The Last of my Muhlach Ensaymada

It’s the last of our Muhlach ensaymada from Mom’s pasalubong.  It will be a while until I get a box or two from back home again.  I know they have a franchise here in the US on the West Coast, but I’ve learned my lesson and I know that things taste different here.  We still have our local Christine’s or Philippine Bread House Ensaymada from New Jersey.  That’ll have to do for now.

Cap sleeve tees in various colors

It’s summer in New York and while I’m 20 lbs too heavy to indulge in wearing camis, I think I can do cap sleeve tees.  I came home with half a dozen, and Mom brought me another half dozen.  I have 2 black ones, one which I intend to decorate with my own pop art.  (Black is black, and like the infamous little black dress, you cannot have too many black shirts… just as you cannot have too many pairs of black pants if you work in an atmosphere where business casual or business attire is the norm.)  While I cannot wear them to the office unless worn under a blazer or a more formal top, they come in handy during weekends like this.

I bought mine for 2 for P130 and 2 for P170 over at 168 Mall in Divisoria, translating into just over $1.00 each (!)  Mom got some of hers from the tiangges in Greenhills.  They’re easy to wash and readily survive our washing machines here.  What’s more, it’s breathable cotton so they are perfect for the coming hot summer days.

Perfect to wear with a pair of HerBench light denim capris I bought in 2002.  It can get real hot here in the summer days.  There are constant heat wave warnings flashed throughout the day so you can imagine how hot “hot” can be.  I always love this part of the year — after all, I came from some place where hot is the norm.

Remembering Baguio

For all the urbanization and crowding of modern-day Baguio, the summer capital will always be special to me because I spent every summer there until I hit college when other things started interesting me after the regular schoolyear ended.  My brother Nikky and I took a short trip there after I heard mass at the Shrine of our Lady of Manaoag the first Sunday I was in Manila. The van depot is easy to find if you ask around — P60/person and you get a ride to the City of Pines.  You get dropped off along the way or at the van depot at the back of Burnham Park once in Baguio.

It looked different but it felt the same.  Too many vehicles (hence the accompanying pollution), SM has found a perch in what used to be a beehive of the elite, The Pines Hotel.  I had fun mostly because it was a great bonding opportunity with Nikky.  No matter how different Baguio was, I had a thousand and one memories that made that short trip truly meaningful.

Nikky wanted to walk to SM which was visible from Burnham but I cautioned him that it was deceiving.  We chose instead to take a jeepney ride and he was graceful later that he heeded my warning because it would’ve been a walk and a climb.

Before anybody chides me for going to SM, let me make it clear I didn’t go there to shop.  I needed load for my globe SIMcard.. LOL.. But was I glad I went there because SM Baguio will afford you a vista of two sides of the mountain landscape you cannot afford to miss.  Thanks to Bad Copy Pro, here’s a sampling..(All pictures are thumbnails.  Click on them and larger versions will open in a new window..)


Breathtaking, don’t you agree?  It was muggy then but it was awe-inspiring nonetheless.  It made the trip worth it after all..


Mines View Park is now a maze of stores to get the cliffside — we finally did but I didn’t dare venture to where everyone was crowding to.  It was enough to behold this.


My and my fascination for photographing things in motion.  On Kennon Road on the way home — I call this a ghost on the highway.

Precious Pictures

I had lost a good chunk of my pictures from the Baguio trip last April 23, and I didn’t get to retrieve it until an hour ago courtesy of BadCopy Pro  software which I purchased to be able to re-read a rewritable disk that wasn’t working right.  Of the 200+ pictures it read, 93 were from the batch I had “lost”.  Photographs can be so precious.  I’m still smarting from Alan’s memory stick pro which I somehow “fried” in between downloads — thankfully, I managed to take 75% of the photos stored there before it held back the 25%.  The biggest loss were photos of Angel’s first hair cut. =( I have tried to see if the pictures we lost are retrievable through a similar software to BadCopy, but it seems the data has been corrupted beyond recovery.

A memory card reader I bought from CD-R King seems to be the culprit, because after I tried to download the rest of the card from the card reader, that drive no longer functioned and is no longer readable.  I guess that was false economy working against me.  It was a cheap card reader, but it did more damage than good.

I had promised my siblings a picture VCD of all the pictures I had taken, and I have a ton!  It’s just so beautiful to see my niece, nephew and Angel so alive in these photographs.  While there are hardly any pics (is there even one?) of the three of them together, I have beautiful photos of each one or at least two of them in the frame.

The scrapbooks will come in time. =)  I want to concentrate on Mom’s scrapbook of Angel’s first six months and photograph that for my own records, then I am working on scrapbook/journal for a very dear friend of mine.

