Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ascent: Antipolo (1)

"Visita Iglesia? Why don't we do the Panata instead?"

I was merely joking when I made the suggestion, but oddly enough, it clicked.  I have med the trek to Antipolo on foot before, and I was toying with the idea of doing it again.  Doing it in the company of friends seem like a good idea.

"Let's meet at Greenbelt and start from there.  I already have a general idea of the route we will take."

And so it happened that Thor and Bee were with me for the trek to Antipolo.

Santo Nino dela Paz

"Oh my, touch the color grey"  Thor exclaimed.
"Yes," I said.
"Yes!" Bee concurred.

This is going to be a fun trip, I told myself.

Church of Sts. Peter and Paul

I planned a straightforward trek; the usual route I've traversed the past couple of times. But Thor broached the idea of Visita Iglesia... well, visita iglesia lite; the original Visita necessitated fourteen churches, one for each station of the cross. For our purpose, we will visit seven.

Immediately, I scanned my mental map of the metro, trying to figure out the churches along my original path. There were just four. I tweaked my path and came up with a couple more. Thor consulted online but the suggestions there weren't exactly along our general path.
It will have to do for the moment, we'll just have to think of something on the fly.

Nuestra Sra. de Gracia

I am, for the most part, a non-practicing Roman Catholic. I've been raised in the rites and the dogma and for the greater part of my formative years, have been participating in the rituals. I still believe in the core values, but it has been years since I participated in the celebrations.

I may have stopped attending masses, but churches are still one of my favorite haunts for reflection. And it does help when the church has excellent architecture. It's a plus if they have some service to help you meditate and send your wishes up to the cosmos.

This trip thus far promises an opportunity for reflection.

to be continued...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gourmand Travels: I Need a Project

One of the earliest books I recall pouring through was a cookbook.  I even had to compete with Gremlyn for the book.  Sadly, after countless moves and countless relatives moving in with us, that book, along with some other things (toys, clothes, appliances... you know the drill) have become lost.  It didn't diminish my fascination with cooking though.  Cooking shows abound, even then, and the most popular, Wok With Yan, was a weekly family affair.


Friday, June 22, 2012


On a narrow side street going to Makati Avenue, a car was navigating the limited space, trying to park. With cars double parked at the sides, the driver has created a bottleneck. Trapped as we were, I had no choice but to let my mind wander while the jeep I was riding was idling by. Suddenly, a loud horn erupts and I was riven from my daydream. The gray car behind us has lost its patience and wants everything to move along.

Seated nearest the exit and in direct line of fire from the gray car's bellow, I studied the offending vehicle, bracing my ears as another long and loud honk was released. "Asshole driver," I muttered to myself. Finally, traffic moved and the blaring barrage stopped. For a few meters, that is; the intersecting traffic as we reached Makati Avenue halted our progress.

The by-now familiar horn blared again, singing its wounded song of stunted privilege. The glare from the windshield is gone and I was able to gleam into the car's interior. "Female asshole driver," I amended myself. Thankfully, she maneuvered her gray Altis onto another lane to direct her horn to another hapless motorist.

Trumpets and trombones are banned on this street

Unfortunately, another buzzer buzzard replaced her in the form of a red Hyundai SUV, who blares her horn in tandem with the brakes every time the jeepney stops. We move a few meters and stop; as is normal during Makati morning rush hour. Hyundai moves a few meters and reacts with a horn before stopping. Move. Horn. Stop.
Move. Horn. Stop.

And yes, you might have guessed, another female driver.

Now, I have nothing against female drivers.  I know some who are excellent behind the wheels.  Gremlyn and Matriarch could run circles around trucks and buses on the expressway during their hayday.  But these female rush hour drivers, why are they so reactive?  Why are they so liberal with the horn?

And these are not your acceptable split-second buzz either.  These are 5-second minimum, push to the floor, blaring of horn.  The kind you use when a sixteen-wheeler is backing inches away from your fender.  It's loud, obnoxious and arrogant.

Seriously, why were these women so horny?

Horny woman - yellow contacts not included

photocredit:  horny street  horny woman

Monday, June 18, 2012

Shirking Responsibilities: Sick Week

Saturday night, I knew something was amiss:  a tooth was hurting and I could feel a little swelling.  By Sunday morning, it was a mess.  Half my face was swollen and it was a minor miracle that I was still able to speak.  I had medicine and lots of food bought for me to counter my sickness.

Come Monday morning, it was clear that I wont be getting to work.  The swelling smarts to the touch and I have a constant headache.  I had an officemate tell my manager my predicament, saying further that I needed to rest.

I could still joke about it, saying to some people that though I beat Pacquiao in 12 rounds, he was able to land a solid right hook to my jaw, and thus the swelling, but it didn't temper the fact that I was in constant pain.  It was as if a drill was trained to my temple while even the lightest touch to my cheek sent tendrils of pain from my face down to my toes.  Rest was elusive and ice cream lent only minor comfort.

Thankfully, I was given furlough from the pain thanks to consultations from doctor friends who advised the viability of mixing antibiotics with anti-inflammatory tablets, at least for certain pockets of time.  It's no good getting temporary reprieve from the pain but have your liver suffer for it.  One thing was clear though:  going to the office was not an option.

