Yuppies, After-Office Special

Everyone needs that most awaited break from work, or should I say, break from everything! There will always come a time where you just wanted to forget the city, and go back to that familiar comfort. That comfort you often crave while you’re in the middle of finishing a task. That comfort you always long for ever since you started working. That comfort you chose to let go when you decided to finally leave your beloved university…

Yes, of course, we know the feeling. That’s why me and my college friends, my major-mates in Edcom, always make it sure that we’ll always have that needed dose of comfort whenever we feel like we desperately need it!

Last March 22, in different buses, we found ourselves on our way to Pansol to see each other, and have the first Edcom reunion for the year! That’s the fourth big reunion since we graduated. Not that we don’t see each other often, we actually do, but in small groups. It’s a rare sight to see all of us together! The last time we got together was in July, during our housewarming party.

This time, it’s even more special since our professor, Sir Ed, just came back to the country after months of studying in Thailand!

Of course, the reunion is basically made up of alcohol, the pool, the long queue of reserved songs in the karaoke, the dancing and the singing… But the best thing about the night is the never-ending stories, rants, and heart-to-hearts.

As the night went on, I could hear myself and my friends already shouting out of happiness! There are some who’d say, “I REALLY REALLY NEED THIS!” before taking a shot of tequila. Some would shout, “BEST NIGHT EVER!”

“I LOVE YOU, GUYS!”

“THIS IS THE PERFECT BREAK FROM WORK!”

Yeah, hearing those words would make anyone assume that we are definitely stressed out from work! That we really missed our lives before graduation. We can’t deny that. We really are, and we really do.

The morning after! Thanks, Kringy, for these photos!

The morning after! Thanks, Kringy, for these photos!

Based on the conversations I had throughout the night, I’ve seen that we’ve matured in several ways, but there are still some things that remained the same. We’re still friends with our college selves who are just hiding behind our employed alter egos.

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Pi Day 2014, the days after, and my unnecessary sourgraping about my age

Ever since I turned 18, I stopped thinking about how old I am. So whenever someone asks me about my age, they’ll get a long pause first before hearing the right response. You can’t blame me, I’m quite forgetful. And age, it changes every year, and I’m too busy with other things to keep track. Haha. On my most recent birthday celebration, I found myself answering “I dunno, I stopped caring at 18. But, I was born in 1991,” and let the person compute for my age.

Age is irrelevant anyway!

Cheesy as it may sound, but what’s important is how you celebrated your life, and whom you celebrate your birthdays with through the years. You might be celebrating with different people every year, and it’s a great time for appreciating the fact that you’ve lived long enough to meet these wonderful people.

This year, like the previous years, my birthday celebrations were simple…
just how I like them to be.

Celebration Day 1:
Actual Birthday! Office and QC home! (14 March 2014)

Sir JT, my boss ordered two cakes that me and my officemates shared for merienda. I’m so lucky to have a very generous boss! Hihi. Both cakes are from Mary Grace. One of them is perfect for tea, and the other is for coffee. One of the things that I really love about my work is my colleagues love for food! They really know where to get the good ones!

That afternoon, Arbie picked me up at the office, and I’m so happy that he finally got to meet some of my office friends!

IMG_0593 Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetLater that day, when we got home, I ordered some vegetarian pancit from Mushroom Burger (which is one of my favourite pancits ever) for a little celebration with my housemates, and my dormmates back in college. They slept over at our QC home that night because they have a getaway the next day with my housemate, Butch, who happens to be their friend, too, because we’re sort of like always together. Haha!

Anyway, aside from that I also ordered barbecue, and Candy bought bagnet (oh that glorious bagnet!). They also surprised me with another cake!

IMG_0610 IMG_0650 IMG_0675We ended the night with full tummies, of course!

Celebration Day 2:
Meet-the-Parents Day! (15 March 2014)

The next day, Arbie and I went to my home so he can finally meet my parents! It went well… I guess sooooo. Haha! We brought some food from their resto. We didn’t know that my father also cooked some dinner, so that’s another night with lots of food! Although, Arbie didn’t get to eat that much because my father became his talkative self and won’t stop talking him. They were talking all night to the point that I couldn’t even relate to what they’re talking about!

Anyway, I’m so glad they liked him! :) I mean, why wouldn’t they, right? They should be happy they raised a child with very good standards!  HAHAHAHA

No photos from that night though.

