn upsets me all the more since I get the sense he does not care if the roof caves in or that I am unable to do my work when my PC conks out. Even though I can use his computer but it isn't the same!

So it is a no win situation, ha?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sous titres (subtitles)

This year's French Film Festival recently concluded at the Shang Cineplex. I watched 2 films because I've seen some of the other movies included in the line-up. By some miracle, I persuaded D to give in to my whims. So we watched a romantic comedy that featured several love stories compiled into one film. It was entertaining enough for me NOT to fall asleep as I was really tired for some unexplainable reason.

Before we entered the cinema, I silently told myself I won't read the English subtitles. It was a test for me to understand French even though I haven't spoken it in almost 3 decades. Well, except for a very brief period when I was involved with a guy who spoke the language, it has been 30 years! We were re-assigned to the home office in 1982 after spending 4 years in Brussels, Belgium. I'd have to mention that the French spoken in Brussels is slightly different than the one spoken in France.

So the film starts on a good note, I was able to avert my eyes from the sous titres (subtitles), laughing at the comedic parts and absorbing the dramatic moments. Until one of the characters started talking in quite an animated manner, I got lost in translation. It was quite a disappointing instance. I tried desperately to understand her fast paced conversation but it was hopeless.

I was quite upset about the whole incident, D thought it was funny that I got all riled up over what he says is a trivial manner. I don't think it is funny. It is really sad. I've always felt a sense of accomplishment that I could speak another language other than English and Tagalog. But I guess having no one to speak French with (other than my sister) is a huge factor.

To console myself, I emailed the above mentioned guy and told him about my chagrin. To my utter surprise, he told me and I quote "Actually, Daph I have the same experience with French films. Talking in French is no problem, but when it comes to understanding a film I need subtitles." I couldn't believe it. That statement coming from a person who actually lived in Paris for several years really uplifted my crushed spirits. I am not the only one who needs subtitles. Hurray.

Friday, June 15, 2012

PMA (May 15, 2012)

After we had lunch at Hill Station, we hired a taxi to take us to the Philippine Military Academy. The usual rate is 300 pesos per hour. The official training school of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is a 373-hectare compound located in the Loakan area. It was named after the young hero of the battle of Tirad Pass, General Gregorio del Pilar.

You are required to leave an ID at the entrance. Then you are free to explore the premises.

It was a very rushed exploration as we were sweating profusely from walking the vast expanse, taking pictures and admiring the scenery. By the time we were through, we realized we had consumed a hour and a half inside the PMA premises. It was well worth it as we saw with our own eyes the grounds where the cadets of our Armed Forced are trained into well developed soldiers who will protect our country at all cost.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Laguna Loop

On this very rainy day when we celebrate our 114th Independence Day, let me take you on a tour of beautiful old churches in the province of Laguna.

Before the sun rose, D & friends took off on the last day of May for Laguna. Armed with their cameras, they were on a 'mission' to capture as many churches as possible on film.

(1) St. Peter of Alcantara Parish Church, Pakil

St Peter of Alcantara Church

St Peter of Alcantara Parish Church

(2) St. John the Apostle Church, Paete

Paete Church

main altar of St John the Apostle Church

(3) St. John the Baptist Church aka Longos Church, Kalayaan

stone church of Longos

(4) San Sebastian Parish Church, Lumban

wooden ceiling of San Sebastian Parish Church

Simbahan ng Lumban,  Laguna

(5) Sta. Maria Magdalena Church, Magdalena

Sta Maria Magdalena Church

main altar, Sta Maria Magdalena Church

(6) the rose colored St. Gregory the Great Parish Church, Majayjay

Facade, St Gregory the Great Parish Church

interiors of St Gregory the Great Parish Church

(7) the famous red bricks of St. John the Baptist Parish, Liliw

St. John the Baptist Parish

adoration chapel

(8) Cathedral Church of St. Paul, San Pablo

facade of Cathedral Church of St. Paul

(9) St. Bartholomew Parish Church, Nagcarlan

St. Bartholomew Parish Church ("Nagcarlang Church")

They also included this historical landmark in their itinerary

NHI sign at Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery

Nagcarlan underground cemetery

Nagcarlan underground cemetery

Nagcarlan underground cemetery grounds

Friday, June 08, 2012

Hill Station, Casa Vallejo (May 15, 2012)

We dropped by our hotel to deposit the items we bought at Mines View Park and the Good Shepherd Convent. Then we walked further down the road to have our lunch at Hill Station.

This fine dining tapas bar and restaurant was voted one of the best restaurants in Asia in the Miele Guide. It is located in Casa Vallejo which is one of the oldest institutions in Baguio that was converted into a boutique hotel. Aside from the restaurant, it also houses the Mt Cloud Bookshop where poetry readings are held on certain evenings of each month. But unfortunately, we weren't able to pass by due to time constraints.

It was a little past 1 in the afternoon when we settled down to have our lunch.

For appetizers, we had the Spinach and Artichoke Dip.

D had the Cambodian Coriander Chicken.

I ordered the Peached Paprika Salmon.

The place was nearly empty during lunch time but I heard it gets busy during the weekends. Naturally, it is a bit pricey but the ambiance is very romantic. I'd say it is a good place for a date. Its cozy surroundings is a nice venue to get to know someone more intimately. Perfect place to toast our 4th wedding anniversary! =)