Meanwhile, I’m going to burn file CDs of the digital pictures now that I have them all before anything happens to the digital media I’ve had them stored in.  USB keys can get lost, and this hard drive might crash taking memories with it.

The Greenhills I grew up in

Click on thumbnail for a bigger view of
THE THEATRE MALL in Greenhills

I have lived in San Juan all my life when I was in Manila.  Now that I’m in New York, the place I keep coming back to is Erap Country.  Greenhills has evolved before my very eyes — I used to pass it every day for the first 13 years of my life as I went to school in St. Paul College of Pasig.  Even when I transferred to St. Paul College of Quezon City for High School (they started high school in Pasig after my batch), I would stop by and get supplies for school projects, just have merienda or gallivant with my friend Donna in tow.

I was there when The Music Museum burned down.  As it was a mere 5 minutes’ drive away, I remember my siblings and I drove to watch the fire from the parking lot.

When I returned to Manila this year, I was there on my second day shopping for groceries in Unimart.  I had my chicken feet and congee at Luk Yuen, and lo and behold, Virra Mall was totally unrecognizable.

Seeing how Greenhills has evolved makes me feel old.  Yet I still remember the feeling of security being there used to evoke.  It used to be that you could roam without having to worry about crowds.  (Those were the pre-tiangge days of old!)  Celebrities and personalities milled about without fear of being mobbed or being stared at. 

The good old reliables are still there.. Choc full O’nuts (and yes, I did have the siopao and the yema as planned).. Regina’s (and I did take a peek..).. Unimart.. but the place is now overcrowded and has a different air about it.  It was also the last place I visited before settling down to pack my bags and return to New York.

It sure has evolved into a colorful and livelier place — the tiangge is part of its magic.  What I like most is the fact that they now have a real chapel in the area where there used to be a bigger fishpond.  While they used to hold mass in one corner of the shopping center, now they hold it in a rightful place of worship, where people can stop a while and say a prayer.


Lagundi tablets, anyone?

One of my discoveries in Manila this last visit were Lagundi Tablets.  One of my bestfriends, Gina, even recommended it as a good herbal remedy for colds, asthma (!), and other bronchial ailments.  So I bought a box of the stronger dose and forgot all about it until this morning when I found the 6-tablet pad I had put in my bag “just in case”. 

Do I feel any better?  Asthma, unfortunately, is not like a headache that can just fade away.  It takes some time to leave my system and like always, I’m riding it out.  But I am going to take a second dose later, and a third — at the very least, I know I’m taking something organic.  At most, it might actually do me some good.

Indulge me this Guessing Game

Okay, I know I’ve been way behind posting about my (mis)adventures this homecoming but I thought I would upload these three pictures and ask you folks out there if you know where they are.  Except for one picture which is pretty obvious, the two are a mystery.  All three photos were taken with my phone cam so don’t look for high quality, but you can’t miss out on these three if you’re truly gala (a wanderer) in Manila.  (Click on the thumbnails to see entire picture and hit your “BACK” button to return to the blog)



The first picture was taken as my friend Reggie and I were trying to find our way to another side of a shopping complex no thanks to the rain that started pouring.  The third picture was literally taken while I was walking past this chapel without as much as stopping to take a good shot.  The third was taken while we waited for my brother to drive up and fetch us.  Start guessing!

A Taste of Ginataang Alimango

It was my second week in Manila when my favorite Uncle arrived with tons of Alimango (crab) and the biggest sugpo (tiger prawns) you can imagine.  Mom knows that one thing I craved was her Ginataang Alimango and she indulged me this favorite recipe.  I hate to admit I pigged out and ate four (yes, 4!) huge crabs, two of which were teeming with aligue (crab fat).  I thought I’d suddenly find myself suffering from hypertension.  Thankfully, I didn’t.  But I was all crabbed out..LOL

I was actually seriously considering finding a way to plant some malunggay here in a pot.  Then I can try to replicate it or have Mom cook me some with lobster instead of crab when she returns. 

That’s as bicolana as I can get.  One of those treats you can wait a year or two to indulge in again — definitely not for everyday pigging out. HAHAHA!

Hopia Combi, anyone?

I’ve always loved Hopia.. eversince I was a little girl, I already knew that Eng Bee Tin and Poland hopia were the best.  My Dad used to bring us to their main branches in Quiapo and we’d get our hopia still warm.

Eng Bee Tin’s hopia is actually available at the Filipino store for $1.99 per pack of 4 (!) and one of the things one of my dear friends, Elvie, made sure to send me to take home to New York was a pack of hopia assortments from Eng Bee Tin. 

I didn’t know they now have the so-called HOPIA COMBI, and one of the better ones is the Ube/Pastillas combination which is just heavenly.  Half and half of each as a filling, and it’s neither too sweet nor bland, ever so soft and the hopia just melts in your mouth — literally!  Try it if you haven’t yet..