Celebration Day 3:
With the best friend, of course!

We’re not able to meet during my actual birthday because of the demands from her work, but I definitely still have to celebrate my birthday with my best friend, Clang! :) Always. Since Grade 2.

We just had a chill afternoon in our house. Eat the left-over food from the previous night, while watching This Is The End.

Yes. That’s the perfect Clang-Gilly moment.

Celebration Day 4:
Office… Again! (18 March 2014)

In my office circle of friends, two of us are March celebrants. I wasn’t expecting anymore surprise from them since there’s already one during the actual date of my birthday… that’s why I got really surprised when I entered the library and saw the digital birthday banner  on the flat screen, as well as the glorious food from Amber!

It’s a combined birthday celebration for me and Kuya Avel!

IMG_0764My boss also gave us some nuts and two bottles of sparkling water! Isn’t he the best boss ever? He really knows how to treat his staff well!

That’s all from this year’s Pi Day celebrations!

See, who cares about how many times you’ve had your birthday? It doesn’t affect who you are, and who you’re with, and how you enjoy your day! Like what I’ve said, it’s how you celebrate it!

Man, if your age is based on how many times you’ve celebrated your birthday, I’m already many years older than my actual age, because I always get to celebrate it more than once!

 

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Friday the 14th! February 14th!

For most people, February 14th is equivalent to flowers, chocolates, big teddy bears, and fancy dinner… but not to me. Simply because it feels funny. And I’m not really romantic. (You know, before, I just had to warn someone that I won’t walk–either alone or with him–in public carrying a bouquet. So yeah, not really into the cliche.) And ever since I started studying in UP, my idea of Valentine’s Day is always associated to good live music, field grass, and glorious food because of the annual university fair which is always scheduled on Valentine’s Week. It’s becoming some sort of a tradition for me. Yes, V-day is almost non-existent if not for the uttered/typed words: Happy Valentine’s Day. It’s just basically an ordinary day spent with good company.

This year’s V-Day, I chose to stick with the tradition. But it definitely feels so much better because I spent it with someone really special, and I got to meet Arbie’s family and some friends.

I took a leave, and traveled from Quezon City to Calamba that morning to avoid the traffic caused by the Valentine’s Day-Pay Day-Friday combo. I arrived there before lunch giving us enough time to go to Rizal Shrine, because, funny enough, I haven’t been there… and we just came from Taal, so I was still in the mood for some heritage site. Honestly, if you’ve been to Taal, you won’t appreciate Rizal Shrine that much because its feel is not as authentic than the sites in Taal. But it’s good to finally be able to go there.

For lunch, we went to Laong Laan, Arbie’s family’s resto, and had a very sumptuous lunch. I’ve been in their resto twice when we’re still not together (actually, when we still doesn’t even know each other) and I enjoyed the food! Arbie ordered some dishes that I haven’t tried yet, and man, it was a veeeery good lunch!

IMG_0107We had chicharong bulaklak, steamed tilapia, chopsuey, and garlic chicken!

After that, we drove to UPLB to have some quiet moment at the National Arts Center located in Mt. Makiling. Before heading there, we got ourselves some dairy products from DTRI. I really miss Milk-o-Jel, but unfortunately it wasn’t available that time, even choco milk. So we bought yogurt ice cream, and a bottle of coffee milk!

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When it started to get dark, we drove back to the campus, but dropped by for a while at St. Mark’s Chapel. It’s my first time seeing this, and I was really stunned. Its beauty will make you believe in God.

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And I’m so excited to learn that someone close to me is going to get married here!

Just before sundown, we’re back in the campus, already walking around Freedom Park and checking out the booths. We grabbed some food and sat on the grass listening to the show. Giniling Festival was there! I’m always looking forward to Giniling Festival performances in every UP Fair. And hey, Arbie’s so lucky to get one of Bogart’s (yes, the Explorer from Davao City) drumsticks!

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Being in the fair made me miss the university life more! It felt so good to breathe some fresh air. It felt so good to sit with students. It felt so good to listen to live music made by your classmates/schoolmates. It felt so good to listen to leftists talk. It felt so good to listen to uttered words that challenge your thinking. Ah~ it feels so good to be a student/alumna of this university!