So I sent an email to my manager, my boss, and HR head, apologizing for my absence and detailing my predicament.  I even attached pictures, just to gross them out.  And it worked.  No work emails came my way (I kept it open, just in case) and no instant messages too, even though I was constantly online.

I wont deny it, though, had it been any other illness, I would still have made it to the office, albeit a few hours late, owing to the fact that it was constantly raining.  I hate going out when it rains.  But the main reason for taking  a week-long absence was that of vanity.  Going out of the house with my lopsided face was clearly out of the question.  And the low pressures due to the storm was not helping matters.  I was depressed.  I felt ugly.  And those two reasons combined is reason enough for me to lock myself up in my room.  It's not the best excuse to file leave for work, I know, but combined with the swelling and the almost-constant pain, I felt that they are.  Or at least they should be.

I'm returning from work come Monday to face the consequence of my week-long absence.  A leave of more than two days would necessitate a doctor's note excusing the same, but being stuck in the house, and my problem being a dental, as opposed to a medical one, I have no note to excuse me.  If HR would be strict with the handbook, my week-long absence would be inexcusable.  Noted, yes, but inexcusable.  I wouldn't even be surprised if there's a disciplinary note waiting for me when I arrive.  But it's no use anticipating these things.  We'll just see what happens when I arrive at work.

Before then, I will enjoy these last remaining hours of freedom. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Shirking Responsibilities: Shang

It's the company sports fest today, but I begged off from joining, even though I have no concrete weekend plans.  Then again, I can use this as excuse, though I haven't really decided on watching.

It's that time of the year once again, when Shangri-la plays host to a bevy of film festivals.

Hello again, long lines and waiting for an hour for (free) tickets.

I used to be one of those eager souls who will queue up for a chance to watch the films.  My weekends were free then, and the lines used to be manageable.  And populated with film enthusiasts, some off whom would cheerfully chat you up and narrate which films they've seen and which are the really good ones in the line up.

But the festivals became too popular, I guess, and the allure of a free movie was hard to resist.  And there are those well-meaning professors who require reaction papers and other writing assignments to their students.  That's why year after year, the people who turn up to watch the free screenings get bigger, younger, and I should say, more stylish.  The old crowd of film enthusiasts are no more, probably turned off by the advent of the new crowd, with their college accents and designer labels and cliques perpetually by their side.

I'm still not sure if I'm watching this roster of films.

But I'm sure I wont be around for the company outing/sports fest.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bibliophilia: Series Enders

I finally got my hands on these two series enders!

The Enchantress is the sixth book in the Michael Scott's Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, detailing the adventures of fraternal twins Sophie and Josh Newman and how their lives turned upside down when they discovered that the quirky bookseller in their neighborhood is none other than the immortal Nicholas Flamel.

Serpent's Shadow is the third installment in the Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles, about the life of siblings Carter and Sadie Kane and their quest to revive the ancient Path of the Gods of Egypt and help thwart the rise of Apophis, ruler of Chaos and destroyer or worlds.

I wasn't expecting the two books to be released in the same week, but since they're here, I can't not buy them.  And now, my dilemma:  I've been following both series for the past three years, which book should I start reading first?

If you don't hear from me for some time, you know what the culprits are.  :-)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Addictions: Coffee

I've been off of coffee for the past three months now, and I miss it terribly.  I did it out of a whim, honestly.  And alright, out of health reasons, maybe.  I was having mild acid reflux.  But that may just have been regular office stress and not the coffee's fault.

But anyways, I did stop drinking coffee and found substitutes to it.  For a time, I was guzzling copious amounts of pineapple juice just to curb my body's insistent search for caffeine.  And as if in retaliation for its lack of addiction fix, my body decided to shower me with hunger pangs.  An almost constant barrage of the case of the munchies.  I am always hungry; never mind that I've just eaten a major meal, two hours hence and I'm already hungry.

Thus coffee was replaced with fruit juices and a wide array of food.  I'm feeling fat.  And still hungry.

I miss coffee.  I miss the taste, I miss the smell, I miss the high.  But my self-control is strong enough that I am still able to cope with its loss.  

There are times though that I wonder how a hot americano would taste and feel like, the way you hold it with both hands, savoring its enticing warmth, drowning in the earthy, intoxicating smell.  Ever so slowly, you reach for it and tease your lips with it, just a little at first, tasting the hotness of it, mouth aching with the sudden gush of saliva from aroused glands.  

You grow bolder with each try, taking in more and more of it, enjoying the scorching in your lips, your tongue until finally you plunge full on, eyes closed and ecstatic as the hotness spreads to your whole mouth, your throat.  And you go for it again and again and again some more, until all of it is spent to the very last dregs.

Then you stare at the bottom of your coffee cup, wanting more but holding back, knowing too well that too much of a good thing is bad.

But I'm still holding back from my coffee intake, and that hot raspberry americano will just have to wait some more.

And yes, I know that the one pictured above is a cup of Peppermint Mocha.  It was Christmastime, and I was aiming for stickers.  haha!


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