That was my February 14, 2014. Basically, it’s a break from work. Not your romantic cliche celebration, but definitely brought me soooo many kinds of tingly feelings — freedom, youth, nostalgia, satisfaction… and that one that I, myself, can’t comprehend… so I’m just calling it love. :)

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Taal Town Trip!

Starting a new year always comes with the drive to try something new, learn something new… or go somewhere new. Somewhere different from your usual vacation destinations… like going on a mini field trip… or go back in time!

Last January 11, Arbie and I decided to go back to the Spanish era, and visited the Heritage Town of Taal in Batangas. Imagine, Calle Crisologo in Vigan… it’s just a strip, but it takes you back in time, right? Well, how about a whole town of Calle Crisologos? Plus equally good food, colder wind, balisong, embroidered products, and a more laid-back feel? I knooow! That’s Taal. It’s awesome!

We arrived in Taal at around 10 in the morning. We had breakfast on the way there. Thanks to Arbie’s explorative cooking, and trusty picnic basket and cooler–we’re loaded for the day trip.

Stop #1: St. Martin de Tours Basilica
This is the biggest Catholic church in Asia, I guess in terms of the size of the structure, not its capacity. We climbed up the bell tower, and in there the whole town is visible. It’s a nice view.

I can send this shot to the Department of Tourism, you know. #MoreFun

BELL TOWER!

BELL TOWER!

Stop #2: Taal Town Park
Well, it’s where we parked, located just in front of the Basilica. They have this huge concrete letters of the town’s name. You see, it’s a playground for the local kids! We wanted to have a picture with the letters… alone, but the kids were all over the structure. Arbie used his “charms” and told the kids, “Sige, kukuhanan ko kayo jan ha, pero kami naman susunod.” And so they left after we took photos of them allowing us to have these perfect turista shots:

So yeah. You better know how to charm these kids… the pair after us didn’t.

Stop #3: Taal Town Market
Some of the products Taal is known for are their tapa, and embroidered and native products. They’re all over the market! We didn’t buy tapa, but we got a basket and some table cloth. And if you’re looking for good barongs and baro’t saya, Taal is the place to go!

Stop #4: Don Juan BBQ
Lunch tiiiime! This is one of the well-known restaurants in the area. We had Adobo sa Dilaw, Sinigang na Baboy, and Crispy Tawilis (of course!), all for a very sulit price of around 500 pesos!

Don Juan BBQ's Adobo sa Dilaw, Sinigang na Baboy, and Crispy Tawilis!

Don Juan BBQ’s Adobo sa Dilaw, Sinigang na Baboy, and Crispy Tawilis!

Stop #5: Casa Gahol
Actually, we’ve just mistaken it for the entrance of Villa Tortuga. It is an art gallery. They have a pretty good collection of paintings!

Stop #6: Villa Tortuga
Villa Tortuga is an old house converted to a gallery of old objects. They also have a photo studio where you can have your photo taken while you’re wearing old style clothes and make it look like it’s taken back in the Spanish era. No required fees except for the studio photo.

This one’s a creepy old object. Haha!

Because it’s Villa Tortuga… or, that’s why it’s Villa Tortuga?

Stop #7: Marcella Agoncillo Museum
Oh man, I fell in love with Marcella Agoncillo by just looking at the sculpture! This is the house where the Agoncillo family lived, before and after the revolution. Marcella Agoncillo was the one who sewed the Philippine flag. Yes, the sculpture depiction of the sewing is displayed here, but we were reminded that the flag was, in fact, sewn in HongKong. History refreshed! No entrance fee, but they accept donations.

Depiction of the sewing of the Philippine Flag! Made of fiber glass.

Depiction of the sewing of the Philippine Flag! Made of fiber glass.

Stop #8.1: San Lorenzo Ruiz Steps
This is the stairway connecting the Our Lady of Caysasay Church/Shrine and the Basilica.

Stop #8.2: Our Lady of Caysasay Church
The figurine of Our Lady of Caysasay is displayed here. Before we enter the church, we met a young boy named Army. He was selling us candles, but ended up serving as our tour guide, and told us the history of Our Lady of Caysasay. History: the figurine was caught in a fishing net… so many years ago.

Stop #8.3: Our Lady of Caysasay Shrine
Armin told us that the Shrine was built in the exact same location of the well where some two Marias supposedly saw the image of the Virgin Mother reflected on the water, while some birds called Casay-Casay was flying around her… hence the name. The water from the well was, from then on, believed to be miraculous. Wash yourself with the water, make a wish, and when your wish comes true, you should go back to the shrine and offer some red flowers. Hoping we’ll be back there soon with some red flowers!

The miraculous well!

The miraculous well!

Stop #9: Don Leon Apacible Museum
Don Leon Apacible was a government official back then, and this was his family’s house. So many cool old school stuff! No entrance fee, but they accept donations.

I love the Apacible kitchen! <3

I love the Apacible kitchen! <3

Old school fridge of the Apacibles!

Old school fridge of the Apacibles!

Stop #10: Galleria Taal
This is the Ilagan-Barrion ancestral house transformed into a gallery of old cameras! There’s more than a hundred of cameras displayed here, and some really cool old photos. The 3D camera blew my mind! Haha. This one has an entrance fee, around a hundred, I think?

The 3D photo viewer!

The 3D photo viewer!


Stop #11: Local balisong shop along the highway
Sharp objects, bitch! I got myself a switchblade! Arbie bought a bigger one, and a pen with a knife.

Played with the large models of balisong!

Played with the large models of balisong!

Stop #12: STAR Tollway Roadside (Haha!)
Since we still had some food that Arbie prepared, and it was fcking cold, we decided to grab some kapeng barako in a gasoline station in the middle of the highway. It’s cold but we love the freezing wind, so we ate at the parking lot. Haha!

Taal is an hour and half drive from Calamba City. From QC, I’m not really sure. But it took me two hours to reach Calamba on a Saturday morning. Haha! Anyway, just Google Maps the directions, I’m quite directionally-challenged, I can’t help you with that. But I can suggest a good playlist while on you way there! Play all three albums of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros! Nothing beats Folk while driving on a country-side highway. It feels fucking amazing!

It was really a fun field trip! An educational trip feels so much different when you do it while you’re already working, and especially if you organize it on your own. You go to places because you wanted to learn, and not because you’re required to.

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“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”

Beatles Night

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Kapitolyo Samplers

If I can, I will. And last Wednesday, I can. So, when Ani (my good friend and a dormmate back in college) texted me that afternoon to go with her and Ciamae (another friend/dormmate) in Kapitolyo, I didn’t think twice. It was their third time inviting me, and after declining the first two because I can’t due to some family “responsibilities,” and given that I was so free last week, I just couldn’t say no.

Kapitolyo is a food district in Pasig somehow similar to Maginhawa St. in Quezon City. It was just a 15 to 20-minute walk from SM Megamall (Shaw Blvd. side). Since the two of them have been there twice, they already knew the directions perfectly! (I can’t share the directions yet, because I can’t really remember. I won’t reach Kapitolyo from Megamall if you let me walk alone. Haha!)

We decided to have some “breakfast” for dinner when we saw Milky and Sunny and the resto’s very enticing look! There are a lot to choose from in their menu–unli cereals, sausages, sinangag, waffles… come on, just think of Western and Filipino breakfast!

The three of us ordered their Breakfast Platter–you can make your own breakfast combo. One can choose three from the following: bacon, Spam, corned beef, sausage and hotdog. Then, one pastry product: bagel, toast, pancake or waffle. This combo also includes, eggs (sunny side up or scrambled, it’s still up to you) and hash brown.

I had bacon, corned beef, sausage + bagel + scrambled egg + hash brown, all for 270 pesos!

After this heavy “breakfast,” we went to Cab Cafe, which is just a few meters away from Milky and Sunny, to grab some beer. Ani told me that they have Bogs Brew which I’m dying to taste ever since I learned from my friends who visited Bacolod that such product exists! Haha! And man, it tastes gooood!

Primo Bogs!

Primo Bogs!

A couple of 65 peso beer (Cab Cafe price) and a real good conversation with friends plus a slice of cheesecake made my night. Of course, I would go back in Kapitolyo to dine in other restos… but I’m pretty sure I will always end up having a chillax night in Cab Cafe. I mean come on, this is the only place I know in MNL that sells Bogs Brew.

I think I’d be visiting Kapitolyo at least twice a month, yeah?

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After Some Bottoms Up: How I See You

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